Happy Halloweekend, y’all! Pictured above is Toddler YHT is dressed as your classic tiger-panda-fairy hybrid. Can’t wait for trick or treating. Until then…
I’m off to have a semi-serious conversation with Mrs.YHT about whether we should do the Jimmy Kimmel thing where you pretend you ate all your kid’s candy and videotape the reaction. I’m not that mean… am I?
FiveThirtyEight, y’all. It’s more than just a black hole absorbing and reinforcing your ever-expanding election anxiety.
They did a really neat article last month about “Amen, Brother” by The Winstons, which currently ranks as the most sampled song of all time. A part of it called the “Amen Break” is used in more than 2,000 songs. Wild, right?
Also wild is the fact that, immediately after reading that article, I clicked over to Spotify to continue listening to Negative Gemini’s excellent new album Body Work and there it was –in the very song I resumed playing, “Real Virtual Unison (Fake Edit),” which you can check out below. Talk about your head exploding — it felt like a glitch in the matrix. Like Laurence Fishburne was about to offer me pills. I guess the Amen Break’s prevalence is why I was reading the article in the first place, but still… it was spooky. Happy almost Halloween, y’all.
Anyone reading this get Body Work on vinyl? I’m antsily waiting to see that a store around here has copies. Might get a speeding ticket on the way there when I do.
Negative Gemini — “Real Virtual Unison (Fake Edit)” [Spotify/iTunes]
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Stockholm Syndrone (a song my daughter has requested so many times that I’ve pushed through insanity and found contentment on the other side). Let’s do this one lyrically:
Look at this song, isn’t it neat?
Wouldn’t you love to hear it on repeat?
Wouldn’t you think I’m a dad — a dad who thinks this jam’s sweet?
Here’s the thing: I do. I really do. I’ll listen to or sing “Part Of Your World” whenever, wherever. The Little Mermaid definitely has my favorite Disney movie music. Sorry, Lion King and Aladdin. Even the seafood chef song is a masterpiece.
Fun fact #1: Ariel’s voice is crucial to the story, but she only sings one song. Seems weird, doesn’t it? But it totally makes sense from a plot perspective.
Fun fact #2: Ok, so this isn’t necessarily a fact, I have a theory that this is the reason so many people compared Natalie Prass to a Disney princess, because both “Part Of Your World” and “It Is You” involve lists of precious objects. Who knows. Just a thought.
Jodie Benson — “Part Of Your World” [Spotify/iTunes]
Lots of fun stuff going on this week — including a ticket giveaway below!
- I picked this past week’s Off Your Radar album — Devin Sproule’s I Love You, Go Easy — and I want to thank the other writers for taking a listen. I’d also like to officially and publicly cop to not knowing that “Runs In The Family” was a Roches cover. Doug Nunnally may never forgive me. Click here to read this week’s issue.
- Speaking of Doug, I can’t wait to read the RVA Magazine article he wrote about Andrew Cothern and his efforts with Virginia Tourism. Might have to go hunting for a copy after work today.
- It has begun — the Record Store Day lust started welling up last night when I saw that this collaboration between Light in the Attic Records and the Aquarium Drunkard blog will be released on Black Friday. It collects Lagniappe Sessions — informal covers recorded for the blog — including Matthew E. White covering Randy Newman.
- I picked up a copy of Nels Cline’s Lovers album last weekend, and it’s an absolute monster. I listened to it around when it came out in the summer of last year, but I guess I wasn’t listening intently enough, because it is so broadly and consistently brilliant.
- Lucy Dacus did a Take Away Show. Lucy Dacus did a Take Away Show. [tries to catch breath] Lucy Dacus did a Take Away Show.
- Just got my ticket for Helado Negro’s show at Strange Matter on 11/7 and was surprised to see another band listed as the headliner: Kikagaku Moyo. Checking them out now, both their album from this year — House in the Tall Grass — and this Revolt of the Apes profile.
- Speaking of tickets, remember how I interviewed Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre? Exciting news — Richmond Navigator is giving away two tickets to tomorrow night’s show at The Tin Pan! Be the first to comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook and they’re yours!
On Friday night, I was spinning Aqualung on my turntable. On Saturday morning, I was speaking over the phone with Martin Barre, Jethro Tull’s legendary guitarist. (He’s performing at The Tin Pan on Saturday night.) It was a great, truly candid conversation, and I compiled the best bits for a Richmond Navigator interview that went online yesterday. I hope you’ll take a took and grab a ticket for Saturday, if you haven’t already.
If you’re curious about his solo work, here’s a track that provides a nice bridge between his past and present — a rearrangement of the Jethro Tull song “Slow Marching Band” that Barre included on his 2016 Back to Steel album.
Martin Barre — “Slow Marching Band” [Spotify/iTunes]
A few quick pre-weekend notes:
- Congrats to Bob Dylan on his Nobel Prize in Literature. It couldn’t have been a more fitting selection — choosing him transcended the honor’s boundaries just as Dylan gave songwriting a transcendent push in the twentieth century. It’s been fun watching tributes roll in, from favorite lyrics to pictures of tattoos of favorite lyrics to evidence of Dylan binge-listening. Inspiring all around.
- And congrats to the organizers of the Richmond Folk Festival, for putting on another excellent event — this year in the face of shitty weather. I was only able to stop by on Sunday, but I will never forget what I saw: Rahzel doing “If Your Mother Only Knew.” I saw that. In person. It’s still sinking in. I have a crappy video I may upload at some point for the audio’s sake if folks are interested.
- Last Friday’s Lucy Dacus show was outstanding. This review did a great job of explaining why.
- New Phil Cook out today! Gorgeous, contemplative stuff.
- My mom’s been sending me some delightfully out-there music recommendations lately. Here’s one — a movement from Caroline Shaw’s Partita for 8 Voices. It’s a wild ride. I won’t say another word, because going in cold, without context or expectations, is really, really fun.
- Another mom recommendation: Sacred Harp singing.
- Were you lucky enough to get tickets for tonight’s Big Freedia show at Strange Matter before they sold out? I am envious. Post pics and videos plz.
Have a great weekend, y’all. Hope these links make it a little weirder.
I know mine isn’t and shouldn’t be the most valued opinion on the matter, but I really like the Indigenous Peoples’ Day idea — the suggestion that we’d acknowledge the fact that Columbus was more than a little monstrous by replacing his holiday with one that celebrates the people he did monstrous things to. (The same people America has done monstrous things to, not-so-incidentally.)
I was a day late, but yesterday afternoon, while I was working from home, I decided to spend the afternoon listening to all six sides of Native North America, Vol. 1: Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985, the stunning compilation Light in the Attic Records released in 2014.
I didn’t know a thing about the artists on the album when I bought it. Frankly I don’t know what made me get it — I know I knocked off some of the sticker price by trading in some super weird Goodwill finds at Steady Sounds, but I didn’t do a ton of research beforehand. But it seemed important. And bigger than its physical size, somehow, like the reverse of that hallway in Willy Wonka that gets smaller and smaller as you walk down it.
And it really is a stunning artifact. The 12×12 book that accompanies the three discs offers a wealth of information, and the music on those discs ranges from familiar to remote, professional to amateur, trippy to tribal. But all of it sounds intensely intentional. Heartfelt. And, yes, important.
I still have a lot to learn about the people featured in Native North America, Vol. 1, and I’m planning to make it a regular part of the second Monday in October, regardless of what that day ends up being called.
Willy Mitchell — “Kill’n Your Mind” [Spotify/iTunes]
Fancy a few Friday news and notes thingies?
- Today’s an awesome release day (hello there, Hiss Golden Messenger), but I left two crucial releases off last week’s list: White Laces (wrote about No Floor yesterday) and Moses Sumney. Lordy, is Lamentations good. I pretty sure I remember “Worth It” from when he opened for Sufjan Stevens at the Altria Theater — it went straight on my “That’s My Jam” playlist after I heard this version. “Lonely World” is also outstanding, with an assist from Thundercat. Well worth a listen, if you’re not already a Sumney fan. Or if you are. And since everyone on Earth falls into one of those two categories, there’s no excuse for not listening.
- Some really great Spacebomb news — their newest roster addition, Georgie, just released a song called “Company Of Thieves” and a corresponding video that looks like it was really fun to make. This is some seriously punchy stuff, both in terms of the strength of her voice and the oomph the horns provide. More plz thx.
- Next long run I go on I’m listening to the Bruce Fresh Air interview. Can’t wait. Also looking forward to reading his book. There need to be more hours in the day so I can do that like… now.
- Goodwill scores this week include Wynton Marsalis’ debut album, the soundtrack for The Empire Strikes Back, and two spoken word Star Trek albums, which include three or four narrated episodes each. I’m not all that into Star Trek, but they looked too campy to walk away from.
- Too much good music this weekend. Lucy Dacus (with My Darling Fury and Spooky Cool) at The National tonight and the Richmond Folk Festival all weekend. Here’s hoping the weather doesn’t act up too much — Stephen Lecky and the whole Folk Fest machine put in so much work each year, and it’s such a gift to the city. Stop by early and often, and be sure to throw a few bucks into an orange donation bucket. You’ll probably get a sticker, and you can wear it like a badge of honor.
I whined a little about the weather earlier, but if you’re in Florida/Georgia/South Carolina and you’re reading this, be safe. Here’s hoping the storm heads east and doesn’t circle back around.
How rare is it that you get to say that every release a band has put out has been your favorite of theirs to date? I can say that about White Laces. It’s as much a winning streak as it is evidence of the band’s searching nature. They’ve changed a bit with each release, and with No Floor, I think they’ve found something really remarkable.
There’s more synth/programming than ever on this album, and heading in that direction has opened up a powerful pairing — the precision of synthetic elements and the fluidity of Landis Wine’s voice, which is one of the most distinctive in town. The effect is almost visual; when I close my eyes and listen to the choruses of “Cheese” or “Mall Madness,” I see sharp edges layered with colorful, rolling hills. I see contrast. Not dissonance, necessarily, just contrast.
Tori Hovater’s vocals work similarly — they’re such a complement to Wine’s — and I’m wild about the minor turn the grinding synth sound takes during the chorus of “Youth Vote.” It came as a surprise the first time I heard it, but the contrast it builds with the major sound of the verse makes it a surprise that rewards over and over.
On the meaningful and memorable “Dots,” Wine sings “I used to think about time as a living thing.” It seems to me that, by drawing inspiration from the 1980’s, White Laces has found a really exciting way forward — one that has them sounding as lively as ever.
White Laces — “Cheese” [Spotify/iTunes]