Tag Archives: Torres

June 7, 2017 — “Skim” by Torres


If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Skim” by Torres (2017, from the standalone single “Skim” and forthcoming album).

Torres is the stage name for indie rock musician Mackenzie Scott. She’s originally from somewhere in rural Georgia, and she got her start in Nashville. Her 2013 debut TORRES was my second favourite album of that year. Her sophomore release Sprinter was my 18th favourite album of that year. I also had the pleasure of seeing her at the 2013 Hopscotch Music Festival. Read about that here.

I didn’t have it on my radar, but Torres released a single and accompanying video yesterday via 4AD Records. I didn’t even know that she had signed with 4AD until I saw the video pop up in my twitter feed. She hasn’t divulged any details, but there apparently is a new album on the horizon.

I’ve only watched the video about a thousand times since last night. While the first record was more “indie folk” than rock and the second record was more “indie rock” than folk, it sounds like this might be something different entirely. It’s just one song, but this sounds like a new direction for her. This song reminds me quite a bit of St. Vincent’s marvelous 2011 album Strange Mercy. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that Annie Clark played guitar on this. If she didn’t, Torres is taking a page straight out of her book and a line from her page. Incidentally, I think Annie Clark has gotten a little weird since Strange Mercy, but that’s a different story for a different day.

This video has some strange direction, but it’s brilliant. It’s mysterious and sexy and dark and confusing. And I love it.

“Skim” by Torres

I absolutely love the line “There’s no unlit corner of a room I’m in”, and the line “I know every tense in which I cannot exist”. At least I think that’s what the line is.

The video was directed by Ashley Connor, who has directed lots of videos for Angel Olsen, as well as a few for Jenny Lewis, Jenny Hval, Julianna Barwick, and others. She also did the creepy/sexy/magnificent video for “Your Best American Girl” by Mitski. If you haven’t already, you should take the time to watch that video here. Just as she did with “Your Best American Girl”, Connor wants us to feel like creepy, filthy voyeurs with “Skim”. She also wants us to be confused. About a lot of things. No matter what, it’s a wonderfully shot video that has a few surprises in it. Also, as an added bonus, those scenes in the shower are also a subtle echo of some of the press photos from the first album. I like that.

As I said, there’s no word on when the new album is out, or even what it’s called. For the time being, we should just enjoy the video again and again.

Our favorite albums of 2015 (part 7)

Earlier this week, I started the countdown of my favorite albums of 2015. It’s been a fantastic year, with a lot of new and exciting stuff. A lot of debut records are on the list, and a lot of old favorites are on the list. Because it’s been such a quality year, I included 50 albums in the countdown, and I also included 25 honorable mentions.

You can see the list of honorable mentions here

So far, the countdown from 50 to 21 looks like this:

50)Lower Dens — Escape From Evil
49)Girl Band — Holding Hands With Jamie
48)Creepoid — Cemetery Highrise Slum
47)Thayer Sarrano — Shaky
46)Rachel Grimes — The Clearing
45)Stolen Jars — Kept
44)Hey Anna — Run Koko
43)Speedy Ortiz — Foil Deer
42)Marriages — Salome
41)Haiku Salut — Etch and Etch Deep
40)The Harrow — Silhouettes
39)Casket Girls — The Piano Album
38)Spectres — Dying
37)Eternal Summers — Gold and Stone
36)Esmerine — Lost Voices
35)Diverting Duo — Desire
34)Viet Cong — Viet Cong
33)astrobrite — Deluxer
32)Noveller — Fantastic Planet
31)Godspeed You! Black Emperor — Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
30)Long Beard — Sleepwalker
29)Hamsas XIII — Encompass
28)Westkust — Last Forever
27)Hop Along — Painted Shut
26)Lanterns On The Lake — Beings
25)Violent Mae — Kid
24)The Black Ryder — The Door Behind The Door
23)Moon King — Secret Life
22)The Soft Moon — Deeper
21)Trementina — Almost Reach the Sun

Today, we’ll continue the countdown on from 20 to 16. Remember to click on album art to get to where you can buy that album.

