Tal Rosenberg, Reader digital content editor
The Raincoats, The Raincoats Four feminists tell fairy tales in the supermarket—probably the closest a hoedown, a tropicalia concert, and jump rope on the playground have come to being combined on record. My favorite track is “Life on the Line,” which is the most joy-inducing song ever written about a paranoid schizophrenic committing suicide by lying down on train tracks.
Franco, Francophonic, Vol. 1 A Congolese guitarist and bandleader who made some of the most beautiful and uplifting music to emerge from the fingers, feet, and minds of mankind. Volume 2 is also terrific but this is better, both for its range and for the quality of the songs. “Infidelité Mado” has a melody that Motown would buy, then follows a guitar line into nirvana.
Matthew Halsall, Colour Yes My favorite contemporary jazz album of recent memory. Halsall is a Mancunian trumpeter—his playing isn’t mind-blowing, but he has a gift for writing great melodies. Though not as groundbreaking or technically impressive as either, this album borrows the best from Coltrane’s Giant Steps and Bill Evans’s Waltz for Debby.
Kathryn Frazier, owner and founder, Biz 3 Publicity
Kate Bush interview on Q (Public Radio International) Kate Bush struck me with this interview because she doesn’t give a fuck about peers or critics and conveys this with such grace, sophistication, and pure tenderness. She should hold media-training seminars for new artists to spare us all circular egocentric interviews. A dainty punk.
Etta James I read her autobiography and fell hard for her gritty sweetness. She’s waddled, tromped, and whirled on stages for decades, and I’d put her up against ANY of the long line of pop-soul constructs from Diana Ross to Beyonce—she’d take them down with one guttural fell swoop.
LMFAO I came way late to this party and only through my kids and their discerning musician father was I brought back to LMFAO; now I cannot stop humming, singing, and dancing to these ding-dongs. I’m a reluctant convert and can be heard mindlessly at any point dropping an “everyday I’m shufflin'” or an “I work ouuut.”
J.R. Robinson, sound artist, aka Wrekmeister Harmonies
Weakling, Dead as Dreams Depending on what story you hear first, original plans for distributing this brilliant black-metal recording from the late 90s called for giving one copy to a teenage superfan in Europe and having him make burns of it or burying copies in the ground and giving customers maps so they could attempt to unearth them.
Saxondale, Complete Seasons 1 & 2 Steve Coogan plays Tommy Saxondale, retired roadie for the Floyd, Deep Purple, and others (but sadly never Led Zep), now working in the pest-control business. With the good years seemingly behind him, Tommy deals with the neuroses of middle age with various tics, angry outbursts, and rambling philosophical tirades that Coogan delivers with spot-on comedic perfection.
David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Roamin’ and Ramblin’ Raw, honest, and haunting as the blues can be. The recently departed Honeyboy was the last of the original Delta bluesmen. Born in 1915, he did very little in the way of commercial recordings, the first being made by archivist Alan Lomax in 1942. I listen to it very late at night—especially good when the wind is howling.