July 9 — “Air Conditioning” by DIIV

DIIV (Zachary Cole Smith)

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Air Conditioning” by DIIV (2012, from the album Oshin).

DIIV (“Dive”) is an indie rock quartet from Brooklyn. They just released their debut album two weeks ago, and it’s already turning a lot of heads. DIIV started as a solo side project for Zachary Cole Smith, who plays guitar in the esteemed Brooklyn band Beach Fossils. Just after Beach Fossils returned from a tour, Smith decided to hole himself up in a special place to write a solo record. Not to some cabin in the woods of Wisconsin. No. In the summer of 2011, he occupied a small corner of a painter’s studio in Brooklyn with no running water and no air conditioning. He had a bunch of records and a bunch of books. Some time later, he emerged from his hot box with a bunch of songs that would ultimately become Oshin.

Smith recruited a couple of friends to become a band, and he immediately had a contract with Captured Tracks Records. That label also has Smith’s other band, Beach Fossils. I can’t say it enough. That’s a really brilliant little label. They’re doing amazing things with their own roster of bands, and they’re doing some amazing stuff with their shoegaze reissues.

The band was originally called Dive, named after the Nirvana song. In March of this year, they changed their name to DIIV. They say it was in deference to a band from Belgium from the 1990s who was already named Dive. Smith says that they weren’t asked to change their name, but that’s what it kinda sounds like.

So they changed their name, released a single, and made a lot of fans with that. Before the album was even out, it seemed like everybody knew who they were. When it was released, everybody loved it. Even Ian Cohen from Pitchfork. He hates everything other than Pinkerton, but he actually gave Oshin a score of 8.3.

I “finally” picked it up last week, and I almost immediately loved it. Without further ado, I’ll present today’s song:

“Air Conditioning” by DIIV

Right out of the gate, in the first ten seconds, they manage to tip their hats to Yo La Tengo and The Cure. I like that they do that. It might not be an intentional act, but that’s how I read it, anyway.

There’s not much singing on this song, and what little vocals there are, are buried by the rest of the song. I don’t know or care what the lyrics are. It’s still a fantastic song. I think that it’s one of the strongest songs on a really strong album. It should absolutely make a bunch of year-end lists.

You can buy Oshin in CD or LP format from the Captured Tracks web store here. It’s also available, in limited quantities, on ocean-coloured vinyl here. Check your favorite legal downloading place (such as eMusic) for availability.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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