Beach House — Thank Your Lucky Stars

20)Beach House — Thank Your Lucky Stars
This is the sixth album from the Baltimore dream pop duo and their second of two albums in 2015. This second album was a bit of a surprise, even to big fans. They announced its release via Twitter, then released it nine days later. It’s made up entirely of stuff that was written and recorded during the Depression Cherry sessions, but they insist that this is not a “companion album”. They also wanted to be clear that these are not b-sides or throwaways. And they’re certainly not. I love this album, but I love the stuff from Depression Cherry even more. You’ll see that later in the countdown.

No Joy — More Faithful

19)No Joy — More Faithful
This is the third album by the Montréal doomgaze/dream-punk quartet. I liked their 2013 sophomore album a lot, and I like this one even more. They’re a much more sophisticated, much more technically proficient, and much more focused on production values than they were even two years ago. As soon as More Faithful came out in June, I knew that it would end up in my top 20.

Torres — Sprinter

18)Torres — Sprinter
This is the second album by the indie folk/indie rock band that’s fronted by Mackenzie Scott. She spent most of her life in Georgia and in Tennessee, and now the band is set up in Brooklyn. You may remember that her debut album Torres was my second favorite album of 2013, behind only m b v. That year, I also saw Torres at the Hopscotch Music Festival, and was totally floored by her day party performance. Unfortunately, I had a conflict that prevented me from going to the nighttime show, but it was incredible. I had very high expectations for this album, and when I heard “New Skin” well in advance of the May album release, I was overwhelmed with excitement. The fact that this comes in at 18 doesn’t mean that I was disappointed. I was quite pleased, and it still plays a lot around my house. A lot of people say that Torres reminds them of Sharon Van Etten. I say that Torres has, in a short period of time, gotten better than Sharon Van Etten.

Mount Eerie — Sauna

17)Mount Eerie — Sauna
This is the seventh album by the Washington state based slowcore/indie folk/drone veteran Phil Elverum. He’s been recording as Mount Eerie since 2003, and by most accounts, this is the biggest and broadest thing he’s done. He says that the album was inspired by Vikings and zen and the national character of Finland. Right out of the gate, the album starts with a ten-minute song that’s really droney and open and peaceful. It sets the tone and the headspace for a great listening party. If you’re patient and calm, it’s a beautiful album from start to finish.

Shana Falana — Set Your Lightning Fire Free

16)Shana Falana — Set Your Lightning Fire Free
This is the debut album by the dream pop/shoegaze duo from Kingston, New York. The band is fronted by multi-instrumentalist Shana Falana. According to the story, she met this guy Michael Amari (drums) at a garden party, they started talking about Bauhaus, and they started this band together. The story also goes that this album was written in a very short span of time and recorded without studio equipment using the motto “do it once and don’t look back”. If this is true, I shudder to think how good their next record might be if they spend a lot of time in the studio. I’ve played this record a ton of times, but I unfortunately missed my chance to see them when they played near me.

That’s it for now. Tomorrow, I hope to get another post up, which will get us down to number 11, I’ll be taking Monday off so I can travel back home.

05.24.2014 — “New Skin” (featuring Sharon Van Etten) by Torres

Mackenzie Scott aka Torres

If you only listen to one song today, make it “New Skin” by Torres (2014, from the forthcoming and yet unnamed album).

Torres is the stage name of indie rock/folk musician Mackenzie Scott, who spent most of her life in Georgia and Tennessee, but who now calls Brooklyn home. Her self-titled debut album was met with unanimous critical acclaim, and I named it my second favorite new album of 2013. Here, in case you’re curious, is the entire list of my 40 favorite new albums of 2013. At last year’s Hopscotch Music Festival, her day party set on the last day of the festival was one of my favorite things from the whole festival. All of this adds up to the fact that I’m a big fan of this young, up-and-coming musician.

