Friday, October 10, 2014

Some Music I Liked This Week


When my copy of The Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs arrived in the mail a few weeks ago, Merge Records included a copy of their fall music sampler CD. And when I'm driving, the frequency with which I use my iPad to listen to podcasts or my iPod for tunes makes my CD player sort of a novelty. But since that sampler arrived, I've found myself listening to it over and over again. One, because my CDs automatically repeat and two, because Merge's catalog is full of great artists.

"Can't Do Without You" by Caribou was the lead track and, admittedly, it didn't catch my attention at first. In fact, the first time I listened to the sampler, I skipped over it after about 30 seconds. But with each subsequent listen, I found myself drawn to this track more and more. Our Love came out earlier this week and it's exactly the type of album I needed to shrink a large to-do list.


Ramsey Lewis

Last week, I finally purchased a new record player from Total Drag. For months, my old record player was playing a beat slow, which, if you're listening to music you don't know very well, is just fine. But when you want to throw on one of your favorite records, it's enough to make you want to flip a table, especially when there's no way to fix it. Hopefully that problem is behind me, because my new turntable is far more advanced than the old system.

With nothing to do last weekend, I decided to settle in with a good book and christen the Technics with my entire instrumental music collection. It was perfectly suitable background music until I got to a Ramsey Lewis record that I've maybe only played once before. "Les Fleur," in particular, jolted me from my book and sent me straight to Wikipedia to learn more about who I was listening to. It turns out he's a pretty incredible jazz composer and pianist who's still actively touring. Who knows, maybe I'll see him live in the near future.


Me Vs. Yo

I don't have to tell anyone in South Dakota about Eli Show or We All Have Hooks For Hands. But for my friends back home in Minnesota, first, listen to Hooks. Second, listen to this tune from Eli's new project, Me Vs. Yo. Third, check out the rest of the talented musicians who are showcased by the refreshing White Wall Sessions, produced right here in Sioux Falls.


10 Most Influential Albums

Liz Nissen over at Total Drag pulled me into a list that's been making its rounds on Facebook this week. Friends have been asking each other to post ten albums that had a profound influence on them. Most of the folks who have shared their lists so far are also working musicians, so reviewing their selections has been interesting, especially considering what I know about their own music. But since I'm not making my own music, I had to think carefully about what this list would look like to me, because "influential" albums is much different than "favorite" albums.

So what I decided to do is post ten albums that served as gateway albums to the broad range of music I enjoy today. And for me, my musical awakening didn't really begin until the latter half of high school. So, if it helps put these in perspective, that was about ten years ago.

1. Led Zeppelin: IV
2. Bright Eyes: Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground
3. Animal Collective: Strawberry Jam
4. The Blood Brothers: ...Burn, Piano Island, Burn!
5. Cursive: Ugly Organ
6. Devendra Banhart: Cripple Crow
7. Modest Mouse: Good News For People Who Love Bad News
8. The Avett Brothers: Emotionalism
9. Ween: Pure Guava
10. Jay-Z: The Black Album

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