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Beach House

Beach House Announce New 'B-Sides and Rarities' Album, Release New Track "Chariot"

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment

Following 2015's surprising one-two punch of Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, Beach House have announced a B-Sides and Rarities album featuring different versions of past releases including "Norway" as well as new songs "Chariot" and "Baseball Diamond," the former of which you can hear below.

Just in time for summer, the Baltimore duo opens their latest track with "A sunny day in their chariot" as their synthscapes take on the feeling of a gentle cascade of warm light. Notably, the collection of tracks also features a cover of Queen's "The Game."

B-Sides and Rarities is due out June 30 on Sub Pop (US) and Bella Union (UK/EU), and you can see the tracklist and updated tour below.

B-Sides and Rarities

  1. Chariot
  2. Baby
  3. Equal Mind
  4. Used to Be (2008 Single Version)
  5. White Moon (iTunes Session Remix)
  6. Baseball Diamond
  7. Norway (iTunes Session Remix)
  8. Play the Game (Queen Cover)
  9. The Arrangement
  10. Saturn Song
  11. Rain in Numbers
  12. I Do Not Care For The Winter Sun
  13. 10 Mile Stereo (Cough Syrup Remix)
  14. Wherever You Go

Beach House's New Video For "The Traveller" Is a Lovely Psychedelic Dream Journey

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

We still haven't fully come down from seeing Beach House at Pitchfork two weekends ago, and now Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have surprised us with a new music video for Thank Your Lucky Stars track, "The Traveller."

A standout from a virtually flawless album, "The Traveller" shines in the Jennifer Juniper Stratford-directed visual that seems to reveal the journey taken is through time and space itself. Shot and processed on intentionally obsolete equipment, the striking images of a lady in red ebb and flow in a gorgeously distorted way truly befitting of Beach House's sound, while adding an '80s psychedelic edge to the dreaminess.

Watch below, and read our review of Thank Your Lucky Stars.

Transverso's Guide to Pitchfork Music Festival 2016

Music ListTransverso MediaComment

Chicago is no stranger to music festivals. From Lollapalooza to Spring Awakening, the city boasts such an impressive lineup of lineups that it takes a uniquely impressive roster for a festival to stand out.

But over the past 11 years, Pitchfork Music Festival has carved out a space as one of the most consistent and distinctive weekends of the festival season, and it returns to Chicago’s Union Park this weekend to protect that title with a lineup that’s as confounding as it is exciting. After all, what other festival would juxtapose the aggravated experimentation of Girl Band and Oneohtrix Point Never with the powerhouse pop of Shamir and Carly Rae Jepsen? What other mainstream festival inexplicably devotes a sizable portion of its lineup to intricate jazz acts like Sun Ra and Kamasi Washington? What other festival hears Sufjan Stevens’ pained folk opus Carrie & Lowell and thinks “Now THIS is headliner material!”?

Yet for all of Pitchfork’s idiosyncrasies, there are some unfortunate elements it shares with its summer festival brethren: oppressive heat, unruly crowds, and a mystifying undercard filled with bands you’ve never heard before. While we can’t help you with the first two, we can offer a carefully curated guide to this year's lineup that highlights who we're most excited to see, as well as some excellent acts you might not be as familiar with yet. If you saw two bands you love on the schedule and impulse-bought a weekend pass, this is your chance to do your homework before gates open. Eventually you'll be able to tell your friends, “Oh, I saw [insert buzz band here] before they blew up,” as you’re waiting to see them headline a much larger festival, and after all, isn’t that what Pitchfork is all about?

Fire up the playlist below and check out Transverso's staff picks for this weekend:


FRIDAY


Car Seat Headrest (Red Stage - 3:30)

In the recent avalanche of acclaim for his excellent Matador-released duo of LPs Teens of Style and Teens of Denial, Car Seat Headrest mastermind Will Toledo has been repeatedly praised for restoring dignity to that once-mighty staple Indie Guitar Rock. Whether or not “white dudes with guitars” is a genre that needed any help is debatable, but it is notable that CSH is opening the festival; after all, this is a band trafficking in a sound that once defined blogs like Pitchfork, and it’s a band that does it better than pretty much anyone else. Toledo is operating at the top of his game, both as a dynamic bandleader and a bluntly engaging songwriter, and you owe it to yourself to show up early and see him in action. (Julian Axelrod)

