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This DJathon Hozier features twice for our weekly and semesterly charts

With five top-spun tracks from the past week and five from the semester, DJathon’s gems are fun this week!
This DJathon Hozier features twice for our weekly and semesterly charts

KCSU’s Weekly Gems Countdown” is written by the KCSU Music Directors and describes the top artists that your local 90.5 FM DJs are playing this week! This article is posted weekly every week and discussed on the show “KCSU Weekly Gem Countdown.” During the show Fridays from 10-11, you can tune in to hear the countdown, learn more about each artist behind the songs topping KCSU’s charts, and listen to DJ Fruit-Bat and Lady J break down the sound and feel of each song!

This week we have a special countdown because it’s DJ-athon week, our semesterly fundraising week where we try to have DJs constantly on-air promoting KCSU and spinning some good stuff! Because of that, the first five songs we count down will be the past week’s, and the next five will be our count for the semester so far!

5. L’Rain – R&B – 12 spins – highlighted hit: “5 to 8 Hours a Day (WWwaG)” off of the 2023 release “I Killed Your Dog” 

Taja Cheek, known by her stage persona “L’Rain,” is an experimental composer, producer, and vocalist. Her music has a bit of an ‘if-you-know-you-know’ status, indie and just-left-of-center enough that its popularity in niche critical circles speaks for itself; her second release, “Fatigue,” was named album of the year by The Wire, and she’s toured with artists like Animal Collective, Big Thief, and Black Midi—she’s in good company.

Her most recent release, “I Killed Your Dog,” is just as envelope-pushing as its name suggests. An album exploring what it means to hurt the people you love, on her Bandcamp Cheek says this of the record: “I’m envisioning a world of contradictions, as always…Sensual, maybe even sexy, but terrifying, and strange.”

Our highlighted hit this week is her most streamed song, “5 to 8 Hours a Day (WWwaG)”

4. Hozier – folk – 75 spins – highlighted hit: “Too Sweet” off of the 2024 release “Unheard” 

Hozier (aka Andrew Hozier-Byrne) is a singer-songwriter from Ireland who skyrocketed to fame after his 2013 song, 
“Take Me To Church”
became one of the most popular songs of the year (now with over 2 billion streams on spotify). His bluesy, folk-oriented music explores love, politics, religion, nature, and everything else one might expect from an Irish wordsmith whose songs reference everything from the bible to Dante’s Inferno to his favorite jazz songs and poems.

Hozier’s most recent full-length release, “Unreal Unearth,” was released last fall on August 18th! It’s based upon Dante’s Inferno, with each song representing one of the circles of hell that Dante journeys through in the famous poem. Hozier wrote this album partially as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, telling “As a structure, I did want to acknowledge something in my experiences of [that] two, three year period, and what I was processing. I [wanted] to find a way that nods to that, and the significance of that — albeit, not necessarily in a way that was a lockdown album or a pandemic album, or songs that focus on the nuances of that experience, but at least acknowledge the journey. And it’s taking the structure of that journey as imagined by Dante, these Nine Circles he walks through and then he comes out the other side.”

The four song EP “Unheard” was released this March with tracks that were worked on for the record but not initially released alongside it. It’s pretty popular here right now, and we anticipate it will be for the rest of the year! We’re going to play the track “Fare Well” for this round, but Hozier may just show up again in the second section!

3. Jalen Ngonda – r&b – 15 spins – highlighted hit: “Just Like You Used To” off of the 2023 release “Come Around and Love Me”

Originally from the east coast but now based in Liverpool, Jalen Ngonda is a promising new artist in the soul scene, inspired by the classic mo-town ballads he grew up listening to and bringing those classic sounds to the fore. Having been working and performing for almost a decade in Liverpool, it’s his home base. The track “Don’t You Remember” was featured on A COLORS SHOW, a platform that highlights diverse musicians from all over the world, and now has over a million views on Youtube.

Ngonda signed to Daptone to work on his debut, “Come Around and Love me,” which came out in September of last year. As far as debuts go, it’s an incredibly strong start, and Ngonda’s future is a bright one. His music has a classic romantic nostalgia that is sorely needed in today’s musical landscape. Our highlighted track this week is “Just Like You Used To.”

2. Mannequin P*ssy – rock – 16 spins – highlighted hit: “Loud Bark” off of the 2024 release “I Got Heaven” 

Mannequin Pussy have been kickin’ since 2010, formed in Philadelphia by Missy Dabice and Athanasios Paul, friends who met in school. In its current iteration, it consists of Missy, Kaleen Reading (drums), and Bear Regisford (bass) and Maxine Steen (guitar). Stalwarts of the modern day punk/power-pop, riot-grrrl influenced music atmosphere, Mannequin P*ssy have more than made a name for themselves and inspired tons of other acts through their raw, DIY, fun lyrics and performances. They bought the masters of all of their earlier releases in August 2023, re-releasing through their own label, Romantic Records. Their most recent release, March 1st’s “I Got Heaven,” is one of the most fully-fleshed releases from the band yet.

