Monday, December 17, 2018

Playlist of the week

I listened to a lot of new music this year. One of my favorite discoveries of 2018 is the Chicago/Montreal band Birds of Chicago. They are a far cry from all the darkwave and synthpop music I have been listening to this year. Their music is more rooted in folk/Americana music, a genre I generally do not listen to on a regular basis but then I discovered the band on Spotify, and was hooked right away. In the sea of new music I heard this year, Birds of Chicago was an unexpected surprise, but in a good way. I love ending my day with their music. I hope I don't have to wait too long for the band to make another trip back to the Twin Cities. I couldn't make it to their show earlier this month. The timing wasn't good. 

Last week I was inspired to create a playlist of my favorite tunes by the band, I started putting together this playlist last week at work by listening to their albums, and this is the result of my week long effort.

Songs to check out:
"Love in Wartime"
"Roll Away"
"Galaxy Ballroom"
"Eastern Sky"
"Sans Souci"

You can find their latest album on Bandcamp:

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Weekly office playlist

Another weekend has come and gone. I am trying to finish up my best of 2018 list by listening to as many 2018 releases (and some over again).  A lot of the albums on this list are albums I need to listen to and evaluate their standing amidst the sea of excellent music I heard this year. At the moment I thinking of just going with 20 albums, may do 30 if needed.

2Cellos: Let There Be Cello

Adult.: This Behavior

Aiboforcen: Sense and Nonsense

Ana Tijoux: La Bala

Atmosphere: Mi Vida Local

Autumn: Chandelier

Belly: Dove

Black Nails Cabaret: Pseudopop

Blume: Ashes

Brandi Carlile: Give Up the Ghost

Centhron: Lichtsucher V2

Chvrches: Love is Dead

Cindergarden: To The End of Love - A Tribute to Leonard Cohen

Death Valley Girls: Darkness Rains

FKA Twigs: LP1

The Foreign Resort: Scattered and Buried

The Foreign Resort: The American Dream

Hanzel und Gretyl: Satanik Germanik

Amaranthe: Helix

Holygram: Modern Cults

Indarra: Walk On Fire

IL Divo: Timeless

Interminable: Rebirth Renacer

Janelle Monae: The Electric Lady

Kaelan Mikla: Nott eftir nott

The KVB: Only Now Forever

The Lioness: Greater Vision

Lycia: In Flickers

Maria Isa: Street Politics

Mental Discipline: Past Foward

Panic Priest: Panic Priest

Qntal: VIII - Nachtblume

The Rain Within: Dark Drive

Rebecca lane: Obsidiana

Robyn: Honey

Saint Etienne: Home Counties

Sarah Brightman: Hymn

Solitary Experiments: Future Tense

SRSQ: Unreality

Them Are Us Too: Amends

Tiny Deaths: Magic

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Various Artists: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

VV and The Void: The Upper Room

Xentrifuge: Desensitized Parallels

The Best of 2018 (So Far)

Love in Wartime: My Favorite Birds of Chicago Songs

The Best of 2Cellos

Futureperfect: My Favorite VNV Nation Songs

My Current Favorite Songs of the Week

Hip Hop Playlist

Satanik Germanik: My Favorite HuG Songs

The Hating Tree: My Favorite Autumn Songs

Love is Dead: My Favorite Chvrches Songs

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Albums and playlists I am currently listening to

I think it is pretty obvious to say that my music listening habits has been unusual ;).



Friday, December 14, 2018

My current favorite songs of the week

TGIF! Here is this week's playlist of my current favorite songs . This week has definitely been a very interesting week music-wise for me. The music I have been listening to all week has been all over the week between post-punk/darkwave, synthpop, hip hop, folk, and pop music so this week's playlist is a bit longer than usual. I actually got quite a few local acts on this week's playlist too. So much good music to share with the world.

This week the music video for "The Fall" by Autumn was uploaded on to youtube. I have included the video for it underneath the video for "Bienvendix" by Mare Advertencia Lirika. That was the first single from Chandelier (released back in late March of this year, the single itself came out last year). Great song and video by my favorite band!

