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Window Twins--Wish LP/cass reviews/stream full album (so far)

We've talked for a better part of our about our anticipation of the great sophomore LP by Window Twins, Wish, the result of the collaboration between Tim Cohen (Fresh and Onlys, Magic Trick) and Jon Bernson (Exray's/Ray's Vast Basement).  Cassettes are available via Crash Symbols and digital as well, which you can also found at the major digital outlets, with the vinyl on Volar any day now.  Proper album reviews are starting to roll in, which you can read below.  We'll have a full album stream up soon as soon as the vinyl's in our hands, but you can check out some choice cuts and videos below.  Purchase limited color LPs for $14, or the LP/cassette together for $16.

Soft Riot's remix/"version" of "Don't Let Me Down" via Fader:

"Londoner Soft Riot’s high-stepping remix of “Don’t Let Me Down,” by the weird-pop Window Twins (the Bay Area team of Tim Cohen of The Fresh & Onlys and Jon Bernson of Exray’s), sounds less like science fiction, as the “Wormhole Version” name suggests, and more like the grimy entrance song of a leather-jacketed rat. The Fonz with a cheese stick in his teeth, trotting around and snapping to the song’s funky bass line, a riff blown up even bigger than the original here thanks to an array of mimicking synths. The Twins’ sophomore LP, Wish, is out now on cassette and vinyl via Crash Symbols and Volar Records. "

Via Consequence of Sound:

Window Twins isn’t the first collaboration between Tim Cohen (The Fresh & Onlys, Magic Trick) and Jon Bernson (Exray’s, Ray’s Vast Basement): Bernson was in Cohen’s old band Black Fiction, and both are associated with the Howells Transmitter arts collaborative/record label. But with Wish, the follow-up to their 2009 debut I’m This Tall City, the duo make perhaps the most profound case for their partnership and blend of experimental folk-pop.
What makes the LP a success is that they work to maintain some of the tendencies more closely associated with both men; that is, the folky, indie-rock-leaning earnestness, while building up incrementally to something expansive.
Album opener “Two Left Feet” may soak its vocals in reverb and float with spacey guitar strums, but it’s a quaint folk tune at its core about being nervous and awkward. “Old People” maintains that quaintness, with a lyrical focus about growing older and a catchy piano part, but buries it under multiple layers of studio fuzz. Even soaked in sonic ash, though, the shiny bits manage to maintain their luster and appeal. And by the time the record closes with “Good People”, the folky songwriting element and the haze of psychedelic effects are all mashed up into one glorious, groovy mess that blurs and happily obliterates musical lines.
But even as Cohen and Bernson perfect their aural marriage, they maintain semblances of their individuality, specifically in their unique vocals (Cohen’s more multi-faceted, while Bernson’s emotions are more immediate). It’s enough to draw in respective fans while the rest of the album does the job of making it very clear there’s something both familiar and disarming to their hybrid sound, a construct as bubbly as it is bizarre. Let’s do it again real soon, gents.

Via Impose Magazine:

