Monthly Mixtape – September 2021


Aisha Badru – “Rebirth”

Solemn Brigham – “Keep the Hope”

Arca – “Incendio”

Tanya Tagaq – “Tongues”

ill peach – “GUM”

EERA – “Ladder”

Petite Amie – “Adios”

Public Service Broadcasting – “Blue Heaven (feat. Andreya Casablanca)”

Bartees Strange – “Weights”

Khruangbin – “Pelota” (Cut A Rug Mix) Quantic Remix

Previous Mixtapes:



Album Review: Toothsayer by Tanya Tagaq


AlbumToothsayer
Artist: Tanya Tagaq
Release Date: March 2019
Thoughts: The throat singer Tanya Tagaq combines Inuit traditions with modern electronic, ambient, and industrial music. This 5-song EP was made to  accompany the British National Maritime Museum’s “Polar Worlds” exhibit.  Without words, Tagaq’s compositions paint vivid images of the extreme wildness of the Arctic, while expressing the danger of climate change and the asserting indigenous rights. Tagaq’s voice is a powerful and expressive instrument.
Rating: ****

Albums of the Month: November 2016


I started working on this post a few weeks ago, set it aside, and in the intervening time one of the artists review straight-up DIED.  I feel terrible guilt that I didn’t get my thoughts on Leonard Cohen’s now-final album up in a timely manner.  Before anything bad happens to any of the other artists, here are my thoughts on five recently released albums you should give a listen to.

Artist: Jenny Hval
Album: Blood Bitch
Release Date: September 30, 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Female Vampire” and “Secret Touch”
Thoughts: Norwegian avant-garde musician Jenny Hval presents this concept album on the theme of blood.  It’s sonicaly rich with complex lyrics about things ranging from vampirism to menstruation
Rating: ***


Artist: Leonard Cohen
Album: You Want It Darker
Release Date: 21 October 2016
Lyrics of Note:

As he died to make men holy
Let us die to make things cheap
– “Steer Your Way”

Favorite Tracks: “You Want It Darker,” “Treaty,” “Leaving the Table,” and “Steer Your Way”
Thoughts: A beautiful farewell from the singer/songwriter/poet Cohen (although he could have very well gone on to record another brilliant album had he survived).  It seems unprecedented that much of Cohen’s best work came at such an advanced age.  Even if his older songs are much-covered classics, the work on his final albums has some of the best instrumentation, production, and performing.
Rating: ****


Artist: Tanya Tagaq
AlbumRetribution
Release Date: 21 October 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Nacreous,” “Aorta,” “Centre,”
Thoughts: The Inuit throat singer’s newest album sees her crossing over into other musical styles, bringing in Tuvan throat singers, collaborating with rapper Shad, and covering Nirvana’s “Rape Me.”  But this isn’t a cozy Putamayo “world music” release from the 1990s, instead it is a vital statement of plight of indigenous peoples and global warming, and a call to political action.
Rating:


Artist: John K. Samson
Album: Winter Wheat
Release Date: 21 October 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Select All Delete,” “Oldest Oak at Brookside,” “Alpha Adept,” and “Virtute at Rest”
Thoughts: The lead vocalist of The Weakerthans newest solo project sounds a lot like a Weakerthans recording but stripped down to just the vocals and a few instruments.  The songs navigate technology and nature and addiction and recovery.  It’s a musically sad, but lyrically hopeful recording so worth a deep listen, even if you’re down in the dumps.
Rating: ***1/2


Artist: Agnes Obel
Album: Citzen of Glass
Release Date: 21 October 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Familiar,” “Trojan Horses,” and “Citizens of Glass,”
Lyrics of Note:
Thoughts: Danish-born, Berlin-based artist Agnes Obel’s music reminds me of a lot of things – Phillip Glass’ avant guarde keyboards, Clannad’s layering of vocals and instruments, Joanna Newsom’s vocal stylings, and Led Zeppelin in their most mystical folkiness.
Rating: ***

Turns out this was a very Northern review with three Canadian and two Scandinavian artists.  If there’s a new album you think I should hear and review in December, let me know in the comments.

 

Ten Favorite Songs of 2008


The project continues with my favorite songs of 2008.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

Bag of Hammers – Thao Nguyen

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Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa – Vampire Weekend

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Furr – Blitzen Trapper

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Growl – Tanya Tagaq

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In the Night – Basia Bulat

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White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes

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You Don’t Know Me – Ben Folds Five w/ Regina Spektor

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Sleepyhead – Passion Pit

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S.E.X.Y.R.O.B.O.T – The Pinker Tones

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Why Do You Let Me Stay Here – She & Him

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And my song of shame for 2008: Rime of the Hip Hop Mariners – Captain Dan & The Scurvy Crew

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What did you rock out to in 2008?  Let me know in the comments!

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