Tal Rosenberg, Reader digital content editor
CDs I mostly skew toward vinyl and MP3s, but I recently unearthed my CD collection after moving, and it’s been a blast to revisit the format. Also, I popped into Reckless, and apparently used CDs (most of which are in really good condition) are like four bucks now. They’re practically giving these things away!
Allen Toussaint, From a Whisper to a Scream The casually brilliant second album from this New Orleans pianist and singer-songwriter. It was rereleased a year later as Toussaint, but this version is much better sequenced—in fact the sequencing is part of the album’s charm, its pacing nearly perfect. Dr. John and a bunch of New Orleans session all-stars are ace, but Toussaint’s piano playing is the standout; the songs are so simple that it’s hard to make out why they’re so brilliant. Funk rarely sounds as effortless as it does here.
The Feelies covering R.E.M.’s “Shaking Through” I found this video while searching for a YouTube clip of the R.E.M. version; it’s from a 2013 performance at the Met in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Murmur is surprisingly good springtime music, and “Shaking Through” and “Sitting Still” are my favorite tracks on the album. The Feelies kind of upstage R.E.M.’s original here—they’re more aggressive, faster, and leaner, and they sing the shit out of the chorus.
Tal is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Dave Mata, DJ with Impala Sound Champions and Soul Summit Chicago
Danny Akalepse, Some Things I Never Said I first heard of Danny Akalepse of the Truth & Soul label a couple years back through a graffiti artist, Tyrue “Slang” Jones, who lived across the street from me. Slang would tell me dude was super nice with it on the decks and that I had to get him to Soul Summit. We brought him out here a couple of times over the course of a year or two, and he never even mentioned that he’d casually been collecting beats of his own for a mixtape called Some Things I Never Said—an impressive collection of beats, loops, and skits going back to the 90s. Great for bumpin’ in the whip or spacin’ out at the crib.
Rich Medina’s 45 bag Danny Akalepse DJs in New York every Wednesday with Rich Medina. Medina has enough of a rep in the vinyl game that the fine folks at Tucker & Bloom created a 45 bag bearing his name. I waited a while before pulling the trigger on one of these bad boys—it costs $275—but as much as I run around with records, it makes sense to carry them in a quality case.
House Shoes and Street Corner Music Present The Gift Vol. 8: Raj Mahal Rich Medina and I were on a bill last month in LA with House Shoes. Shoes makes it a point to introduce people to unheard music and artists, while never boasting about where he’s been or who he’s worked with. The latest in his series, The Gift Vol. 8, features Chicago-via-Detroit producer Raj Mahal. The story goes that Raj sent him almost 90 beats to pick from and Shoes slimmed it down to these 12, which will get a vinyl release by the end of the year.
Dave is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Jeremiah Meece, producer for The-Drum and Jody, aka Jeremiah Chrome and VALIS
SPF666, Scorpion Cache Zak DesFleurs, aka SPF666, is a producer out of Portland, Oregon. He and my friend Dave Barnes, aka Massacooramaan, have been throwing a party called Club Chemtrails there that’s consistently brought out the kind of talent that makes me salivate over my Facebook invites. This EP bangs hard, and all the remixes offer great reimaginings of the already solid originals. A must-have for DJs.
Brett Naucke, Seed The new collection of modular-synth jams from Chicagoan Brett Naucke. Textures and rhythms galore. Great cover too. Strictly for the heads.
Ableton Live I debated a lot about what I should include in this column, but in the end I picked Ableton because I wouldn’t have been able to create any of my music without it. I’ve been using it exclusively since 2006, and yet I learn new things about it every day. It’s an instrument, module, work space, studio, and more. In and of itself it’s a great piece of software, but once you take that Existenz-esque leap and meld with it, you can start to conjure whatever you desire. I heart U, Ableton.