On more that one occasion, I’ve written about how Mackenzie Scott reminds me of a young Sharon Van Etten. Apparently, they’ve grown to be fans and good friends of one another. No surprise there. It’s actually almost more awesomeness than I can handle.

On Sharon Van Etten’s new album Are We There, Mackenzie Scott contributes backing vocals on two songs (“Afraid of Nothing” and “Our Love”). Don’t forget to buy that album right now. The release date is May 27, but you’ll instantly get a download code for the whole album.

Sharon Van Etten reciprocated the favor by appearing on today’s song, which is part of the <a href="http://weathervanemusic.org/shakingthrough/episodes"Shaking Through" series over at Weathervane Music. The series takes a documentary film approach to independent musicians. I think the way it works is that these musicians are invited to the Weathervane studios in Philadelphia, and they have three days to write and record a song from scratch. This guy Brian McTear documents the whole process and releases the songs and accompanying videos for our pleasure. He also releases the raw unmixed tracks and encourages fans to make their own remixes.

On this song, Scott invited Sharon Van Etten (guitar and vocals), and some other indie rockers like Adam Granduciel from The War on Drugs (guitar), Dave Hartley from The War on Drugs (bass), and Chris Wilson from Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (drums). Scott claims that she’s “not a great collaborator”, but this worked out very well.

Here’s the finished song:
“New Skin” by Torres

And because this is awesome, there’s two different video looks at the process.
First, the “artist” view:

and then, the very different “production” view:

I really like the inside look at the recording process. The moments of self-doubt. The things that start out as “let’s do this for shits and giggles” and become integral parts of the song. The choices to use specific gear and recording equipment. I especially love how big the vocal track is, and how they specifically chose an old school mic to achieve that.

I love this song, and if it’s any indication of how good the new album will be, it’ll be a big hit around here. Although I haven’t read any official confirmation of a new album, a little birdie told me that the album will be out this year and that tonight’s song will be on the album. I don’t really know how reliable that birdie is. It was just a birdie. Whether there’s an album this year or next, we’re very much looking forward to it.

In case you’ve arrived late to the Torres boat, you need to go back and buy her debut album. Right now. Get your choice of physical format here, or get a digital download from your favorite legal downloading place

Our Favorite Records of 2013 from 10-1

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been breaking down our countdown of our favorite 40 new release albums of 2013. We broke it into four segments

Counting down from 40 to 31
Counting down from 30 to 21
Counting down from 20 to 11

We’re down to the final ten, and there’s no sense in messing around.

As with the other portions of the countdown, click on the album artwork to be taken to a place where you can buy the album.

10)Throwing Muses — Purgatory/Paradise
This is the ninth album by the seminal indie rock band who made their hay in the 1990s. It’s also their first in ten years. In the interim, frontwoman Kristin Hersh has been busy with her other band 50 Foot Wave. She’s also written a couple of books. This album has been in the works for about three years. While we hardcore fans waited with bated breath, we were constantly given updates on the status of the album. We were also given early versions of the new songs as “works in progress”. While this was nice, it also took away from some of the excitement about the new album. It’s a great album that I’m probably overrating due to the fact that they’re in my top three favorite bands of all time. Still, though, I had to place it in the top ten. The fact that I already knew the songs and the fact that she deliberately sequenced the 32 songs in a way that makes no sense hurt the album’s stock, but it’s still hard to vote against an album that has my name in the liner notes.

9)Low — The Invisible Way
This is the 10th album from the Duluth, Minnesota slowcore pioneers. It’s every bit as awesome as I expected it to be. I don’t know how it’s possible, but 20 years into their career, they just keep getting better.
I finally got my chance to see them at Hopscotch this year. They were the last band that I saw at the three-day festival, and it was a perfect ending to what was a very eventful time.