The last couple of days I have been binge listening to a lot of Latin American hip hop music which was inspired after discovering Oaxacan rap star Mare Advertencia Lirika in a NYT article from last October (which I mentioned in last night's blog post). After listening to Mare's music, I dug around and found some equally talented female rap artists from Latin America like Rebeca Lane and Ana Tijoux. I have a clip of Mare's music posted under my playlist, and a track from Rebeca and Ana on my playlist. Please give their music a listen. They are incredible. I think they could give some of women in the hip hop game here in the US a serious run for their money.

For very long time, I was a massive music snob and hated hip hop music. As I have gotten older, that attitude has definitely waned however I still find a good chunk of hip hop to be utter rubbish (i.e SoundCloud rap, Cardi B, and Kanye West). Thank heavens the Twin Cities has a healthy, vibrant hip hop scene. Atmostphere has a new album out called Mi Vida Local. I think it is quite good. This year also saw new album releases by Dessa (Chime) and Maria Isa (Sasa). I have included tracks by all three on this week's playlist. My fave though is Dessa's Chime.

Got a bunch of synthpop music featured on this week's playlist. I have been trying to re-listen to the albums released this year in the genre. I must say some of what I am hearing has not aged well. A lot of it sounds monotonous. For me, Ashbury Heights, Nordika and Mental Discipline put out the strongest works.

This week it was announced that The Foreign Resort will be touring the US next year. With them is the darkwave act from Chicago Panic Priest. I was able to listen to the self-titled album Panic Priest once and I really liked what I had heard. I have included "Sideways" on this week's playlist.  Can hardly wait to see both acts live in April.

After the Grammy nominations came out almost a week ago, I been listening to a quite a bit of Brandi Carlile who got a nod for By the Way, I Forgive You which is a great album. I have track from that album "Whatever You Do" which I absolutely adore, and "Beginning to Fell the Years" from The Firewatcher's Daughter. I particularly love her acoustic ballads which these two songs are.

Songs to check out:
"The Fall" by Autumn
"Confusion" by Maria Isa
"Eastern Sky" by Birds of Chicago
"Beginning to Feel the Years" by Brandi Carlile
"Sideways" by Panic Priest
"Americans" by Janelle Monae
"Ciudad de Colo" by Rebeca Lane
"Bienvendix" by Mare Advertencia Lirika
"Antipatriarca" by Ana Tijoux
"Whatever You Do" by Brandi Carlile
"Cantemos" by Rebel Diaz

Thursday, December 13, 2018

My favorite local music of 2018

2018 has not only been a great year for music in general but also for the local music scene too. Here is a collection of videos from my favorite local artists and bands:

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Random Thoughts

It has been awhile since I wrote some commentary regarding the music scene on my blog in what seems like an eternity but in the past few days, the wheels had been spinning in my head to post my thoughts.  This is going to be a two part commentary in blog entry.

Part I: Finding new music
Five days ago the Grammy nominations came out, and then I started seeing media outlets start posting their best of 2018 (music releases) via social media. As always people on Facebook started making their rounds complaining about the nominations or the choices for best of 2018 on sites like Pitchfork or Consequence of Sounds. At first reading people's complaints is amusing but after awhile their whining gets old. People say there is no interesting music. Well of course there isn't...if you are listening to what is on the radio. Lets face it when iHeart Channel was known as Clear Channel, the company totally ruined the radio in the late '90s through the mid '00s prior to Napster, Spotify, Bandcamp, and Pandora. I don't listen to the radio any more. Now I find new, interesting music online (Spotify, YouTube, Bandcamp). It is quite a bit of work for me to find  new music but the results is so worth it. I wish people would invest their time in finding new music as much as I do instead of complaining about it on social media.

