Beach House

Review: Beach House’s Bloom

Beach House: Bloom

Beach House: Bloom (Sup Pop, 5/15/12)


[audio:|titles=Beach House: “Myth”]

Two years ago, Baltimore-based dream-pop duo Beach House released its best effort to date with Teen Dream. The album took the band’s gift for crafting atmospheric, melancholic synth pop to an entirely new level. The band’s writing was tighter, cleaner. The songs themselves were suffused with nostalgia and heartbreak. It took the band’s signature style — droning organs, echoing guitars, digitized beats, and gorgeous vocals and lyrics — and refined them to the point where a successful followup seemed unlikely.

Som Records

Behind the Counter: Som Records (Washington, DC)

Each Tuesday, Behind the Counter speaks to an independent record store to ask about its recent favorites, best sellers, and noteworthy trends.

This week, we spoke with Neal Becton, owner of Som Records in Washington, DC. The small, well-curated record store is a staple in the DC community, and Becton is the force behind a number of events like the annual DC Record Fair and the monthly Brazilian Rhythms party. Having made three trips to Brazil primarily for the purpose of digging crates, there’s no question that Becton is committed to his craft, and Som’s diverse selection reflects his unequaled passion for music.

Som Records
Neal holds The Beatles' Revolver

What can someone expect when visiting Som for the first time?

A small but tight shop with the best selection of used vinyl in DC. Being fairly small forces me to curate instead of just throwing everything out in the bins. I dig for records four to five days a week, so there’s always new stuff in here. I do sell new releases and touch a few genres that the other local stores don’t touch.

Beach House

Concert Photos: Beach House @ Kaufleuten (Zurich, Switzerland)

Dream-pop duo Beach House has been touring nonstop since releasing its acclaimed album Teen Dream in early 2010. In February of 2011, the band will return to the USA to play the last of its Teen Dream shows; get your presale tickets and limited-edition sweatshirt here. ALARM foreign correspondent / contributing photographer Wallo Villacorta recently captured these appropriately hazy images at the band’s show at Kaufleuten in Zurich, Switzerland.

Beach House

Avi Buffalo

Avi Buffalo: Rock Prodigies’ Trial by Fire

Avi Zahner-Isenberg traded in his skateboard for a guitar at age 12. A short eight years later, his band, Avi Buffalo, is signed to Sub Pop and touring the world on the strength of its self-assured rock-pop debut.

Katie Haegele: The La-La Theory 6

Zine Scene: Rummaging through Nostalgia (guest column and playlist by Katie Haegele)

Zine creator Katie Haegele is author of the found-poetry publication Word Math and The La-La Theory and has been a contributing writer for Bitch, Adbusters, Venus, and a number of major newspapers.  She discussed her witty wordplay for a previous installment of Zine Scene, and now the language-centric writer is back to pen this guest column.

Rummaging through Nostalgia
by Katie Haegele

I’ve been thinking a lot about nostalgia lately. Actually, I’ve thought about it in one way or another for years, since I was old enough to want to buy my own clothing but didn’t have any money and started hunting the Salvation Army for the grandma jewelry and waitress uniforms I turned into outfits.

I love old things, especially kitschy, outmoded, and obsolete ones, and I spend a fair amount of time digging for them at rummage sales and thrift stores, even in the trash. These things call to me, and I have spent a lot of time trying to understand and articulate exactly why that is, but it’s hard to grasp the feeling. There’s something about the sadness of castoff things that touches me, for sure, but it’s not only that. It’s also the feeling that each object has a story, a history that’s not my own. That history is both loaded and freeing at once. For next to no money, you can buy the thing and take it home. That coffee canister or wicker handbag or owl figurine will be yours, but it will never feel like it’s only yours.

More than an owner, you’re like a caretaker. In exchange, you get to borrow the thing’s history and have a piece of its ready-made comfort — a comfort like the feeling you had in the cozy living room in your grandparents’ house, or the kitchen of a friend from grade school who’s grown fuzzy in your mind over time. You can, in fact, feel nostalgic for something you don’t even remember.

Jackpot Records

Behind the Counter: Jackpot Records (Portland, OR)

Each Tuesday, Behind the Counter speaks to an independent record store to ask about its recent favorites, best sellers, and noteworthy trends.

Sporting two locations, (Fabulous!) Jackpot Records has served Portland’s independent music community for 13 years as both a new/used CD, LP, and DVD retailer and a record label that reissues lost treasures.  We recently caught up with Burnside manager Patrick Dennehy to get some staff picks and see what has been trending.

Rhys holds Kurt Vile: Constant Hitmaker
Rhys holds Kurt Vile: Constant Hitmaker

Beach House: Devotion

Beach House: DevotionOn Beach House’s self-titled debut, the Baltimore duo of Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand captured the melancholy air of summer’s fade into autumn. It was a beautiful, bittersweet record and a promising debut.

With the duo’s follow-up, Devotion, Beach House conjures feelings of a different time and place on a wide scale. The volume on Devotion is low, undistorted, and the tone is sedate. Shadows of The Velvet Underground and Mazzy Star loom over the eleven songs. There are traces of Dusty Springfield’s blue-eyed Memphis soul, boosting these dreamy melodies with joyful sweetness.