8)Besnard Lakes — Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO
This is the fourth album from the Montréal indie/post-rock/shoegaze band centered around the husband-and-wife duo of Jace Lacek and Olga Goreas. I really loved their previous record, and I like this one just as much. If it wasn’t such a stout year for new releases, this would easily end up in the top five.
Like all of their albums, this album has a bunch of references to espionage and morse code and things like that. It’s a running theme with them, and there’s even a loose story line running through all of the albums with this spy guy and a mystery woman. That’s the story that they want us to believe anyway.
I got to see Besnard Lakes back in the spring, and it was really amazing. I had never seen them before, and I really hope that I see them again soon.

7)Boardwalk — Boardwalk
This is the debut album from the Los Angeles dream-pop duo who only met each other a little over a year ago. This is one of the many fantastic albums that I found out about through a mailbag submission. Amber Quintero and Mike Edge went on a road trip together, wrote one song, then a bunch more. The end result is a pretty spectacular work of dream-pop genius with just enough mainstream appeal to put them on the verge of something big. Overall, the album is pretty impressive, but it’s bookended by a couple of breathtaking songs in “I’m Not Myself” and “I’m to Blame”.
Don’t be surprised if this band soon takes the place that Beach House currently occupies as sort of the darlings of the dream pop world.

6)Black Hearted Brother — Stars are Our Home
This is the first record by the new band fronted by former Slowdive/Mojave 3 frontman Neil Halstead. He’s joined by Mark Van Hoen, formerly of Seefeel; and a guy named Nick Holton. This band is a perfect mix of shoegazey, spacey dream-pop and experimental electronic stuff. It leans more towards the ambience and the sun-kissed bliss reminiscent of Souvlaki, especially on the standout track “(I Don’t Mean to) Wonder, but there’s also a good deal of bleep-bloop going on, especially in “My Baby Just Sailed Away”. Most songs find a really happy medium between those styles.
This album totally caught me by surprise. I literally had no idea that Halstead had a new band until it just showed up in my soundcloud stream. I was just letting the stream do its thing one day, and “(I Don’t Mean to) Wonder” came on. It knocked me on my ass. And then when I went to find out what the story was, I was knocked on my ass again. It’s a really lovely album

5) Basia Bulat — Tall Tall Shadow

This is the third album by the Toronto indie-folk singer/songwriter, and by most accounts her most personal album. I absolutely loved her last album and couldn’t wait for this one. It didn’t disappoint at all. It has more of a “full band” sound than the other albums, and it even has a weird Radiohead-esque song in “Someone”, but there’s nothing about this album that disappoints. The new album was released at the end of September, making it part of the 2014 Polaris-eligible class. I should think that it’ll be a shoe-in for the shortlist. I was lucky enough to see Basia Bulat in November, as her band was one of the first to play a show at a new venue that’s attached to the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro. It was a really great show, and just what I needed.
Although I no longer make a “Canadian” and “non-Canadian” list, it’s worth noting that this is BY FAR my favorite Canadian album of the year.

4)Weekend — Jinx
This is the second album by the post-punk band from Brooklyn by way of San Francisco. Their 2010 debut album Sports got very high praise and their 2011 EP Red got as much. To say that this sophomore album was highly anticipated might be underselling the situation. The new record was everything that I hoped it would be and then some. Incredible, beautiful noise. Thicker and sludgier than I expected. Hotter and sweatier.
I saw them play this autumn not long after the album came out, and they were very good. It was quite fitting that there were no stage lights. No effects. Just a little bit of fog and pitch black.
There’s a lot of Unknown Pleasures and a lot of Disintegration in this album, and you’ll never hear me complain about that.

3)Typhoon — White Lighter
This is the first full-length album from the 11-member indie-folk orchestra from Seattle. They’ve got violas and violins and cellos and upright bass and horns and lots of percussion instruments and then, of course, they’ve got the standard rock band instruments. And a lot of the band members contribute vocals. In some ways, they’re a lot like the Milwaukee 12-piece post-rock/indie-folk band Altos. That’s fantastic company to be in.
I heard about this band through the mailbag, and I immediately fell in love with the scope of their sound. I’ve spent a LOT of time with this album, and it’s a lot of fun. And I love how some of the songs change styles mid-stream. I love how some of them start out like a folk song and end up like a post-rock song.

