Although their first full-length effort was released in 2007, the Brooklyn-based trio of House of Blondes had only begun playing live shows together in 2012. in fact, I caught about half of the band’s second live set ever, as they once opened for the Wellington, New Zealand based duo Glass Vaults during their residency at Piano’s in the Lower East Side.
Clean Cuts, landed as a co-number 5 on this site’s Best of 2012 list for a sound that one critic smartly (and fairly accurately) described as being headphone music – for an astronaut. But, interestingly enough, the sound on Clean Cuts also owed a great deal to the clean and icily stark, minimalism of Kraftwerk; however, where Kraftwerk’s manages to view the future with a sense of awe and wonder, House of Blondes work feels as though it exposes a sense of isolation, weariness and a bit of rot under the clean surface.
They recently released two new singles, “Are You Boys Alright?” and “Palace Life” on a collection they’ve titled Stereo 1 and 2. “Are You Boys Alright” is an example of stark, icy minimalism as the song consists of a sparse beat that has enough space to echo ever so subtly in between hazy layers of atmospheric synths. In some way, the song is a gently dissipating wisp of smoke. “Palace Life” is a glitchy song that manages to capture a sense of disaffected ennui. If anything both songs reflect a growing, and very subtle nuance to their material.