In this time of difficulty and challenge, there are not many places to turn. When I can discover what brings me peace and joy, then I should take the opportunity to embrace it. There is one thing in particular that brings me joy, and that is music. It’s been a long-standing salve for my suffering. And there’s always plenty of music to discover.
What’s on my playlist today? In no particular order.
- Kali Malone, The Sacrifical Code. Peaceful organ music from this American-living-in-Sweden composer. Discovered through the recent Thom York zine.
- Elbow, Giants of All Sizes. I’ve always been an Elbow fan and this new release has just landed in my queue. Comfortable and happy pop music.
- Tambour, Constellations. Modern classical discovered through one of my favorite music podcasts – Hypnagogue. Lands between classical and ambient.
- Ben Vince and Jacob Samuel, I’ll Stick Around. Experimental jazz. Horns and piano.
- Mario Diaz de Leon, Cycle and Reveal. Another classical release with Latin flavors. Flute and xylophone.
- The Comet is Coming, The Afterlife. Following the first track, which is a mix of jazz and hip-hop, the album moves into a more experimental jazz release. By the time I get to the second half, and near the end, I want it to keep goin.
- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Ghosteen. Nick can’t go wrong in my book. This melancholy and peaceful release from the Bad Seeds has beautifully crafted lyrics with common Nick Cave themes.
- Laurie Anderson and Tenzin Choegyal, Songs from the Bardo. A meditation on death. Chants and gongs. Violin. Soft and touching voice. The Heart Sutra track is great!
- Jenny Hval, The Practice of Love. A new favorite. Reminds me a bit of Kate Bush. Sweet melodies. Deep lyrics exploring the earth, being childless, and relationships. Favorite track so far is “High Alice”.
- Barker, Utility. Electronica.
- Patrick Watson, Wave. Waiting for the full release, but four songs out now on Apple Music. Lyrical and melodic.
- Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Bryce Dessner, When We Were Human. A typical low-key release of songs. Sparse.
- Tool, Fear Inoculum. Nothing quite like a 15-minute prog-rock song. Check out “Invincible”.
- Bedouin, Bird Songs of a Killjoy. Reminiscent of early 70s folk music of the greats.
- Jonsi, Lost and Found. From the Sigor Ros musician, this release is ambient and electronic. No voice.
- Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan. But if you have to start with one, put down Blood on the Tracks. You won’t be disappointed.
- Black Pumas, Black Pumas. Plain and simple blues with a modern flair. It doesn’t disappoint. Seeing these guys at the Lodge Room on October 24.
- Bon Iver, i,i. Experimental pop music with deep and dark lyrics and wacky sounds. Be surprised and happy.
- The National, I am Easy to Find. Love and relationships. Sophisticated and fulfilling.
- Thom Yorke, Anima. From the frontman of Radiohead we get a mix of pop and electronica. Maybe even dance a little
Oh, I also have Ryuichi Sakamoto, serpentwithfeet, and Zola Jesus playing as I prepare for a live show on October 18 at the Ace Theatre in Los Angeles.
That’s probably enough of a list for now. So pick up your player, cleanup the turntable, head to the record store.
I hope you find something here you like. Or at least be inspired to play some music of your own.