Sunday, March 06, 2016

Listening Habits 02.2016

Our February list of favorite albums is the first one to feature mostly 2016 releases and among them at least two that already have earned a place in our shortlist for "Album of the Year"!

DIIV’s sophomore album "Is The Is Are" comes almost four years after their debut "Oshin", a record with strong moments, like the excellent single "Doused", that despite its ups and downs left the promise of greater things to come from Zachary Cole Smith and his band. After a period of turmoil for the DIIV front man, his band resurfaced last year with a handful of exciting new songs and some very promising live shows indicating that DIIV were back on track again. 

Indeed the new, incomprehensibly titled, 63-minute long double album "Is The Is Are" is nothing less than a triumph for DIIV, featuring 17 equally strong tracks, buzzing with melodic guitars and powerful rhythms. Dream pop meets krautrock influences, '80s new wave melodies clash with grunge-era raw energy and the end result is fresh, intoxicating 21st century rock’n’roll.

Two more sophomore albums complete our Top 3 for this month. Savages’ perfectly formed debut "Silence Yourself" took 2013 by storm, ending up among the top positions of many year-end lists (no. 3 in ours). The equally strong "Adore Life", bristling with life-affirming new rock anthems like "The Answer", "T.I.W.Y.G." or "I Need Something New", showcases a more mature and confident band that looks certain to repeat the triumph this year. It is so far the album we have played the most during the first couple of months of 2016, with the more recent DIIV release gaining momentum and closing the gap lately.

The third sophomore release that completes the month's Top 3 was certainly more of a surprise to me. Daughter’s atmospheric 4AD debut "If You Leave" didn’t raise too much the profile of the band and it was actually Warpaint’s remix of "Winter" that made me notice them. The two excellent singles that came at the end of 2015, "Numbers" and "Doing the Right Thing", showed the band’s true potential and now their second album "Not to Disappear" comes to prove that Daughter can create majestic, sad and beautiful music that fits right in with the great, dark pop tradition of their label.

Here are the lists of our favorite albums and tracks for February 2016:

Top 10 Albums

1.  Is The Is Are - DIIV
2.  Adore Life - SAVAGES
3.  Not To Disappear - DAUGHTER
5.  Emotional Mugger - TY SEGALL
6.  Jet Plane And Oxbow - SHEARWATER
7.  Blackstar - DAVID BOWIE
8.  The Waiting Room - TINDERSTICKS
9.  Distractions - SAUNA YOUTH
10. Art Angels - GRIMES

Top 10 Tracks

1.  The Wheel - PJ HARVEY
2.  T.I.W.Y.G. - SAVAGES
3.  Is The Is Are - DIIV
4.  Cathy With The Curly Hair - ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER
5.  Doing The Right Thing - DAUGHTER
6.  Were We Once Lovers? - TINDERSTICKS
7.  Lazarus - DAVID BOWIE
8.  Filaments - SHEARWATER
9.  Emotional Mugger / Leopard Priestess - TY SEGALL
10. The Bridge - SAUNA YOUTH

Diiv - Bent (Roi's Song)

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