Twin Sister

Jack in the Pocket's TOP 10 ALBUMS of 2011

Let me break it down for you guys… I normally avoid making “Top” lists. First, because I suck at describing why one album is musically superior to another.  I’m the type of person who listens to something and I either love it or hate it.  I don’t enjoy analyzing their qualities. Music is so tightly wound with my identity, I find it almost impossible to be objective. Secondly, I tend to feel bad for all of the other albums I have enjoyed throughout the year.  Yes, I have tendencies to project feelings upon inanimate objects…

I find it is similar to the emotional struggles of my stuffed animals when I was a child.  I had two favorite toys, a bear and a bunny (creatively named “Bear” and “Bunny”).  I cuddled with them every night, until, one evening, I noticed the other stuffed animals sadly staring at me from their perch on top of my radiator. My nightlight reflected off of their glassy eyes, creating the illusion of tears of sad, neglected children. For months after that, I kept a rotating schedule of which stuffed animal I slept with for the night. But, that was when I was 4 or 5 years old.  Now that I’m 26, I have to call it like it is.

So, without further ado, here follows the list of my top 10 albums of the year accompanied by a personal note on each.

#10 - Radiohead - The King of Limbs

As with many of the latest releases by Radiohead, you either loved or hated The King of Limbs.  Thom York and company continually push themselves and this short but amazing album is no exception. I can attest to this album’s golden road trip qualities.  Especially during night drives, The King of Limbs lingers in dark corners, and oozes sticky trails.  Keep an eye on the road, that may be a deer in the middle of the highway or it may be a Radiohead induced hallucination.

Watch: Lotus Flower by Radiohead.

#9 - Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo

I had a moment with this album during my first ever solo drive over 8 hours to Memphis to visit my best friend.  I have been a Kurt Vile fan since YVYNYL included Overnight Religion on his Floating out to Sea Mixtape back in September of 2009.  However, Kurt never caused me to cry, or stir up physical signs of emotion until (as cheesy as it sounds) Baby’s Arms came over my stereo system.  Dawn was just breaking, I was driving through the Kentucky hills, the red and orange leaves were peaking through the mist. My mind immediately went to my boyfriend, who was at home, sleeping soundly in Columbus.  I suddenly felt homesick, and wished he could share this beautiful moment on the road with me.

Watch: Baby’s Arms by Kurt Vile.

#8 - Twin Sister - In Heaven

I love everything about Twin Sister. They are, hands down, some of the nicest, sweetest, quirkiest human beings on earth.  Their music reflects the same.  This 10 track album is woven equally with threads of innocence and darkness, humor and honesty. I constantly add Bad Street to my playlists because I can’t get enough of its silliness. The 1/4th Japanese side of me also applauds their reference to Japanese horror films in their music video for Kimmi in a Rice Field.

P.S. Readers, these guys are awesome house guests, so if you are able to open your home to them while they are on the road, do so.  They have my hostess stamp of approval.

Read Twin Sister’s Jack in the Pocket Interview

Listen to Bad Street by Twin Sister.

#7 - M83 - Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

The 22 tracks on this album are all pretty great.  The only problem is, I can’t pick out but two or three favorite tracks because they all sound much better if played consecutively.  That factor is what pushed me add Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming to my top 10.  One of the signs of a truly talented artist is the ability to craft an album that stays cohesive from beginning to end.

Plus, this formula is like the first time they put chocolate and peanut butter together.

Listen to Intro by M83.

#6 - Gauntlet Hair - Gauntlet Hair

Everyone knows, I’m a sucker for music with heavy percussion and glitched out guitars.  I can’t resist flailing like a wild banshee whenever I put this album on (which can be quite dangerous while listening in heavy traffic).

You can watch the special last minute interview and I got with Gauntlet Hair just a few weeks ago here.

Listen to Top Bunk by Gauntlet Hair.

#5 - The Kills - Blood Pressures

I. love. Alison. Mosshart.

Need I say more?  Well, I guess I should elaborate.  I’ve been closely following The Kills since my freshman year of college (2004).  I had the pleasure of seeing them perform at a small 300 cap venue that year as well, and since that night, I’ve had a major crush on Alison. Jamie Hince ain’t so bad himself, but I think even the thought of entertaining a double crush would blow my mind. Besides, he’s married to Kate Moss, so there go my chances. Blood Pressures is an amazing follow-up to Midnight Boom. It’s filled to the brim with The Kills sexy angst… mmm. 

