Yesterday was the first day of the Music Diary Project, an experience organized by Nick of Sick Mouthy. The Music Project asks listeners to keep track of all the music they listen to from Monday, April 4th to Sunday, April 10th. I’m actually pretty fascinated by tracking my own music listening habits and am always looking at my own last.fm page to assess my most listened to artists, songs, albums, etc., but I don’t often blog about my day to day listening habits and rarely assign commentary to what I’ve been listening to, so I thought that participating in the Music Diary Project would be a good way for me to engage more actively with the music that I listen to on a day in/day out basis while giving me the opportunity to provide some context for why I listen to what I listen to.
What I listened to on Monday, April 4th…
- Side A of the Sweater Girls/History of Apple Pie split cassette (Cool in a Crisis, I got my copy from Pebble Records)
I don’t normally listen to music first thing in the morning before getting to the office, but I’m trying to turn over a new leaf & get up earlier than usual and eat breakfast and that sort of thing, so I thought that listening to music in my early waking hours would be a nice addition to my new life as someone who gets up on time. I only had time for Side A (the Sweater Girls’ side), but it was a sweet addition to my morning.
- LCD Soundsystem, This is Happening (DFA, get it from InSound)
Drew and I decided that we weren’t even going to attempt to go to LCD Soundsystem’s final show at Madison Square Garden — getting tickets, getting to NYC, finding a place to stay… it all just seemed like too much stress, too expensive, etc. But let me tell you, it broke my heart when people starting blogging pictures from the show — especially the shots of all those white balloons — and I felt like I had to listen to at least some LCD Soundsytem at work on Monday. (I’m not sure if this is worth noting, but my listening set-up at work is my MacBook Pro w/ Eskuche over-the-ear headphones.) Sadly, my listening of this album was disrupted by a minor work crisis and I forgot to his pause, so I missed tracks 4, 5, and 6, which is probably my favorite stretch of songs on the album.
- The Roots, Things Fall Apart (MCA, get it from InSound)
Over the weekend I watched that video of Stephen Colbert performing Rebecca Black’s “Friday” on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show and when MC Black Thought came out in that tiny car I had this sort of Roots epiphany and immediately mentally bookmarked Things Fall Apart for weekday listening (I actually listen to music predominately at my desk at work and listen to far less music on the weekends than I do on a typical weekday.) Honestly, I tend to like my rap a little more over the top, so the Roots are sort of sonically subdued compared to the rap I normally listen to, but it’s good to be reminded of how straight up amazing and thoughtful their work is.
- LCD Soundsystem, “Starry Eyes” (I listened to a YouTube rip of this, it originally appeared as the b-side on various versions of the “All My Friends” single)
Not having an intimate knowledge of LCD Soundsystem b-sides, I seriously listened to this after spotting it on the setlist of LCD Soundsystem’s final show because I thought it would be a sweet dance version of “Starry Eyes” by The Records (YouTube). I was wrong.
- Childish Gambino, “Break” (Download free and legally here)
Whenever Donald Glover drops a new Childish Gambino track via his tumblr or twitter or whatever, I am so there. “Break” caught my attention with an opening that borrows lyrics & melody from “All of the Lights” (one of my favorite tracks on Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.) I’m stoked on the sound of this song, but am on the fence about the lyrics. I want to listen to it a few more times before offering any concrete thoughts on it. One of the things I love about Childish Gambino is how dense the lyrics are — they’re a near-seamless mix of personal experience, wordplay, allusions to literature & pop culture. SO MUCH TO UNPACK. But some of the lyrics of “Break” didn’t sit right with me upon my first listen. I’ll definitely be listening to it more and doing some thinking.
- Chara, Yoake Mae (Sony Music Japan)
Last week I got a weird urge to rekindle my affinity for Chara, a Japanese solo rock artist that I loved during high school. I continued the project this week by listening to Yoake Mae, her 9th studio album. I’ve been listening to Chara for something like ten years now and her music still manages to catch me off-guard with unexpected moments of beauty and clarity. I know that some people are put off by her breathy, “child like” voice, but I think it’s more powerful than people give her credit for. I tend to think of Chara’s music as being good for moments of being in-between worlds (whether those worlds are emotional or physical), so it’s perfect for listening to on the cusp of springtime.
Damn, the new Mike Watt album is a project. So, one of my favorite things about my current job is that I’m able to walk home for lunch and catch up with Drew during his break between school and work. When I walked home yesterday he was reading Pitchfork’s review of the new Mike Watt album and said that it was supposed to be good, so when I got back to work I decided to listen to it. Watt’s latest is a concept album based on the work of Hieronymous Bosch. 30 songs named after characters from Bosch’s intensely detailed (and horrific!) work, all written on the late D. Boon’s guitar. The album is good, but it’s also a little overwhelming. Only two of the 30 songs are longer than two minutes and listening to the album on headphones is sort of akin to being beaten over the head with a hammer. At this point in my workday, I was starting to get a bad headache (probably the combo of stress, having my hair pinned up, and listening to music on headphones all day long), so I called it quit 2/3 of the way through and planned to return to it Tuesday morning. Watt is currently touring in support of this record and is playing at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights next week.
- Sebadoh, “Rebound” (from Bakesale, Sub Pop, get it at InSound)
I listened to this on YouTube before leaving for the Sebadoh show at the Grog Shop.
- Richard Buckner, ~20 minutes of music (live)
Drew and I were late to the Sebadoh show, so we missed the first opener entirely and only caught the last 20 minutes of Richard Buckner’s set which played out as a near-seamless 20 minute long song. I wasn’t familiar with Buckner prior to last night and, I guess, don’t really see myself becoming familiar with him in the future.
- Sebadoh, ~30 songs (live)
Last night’s Sebadoh performance ruled. The band is currently touring to promote forthcoming reissues of Bakesale and Harmacy, so songs from those two albums dominated the set. Lou and Jason took turns playing guitar/bass, switching places with each other every 4-5 songs and pounding out awesome versions of some of their best songs. A+ show, would relive this experience!
- Incidental music between Richard Buckner and Sebadoh, unsure of what was played (thought I think I heard strains of “Ceremony” by New Order.)
- Drew flipped around on the radio on the way to and from the show, I remember hearing snippets of “Born to Run” coming in on a bad frequency and CCR’s “Proud Mary.” The venue was only about 5 minutes from our house, so we didn’t have time to hear much of anything.
I’ll continue with the Music Diary Project throughout the week. Expect a write-up of what I listened to today to go up tomorrow morning.