Every day on instagram, I post a record photo, an audio snippet and a mini statement about the record on display. And since all I really know about is music, I figured I’d share here weekly. I’m not here to tell anyone that my taste is better or that I somehow have more knowledge, I just really enjoy music of all kinds and love to share in hopes of generating discussion. Sure, I have my thoughts on albums, songs, labels and artists, but would love to simply talk more about it with any and all interested. If you continue reading, thank you for your time. If you’ve already moved on, thank you for stopping by.
In a week that has seen some things happen, maybe even not happen, we still end up at Sunday. The day where we realize, “Well, we’re here. Again.” It’s been a rather tame week for me, but almost legit sky-is-falling for many around me. I guess it wasn’t so bad being the eye of the hurricane rather than the destruction.
I’m not going to waste a ton of time with an intro.
To the vinyl!
July 22, 2018
Four Tet — Pink
Four Tet is a name that has made decent-sized waves in the dance/house music space. Rounds from 2003 is still the one that many recall at the mention of the Kieran Hebden moniker. Sure, it’s a towering statement with both its choice and use of samples on top of being musically sublime. Pink from 2012 is the one I go to most simply because it was a force propelling me forever forward at a time where I was burnt out to the point I actually thought about just shutting everything down. I was just about to start my second year of X-ray school, which I was doing full-time while working every single weekend for the past year and change at that point. My song choice here, “Pyramid,” was particularly helpful with its looping “I remember how you walked away” sound bite over a four on the floor stomp. Who knew the melancholia of recollection could be the driving force forward? Not me, but I’m thankful it was.
July 23, 2018
Bob Dylan — Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits
I don’t like Bob Dylan compilations outside of the long-running Bootleg Series. Mainly because their intent is merely the “easy” way to understand the greatest songwriter since the inception of rock and roll. Yes, it’s great to have “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” all in one place. I also won’t cook up beef with those who only want those songs. But having been pulled in to his albums and his overall story, it’s really difficult for me to listen to a hits package of his and not cringe. I have this record for the sole reason of the song I chose, “Positively 4th Street.” This is actually a venomous diss track aimed at those who betray, who latch on till they get what they need and bounce. This is one of those songs that I think found me rather than I found it. No, it’s not some secret, some hidden special diamond in a sea of precious stones that is the man’s career. It is the man using his gift to adequately call out those that may have done wrong by him and probably my favorite song of his.
July 24, 2018
The Flamin’ Groovies — Groovies’ Greatest Grooves
Sometimes, I actually ask myself “what is rock and roll?” In 2018, that can be a difficult thing to nail down. There’s always the part of me that says, “why get bogged down with definitions and putting things into boxes?” What does any of this actually matter? I’m not so sure. However, the only way to describe the music of Flamin’ Groovies is rock and roll. Sure, the aforementioned conflict may negate that statement, but I have no other words. They’re not punk. They’re too dirty to be power pop. They’re a couple decades late for skiffle. They incorporate the blues textures very similarly to Zeppelin and Sabbath, but with the aim at ear worms rather than macabre, face-melting volume. Groovies’ Greatest Grooves has some of the more crowd-pleasing rock music that most have just not heard. I envy anyone who comes to this band for the first time.
July 25, 2018
Nas — Illmatic
Nas is easily one of the greatest MCs of all time. There’s not much else that can really be said. Illmatic may not blow newcomers today away at first glance, but examining it for its sample choice and usage as well as the quality of beats within shows its still ahead of much of today’s heaviest hitters. That’s before you look at the work of the man himself. Nas has a delivery that’s deceptively straightforward. As was the state of hip-hop at the time, it was about the usage of the bars. As somewhat of an aspiring writer, I’d kill for the ability to evoke anything in a manner half as adept as Nas. Even the audio accompaniment here goes a distance. It’s the intro to the album, “The Genesis,” a song with no actual rapping. It evokes a group of people ready to call out some garbage until Nas plainly states, “That’s the shit, god.” Immediately, everyone involved is now on board. East coast hip-hop is not what it is without Illmatic.
July 26, 2018
Fleet Foxes — Helplessness Blues
If I had to pick the prettiest albums of the last 20 years, this band would have their entire catalogue in. Frontman Robin Pecknold’s voice is angelic. The way that, over the course of 2 EPs and 3 albums, this band arranges vocal harmonies and refines their lyrics with the use of metaphor and allegory, it’s difficult to imagine a universe where I wouldn’t love this band. It may have taken them 5+ years to follow up Helplessness Blues, but the wait ended up being more than worth it. But their second album is the towering exemple of greatness that of which this group is more than capable. Fleet Foxes are special . I hope the wait for album 4 isn’t long, but I trust them enough to wait and I’ll just keep spinning their other albums gladly in the meanwhile.
July 27, 2018
Beirut — The Flying Club Cup
Continuing with beautiful voices, Zach Condon’s baritone may very well need to find a way to be preserved. The way that man rides a melody with it is actually something to behold as it is completely disarming. Throw it over instrumentation that seems more appropriate for the France of yesteryear and you have an album that is an ever-rewarding listen. Not to belabor the point, but throughout the Beirut oeuvre, one comes for the creativity in the music, but stays for that wonderful voice. Seriously. Gulag Orkestar, The Rip Tide, and No No No all play out like postcards from different countries in different times for the world to enjoy.
July 28, 2018
Dangerdoom — The Mouse and the Mask
My love for MF Doom cannot be overstated. There’s not one rapper I’d love to simply have a conversation about hip-hop with. I feel like that would just be a good time. I also think that there may not be rapper that actually pays as close attention as he does. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sure I see the man dropping a hot trap track filled with triplets a la Migos or 2 Chains, but I think he is behind that mask plotting his course 4 to 7 moves ahead while the rest of us pass time. In 2004, he dropped 3 landmark albums in Mm… Food, Vaudeville Villain, and Madvillainy. The world has not caught up. My choice here, 2006’s Mouse and the Mask from Dangerdoom (he and Danger Mouse) was his victory lap for 2004 as well as a display of skill in rapping about cartoons (see the myriad of Adult Swim references) without becoming one. Doom is amazing!
To quote Queen, “and another one gone / another one gone / another one bites the dust.”
What are you listening to, loving or hating? I want to know.
Banana and out!