Whitney (Blue Stage - 4:15)

Buzz bands, man; they build and build into this ascendent phoenix, and at no point does anyone entertain any sort of demise (who would be liable for blame here... oh yeah, Pitchfork). Whatever the year, there's going to be one or two groups that materialize seemingly out of nowhere, and everyone believes "this might be the one." Which one, you might ask - no one really knows; it all seems vacantly aspirational. Following the Chicago locals' debut Light Upon the Lake, Whitney is 2016's buzz band du jour, but there's something about the former UMO man Julian Ehrlich-fronted melancholic machine that feels more purposeful than buzz bands passed. It's as if the mellifluous tones act as a misdirect from the calculated drive that "will be the one" to overcome the all too familiar buzz band descendent. Plus, they've got some dulcet guitar tones from Smith Westerns veteran Max Kakacek to go along with euphonious falsetto of Ehrlich. (Sean McHugh)

Moses Sumney (Blue Stage - 5:15)

There are some musicians whose make music so personal and achingly intimate that it seems almost perverse to see them perform in a festival setting (and many of them are playing Pitchfork this year!). But something about Moses Sumney’s music feels perfectly suited to a mid-day festival spot, where audience members can sway along as his ghostly falsetto dances around his hymn-like rhythms like an afternoon wind through the trees surrounding the Blue Stage. The California singer-songwriter doesn’t have much recorded output (he’s currently working on his debut 7” with Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor) but the opportunity to witness an astounding talent like Sumney before his inevitable ascent is hard to pass up. (Julian Axelrod)

Twin Peaks (Red Stage - 5:30)

Is scuzz rock a thing yet? Who knows? At this point, it seems almost certain there's going to be some reticent all-father of scuzz rock that will surely have a "sublime" rock-doc chronicling said public reservation, but for the time being, modern scuzz rock has been catapulted to the media-savvy masses due in large part to Chicagoans Twin Peaks. Lynch-ian name aside, the dudes in Twin Peaks will crush the grimiest hits only to turn around and slice you with a deft riff of garage punk wonderfully debased by scuzz pedals. Its a masterclass in punk rock sensibilities, with all five members likely to make a mockery of the pretension expected at Pitchfork. (Sean McHugh)

Mick Jenkins (Blue Stage - 6:15)

Let's be real here, Pitchfork is lacking heavily in the arena of hip-hop, rap, of urban culture in general. Feel free to attribute such a fact to manicured digits of Conde Naste, or perhaps this year was "thin" on "quality" rap artists. (Oh wait, it wasn't/isn't.) Thank goodness for Mick Jenkins - the bracket-ly inclined rapper from Chicago is bringing some swerve to a considerably emotionally, consciously, emphatically tepid lineup on the first day of Pitchfork. Expect to see Jenkins finally perform some tracks from his recently completed [T]he [H]ealing [C]omponent, along with tracks of the stellar [W]ater and [W]aves(Sean McHugh)

Carly Rae Jepsen (Green Stage - 6:25)

Is Carly Rae Jepsen an unknown artist waiting for her big break? No. Is she on an independent label? She is not. Is it weird that she’s playing this festival at all? Yes, it is very fucking weird. But put aside your preconceived notions about labels, genre, and fame and put on “Run Away With Me”. Listen to the opening saxophone wail, the breathy vocals and breathless crescendo, the heart-stopping beat before the massive chorus. Imagine experiencing that live in a giant park with a bunch of sweaty Pitchfork readers. Savor how weird and wonderful it is that one of the most prominent pop stars of our time is on a festival lineup with Sun Ra Arkestra. Pitchfork Fest only happens once a year – why not have some fun? (Julian Axelrod)

Broken Social Scene (Red Stage - 7:20)

One of the greatest indie bands no one seems to talk about, know about, or understand. At the very least, the Canadian collective has seen a revolving door of members that have gone on to become Feist, Metric, Stars, Tortoise, and Jason Collett. They've put out a handful of some of the greatest indie-records of the past two decades - You Forgot It People in 2002, and a self-titled LP in 2005 - and yet people still seem to have overlooked every last ounce of great music BSS has produced. While the complete lineup for BSS has not yet been determined (there have been times where only six members play a set, and nineteen the next), don't be surprised to see appearances from some of the larger names borne out of BSS (looking at you, Leslie Feist). So for the love of all that is good in the world, go pay your respects to your indie deities and see Broken Social Scene. (Sean McHugh)

