First, I want to mention two podcast episodes from Out of Obscurity: a discussion of Austin group Many Birthdays and 13 Year Cicada (I was the guest for that one). Also, a discussion of the Faint and Nurses.
Here’s a profile of Jade Bird, the British folk rock singer living now in Austin. I missed her Houston concert. I would love to see her live.
Here’s NPR’s best albums of the year (so far).
I didn’t love Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s In the Heights, but some of the songs were catchy as well. Pretty amazed to learn he wrote the play in college.
- La Plaga by Mireia Vilar, 10 tracks, 35 minutes, 4.49
- s/t by Matazar (bandcamp page). Matazar is a bluesy rock band from Ecuador
- Elements by Nicholas Guerrero. Lovely understated mood music reminiscent of Glass (Drop, Sparks) or Debussy. There’s a sort of minimalist vibe here — like the way Glass used lots of repetitions set against melodies. Everything starts with a piano, then other symphonic elements are introduced (in Breeze, with ethereal strums of a harp). The last piece, Seeds, has the most dramatic progressions, with indistinct voices dipping it at key moments. Sparks starts with jerky piano moments and then progresses into settles into a nice symphonic where everything seems to jump and dissipate.
- The Lighthouse/everything’s Calm by Yann Tiersen. (musician web site). 24 tracks, 70 minutes. Nice instrumentals with a French flavor. His music is found on soundtracks for some well-known movies (Amelie, Good Bye Lenin!, etc)
- s/t by Staran — 9 tracks, 39 minutes, 3.99. recent Scottish folk music. Lovely.
- Moult by Clara Lannotta. 4 tracks, 58 minutes, 3.49. Classical music
- Tenquén by Monstruos del Mañana /
- Hell Yeah Recordings – Selfie 1 (Summer 2018) – Various. 6.99, 187 minutes, 27 tracks. This very nice sampler of Hell Yeah artists from Italy mixes New Age with laid back jazz and occasional Eurodisco. In other words, a little something for everybody! Although primarily instrumental, there are a few vocal tracks as well. Not always excellent, but always interesting.
- Abandoned Garden by Yujun Wang & Timer. 4.99, 107 minutes, 19 tracks. Taiwanese jazz pop band with a quiet and almost intimate sound. Some of their concerts are on Youtube. Instruments backing the vocalist are cello, oboe, violin and drum. From what I’ve heard they’re not taking a lot of chances, but it’s still pleasant listening.
- Floreal by Sontag Shogun, 99 cents, 25 minutes, 4 tracks.
- Two EDM albums by Porter: Prometheus and Belle. Both 99 cents, 5 tracks, 25-30 minutes.
- Äska stuka rubank och dyvla dääng by Zoon. 99 cents, 48 minutes, 6 tracks.
- Slash/Primitiu by Vanessa Worm and Sau Poler. 99 cents, 4 tracks, 22 minutes.
- s/t by Los Dias Silvestres. 99 cents, 18 minutes, 5 tracks.
- Sweet Mortality by Annie Taylor. 42 minutes, 4.99, 12 tracks.
- Wismut by Sascha Funke & Niklas Wandt. 4 tracks, 34 minutes, 99 cents. Also, I liked Kreidekreis (1.99, 31 minutes).
- Embeleso by Nikola. 99 cents, 5 tracks. Very slow dreampop with almost dissonant arrangements from Dominican Republic. Nikola has a lovely voice , very easy to listen to. Like a very mellow Nelly Furtado on downers. The songs are not very melodic, and her voice just warbles all over the place. Recommended!
- Patio 29 by Slowkiss. 3.99, 10 tracks, 27 minutes. Alternative rock from Chile. Song titles are in English. and some of the guitar blasts are gratuitous and grungey, but still fun and energetic.
- Solomon by Cigarbox Man. Blues album by Chili musician. (It mysteriously disappeared from emusic?!)
- Seterra by Smicker. 2.49, 6 tracks, 22 minutes
- Matrioshka by Club de Carta Inglesa. 99 cents, 22 minutes, 5 tracks.
- Homework by Coals. 1.49 for 15 minutes, 4 tracks.
- And Still Winter paints white by Arash Akbari. 1.99, 29 minutes, 5 tracks.
- Epistolas by Pedro Mo. 99 cents, 19 tracks, 75 minutes. Also Urka Runa by the same artist. 99 cents, 7 tracks, 26 minutes.
- Various pieces by Hello Seahorse!. Bestia 99 cents, 36 minutes, 10 tracks. Lejos, No Tan Lejos,, 3.99 for 12 tracks, 53 minutes. Actually, I bought Arunima for 4.99 as well, 12 songs, 57 minutes. Cool group from Mexico City with an Art Rock sound. Love that lead singer — who is like the Mexican version of Blondie, only cooler (see this music vid)
- unojoalfuturo by Somontano. 99 cents, 13 minutes, 4 tracks.
- Albatros by Mundaka (bandcamp). 4.99, 40 minutes, 13 tracks. Cool Peruvian pop.
- Vanduo by Paulius Kilbauskas. 3.99, 60 minutes, 4 tracks. Lithuanian ambient composer who has done a few film scores. This piece is serene and beautiful, but the whole album has a lot of crackling or rainfall noises, which I find distracting.
A nice live 2017 concert by a favorite family-friendly Ukrainian pop/rap band, Potap i Nastiya. Here’s a dance song they do with a kid’s chorus. God, Potip i Nastiya certainly are fun and charismatic.
I’ve been flipping over Hello Seahorse!, a art-rock band from Mexico City. (sea above) Here’s a live show they did for KEXP.
God, this Little Big song SEX MACHINE is a earwig comparable to the Sacred Cows :
I’ve really admired the satirical videos accompanying each song. They are the work of Alina Pasok and Ilia Prusikin who are also in the band. Just amazing stuff!
A musical analysis linking Britney Spears’ song Toxic with Bollywood and James Bond surf music. Here’s the sexy music vid which looks clever, unbelievably busy and too much like a videogame/superhero movie. The charm of Spears’ videos is the kineticism of the bodies, Some of Spear’s elaborate dance numbers just seem so kinetic. Apparently some of her Las Vegas show numbers are on Youtube; check out Work Bitch (which is a pretty amazing piece of choreography).
Here’s an early performance of the cute and upbeat Greek Cyprus singer Anna Vissi (22 years old) at Eurovision. (This is her first of 3 appearances throughout the years — Vissi later had a promising singing career lasting a few decades). I noticed that Eurovision is putting full shows on YouTube for a limited amount of time (1 month). Here’s the latest link for the 1980 Eurovision show, but I expect it to expire fairly soon.
Freegal & Library CDs
- Mercedes Sosa, especially Le Voz de La Zafra
- More KPM Albums (can’t get enough!): Look on the Bright Side, Counterpoint in Rhythm, Impressions
- Anna Vissi — Greek Cypriot singer.