Album Review: Kali Uchis’ Isolation (2018)

kaliKali Uchis masters the art of collecting her thoughts in a lush jazz soundscape, typically an intangible skill to reach.

Top Tracks: Flight 22, Dead To Me, In My Dreams, After The Storm

Rating: 8.5/10

By: Jackie Reed

On April 6, Kali Uchis released her debut album Isolation (2018). The Columbian-born singer shines above her Alexandria, Va. upbringing. Instead of hiding her identity in the suburbs, Isolation remains as a vulnerable narrative characterizing what Uchis has, what she wants, and what she’s capable of.

Thundercat-produced single “Body Language – Intro” is a flute-heavy jazz number that initially invites listeners to dive in and hear Uchis out. Following the intro is fourteen other tracks, posed as either a memory, a full feature story, or a temporal feeling.

“Miami” feat. BIA is a sensual piece lathered in textured drums and a soulful attitude, similar to singers Lana del Rey and Amy Winehouse. However, the dark soul mood falls short and is instead replaced with more empowering tracks. Singles like “Just A Stranger” feat. Steve Lacy and “Tyrant” feat. Jorja Smith embrace emotions that are rather fleeting and in the moment.

Uchis succeeds in balancing short-lived pleasures with reflective anecdotes – take the velvet audio piece “Flight 22”, the remixed “Dead To Me”, and Tame Impala’s production “Tomorrow”. She juxtaposes raw lyrics with meticulous synth action and a generally upbeat pop tone.

Along with vocalizing her thoughts on running away, dealing with family and lovers, and monetary needs, all of this is intended to be reasons for moving forward. “After The Storm” feat. Tyler, The Creator and Bootsy Collins reinforces the idea that life goes on. For Uchis, this hopeful bop addresses how temporary distressing matters really are.

All in all, Kali Uchis produced a collaborative album that deserves immense recognition from music critics today. An ultimate step up from her mixtape Drunken Babble (2012) and Por Vida-EP (2015), it’s a mesmerizing album driven by bi-lingual lyricism, genre-bending undertones, complex soundbites, and an offbeat-yet-glamorous style. The fifteen-song listicle is easy listening to the ear, yet challenging to the mind.

Feature Photo By (Kali Uchis/Facebook). 

Album Review: Jack White’s Boarding House Reach (2018)

jack whiteWhat did I just listen to? A crazy brain at work.

Top Tracks: Corporation, Hypermisophoniac, Ice Station Zebra, Over and Over and Over

Rating: 9/10

By: Mikey Bamarni

Jack White was losing interest and appeal over the past five years with consistently underwhelming and uninspired music, painfully awkward interviews, and comments that made the greatest guitarist of the 21st century come across as a jerk.

Lazaretto (2014), his last full-length solo album from 2014, is the worst thing he has released with “White” in the album artist’s name. After that he released a disappointing record with one of his bands, The Dead Weather. What ended up being his best song in this musically rough time period was the Beyoncé jammer “Don’t Hurt Yourself” – which, ironically enough, this is something White might have been thinking about if he kept releasing records at the quality he was.

So when there was news of Boarding House Reach (2018) coming through, the excitement wasn’t all that high. Then, he goes on to release perhaps his cheesiest and worst lead single ever, “Connected by Love.” Granted, it sounds a little better in the context of the record as a whole, but it made many afraid that Jack White was about to kill-or at least damage-his own legacy. Thankfully, that song and the album it’s on could not be any more different.

Boarding House Reach is Jack White’s most experimental album in his now 20 year career. It does so much intense and crazy s**t that there is no way someone could claim it was done by anyone else. I am not, by any means, saying it is a perfect record. Many of the tracks are nonsense spoken words. “Why Walk a Dog?” is about how dogs have made us the pet (Jack. Relax, bud.) In many ways it reminds me of Kanye West’s album The Life of Pablo. It jumps around, but also gives you little glimpses of the artist’s genius brain. A man who in the future will go down as one of 21st century’s most creative and inspiring forces.