Shamir (Blue Stage - 8:15)

Hi, Hi, howdy, howdy, hi, hi; Shamir is playing Pitchfork Friday night. This is going to be a dance party unseen by any other act sharing the Friday evening bill with Shamir. I highly doubt you're going to see any new-age Madonna vogueing mixed with Harlem Fela Kuti at Beach House or Twin Peaks, but you will definitely see it in one way shape or form at Shamir's set. Still running off the power of Ratchet, Shamir's sweet demeanor on stage mixed with the playful panache of his lyricism will undoubtedly make for a fun time while closing out the festival for the evening or finding some emotional respite before heading into the vibe-heavy Beach House set. (Sean McHugh)

Beach House (Green Stage - 8:30)

Rarely will you see a band perform so gracefully despite being so far out of their element as Beach House at an outdoor festival. In an interview with Pitchfork themselves, guitarist Alex Scally recounted how the 2007 edition served as a disastrous first festival appearance for the dreamy Baltimorean duo, as they failed to adjust to the conflicting noise and quick pace. Fast forward to 2016, and coming off the back of a one-two punch of stunningly gorgeous albums in Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, the pair are undoubtedly set to put in a far more veteran shift in their fourth Pitchfork appearance nearly a decade later. While the exposed stages of the outdoors will never offer peak conduciveness to the trancelike Beach House experience (and you do owe it to yourself to witness them at their best), having seen them at both ends of the spectrum from Bonnaroo's afternoon chaos to an intimate, dark theatre, I can attest even their lowest point is still swirling somewhere up in the loveliest clouds. (Weston Pagano)


SATURDAY


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Circuit Des Yeux (Green Stage - 1:00)

Oh boy, here you go folks - if you fancy yourself an aficionado of good or "hip" music, or if you're one of those jagoffs that loves to say "I saw them before they were big," then here's your chance. Circuit Des Yeux is the work of Jackie Lynn, a highly prophesied Gemini out of Franklin, TN, that has since wandered her way up to Chicago to bring her femme fatale experimentalism to Pitchfork. Think if David Bowie met Roseanne Cash did tabs upon tabs; their vision quest brought them to Circuit Des Yeux. Its going to be a guaranteed weird old time. (Sean McHugh)

RP Boo (Blue Stage - 1:45)

One of the egregiously overlooked pioneers of Chicago footwork, RP Boo is going to bring some heavy grooves to Pitchfork to break up all that indie rock and brooding. Its probably going to be a small crowd at RP Boo's set, but that's fine by him, because Kavain Space is accustomed to being underrated and flipped over, but don't expect his music to be any sort of by-product of such an unfortunate reality. Be ready to dance your ass off at this set. (Sean McHugh)

Kevin Morby (Green Stage - 2:30)

You may know Kevin Morby from his stints in bands like The Babies and Woods (who also play Pitchfork this year), or you may know him from his excellent solo career. But you don’t have to know him from Adam to enjoy his warm, lived-in folk rock, which recalls the likes of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen in its lyrical specificity. (Check out “Dorothy,” a love song so heartfelt and tender you don’t even notice it’s about a guitar.) If you’re trying to kill time on a warm festival afternoon, it’s hard to do better than Morby’s propulsive, sprawling Americana. (Julian Axelrod)

Royal Headache (Blue Stage - 2:45)

A gang of punks comes to America from Australia. They call themselves Shogun, Law, Joe and Shorty. They proceed to fuck shit up. If this sounds more like the plot of a Mad Max sequel than the backstory of a Pitchfork act, that’s because Royal Headache are not your average buzz band. Over the course of just two albums, the group has perfected their signature brand of tuneful, heartfelt garage rock, bringing the acidity and wit of '70s punks like the Buzzcocks into the 21st century. If nothing else, you should check out their set to witness Shogun’s throat-scraping howl in person. (Julian Axelrod)

Savages (Green Stage - 4:15)

