Finding and hearing new music is one of the great sensory pleasures of life – as satisfying as stroking a purring cat or eating a wonderful meal. There are scads of very rewarding places to find new music, (some are discussed briefly at the end of this post,) and lately there’s been a spate of fine new tunes to discover – including music from this fine fellow.
Listen to this song from The Arcs. It was released late last week and I must have played it a twenty times already – I seriously can’t get enough of it. It was inspired by the case of a Wisconsin man who spent 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Beyond the lyrics, it has beautiful minor chords and a tempo that puts me in the mind of a slightly rocked up version of Jobim’s Girl from Ipanema. It is dreamy and addictive – simply slaying. It is as if the guitars are programmed to make you sway and swoon. I am going to listen to it again right now.
Lake Superior by The Arcs.
Thanks to pal Andy Agena for hipping me to this: Tim Gane of Stereolab formed an exciting new collaborative project called Cavern of Anti-Matter in 2013. A triple LP is due next month and guests include Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox and Sonic Boom from Spacemen 3. They’ve offered up over twelve minutes of new material that has the same propulsive and varied electronic invention that Stereolab delivered for about two decades.
The piece linkable below is all instrumental, (the multi-signature sound of Stereolab was wedded to the inimitable vox of Laeticia Sadier, and the dear, late Mary Hansen,) but Gane mines the gamut of instruments and apparatus to satisfy your craving for groovy syncopation and hooky drone.
Tardis Cymbals by Cavern of Anti-Matter from the upcoming full-length void beats / invocation trex (due 19 February 2016 Duophonic).
The four-piece band Savages are the answer to the question, “Where has the intensity gone?” Three English players and an almost unbelievably ferocious French singer deliver a thoroughly potent mix of post punk that channels Joy Division. I am so eager for their new release that is expected later this month.
The Answer by Savages from Adore Life (due 22 January 2016 Matador).
The artist whose name appears most frequently on this blog is David Bowie’s. His broad range of magical, seemingly limitless talents have influenced, awed, delighted, and educated me as much as any artist. He is responsible for forming my musical taste as much as anyone else, and his music has given me so much pleasure. I owe him enormous gratitude. His new project with producer Tony Visconti is called Blackstar, and it is a jazz/rock masterpiece – extraordinarily challenging and innovative. It was released only several days before his demise at age 69.
He was always fascinating. There was no one like him. I wish safe travelling for him into the stardust. Thank you, and please rest in peace.
Here is precedent for the mad, jazz mastery of David Bowie and his cohorts that was recorded over 40 years ago. It still sounds brand new. Bonkers. This will leave you shaking your head in wonder and joy.
Aladdin Sane by David Bowie from Aladdin Sane (1973 RCA).
I am really thankful to some of the outlets at my disposal for the collection of new music, and for learning about things I may have missed along the way. The question comes often: “Where do you find out about all this music? First, I have great friends with great taste who have taught me throughout the years. Jeff Runnings, Peter Palermo, Cathy McBride, Robert G. Bennett, and Peter Acheson all come immediately to mind and get big nods – and there are lots of others whose names will rocket into my mind the second I post this. Thanks all. I am indebted in ways big and small to the people, programs, and sites that help me learn about, and turn me on to music. This is an incomplete list, but it’s a start. I endorse the following
I never miss a podcast episode of All Songs Considered. I have been a longtime fan of the criticism of Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton and their colleagues at NPR. They almost always seem to “get there first!” They play a mix of established and obscure musicians and combine criticism with interviews, stories, and live performance. The focus is on new music, and while I don’t always agree with their tastes or takes, I do always listen.
Sound Opinions is a weekly podcast from radio station WBEZ hosted by Chicago-based writers, Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot. They feature lots of live performances, interviews, and breakdowns, as well as reviews. The focus is on providing musical context, and while they primarily feature new music, there are healthy doses of exposition to historical and multi-genre music. Again, I don’t always agree with them, but I do always listen.
I look at Pitchfork a few times a week. A comprehensive service to lovers of lots of new music, they post news, reviews, and links to music. Pitchfork Media is considered an iconic tastemaker by many, and considered overreaching, insufferable, and ubiquitous by many others. I like it.
There are tons of cool (and much less hyped) outlets, too. Hardly anything is as cool as Jack Rabid’s project The Big Takeover that started examining and championing the underground of new music as a classic zine in 1980.
I learn about so much great music by listening to Sirius/XM’s satellite radio station SIRIUS/XMU. Highlights include:
-D.J. Jenny Eliscu.
-The featured weekly show called Download 15 (the fifteen most frequently downloaded songs of the week.)
-Access to specialty shows from music bloggers like Brooklyn Vegan, Carles, gorilla vs. bear, and even monthly treats like Serious Boredom hosted by Patrick Carney (and as a tidy bookend, Carney is the Black Keys bandmate of Dan Auerbach – who led this post off with his side project The Arcs…)
I have to admit it is a mixed bag and change the channel often to get away from some of the dreck that is played on SIRIUS/XMU, too.
Phew – lots of info there! Be good.