BY SAM LEFEBVRE » The work of Tim Cohen and Jon Bernson for their primary musical outlets (The Fresh & Onlys and Exray’s, respectively) demonstrates each musicians’ knack for pop clarity and realized song-structure. To arrive there, Cohen gravitates towards rock instrumentation while Bernson employs synthesized sounds. Their collaboration as Window Twins finds the duo drawing from both schools of performance, only saturating the instrumentation in dense, lo-fidelity production that makes it difficult to differentiate. The emphasis on Wish is clearly creating a cohesive mood. While structures are intact and melodies are present, albeit obscured, Cohen and Bernson aspire towards an ambiance of down-trodden psychedelia. Each performer has a known affinity for the home recording process, but Window Twins allows them to spotlight their manipulation of that process as brightly as any instrument. In Cohen’s case, such experimentalism isn’t constructive for the current, refined approach of The Fresh & Onlys. Here, he is liberated to fulfill his most experimental recording proclivities.
Live drums, programmed beats, Wurlitzer organ, guitar, horns and synthesizers operate together as different aspects of one texture. The most impressive aspect of the instrumentation is two-fold. It cultivates a texture that defies our expectations of electronic beats with warm recording. Conversely, it engages listeners by alternating unexpectedly into a live drum solo introduction for “Wine into Winter,” or a staccato brass section harmony on “Different Light” without warning.
For “Thunder and Lightning,” as the title might imply with its seemingly telling nod to vintage dub, meandering bass lines and intermittent horns are underpinned by a reggae beat that devolves into dark dub for an arresting bridge. “Others” is the album’s most energetic track and effective use of its unusual instrumentation. It begins with a surprisingly straight-forward electric guitar lead before a galloping snare beat abruptly appears. Organ, piano, peripheral tambourine and an eerie Theremin congeal beneath a repetitive chant about being mindful to “others in the world.”
While the vocals are as heavily soaked as the music, the emotive skill of each singer permeates the mix. While there is plenty of fodder for discussion in the cyclical grooves, eclectic instrumentation and murky production; the strongest moments ofWish aren’t contingent on the instruments or studio trickery, but rather the inventiveness of the singing. The production is consistently pleasant, but with the vocals removed it might become soporific. Luckily, both vocal performances are assertively mixed. Particularly on “Two Left Feet,” Cohen and Bernson slide along a sinuous synth line directly into listener’s skulls where they coo together in a hushed ritual. Skillfully harmonizing and interacting with one another’s voices, they also heed the conversational and narrative nature of the lyrics with tactful vocal delivery. The result is the Wish’s absolute highlight.

Via Pitchfork:

Musicians tend to recoil at the term "side project," and with good reason. Calling a band or an album a side project suggests that it's a dabble, a dodge, an exercise that might be fun or instructive for the participants but only of passing interest to the audience. And if you've spent a lot of time (or even just a little) trying to create something, that kind of reduction is pretty annoying. Perhaps that's why these, ahem, "exploratory enterprises" seem to be treated with greater seriousness lately. Is Divine Fits a side project? How about Atoms for Peace? Didn't Gnarls Barkley start out as a partnership between artists known for other things, and then become the thing that made Cee-Lo Green and Danger Mouse mainstream stars?
The answers to these questions are: "Not really," "more so than Divine Fits but not totally," and "of course, though it's nothing compared to what The Voice did for Cee-Lo." Still, even if we agree that side projects being treated with the same respect as "real" projects is a good thing, it doesn't mean the term as it was originally intended is necessarily bad. Take San Francisco's Window Twins, a collaboration between Tim Cohen of psych-rockers the Fresh & Onlys and Jon Bernson of the deconstructivist electro-pop group Exray's. Cohen and Bernson have recorded two albums together, including the new Wish, a collection of atmospheric sketches that explore the scuzzy, sinister, and lo-fi fringes of jazzy R&B, and ramshackle folk. It's not a fully realized record or especially immediate, and it's not really intended to be; Wishhas the freeform adventurousness of an extemporaneous experiment, where the process is ultimately more important than the finished result. And, if appreciated in this context, it's a fascinating listen.
The album opening "Two Left Feet" is easily the most song-like track on Wish, sounding only slightly murkier than the Fresh & Onlys' excellent 2009 album Grey-Eyed GirlsBut for the most part, Wish is more about trying out sonic textures than presenting polished compositions, establishing a mood that grows more unsettling as the album progresses. "The Sky is Back" is typical of Wish's smudged soulful malevolence, with its skittering beat and bright horn washes. On the glowering "Others", a cowpunk gallop clicks along like a clock, which is echoed by Cohen's menacing "tick tock" refrain. That paranoia of "Others"-- echoed by Cohen's insistence that "there's others in the world, don't forget about that/ you know there's others out there"-- deepens on the creepy "Good People", which pairs a despairing lyric ("when good people go away/ where do they go") with a spare, Massive Attack-like groove.
This is a far cry from the Fresh & Onlys' most recent album, the pretty and poppy Long Slow DanceIf Cohen was repressing his dark side on that record, he indulges it fully with Bernson, and in the process tries out weird sounds that no longer fit with the Fresh & Onlys' more streamlined presentation. About half of the time, the diversions don't coalesce, like on the woozy "Thunder and Lightning", which sways uneasily between promising abstraction and unfocused puttering. The bold "Wine Into Winter", with its minute-long drum solo and full-on jazz-rock affectations, is better, though mostly as a window into whatever Cohen and Bernson might do with their "other" groups. Wish works only intermittently on its own terms, but as a sketchbook for future the Fresh & Onlys and Exray's releases, it's potentially illuminating.