The good songs here aren’t just good, they are crazy good. They grab you by the throat. He experiments heavily with funk, rap, and even classical sounds. The 1-2-3 punch centerpiece of “Hypermisophoniac”, “Ice Station Zebra”, and “Over and Over and Over” perhaps is the best string of three songs that Jack has ever put to record. The last two tracks on Boarding House Reach “What’s Done is Done” and “Humoresque” also stand out due to their slow tempos. These songs still explore new ground like the other tracks do, but more so by gently grabbing your hand.

It is a polarizing album, one that some will not like. If you want to hear some straight up garage rock anthems like “Fell in Love with a Girl” or “Seven Nation Army” you won’t find that here. However, you will find a complete album that with all of its flaws, at its core, is brilliant.

Feature Photo By (Jack White/Official Website).

Lit&Live with Leon of Athens

London-based singer/songwriter Leon of Athens talked with WGMU’s Kate Klajbor and Fielder Wise to share details about his most recent album, Xenos (2018).

By: Kate Klajbor and Fielder Wise

London-based singer/songwriter Leon of Athens talked with WGMU’s Kate Klajbor and Fielder Wise to share details about his most recent album, Xenos (2018). Leon added insight about his U.S. tour and future endeavors.

For more information, go to
Feature Photo By (Leon of Athens/Twitter).

Lit&Local with Ghoul Kids

Bay-area based thrash punk duo Ghoul Kids talked with WGMU’s Christian Hernandez to share details about their most recent album, Dead Beat (2018).

By: Christian Hernandez

Bay-area based thrash punk duo Ghoul Kids talked with WGMU’s Christian Hernandez to share details about their most recent album, Dead Beat (2018). Taylor and Bailey added insight about local California scene and future endeavors.

For full artist discography, go to…0S-u4bBY1dzFgaA/.

Feature Photo By (Ghoul Kids/Facebook).

Lit&Local with The Flavr Blue

Seattle-based trio The Flavr Blue talked with WGMU’s Jackie Reed to share details into their third album The Blue Dream (2017).

By: Jackie Reed

Seattle-based trio The Flavr Blue talked with WGMU’s Jackie Reed to share details into their third album The Blue Dream (2017). Hollis of The Flavr Blue offered insight into artist collaborations and future tour plans.

For full artist info, go to

Feature Photo By (The Flavr Blue/Official Website).


Album Review: Albert Hammond Jr.’s Francis Trouble (2018)


“The Stroke” shows off why he doesn’t need Casablancas and company on AHJ’s defiant fourth album.

Top Tracks: Muted Beatings, Set to Attack, Stop and Go, Rocky’s Late Night

Rating: 8.1/10

By: Mikey Bamarni

Albert Hammond Jr. was the first Stroke to go out on his own in 2006 and has the most solo tracks under his belt. His first album Yours To Keep (2006) showed off a sound that despite being very guitar-driven and reminiscent of The Strokes, had enough originality thanks to his unique vocal delivery and summer-vibe upbeat riffs that only AHJ could produce. He followed that up with a mediocre sophomore slump album Como Te Llama (2008). Later, The Strokes got back together and released 2 full albums and an EP. Since 2013, Albert has released the great AHJ (2013), a solid third record, Monetary Masters (2015), and now, his best album yet.

Francis Trouble (2018) is an album where Jr. discovers a fresh and energetic identity – note, an identity inspired by a twin brother who was sadly never born, but whose fingernail was still found in the afterbirth. This revelation, which he didn’t learn until age 36, brings to the forefront that frontman swagger that he lacked in the past.

On the first single “Muted Beatings”, Albert channels the sounds of 2009 Paramore with far more personal lyrics and extremely intricate arrangements. “Rocky’s Late Night” is another highlight off the record. This track is captivating with infectious guitar work and deeply personal lyrics about his growth as a person and grasping how to deal with life’s changes. The beautifully harmonized and slow-building jam “Set to Attack” also soars and is sure to be a staple for live shows down the road.

