Porches – “Black Dress”

Porches, the project of Aaron Maine, undoubtedly released one of the best albums of the year, namely, the hazy and gorgeously intricate Pool. To add to all the hype, Maine also recently released the Water EP, a collection of demos and unreleased tracks. Though the majority of the tracks do sound unfinished – as they should, they are demos after all – “Black Dress” is the exception, considering it has that same effortless vibe heard on the majority of Pool. At it’s core, however, Water serves more as a unique look behind the scenes, rather than something to be taken into consideration as much as the fantastic album it went on to create.

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photo by Jessica Lehrman
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Hoops – “Gemini”

Indie quartet Hoops released their self-titled EP this past week, which serves as a continuation and expansion of their breezy, carefree chillwave aesthetic. They’ve already had quite a bit of experience under their belts, even touring with Whitney and Twin Peaks. “Gemini,” the standout track on the new EP, is a perfect marriage of lo-fi and hi-fi sounds, complete with gauzy, bright guitar, a strong bassline, and wonderfully fuzzed out falsetto vocals, saving room for a magnificent guitar solo right at the end. Considering summer is nearly over, let this track be the wistful farewell to those hot, nostalgic days.

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photo courtesy of artist

Frank Ocean – “Ivy”

Before the release of Blonde, Frank Ocean’s absolutely stunning surprise release (and perhaps one of the most highly anticipated albums in history), I am embarrassed to say that I never took it upon myself to listen to his work, namely, Nostalgia, Ultra, or Channel Orange, his first two albums. Upon listening to the first gorgeous seconds of “Ivy,” I immediately purchased the entirety of Blonde, attempting to achieve the past five years of intrigue, obsession, desire, and anguish that devoted fans underwent in a mere five minutes. Greedy and hungry, I bit at every track, but as a whole, the album remains unfinished due to the sheer beauty of “Ivy,” something that feels, at least in my life, a track that arrived at the most perfect time. Sure, it’s about love, about the struggle for love, something that should feel overdone by now. But here, it feels anguished, frayed, but refusing to fail to thrive, repeatedly painting a sheer, luminescent paint over a forever broken, chipped foundation. Ocean, through the pain and obviously tortured memories, he still says that deep down, it’s “good,” suffocating the word with more weight than was ever necessary. With a voice simultaneously filled with honey and acid, he apologizes, yearns, screams that he and his love aren’t “kids no more,” all resting on loosely fused guitar plucks, not shying away from the ideas of sensitivity and emotion that backs the “boys don’t cry” thesis of Blonde. At its core, “Ivy” is raw, pure, and honest, and for the first time in a long time, feels like a track that remains almost painfully self-aware to the point of an emotional rebirth.

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photo courtesy of artist/npr

Half Waif – “Turn Me Around”

Brooklyn-based Nandi Rose Plunkett is the mastermind of the absolutely gorgeous synth-pop project Half Waif, whosesophomore album Probable Depths was released this past May. Their sophomore album, according to Plunkett, was created when “all [her] identities were fracturing and shifting,” and no track expresses that statement more perfectly than “Turn Me Around,” which sounds like a gorgeous fever dream incessantly morphing in and out of the ideas of pleasure and pain. Everything, from the bouncing drum beats to the half-shriek, half-sigh vocals, are carefully and beautifully orchestrated, but still has an irresistible edge through its brilliant instability, like a rose that proudly presents its thorns as strength rather than fault.

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photo by Adan Carlo

Von Sell – “Stay”

Brooklyn based musician Von Sell has been releasing consistently solid work, beginning with last year’s stylistically complex track “Ivan” and ending with the emotional, textured  “I Insist,” released earlier this year. Now, the skilled electronic artist has released “Stay,” the third single to what I’m deeply hoping is part of something bigger in the future. The new track feels and sounds more experimental, as both the vocals and synth shudder and swell with intense purpose. While simple on the surface, the instrumentals underneath are amazingly complex, perhaps to further express his feelings on the “archaic roles men and women assign each other in relationships, emotionally, sexually, temperamentally, intellectually.” Von Sell’s debut EP will be released later this year.