I saw the pair perform in Detroit in May, and even managed to squeak out a mousy, “Hello..” to Alison when we ran into her at the restaurant next to the venue. 

Listen to Nail in My Coffin by The Kills.

#4 - St. Vincent - Strange Mercy

Dear Annie Clark,

How do you manage to be so lovely, with your curly hair, elegant style, and cherry red lips?  How do you manage to be so badass? From the way you wail on that guitar, to the way you craft a song, you make for one sultry songstress.  All the men want you, all the women wish they could be you.  Strange Mercy should be added to a list of “Rock Albums Every Woman Should Own.”  Keep singing, my dear. Keep rocking. I adore you. Adopt me?

Listen to Cruel by St. Vincent.

#3 - Washed Out - Within and Without

Ernest Greene has come a long way from his days of being a Myspace “chill-wave” mystery.  Thank goodness for that.

Within and Without was without a doubt one of sexiest releases of the year.  I mean, just look at the album art! You’re obviously supposed to have the bump-and-grind on yo’ mind when you let these tracks tickle your ear drums. It’s also an awesome album to blast in your car during the warm summer months. For those of you who live in warmer climates, roll down your windows, and let your arm ride the wave of wind, and let the music take you away.  For those of us stuck in weather below 40 degrees, you may want to don a thick coat, mittens, and blast your heat before you try it out.  Or, you could wait until summer, but who wants to do that?!

Read Washed Out’s Jack in the Pocket Interview.

Listen to You & I by Washed Out.

#2 - Neon Indian - Era Extraña

As to be expected, Era Extraña made it into my top 2 albums of the year.  I mean, goodness gracious everyone… it better have!  I saw Neon Indian live 3 times just this year, 6 times total.  I can’t help it. I’ve been a musical admirer of Alan Palomo since Psychic Chasms' kaleidoscopic sounds clobbered my ears that night that changed how I listen to music forever. (If you read the interview linked below, you'll quickly figure out why it sounded so different.)

Era Extraña is a album chock full of songs that take you through the stages of crush, longing, and inevitable heartbreak. I have to claim Suns Irrupt as my favorite track.  It undulates with the same swagger of confidence as Palomo does when he’s performing.

Read Neon Indian’s Jack in the Pocket Interview.

Listen to Polish Girl by Neon Indian.

#1 - Panda Bear -Tomboy

I can’t even begin adequately explain how excited I was for Tomboy to drop. 

That fateful night in September of 2010 at Ottobar in Baltimore, MD in the company of Jimmy from and the boys from Everybody Yay turned me into a super-stellar-intergallactic-crazed fan of Panda Bear.  No other artist has ever made a room disappear around me, created sounds that seeped into every pore, and left me feeling simultaneously confounded and elated. My eyes fluttered opened when Afterburner faded out, and I looked around me, grabbed Jimmy’s shoulder and said, “What just happened?!” I had only consumed 3 drinks over the course of 2 hours… what was this audible magic?!

When I listen to Tomboy in the proper environment (lights out, headphones on, bass pumped, laying in bed) I can recreate that moment.  I can’t help but imagine myself as a white feather riding on expanding and contracting waves of sound, through a dark and peaceful forest every time I listen to  Scheherazade. I have no doubt in my mind Noah Lennox will go down as one of the greatest masters of electronic music in history.

Listen to Afterburner by Panda Bear.




Kesley, Danner and I piled into my car and headed 2 hours due north to Cleveland. Just a few months prior, I had interviewed Bear in Heaven in Columbus and they were back in Ohio.  This would be the first time reuniting with a band I had previously interviewed -- I was ecstatic.  Their tour mates, Twin Sister also happen to be my current musical obsession.  This show was their last stop before they returned home to NYC.  What luck! 