Go to Savages' set, for the love all things that are punk rock and not indie, go to Savages' set. Jehnny Beth (who recently made non-news with her "feud" with fellow fest act Sufjan Stevens) and her cohorts in Savages put on one of the best and most impressive live performances in terms of bravado and pure wall of sound fury. There's no frills of "hey guys, we're so honored to be here," but rather an unabashed smash-a-bottle-over-your-head existentialism that is a right of passage brilliance. Savages are arguably one of, if not the best live band on the festival circuit in 2016, so consider their set to be a nice upper before you head into the smooth grooves and grinds of, say, Dev Hynes. (Sean McHugh)

Blood Orange (Red Stage - 5:15)

Dev Hynes, otherwise has known as Blood Orange, distills what it means to have a contemporary musical sensibility. Drawing from everything, whether it’s post-punk, '80s soul, pop, and funk, free jazz, or the Golden Age of hip-hop, Blood Orange isn’t afraid to take genre and obliterate it. Coming off his critically acclaimed 3rd studio album, Freetown Sound, Dev has mastered his craft and his message. If there was ever a time to see him, now is the time, and like Kendrick Lamar, Blood Orange’s music is dialed in on the current state of affairs in this country. Do your do-diligence a favor by seeing this artist perform. Also, the man can dance. (Andrew Meriwether)

Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds (Red Stage - 7:25)

This will be short - it doesn't matter who you are, what music you prefer - go see Brian Wilson. He's playing arguably the most formative pop record in all of music, Pet Sounds, in its 50th ANNIVERSARY, its a modern masterpiece, and a relic of what led to all this indie nonsense we listen to now. Go see Brian Wilson, you dopes. (Sean McHugh)

Anderson Paak (Blue Stage - 7:45)

I’ve never scheduled a music festival before. It seems like a tough job; no matter where and when you put each act, people are going to be upset that two of their favorite bands are playing at the same time. That said, what were the festival organizers thinking when they scheduled ascendant singer-rapper-musician Anderson Paak to play opposite Brian Wilson? Did they not think these two polymath masters of California soul would have any shared audience? Regardless, Paak’s set is required viewing for anyone who couldn’t care less about the Beach Boys. On his sun-kissed opus Malibu, he gleefully skips between sounds and styles, displaying a disregard for genre that comes with knowing he excels at everything he tries. If you don’t want to spend your Saturday night seeing a legend’s last bow, you can spend it watching a legend in the making. (Julian Axelrod)

Sufjan Stevens (Green Stage - 8:30)

Let's be honest, if you read Transverso, you're probably a Sufjan Stan. So you're already planning on bawling your eyes out at his set, as you should. It's a no brainer, and if you skip it, you might actually be brain dead. (Sean McHugh)


SUNDAY


Kamasi Washington (Red Stage - 3:20)

Its amazing to consider the fact that someone who is likely to go down as the finest modern neo-afro-jazz performer of a generation keeps getting thrown into such shitty festival slots. Kamasi's 2015 release The Epic is already one of the greatest albums of the decade, and will likely continue suit to become one of the best in the first half of the first century of the new millennium. Expect to be torn about by torrid saxophone and heaving afro-beat fusion only to be rematerialized by neo-classical soul that only Kamasi could provide. (Sean McHugh)

NAO (Blue Stage - 3:45)

Hey you hipster dopes! Here's another artist playing Pitchfork that (if you're lucky) you'll happen upon and two years from now, gleefully gloat about having seen her before she blew up! Or you'll just lie, because you know she was on the bill, but you didn't go because you actually just listen to the same homogenized aesthetic of music! Neo Jessica Joshua is going to break onto the scene like no other electro-funk artist has. She encompasses the pure new age R&B revivalism that music counter culture has so willfully embraced, and will undoubtedly usher in a new era of pop and R&B sensibilities to trip-hop and the like. (Sean McHugh)

Empress Of (Blue Stage - 4:45)

The Chicago Reader recently published a piece criticizing the gender disparity of Pitchfork’s lineup, and while the festival is definitely lacking in female artists, there are plenty of incredible women scattered throughout the lineup. Take Lorely Rodriguez, who records thoughtful, incisive electropop under the moniker Empress Of. Rodriguez’s songs play with a subtle tension between listener and artist, from her frantic beats to her pained cries to the topics she addresses in her music, such as gender roles and class disparity. She's also coming off a recent feature in Blood Orange's impressive Freetown Sound, and you can see her on Sunday to prove that incredible artists can always draw a festival audience, regardless of gender. (Julian Axelrod)

