Music that’s getting us through the pandemic

Since March, things have been weird. While nothing can really be made sense of, KJHK members have found catharsis in the tunes we blast in our headphones. We hope that music has brought along some of the same relief to you and that these albums bring you new healing and understanding. Hang in there.

Jaya Chakka

Station Manager at KJHK

Senior — Behavioral Neuroscience; Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Pandemic album: Shore by Fleet Foxes

One of the most frustrating aspects of the pandemic is the feeling that time has lost all meaning. The transition between summer and fall has been murky at best, which is sad because fall is by far my favorite season. Luckily, one album has helped me really get in the autumn mood. Nothing says falling leaves and crisp winds like a good folk album. I am an absolute sucker for chill, atmospheric indie folk… and Fleet Foxes never fails to deliver. After a three year period of anticipation, Shore is a breath of fresh air and a much-needed musical escape from the current dystopian state of the world.

The track “Quiet Air / Gioia” is one of my favorites off the album; it perfectly captures everything that makes Fleet Foxes such a phenomenal group. 

Cole Billings

KJHK In-Studio Director

Junior – Film and Media Studies

Pandemic Album: Black Moon by Valium Aggelein 

Duster side project, Valium Aggelein released their entire discography under one album this summer (and even translated all the titles into English for your listening pleasure.) Their work under this project is some of the s p a c i e s t space rock I’ve ever heard, which makes it perfect for contemplating the meaning of life while locked inside during a pandemic. Although the second half of the album (mostly the Dweller on the Threshold tracks) does feel like a lot of unfinished ideas (and you may recognize a track or two from other Duster releases) I’m still very glad to see it getting more attention from the band themselves because it’s amazing stuff.

It’s hard to choose my favorite track of the 25 that are on this release… Liftoff in Stereo is the second track and the one that truly hooked me so hopefully, you’ll feel the same after giving it a listen.

Ellynn Mayo 

Content staff member at KJHK

Freshman — Journalism, French, and Creative Writing

Pandemic album: Angel Miners & The Lightning Riders by AWOLNATION 

I celebrated my birthday in quarantine, and two different people bought this album on vinyl for me (my dad and my best friend — we love). The night it was released, I cycled through the songs four times and fell asleep to it. AWOL speaks to so much of my childhood, and to have a birthday present like a whole album of my favorite band has just been exactly what I needed this summer and into the fall.

Between the smooth “Pacific Coast Highway In The Movies” with Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo and the jolty and exciting, “I’m A Wreck,”  AWOLNATION has knocked it out of the park. Aaron Bruno’s talent and recognition of his style transcends what I ever thought possible for this band.

Cate Manning

Content staff member at KJHK 

Freshman — Journalism

Pandemic album: Collector by Disq

This Wisconsin band’s debut was released just one week before March 13, the start of quarantine. At that point, I don’t think anyone knew what the rest of the year had in store for us. Catchy melodies weren’t the only thing that stuck in my head after listening, but the lyrics as well. I’ve found myself revisiting this album a lot over the past few months, especially the tracks “Daily Routine” and “Loneliness.”

“This is my daily routine / Spend my hours on computer screen.” 

Grace Needham

Development Director at KJHK

Senior- Strategic Communications

Pandemic Album: Fuzzybrain by Dayglow

When COVID first hit, I found myself driving around in my car a lot more, with nowhere to go. I’d get in and drive for hours, sometimes just park and sit in my car and watch the sunset because there was nothing else to do. For alone time like this, music that can invoke several moods in one listen are necessary, and Fuzzybrain does just that. It has everything from breakup anthems like, “Can I Call You Tonight?”  to songs that make you wanna do a little hand dance and smile as you drive, “Nicknames”.

“Oh everything here / Has pointed you this way / And I see it so clear / It’s the reason we were made.”

Sam Blaufuss 

Content and Music staff member

Senior–Journalism and business

Pandemic album: You Won’t Get What You Want by Daughters

I initially tried treating my lockdown cabin fever with Kid A and not sleeping, but that just mellowed me into a stupor. The only way I was getting through work and the remainder of the semester was by flying off the handles, and also not sleeping. YWGWYW flipped my fight or flight mode switch like nothing else I’d heard at the time. It’s like the perfect surfboard to ride the waves of your panic attacks with. Play it when you’re at the gym, cramming final projects while questioning your worth, making, then chugging, coffee – the whole nine yards. Just put on “Satan in the Wait” and grab life by the cheeks.