Inspired by a breakup, Missy had this to say about the realization this inspired on the album’s direction in an interview with Kerrang!: “I’ve been someone’s girlfriend for 10 years straight of my life – and for what?” She also added:“[Relationships] are so unbelievably beautiful and can cause such immense growth, but if you’re not careful with the way that you let them intertwine in the life that you already have, they can really take it over. You can suddenly be expected to be the type of person that someone else needs you to be, instead of the type of person that you are.”

That logic persists through this album, where Missy’s confidence has grown with her status as a woman in her thirties fronting a hardcore band, a space not afforded to women nearly as often as men. This is reflected in the lyrics and sound, which are expansive and vulnerable, raw and tongue-in-cheek. Our highlighted hit is one of the lead singles, “Loud Bark.”

1.Beyonce – country – 18 spins – highlighted hit – “Ya ya” off of the 2024 release “Cowboy Carter” 

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, also known as just Beyonce or Queen Bey, is probably not someone you need introducing to. Since the beginning of her career as one third of Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé has been a performer, singer, dancer, writer, and more, with her prolific solo career beginning with 2003’s debut, “Dangerously in Love.”

A steady stream of classics have defined her career since, from the sugary pop of her earlier career to the experimentation we’ve seen post 2016’s “Lemonade,” another album that was more of a cultural moment than just a record.

“Renaissance” only came out July of 2022, but Beyoncé had more horse-related plans in mind. “Cowboy Carter” is a record she’s teased, but fans weren’t sure if they could expect the full-length country record anytime soon. After releasing the first single, “Texas Hold ‘Em,” it became clear just how serious Beyoncé was. “Cowboy Carter” is expansive, playful, experimental, and an unapologetically country record. It’s been an instant success, with tracks like “Bodyguard” and her cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” becoming instant classics not only for Bey fans or country fans, but anybody who’s as into this album as we are here at KCSU.

We’re super excited to be playing a song from this album today — we’re featuring “Ya Ya”

For this section of our weekly gems, we’re featuring the top five artists that KCSU DJs have been playing this semester! Because of this, we’re going to pick the track that’s gotten the most play for each artist. 

5. Beabadoobee – pop – 64 spins – highlighted hit – “The Perfect Pair” 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 this week is one we’ve featured plenty, and evidently our DJs favorite: “The Perfect Pair.”

4. Faye Webster – alt/indie – 68 spins – highlighted hit: “Lego Ring (feat. Lil Yachty)” off of the 2024 release “Underdressed at the Symphony”

This is Faye Webster’s first time in our gems! It makes sense, given the release of her most recent release, “Underdressed at the Symphony,”
 which came out a few weeks ago! Webster is an artist who isn’t easily categorized, shifting between realms of country, folk, singer-songwriter, pop, and r&b easily. Describing the album’s title, Webster describes her therapeutic impulse trips to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s shows  on her Bandcamp: “Going to the symphony was almost like therapy for me… I was quite literally underdressed at the symphony because I would just decide at the last moment that that’s what I wanted to do.” Much of Webster’s music is understated and lyric-focused, but the first single for this era, “But Not Kiss,” has a definite energy to it, and she’s also collaborated with Lil Yachty (a lifelong friend) and experimented with vocoder-based sounds on this record. Our highlighted hit this week is the one released with Lil Yachty, which has been tons of love here. It’s “Lego Ring.”

3. Hozier (Again!) – folk – 75 spins – highlighted hit: “Too Sweet” off of the 2024 release “Unheard” 

Hozier was also featured in the earlier section of gems, having made it into both our top spins of the week and the semester! It’s partially due to the recent release of the “Unheard” EP, which was released last month with tracks that were worked on for the record but not initially released alongside it. One of his most popular songs in years, we have to play “Too Sweet”

2. The Last Dinner Party – pop – 77 spins – highlighted hit: “Nothing Matters” off of the 2024 release “Prelude to Ecstacy” 

Formed in London 2021, The Last Dinner Party’s hype is currently inescapable. Formed by Abigail Morris (vocals), Lizzie Mayland (vocals, guitar), Emily Roberts (lead guitar, mandolin, flute), Georgia Davies (bass), and Aurora Nishevci (keyboards, vocals). The band spent time in the London music scene—particularly the legendary Windmill Scene, known for acts like Black Midi and Black Country, New Road—before putting themselves out there, watching the other acts to find what direction they wanted to go in—it’s why their aesthetic and music already feel so curated and time-honed—the corsets, the lace, the drama!

Inspired by acts ranging from Kate Bush to Bowie to Queen to Florence + The Machine,
 The Last Dinner Party’s sound is theatrical, avante-garde art-pop that feels as decadent and debauched as their name and aesthetic suggests. The band have taken off over the past year, opening for Hozier over the summer (and in good company with his own frequent references to literature and religion in his lyrics!)

Their debut record, “Prelude to Ecstacy,” was released February of this year and has been massively popular at the station! Our highlighted track this week is their most popular and the single that helped their career immensely; “Nothing Matters”

1. Tennis – pop – 78 spins – highlighted hit: “Ladies Don’t Play Guitar” off of the 2017 release “Yours Conditionally” 

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 of 2023’s 
was written on a four-month sailing trip. Our highlighted track is one of their most popular here at the station, “Ladies Don’t Play Guitar”