heard on the wire

Quotes as jokes and coke

Grace Kelly

I have to temper my expectations when a new Pains of Being Pure at Heart record is in the offing.

It’s a requirement born of experience. Back in 2011 I couldn’t have been more excited about an LP than I was about the band’s follow-up to their self-titled 2009 debut.

Because while the debut had been impressive enough, 2010 saw the band release not only the two best singles of the year, in the process scattering the dust that had settled on my fantasy desert island disc selection.

So it was with anticipation almost unbridled that I tore off the cellophane and savoured the heft of my vinyl copy of Belong. I had expected too much. It’s not a bad record—in fact it’s a very good record—but those twin peaks overshadowed everything else.

So with expectation reined in, I could approach the new LP, Days of Abandon, with an open and steadily beating heart. And what joy I found therein. This is a much richer record than Belong. Shining with singer Kip Berman’s huge songwriting talent, it’s indiepop at its best, the americans showing us how it should be done. The three tracks that nestle together at numbers three, four and five in the running order are the band at (almost) their very best, though if I had to choose one of them—and I do—it would be this.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart :: Kelly

Audio MP3

 

While we’ve waited three years for Days of Abandon, it was only last year that the Capsules gave us the excellent Northern Lights and Southern Skies.

A record that takes time to get going, but when once it has it floods the room with sonic gorgeousness before concluding with version of I Will Survive (you’ll have to buy the LP).

The Capsules :: The Long Goodbye

Another nod to the Dukla Prague Away Kit for this track, which comes from a record containing, “some of the finest, bright-spot, top drawer tunes you are likely to hear this year.” DPAK highlighted arguably the best song on the third LP from Vancouver foursome Thee Ahs; this is the almost-as-good title track.

Thee Ahs :: Corey’s Coathangers

It’s always a pleasure to come across one of the lovely—and free—label samplers that crop up on eMusic from time to time. These two tracks appear on an 11-track selection from Carpark Records, the Washington DC label that brought us the Cloud Nothings’ latest.

Maintaining a Canadian theme, Greys hail from Toronto and make music the label describes as caustic, brash, noisy, abrasive, dissonant, melodic, sarcastic and explosive. This track was squeezed onto the end of the European (for which read, non-UK) version of the sampler, replacing the expunged Cloud Nothings, and also appears on the Greys’ debut LP, If Anything.

Greys :: Guy Picciotto

Neither Greys nor the Cloud Nothing are particularly representative of the sampler as a whole, which ranges through the rock ’n’ pop gamut.

At the gentle electronic end of the scale, for example, is another Canadian, Montreal DJ Antoine Bédard recording as Montag and featuring the singer from Brooklyn-based Au Revoir Simone.

Montag feat. Erika Spring :: Memori

And those two 2010 singles?

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart :: Say No to Love

And this, the desert island-bound record that can justifiably claim to be the greatest indiepop track of all time.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart :: Heart in Your Heartbreak

 

Related posts: There’s no explanation; It’s getting louder every day; You poor, broken, mixed-up mess of a heart; Sleeping like a weeping willow

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