A Reader staffer shares three musical obsessions, then asks someone (who asks someone else) to take a turn.
Luca Cimarusti, Reader music listings coordinator
Flying Saucer Attack This Bristol-based project—formed in 1992 by David Pearce and Rachel Brook—has been in constant rotation for me lately, thanks to old CDs, LP reissues, and bootlegs I’ve dug up online. The sad, slow, outer-space shoegaze-folk the duo play—which they call “rural psychedelia”—has been the perfect soundtrack for the brief phase of Chicago weather when spring turns into winter—I think it’s known as “autumn” in most other places.
Dehd, Dehd This local trio, cofronted by Jason Balla of Earring and Ne-Hi, released an excellent self-titled cassette on Maximum Pelt over the summer, and I can’t seem to stop listening to it. It’s dreamy, moody, beautiful postpunk, anchored by a rock-solid and beyond-simplistic rhythm section, and the guitar work echoes the finest early New Order.
Gucci Mane & Future, Free Bricks 2: Zone 6 Edition What do you get when you take two of the trippiest, most prolific rappers out of Atlanta and put them together on one mixtape? Six of the hottest hip-hop tracks to come along in ages. Gucci and Future’s outer-space trap is simply unstoppable, packed with some of the oddest lyrics I’ve ever heard (e.g., “We eat Benihana for breakfast”).
Luca is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Nicholas Rouley, stand-up comic and host of the Jam Sandwich podcast
Françoise Hardy, L’Amitié About a year ago, Light in the Attic reissued the first five albums by French pop star Françoise Hardy, and they’ve dominated my turntables since. LITH often reissues sequential releases by an influential artist, allowing you to hear growth from album to album. Of the Hardy records, my favorite is the 1965 masterpiece L’Amitié. “Tout Ce Qu’on Dit” is a nice, fuzzy love song that makes blood rush to various parts of my body. Her soothing, gentle voice and breezy tunes helped me deal with a real stinker of a year.
Birdcloud, Singles Only This year the shit-kickin’ Nashville country duo of Makenzie Green and Jasmin Kaset released a double LP (on “cum-colored” vinyl) of their first four EPs, and boy howdy is it a ripper. Most people talk about their potty-mouthed lyrics, but it’s their “spit in the face of authority” attitude that made me a fan. They’re funny, but don’t mistake them for a “comedy” band. They remind me of the strong women I know who tell it like it is and the girls who made me wanna smoke cigs under the bleachers in high school. “Here in Body” was my 2016 theme song.
Gil Scott-Heron, Black Wax Gil Scott-Heron is a national treasure, and this 1983 concert film highlights what he had to offer as a musician, poet, activist, and bluesologist. I’ve been giving him more play than usual lately, having been inspired by a horrific election cycle and its hellscape results. “Gun” and “B Movie” resonate as truly today as they did upon their release more than 30 years ago. I can’t forget to mention that it’s also funky as all hell.
Nicholas is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Stephanie Hasz, stand-up comic and producer of Comedy Secrets
RuPaul, Born Naked It’s hard for me to talk about RuPaul’s music, even though I’ve listened to it almost daily for months. Does it hold up against other dance music? I have no idea, but if I’m listening to it, I’m having a great time. Of Ru’s nine studio albums, Born Naked is my current favorite. The songs are self-help guides for people who’ve got to party right now, and I need all the upbeat empowerment I can get. If lines like “Checkin’ out my Nasdaq / While you lick my snack pack / I’m an ATM machine” can’t get you on board, I guess we’ll never see eye to eye.
Mariah Carey, The Emancipation of Mimi I thought about trying to sound cooler, but if I’m being real, RuPaul and Mariah Carey combined probably make up 75 percent of my listening time. My personal taste couldn’t be more different, but I’m in awe of Carey’s unapologetic, hyperfeminine eccentricity. I don’t need to describe Mariah singles to you, so just make sure you listen to The Emancipation of Mimi after your next breakup. It’s got pleading songs, wallowing songs, “go out and sleep with someone new” songs. All the stages of heartbreak in one perfect album.
Wussy, Attica! If there’s anything I love more than mid-aughts R&B, it’s wistful indie rock. Attica! is full of songs that feel like dusk—beautiful, but with a creeping loss of hope swirling below the surface. Wussy alternate between two lead singers: Lisa Walker’s songs feel more nostalgic, while Chuck Cleaver’s are a little more grim. Perfect autumn listening for rethinking all your life choices.