QUICK HITS

Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material

It’s pretty wild. There’s a lot of Glen Campbell in the soaring strings and 50’s pop of “High Time” and at various other points throughout. “Biscuits” is an unbelievably transparent reworking of “Follow Your Arrow” and I guess I can’t blame her for doing that, but it’s not nearly as good.

Failure – The Heart Is a Monster

Something I never thought I’d be listening to in 2015 is a new Failure record. Their previous effort, Fantastic Planet, was released 19 years ago, and they’ve kept a very low profile since then. The Heart Is a Monster reminds me a little of Self, and At the Drive-In, and Alice in Chains. It’s probably the best modern execution of what used to be called “alt rock”, which I guess is oldies now or whatever.

Son Lux – Bones

Among classical musicians, a certain reverence is held for particular composers who are excellent orchestrators—meaning that when they write for an ensemble there’s a certain clarity to the music and the parts work together instead of straining against each other to be heard. It’s not just what notes are played when but the volume balance among instruments, the kinds of chords and lines made when they play together, and even which instruments are chosen to be in the ensemble.

The modern equivalent would be Son Lux, whose Bones is bigger and better, stuffed full of inventive rhythms and textures. It’s an impressive feat of production and engineering. On top of that, their live show is dead-on when it comes to reproducing the complex interplay between instruments and vocals. Catch them on tour this summer and see for yourself.

WHATEVER YOU ARE, DON’T LOSE FAITH

The playlist this week goes out to the music industry and their big release day shakeup, something I wrote about earlier this week. It opens with early 90s Morrissey—perhaps the best Morrissey—delivering one of my favorite lyrics in the encouraging “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday”:

My love, wherever you are

Whatever you are, don’t lose faith

From there we weave in and out of new and old songs selected to provide some self-confidence going into this new era. There’s even a Robin Thicke song, because maybe the guy has suffered enough, you know? It helps that “Morning Sun” is really good—and it’s proof that when he’s not busy being a creep or losing millions of dollars in copyright cases, he can still write a solid tune.

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