Part II: Oaxacan Rap 
Hip hop music for is a mix bag. Some I like (Psalm One, Brother Ali, Astronautlis, P.O.S, Dessa, Maria Isa, Angel Haze) and some I detest (6ix9ine, Cardi B, Post Malone). I want to hear some substance to the lyrics that does not come off a cliche or not some bombastic noise. This week I came across a NYT article titled  Oaxacan Rap Has a Female Voice, Finally written and photographed by Walter Thompson-Hernandez. It is a really fascinating article on the women in the Oaxacan rap scene. Today I decided to check out one of the artists mentioned in the article Mare Advertencia Lirika, a 31 year old rapper who identifies herself as Zapotec, an indigenous community in Oaxaca. The results blew me away. Go look up the song "Bienvenidix" on YouTube. Mare can really spit out rhymes in her native language. It is incredible regardless of the language barrier. I honestly love listening to Mare spit out rhymes as aggressive as any male rapper. What also appealed to me is Mare is a feminist and an activist for indigenous rights. After discovering Mare's music, my journey soon led me to look further more into hip hop music similar to Mare Advertencia Lirika's music. The artists I found may not be from Oaxaca or Mexico but they are definitely part of Latin America and the lyrics are all rapped in the native language of the countries the artists are from. I have posted links to the music I have found online today at the bottom of the page. The more I have listened to Oaxacan/Latin America rap music, the more I love it. Despite the language barrier, I honestly enjoy listening to the artists rap in their native tongue and the way their lyrics are delivered, often mixed with the traditional music of their country (like in Mare Advertencia Lirika's music).

One of the reasons I created this blog many, many years ago was to share my favorite music as well as new music I had discovered online.  Despite getting older and more cynical with age, I am sometimes surprised here and there with new finds. Over the summer I created My Post-Punk Playlist (on Spotify). I used the website By the time I finished the playlist, I had discovered quite a few new post-punk/darkwave bands I had never heard of, and this is why my shift in my taste in music has veered from EBM to darkwave.

After today and discovering the sounds of Oaxacan rap artist Mare Advertencia Lirika, I have now become a big fan of non-American hip hop music. Sorry but I think a lot of the American hip hop scene is garbage (with some exceptions such as Dessa, Psalm One, Noname, The Lioness, Angel Haze). I may not understand the lyrics the artists are rapping about that is okay. I love listening to the artists rap in their native tongue and it is absolutely beautiful. I love the fusion of their traditional (Oaxacan) music with modern hip hop music. It is discoveries like what I have found today that makes the hours spent looking for new music worth every damn second. Too bad some people are too lazy to understand that new, interesting music is not going to drop outside the front of their door.

Doma Press Soundcloud Page
Guerrilla 951//Frizz FT Miles - Cosmo
Mare Advertencia Lirika Soundcloud Page
Alma Mestiza by Rebeca Lane
Rebel Diaz bandcamp page
Ana Tijoux Bandcamp Page

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Synthpop albums of 2018

2018 has been a great year for music. There were a lot of synthpop albums released this year. Most were great but there were a couple that left me unimpressed. Here are some of the albums I have listened to this year.

My favorite synthpop album of 2018 is without a shadow of a doubt The Victorian Wallflower by Ashbury Heights. The album did not sound like the albums by Melotron, De/Vision, !distain, and Syrian which all were repetitive. The album resonated so much with me because of Anders' lyrics which often delves into loss which I know all too well after I lost my father last year (and Anders lost his mother during the creative process of the album). Also love the pop hooks and how incredibly melodic they are and how easily they can get stuck in my head, which is Anders has a real talent for doing.

I was disappointed with the new VNV Nation album Noire. It is okay but it left a meh feeling with me. While Transnational is not my favorite VNV Nation album, it definitely had more life in it than Noire. Noire was too subdued and mellow for my taste. I don't hate the album but I miss the energy of past VNV Nation albums Autuomatic, and Of Faith, Power, and Glory. I will say that the songs from the new album did sound great live when I saw them earlier this month. Too bad I feel like taking a nap when I try to listen to Noire at work.

Thanks to the Facebook page Modern Synthpop, I have heard some great albums by the likes of Emika, The Perfect Kiss, and Navvi. If you haven't liked that page, go do it now. It is a great source for discovering new music. I really dig The Perfect Kiss. They remind me so much of Marsheaux and maybe some Freezepop lyrically. Go check out their latest release Filter. If you like Marsheaux, you will love this band.