In the winter and spring of 2014, Typhoon will be touring North America and I’ll very much look forward to seeing them in the small space that is the Cat’s Cradle Back Room.

2)Torres — TORRES
This is the stunning debut by 23-year old Mackenzie Scott, who calls Memphis her home. This incredible album reminds me of everything that’s good about Cat Power and also everything that’s awesome about Sharon Van Etten. It’s indie-folk. It’s indie-rock. It’s the diary of a sad girl, and it’s breathtaking. It’s honest and it’s real. When she recorded this album, she made a choice to keep it really real. Most of the songs were done in one live take. There are some things that a perfectionist might have cleaned up with multiple takes and edits, but I really love how organic it sounds. Like a performance.
It’s impossible for me to pick out a favorite song from the album, and it’s also impossible for me to name a song that I don’t like. I usually listen to this album front-to-back twice in a row.
On the last day of Hopscotch this year, there was going to be a big scheduling conflict that would have made me have to choose between Torres and Low. Thankfully, Torres played one of the day party shows that day, and I got to see her then. Conflict resolved. She put on a fantastic set and it was a brilliant start to a brilliant day.
In addition to buying her amazing record, you should also treat yourself to a Daytrotter membership, where you can score this session. And go see the Torres band when they come through your town.

And the number one record, which probably won’t come as a surprise to anybody who knows me:

1)My Bloody Valentine — m b v
The third album by the genre-defining shoegaze band and the first since their seminal, game-changing 1991 album Loveless.
In the 22 years that passed between Loveless and m b v, rumors would sprout up every two or three years about a new album that was nearly finished, or a “lost” album, or a band reunion, or how they had announced that they were never going to play together again, or how Bilinda Butcher and Kevin Shields weren’t on speaking terms. All of these were just rumors. This new album became a confirmed rumor a couple of years ago, and every time it got delayed we thought that it was just an elaborate ruse. When Kevin Shields promised the record “before the end of 2012”, then failed to produce the album, we all thought that we were being had. When they started booking shows and actually playing shows, we all realized that it was real. When they announced that the album would be self-released and sold exclusively on their website, everybody got excited. When the website crashed on the release date, we all got frustrated. As we all tried to simultaneously refresh the page, we made matters worse. Finally, though, things worked out.

After 22 years of waiting and another few hours of waiting for the website to work, we all got our instant downloads.

I freaking love this record. From the opening notes of “She Found Now”, which is reminiscent of “Loomer” to the wildly original “Wonder 2” and its jet engine sound, I love everything about this album. It’s absolutely everything I was expecting and much much more. The LA shoegaze band Medicine returned this year after an almost equally long hiatus and disappointed me very much, but this is perfect.

Some of you are probably wondering if I forgot about the new album by The National, or the new one by The Arcade Fire, or the new one by Frightened Rabbit. I didn’t forget about those. I really like those bands, and I have their new records, but I hate two of them. The other just barely missed my list. I might write more about that stuff later, but probably not.

Recapping Hopscotch13 Day Three

As you all know, I spent the weekend at the 2013 Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh. Just as I did last year, I’m breaking down my coverage by day. You can read the coverage of Thursday here. The coverage of Friday is here.

Saturday, the final day of the festival, was a really full and slightly dramatic day. The “dramatic” part of it will be part of a separate post.

Because I knew that there would be some scheduling conflicts on Saturday night, I made sure to head downtown early for the day party action. The most important to me of the day party stuff was Torres. Actually, she was among the most intriguing acts of the whole festival for me, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make it to her regular set. I headed up to The Hive and got there just as she was starting. It was a short, but fantastic set. I had one beer while I was there. While I wouldn’t normally mention this, it’s important to the big picture.

