What’s on My Playlist #4

For most college students, the workload at school ramps up around now. As Thanksgiving is the time of year people give thanks, I want to take the opportunity to give thanks to the music that keeps me going during these busy times.

“Arisen My Senses” by Björk

Björk’s newest album Utopia just came out and oh boy, one track in and it’s already a doozy. Gone is the gloom her beautiful album Vulnicura inhabited, replaced by an air of euphoria and ecstasy. Readily as ever, she wraps her voice around sweeping arrangements of synth and harp, recalling her previous work on the spectacular Vespertine. I’ll be reviewing the album in full soon, so stay tuned, but I can definitely say Utopia is off to a fantastic start.

“Dum Surfer” by King Krule

I mentioned this song in my article on records you can find at Graywhale; needless to say, it’s a spectacular take off King Krule’s new album The Ooz. If Archy’s distinct vocals or the layers of atmospheric effects don’t immediately pull you in, the saxophone definitely will. It’s the kind of tune that’s immediately catchy but has enough layers to keep your interest long past first listen.

“List of People (To Try And Forget About)” by Tame Impala

Speaking of music I’m grateful for, Tame Impala released a collection of b-sides and remixes that pleasantly surprised me. “List of People” in particular boasts the best qualities of band’s last release Currents plus some; it sports the same brilliant production and killer drumlines from Currents in addition to one of Kevin Parker’s best vocal melodies. The song has time to breath too, with a tasteful, understated ending that assures I won’t forget about this song anytime soon.

“If She Wants Me” by Belle and Sebastian

Understatement also happens to be a particularly appealing quality of Belle and Sebastian. Rather than dipping in and out of understated passages, however, the band sits in them. The resulting music feels deeply intimate, like stepping into a room with the band itself. Despite this, “If She Wants Me” is a big song for Belle and Sebastian, touting an organ and a majestic accompaniment by violins, creating a song both grand and charming.

“Extrasolar” by Baths

After reading a fascinating article about Baths on Kotaku, I decided to give his newest album Romaplasm a listen. While the whole album is an enjoyable listen, “Extrasolar” immediately caught my attention. Pianos chime and strings stir in the back of the mix, building into beautiful crescendos. Atop the instrumentation, Will Wiesenfeld creates beautiful harmonies with his vocals. “Come what may, we’re on our way” he sings over the chorus, a fitting mantra for getting through the end of the semester.

What’s On My Playlist? #3

There are certain songs that you can never get enough of. We listen to them over and over till we have every minor detail memorized. These are a couple of my favorite songs that I have been listening to recently.

“I Need A Forest Fire” by James Blake, Bon Iver

“I Need A Forest Fire” was released in May of last year on James Blake’s album The Colour in Anything. Blake teams up with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver on this heart-wrencher. Their similar music styles yet distinct voices mix perfectly providing an interesting texture. A loop-pedal, electric drums, and a synth are all these musicians need as they plead for a forest fire, a restart.

“Tap Water Drinking” by Lewis Del Mar

Lewis Del Mar is an experimental rock duo from NYC. They combine simple, often single note, acoustic guitar melodies with heavy distortion, electronic beats, and Danny Miller’s spoken word style lyrics. “Tap Water Drinking” is about a sexual relationship between two people. The song starts off innocent and simple but soon grows darker, heavier, and more distorted. This symbolizes how relationships sometimes get out of hand and become destructive.

“Rattlesnake” by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

“Rattlesnake” is the psychedelic rock band’s 8-minute opening song to their album Flying Microtonal Banana. This song and album use modded guitars as they explore the world of microtonal tuning. “Rattlesnake” takes you into the desert where the familiar rattle is lurking around every corner. Don’t get lost because the serpent is always there waiting to strike.

“Carin at the Liquor Store” by The National

Released earlier this year, “Carin at the Liquor Store” is another National song that hits you deep down. The namesake of the song is lead singer Matt Berninger‘s wife, Carin. An elegant piano melody accompanies Berninger singing in his unmistakable baritone, “blame it on me.” By the time the guitar solo comes you’re already in tears. What more can you ask for from music?

“Oceans” by Seafret

It’s been said that all you need is a guitar, 3 chords, and the truth. This indie-folk duo from the U.K. doesn’t use much more than that on their 2016 track “Oceans”. Sounds of crashing waves and dripping water fill the background. Vocalist Jack Sedman sings, “I want you… but it feels like there’s oceans between you and me.” This song tells us that love is complicated and sometimes it doesn’t work how we imagine.

“Dissolve” by Private Island

The indie-rock band from Southern California delivers wonders on this jam. A fantastic guitar melody reals you in, and the passionate vocals seal the deal. The lyrics tell the story of an ending relationship. They sing, “take me back now,” and “when they say your name, they can watch me, watch them, watch me dissolve.”

“Sun in Your Eyes” by Grizzly Bear

“Sun in Your Eyes” is the last song on the psychedelic folk album Shields (2012). The song slowly builds 3 different times with subtle repetition and slight variance. Each time it gets bigger and better. The lyrics, “I’m never coming back”, are repeated multiple times. By the end of the song, you’ll be asking yourself if you can ever go back to who you were before it began.