The holidays are looming right around the corner. Much to your dismay, Santa and his compatriots are back, prompting you to show your loved ones how much you really care with gift cards, fruitcake and uneasy grins. If you're still shopping for Christmas presents, you can always resort to giving the music lover in your life a really great record. This week, we have three new records spinning on Radio 1190 that could serve as sweet gifts this holiday season.
First, we have "Polyvinyl Plays Polyvinyl," a compilation from Polyvinyl artists covering other artists on the same label. This means there are bands like The Dodos, Beach Slang, Deerhoof, of Montreal and Xiu Xiu covering American Football, Japandroids, Vivian Girls and STRFKR. Polyvinyl is one of Radio 1190's favorite record labels because every artist has something unique and interesting going on with their sound. For music discovery, "Polyvinyl Plays Polyvinyl" is perfect. If you dig a band's sound, you can check out the recording artist, or if you like the songwriting, check out the original recording. This record is out there — many bands' takes on the original song sound quite different and refreshing.
Kastle released his second record "Reflections" in October. We're placing heavy emphasis on it in December, and just one listen will demonstrate why we're hyped. Kaitlin Parry uses similar vocal effects as in Oneohtrix Point Never and Gold Panda's production style to craft a totally sweet dance record. It has clubby elements, and heavy four-on-the-floor beats permeate tracks "Visions" and "Higher," but intricacies in Kastle's production send the record to the same realm as Jamie xx's "In Colour" or Tycho's "Awake." Hearing "Reflections" is quite an experience. You never know if Kastle will blast you with a frantic breakbeat or an ethereal atmospheric breakdown. If you're shopping for a picky fan of electronic music, "Reflections" by Kastle will be right up their alley.
Kim Gordon has always been an interesting figure. After reading "Girl in a Band," I was struck by her tension between being a badass bassist and having a super-introspective personality. Since her split with Thurston Moore, Gordon's been working on a ton of visual and audio projects. With Body/Head, she joins forces with Bill Nace to create experimental, improvisational drone music. Their new record, "No Waves" is akin to the drawn-out sections of Sonic Youth's "Bad Moon Rising" or "Sister," but never as immediate. The three songs on "No Waves" take their time in composition, winding around their point instead of making it. "Sugar Water" and "The Show Is Over" both clock in around eight minutes, while "Abstract/Actress" is a whopping 24-minute-long behemoth. If you don't like Sonic Youth, this record doesn't have much for you, but for diehard fans or keen beginners, "No Waves" by Body/Head is an interesting pilgrimage into noise and emotion.
There you have it. Three new releases that all make great holiday gifts for your loved ones. If you can't shake that holiday feeling, we're right with you. Radio 1190 is giving away holiday vinyl packs on every Morning Show this week, as well as a couple sprinkled throughout each day. In addition, I'm hosting the Hangover Hangout this year. It'll take place Jan. 1, and we will walk through 1190's top 50 records of 2016 together. No matter what you're looking for, set your dial to 98.9 FM in Boulder and 1190 AM in Denver to hear fresh new sounds from Radio 1190.
Jarocki is Radio 1190's music director. Read more reviews: coloradodaily.com/columnists