Ryan’s Music Picks: 23 September 2016

This last weekend was my ten-year anniversary with my wife. We took a weekend off, then came home to a bout of nasty stomach flu that rotated to each member of the family. I’m still recovering. So the picks this week are a combination of two very different themes: disco for our fun weekend escape and sad bastard music for the 💩🚽.

Todd Terje & the Olsens – The Big Cover Up (BandcampiTunesSpotify)
Only a guy who makes untouchable space disco could put together a live band and make disco sound so perfectly 2016. This exuberant album is pure joy from start to finish.

Jacob 2-2 – Cabazon EP (BandcampiTunesSpotify)
This weekend was my first time visiting the Cabezon dinosaurs, something I’d been looking forward to doing for quite some time. They’ve rested in my subconscious for a long time thanks to movies like Pee Wee’s Big Adventure or The Wizard, and seeing them up close in person was pretty neat. Jacob 2-2‘s Boards of Canada-esque ep definitely captures to nostalgic feel of visiting these weird old concrete dinosaurs right off the freeway in the desert in California. (if you want to pay $0, it’s free on bandcamp, too!)

Classixx – Faraway Reach (BandcampiTunesSpotify)
Taking the “let’s pack our sophomore album with as many guests as we can get” approach, Classixx has taken their signature smooth electro-disco sound and injected it with sings like the guy from Passion Pit and T-Pain, believe it or not. The song craft here is excellent, with big sparkly choruses like you’d expect from Carly Rae, and the production has an almost-subversive vaporwave thing going on that keeps it interesting.

Advance Base – Nephew in the Wild (BandcampiTunesSpotify)
When I’m feeling bad, whether physically or emotionally, sad bastard music is the number one curative I know of. I’ve been listening to Owen Ashworth’s music since he first started recording as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, and his heartfelt, honest songwriting puts him in a class with guys like John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, David Bazan, and Damien Jurado. This album, his latest, is soothing in its sadness. It feels homemade and slightly ramshackle, but so earnest and with a story to tell.

dating – Please Be Quiet, I’m Very Interesting (BandcampiTunesSpotify)
On a lark, a pal on twitter stumbled upon this band while searching for unused band names. It’s noisy, heavy, and heartfelt shoegaze sometimes bordering on doom metal. In fact, listening to it a different way, you could take this as a screamo band who dove heavily into the noise-rock/shoegaze sound. It works either way and it works WELL. I’ll be rocking this one for a while. (also free if you choose to pay $0 on bandcamp)

The Frightnrs – Nothing More to Say (BandcampiTunesSpotify)
When my pal Evan told me I needed to check out a band that was making old-school reggae, I immediately got concerned. I mean, we all lived through Matisyahu, we should all be wary of “roots reggae” bands by this point. But The Frightnrs aren’t even really making reggae at all – this is more like a fresh take on the porto-reggae of dancehall and rocksteady, but with throwback production values and classic sounds. The band is half dopey-looking white guys, but they’re signed to Daptone records, so I think this is the best possible scenario to create throwback Jamaican tunes.

As a postscript: Alan Braxe & Fred Falke’s track, Rubicon, is on neither Spotify or iTunes or Bandcamp. How is this possible?