What I’m listening to: January 2013

I’ve exchanged some iTunes plastic (from Santa) for some excellent music that I’m really enjoying. Here’s a brief rundown of what’s playing in my house, car and head these days.


The Head and the Heart (The Head and the Heart album)
These guys play smart, rootsy alt folk (or something like that). I had heard of them but had somehow missed listening to them. I like how they still sound like musicians, not overly-precious, cleaned-up bits.


John Ellis and Double Wide (Puppet Mischief album) – These guys really swing. John Ellis is a great tenor saxophonist, but the sousaphone player (Matt Perrine) is what really drives them. I’d love to see these guys play live.


Mumford & Sons (Babel album) I know how late I am to this party, but this is good music that makes me think.


Philip Glass (Metamorphosis: 1-5) The minimalist giant playing his best piano pieces.


David Byrne & St. Vincent (Love this Giant album) Two unique musicians collaborating to make surprising and wonderful music. I hear new things each time I listen.


Chilly Gonzales (Solo Piano 2) I saved the best for last. If you like playing the piano or just listening to piano music, then this is what you are looking for. I hear echoes of Ernesto Nazareth, Eric Satie, Philip Glass and the Terra Verde composers David Thomas Roberts and Scott Kirby. These are the kind of quality, uncategorizable pieces the world needs more of.

What I’m listening to these days (July 2012)

Skatalites — Just sounds like summer to me.

Sarah Jarosz — Twenty-one year old genius on her way to owning a huge chunk of the folk/bluegrass/Americana universe.

Radiohead ‘Hail to the Thief’ — I find that my brain starts playing ‘There, There’ and ‘Sail to the Moon’ whenever I sit silently. Westboro Baptist Church called Radiohead “freak monkeys with mediocre tunes,” so they have that going for them.

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings — ‘The Harrow & the Harvest’ is a remarkable album — maybe their best work.

Gary Clark Jr. — Cool and talent

Fiona Apple — ‘The Idler Wheel…” cuts through the tired sameness of modern popular music. I especially love “Anything We Want.”

Dr. John — Funkiness personified.