Spotifriday’s aim to highlight what us editors are listening to in new music and share the albums that we love but don’t get around to reviewing in full length. This is the fourth in an ongoing series of playlist and album posts from The Airspace through Spotify every Friday.
You can find all the albums in one playlist here.
Blake J. Graham’s Picks
The year 2012 started with Frankie Rose’s “Know Me” rattling around my head. For two weeks I woke up every morning to the 80s beats and mild shoegaze sounds. Rose’s smooth voice, wrapped in clouds and reverb, would lure me from slumber. The energy and pep of the uptempo beat convinced me to walk across the room.
January was great, but I had to wait until mid-February for the release of Frankie Rose’s new album Interstellar. Before the release, more tracks kept coming out (“Gospel/Grace”). Daily, I became ensnared in the cosmic nature of the new album. On February 21, Interstellar was released by Slumberland Records and there hasn’t been a day since (17 days counting) where I haven’t listened to the full album. To put it simply, Interstellar is my jam.
That being said, Interstellar is an absolute trend-o-coaster. It’s a cool breeze that gently disturbs the leaves, causing them to tremble but not move. Everything Now is looking back to the 80s, to synth, to swirls, bass, and ballads. It’s everything hot and wanted. Give me a month and I’ll probably be over Interstellar but right now, it’s all I need.
Interstellar is twee, but so polished and refined you feel like a angel on the celestial teat of sound. The title track sets the mood and the rest of the album flows like the undertow currents of crashing waves. The rest of the album barely touches the scope of the first track “Interstellar,” but that does not matter. Like a drop of water beading on a leaf, surface tension holds the entire album together. And like the contents of that little droplet—a microcosm of swirling life-matter—Interstellar exists in its own place void of time and meaning. It’s a whole lot of really nice stuff in a concentrated dose.
Just sit, listen, and be consumed by the sound. There’s little else to do. It may not make sense at first (what ever does?), but the longer you wait the more will become apparent. I was blind but now I see and I’m just float, float, floating.
Target Tracks: Interstellar, Know Me, Pair of Wings, Night Swim, Apples For The Sun.
Sleigh Bells—Reign of Terror
“With Treats, only time, space, and sound mattered. There was no deeper feeling to be extracted from the tracks beyond what a listener could project there. And essentially, they were blank pages, ready to be filled with anything. Reign of Terror asks for a little bit more attention. The lyrics matter beyond melody, the levels have been pulled back, and the beats are more precise. Sleigh Bells now seems like a completely different band, which is a really good thing. On the whole, Reign of Terror may not be a better album than Treats, but because Krauss and Miller are now writing together, Sleigh Bells is on the right trajectory. I’m going to call Reign of Terror Sleigh Bells’s second debut album. If they try a little harder, find their center, and let the buzz die down, their third will be the real comeback kid.”
Tony Russo’s picks
Claire Boucher, the musician behind Grimes, has undoubtedly crafted one of the coolest and catchiest albums in recent memory with Visions. At 13 songs at 48:04, Visions is easy to love and listen to over and over again. Grimes’ synthy dream-pop sensualizes the haze of existence in a way that could either be experienced in a club or dark bedroom, all matched by Boucher’s sweet falsetto voice.
Target Tracks: Oblivion, Genesis, Be a Body, Visiting Statue
If I were to describe Grimes it might be as a combination of Beach House’s dream-pop and Goldfrapp’s out-of-this-word dance music. The Singles captures the later, starting strong with their best numbers—Ooh La La, Number 1, and Strict Machine—but also highlighting their more ambiental work. It is a nearly non-stop album of great tracks from a band that only produced lackluster albums. In this format, therefore, they thrive.
Target Tracks: Utopia (Genetically Enhanced Remix), Strict Machine (Single mix)
I wouldn’t say I knew what to expect coming into Damien Jurado’s work. As a musician with a large body of work (this is his twelfth studio album), I was pleasantly surprised by how strong of an album this is. It features an excellent combination of lo-fi emotion and utter grace. A quiet and evocative work, Maroqopa shows how excellent Damien Jurado is as a songwriter.
Target Tracks: Working Titles, Museum of Flight
Eric Harsh’s Picks
Birds in Row—Collected
Collected is the recently released full length compilation of past EPs from French punk trio Birds In Row. This release went largely unnoticed by U.S audiences, but in light of their impending tour with Touche Amore and Defeater I decided to check it out and found myself thoroughly impressed. The sparse, dark opening chords set the tone of the album, which is full of dense, emotional arrangements backed by thundering rhythms. The album falls slightly short in the way of most punk albums in that the vocals and instruments could use some more variation from time to time, but it is nonetheless an outstanding punk release. The talent of this group is especially well conveyed when they do decide to break from traditional punk songwriting, as is the case with the surprisingly restrained and passionate acoustic track Cottbus.
Target Tracks: Cottbus, Among The Ashes, A Kid Called Dreamer