Twin Sister played an extraordinary set; lovely, soft, swaying with just the right dose of weird stirred in. Andrea has a sweet and yet slightly unnerving stage presence.  Her breathy voice  simultaneously sounded innocent and wise. Her big eyes opened, exposing the whites around her irises wide as the music rose and softened demurely as it fell. Dev masterfully layed out the synth lines, weaving them expertly with Brian's syncopated drumming, Eric's ethereal guitar and Gabe's driving bass.   
John, Adam and Joe from Bear in Heaven danced enthusiastically with every song, shouting declarations of undying love for the band.  Everyone felt the bittersweetness of the exchange, they didn't want their tour together to end.  These two groups regard eachother with such fondess. It was obvious a special bond had formed between them, the kind of bond that only months on the road together can create.

Eric, Andrea and I stepped out onto the streets after the show, the hot muggy night working against our desire to cool off. 

Andrea: Just to start, we are the two airheads of the band.  I am Airhead Andrea the singer.  

Eric:  And I am Airhead Eric.  I play guitar and I sing.

Andrea:  We usually go by… He’s Shmin.  And I am Shman.

KP:  [Laughs] That’s only a vowel difference!

Andrea:  Yeah people have a hard time understanding us when we are like, “SHMIN!”, “SHMAN!”  Yeah,  so that’s our introduction.

KP: So you’ve been on tour with Bear in Heaven for how many weeks now?

Andrea: Almost 3.

KP: They love you a lot!

Eric: And we love them.

KP: So hows the tour been going?

Andrea:  Wonderful. We’ve had a lot of fun we’ve been really lucky our van hasn’t broken down. it’s been a lot of driving but we’ve managed to have a couple of fun days with Bear in Heaven.

Eric: Yeah. It was definitely a good balance. This tour had some very intense drives, we drove from Minneapolis to Salt Lake City for a show.

KP: Oh wow!

Andrea: Yeah it was like 24 hours. We drove through the night.

Eric: That was a wild night.

KP: So did you have a show the next day and you played? Or was it a day off?

Eric: No we kind of arrived at the hotel at 9 in the morning, and then had a show that night.

KP: That’s pretty intense.

Andrea: It was a festival so it was actually pretty early.

Eric: Yeah, It was nice though it worked out as great as it could’ve been.

Andrea: We take shifts sleeping in the van.

KP: Everybody contributes equally to the driving?

Andrea: Well except Brian cause he doesn’t have his license which isn’t his fault, he’s lived in the city so he doesn’t really need a license.

KP: So on this tour with Bear in Heaven I know they have some crazy stories, have you guys created any crazy stories together since you’ve been on tour with each other?

Andrea: I think we’ve had some crazy girl stories.

Eric: Yeah in Toronto we met this girl!

Andrea: Don’t say her name.

KP: Groupie girls?

Andrea: Kind of or just like girls that want to hang out. They’re really sweet girls. There was this one really young Philippine girl, she was hanging out with us and was showing us around Toronto. And there was a bay and she was leaning up against the chain and around like 2 in the morning the chain just broke and she just silently fell into the water.

Eric: It was so scary!

Andrea: And then she popped up and was like “I can’t swim”. So the guys were on their knees trying to pick her up.


KP: Oh my god!

Andrea: She got a little bruised up, but she was a good sport about it and she didn’t know any of us. I would’ve been bright red, I would’ve just let myself drown. Tell the other crazy girl story, last night!

Eric: Oh no…

Andrea: Oh Come on.

Eric: No..

Andrea: Why not?

Eric: We’ve had a lot of fun on tour… [laughs]

KP: Yeah, they’re great guys to hang out with.

Andrea: Bear in Heaven? Yeah, super sweet! We’re hoping to have a lot of fun with them tonight

Eric: Yeah we’re thinking of a good prank to pull on them. We have a couple ideas.

KP: You should cover their hotel room up with balloons, they would love that.

Eric: That would be adorable!

KP: Did they tell you about the “popping off” story with High Places?

Eric: No?

KP: Apparently High Places and them have a thing for sitting on balloons. They got into this whole thing where its cool to sit on balloons and “pop them off”. So you should fill their hotel room up with balloons.

Eric: That’s awesome!

Andrea: We gotta find some balloons! Well what we were going to do is we were going to slap some really stupid bumper stickers on their van and then we found out that they’re renting the van.

Eric: It’s like their friends van.