“City Song” opens the can of worms with an almost synthwave-like drone that blankets you in dread and a deep, pounding percussion that induces the first of many headaches to come. Sharp tom hits and wailing vocals are introduced, later leading into the screeching, conceptual noise rock that comprises the rest of the mess. If you dig “City Song,” you’ll dig it all.

Cami Koons 

Content Director at KJHK

Senior — Journalism and French

Pandemic album: Screen Memories by John Maus 

We spend most of our day staring at screens now, thanks to online classes and remote meetings. I realize my memories of this time will mostly be logged on my laptop screen. Aside from its fitting title, Screen Memories has a deliciously apocalyptic sound that fits my personal feelings of being trapped in this current state, devoid of answers or concrete explanations.  

“Edge of Forever” seems to resonate perfectly as I contemplate the future and how our world will be forever changed by these months (years?). 


Wyatt Hall

Audio Content editor at KJHK

Junior–Analytics and Marketing

Pandemic album: Because the Internet by Childish Gambino

What I needed while feeling isolated in quarantine is something that was existential and cathartic. Because the Internet gave me exactly that. One of Donald Glover’s deepest works, BTI hits on things as optimistic as love and as pessimistic as death. At its very foundational level, however, it’s Glover rapping about how despite us being more connected than ever, he’s feeling as lonely as he’s ever been. What could be more relatable right now?

“How you gon’ trust somebody when you don’t trust yourself?”

Fabian Rosales

Video Content editor at KJHK

Junior — Journalism and Film

Pandemic Album: Heaven To A Tortured Mind by Yves Tumor

Yearning for an album to accompany you during isolation? Well, Yves Tumor has an album for you. It came out in April of this year. I’d turn off the news to play this album in the dark to recompose myself. “Strawberry Privilege” leaves you with an ominous, mellow void in your head, in the best possible way.

Erin Bugee

Communications Director at KJHK

Junior – Visual Communications (Graphic Design)

Pandemic Album: Mystic Familiar by Dan Deacon 

This album was released February 3rd, 2020, so pretty much in the calm of the storm of the pandemic. The whole album features themes of reincarnation with beautiful electronic melodies and collaborations from other talented artists throughout Dan Deacon’s travels. This album possesses such heart and soul that it really has carried me through this year. When I’ve felt down and hopeless about the unpredictable future I pop on one of my favorite tracks: Sat By a Tree, which lyrically is just about experiencing life (#yolo…ew). I would give it a listen if you’re looking for a bit of electronic positivity in today’s world.

Kade Schoenfeldt

Programming Director at KJHK

Junior – Biology

Pandemic Album: Melee by Dogleg

We’ve had a lot of things to be pissed off about in the last seven months. When you have a lot of pent up frustration with the world, turning on some music is almost always a surefire way to release some of it. Dogleg’s Melee, released with perfect timing on March 13th, was exactly what I needed to cure my cabin fever and exorcise some of those emotions. The album packs 10 blistering, emotionally fraught tracks into 35 minutes, creating an engaging atmosphere of anxiety and urgency. The post-hardcore band touches on the feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, and falling apart common in the genre but do so with a uniquely raw intensity. The name Melee fits the album perfectly, as lead singer Alex Stoitsiadis’s vocals and his bandmates’ instruments fight for centerstage amidst the head-banging, anthemic choruses. 

It’s hard to recommend just one song, but the shouted opening lines to “Bueno” could not be more timely: “Get drunk with your friends and stay at home!” While you do that, turn up Melee as loud as possible and enjoy the ensuing catharsis. 

Daniel Paese

KJHK Creative Director

Senior – Visual art and Film production

Pandemic Album: Visions Of A New World by Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes

The title of the album itself embodies the hopes many of us have during this disillusioning time.This relaxing soul-jazz fusion album made in 1975, couldn’t be more relevant in today’s context. Instead of emphasising the somber nature of the world we live in, Lonnie Liston Smith and The Cosmic Echoes give a hopeful look towards the future, at a world filled with peace and love. It may seem like a romanticized optimism, but in times like this, a nice reminder that the world can be a warm and beautiful place, can help us move forward with deliberation. The melodic and atmospheric sounds of the album create its own little utopia, where the sunset never seems to end.

Griffin Lowry

KJHK Music Director

Senior – French and Linguistics

Pandemic Album: By Myself: Solo Cello – Abdul Wadud

I randomly discovered this album on YouTube and instantly fell in love. Completely avant-garde, the 1977 solo project explores the capabilities of the cello. Abdud Wadud puts so much personality in this album and the title itself makes perfect sense when it comes to the pandemic. 37 minutes of nothing but a man and his cello: what more could you ask for?