After Torres, I headed to Slim’s to catch Deleted Scenes. Again, their regular set was scheduled for a time when it just wasn’t going to be possible for me to see them. It was a good, but not spectacular set.

I headed down near the Lincoln Theater, where there were food trucks and where there were supposed to be some bands playing outside. I had a delicious but small burger from the Only Burger food truck. It was about 2:00, and this was the only food that I had all day. Washed it down with a soda, which was the only non-alcoholic beverage I had all day. You might already know where this is headed.

Kelley Deal during soundcheck

After wandering around a little bit, I decided that I needed some cash, so I headed down to City Plaza, where I knew there was an ATM for my bank. To my surprise, I saw that The Breeders were soundchecking. Good timing. I decided, since there were only a handful of people there, to enjoy the soundcheck. They sounded really good, which gave me great hope for their regular set. I’d heard that they sounded awful at Pitchfork, and one of my friends was doubting whether he wanted to even bother with their set.

As they are doing on their entire tour, their regular set consisted of all of the songs, in order, from their 1993 album Last Splash, plus a few other songs from the era. During soundcheck, they played the songs in a different order. And they interacted with the “crowd” a lot. Which I really enjoyed.

After the soundcheck, and after I seized the opportunity to say hello to Kim and Kelley, I went to walk around a little more. I thought I would catch some more day party shows, but I never did. I was feeling a little bit tired, so I headed back over to City Plaza, got a beer (number two of the day) and sat down.

As it got closer to show time, they cleared the Plaza, and said that the gates would open after about 20 minutes. Instead of walking around, or getting something to eat, I just stood there and waited for the gates to open. When they did, I got one more beer (the third and final of the night), and it was only about 5:30.

The first band on the City Plaza bill was the Raleigh indie pop band The Lollipops. I’d never heard them before, but I was really impressed by their set. Young kids playing some really great stuff. At some point during their set, my friend Bill showed up and found me in the front row.

Bill went to grab something to eat from one of the little restaurants in the plaza. I opted out of that. Normally, this wouldn’t be noteworthy, but that decision would come back into play later.

The Breeders were on point, just as they were during sound check. Bill confirmed that it was much, much better than the set that they grudgingly played at Pitchfork. I got a couple of decent pictures and a pretty decent video of them playing “I Just Wanna Get Along”

Space-rock band Spiritualized was the headlining band that night. They’re a band that I’m only marginally familiar with. I remember that they had a couple of records out 20 years ago, and I remember that they had an album Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space, from 1997. Unlike The Breeders, Spiritualized has been active the entire time since the 1990s. My friend Bill was extremely excited about their set, and while seeing them wasn’t part of my original plan, I stuck around for it. The fact that we were still in the front row, which would normally be a petty detail, would come back into play a short while later.

I was enjoying the Spiritualized set a lot more than I thought I would, but I was starting to feel really fatigued. I thought, though, that if I could just make it to the end of their set, I’d be on easy street since the Low show was in a seated theater.

A little more than halfway through the set, I started to feel a bit woozy, so I told Bill that I was going to wade my way out of there and sit down for a bit. Apparently, I didn’t bother to wade out of there. I collapsed, and was apparently out cold for a few seconds. I was no worse for the wear, but I needed some sitting down time and a bunch of hydration before I was ready to get back into action.

I’ll give deeper details about that in a separate post.

We watched the rest of the Spiritualized set from the sidelines, then headed over to Fletcher Hall for the Low set. I was anticipating a mad rush over there, and I was also anticipating a packed house. Neither of those things happened. I still don’t understand why there wasn’t a packed house.

We got there while the Brooklyn chamber-pop/post-rock ensemble San Fermin were wrapping up their set. Somehow, in my extensive Hopscotch homework, I missed the chapter on San Fermin. I loved the two or three songs that we were able to see, and they were very much up my alley in the same way that The Altos is. You’ve probably heard me talk about Altos before, and how they “won Hopscotch” for me last year. You can read the post from day one of Hopscotch 2012, in which I rave about how much Altos blew me away here. Anyway, after San Fermin kind of floored me with their two songs, I was upset that I didn’t prepare for that any better. Had I known what I know now, I would have ducked out of Spiritualized earlier and caught their whole set. Maybe they could have “won Hopscotch” for me. I’ll never know.

