Relatedly, a lot of people have asked me “What kind of music are you going to listen to with your kid?” My easy, and honest, answer is “Whatever I’m listening to.” A kid could do a lot worse than get brought into a world where Yes and James Blake are on the daily regimen. What is more interesting, however, is how my listening may be affected by the presence of a musically impressionable newborn. I think Indian music is the solution, just to get those microtonal ragas and solkattu in there before the media gets a grip on her. We'll see....
Here’s what went through the player this month. As usual, if there is an available example, I tried to include it in the playlist. This is the new 21st century mostly family-friendly mixtape, delivered right to your inbox, so set it up and check it out in the background some afternoon.
Battles - Gloss Drop: The first half to three quarters of Gloss Drop are really, really strong, but the focus seems to drop off at a certain point. I’m still a Battles fan, but they just aren’t the same without Tyondai.
Mouse on the Keys - An Anxious Object: This album has a lot more depth than the Sezzions EP, so I think it may come in and out of the player a lot in the coming months. It also has great packaging, by the way – totally worth getting hardcopy.
Other Lives - Tamer Animals: A sublimely lush and well-crafted piece of contemporary symphonic psychedelia. It’s early in Other Lives’ career, and I am wondering how they plan to proceed after such an impressive work.
Hooray for Earth - True Loves: This album has ended up sticking to my ribs in the most peculiar way. A must for fans of New Order-esque synth-pop.
Field Music – Measure: I really can’t say anything more about this album than check it out. It’s quite possibly a masterpiece that, in its own way, rivals Jellyfish in their heyday (that’s right, I said it).
Yes - Fly from Here: Yes fans are fighting like rabid dogs over this one - they can be worse than superhero fanboys in their own way. I prefer just to enjoy the movie, y'know?
James Blake – This self-titled debut is so compelling that it made the other things I was listening to sound dumb. It’s both expressive and alienating, and certainly worth wider attention.
Ebu Gogo – Worlds: Sort of a prog tribute to the Super Mario Brothers soundtrack. Worlds has a lot of technique and detail, but never strays too far from its playful essence.
Fictionist - Lasting Echo: Fictionist is a jammy pop band that came through the feed a little while back. They are not too bad, but also have not stood out too much as of yet.
Christian Scott – Anthem: I don’t think that this particular album is the 21st century’s Kind of Blue. I do think, however, that Scott may have that in him at some point in the future.
Deadmau5 – 4 X 4 = 12: It was not my intention to give 4 X 4 = 12 a bad rap in my previous post, because there are several tracks I genuinely like. I will say the “fast forward” sometimes looks inviting, though.
Isis - Wavering Radiant: This one may have to simmer for awhile. Although it currently has my attention, I often wonder why – still, it has its moments.
The Sword - Warp Riders: I don’t know why I didn’t think about getting this back into play earlier this summer. For those who like to rock, it’s a no-brainer.
Brahmah – Brahmah is a cross-cultural music ensemble comprised of UNT faculty. I was fortunate enough to study under all of these musicians in back in the day, and this album beautifully showcases their individual mastery and collective flexibility.
Serj Tankian - Elect the Dead: A killer hard-rock protest album from a few years ago by the lead singer of System of a Down. This one probably needs its own retrospective-style posting someday.