This might be the toughest Record of the Week choice we have ever made, or will ever make. I might have said this before and hell, I’ll probably say it again. This release week though has brought so many phenomenal new releases that picking one was damn near impossible. So hard in fact, y’all have me swearing twice in the opening paragraph.
So instead of naming two Record of the Week’s like I have in past weeks, I am just going to put an abnormal amount of honorable mentions and I have to stress, do not look past these.
The new Retribution Gospel Choir(featuring Alan Sparhawk of Low!) is one of the best albums I have heard in a long time. Glacial, anthemic indie rock from one of the pioneers of slowcore, Retribution Gospel Choir is Sparhawk’s time to cut loose and create one of the most bombastic albums you have heard in quite awhile.
The new Four Tet, There Is Love In You, explores a bit of new territory than he did on prior releases. Having a minimal, almost dub techno feel to it, these are undoubtedly some of the best songs Four Tet has crafted. And whatever you do, don’t let techno be a dirty word here as you’ll be doing yourself a great disservice if you dismiss it on that word alone. This is a truly great album that has found itself in high rotation around here.
The new Infinite Body has been a highly anticipated album for myself after picking up their 12″ CMBCMEINAPTD sometime last year. While I would love to call their new album, Carve Out the Face of My God, ambient, it certainly has a quality to it that speaks above and beyond that tag. Whereas Eno described ambient as something that should be “as ignorable as it is listenable,” Infinite Body’s sound falls somewhere between that of Belong and Growing. Mostly synth based, it can be very loud and very demanding, leaving you awash in sound.
Fucked Up’s Chemistry of Common Life was one of our favorite records of 2008. A straight up rocker of a hardcore punk album. Well on their new release, Couple Tracks, they take all of those singles from the beginning of their band all the way up until their last full length and compile it onto two CDs. It just goes to show how hard working this band is, to have this much music out apart from their full lengths. This is really some of their best stuff as well, some of it much better than anything found on Chemistry…
And our final honorable mention goes to the new Basia Bulat. This album really took me by surprise and is making me go back to listen to her older stuff. On Heart of My Own, this Canadian based singer songwriter writes songs that could easily be lumped together with artists such as Feist, My Brightest Diamond and so on, but they definitely stand apart from those comparisons as well. The music has an almost gaelic sound to it and is some really great instrumentation.
Last but not least is the Record of the Week itself, Teen Dream by Beach House. I always notice when talking about music with people a common saying is “Oh I like their older stuff better.” While this is true in quite a few cases, this is the last thing a band wants to hear. They want to think they are growing and maturing with each new song they put out. But, with some, the new ideas and passion they put into those first songs end up being some of their finest input. This is certainly not the case with Beach House, who not only have gotten better with each new release, they’ve nearly rendered the prior release unusable with each new album. Not to discredit those albums as they are still really good but what Beach House have done on Teen Dream is definitely the culmination of all the ideas they have put forth so far paired down to a concise and nearly perfect album. Right from the opening track “Zebra,” you can tell this is going to be a special album. “Norway” is one of the best tracks this year, on any album. There is something for everyone on this album and is one of the better dream pop albums in a long, long, long time.
It’s a big list this week and we still left off a lot of really good stuff. New albums from Los Campesinos, Mondo Drag, Cave In, as well as the long lost album from Harvey Milk. All really great stuff but the list can only be so long!
"Norway" from Beach House's 2010 album Teen Dream
"Used to Be" from Beach House's 2010 album Teen Dream
Honorable mentions for January 26th Record of the Week:
- Retribution Gospel Choir - 2 (Sub Pop)
"Hide It Away" from Retribution Gospel Choir's 2010 album 2
- Four Tet - There Is Love In You (Domino)
"Love Cry" from Four Tet's 2010 album There Is Love In You
- Infinite Body - Carve Out the Face of My God (PPM)
"Dive" from Infinite Body's 2010 album Carve Out the Face of My God
- Fucked Up - Couple Tracks (Matador)
"Triumph of Life" from Fucked Up's 2010 album Couple Tracks
- Basia Bulat - Heart of My Own (Rough Trade)
"Gold Rush" from Basia Bulat's 2010 album Heart of My Own