Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Lush and The Ridiculous: My Recent iTunes History

As I downloaded yet more music today, I noticed that my taste in music could be called either eclectic or schizophrenic. You make the call. Here are some recent downloads.

Washed Out - Life of Leisure.

I learned about Washed Out from the wise Young Americans at The Sound of Young America. It's big and lush and small and intimate. Synth-y and homemade-y and soft and loud. Listen.

Don Edwards - Goin' Back to Texas.

I learned about Don Edwards in a boutique shop in Sunriver, Oregon in the early nineties. I heard yodel-y coyotes and needed to hear more, so I bought the cassette (yes! cassette!) that the shop was playing and put it into the cassette player in the car. I was disappointed at first to learn that I had to wade through a lot of cowboy music to get to the coyote part (no one-song purchase iTunes option - prehistoric!), but soon we were all singing about the sleepy Rio Grand, and those line shack blues. That cassette is long gone and Don Edwards became a Bend memory like the smell of sage and juniper.

Where did I hear those coyotes again recently? I don't remember, but it sent me straight to iTunes. I now carry Don Edwards around in my hip pocket, and can hear that wooo-yip, wooo-yip woo coyote song any time I want. I can also hear musical screeds to barbed wire, asphalt and bankers (a favorite line: "while progress toots her greedy horn/and makes her motor buzz/I thanks the Lord I wasn't born no later than I was") Technology is bizarre and wonderful in that it brings me music about the evils of technology.

Regina Spektor - Far.

I find that Regina Spektor is best loved and understood by women. Men tend to find her music a little twee. Yes, her lyrics can be a little, um, adorable, but her voice is so easy and slippery, and her tunes allow it to slide up and down the scale with such carefree pleasure, it practically makes me skip down the street.

Moby - Wait For Me.

I have a lot of Moby in my library, but nothing since 18, which was released in 2002. But his new one, Wait For Me, was getting much better reviews than his last few, so I gambled on it. It's nice. Like Play and 18. Very much so. I put it in the playlist labeled "chill," but I don't find myself seeking it out for album-long listens.

Ting Tings - We Started Nothing

I should listen to this more. I just don't dance enough.

Franz Ferdinand - Tonight

Franz Ferdinand makes great music for your running playlist. I need to run more.

Juana Molina - Una Dia

Do yourself a favor and listen to the title song (you can listen at her MySpace page at the link above). I learned about her from WNYC's Radio Lab, which I listen to via podcast. They are nothing less than obsessed by her, which is easy to understand for a geek, as her music is woven with layers and layers of sound that she creates single-handedly. The result is both high-energy and hypnotic at once.

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks and Moondance.

I don't know why I felt I needed to have these in my library after all these years. He was really before my time, and has been a radio station given all my life, but after hearing a story about the band that was put together for his Astral Weeks recording sessions, I needed to be able to listen with more than a car radio attention span. Worth it. No wonder everybody who won Grammys in the late 70's and 80's thanked him along with their families. He was new. And different.

I recommend listening to music. Pretty much anything, as long as it has not been featured on the MTV Music Video Awards, or, for that matter, the Grammys.

But The Decemberists are still my favorites.

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