06.09.2015 — “Deliquescent” by Airs


There are a lot of great and highly recommended new releases that came out today, including the brilliant new long player by No Joy. But if you only listen to one song that didn’t come out tonight, make it “Deliquescent” by Airs (2015, from the Apart EP). Airs is a shoegaze/psychedelic/noise quintet from San Francisco. They’ve been around since 2009, and they’ve released three full-length albums. They’ve also released a bunch of EPs, and as the story goes, one of them was released physically as a 5.25″ floppy disk. As if anyone still has a functioning 5.25″ floppy drive. I don’t know anything about this band, and I only learned of their existence yesterday while I was looking through a friend’s music files. I listened to about three seconds of one song on this EP and immediately fell in love. If I close my eyes, I might think that this is a lost track from Delaware, the impossibly good 1992 debut album by the criminally underrated and sadly forgotten American shoegaze band Drop Nineteens. This song has everything that I loved about the Drop Nineteens. Extremely heavy distortion on the guitars. Tons of feedback. Coed vocals buried under wave after wave of beautiful noise. A sort of blurry line about where the “low end” ends and where the “high end” begins. And did I mention all the fuzz? It’s crazily reminiscent of 1992. This is that song: “Deliquescent” by Airs In case you’re wondering (I had to look it up), deliquescent means “tending to melt or dissolve; especially : tending to undergo gradual dissolution and liquefaction by the attraction and absorption of moisture from the air”. By the way, some research tells me that this EP was the last thing the band did with their former vocalist Aaron Kelly. He left the band on good terms, and he’s been replaced by Sam Retton, who is the frontwoman of the Fresno shoegaze/post-punk band Midwest Moms. Apart from all of the aforementioned qualities, this song also has something right from the drop that draws me in every time. They’re messing with the stereo field. They’re already doing enough with the fuzz and the feedback to make you wonder if there’s something wrong with your speakers/phones/monitors. On top of that, the intro is weighted really heavily to the right channel. Then at 0:38, there’s heavy fuzz in the right channel and squally feedback in the left. Finally, at 0:43 when the drums come crashing in, the balance gets righted. It’s quite a little journey even before the lovely vocals come in. I haven’t heard a version of this song with Sam on vocals, but I’m sure she’ll do just fine. I did see this video of them playing some songs with the new lineup at an in-store thing, and if I’m not mistaken BOTH guitarists play a white Squier Jazzmaster like the one J Mascis plays. They’ve both got the same pick guard, different from the one J has. I’m not great, or even “good” at identifying guitars, and I might be wrong about that identification. Anyway, here’s that video with its marginal sound quality. The new EP was recorded in late 2014 (with Aaron Kelly still on board) and it came out on cassette and digital download on May 30. It’ll be on vinyl soon. You can buy a digital download via bandcamp by naming your price here.

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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