Neon Indian (Red Stage - 5:15)

Here's one of the most indomitable indie-pop electro bands to cut their teeth in the post-Aughts era, and they just continually manage to get wedged in between other sets for one reason or another. But that never stopped Alan Palomo and co. from putting on a hella good show, and put on a good show they will. Their 2015 release, Vega Intl. Night School was criminally overlooked by many a mediocre media outlet, but look out for standout tracks from the record like "Smut!" and "61 Cygni Ave" in the live set to keep you more than just interested. (Sean McHugh)

 

Jeremih (Green Stage - 6:15)

Every year, it seems like the indie crowd decides it would be ironically funny, or charitable (get over yourselves) to randomly select an early-Aughts R&B stalwart and suddenly plaster the "cool" ascription upon them. 2014 it was The Dream, 2015 T-Pain, and it looks like 2016 has seen Jeremih receive the indifferent title. Whether you're up to snuff on your knowledge of early-Aughts R&B or not, you have got to see Jeremih for the deep cuts off of his self-titled and stay for the dark hour virility of Late Night as well as Jeremih's rumored collaborations with PARTYNEXTDOOR. (Sean McHugh)

Thundercat (Blue Stage - 6:45)

It’s rare for session players to attain solo stardom, and that feat is even rarer for session bassists. But most musicians don’t have the vision, talent and ambition of Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat. Whether you know him from his work with Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus, or his own jams like “Oh Sheit It’s X,” Bruner is a force to be reckoned with live, wielding his four-string like a weapon and leveling crowds with intricate basslines. There’s a good chance you won’t see anything else like Thundercat all weekend. (Julian Axelrod)

FKA Twigs (Green Stage - 8:30)

Non-conformism has become a little overwrought with this current generation of "don't you dare put me in a category" generation of pop-artists, but they all inevitably wind up being pretty much one in the same. FKA Twigs, however, is unequivocally her own entity, to the point of which it seems almost as if Twigs' role as pioneer pop fatalist has seen the likes of Madonna and Beyonce try and mimic (and of course, fail). The former choreographer not only has sumptuous and tempestuous post-R&B beats to help fuel the live performance, but her falsetto is so enviable, its hard to picture anything other than a cherubim uttering at the same octave. (Sean McHugh)

Oneohtrix Point Never (Blue Stage - 8:45)

You're looking at one of the most acclaimed electronic artists in the history of the genre in Daniel Lopatin, and you're getting a chance to hear one of the seminal genre records in a decade live - what more could you need to be brought to the set? (Sean McHugh)

The Top 30 Records of 2015

Music ListTransverso MediaComment
2015 year end photo.png

3. Beach House - Thank Your Lucky Stars

Thank Your Lucky Stars acts as both an extension of and pivot point for Beach House’s career as a whole. Many may want the band to actively change in a progressive way, but the band chooses to continually broaden their sound in the most familiar and microscopic ways possible instead. Perhaps one of the best integration of all five preceding albums, you hear the metronome, drums are crisper, individual instruments are audible, and Victoria Legrand’s lyrics are unexpectedly discernible at certain points. It's what works for them, and its afforded Beach House the ability to carve out a dream-pop legacy (and avoid becoming a caricature) on their own terms.

 

2. Majical Cloudz - Are You Alone?

Are You Alone? takes off where the Montreal duo’s preceding Impersonator left off; a paradox of bare-bones, minimalist soundscapes ebbing with lush depth that are somehow simultaneously tranquilizing and uplifting. Welsh’s immaculately vulnerable monologues and unflinching vocals are gently bold, and they drive their synth lullabies forward with severe care. It's Welsh at his most overbearing, and yet his tight grip is irresistible. Calculatedly organic, passionately controlled, it’s a journal reading in a dream.

 

 

1. Tame Impala - Currents

Currents is the most adventurous, interesting, and well-produced collection of songs Kevin Parker has created thus far, sitting atop Tame Impala's discography as the most mature and painstakingly crafted iteration in their twisted psych-pop world. From the lush synth tracks that bubble through the mix to his effortless, washed out vocals, every sound is rendered with the utmost care. Currents proves Parker is unable to stick with a certain sound, forever looking for new ways to evolve his ideas and push his project beyond what was expected when Innerspeaker first hit the shelves.

