Starting on August 28th, friends and social media have been going nuts for a recent record from a band that has previously flown under my radar. My inner hipster reacted typically by avoiding the band altogether. Praise for this record got louder and louder and I ultimately gave in to my curiosity. Now you can add my voice to the cacophony.
Search Beach House on Google and Wikipedia describes them as a “dream pop duo” which is an absolutely spot-on characterization. French native Victoria Legrand and Baltimore’s Alex Scally have been making music together since 2004 which makes me disappointed I haven’t heard of them sooner.
Their latest release, Depression Cherry is where indie-pop and chillwave meet. The whole record is mellow and introspective with a texture I can only describe as creamy. Give it a listen and you’ll feel as though you’re walking through a thick mist. The Northern California coast comes to mind. An artist can achieve an ether-like sound with a couple of simple devices all of which can be heard on this record. One of which is repetition. Many of the sections in the songs repeat quite a few times with colors and sounds wafting in and out. This creates a trance-like feel and extends each song by quite a bit putting the mean track length at around five minutes. By no means does this take away from the song. It makes me think the album was composed in sort of a daze.
This, however, brings me to my one criticism of the record: there are little to no distinguishable qualities about each track. I didn’t really notice that the record ended nor could I tell you one track from another. This could easily be a symptom of only listening through twice, but hey, it’s the only bad thing I have to say.
The explosion of this record made me realize another thing that I love: their record label, Carpark Records. Most of the artists on the scene are signed to a large, catchall label that’s only objective is to generate revenue. Most boutique labels have long but died out, however the artisan culture that has been brewing in recent years has given rise to some incredible sounds. Carpark is home to many artists I love: Skylar Spence, Toro Y Moi, Dan Deacon, Speedy Ortiz and on and on. Carpark is capitalizing on sounds they like plus sounds that are popular while still letting artists do their thing. Toro Y Moi records their records in the leader’s living room!
So here’s what the doctor prescribes: listen to music by label. Check out all the artists on a label that produces a sound you dig; Carpark, 4ad, Jagjaguwar, Warp, Partisan and so many more like them. It will expand your musical horizons, your musical awareness, and you will discover a bunch of bands your friends have never heard of.
But I digress. Depression Cherry is a good record that well deserves the hype in my social media sphere.
Devan is a DJ with KSSU