Top Albums of 2017

Lists are arbitrary and burdensome, but why not join the fun everyone else is having? We gathered our lists, separate lists for all of us, then combined them into one that had 50 albums. What you get here are the four writers/contributors of ATH, giving you their meaningless opinions on what we thought was the jam in 2017. It’s alphabetical, and we put the initials next to it so you could track down your enemy!

 

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Enjoy New Music from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

It’s been quite a ride as a fan of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart…they hit us hard and fast, then some line-up changes gradually allowed Kip Berman to build huge pop opuses that seem to always have been lurking. He’s conquered this gentle softness that pervades his newer music, matched perfectly in this track by a female vocal foil. It’s great that he’s still writing love songs too, as that’s the key to a pop song winning over hearts, right? The Echo of Pleasure is just a few short weeks away (September 1st, digitally), so partake in the further maturation/rise of PoBPaH.

Can’t Not Share New POBPAH

We really love The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Like, our love knows no bounds. So when this track dropped yesterday from the Brooklyn group, I naturally knew I needed to spread the word– “When I Dance With You” is yet another bombastically perfect pop song from Kip Berman and company. The track builds on the fresh energy that their last release,Days of Abandon, packed. As always with this group, they give you tunes with catchy choruses, but also pack that punch of great lyrics to boot. Dare you to put this one on and not crack a smile through the bouncy synths and bright tone.

Take a listen and join our growing excitement forThe Echo of Pleasure, which will be out September 1.

Brand New Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Unbeknownst to me, I’ve been anxiously awaiting new music from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. I didn’t know it was coming, but I’m glad to say, that the announcement of The Echo of Pleasure has brought with it a sense of joy. Clearly, Kip Berman’s style has evolved, dialing back on the distortion to allow for the clarity in his melodic pop songs. Still, the chorus erupts inhuge fashion, swirling distortion and melody the way very few can. The hooks are still there, and knowing what a huge fan of pop music Kip is, I couldn’t be more excited to see where else he’ll take us on his journey. Look for the new LP on July 14th via Painbow.

New Music from Funeral Advantage

You know I’m a sucker for a band with coated vocals and shimmering guitar chords coming through my speakers, so this Funeral Advantage tune steps right in line with my tastes. It sort of reminds me of the later Pains of Being Pure at Heart tunes, pulling in a glimmer of polish to the dreamy indiepop side. Lyrically, its touching on the trials of pulling yourself together after a relationship has fallen apart; it’s one of those that allows you to empathize, as surely we’ve all been there. The Native Sound will release this track on a new limited 12″ coming February 24th.

Pains of Being Pure at Heart Release Bonus Track

D700-Pains-Ans-303If you missed out on picking up your copy of Days of Abandon, the latest offering from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, you’ll be happy to know the deluxe edition heading your way tomorrow will feature several brand new bonus tracks.  This tune has a pretty clean quality, which seems to have been the approach Kip took on writing the song for this album; the gaze-iness is pulled back in favor of maximizing some great melodies.  My ears seem to think it’s even dreamier than their earlier offerings, including just the right amount of jangle in the tunes, though softening a bit around the edges.  Enjoy your listen below.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Days of Abandon

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Rating: ★★★★★

For around five years now, if you were to ask me to recommend you a band that consistently doles out intriguing and effervescent lo-fi pop and rock that also makes you shake a tail feather, I would not hesitate to direct you to The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Their first two records were stunning displays of all of the qualities that I just listed, the first of which still makes its way into my listening catalogue on a regular basis. This time around Kip Berman and company have cleaned up the overall mix and have refined their sound and are set on adding a new emotive quality on Days of Abandon.

Opening track “Art Smock” is perhaps the softest song that this band has brought to our ears thus far. It’s got this Belle & Sebastian like delicacy, complete with a couplet style rhyme scheme that plays on the quietness and provides a melancholic and nostalgic spirit to it. This beautiful start transitions into the spunky and altogether sunny single of “Simple and Sure,” which will have you dancing along to the to the jangly guitars and airy punches of “ohs” and “ahs.” This back-to-back combination kicks the album off with the right balance of reserve and spunk while also introducing you to the band’s new approach to their lo-fi pop. Later on you have one of my favorite tracks that this group has put out and definitely one of the gems that showcase the light sound they’re bringing to the table in “Masokissed.” You’re greeted by some rapid handclaps that lead straight into the infectious sound of angular guitars that cut straight through the airy sounding percussion and groovy bass line. Then Kip’s quick vocals jump in and start to spin a tale filled with word play as the instrumentation gives you sunshine in a song and it is essentially a track like you would hear of their self titled debut, but in this new style.

As I’ve stated before, what seems to be new this go-round is a gentle quality in the sound, which is promoted by not only the instrumentation, but also in the vocals. The presence of feminine vocals are increased, taking the lead off Kip’s hands for a few tracks and also providing a more prominent place in the mix as backing vocals. Late hitter, “Life After Life,” showcases these extra sugary vocals, especially with Kip offering his whispery tone to the backing vocals. On this track, those angular guitars are balanced with what sounds like horn parts popping in the background, making a perfect blend of sound as you get a song about a past love whose instrumentation exudes brightness and whose lyrics preach a fairly sad sentiment. Then the group closes things out softly and artfully as they brought you into this record with “The Asp at My Chest.” Kip whispers to you poetically about the endless haunting of a love lost that seems to be the pervasive theme of the album and then plays you out with majestically sweeping horns; like a day with perfect weather, this album gives out the soft opens and closes of sunrise and sunset with the brightness of the noon sun in the middle.

Yet again, this band has put out another record that has me reminiscent of their old sound, but also happy to be listening to their subtly ever-changing approach. Days of Abandon is a triumph for fans of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart while simultaneously giving new listeners a taste of what they’ve been missing. I have been spinning this record regularly for the past few weeks and will be for a while to come and really, you should be too.

New Pains of Being Pure at Heart

painsI’ve really been enjoying the new album from Pains of Being Pure at Heart.  I’ll tell you now that it looks back at the old days of the band without a sense of regret, doing it with a fresh face, and a bit of a fresh sound.  Groups can’t stay in one space for too long, so it’s no surprise that Kip’s cleaned up the guitars, opening up to a brighter pop sound on this go round.  You know what? It still sounds really damn good, illustrating how great a songwriter Berman actually is.  The new album is titled Days of Abandon, and you’ll be able to hear all the songs on May 13th.

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New Tune from Pains of Being Pure at Heart

untitledPrintWhat a week for Pains of Being Pure at Heart.  First they leaked news of a new album with a short video, then comes this gem of a tune.  It’s definitely a departure, musically speaking, though the band still seems to have their finger on the pulse of pop music.  My ears hear bits of early Stars, which which definitely has me excited, as that’s one of my favorite acts.  It seems at this point that they’ve cleared out the distortion-related shoegaze element, leaving you with a delectable little ear treat. Their new album, Days of Abandon, comes out on April 22nd via Yebo Music.

SXSW 2014 Interviews: Pains of Being Pure at Heart

D700-Pains-Ans-303SXSW is just a month away, and we’re already getting rather antsy. We decided to try and squeeze in as much coverage of the many bands coming into town as we could, so we sent off a bunch of interview questions to bands we think you need to keep an eye on.  Today, we bring you Kip from the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, one of our favorite acts of the past 5 years, not to mention one of SXSW’s hardest working bands.  Check it out for Kip’s responses… Read more

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