 

Beach House Make Small but Meaningful Changes on 'Thank Your Lucky Stars'

Music ReviewSean McHughComment

Plenty of landmark events have happened in the two-month span between August and October of 2015. Facebook announced their intent to roll out a “dislike” button, and social curmudgeons everywhere rejoice. Summer sports aficionados sat on the edge of their seats as the Minnesota Lynx capped off the 2015 WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) season with a championship. And most unfortunately, Donald Trump is still spewing asinine commentary along the campaign trail.

Pop culture potpourri aside, there may be no other event more uncharacteristically monumental than Beach House’s two album releases in as many months’ time. The dream-state, shoe-gazing nature of the Baltimore duo works wonderfully for the multiple year breaks in the band’s discography, with more than three years passing between Beach House’s Bloom beauty in 2012 and this past August’s Depression Cherry LP. So when Beach House announced the release of their second 2015 record, Thank Your Lucky Stars, for October 16, 2015, the indie world let out an exuberantly passive huzzah.

After the predictable (though enjoyable) sameness that was Depression Cherry, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s assurance that TYLS was a departure from the typical Beach House approach seemed to enliven many that this may in fact be the band’s best work yet. That “departure” may have been a bit of a misnomer in regard to most people’s assumption that “departure” in fact equals “different,” when in fact, that was not the case. The press release explains:

Thank Your Lucky Stars was written after Depression Cherry from July 2014 - November 2014 and recorded during the same session as Depression Cherry. The songs came together very quickly and were driven by the lyrics and the narrative. In this way, the record feels very new for us, and a great departure from our last few records. Thematically, this record often feels political. It’s hard to put it into words, but something about the record made us want to release it without the normal ‘campaign.’ We wanted it to simply enter the world and exist.

Despite the ample explanations that accompany the record’s release, TYLS is still an enigma. The band’s insistence that it isn’t a Depression Cherry companion becomes difficult to grasp on tracks like “Majorette” and “She’s So Lovely,” with both tracks moving in broad strokes that resemble both Depression Cherry and Teen Dream. The “classic” Beach House metronomic sound echoes in the background of virtually every song.

That being said, there are songs on TYLS that act as the enviable marriage of the albums ultra-lo-fi beginnings and more recent endeavors, such as “Elegy to the Void.” Perhaps one of the best integration of all five preceding albums, you hear the metronome, drums are crisper, individual instruments are audible, and Legrand’s lyrics are unexpectedly discernible at certain points. Other songs avoid becoming heavy handed shoe-gaze with tired pop banality, such as “Common Girl” which seems to focus on one central, wretched character: “She makes movies where she cries on cue / She still lives downtown…” and “Takes the pills and hides the notices / Cartoon rings of ill will.” TYLS is miles away from tropisms like “I’ll take care of you…”

All in all, Thank Your Lucky Stars acts as an extension of Depression Cherry in a lot of ways, as well as pivot point for Beach House’s career as a whole – many may want the band to actively change in a progressive way but the band chooses to continually broaden their sound in the most familiar and microscopic ways possible instead. It's what works for Legrand and Scally, and its afforded Beach House the ability to carve out a dream-pop legacy (and avoid becoming a caricature) on their own terms.

Beach House's 'Depression Cherry' is Velvet Textured Cloud

Music ReviewWeston PaganoComment

“There’s a place I want to take you,” beckons Victoria Legrand over gently marching percussion in the appropriately titled opening track, “Levitation.” If you’re a Beach House fan, it’s a place you’ve been many times before, floating just above the atmosphere. 

While the French-American vocalist and guitarist Alex Scally’s fifth album Depression Cherry, like the rest of their dream pop discography, has a direction in mind, it’s at the mercy of its listener, with Legrand cooing, “I’ll go anywhere you want me to” shortly after.

Beach House, like most of their genre, don’t demand. Like dreams themselves, their soundscapes are what you make them. Manipulated within your own head, whether consciously or not, they can fade, ignored into background obscurity, or completely envelop you as you lie entranced on a thick, soft carpet of the ethereal.