Unfortunately not all the songs are winners. The second teaser “Far Away Truths” falls short when it’s up against other tracks in Hammond’s discography; it also just sounds like a weak Strokes song.  A few other tracks suffer due to similar reasons, not bad songs by any means, but underwhelming.

With all that being said, Albert has made it clear that even if The Strokes don’t get together to record any time soon, we’ll still have one-fifth of the band. He’s putting his heart and soul out here, and it’s pretty damn catchy. All in all, the future looks bright.

Feature Photo By (Albert Hammond Jr./Official Website).

Individual Breakdowns of this Season’s Starters

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

A profile into Womens BBall players that ended the season strong.

By: Domenic Allegra

Stats from

Nicole Cardaño-Hillary finished this season with a Field Goal percentage of 34.7, 68 3-pointers made, 137 free throws made, 605 total points, averaged 17.8 points per game, grabbed 113 rebounds, dished out 102 assists, and had 84 steals. She has a great basketball IQ and can read defenses well; I cannot wait to see how her “MJ” style and play-making ability progresses as she goes through this program.

Jacy Bolton finished this season with a Field Goal percentage of 43.5, 36 3-pointers made, 47 free throws made, 305 total points, grabbed 142 rebounds, dished out 72 assists, and had 39 steals. She now sits 20th all-time in school history with Cardaño-Hillary with 68 3-pointers made and still has a bright 2 years ahead of her; I’m definitely excited to see her play.

Sarah Kaminski finished this season with a Field Goal percentage of 36.2, 52 3-pointers made, 21 free throws made, 215 total points, grabbed 96 rebounds, dished out 76 assists, and had 22 steals. She now sits 16th all-time  in school history with 83 3-pointers made passing Amber Easter, Director of Operations for Mason WBB. I guarantee that she’ll still be lethal from behind the arch next year.

Tayler Dodson finished this season with a Field Goal percentage of 36.6, 6 3-pointers made, 55 free throws made, 181 total points, grabbed 187 rebounds, dished out 110 assists, and had 23 steals. Dodson, a true senior, finished her career at Mason with the school record for games played with 124, had 112 career starts, a total of 469 points, holds 22nd place all-time in school history in rebounds with 455 and holds 12th place all-time in school history with 251 assists. She passes the ball well, a characteristic that is often overlooked in basketball. It’s sad to see her go, but she was a great asset to this team.

Camarie Gatling finished this season with a Field Goal percentage of 50.8, 22 free throws made, 144 total points, grabbed 101 rebounds, dished out 12 assists, and had 10 steals. She had a good amount of points for the minutes that she played, I can not wait to see her play next season.

Marika Korpinen “Finnished” (sorry, I had to) this season with a Field Goal percentage of 30.1, 13 3-pointers made, 12 free throws made, 81 total points, grabbed 46 rebounds, dished out 39 assists, and had 15 steals. These are good numbers for her size and the amount of playing time she has. I can not wait to see how she develops in this program.

Congrats on the great season, Mason WBB! Best of luck as you prepare for the next one!

Stay tuned for a Breakdown of Natalie Butler’s season on WGMU Sports.

Mason WBB Season Highlights (Nov. 2017 to March 2018)

Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

Nyla Milleson perfectly sums up this entire season – “Not sure I can be more proud of a basketball team.”

By: Domenic Allegra

FAIRFAX, VA — The Mason WBB Basketball Season ended with their final loss in the Second Round of the WNIT against Virginia Tech back on March 18. However, do not let this loss define this entire season, as this team has accomplished so much, from individual accolades to program records; they worked extremely hard to arrive at where they are today.

Boom.  Let’s get it started.


11/22/17 – Patriots (5-1) win over Illinois St. (1-2) for their fifth straight victory of the season; this was Coach Milleson’s longest winning streak during her 5 years at Mason; this was the longest streak since the 2011-2012 season when Mason was still in the Colonial Athletic Conference.

