This is the most exciting album I’ve heard in a little bit. For sure, really.
These are just some lists of culture I encountered this year that I really liked and am happy to recommend to you. It’s not even all from 2017, necessarily. Back in the day, I used to create massive, well-considered lists. It was quite a joy for me. Ha! I guess I didn’t have enough to do!
Any strong recommendations from your 2017?
– Susso, Keira – Oh please, please, please listen to this record. I love it so much. (Even it is from 2016.)
– Four Tet, New Energy
– Juana Molina, Halo
– Thurston Moore, Rock n Roll Consciousness
– Jlin, Black Origami
– St. Vincent, Masseduction
– Binker & Moses, Journey To The Mountain Of Forever
– Milk Music, Mystic 100s
– Fleet Foxes, Crack-Up
– Kelly Lee Owens
…we were taking perfectly normal songs and making them hard to listen to.”
Carrie Brownstein, in Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, explains why Sleater-Kinney is my artistic ideal.
One of the better things I’ve ever written is this review of Van Halen’s new album for The Agit Reader.
The Caretaker returns with a long-in-the-making soundtrack to acclaimed filmmaker Grant Gee’s documentary about German writer WG Sebald. ‘Patience (After Sebald)’ is a multi-layered film essay on landscape, art, history, life and loss – an exploration of the work and influence of German writer WG Sebald (1944-2001), told via a long walk through coastal East Anglia tracking his most famous book ‘The Rings Of Saturn’. The source material for ‘Patience’ was sourced from Franz Schubert’s 1827 piece ‘Winterreise’ and subjected to his perplexing processes, smudging and rubbing isolated fragments into a dust-caked haze of plangent keys, strangely resolved loops and de-pitched vocals which recede from view as eerily as they appear.
If you’re looking for something to light your fire, here’s a decent place to start.
I used to spend a ton of time making big, long lists of my favorite everything – books, music, movies, etc. – and I took great joy in keeping those lists up-to-date. If you poke around on this site, you can find remnants of all that.
Anyway, in 2011, I was passionate about a few things. Here are some of them. [Read more…]
There’s something going on with me & Spotify. It has changed my music consumption habits.
If you look at my Spotify, you’ll see a whole bunch of playlists. I really like making playlists, and I find it an effective way to collect music I wanna listen to a lot, as well as music I wanna listen to later. Part of my great frustration in life is my omnivorous interest in cultural content. I’ll read a book about almost anything and I’m interested in almost all music, at least to the extent that I wanna know what it’s about and what it’s for, even if I’m just gonna disregard it thereafter.
So, my iTunes is full of lists of my favorite artists. I’ll take the tame to cull the 30 best At the Drive-In songs into a list, for example, or collect everything Low’s released since The Great Destroyer, to study it all as a whole. I also have a series of playlists labeled “TODAY” with an attached date. Those are just collections of a lot of recent acquisitions that I haven’t wholly absorbed. And I export these playlists so I have these little peeks into what I was interested at any given time in the past few years. For example, “TODAY 7.19.11” (the most recent one) has 259 songs, including Adele, Austra, the Father’s Children re-issue, an old Pretty Lights mix, and that newer Bon Iver album which I still wasn’t sure I liked.
Anyway … that’s iTunes, where I spend money on albums. (Though I sometimes get them for free thanks to my Agit Reader involvement.) It’s mostly recent music and I’m usually using it to figure out what’s cool among the many new releases demanding attention. And the playlists are very utilitarian.
On Spotify, however, my lists are usually more creative and contain almost entirely old music. I started using Spotify in the Plaza Suite of an airport hotel outside of Chicago (I’m not rich. I just got there late and it’s all they had left.) Thus, my first Spotify playlist is titled “Plaza Suite 7.17.11,” and it’s full of the music I was in the mood for that night. (If you’re interested, you can check it out right here.) In North Carolina, I made one called “Wake Up Megadeth.” Guess what. It’s full of Megadeth songs and I use it sometimes to wake up. “The Clash in 60 Minutes” is meant to give the listener a deep appreciation for the breadth of that’s bands talents – in only 60 minutes. I’ve got a great Dylan list for for non-Dylan fans, but he’s not really on Spotify yet. (Remember Lulu? I plugged the Dylan playlist right into my blog. That was a great service. Apple bought it and supposedly they were going to replicate that feature, but it hasn’t happened yet.)
More than that, though, I’ve got lists full of Jazz and classical. I’ve pulled out my favorite recordings of Shostakovich’s quartets to have on-hand at all times. I’ve used Spotify to comb through dozens and dozens of old jazz albums I’d never heard to pick out some gems. That’s harder to do on iTunes, since even the 90 second preview don’t lend themselves to the deeper nuances of deciding which Dexter Gordon tracks are really worth your time. I’ve gained a deeper appreciation of Yusef Lateef, whose output varies greatly in style, clarity, and quality. There’s no way I was going to spend the money necessary to sort through it all on iTunes, but Spotify is a no-risk proposition.
And so I’ve noticed that not only is Spotify really useful in that way, but it also prevents me from (or frees me from) indulging my pretensions to being a well-informed music-snob. Logging into iTunes each week, I’d usually pick out a couple of new releases that seemed to have the potential to become essential. Logging into Spotify, only ask, “What do I want to listen to right now?” Increasingly, what’s new has little to do with it.
(Which is kinda like how I don’t go to the movies anymore. When I stopped worrying about knowing what movies were good or cool or whatever, I lost a lot of interest. I know that says something unfortunate about me. Alas and alack.)
(Which also relates to Chris Brogan’s great post about “Why You’re Not As Successful as You Want To Be.” Hint: stop worrying that you’re going to miss something.)
Of course, as I write this, I’ve got iTunes open and I’m listening to Zola Jesus’s newest, both because it’s great for the coffee shop, and because I need to decide if it’ll be on my top ten list this year. Go figure.
This video is amazing, and not just cause they’re from Columbus.
I love this Radio Dept. song, and the little art filmthey made to go with it is great, too. This has been a great year for music, in my humble opinion, and this record makes me feel good all over, but detached, too. I like that.
I have to turn in my top 10 albums of the year list to the Agit Reader tomorrow, so I’ve been ruminating on some of my favorite records of the year. Here are just a few tracks that have really stuck with me.