February 22, 2016 — “Arizona” by Memoryhouse


If you only listen to one song today, make it “Arizona” by Memoryhouse (2016, from the album Soft Hate).

Memoryhouse is a dream pop duo from Guelph, Ontario. They released their debut album The Slideshow Effect in February of 2012, and that album ended up being my #13 album of that year. That record was released by Sub Pop, and they made a really big deal about it. They did a lot of promotion for it, and they did a presale with loads of bundle options. It was crazy to see that for an unknown band. I think Sub Pop really wanted them to become the next Beach House, and they did their best to will it into happening. While on tour with that album, the band had a bunch of gear stolen from their van, and they used a successful crowdfunding effort to get back on their feet.

I really liked that album, and I didn’t hear anything new from them, so I sort of assumed that they were just another of many to make one really good record and then disappear. I was really happy when the new album appeared on my radar late last year, and even more happy when I finally heard it. The album was self-released on February 9, and this is one of my favorite songs from it. Even though this is only my third favorite Canadian new album from February, I’ve still got this penciled in somewhere in my year-end top 20. That’s written in pencil, and it may slide up or down the list. This year is already shaping up to be almost as good for new releases as 2015 was, so I’m certain that my year-end countdown will have at least 50 albums. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, this is that song.

“Arizona” by Memoryhouse

Sure, it starts off all dreamy and all that, but I love the moment at 0:36 when it suddenly gets really noisy. The guitar, the bass, and the drums all come in pretty hot, and the rhythm is infectious, almost “funky” even. There’s a brief moment in there that reminds me of the first Hooverphonic record. The unusual heaviness of the music and the delay on Denise Nouvion’s vocals add together to make me think of Hooverphonic. I say “unusual heaviness” because even though the new record is generally speaking much noisier than the first, this song is even noisier than the rest of the album. The album is still basically dream pop, but there’s just quite a bit more noise. And we like that.

There’s no Bandcamp on this, but you can buy a download via iTunes, or you can get it from Amazon here. Annoyingly, the only physical format on this right now is cassette, which can buy that via the Memoryhouse website/store here. It looks like they’ve arranged something with the French label Beko Disques to do a small run of CDs, but there’s been no word about the possibility of releasing this on vinyl. Because Denise Nouvion is a photographer first and a singer second, there’s also a very nice-looking photo booklet for sale via the Memoryhouse store. It’s limited to 200 signed copies. I know from getting a physical copy of The Slideshow Effect that her photography is pretty damn good, so it’s worth looking into.

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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