Monday, May 10, 2010

So what are you listening to?

Listening to: So So Modern – Crude Futures

I picked up the above over the weekend, based on hearing it in a music store with no other history (although at first listen I realised I had heard one of the tracks off it on one of the radio stations I listen to). I have picked up a lot of music this way, although it feels like not so much lately.

Once, a while ago (mid nineties) I was reasonably in touch with who was doing what in my preferred music genres. Who was making the coolest sounds, who were doing the most interesting things, who was worth looking out for.

Now it’s a bit different. I haven’t ‘discovered’ any new to me or current artists for a while, and I have no idea what a lot of the names I am hearing bandied about sound like. Maybe it’s a getting older thing. I still try and get exposed to new sounds as often as possible but less and less of them seem to stick. I like a lot of what I hear in certain circles, but finding out names and following up on them is rare (like when I hear something cool on the radio, but miss the DJ saying who they are). To an extent I am still stuck in the old CD/record store model. If I can’t find a CD of an artist I don’t get into them as much, and wouldn’t know where to start when it comes to embracing the download model.

I’m really liking the idea of the recent introduction of C42 (link). Videos have captions telling you what they are for one, and the emphasis on new and old alternative rather than mainstream top 40 stuff also bodes well. Not that the top 40 stuff necessarily sucks (although a lot of it does), but the alternative stuff is just more interesting. The mid 90’s were a golden era for me in that respect; I watched a lot of music television, mostly late at night when the programming was a bit more fluid, and got into a bunch of artists as a result. I’m quietly hopeful there are new discoveries awaiting with the new channel.

In the meantime, I want recommendations from you the reader:

Which are the worthwhile web sources for good/new/interesting music? (naive maybe, but if you don't ask you never know)

Which artists or songs you have been putting on repeat, and what would you recommend as being worth a listen? Who’s rocking your ears lately?

Anything left in the comments will get at least a trial listen. I’m in the mood for proselytising and propagation….


Angela said...

If you want to give something very twee and cutesy a go, I totally recommend Zooey Deschanel's album 'She & Him' - I am LOVING her right now (try to look past the silly video this song has)


And Johnny Depp loves this chick, so that means she MUST be cool (she's a fav of mine right now anyhow) - Bat for Lashes:

Morgan said...

There are heaps of mp3 blogs out there. I like Mike Upton's weekly mp3 offerings, and I also scoop up whatever random stuff people point at on blogs I look at. Keeps me listening to new stuff, but I know less about it than ever before.

Jennifer Lynn said...

My Morning Jacket---the entire z album. Bam!

Andrew said...

I was gonna say I have no idea about worthwhile web sources, but... youtube? Lookit the way Angela can instantly link you to examples....

I've got some stuff I could recommend but I've been meaning to blog about it myself, and if I mention it here I'll probably never get onto it ;) But I have already blogged about stuff I liked in 2009: (and every example is illustrated with a youtube link...)

Okay, so what do I have on repeat? Emmm, not sure if that'd mean I'd recommend it. I've been on a "modern composer" and "string quartet" jag of late. For the latter (mostly coinciding with the former), I'd single out Beethoven's late Quartet in C# minor, opus 131 (Takács Quartet recording), Bartok's 3rd and 4th Quartets (the Takács again), Alfred Schnittke's 1st, 2nd and 4th Quartets (Kronos Qt recording), Shostakovich's 8th (Borodin Qt), Britten's three opus-numbered quartets (Belcea Qt), Kevin VOlan's 2nd (Duke Qt, but failing that, not the Kronos Qt). Also been listening to Krzysztof Penderecki (new to me, discovered through the Shutter Island soundtrack), and Pierre Boulez (fixated on his Sur Incises and ...explosante-fixe... (punctuation his)). Also "discovered" Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho this year (well, I remember reading about her 16 years ago, but only heard anything this year)

And I've been on a "contemporary instrumental hip-hop" jag. That end-of-year-roundup blog covers some stuff from 2009, but I'll happily rave about Madlib's 2007 album Beat Konducta in India and 2010 album Beat Konducta in Africa. On the other hand, I feel safer recommending one of his jazz albums (perhaps Shades of Blue on Blue Note, which, as it also features remixes of Blue Note classics, gets him wearing his jazz hat and his hip-hop hat).

His kid brother Oh No did an album a few years back with Galt MacDermot (guy who wrote "Hair"). It's variable, and has too many guest stars (oh yeah, it's a hip-hop album), but this song featuring Posdonous of De La Soul is great: (the album is called Exodus into Unheard Rhythms). My fave Oh No albums are Dr No's Oxperiment and Dr No's Ethiopium. The latter came out end of last year, so it's covered in that blog post. I'd probably recommend them more than Madlib's Beat Konducta albums simply because I think they're a bit more accessible. But they're also both instrumental albums, and like on the Beat Konducta albums all the tunes are really short (1-3 minutes on average). This does seem to get on some people's tits - and I've frequently heard the music described as "unfinished". Though that strikes me as like small children who call anything "broken" that doesn't do what they expect.

And speaking of small children, you may find that in 10 years' time Charlotte will be a valuable source of new music for you.

God, this comment is huge. But I can clarify stuff if it doesn't make any sense....

kiwilauren said...

Matt Costa. Very addictive somehow! I like "Whiskey and Wine" and "Sunshine" (song titles, not albums) - or anything, for that matter. Check it out! I also love for free online mp3 listening.

kiwilauren said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

hey ....what about Broken Bells, the James Mercer ( the shins guy ), Danger Mouse thing ...I reckon it's pretty good.

You should stream RRR, (triple r) a melbourne radio station, they have great shows and play great music. Breakfast/Breakfasters is excellent, and the Skull Cave on Friday late afternoon, Kinky Afro ...also Off the Record on Saturday morning ....

um ...also ....Old Crow Medicine Show and Justin Townes Earle ( steve earle's son)...fantastic blue grass love it as well.

two cents.


Off-Black said...

Two cents can go a long way
Olivia, thanks for your input! I caught a Broken Bells video the other day and quite liked the track, as well as an old Shins video I liked (I never bought any Shins, and now I don't know why). By chance I heard some Justin Townes Earle on the radio today; both he and Old Crow have been in Wellington recently to great reviews.
I'll definitely give RRR a go (related to JJJ and MMM I'm guessing?) as well as the MP3 loads that Morgue mentioned, Grooveshark, and all the other stuff. This was been a useful exercise.

Anonymous said...

cool, we're on the same page .....triple R is a subscriber based community radio station ....they only receive a very small amount of money from the government and have a tiny bit of advertisement ....triple M is just like the Rock or any other commercial rock station, rubbish....triple J is run by the ABC, so the government and is very yoof based ...and doesn't do much for me, but some people love it .....yeah ...they all have the triple thing because that's a hang over from the old call sign thing, kind of like 3ZB, 2ZB, um ....I can't remember any other NZ ones ....

so there, more info than you could ever need.

at the moment I'm listening to The Queen is Dead ....and nothing can beat that ....well, nothing can beat it this week,.

p.s. i really like your blog ( it might be the only one I've ever proper read)....your dinosaur thing was very cool.


Off-Black said...

Thank you thats very nice of you to say :) The dinosaur was good clean fun.