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Our charts see some new faces with music from Sarah Kinsley and Grrrl Gang!

As our DJs start getting more adventurous in their spinning, our 2024 charts shift to match!
Our charts see some new faces with music from Sarah Kinsley and Grrrl Gang!

10. Sarah Kinsley – pop – 7 spins – highlighted hit: “Oh No Darling” off of the 2023 release “Ascension”

Sarah Kinsley has only been releasing music since 2019’s debut, “The Fall,” but she’s already amassed 700,000 monthly listeners on spotify alone, each release tracking millions of streams (with “The King” at 46 million alone). With a childhood studying classical music (eventually taking her to Columbia University.

Kinsley’s latest release, 2023’s “Ascension” came out in June of 2023. On the EP’s inspiration, she said: “Ascension is about this unknown, ethereal place—the islands we create with people we have loved, where our phrases with them live, where our conversations outlast us, where every moment we have experienced lives again and again. It’s an eternal paradise. This is the center of this EP: the treasure, the collection of shining memories I carry, I ascend to.” Our highlighted track is “Oh No Darling,” an alt-pop track that blends Kinsley’s modern dreampop with her older influences.

9. The Mountain Goats – alt/indie – 8 spins – highlighted hit: “Great Pirates” off of the 2023 release “Jenny From Thebes”

The Mountain Goats are the product of John Darnielle, who has been making music with myriads of collaborators since the Mountain Goats debut, a series of EPs and albums spanning from the mid 90s through the early 2000s. Incredibly prolific, there’s never been more than a year or two without a Mountain Goats release. Known for their varied, folk-punk oriented sound and lyrics that explore religion, and popular releases over the years like “All Hail West Texas”, “Heretic Pride”, and “Goths”.

The Mountain Goats’ most recent release, “Jenny From Thebes”, returns to a character from “All Hail West Texas”, 20 years later, the owner of a home host to all kinds of misfits passing through. Our highlighted track is a saxophone ode to pirates, “Great Pirates.”

8. Slow Caves – alt/indie – 9 spins – highlighted hit: 2021’s “Before I Leave”

An indie rock band formed in 2014, Slow Caves formed in our very own Fort Collins! They worked on their sound in the Denver music scene for a few years before releasing 2017’s debut EP, “Desert Minded”, and went on to open for bands like Cake, DIIV, Cold War Kids, and more.

Their first full length album, “Falling,” came out in 2019, and since then they’ve released a handful of other singles, the last being 2021’s “Before I Leave”, which is our highlighted track this week!

7. Grrrl Gang – rock – 10 spins – highlighted hit: “Cool Girl” off of 2023’s “Spunky!”

Formed in Indonesia’s Yogyakarta, Grrrl Gang is formed of Angeeta Sentana (vocals), Akbar Rumandung (bass), and Edo Alventa (guitar). Their influences come from the feminist, riot grrrl punk music of the 90s and 2000s, which influenced not only their sound but the subjects of their songs, which are rooted in feminist explorations of their lives and feelings. Formed in 2016, their first release was 2019’s “Dream Grrrl”, and their debut record was 2020’s “Here To Stay!”

Their most recent release, September’s “Spunky!” is evidence of their increasing confidence in their sound as their music finds audiences beyond the Southeast Asian music scene and gains new listeners abroad every day! They’re pretty popular here at KCSU! Our highlighted track is “Cool Girl”

6. Almost Monday – pop – 10 spins – highlighted hit: 2022’s “Cough Drops”

Almost Monday is a Californian indie pop trio formed from highschool friends Dawson Daugherty (vocals), Cole Clisby (guitar), and Luke Fabry (bass). The band’s first single, “Broken People,” was released in 2019, and their debut EP, “Don’t Say You’re Ordinary,” came out in 2020. Their single, “Sunburn,” came out in 2022 and took off, currently sitting at close to 28 million streams on Spotify.

Building a huge fanbase just from their singles, Almost Monday have yet to release a full-length LP, though it looks like one could be on the horizon considering their popularity at festivals and online. They seem to be getting plenty of play here at the station, and after playing “Sunburn” last week we’re going for the 2022 single “Cough Drops” this week!

5. The Japanese House – alt/indie – 11 spins – highlighted hit: “Sad To Breathe” off of 2023’s “In The End It Always Does”

Amber Mary Bain (known musically as The Japanese House) is an indie-pop singer from England, known for her dreamy vocals and production. Swimming from synthpop to rock to folk-pop, Bain’s sound is as elusive as she is. Her androgynous vocals and lyrics have cemented her as a popular figure in the world of queer music, and her most streamed release, 2017’s “Saw You In a Dream” is a particularly popular cult hit in this regard.

