Ryan’s Music Picks: 1 August 2016

I have an email list now where I send music recommendations.

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I’ve spent most of this week as a (temporary) single dad of three kids, ranging from 6 months to 8 years. It has not been easy, but I have played a lot of lego and watched a lot of Wander Over Yonder, Steven Universe, and Pokemon. Here’s some music that helped me get through the week:

DM Stith – Pigeonheart (BandcampiTunesSpotify)
This is, without question, a headphones album. I tried listening to it a few times this week in the car with kids and playing out of the speaker of my phone and I was not moved. Then, after the kids were all asleep, I donned my preferred listening headphones (Sony MDRZX110 – less than $15 on Amazon) and this album exploded before me into sound-shapes and mind-colors or something. Stith’s trademark haunting ghost vocals are there, backed by a dazzling array of sounds both organic and synthetic. This album is deep, unfolding with multiple listens, and it somehow stays unpredictable, like some sort of weird audio fractal. Highly recommended.

Big Star – #1 Record (BandcampiTunesSpotify)
Maybe one of the best summer rock records of all time from a band you’ve maybe never heard of. I don’t even really know what to say here, I’m emotionally compromised with how much I love this album. #1 Record came out in 1972, making it 44 years old, but there are bands today releasing albums they wish sounded half as perfect as this does. On a technical level, it’s completely unpretentious but absolutely perfect rock and roll. I don’t feel like using a thesaurus for the word perfect, so, well, this album is just 💯, you know? It’s 🙌. I’d tattoo the album cover on my body.

DJDS – Live In Tijuana (FREE DOWNLOAD)
I really like live albums from dance music producers. I know it sounds weird, since there is a cliche that most electronic music acts do little more than push play when doing things live, but a lot of the beat-heavy dance music I like takes on a different character when presented in a live setting. That isn’t to say that Stand Up and Speak (iTunesSpotify), DJDS (formerly DJ Dodger Stadium, a group made up of Jerome LOL and Samo Sound Boy)’s most recent album is any less excellent, but this sample-reliant vocal house music (think turn-of-the-century Moby in a good way, with some 2016 shine) just really pulls at your heartstrings when it’s got that live element added to it.

Julianna Barwick – Will (BandcampiTunesSpotify)
The #dadlife this week just drained me dry. This album is a restorative potion. It’s, I suppose, highly experimental in the sense that it’s not songs so much as it is portals into other dimensions that you access via your ear holes, but it’s more relaxing to me than a month on the beach or a dozen massages or three years in a hot tub. Julianna Barwick is a genius who has figured out how to somehow record the sound that souls need when they are weary. I might’ve cried when listening to this but it’s not a big deal.

Police Academy 6 + Arrete (BandcampiTunesSpotify)
Speaking of restoratives, this just-enough EP grooves hard enough to get anything moving on the right track. It’s fried gold from start to finish, just 6 tracks (+ 2 remixes) of instrumental driving beats and computer sounds. Your guaranteed productivity increaser for the week. Worth nothing: pay what you want on bandcamp means you can download it for free!

Lullatone – Soundtracks for Everyday Adventures (BandcampiTunesSpotify)
You’ve already heard some songs from this album. A lot of commercials and other advertising videos aiming towards a specific demographic have licensed music from this album and I guarantee one of these songs is on a Lowe’s commercial. But looking at it as fake Wes Anderson soundtrack music for commercials is a serious injustice to just how happy and fun this music makes everything you do while listening to it. It’s a perfect Saturday morning album. This album is loaded with unstoppable charm; it will improve your day.






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