Via Tiny Mix Tapes:

I almost forgot what pop sounded like. Not the kind being relentlessly streamed from every corner of the internet, but the sort created when people get together, play a variety of instruments, and embrace melody outside of any formula. Window Twins is now that entity. I’ve never bought into Cohen (The Fresh & Onlys) or Bernson (Exray’s) before — perhaps due to a bit of close-mindedness or a lack of palpable difference between Indie Act #532 and #533. Wish is wholly recognizable. It’s warm. If it were an article of clothing, it’d be a chunky Nick Drake scarf worn for purpose rather than fashion. More important, this is boombox ready. It’s a $5 tape that is just crying for a neighborhood blasting, to wake up the Williamsburg elite from their art comas. Art is often best suited for popular manifestation, but fear not bourgeoisie elitists — Crash Symbols is equally adept at meeting the demands of every contender and pretender with a vinyl edition. Wish is certainly turntable appropriate, but more than that, it’s noble in its 1980s Billboard 200 chart-chasing. Seriously, “Different Light” could share space with Hall & Oates, Godley & Crème, or Ashford and Simpson. Cohen & Bernson… you’ve made me love you. Wish, you rascally minx!

Via Turntable Kitchen:

Separately, Tim Cohen and Jon Bernson released two of my favorite albums this year. Cohen as the frontman ofThe Fresh & Onlys and Bernson as the mastermind behind Exrays. And so it should come as no surprise that I was excited to learn about their most recent collaboration (their second overall) under the name Window Twins. On Wish, Cohen and Bernson blend together live drums, programmed beats, spindly guitar, bright horns, and various layers of electronic sonics set against analog instrumentation to create a dark, texturally-rich, and slow-burning brand of psychedelica.
Album opener “Two Left Feet” is perhaps the most straight-forward track on the album. It’s a crisp, grooving folk-jam founded upon a bed of acoustic guitar and warm synths. Cohen and Bernson’s harmonies are almost conversational as they smoothly transition between lead vocal duties. It’s an engaging and appropriately accessible entry into the slyly quirky and darkly-lit soundscape the duo craft throughout Wish.
Indeed, they are able to effortlessly maintain a delicate balance between soft indie-pop and psychedelic experimentation as the album progresses. By thoughtfully arranging their individual talents with an eye for cohesiveness, Bernson and Cohen’s compositions are regularly surprising and always pleasantly engaging. For example, “Don’t Let Me Down” begins with spare and clattering percussion, a bubbling bassline, and reverb-soaked vocals before cruising into an unexpectedly bright, brassy melody. Meanwhile, “Different Light” (which is another personal favorite) is percussively shuffling and wryly playful. It’s followed by the jazzy and flowing “Wine Into Winter” which opens with a swirling, crashing drum solo before snapping snuggly into a smokey horn-led melody. As a result of the way the duo consistently find new ways to play off of one another’s strengths, Wish is a solid and delightful listen from start to finish.
Wish pairs well with Kasey’s recipe for Roasted Acorn Squash with Hazelnuts and Balsamic Reduction. The recipe, like the album, features a smooth combination of strong flavors and subtle nuance. Similarly, the recipes two textural elements, squash and hazelnuts, each offer their own unique contribution to this well balanced recipe. It’s a great addition to any meal.

Via Audiocred:

Tim Cohen of The Fresh & Onlys and John Berson of Exray’s first collaborated to create  2009’s I’m This Tall City.  The San Francisco duo’s debut as Window Twins was intimate and refreshing, and also made a strong case that their so-called “side project” had more than enough cause to take center stage. Wish only strengthens the possibility that Window Twins could be a proper, full-fledged band. Even just after a listen of quirky opener “Two Left Feet,” the possibilities are endless. 