The Japanese House’s most recent release was June of 2023, her second-ever LP entitled “In The End It Always Does”. The album has been a bit of a slow burn at the station, but it’s great to see it finally in our gems! Bain describes the album as exploring all of the relationships she’s lost over the years, as well as the experience of growing up queer. Our track this week is on the more melancholy side, also from the new record: “Sad To Breathe.”

4. Tennis – pop – 11 spins – highlighted hit: “100 Lovers” off of the 2014 release “Ritual In Repeat”

One of the most exciting musical acts coming out of Colorado right now, Tennis are formed by husband-and-wife duo Alaina Moore (keys, vocals), and Patrick Riley (guitar, keys), who met while students right here in Colorado. Frequently out on sailing excursions, their music often takes inspiration from the boating trips the pair have been taking since the early days of their relationship.

Inspired by 50s doo-wop with a soft psych-pop twist, Tennis are a favorite at the station (especially because of their Colorado origins). “Yours Conditionally” is a record in constant rotation here, as is the rest of their stuff! Their most recent venture, February’s 
was written on a four-month sailing trip. Our highlighted track is “100 Lovers”, one of their more popular releases from 2014’s “Ritual In Repeat”

3. The Drums – alt/indie – 12 spins – highlighted hit: “I’m Still Scared” off of the 2-23 release “Jonny”

Debuting with 2010’s self-titled “The Drums,” The Drums have been part of the indie-pop scene since the early 2010s, and their sound reflects that. With a revolving door of members until 2016, the only remaining member is frontman Jonathan Pierce, whose voice is the one you’ll hear when you turn on any Drums track. Most known for 2011’s “Portamento” (which I loved in middle school), The Drums have more to offer than just tracks like “Money” and “I Don’t Know How to Love,” which comes through clearly on their new release, “Jonny.”

“Jonny” is described on Spotify as capturing the “work of healing from childhood trauma and the shadow it casts over adulthood.” These tracks took longer to write than Pierce’s usual, bang-it-out method, which allows for an introspection and nuance that’s an interesting new direction for The Drums. Our highlighted track is “I’m Still Scared,” which is a particularly relatable Drums track (of which they have many)!

2. Big Thief – alt/indie – 14 spins – highlighted hit: “Change” off of the 2022 release “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You”

Big Thief are one of the defining acts of alternative, folk-inspired singer-songwriter music, though it feels wrong to put them into any sort of box; they’re always adapting, always finding new, unexpected ways to pull together their increasingly heart-wrenching records. With songwriting from Adrianne Lenker that’s somehow both incredibly complex yet sparse, almost inevitable in its profundity, their music has a universality that has ensured their popularity since their 2016 debut, “Masterpiece.” Big Thief is also formed from Lenker’s ex-husband, Buck Meek (who has excellent country-folk music of his own), Max Oleartchik, and James Krivchenia.

Their fifth album, “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” came out in 2022, but their reached new levels of popularity after the vitality of their 2023 single, “Vampire Empire,” which took off on TikTok before an actual recording of the track had even come out—just the live performance was enough. It’s a stunning example of Lenker’s songwriting ability, a toxic relationship described through the beauty you force yourself to find in the midst of miscommunication and heartbreak. We’re more than excited to play it on Gems! We’re playing “Change” this week, which is also from DNWMIBIY!

1. Beabadoobee – pop – 15 spins – highlighted hit: “Sunny Day” off of the 2022 release “Beatopia”

Bea Kristi, known musically as Beabadoobee, was born in the Philippines and raised in London. She began her music career in 2017 with the single “Coffee,” which took off almost immediately. Another coffee themed track, “death bed (coffee for your head)” by Powfu featuring Bea, went viral on TikTok in 2020, currently sitting at over a billion streams on Spotify.

Bea’s steady release of bedroom pop eps and records has built her a consistent presence in the indie music scene, and sugary-sweet tracks like “glue song” give her a ubiquitous presence in romantic playlists everywhere. Her newest record, “Beatopia”, came out in 2022. It’s inspired by the made-up world she retreated into as a child, and the album is full of features, from Jockstrap’s
 Georgia Ellery to Pinkpantheress. Our highlighted track, “Sunny Day”, is one that gets some of the most consistent play here lately, both for Beabadoobee and in general!