Follow Friday 2.7.14

Whether you’re snowed in or getting away to the beach, there should be something for everyone in our list of latest obsessions.

Beck – Morning Phase

Color me surprised that a Beck album is the one I’ve listened to the most this week. Aptly titled Morning Phase as this is when I have found myself listening to it. Although there are definite hints at the sound of his last full length, Sea Change, this one is a stand alone for me. It’s lovely, and set to be released on February 25th. But you can already have a listen to the first single – “Waking Light”. -Faith


Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow

My selection this week is surprisingly Bombay Bicycle Club’s So Long, See You Tomorrow. I’ve never been much of a big fan of Jack Steadman’s vocals or their straightforward indie pop hooks of BBC, and I think when I gave it a first listen, it didn’t catch me because it wasn’t what I was expecting. After revisiting the album multiple times this week, each listen has given me a great appreciation of the compositional complexity and, more importantly, charm of every track. Standouts include “Overdone,” “So Long, See You Tomorrow,” and “Home By Now.” There haven’t been any full length albums this year that have really gripped me, but So Long is the first sign of life for 2014. -Scotland


Christopher Paul Stelling – False Cities

You aren’t going to like Christopher Paul Stelling’s False Cities at first. I honestly find the album’s opener, “Brick X Brick” difficult to chew even after my multiple listens. But it is a small blemish on an otherwise charming campfire folk album. I have worn out my welcome in the seconds of “You Can Make It” and “Go Your Own Way Dear” makes a perfect closing remark. You won’t regret giving this one a spin. -Jeremy


Giraffage – Giraffage Remixes The-Dream

One year ago, Giraffage reworked “Shorty Is Da Shit” by The-Dream, adding layers of synths and trap hooks to the small hit off The-Dream’s debut album Love/Hate from 2007. It turned out to be one of Giraffage’s most catchy remixes ever. The-Dream aka Terius Nash is responsible for writing Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies”, and though his own music was never as successful as the stuff he wrote for others, his 2007 album has risen to some sort of cult status among R&B fans. Giraffage obviously is one of those fans and just couldn’t stay away from that album. The result is a workover of every single track on Love/Hate, which he put on Soundcloud this week! The result is super catchy, varied, and free for download. This is what the Top 40 would sound like were it up to me. -Henje


I Break Horses – Chiaroscuro

This album is definitely a grower, which lends itself nicely to this snowy/snowed-in week. Most of the tracks don’t stand out, but I love the reward that is the last track, “Heart to Know”. Headphone-worthy as well as ‘reader’-friendly (meaning not too terribly distracting or involved). My timely winner for this week. -Alix


Mark McGuire – Along The Way

This week I haven’t listened to a lot of music but I did pick one new release to listen to and it turned out to be fantastic. Mark McGuire’s new album Along The Way. It’s a soundscape of looping guitars, synths, beats, and echoey vocals. It’s kind of the perfect soundtrack for being on vacation, sipping a drink, and enjoying the warm breeze. -Christine

Mark McGuire’s Along The Way is my pick of the week. The combination of ‘live’ instruments and ambient textures simply fit my work mood this week. I could’ve easily listened to Random Access Memories for the ten-thousandth time, but this was something new, so I tried it out. After discovering that this Mark McGuire hadn’t broken the single season home-runs records in 1998, I did some research and found this particular Mark McGuire used to be of the band Emeralds and had basically created this album in about a year (he quit Emeralds in Jan 2013). This album had a really nice flow, however, each song still held its own unique identity. “Turiya (The Same Way)” has a more chip tune-ish feel to it, while “The Instinct” sounds like if Random Access Memories and Tomorrow’s Harvest had a baby and then put that baby on Xanax. It wasn’t intrusive, so it provided the perfect theme music for my work this week.” -Christopher


Mooncake – Lagrange Points

One day last week I found myself falling down the Spotify ‘Related Artists’ wormhole and I must admit it doesn’t always net me gains. This time was different, as I happened upon a band whose sound I can only describe as if Explosions in the Sky and Russian Circles had a baby. It was one of those discoveries where you play the first track of the album and you come to only after a few seconds of silence at the end. -Dave P.


Sam Smith – Nirvana EP

Sam Smith burst onto my radar through his turn as a featured vocalist for Disclosure on last year’s incredible Settle album.  “Latch” was a hell of an introduction to Smith’s vocal range, and I have eagerly anticipated more material from him.  After a trail of released singles, Smith now has a debut EP, and it’s an impressive accomplishment.  Though the EP features a second, also brilliant, collaboration with Disclosure (“Together”), the emotional cornerstone is a decidedly-Disclosure free acoustic version of “Latch” that is stunning in its beauty.  There are a few new original tracks as well, and Smith never misses a note (the twisted vocal effects on “Safe With Me” are a particular delight).  Smith possesses incredible pipes and musicality, and if this EP is any indication, he’s destined for stardom sooner rather than later.  -Jeff


White Denim – Corsicana Lemonade

Sometimes when shuffling, a song comes on and snaps you out of auto-pilot. Earlier this week, White Denim’s “New Blue Feeling” did this for me. Their 2013 album Corsicana Lemonade flew under my radar and I did not show it enough respect. This was a true lapse in judgement. So, in honor of taking responsibility for one’s mistakes , I am making amends with this week’s recommendation. Corsicana Lemonade is suited for cranky cubicle motivation, house cleaning dance parties of one, or sexy soirees fueled by small-batch gin. Making amends has never been so pleasant. Get hype. -Rocky


Wye Oak – “The Tower”

Fans of 2011’s Civilian may be surprised by Wye Oak’s newest single, off forthcoming album Shriek, out April 29th on Merge. For one thing, there’s no guitar on this album. It’s immediately less gothic and dark, more ethereal and light. But listen closely. There’s a driving repetitive bass, droning synths, and bizarre, creepy lyrics, about teeth and death and lost childhoods, just like their debut. Jenn Wasner’s voice, muffled and melodic, is transmitted as if underwater and really suits her low, swallowed singing. The song opens high in the sky, full of light, with galloping synth tones, reminiscent of 70s prog rock heroes like ELO, and builds on that hook. The lyric “the one, the sun, the night,” repeated through the song, bounces above the bass, driving the synth, until finally, the squeaky bass strings close out the song, bringing us back down to earth. It’s a great single and I hope it’s indicative of what’s to come on the rest of the album. -Dagny 


Young Fathers – Dead

If placing albums into nice, neat, genre-labeled buckets is your thing then Young Fathers’ album Dead is NOT for you. It’s a very creative catchy mix of tunes as diverse as its creators. It builds on a somewhat recent trend of mixing electronic beats with hip-hop style lyrics. Like cottage cheese and Nacho Cheese Doritos, it’s one of those ideas that you can’t fully appreciate the genius of until you experience it. Add some very accessible pop into the mix and you have an amazing album that is likely to end up on this guy’s “Best of” list at the end of the year. -Johnny


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