Following “Levitation,” Depression Cherry comes back down to Earth with the second song, “Sparks.” An outlier in style, it’s a sort of waking from this dream, jolting the status quo with a fuzzier, harsher edge. This leading single seemed like a sign of something new, but ultimately comes off as a cherry-red herring as the record then relapses back into the sad, comfortable formula Beach House have perfected since their formation in 2004.

While this may be disappointing to those who lament the “same album over and over” approach and were hoping for some diversification, it’s hard to fault a group who has found their niche and carved it so deeply. Descriptors like “dreamy,” wistful,” and “lazy” have become, well, lazy over the years, but lazy is exactly how it all still feels, like a record player stuck on a lower speed. Though that is not meant negatively; this lull deceives those who are quick to write off their sound as boring or indistinct.

That being said, Depression Cherry doesn’t quite scale the sheer heights of the duo’s preceding two records, Bloom or Teen Dream, but largely by fault of Beach House setting the bar so high themselves. While those perfect moments mixed their ephemera with just the right amount of dynamism, Depression Cherry lacks some of that extra punch overall. The subsequent “Space Song," for all it’s echoing of “fall back into place,” does offer it, however, and it soars through the stars with sparkling synth beats in exactly the way an intergalactic swim might sound if the waves could exist in a vacuum at all.

And it’s exactly a vacuum in which Beach House want to exist. In an official statement they explain that the new record is what happened when they "let [them]selves evolve while fully ignoring the commercial context in which [they] exist,” shut away from it all. Even the relatively controlled environments of their own shows apparently dislocated them from their comfort zone, claiming “[T]he growing success... larger stages and bigger rooms naturally drove us towards a louder, more aggressive place; a place farther from our natural tendencies.”

So what was already so simple has become more so. While the red velvet vinyl sleeve reminiscent of Bee Gees’ Odessa adds further texture, even their trend of solid, monochromatic cover art is simplified further, with the minimalist details of Teen Dream’s faint zebra stripes and Bloom’s dots vanquished in favor of pure, unadulterated stasis. At first (and second) listen it’s easy to glaze over the music in a similar way, though give it a chance and out of the homogeny come swirls of beauty. In a particular Beach House-y touch, the duo even handpicked select lyrics to display on their official Sub Pop site, aware of how hard it can be for listeners to distinguish them on their own.

On that same page they describe the record as "a color, a place, a feeling, an energy,” and it's represented literally on the sleeve. Like the seat cushion in that old chair at your grandmother’s, you can brush your fingers along Depression Cherry’s sonic textures one way to make it change shade as the fibers lean, then smooth it back out the other way again. You can spin your fingertip in a spiral, or make stripes, but it’s all still a surface level alteration in a cloud.

"The first thing that I do before I get into your house / I'm gonna tear off all the petals from the rose that's in your mouth,” “Beyond Love" quietly stabs, showing Legrand at her most aggressive. Breathing restless life into the ambient haze she wrestles, "I really wanna know / I really do breathe / We really do breathe / We really wanna know.” 

These lyrical tones juxtaposed amidst the careful caress of the organ and slide guitar could leave a casual listener gliding by, blissfully unaware of the deeper, more forceful current rushing below the surface of gilded waters lapping calmly at his boat, yet that makes their realization all the more powerful. Legrand claws at you from the inside whether you're aware of it or not.

Later on, the spoken word alternating with a fleeting, slowed-down mirroring of John and Yoko’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” melody before captivatingly pleading guitar is layered with an angelic chorus makes the curiously named “PPP" a standout moment of not only the LP but their career. In “Bluebird” we find what is likely the only time Legrand will lie to you, as she soothingly misleads, “I would not ever try to capture you,” before “Days of Candy” ends Depression Cherry as fittingly as it began with the sendoff, “I know it comes too soon / The universe is riding off with you."

Whether it takes you where Legrand first longed to end up or not is up to you.

Depression Cherry is out now via Sub Pop. You can enter to win a red velvet poster for free here. You can buy the record here.

Win a Delicious Actual Red Velvet Beach House 'Depression Cherry' Poster

Music NewsWeston PaganoComment

Luscious Baltimore duo Beach House's newest album Depression Cherry is out today via Sub Pop, and we at Transverso are giving away one free, limited edition poster.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL.