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photo by Jen Maler

PWR BTTM – “Projection”

Queer punk duo PWR BTTM – still fresh from last year’s release of the deliciously fun and emotional debut album Ugly Cherries – have returned with a brand new single. The duo, composed of multi-instrumentalists Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, mash together glam rock and diy punk, all while gloriously slathered in glitter, makeup, and a tangible, refreshing indifference to the concerns and opinions of others. While most of the tracks that appear on Ugly Cherries mask the duo’s frustration with misunderstanding through killer guitar riffs and vivacious vocals, “Projection” retreats to a somewhat softer side at times, perhaps to highlight the track’s theme of the excruciating desire to fit in with society. However, the song returns to that magnificent guitar riff as if it were – as Hopkins states – “a shiny, glorious middle finger to those who doubt you.” PWR BTTM was unfortunately one of those great bands that flew over my head the first time around, but I’m ecstatic to say I am more aware of their simultaneously ornate aesthetic, remarkably talented musical abilities, and what ultimately makes them a band that will truly flourish, if it hasn’t happened already.

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photo by Andrew Piccone

Father John Misty – “Real Love Baby”

Father John Misty (Josh Tillman) has been quite busy since last year’s absolutely gorgeous album I Love You, Honeybear, namely, appearing in several controversial headlines, both humorous and profound. After these events, however, Tillman officially released further proof of his musical prowess despite his now trademark outbursts. “Real Love Baby” – released as a demo in May, now officially released through Sub Pop – has Tillman’s voice swimming in reverb and smooth ’70’s instrumentals, as well as a true to fashion Misty metaphor (is that a thing yet?) comparing himself and his lover to a flower and a bee, respectively. It’s charming and passionate all at once, and has a thick aura of honesty that usually comes with everything Josh Tillman does, whether its trivial or more expressive. 

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photo by Emma Tillman

Thank You

About a week ago, kidwithavinyl reached 10,000 hits. You might think we’re a bit silly to be celebrating this, considering some websites get that much traffic after a few hours. However, to a small independent blog like us, 10,000 hits is absolutely revolutionary.

I initially began this blog when I was a freshman in college and was feeling alone. I had trouble making friends, and music was one of the only things that kept me company. I grew tired of bothering my high school friends and family back home with long-winded, obsessive rants about the music I loved, and decided I had to start something bigger than myself. Since starting this blog, my love of music and my music taste has grown exponentially, and, most importantly, I’ve become a much more confident person. I’m so honored and humbled that, after 2.5 years of running this blog, people still take time out of their day to not only read what I have to say, but also listen to the music I have the audacity to recommend to them.

Repeatedly and incessantly, I attempt to convince all of you through my words and posts that kidwithavinyl is the project of an entire team, when in reality, it’s just me, sitting alone at my computer mind-numbingly late at night and ridiculously early in the morning, writing outlines for album reviews and making list after list of all the new and amazing releases that continue to pour in. I obsess over what to post on instagram and on twitter, and I check my email countless times a week. I don’t write about anything if I don’t absolutely love it first – which often times affects the timing of my posts – but know that any time I write about something, I try my best to make it honest and genuine. I can’t even begin to explain the amazing feeling I get when a band or artist contacts me and thanks me for the post I wrote about them, or when I receive a comment or email from one of the many wonderful readers I have asking me to review their work. It makes me feel important and essential, so I thank you for that. Of course, I’m definitely not a flawless music fan, or a flawless writer, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to learn about every aspect of the music business and the right way to absorb it all. Inside, I know I’ll always be that little kid rifling through my parents’ record collection, and forever addicted to the feeling I get when I find that new amazing song or a band.

Again, it might be a bit silly to celebrate 10,000 hits (especially when some of them could have just been me), but I truly appreciate every single one of them. So, from me and my entire “team,” we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for visiting and reading kidwithavinyl! Here’s to many more years of obsessing over music together.

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