“Two Left Feet” is a snuggly, intimate folk tale about a man who looks down to see that he’s acquired two left feet. Simple in the most delicious of ways, the song also features unexpected elements of psych– freak folk, is I guess what the kids are calling it– that only begin the journey of genre-mixing that is Wish. We’re talking, moody reggae beats (“Thunder and Lightning”), bright yet fuzzy piano ballads (“Old People”), and experimental, atmospheric jazz (“Wine into Water”). However, at its heart, I believe that Wish is a folk album; despite its many twists and turns, each track exudes a comforting, warm, settled feeling. Tea and Christmas cookie not mandatory, but definitely recommended.
There is just no limit to the places that Wish can take you, which is a great– and rare– feeling when listening to a record. The album’s comfort level doesn’t do much to dampen its sense of adventure. “Others,” for example, can best best be described as the soundtrack to a western-themed episode of “The Twilight Zone.” An urging beat propels the song forward into a truly creepy refrain of “tic tock/tic tock.” Still, the majority of lyrics are more on the quaint side. “I’ll find you on the rocks with a chaser/like a pen across the paper,” goes the ominous yet undeniably fun little ditty “The Sky is Black.”
Wish ends not in a statement, but a question mark. Closing track “Good People” concludes Window Twins’ murky adventure into the unknown by sort of trailing off into the distance, asking, “Could there be more…?” And of course, there should be. They’ve only made two records together, but so far, each collaboration between Bernson and Cohen only improves upon the last.



By: Tim Baker

There is something about the new Window Twins album Wish that feels like a dream. I can't put my finger on the exact nature of it but it lingers somewhere in the distance of it all. It vaguely has the feel of running towards something you will never actually catch. A feeling you desire and want to possess with all your being yet it manages to always be just around the next corner.
I love having those dreams and I love this album with all of its majesty. Its low key pomp and beauty dazzle me at every turn. The vocals drip with a haunted soulfulness that meanders around the tracks the way the eponymous character in Neil Gaiman's Sandman book would, filling out every nook and cranny. Never out of place or forced, it’s almost a spiritual ease at one with everything that surrounds it. Swinging through the drum patterns that somehow manage to be sparse and complex at the same time, to steal and misuse a term from El-P, this son of a bitch has drum pattern awareness.
The music manages to ease you in to the mood. Starting out as relatively straightforward - drums guitars, kind of lo-fi and stripped down and by songs end you are swimming in a lush tapestry of sounds and melody that has been building towards an explosion of flavor. Horns, keys, bells, fucking shaker eggs, jangly things, voices layered and coaxing you to the other side; it is epic in its scope and beauty. Just listen to Not Just A Part; it is a perfect example of what I am trying to explain and possibly one of the year’s most beautiful songs.
The crazy thing about Wish and by extension Window Twins is their amazing ability to borrow from the past without ever straight swagger jacking. Whether it is the Motown meets Joe Jackson at a seedy hotel owned by Squeeze on Old People, the Chronic 2001 Dr. Dre having drinks with Synchronicity era Sting at a swank downtown 1990s bar where all the gals are dressed like the En Vogue vibe of Different Light or the aggressive post punk teamed early Thrill Jockey wrasslin' with late 90s Pacific Northwest underground hip hop production and Echo and The Bunny Men Killing Moon style vocals for the WWE tag team belts on Wine Into Winter. It probably shouldn't work but it does because the influence is subtle and filtered entirely through Window Twins. The vibe and feel is all them, in a lot of ways it feels like we are gnarly looking hatchlings and they are providing nourishment by puking the entity of the past 40 years of popular music and all of its nutrients down our gullet.
Wish is an epically complex and gorgeous album. It is what I imagine being married to Angelina Jolie is like. At first you are all smitten and loving them lips, next thing you know she are wearing vials of your blood, staying up and chain smoking while quoting Was (Not Was) and drinking boxed wine, then she is adopting 27 kids. It's a fucking wild ride, the proverbial frog in the pot of water coming to a boil. If you were thrown into this fucker when it is at full tilt you would jump right the Fuck out, but since they turn it up slowly you adjust and next thing you know you are sitting in your own soup rocking back and forth and crying in your shower while fully dressed.
It’s that type of party people. A sensual beauty that leaves you fucking shattered, confused and ultimately more in love with it than you were when you started.
Window Twins - "The Sky Is Black" from The Tearist on Vimeo.

window twins - two left feet from broken machine films on Vimeo.

Window Twins--"Thunder and Lightning" from Volar Records on Vimeo.


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