Stream Julianna Barwick's Looping, Swooping New Album

Categories: New Releases
Okay, Cupid

Last night at the Bottom of the Hill, curtain-haired Smith Westerns singer Cullen Omori introduced the band's third number with an exhortation to "fuck your girlfriend to this song." Well-meant though it may have been, this advice was logistically baffling (where were we, Dolores Park?) and, ultimately, couldn't have been much less romantic. But isn't that what Valentine's Day is all about? Romance? And carrying around water guns filled with mustard for couples engaged in heavy PDA?

Anyway, if you're jonesing for something a little more sacred than profane today, check out the NPR stream of The Magic Place, the third release from Brooklyn vocalist/hottie Julianna Barwick, out next Tuesday on Sufjan Stevens's Asthmatic Kitty label.

As usual, Barwick bypasses lyrical intimation and goes straight for the heart with her darkly swooning choral reveries, but here she augments them with a few well-placed Eno-ian piano reverberations. Of particular note is the late-album cut "Prizewinning," which gives way about halfway through to a Nepalese parade's worth of clattering, tinny percussion, cutting through the gauzy smoothness of the foregoing half hour.

Be you single, polyamorous, or anything in between, we recommend taking a few moments today to soak up Barwick's soaring song structures, rife with all the uneasy serenity of getting head in a massive, airy cathedral. Which is, all told, a way more romantic place than Bottom of the Hill.

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