Alan Sparhawk of Low

Low hit the stage and just crushed their 75 minute slowcore set with effortless efficiency. I knew that they hadn’t played in this neck of the woods in a long time, and that I might not ever get another chance to see them. I’ve been a fan for a long time, and I honestly couldn’t remember whether I had ever had the privilege of seeing them before. I’ve seen hundreds of bands in my concert-going career, and there are quite a few who I’ve forgotten that I’ve seen. There’s also quite a few who I have never seen no matter how much I swear that I have. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that this was, in fact, the first time that I’d seen them.

They played a great mix of old and new songs, and a couple of up-tempo songs (uptempo for them, anyway) like “Monkey”, but for the most part, it was perfect slowcore bliss.

It was kind of an ideal way to wind down another excellent festival. Although there were still a few bands playing, I’d had enough, and really wanted it to end just like that.

Last year, I made the 80 minute drive home right after the last show on Saturday night. This year, I was a little smarter, and I kept my hotel for an extra night. So I got a good night’s rest before heading back into the real world on Sunday.

Still to come: a full post about the passing out incident, and a short post about mac-and-cheese.

At some point this week, I’ll get back into the business of writing about songs.

01.29.13 — “Jealousy and I” by Torres

Mackenzie Scott (Torres)

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Jealousy and I” by Torres (2013, from the album Torres).

Torres is the stage name of 22-year old singer and guitar player Mackenzie Scott, who calls Memphis home. Her debut album Torres came out last week to favorable reviews. Her style straddles the line between some form of minimal indie-rock and sad-girl folk. She recorded the album mostly in single live-takes, preserving a “raw” sound and feel, which matches the emotion of her lyrics. There’s a lot of things that add up which make people liken her album to some of the really early Cat Power records. While I can understand why people might make that comparison, I can’t help but think of Sharon Van Etten‘s first album Because I Was in Love.

I’m not sure how I first caught wind of Torres, but I saw a review in Pitchfork the other day. The staff of Pitchfork doesn’t like very many things, but their writer gave Torres an 8.1. Which is a bit like any other magazine giving it a 9.5. As much as I hate to admit it, I was swayed by the Pitchfork review, and I downloaded the album. After a few listens, I liked it quite a bit. On the first listen, I was especially impressed by today’s song.

This is that song.
“Jealousy and I” by Torres

I really love the delicate and echo-y guitar play. Although it’s certainly not a sound-alike, that guitar bit at the very beginning of this song reminds me of the guitar bit at the very beginning of the U2 song “Bad”. U2 isn’t something I think about very often. In fact I try not to, but that’s a different story. “Bad” is a phenomenal song from a phenomenal record (The Unforgettable Fire).

There’s that, and there’s these heart-aching lyrics:

Would you really have a stranger in your bed
rather than let someone like me to take care of you
It’s no one’s problem but my own
I think I’ve always cared too much
I’m suffocating you I know
It’s just the only way I know to love
Jealousy gets me sometimes
But I don’t mind, no I don’t mind

‘Cause Jealousy and I
We’re two of a kind
And she’s all mine

I’m not sure whether “she’s all mine” refers to the object of her affection or to the jealousy. It doesn’t matter, because it’s basically the same thing, and it’s a great song either way.

There are some “untidy” things that were left in the mix and on the album. There are a few times when the vocals feed back a little and there are a few other times when the vocal wasn’t perfect, but she left it in there anyway. It’s not that the songs were designed to have imperfections in them. It’s just that she made the choice to leave some of the inevitable imperfections in there.

This album was self-released and is available as a download from eMusic, amazon mp3, bandcamp, etc. You can get a physical copy through the Big Cartel web shop here.

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