Editors’ Picks: What We’re Listening To Right Now
If there’s one thing we’ve always loved about stepping into our friendly neighborhood record store, it’s perusing the staff picks that plaster the walls and every last end cap. That’s what we hope to replicate with our Editors’ Picks every month — a feeling of genuine discovery as you flip through our personal favorites and hit refresh.
Have a look down below, and feel free to take advantage of our new comments system to share some recent must-listens of your own…
J. Edward Keyes, Editor-in-Chief
Andrew Parks, Director of Merchandising
Something about Actress' music has always seemed a little off, from the way he smudges, smothers and smears his samples to the sickening sensation one gets while navigating his heady, labyrinth-like loops. It's as if you listening to a stoner's THC-damaged idea of a DJ set while locked in a sensory deprivation chamber 20,000 leagues under the sea. Which isn't unpleasant so much as completely disorienting, especially when you filter the UK... producer's high-concept hooks through a proper pair of headphones. That's on a total through-the-looking-glass tip, enough to make you wonder if you've stepped through a whole 'nother world entirely.more »
Maris Kreizman, Books Editor
When I was 11, my parents sent me to a hellhole of a sleepaway camp where I was miserable. (One of the counselors made me eat tomatoes — gross!) It was at that terrible camp where I first heard the song “Leaving on a Jet Plane” played over and over, and to this day I have a Pavlovian response to those familiar lite rock folk chords: when I hear them I'm overtaken... by homesickness. It's fitting, then, that Sea of Bees' sophomore effort — a tearjerker of a breakup album written by Julie Ann Bee in response to the demise of her first relationship after coming out to her friends and family — features a lovely (and much hipper) reinterpretation of the song (simply called “Leaving”) that zeroes in on that same panicky feeling, that same sense of dread. Homesickness and heartbreak, after all, come from that same sad place located in the gut-area.more »
With sunny-sounding guitars and a sweet, ethereal voice that belies the agony of which she sings, Bee makes Orangefarben a meditation on mind over matter, the importance of gasping “I'll be fine” again and again, even when it's clear you're not. “And I know I shouldn't think those thoughts / but I've gone ahead and thought those thoughts and I'm fine,” she confesses on “Teeth,” as if convincing herself that the worst may be over, that time might go about its business and provide some relief. And if that grief is never fully eradicated, if she still finds herself longing for the comfort and safety of old attachments (oh, the sad letters I wrote to my parents from summer camp!), then at least the baggage she lugs around with her will be beautiful.
Jayson Greene, International Editor
Daughn Gibson's All Hell is a trip down some Nashville country lane with all the edges warped and figures faded — composed of loops, samples, and a pitch-shifted voice, it sounds like a series of old country 45s melting on a bonfire. That sense stems directly from how the album was made: it is, in fact, a sample collage of musty old country samples, but it's stitched together with such quiet care... that it displays no seams. It's creepy, evocative, and somehow soothing: Think the early Cass McCombs records, if Cass were on heavy Quaaludes, and you might be there.more »
Laura Leebove, Production Editor
Allo Darlin's 2010 self-titled debut was about the anticipation and excitement of new love: Frontwoman Elizabeth Morris sang about kissing on Ferris wheels, wondered where she'd end up after the bar closed, and insisted, "One fine day, I'm gonna be your girl." The U.K.-based indiepop group's latest, Europe, has the same emotional intimacy and nuance of its predecessor, but instead of sitting on the edge of her seat waiting for something to... happen, this time Morris is writing from a distance, reflecting on love that's come and gone. The record also tells the story of music's power in a relationship, and the maturity shown in this arc can be heard in their sound as well. Allo Darlin' sound bigger and fuller, and they've found a perfect balance where everyone's heard but no one overpowers. Morris's voice also has more muscle, and they've left a tiny bit of the twee-ness behind without losing an ounce of charm.more »