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Showing posts from September, 2017

Not Dark Yet - Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer

from the album Not Dark Yet (2017)

For me, listening to Bob Dylan is a little like a journey through the fun house. with mirrors distorting reality at every turn.  The genius of Dylan is that in these abstractions, the listener realizes truths and feelings that would not have otherwise synthesized.

Then in 1997, Dylan released Time Out Of Mind, an incredible album where he removes the mirrors and bares himself for a brief moment.  By his next record, Love & Theft, the distorting mirrors had returned.

Not Dark Yet is the centerpiece of Time Out Of Mind.  Here, Dylan looks at his life and acknowledges that he may not live long enough to experience all he desires.

Shadows are falling and I been here all day
It's too hot to sleep and time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I've still got the scars that the sun didn't let me heal
There's not enough room enough to be anywhere
It's not dark yet, but its getting there

Well my sense of humanity is going dow…

No. 5 Hurricane - Emily Barker

from the album Sweet Kind Of Blue (2017)

No. 5 Hurricane is a song that I intended to write about a few weeks ago.  However, in the build-up and wake of Harvey - and then Irma - it seemed obvious and inappropriate.  I try to avoid being obvious.

A lesson from these storms is just how beautiful my friends in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Georgia are.  I've witnessed them offering their homes to neighbors, rescuing animals, keeping an eye on the elderly, and being warm, decent human beings.  Hooray !!!

No. 5 Hurricane is a song from Emily Barker, a singer-songwriter from Western Australia whose music blends Americana and Folk with a sixties pop sensibility.  The song is sparse and tender.  Its lyrics inform a former lover that - despite being in someone else's arms - their memory is on her mind.

The visual imagery of the opening line mesmerizes me:

I remember when the shadows moved across your skin

As the song evolves, other lyrical imagery strikes me, evoking beautiful memories. …

2017 In Aspic - Episode 4

Episode 4 chronicles some of the great new music I discovered over the Summer of 2017.  It is unlike any summer mix I have ever created.  In some ways, it doesn't sound summery at all.

But this is certainly the soundtrack of the last few months.  Indie, alternative, folk, rhythm & blues, experimental, soul, shoegaze.  Australia, New Zealand, South America, North America, Europe.  Eclectic particles from lesser known artists spanning the globe, all coming together, forming an unexpectedly cohesive vibe.

And there is even a new Cat Stevens song in the mix !!!

Hope you dig it.


Here is the playlist:

Puss by Party Dozen

Feeling Good About Feeling Good by Art Feynman

Drive by Mere Women

Forgot Myself by Jen Cloher

Silver by Waxahatchee

Believe by Benjamin Booker

Blackness Of The Night by Yusef / Cat Stevens

Let It Melt by Danxia

Tuyo (Tema De Narcos) by Bïa & Mamselle Ruiz

Kowabunga by Jono Das

Every Part (For Linda) by Moonchild

Indigo Children by Deafcult

Violet by See Through Dresses

Hor…

Horizon - Aldous Harding

from the album Party (2017)

Regardless of whether it is a gift from God or a validation of Mendel, there is no musical instrument more stirring than a gifted human voice.  Think of a great Irish tenor or an operatic star, like Pavarotti.  Their voices can touch you at your core and inspire you like few others things I know.

In terms of popular music, great care needs to be given to the musical accompaniment of a gifted voice.  It must be complimentary, never stealing the spotlight.  This is certainly a situation where less is more.

Aldous Harding is an incredible vocalist from Lyttelton, New Zealand.  She considers her style of music to be gothic folk, a perfectly accurate and unique categorization.  I could hear her singing in either a grand European cathedral, or a Greenwich Village café.

On Horizon, one of many fantastic tunes on her sophomore release, the twenty-seven year old singer is accompanied by a simple piano playing whole-notes and an orchestration track of slowly drawn st…

Violet - See Through Dresses

from the album Horse Of The Other World (2017)

I dig the shoegaze vibe.  Songs drenched in reverb with heavy synths, predictable grooves, and pleasant vocals.  It makes for perfect listening when my head is stuck in a burnt-out fog and I am trying to find structure in the chaos of the day.  Having a buzz on also helps.

My frustration with the genre is that I always find myself hearing the influences of other artists inside a song's framework.  This sometimes distracts my ear from appreciating the music at hand, instead I'm racking my brain, trying to identify the musical influence.

Such is the case with the song Violet from the Nebraska-based shoe gaze outfit, See Through Dresses.  The song grabs me from its opening measure with overdriven synths and pulsing bass.  The drums are tight without being busy, fitting right in with the vibe.  Guitars are present, but subliminal.

Then there are the vocals of Mathew Carroll, tender and thoughtful, slightly hushed, more about the vibe …

Indigo Children - Deafcult

from the album Auras (2017)

Deafcult are a shoegaze band from Brisbane, Australia.  I always dig listening to them, not simply for the shoegaze, but for all the cool variations from other genres that they weave inside the framework.

A great example is the song Indigo Children.  The tune begins with a bit of pop punch, reminiscent of The Cranberries, before settling into the gaze.  But as the song evolves, just listen to the guitar playing.  It is outstanding how it weaves between gaze, pop, and classic rock.  Same for the drumming.

If you have high-quality headphones, I recommend them for your listen.  All of the parts are clear, true, and play well together.  Delightful.

Click Here to listen to Indigo Children by Deafcult on Bandcamp.

Every Part (For Linda) - Moonchild

from the album Voyager (2017)

I tend to perpetually groove across a variety of musical genres, twisting that kaleidoscope of vibes back and forth, tuning in curious intersections of multi-dimensional soundscapes, and dancing in their ever-changing light.

So why the fuck have I not been listening to any Neo Soul this year?  Somehow, its groove simply isn't aligning with my mood.  What does that say about me?  Too much tequila?  Not enough Drambuie?  Too uptight to chill?  I must be out of whack.

For me, Neo Soul lives somewhere in the space between sex - and sexy - music.  Bossa Nova is romantic.  Lovers Rock quenches the late-night groove.  Neo Soul is different.  It is less pure, with a stanky whiff of decadence

I guess I haven't found myself in that kind of place lately.  Too bad.

I'm hoping Every Part (For Linda) by Moonchild gets me back on that path.  The beat.  The groove.  The high-register serpentine vocals.  Darken the room.  Light the candle.  Turn up the bass.  …