Archive for Beach House

1/120 Done With the 2010s

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2010 by peteymenz

Yeah.  We’re 1/12 of the way through 2010 and 1/120 of the way through the new decade.  And surprisingly, a lot of crap happened in the music world.  Vampire Weekend released their long-awaited second album, which doesn’t really win over any new fans and doesn’t really alienate any old ones.  Sure, there’ll be the odd chap who hated “Oxford Comma” but really identifies with “Horchata,” just like there’s the kid whose 2008 jam was “A-Punk” but finds “Cousins” a little embarrassing.  Honestly, the best thing about “Contra” is its sheer ridiculousness; really, how stupid are you when you feel that the phrase “I Think Ur a Contra” is a suitable song title?

But shit has happened in 2010.  Beach House’s newest album came out (even though we all heard it in, like, November.  And I semi-bashed it a few weeks ago, but I think I forgot to mention just how sweet the opening four songs are.  The rest of my review still holds up.

Surfer Blood have bad timing.  Surfing in January?  Really?  Really?

Charlotte Gainsbourg has a new LP out.  Not as great as Serge, but quite delectable.  Review coming soon.

But there is one part of 2010 that I really and truly enjoy, and that is Jay Electronica’s song “Suckas.”  Subject material is fairly typical- it’s about wack MCs.  But something about the track- Jay’s jubilant flow, the Willy Wonka samples, the ecstatic J Dilla beat- makes it the first hip-hop anthem of 2010.  It’s from his mixtape “Victory.”  The title is quite apt.

Record Review: Teen Dream by Beach House

Posted in Record Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by peteymenz

Almost everything I have to say about  the new Beach House album can be deduced from a discussion of the cover.

It’s their best yet; nice and washed out.  Avoids the hippie séance vibe of Devotion.  Also, not as strange as the photo of buried treasure (?) they used for their debut.  Still, despite its not failing like their first two album covers did, the cover of Teen Dream still doesn’t add on to the music, like their cover for the “Used To Be” single did.  The cover of that single, a slightly washed out photo of a motel with a pool, seemed to get to the depressive heart of their music more than anything they’d ever done before.  Reminiscent of Hockey’s “A Bigger Splash.” Much more truthful than the white and tan lines that grace the cover of Teen Dream.

That’s really all I have to say about Teen Dream.  It’s better than their first two by far, but it doesn’t reach the heights I thought they could have with the Used To Be single.  They’ve redone that single’s titular a-side, adding actual rhythm and flourishes of color.  This is a severe misstep.  What was transcendent about Used To Be was the fact that it was so minimal and monochromatic, more than anything else they’d done prior to this.  Even earlier tracks like Saltwater had more rhythm than the absurdly stripped down throb that powered Used  To Be.  It felt hollow in a way that reflected the disaffected lyrics; it was a dream pop song stripped of all artifice- Suicide covering Cocteau Twins, perhaps.  With that song, Beach House  achieved a purity of sound and vision that they have sadly muddled on Teen Dream.  Lyrically, they’re the same as ever; sonically, they’ve added more and more and more.  Which is a shame, because the songs are fantastic- Norway and Walk In The Park rank among their very best.  With a less lush production, these songs might cut like a knife.  Instead, they pleasantly drift along.