Andrea: Dreams destroyed! [laughter]

Eric: We’ll figure something out.

Andrea: So we’re still trying to think, I don’t know.

KP: Balloons would be a good way to go.

Andrea: I don’t know where you can get balloons at this hour though?

KP: Maybe like a CVS? They might have something.

Eric: Yeah, CVS has balloons.

Andrea: Hmmm..

Eric: We’ll investigate.

KP: So you guys just signed to Domino Records, are you allowed to talk about that yet?

Eric: Yeah we are. Its Domino Double Six.

KP: Is that US and UK?

Eric: No its just UK, and both EPs will be released on like a 2 CD package, separate CD’s, and then double vinyl as well in the UK and I think September 9th is the release date.

KP: Awesome, are you going to do a tour over there with that?

Eric: Yeah in late November we’re heading over there. The dates just got announced a week and a half ago. So yeah we’re really really excited; it’s our first time over there. Our keyboard player lived over there for a little while, for like two years when he was younger.

Andrea: But it’s our first!

Eric: But yeah it’s everyone else’s first time.

KP: That’s going to be fun, you’ll love the UK.

Andrea: Yeah, we want to go clubbing!

Eric: Yeah!

KP: So you guys know Mark Schoneveld of YVYNYL! 

E & A: Yes!

KP: He’s a good friend of mine.

Andrea: He’s pretty cute.

Eric: Handsome guy.

KP: How did you meet him?

Andrea: We met him around like Weathervane.

Eric: Yeah we were doing this thing before we went on tour, a couple of weeks before we went on tour, Weathervane Music. They let us come and they make a little movie about it but we got to record one new song that will be released I think this month?

Andrea: August.

Eric: Yeah sometime this month, but they put together a nice video of us in the studio. It’s a very cool thing they’re doing and Mark was hanging out.

Andrea: And he’s helping at our, one of our closest friends that probably that would’ve been another member of our band, John K.  He’s like one of our good friends we’ve had band practice with him before but it just didn’t work out. He was living in Bingumton, now he lives in Philly. But I have a feeling he would’ve been another member of our band. He kind of played with us before I think Brian moved back.

Eric: Yeah we weren’t really the band we were, he wasn’t playing with us.

Andrea: No we’re just practicing for a show or something like that.

Eric: John is great, he is one of our biggest influences, and we’re really really excited for his stuff to be put out.

Andrea: He has so much!

Eric: Mark is putting together his little compilation but there is so much up John’s sleeve. He has years of albums that are just fantastic. We’re really pumped.

KP: Yeah it’s interesting cause he has all his stuff up for free on Myspace, and when you download it it’s like 20 songs and they are all great.

Andrea: Yeah they’ve been out for a really long time.

Eric: It’s crazy.

KP: So, how did you guys get started?

Eric: Well Andrea and I were playing music together for a long time. I was 14, you were…

Andrea: 16.

KP: How old are you now?

Eric: I’m 20, she’s…

Andrea: 23, bleh…

Eric: I forgot for a second. We had a little duo. We had an EP, wrote songs, played shows together, got kinda bored.

Andrea: We always wanted to have a band and pretty much the other members were in bands, that were around in high school, and they were our favorite members of those bands. We’d always share each others songs and stuff like that, and then finally… when we started playing a show I was the drummer and Eric was singing, and we were just kinda throwing shows together because we were so bored and felt so useless that we started trying to record songs that were so old and just never recorded that we just ended up forming a band.

Eric: And that was the first EP.

Andrea: Just Happened. Yeah and that was the first EP.

Eric: … us forming together

Andrea: Those songs are so old.

KP: So, how did you meet all the other members?

Andrea: All the other members?

Eric: I met Brian. Brian is my friend of like very, very long since I was like 12. And we were in a band together.  I’ve been playing music with Brian forever. When he was 16 he joined a band with Gabe. They were both guitar players in this band on Long Island that we would play together with, Andrea and I.  Dev was in a separate band as well.

Andrea: Pretty much just playing shows.  And I used to stalk you because I thought you were soooo cute when I was younger.  So, I found you when you were playing your hardcore shows.  Thats how I met Brian and Eric.