It, like the vinyl record, will be made of actual red velvet. Like the kind that you can touch. Finally there is a physical item as smooth as the sounds themselves.

Listen to the album and enter to win below, and read our Depression Cherry review here!

Close-up of the red velvet texture

Close-up of the red velvet texture

UPDATE: Congratulations to Raymond Thimmes, the winner of the poster and (surprise) a CD too!

Listen to Beach House's Dreamy New Song, "Sparks"

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

We'll admit, "dreamy" is a bit of a lazy descriptor for Beach House this late in the game, though they keep earning it with the lovely dream-pop synth and soft croons we've come to expect from the Baltimore-based duo.

"Sparks" is the first single from the band's forthcoming record Depression Cherry and you can listen to the fuzzy track's official stream below.

Depression Cherry is out worldwide August 28.

Beach House Announce New Album 'Depression Cherry,' World Tour

Music NewsWeston PaganoComment

Beach House have announced a follow-up to 2012's dream pop masterpiece Bloom called Depression Cherry which will be release on August 28 via Sub Pop in North America, Bella Union in Europe, and Mistletone in Australia.

The record was produced by the duo Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally themselves, along with Chris Coady (Future Islands, Islands) who also worked on their previous two albums.

In a press release Beach House explained:

In general, this record shows a return to simplicity, with songs structured around a melody and a few instruments, with live drums playing a far lesser role. With the growing success of Teen Dream and Bloom, the larger stages and bigger rooms naturally drove us towards a louder, more aggressive place; a place farther from our natural tendencies. Here, we continue to let ourselves evolve while fully ignoring the commercial context in which we exist. For us, Depression Cherry is a color, a place, a feeling, an energy… that describes the place you arrive as you move through the endlessly varied trips of existence…

A particular highlight is the sleeve itself, which will be manufactured with actual red velvet, similar to the limited edition maroon textured copies of Bee Gees' divisive 1969 record Odessa.

Check out the tracklist and tour dates below. You can preorder the clear vinyl here.

Depression Cherry

  1. Levitation
  2. Sparks
  3. Space Song 
  4. Beyond Love 
  5. 10:37
  6. PPP 
  7. Wildflower 
  8. Bluebird
  9. Days of Candy

Beach House World Tour:

8/18 – Portland, ME @ State Theatre
8/19 – Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street Nightclub
8/20 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
8/21 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom
8/22 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Small’s
8/24 – Albany, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
8/25 – Providence, RI @ Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel
8/26 – New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall
9/17 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
9/18 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s
9/19 – Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Theatre
9/21 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theatre
9/22 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
9/25 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
9/26 – Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall
9/27 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
9/28 – Memphis, TN @ Minglewood Hall
9/29 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom
10/1 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
10/2 – New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre
10/3 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
10/4 – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium
10/6 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
10/7 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
10/8 – Saxapahaw, NC @ Haw River Ballroom
10/24 – Belfast, Northern Ireland @ Mandela Hall
10/25 – Dublin, Ireland @ Vicar Street
10/26 – Glasgow, Scotland @ ABC
10/27 – Manchester, England @ The Ritz
10/29 – Paris, France @ Pitchfork Music Festival Paris
10/30 – London, England @ Shepherds Bush Empire
11/2 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso
11/3 – Brussels, Belgium @ Autumn Falls @ AB
11/4 – Koln, Germany @ Gloria
11/5 – Luxemborg, Luxemborg @ Den Atelier
11/7 – Reykjavik, Iceland @ Iceland Airwaves
11/10 – Oslo, Norway @ Sentrum Scene
11/11 – Gothenburg, Sweden @ Tradgarn
11/12 – Stockholm, Sweden @ Debaser Medis
11/13 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Vega
11/14 – Hamburg, Germany @ Kampnagel K1
11/16 – Berlin, Germany @ Huxley’s
11/17 – Munich, Germany @ Freiheiz
11/18 – Lausanne, Germany @ Les Docks
11/20 – Barcelona, Spain @ Apolo
11/22 – Madrid, Spain @ La Riviera
11/23 – Lisbon, Portugal @ Armazén
11/24 – Porto, Portugal @ Teatro sa da Bandeira
12/9 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
12/10 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
12/17 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
12/18 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore