by Elijah Jarocki
It’s been a long week. Everybody, from those always politically active to those sucked into the bureaucratic bog, has felt a lot this week. Whether or not your presidential candidate inherited America’s unwieldy reigns, great music always speaks to us. It’s a friend when we’re lonesome, a pick-me-up when we’re dragging, and a light when everything seems incredibly dark.
I feel it too. The weariness from hollow rhetoric, and reticence to believe that everything will work out. This week, I’ve relied on a couple records to make me feel great again. Here’s a little preview of some releases that might help you through it.
Lambchop just released “FLOTUS,” their followup to 2012’s “Mr. M” and their foray into autotuned lounge music. A band for over 20 years, Lambchop’s played it all. Everything from alt-country to free jazz fits within their wide catalogue. With “FLOTUS,” Lambchop explores what it means to rest, relax, and appreciate the things around us. “FLOTUS” is an acronym of “For Love Often Turns Us Still,” and the record reflects this kind of attitude. When we implement love, stillness and patience, everything seems a little more alright.
The opening track “In Care of 8675309” is a twelve minute dive into a cool lake of organ and bass. Every musical second of “FLOTUS” contains incredible depth. The spacious recordings invite us into a world where everything is a little weird, a little unfamiliar, but always comfortable. It reminds me a lot Sun Kil Moon’s approach to composition, but also has elements of Tindersticks, Portishead, and Bon Iver. In short, “FLOTUS” is incredibly gracious; it lends us its hand when we can’t quite get up again. After this week’s firestorm of aggression, it might just be what you need.
However, If you’re sick of this country and want something entirely else, I’d recommend “&” from Michael Mayer. It’s a house/IDM stunner with a calculated attitude and hopeful groove. Mayer is one of the predominant electronic musicians from Cologne, Germany and has remixed a variety of artists including Moby, Pet Shop Boys, and Depeche Mode. “&” employs a heavy four-on-the-floor 808 kick to keep the record moving forward. Over top, Mayer mortars lines of synths, vocal hooks, and interesting effects to keep the record interesting. If you’re having trouble picturing the sound, think the uptempo parts of Jamie xx’s “In Colour” mixed with Cut Copy or Hot Chip. These recordings are positive, energetic, and could be the red bull to your sluggish demeanor. Don’t listen if you’re looking to wallow, but if you’re ready to move on, “&” by Michael Mayer is just the thing.
If you can’t beat them, join them; and if you can’t join them, make strange music in your basement. That’s the feeling behind American Monoxide’s “Web Content,” a cool record that’s intrinsically outsider music. Project-founder Dimitri Manos rarely plays shows, preferring instead to cook up some tasty grooves for personal consumption. Do you remember the weird feeling you got from first playing around with a crappy casio keyboard? All the bells, whistles, dog barks, and bubbles are back in action on “Web Content.” Manos is a master of strange, and his music reminds me most-closely of Beck’s “Odelay.” I would also compare “Web Content” to Grape Room and local musician Ben Donehower. I would start with “Guitar Amp” a track that has a unique, heavy drag, like a piece of metal being pulled behind a semi truck. If your preferred way of dealing with the election is escapism, “Web Content” is the record for you.
Music will always get you through. I mentioned three records above that are quite different, but all super cool and interesting. Their denominator? All three will be spinning heavy on Radio 1190 in the upcoming weeks. Be sure to set your dial to 98.9FM in Boulder and 1190AM in Denver to hear the best of the best new music.