Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Obsessions—Music is Art

If you know me at all you would know that I have a bit of an obsession with music.  In fact, music is most likely the reason I live where I live, I studied what I studied, and I teach what I teach.

The reality is that I spend far too much time scouring the web and the local weekly papers for great music.  There is so much amazing music available to us, and I, as a true American, have felt the need to own the good stuff.  If you saw my external hard drive’s music selection, you would either be impressed or disgusted. 

A little piece of me thinks that the ownership part of it all is a little bit overwhelming.  The reality is that just about any music that has been recorded in the last 60 years can be heard for free on the internet in a number of different places.  And if I really want to experience music in its purest form I should go see it live.  I do, but I also love to collect it. 

I thought I would share some music that I have been listening to lately.  I will link all of the songs so that you can listen to these artists and possibly buy the music for yourself. 

I chose to write about this because I truly believe that music is a high art, if not the highest of art forms.  Last night I went to a local record store, Music Millennium and listened to Laura Gibson give a beautiful in-store performance.  She was performing with Ethan Rose who I hadn't heard of and I was sufficiently blown away.  Her first album was touted by Sufjan Stevens and included some beautiful melodies and folk style songs.

The music she performed was closer to Avant Garde art than it was to folk.  Her and Ethan used a computer, a uke, an electric guitar, and a keyboard to create some ethereal sounds that I never would have expected.  At the end Ethan played the electric guitar with a violin bow and they looped vocals together to create an incredible mishmash of sounds. 

It was extremely interesting and titillating music. It reminded me that Music is art and that much of today’s “indie rock”  is pushing the boundaries of what music truly is.  Here is the entire album, I recommend putting on some tea and listening carefully.

Another album that just came out that I am really excieted about that I recently had a chance to listen to was Spoon’s new album, Transference.  I listened to an interview with them and am excited to expierience this album.  Some of it was recorded in Portland in one of the band member’s basements.  I really like the first song.  It is withheld and distant, yet you can feel the rest of the album barreling behind it.

I just finished listening to The David Rawlings Machine on NPR music.  They recorded a tiny desk concert that I think deserves a listen.  David Rawlings is Gillian Welch’s musical collaborator.  They worked together on this album.  The harmony that both of their voices create sounds like it is from another time. 

Here is the tiny desk concert

and at you can listen to them do a cover of Neil Young’s Cortez the killer, that would make Neil jealous.

I also went to an album leaf concert last Friday and was impressed with the opening band seawolf.  They put on a great live show although their album leaves something to be desired. 

The Album Leaf was good, but not hugely exciting for a live show. 

Now you know what I’ve been listening to, do you have any recommendations or comments?  Please let me know.


  1. speaking of tiny desk concerts :

    i saw these kids open for another band a while back and was blown away. if you get a chance to see them live, do it! that girl has got some lungs on her.

    and for your emo side, look into beach house. it took me a couple listens, and then i couldn't stop.

    those are my two newest. and now i will delve into yours.



  2. AMY,
    Thanks for commenting!!! You're the first one in awhile. I always liked your music taste, I'm glad to see that you haven't gone too indie.
    I really like the low anthem, I they have some incredible harmonies, sometimes their songs are too depressing (this goddamn house) but its good stuff.
    They have a great Take-away show that they filmed in an old boxcar. Hope you and Brett are still Rocking and Rolling in DC.

  3. this is pretty cool heyy follow me

  4. Music is truly an art but i would simply not consider rock as part of it.

  5. I must spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent info

  6. choice of music also reflection of our social,education and generation.