Back in 2011, Braids’ debut album Native Speaker took me completely by surprise. It was the first couple weeks in January of that year, and I was still in a coma from the holidays and year-end listmaking season. Suddenly this record landed in my lap and snapped me out of the haze in an instant. The reaction was severe enough that once December rolled around, the album wound up in the upper 30s on my year-end list, in which I called it “one of the most underrated records of the year.” I stand by that statement, and with two years having passed since then, I still play Native Speaker on occasion because it remains an enjoyable listen. This past August, Braids released their sophomore record Flourish // Perish. I was unable to review it at the time, and likely won’t get around to it ever (my list of pending album reviews is astronomical), but let me offer a couple of quick thoughts on it now. In short, it’s not as effective of a record as their debut. The general ditching of guitars feels like it has hurt them slightly, but as a result they’re more epic yet also more fragile. The lack of warmth in many of the melodies makes it a little more impenetrable, and the second half of the album gets a little worn out and boring, but repeat listens continue to reveal new rewards. The new album is ultimately worth your time, and this band continues to be underrated and underappreciated. I’d advise you to give “Amends” and “In Kind” a try to find out if Braids are for you. If so, maybe you’d like to check them out when they play at Schubas in Chicago this Tuesday, October 29th. The 21+ show starts at 8 p.m. and also features Kodak to Graph and Hundred Waters on the bill. You can buy $15 tickets in advance from here. It’ll be one of the best decisions you’ll make over the next 7 days. Beyond talking about the show, we’ve got a Wednesday edition of Pick Your Poison to take care of. Tracks that get a thumbs up from me today come from Holy Ghost! (covering Drake), Gemini Club, Holyoak, KNTRLR, Meanest Man Contest and Starlings, TN. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from The 1975, Beach Day, Gatekeeper and Kevin Morby (of Woods/The Babies fame).

Access Royale – Planet Earth

Holy Ghost! – Hold One We’re Going Home (Drake cover)

Duke Dumont ft. AME – Need U (100%) (AMTRAC Remix)

FIGHTs – In Spades

Gemini Club – Preacher

Holyoak – Silver Boys

Jay Kila – Dream Big


Meanest Man Contest – Throwing Away Broken Electronics

Saint Motel – My Type (Tonnesen Remix)

Starlings, TN – Burnt Ends

Times Neue Roman – Sade Is In My Tape Deck, Pt. 2 (ft. Don Will and The Airplane Boys)
Times Neue Roman – Sade Is In My Tape Deck, Pt. 3 (ft. Rich Kidd, Shaun Boothe and Zaki Ibrahim

Titanics – Low Frames

Until the Ribbon Breaks – 2025 (Holy Other Remix)


The 1975 – Girls

Beach Day – Dracula’s Daughter

Big Ups – Wool

Frameworks – Preamble

Gatekeeper – Imperatrix

Kevin Morby – Slow Train (ft. Cate Le Bon)