11/24/17 – Mason (6-1) rally to win their sixth straight win against Drake in the Rocky Mountain Hoops Classic. This match the best start in six years for the program and they had won six straight games for just the second time in the last 24 years. The Patriots trailed by as much as 18 points in the first quarter before coming back and winning 87-75.

The Patriots finished with 7 wins in the month of November, which is the most in program history for the month.


12/9/17 – Mason (9-2) beat Eastern Kentucky by a score of 64-41. At this point in the season they had won 3 straight games and were off to their best start since the 1992-1993 and 1993-1994 seasons.

12/11/17 – Patriots win over UMBC for their best start in 30 years by a score of 58-38. With this win, the Patriots moved to 8-0 at Eagle Bank Arena for their best home start in program history. Also, side note, I feel that because of what UMBC’s men’s team to UVA during this year’s NCAA tournament, it is an honor be mentioned in their presence. #UMustBeCinderella

The Patriots finished Non-conference play winning 11 games which was the most non-conference wins in 30 years since the season of 87-88.

12/31/17 – The Patriots rally and comeback from a 21-point deficit at the half to win against Davidson in the first A10 game of the season.  This was one of my favorite highlights of this season, as the Patriots were down by 21 after the first half and only allowed Davidson to score 16 points in the entire second half while scoring 47 to win in the end. With this win the Patriots moved to 10-0 at Eagle Bank Arena.


1/14/18 – Coach Milleson wins her 350th Career game as a collegiate head coach with the overwhelming win against University of Rhode Island by a season-high score of 92-53.

1/15/18 – Nicole Cardaño-Hillary is named the A10 Rookie of the week for the 4th time. She had double-digit scoring in every game of this season, was 2nd in scoring, and 1st in steals in the A10 conference. Additionally, she was 2nd in scoring and 2nd in steals among freshmen in the NCAA.

1/28/18 — Patriots lose to Fordham snapping their program-record home winning streak by a score of 67-62. At this time, the Patriots were 12-0 at Eagle Bank Arena before this matchup.

1/31/18 – The Patriots win over St. Bonaventure to clinch a winning season since 2003-2004; this being the Patriots’ 17th win of the season. Additionally, Mason matched their conference win total from the last two seasons with 6 conference wins.


Photo By (Rafael Suanes/GMU).

2/15/18 – Patriots were victorious over VCU to clinch their first 20-season in 17 years. This one was special.

2/18/18 – Mason ties the single-season school record for wins with victory over St. Bonaventure. This marked their 21st win, which was the fifth time the Patriots won 21 games in a season, the last time being 2000-2001. Furthermore, this was the breast cancer “pink” game, a game that was memorable to so many people.

2/24/18 – The Patriots defeat La Salle to set single-season school record with their 22nd win by a score of 65-55. With this win the Patriots finished in fourth place for their highest finish since joining the A10. Additionally, this tied the school record for the most conference wins in a season with 11.

#RandomStat (Courtesy of Bill Rohland): “Mason Set Program record for wins (22) its first time since joining D1 and the team did lose back to back games the entire season.”  This shows how tough the Patriots were as they did not let their losses distract them from winning the next game during the entirety of the season.

2/27/18 – Nicole Cardaño-Hillary hits her famous behind-the-back reverse layup as the play of the year in the first round of the A10 tournament win against St. Bonaventure.


3/1/18 – Nicole Cardaño-Hillary is named 2017-2018 A10 Rookie of the Year. She was the first ROY since 2001 and the fourth in program history. Additionally, Natalie Butler was named A10 Player of the Year. This was the first time since 1997 that a team has had both the ROY and POY.

3/2/18 – The Patriots were eliminated from the A10 Tournament with a Quarterfinal loss to the eventual champions, George Washington. Was this loss due to the fact that there was no Green Machine? No, probably not, the Patriots shot 41% and 29% from beyond the arch, while scoring ten points below our season average.