Eric: Ahhaaa!  [blushes and laughs]

KPWhat is your creative process like?

Eric:  It varies. I think the majority of the songs begin as minute long instrumental things, where the vocal melody could be the bass line.

Andrea: Or sometimes it starts with the vocal melody and then adding music.  It’s really different overtime.  We let everyone have a pretty equal share.

Eric:  Yeah, everyone comes to the table with very equal things.  It can be a bit hard sometimes because everyone of us are very capable of bringing in a full song and say, “Here it is!” But its great.  We have no shortage of material. We have a lot to record!

KPWhat is it like being the only girl while you are on tour!

Andrea:  Ahaaaaaaah! [claps] Tour!!!  

Eric:  You hate it! You hate it!

Andrea: Oh my god!  I have little mental breakdowns.

Eric:  Luckily… I don’t think… I don’t think we are very manly though.  

Andrea: Uhhhhh, you guys are pretty manly!  I really miss my gay friends. I couldn’t do the tour with girls.  I feel like we would all go crazy. So it’s pretty good being with boys. But, it’s really hard showing up to shows and I see a bunch of girls who are all clean, and their hair is done and they’re all dressed up.  And I like that sort of thing.  It’s really hard living out of a duffel bag, getting dressed in the van, doing my make-up in a tiny little make-up mirror.  Other than that, they’re my best friends.  I love being with them and it’s a lot of fun. I lose it sometimes, but I try to keep it to myself. [laughs]  (to Eric)  How is it dealing with one little bratty girl?

Eric: … fun.  Naah, its fine.

Andrea:  They deal with me pretty well. And my little temper tantrums.  You know what it is? They aren’t very jockey guys… but they’re very nerdy.  So it’s kinda like being surrounded by a bunch of nerds! 


Andrea:  Always talking about things! And discussing things and planning things.  I just wanna go out and have some fun.

KPHow do you pass time in the van?

Andrea:  I just sleep.

Eric: Yeah, you sleep very, very well.

Andrea: I either drive, sleep, or pretend to sleep.  I do read comics, go on the internet.  Eat a whole lot.  I hope I don’t gain a lot of weight by the time I get back home.  I diet so different when I am on tour.  It’s really hard. No exercise.

KPWhat are the next steps for you guys?  Aside from Domino in the UK, what are the next things for Twin Sister in the US?

Eric:  Well, in September we’re basically going to have the month home.  Andrea is going to start putting together our first music video.  It’s going to be a lot of dancing so she’s gonna be practicing for that.

Andrea:  Gotta get in shape!


All Around and Away We Go from Twin Sister on Vimeo.

Eric:  As far as making new music, we’re gonna start working on some new material.

Andrea:  On an actual album!  Which I am so excited for.  We have two LPs, ya know? It’d be so much fun.  We have so much material to put out an actual album.  Now that we don’t have jobs, I feel like it will be a quicker process.  We can put all of our time and energy into making an album, and video.

Eric:  After September, we go on tour for October and November.  December, January, and February… maybe March we’ll have off to record.

KPWhen you return after a long tour, is it hard for you to adjust to being back home?

Eric:  Not really.  I remember last tour when I got home I just immediately cooked a big meal.  That’s one thing you really miss is cooking your own food.

Andrea:  I really miss my dog… My dog and I are really attached so when I come home, she’s a pug mix, so she kinda has an asthma attack she gets so excited that she starts [makes gasping noises] and she just falls on her side.  Its really hard leaving her.  I want to bring her on tour if I can have someone watch her during sets.  Even if its cooler in the van, but its so hot right now.

We stepped back inside and John joined the band in the green room to start the photoshoot.  I stayed at the bar to chat with Joe, the drummer for Bear in Heaven. “I should go see how John is doing with the shoot…” I recalled after some time.  As I turned the knob to the green room I could hear riotous laughter.  The door opened to reveal Brian suddenly turning towards the camera making a pouty sultry face.  Twin Sister KILLED the shoot.  The snarled, vogued, flipped their hair…  I have never seen a band be so comfortable and creative in front of the lens.  I was laughing so hard I started to tear up.

Twin Sister’s EPs are available on Bandcamp.  Check out their YVYNYL curated Shaking Through Session Here.