Valentine's Day is behind us. Thank god. Feb. 14 is the epicenter of relationship stress and unspoken expectations, a sorrowful date which arbitrarily forces us all to link up or ride solo — but that's the past now. We can all relax. Whether you're in a relationship or solo, we can go back to taking romance on our own terms. If you're doing you, keep it up. If you're looking for a little romancing, I've got just the thing: three great new records to do the dirty work for you. Slide a track into those Spotify DMs and let the magic happen. Here are a couple smooth new releases we're spinning on air next on Radio 1190.
Homeshake, beloved by most for their sexy vocals and creamy instrumentals, are back with another soul-filled stunner. "Fresh Air" continues the trend started with 2015's "Midnight Snack" with electronic beats, low-key lyrics and sauntering bass lines designed with a dirty mind. Peter Sagar is the songwriting force behind Homeshake. He's a member of Mac DeMarco's touring band, a multi-instrumentalist with an ear for melody and a Canadian king of vibes. Homeshake's appeal comes from its effortless qualities. Nothing is forced on "Fresh Air." There are no over-the-top guitar solos or ostentatious drum parts; rather, beats and bass form a solid foundation for layers of easygoing melodies and sparkling reverb.
Maybe you're looking to connect with the sensitive side of your crush. Send them "Not Even Happiness" from Julie Byrne to facilitate your collective wallowing in heavy emotions. I loved her previous record, "Rooms With Walls and Windows." It had a gentleness to its songwriting, a sensitivity to sonic space that set it apart from other low-fi releases. "Not Even Happiness" moves from Byrne's low-fi roots into a proper recording studio. The songs feel more concrete in their composition. The album reminds me of Vashti Bunyan's "Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind" — the two share a longing for deeper meaning and a sense of melancholy in their composition. This is Byrne's first step out of obscurity into the national spotlight, but she doesn't pander to modern tastes or popular opinion. "Not Even Happiness" is a beautiful record, heartfelt and tender. If that's what you're looking for, look no further.
In between Julie Byrne and Homeshake lies "Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void)" from Hand Habits. This record is slow but not as bleak as Byrne's. It's smooth but not as sexually charged as Homeshake. Meg Duffy commands Hand Habits and works on the project when she's not busy playing with Kevin Morby or Weyes Blood. These tracks swing from meandering ballads to indie pop scorchers, and "Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void)" truly has something for all music fans.
If you're trying to gauge someone's music taste, send them the new record from Hand Habits and ask for their favorite tracks. It'll work like a charm. If you can work up the courage to ask them on a date, pick them up with your dial tuned to Radio 1190, the only station that's guaranteed to impress: 98.9 FM in Boulder and 1190 AM in Denver.
Jarocki is Radio 1190's music director. Read more reviews: coloradodaily.com/columnists