Autumn hit pretty late this year. There’s a massive oak tree that looms over my window whose colours appeared to rust almost overnight. Nature’s playing some winded game of catch-up with us right now, and it’s only just hit me how little time we have left in the year. Panto starts shortly at the theatre where I work. Scarves are working their way back into my wardrobe. Us Louder Than War staff are working on our year-end lists, a ritual which I always reluctantly partake in.
Some of my favourite records to listen to at this time of year are those with thick textures and layering. Ones that evoke the same sensations as the feeling of a cozy jumper or a warm mug of tea seated on a windowsill. While San Francisco’s Airs and Glasgow’s The Cherry Wave may be settled at completely different sides of the world, what unites them is their own brands of warm, fuzzy shoegaze, ideal for this time of the year. Both sides of their new split record sport loud, enveloping layers of melodic noise; captivating, and sometimes punishing, it’s perfect, addictive listening for watching your own leaves turn to brown.
In the true spirit of the looming year-end journalists’ tradition, I invited Adam of The Cherry Wave and Chris from Airs for their blind impressions of some of the years’ most hyped records. While you read, please enjoy a stream of the new Airs & The Cherry Wave split. Make sure to purchase it so many times that Chris can afford a flight to the UK so I can fight him personally. Happy autumnal decay, everyone.
Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – This is awkward. I am culturally and critically dumb when it comes to hip-hop. I tried really hard to get into it about ten years ago but I just couldn’t. It’s completely my loss, I accept that. Drake isn’t going to change things either. Not much fun, is it? Some of it sounds like a guy rapping over a sleep hypnosis tape. It’s just boring. Sorry Drake. – Adam
Sleaford Mods – Key Markets – This is the most British thing I’ve ever heard. Sounds like a trashed Shaun Ryder ranting over Garageband loops. I’d probably like this more if I wasn’t a stupid American. – Chris
Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor – Apparently this album is heavily influenced by Muddy Waters, The Doors and The Stones. Sounds more like nu metal in a blues scale. Even Twiggy didn’t want to be a part of this trainwreck. Is it Antichrist Superstar? No, but it’s better than Born Villain. – Chris
Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon – This one’s tricky. I really like songcraft. It’s the thing that interests and concerns me most musically. This guy clearly knows which chord can come next. He knows them all. It’s just… some of it sounds like it’s from the soundtrack to Toy Story or Shrek, which is fine, unless your tune lacks the context of actually being in Toy Story or Shrek. Then it’s just a bit of a plodding, pedestrian, 70s singer-songwriter tune. It’s very melodic and everything, I just don’t like its vibes. Seems a bit false and targeted. I’m probably being a bit harsh – he obviously has love for stuff like that, so it’s coming from a genuine place. I’m just not into it. – Adam
Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion – Is this the new CHVRCHES album? This is the most vapid garbage I’ve heard in ages. Wikipedia lists like, 50 studios this was recorded at. Did the engineers just get tired of hearing this mess over and over again and pass it off to the next dude? This is the kind of thing they play in malls across suburban America. Thanks a bunch, Canada. – Chris
Deafheaven – New Bermuda – This is fine. Sounds like their last one, all in all. That’s no bad thing of course. Just makes you think that, if you really really nail what you’re trying to do on one album – which is what they did on Sunbather, that’s great – you either need to change dramatically, which is hard, or just call it a day and walk into the sunset. They’ve only got one idea really, but it’s a pretty good one. I’ll let them off this time. They’re amazing live, too. – Adam
Jamie xx – In Colour – I’m like 3 minutes into this album and it sounds like a broken air conditioner. I’m sure this took all of a day to assemble in Fruity Loops. Had to turn it off when baby’s first synth lead kicked in. The xx sucks too. – Chris
Turnstile – Nonstop Feeling – Now this is a fucking disgrace. Drake got away with it, but ignorance won’t stop me criticising this one. I’ve listened and liked plenty of stuff like this over the years, and this is FUCKING SHIT. What is going on here? It’s godawful. Sounds like a crap Helmet, and they were hardly the best band ever. So so dull, just devoid of anything interesting. I think the early 2000s wants its guitar tone back. Terrible, stop it, leave me alone, forever. Urgh. – Adam
Jenny Hval – Apocalypse, Girl – My living room feels like the coolest coffee shop in town when this album is on. I have no idea what she’s saying but I feel sophisticated as fuck. This one is alright. – Chris
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly – Now this is much better. More ideas in the first song than in the entirety of that Drake album. It’s bright and energetic, but it’s not party hip-hop. Those two things don’t need to go hand in hand. It’s making me want to listen to what he’s saying. Highly quotable too, that’s always a prerequisite of hip-hop I like. The sound of someone who’s clearly on a roll creatively. That’s always nice to hear. – Adam
Airs & The Cherry Wave’s split record is now available to stream. Airs’ Apart is out now. The Cherry Wave’s Avalancher is available to stream and purchase now.
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