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Five Albums You Should Be Listening to Right Now
This week's curator: Chuck P, DJ for KCRW.
1) High Highs, High Highs
High Highs, from Brooklyn by way of Sydney, make music that’s light, airy, and easy to listen to. They remind me of what I love about both Tunng and the quieter moments from Blitzen Trapper, without sounding like either of those bands. Their songs feature wonderful harmonies and melodies that stay with you well after it's over. High Highs have earned plenty of buzz over the past year, and this vinyl EP should open the door even wider than their recent tour with The Radio Dept.
2) Cough Cool, Clausen
Despite being named after a Misfits song (they do an excellent cover of “Some Kinda Hate”), Cough Cool generally sounds nothing like the New Jersey hardcore pioneers. Some of Cough Cool’s songs are incredibly claustrophobic and intense, with the lyrics buried among the droning strums of of guitars and throbbing bass. Others are lighter and acoustic, but retain that same (admittedly Danzig-like!) intensity. Just in time for Halloween.
3) Gauntlet Hair, Gauntlet Hair
Tropicalia meets Animal Collective. Okay, that may not be much of a stretch, but it's still a welcome combination. The new self-titled album is a perfect marriage between relaxing and engaging: it calms without boring. Gauntlet Hair specialize in massive, airy soundscapes that can either pull you or be resigned to background music, and either way, they're perfect. This album is perfect for fans of Animal Collective and El Guincho.
Listen: Top Bunk
4) Zola Jesus, Conatus
Zola Jesus (Nika Roza Danilova) puts her best instrument up front: her voice. In her operatic, industrial-influenced music, strings mingle with heavy percussion as Danilova's voice floats above it all — it’s both ethereal and heavy. There's more clarity here than her previous two EPs, making Conatus the best place to start if you're interested in exploring her music.
5) Yellow Ostrich, The Mistress
Way back in 2010, I bought The Mistress from Yellow Ostrich’s Soundcloud page and immediately loved the incredible vocal harmonies (reminiscent of Grizzly Bear) and the quirky sense of songwriting (think Of Montreal). Percussion takes center stage and the songs progress rather than just rehash: each verse builds higher and higher until it's over and you wonder why you're at the edge of your seat.