The singer for hip smooth jazz purveyors Rhye, Milosh, has an otherworldly, feminine voice that has helped make that band a favorite of many a music fan. On his solo album Jet Lag, Milosh employs many of the same dynamics Rhye does on their debut, Woman, only with a somehow even more intimate sound, using laptoppy sounds and his own swirling, looped voice to create small, sexy atmospheres. The effect is to pair down Rhye’s already intimate sound even further, akin to how Thom Yorke used The Eraser to approach a more electronic, solitary sound than with Radiohead. Jet Lag’s electronic textures are appealing, yet it’s always Milosh’s voice that keeps us hooked, and he uses it to great effect on “Slow Down,” one of his strongest compositions yet, using little more than his voice and piano to sell a pretty broad sentiment—“can we all just slow down?” he sings in his breathiest tone. With that voice, you’ll do just about anything he says.
In honor of the upcoming Record Store Day 2013, I decided to make a list of 20 records I think everyone should own on vinyl. Take this Record Store Day to build a nice foundation for your record collection. I picked this list based on pretty arbitrary criteria, including what critics generally think are great, what I think is great, what I think particularly sounds good on analog-warm vinyl, and what you won’t have to pay $100 for or scour for (e.g. no hard-to-find ’90s vinyl or things out of print). I also left it to one album per artist. These aren't in any particular order. Send any omissions to this list to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or just leave a comment!
In my mind, The White Album is the greatest Beatles album, but you can’t beat the utterly perfect one-disc punch of Revolver. It should go without saying that every Beatles album is essential and is worth owning on vinyl yadda yadda, but if you have to start somewhere, do it here. Their catalog was recently reissued on vinyl in stereo mix, so you should have no trouble finding them if you’re just starting out — and you should have no trouble finding quality replacements, if your old Beatles LPs are worn out.
The Soft Moon – Zeros
Slightly more pop than his first release but still dark enough to scare off the uninitiated, the second album from The Soft Moon improves upon Luis Vasquez’s one-man goth factory sound with a bit more muscle and increased emphasis on hooks and (somewhat) intelligible vocals. Vasquez’s sound — one part Dario Argento soundtrack, one part post-punk mastery — remains relentlessly bleak throughout Zeros, creating a sort of shut-in listening experience during which no light enters or escapes. The result isn’t alienating though; rather, Vasquez carefully builds the album up and keeps it chugging smoothly, from an almost M83-like synth-epic opening, to the short ‘n’ creepy “Machines,” to the title track, the first song we get of several that fulfills the promise of his earlier work. The title track and “Insides,” which immediately follows, sees Vasquez allow his voice to step out of the shadows a bit as he gives an impassioned scream in the title track’s buzzing climax, and on single “Insides,” he sings a discernable yet ghostly melody over a Pornography-era Cure backdrop of a looping guitar riff and bassline and mechanical beats. That breathy whisper that opens the song grabs you, but Vasquez seems to know he can’t offer only atmosphere forever, and his singing, emotional and buried, is a highlight across Zeros when it pops up. On “Dire Life,” which revs its synths before kicking off with a yelp, Vasquez drives listeners down a grim autobahn. Even better is “Want,” in which Vasquez cries “I want it…you have it” over clattering, afrobeat-esque drumwork that sounds like nothing else he’s done. It’s touches like this that keeps Zeros from being a one-note album, and though he doesn’t completely step out from the shadow of his influences, on Zeros Vasquez comes dangerously close, while scratching a very specific itch for immaculately constructed goth pop.