Clash (magazine) - "DSU is squarely an introspective bedroom recording but one that makes most lo-fi records look like pointless amateur noodlings in comparison."
Following around ten records of varying lengths (LPs and EPs), DSU was the Orchid Tapes label debut for Alex Giannascoli, aka Alex G, and the album that kicked off an effort to pursue music full-time. An acronym for Dream State University, DSU introduced a growing audience to the songwriter's stylized home recordings of his intimate and often haunting material. Early comparisons to Elliott Smith are justified right from the opener, "After Ur Gone," an electric guitar-based rumination. Later, "Skipper" is one of several songs that feature melodic guitar lines that directly play off of vocals. In that song, harmonies and backing vocals are provided by one of the album's two guests, Emily Vacina. Though made almost entirely alone by Giannascoli, she lends vocals to a few of the tracks, and Sam Acchione is credited on tambourine on "Sorry" ("Can you forgive me for that pain?"). The latter also offers Alex G's drums, guitar, keyboards, and harmonized vocals. Piano and guitar intertwine on the intro to "Serpent Is Lord," which unfolds into a merger between '90s grunge and 2010s bedroom pop. Under trippy, distorted vocals, "Icehead" is one of a handful of songs here that evoke the ambling guitar work of Pavement, and the self-conscious "Boy" seems to bask in '60s sunshine pop. Altogether, the album serves as a solid introduction to a D.I.Y. musician full of promise, who turns a myriad of inspirations into something distinctive and memorable. [DSU was originally released in June 2014 with 13 tracks; the CD format included two bonus tracks. It received an international release by Lucky Number that November, and was reissued by Run for Cover Records in 2016 with the same 15-track CD option.] ~ Marcy Donelson