A Reader staffer shares three musical obsessions, then asks someone (who asks someone else) to take a turn.
Salem Collo-Julin, Reader music listings coordinator
Minutemen, “Acoustic Blow-Out” Sometimes you listen to a CD so much it cracks in half in the player—RIP my first copy of Minutemen’s Double Nickels on the Dime. D. Boon, a member of the fatal “27 club,” packed in a lot of life before the car crash that took his life, and supposedly this “Acoustic Blow-Out” was made for Los Angeles public access cable in 1985, only months before he died. I have no idea why they’re all sitting on the floor, or why George Hurley is playing bongos.
DJ Dame Luz at NYC’s Nola Darling in 2016 Philly-based DJ Dame Luz rarely spins here, but thankfully she recorded this stellar hour-long live set. It’s undergirded by a relentless, soldiers-getting-ready soca beat and at one point topped with Gregorian chant, steel drums, and all kinds of dark electronic arts. She also deconstructs the Tropkillaz single “Desabafo” (itself a reworking of 1973’s “Deixa eu Dizer” by Brazilian singer Claudia), with sped-up vocals imploring us in Portuguese to “Let me, let me, let me / Tell you what I think about life / I really need to get this out.”
The best Moo & Oink commercial ever I cherish my memories of driving to Moo & Oink with my grandparents to pick up slabs of meat. By the time this TV spot started its seemingly endless local run in the 80s, I was too old to believe that people would be dancing in the aisles and waving for catfish, but a girl can dream. The music is by legendary Chicago DJ Richard Pegue (with lyrics by Moo & Oink employee-poet Lillian Bassett). The stores are no more, but we still have this.
Salem is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Latham Zearfoss, visual and sonic artist, cofounder of Chances Dances
Xina Xurner merch This LA-via-Chicago queer punk-techno band has the most amazing merch. Most recently, they sold out of an awesome embroidered hat (designed by front person Young Joon Kwak) before it even officially went on sale. Drool. I also recently got a Roland VT-4 voice manipulator. If I could only get that hat and/or Xina Xurner‘s Edie Fake-designed T-shirt (also sold out), I could put on my XX gear, a nasty wig, and wail into my VT-4, mimicking the band’s signature banshee-goddess wails. Full fantasy!
Leaving Neverland When Michael Jackson died, I was convinced it would be OK to love him uncomplicatedly from that point forward. This brutal, clarifying, and deeply empathetic 2019 documentary gave me the opportunity to adress my own complicity with rape culture and the dehumanization-via-deification that we visit upon celebrities. The two survivors and the filmmaker have given us a real gift. Rarely are we afforded such a gracious opportunity to fully understand the effects of looking the other way. If you are or ever were an MJ fan, this is required viewing.
Solange Knowles, When I Get Home This is one of those albums that will age incredibly well, even if it’s left some folks underwhelmed now. Sure, When I Get Home doesn’t have the magnificent melancholy of A Seat at the Table, but Solange‘s latest is a loosely conceptual attempt to decenter her own voice—a revolutionary proposition for pop royalty. The result is a bleep-blooping river of joining and disjointed voices, of shifting subjectivity.
Latham is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Jen Delos Reyes, artist, educator, performs with Latham in Glist!
Yoko Ono, “What a Mess” What do you hear when you become open to the messages the universe is sending you? This week, when I played my freshly auto-updated Favorites Mix, the first song was “What a Mess” from Yoko Ono‘s 1973 double album Approximately Infinite Universe. It’s an upbeat, pleasure-filled rant on fighting for social justice and equity while under the powerful forces of systemic oppression. Each verse touches on these challenges, followed by the three laments: What a waste. What a drag. What a mess.
Stevie Nicks, “Outside the Rain” The emotional exhaustion of “What a Mess” carries over perfectly into the moody exasperation of “Outside the Rain,” which came up next on my playlist. The tone shifts from collective struggle to the intimate battles of partnerships. This frustrated ballad moves through the pain of being with an undedicated partner, as Nicks sings, “I am tired of trying.” In the soft ether of Stevie’s world, you hear background vocals repeat the words that we hope follow all nightmares: “It’s only a dream.”
The Smiths, “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” The playlist then breaks into the Smiths’ ode to drudgery and disillusionment. This song is a reminder that we often have more agency than we think—we don’t have to commit our time and lives to people or work that cause us to suffer. An alternate title for this Favorites Mix could easily be “Let Go and Move On.” I can’t wait to hear what messages I receive in next week’s personal algorithm-fueled playlist. v