Greylist - Personal Space

Yoni Rekem
July 16, 2021

This piece is part of the Greylists series: communities sharing the music that brings them together.

Personal Space doesn’t need you to like them, but you probably will anyway. The four-piece indie band out of Brooklyn regularly experiments with irregular time signatures in their songs, and yet somehow they’re always danceable. They write lyrics about recyclables, name drop Marcus Aurelius, and use words like “supine” in their hooks, but just you try and stop yourself from belting it out with them the second time it comes around. If there is one thing that is most remarkable about them, it is how they allow themselves to follow their own sense of musical curiosity while never alienating their listeners.

Sam Rosenthal and Henry Koehler released their first EP The Early Universe Was Entirely Opaque in 2014 (incidentally, this was also the band’s original name). Two years later, the current lineup of Personal Space solidified as Alex Silva and Jesse Chevan joined to record the band’s official debut LP. That album, Ecstatic Burbs, was released to critical acclaim, featuring a post-punk/progressive-pop sound that had many likening them to outfits like The Dismemberment Plan and Failure. This March, they released the followup, A Lifetime of Leisure.

Recorded at the highly-regarded Figure 8 Recording studio in Brooklyn, ALOL features a band that has softened and matured in the four year interim since Ecstatic Burbs came out. Rather than the sentimentality of childhood and harsh realities of a post-college adulthood, A Life of Leisure uses a darker, more nuanced palette to paint its portraits of the everyday experiences of disparate millennial characters. “Supine (and feeling fine),” the catchy lead single, is an especially potent examination of listlessness. “Goodbye to a lifetime of leisure,” Rosenthal sings with a voice that can sometimes take on a whispery, Elliott Smith-like quality, “goodbye paralyzed guys masquerading as overachievers.”

Personal Space is playing next Friday, July 23rd, at Berlin in NYC so if you’re in the area, swing by and check them out! I guarantee you won’t regret it.

For their Greylist, Personal Space shared 10 songs that showcase the breadth of their musical influences.

1. “Ya Se Ha Muerto Mi Abuelo,” Juaneco Y Su Combo

2. “Hey Denise,” Ilian

3. “Lovely,” Spud Cannon

4. “Monkberry Moon Delight,” Paul and Linda McCartney

5. “Extremely Bad Man,” Shintaro Sakamoto

6. “The Old Man’s Back Again (Dedicated To the Neo-Stalinist Regime),” Scott Walker

7. “New York Time,” Andy Cook

8. “Miki Dora,” Amen Dunes

9. “Feeling Good About Feeling Good,” Art Feynman

10. “March of Progress,” Preoccupations


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