Dan Lambert – “Charley Town”

I just discovered the treasure trove of reissued goodness that is Numero Group Records, which is a label based in Chicago that focuses on putting out old/forgotten/under-appreciated/unknown cuts of music. What kind of music? That part doesn’t matter, as long as it’s good. They’re similar to Light In The Attic Records, in that they just put out a ton of stuff that they think deserves some light and love.

This particular track is the 12th song off of a compilation of solo guitar artists from the 60s and 70s. Super soulful, rich and lovely. I downloaded a bunch more compilations that I hope to get to soon, since I don’t have to listen to music for my job anymore. Also I don’t have a job! Woo! Hope you enjoy.

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Jamie xx – “Loud Places (ft. Romy)” & “Gosh” [2015]

To be honest, I’ve never truly been into The xx or any of their side-projects, Jamie xx included. He’s had a few tracks that I’ve dug a little bit, including some off of the collaboration with Gil Scott-Heron We’re New Here, but nothing has really WOWED me.

However, these two new tracks off of his upcoming album In Colour are breaking that trend. I’m very into both of them and the very different directions both take. “Loud Places” is a feel-good pop song with great vocals from Romy and a modern RnB backdrop. It’s also not super over the top electronic either, allowing the track to be at least more accessible to some.

The second, “Gosh” starts as a heady, grimy track with some signature deep, British sounding growls and deep bass. But wait a second, in the second half of the track, there’s this really euphoric melodic section that slides in real unassumingly. It starts as a bassy, deep synth melody that subtly ascends and totally changes the direction of the song. It just keeps going higher and higher until there’s some really blissful piano, bringing the track back into consciousness. I really like electronic tracks with a subtle narrative like that. Jamie xx could have just kept the “oh my GAWSH” grime beat from the beginning of the song and continued it for the whole thing, but he just slipped this cool, progressive melody that catches everyone off guard, all while the original grounding rhythm plays. It reminds me of Quirke’s track from last year “Break A Mirrored Leg,” if anything.

Definitely check these two out, highly recommended.

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Alice Cohen – “Cascading Keys” [2012]

I just recently delved into the world of now defunct(?? I hope not) record label Olde English Spelling Bee, a purveyor of weirdo ambient, electronic, pop, rock and folk records. Most of their catalog came from around 2009-2012, which in my mind make sense. That era of music for me, especially 2010, was super-saturated in slightly lo-fi synth pop projects that sites like Gorilla Vs. Bear and Altered Zones were eating up.

Alice Cohen’s 2012 album Pink Keys is one of my favorite discoveries. Glittery, strange bedroom pop with some awesome melodies and 80s retro synth action. Here’s the first track, “Cascading Keys.”

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Weekend – “Oubliette” [2013]

Sort of an outlier in Weekend’s catalog, at least the beginning and the chorus, since it brings in some really bright, dulcimer tones into the mix. The rest is usual Weekend, with dark, blazing post punk that I love. I feel like this band is constantly overlooked – definitely don’t sleep on these dudes.

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Chastity Belt – “Joke” [2015]

Coming in at a perfect time in my life, the new Chastity Belt record is now my go-to record for melodies tainted with jaded melancholy. Downtrodden yet catchy, laid back yet conscious enough to make a witticism or killer riff. This band is cool as heck.

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Kendrick Lamar – “Institutionalized” [2015]

I don’t really have the time to properly articulate my own words to describe my feelings toward this album, but in basic terms, it’s by and far a massive landmark in the realm of modern music as a whole, not only hip hop. I mean, mostly hip hop, but issues brought up on the album like these have been rarely tackled with this sort of grace and variety in other realms of music.  The album is incredible, basically, in pretty much every sense of the word and every musical sense. Lyrically, sonically, etc.

In related news, I applied for a dream internship today so let’s hope that that goes well!

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Sun Araw – “Beams” [2008]

This week I had my favorite long train ride from New Haven to NYC, a quick, two-hour ordeal, to go see Björk in Brooklyn. I put on a great album for traveling, Sun Araw’s Beach Head, a four-song psychedelic odyssey through hazy, exotic beaches and bayous. I usually would have gravitated to sharing the “hot-tubbiest” of the tracks, “Horse Steppin’,” but this time I thought I’d share this one, “Beams,” instead.

Why? Well once you get about four minutes into this song, you’ll realize why. There’s a thick, syrupy blues guitar line that pummels in and feels like a gooey waterfall rushing all down your face and all you can do is bob your head along with it. All the while there’s all this crazy psychedelic ambiance of guitar feedback and looping distortion happening in the background, which sounds totally improvised. I don’t do drugs but this kinda seems what it would sound like. Give me some feedback on that one.

Anyways, GROOVES. I described this type of music to my friend as “deeply psychedelic boogie beach jams,” which should hopefully interest you. Give it a listen.

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