3/3/18 through 3/11/18 – This was the post-season waiting period, I tried to calculate the possibility of an at-large berth and the Patriots’ chances looked good, but it was not a guarantee that Mason would receive a bid. So many different scenarios had to happen for us to be a good contender.

3/12/18 – Mason receives an at-large bid to the WNIT for the first time since 2004 (Third time in program history). What a day this must have been for the team, I can imagine the excitement.

3/16/18 – The Patriots win their first postseason game in program history and Butler sets the D1 rebounding record. Cardaño-Hillary scores a career-high 28 points in this game.

3/18/18 Mason falls to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg ending their historic season by a score of 78-69.  Mason struggled in the first half, before mounting a comeback in the end and falling short.

Congrats on the great season, Mason WBB! Best of luck as you prepare for the next one!

Stay tuned for a Breakdown of Natalie Butler’s season on WGMU Sports.

WGMU Exclusive: Alpha Phi Omega

By: Robert McGreevy

WGMU’s Robert McGreevy hosts Kevin Embrey, member of GMU’s Alpha Phi Omega.

Alpha Phi Omega is an inclusive, co-ed fraternity that promotes leadership, fellowship, friendship, and service.

More information can be found at

Feature Photo By (Alpha Phi Omega/Facebook).

Dan Auerbach at 9:30 Club

It was a perfect close to possibly one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.

By: Jesse Benitez

Whoever said rock ‘n’ roll is dead is probably unfamiliar with Akronite Dan Auerbach. His contributions in songwriting, record producing, involvement with The Black Keys, The Arcs, and many other musical groups are prime examples of his extensive talent and knowledge when it comes to authentic, modern American rock.

Dan Auerbach rocked the roof off the 9:30 Club during a sold out show alongside the Easy Eye Sound Revue, Robert Finley, and Shannon and the Clams on Thursday, March 22. Shannon and the Clams kicked off the night with “Ozma,” the fourth track from their third studio album, Dreams in the Rat House (2013). Lead singer Shannon Shaw’s profound vocals created naturally sympathetic vibrations through the floorboards of the venue, which carried over into surfy and quirky tunes like “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Boy,” a song from their fifth studio album Onion (2018)- a collaboration with producer Dan Auerbach and the Easy Eye Sound record label. The band’s ear splitting guitar riffs shrilled in pleasant harmony throughout their performance, noticeable in “I Will Miss the Jasmine,” off Gone by the Dawn (2015). They closed their opening set with a mellower jam, “Did You Love Me,” a ballad that made me recognize how unbelievable it felt to watch this band perform directly in front of me at that very moment.

Shannon and the Clams left me so impressed that I was almost questioning whether Auerbach and the Easy Eye Sound Revue would embody the similar energy and allure. It should be a sin to even let that cross your mind, for the Easy Eye Sound Revue is composed of legendary musicians who could not disappoint in the slightest. Lead guitarist Russ Pahl, was an outstanding gem, whose transcendent sliding riffs and sublime guitar solos radiated through tunes like “Stand by My Girl” and “Shine on Me,” from Auerbach’s second studio album, Waiting on a Song (2017). The crowd sang along to a breezy and refreshing melody, “King of a One Horse Town,” before Robert Finley joined the stage for wholesomely soulful anthems. He gracefully sang “Holy Wine” from the top of his lungs and “Medicine Woman,” both from his newest LP, Goin’ Platinum! (2017). Finley brought the audience together to celebrate good ol’ nostalgic blues through vivacious lyrics and crisp, electric chords crackling on stage.

Auerbach ended the night with an emotional solo he had only played twice before in the nation’s capital, “Goin’ Home,” the last track from his debut solo album titled, Keep It Hid (2009). A personal tune such as this one created the most beautiful and intimate atmosphere that Thursday night. It was a perfect close to possibly one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.

Feature Photo By (9:30 Club/Official Website).