ILSUHD2 will be on a posting hiatus for two weeks while on holiday in Cambodia and Thailand from March 26th – April 10th, but this does not mean you have to start listening to 106.7 KBPI or your city’s equivalent…we’ve got you covered!
With all the interviews, features and live shows lately, we’ve gotten pretty behind on album recommendations. We’re going to make up for that here. Listed below are 16 albums (one for every day we’re away) that have been in heavy rotation over the past couple months. Very diverse in nature and sound, they are organized by conditions of the mind. Whether it’s morning, evening or night, just check the color of your mood ring and then listen to the corresponding album…it won’t change your state-of-mind, but at least you’ll know there’s someone out there who feels the same way. This is ILSUDH2 and like Aaliyah and Timbaland before us, we wouldn’t leave you ‘without a dope beat to step to (step to)’.
Middle Brother – Middle Brother
A side-project for the men behind Deer Tick, Delta Spirit and Dawes, Middle Brother is the album that lives up to the sum of its parts…unlike Monsters of Folk. Sure, this album is uneven and it’s sounds more like a collection of songs that an actual album, but with slow, heartbreaking folk-songs, upbeat swing numbers and great songwriting about all kinds of unfortunate events, it’s a great listen. I’m still partial to McCauley‘s raspy vocals, but Vasquez and Goldsmith really round things out. They are no Isbell, Hood and Cooley and this is no Decoration Day, but Middle Brother is a great record of songs by three very talented artists.
How To Dress Well – Mix For The Wire
(self-released mixtape, 2011)
Nothing new here, just Tom Krell mixing some of his favorite r&b and hip-hop from artists such as The Dream, Soulja Boy, Britney and R. Kelly, as well as Beyoncé‘s Halo with a HTDW intro. A good sampling of urban music and worth the time it takes to download.
The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh
(Bella Union, 2011)
The Low Anthem are from Rhode Island and if you are disappointed that Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons now belong to the masses, this is your new favorite band. I was hooked on Oh My God, Charlie Darwin back in 2008 and I’ll be hooked on Smart Flesh in 2011. This album was recorded in an abandoned warehouse with nothing but the band, their instruments and the ghosts. Listen to them channel their stories of love, fear, loss and death through this underrated folk quartet.
Various Artists – Iced In
(Gorilla vs. Bear Winter Mix 2011)
Download this chilled-out mixtape from Gorilla vs. Bear featuring artists such as Grizzly Bear, Fever Ray, Flying Lotus, Grouper and many more…
Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place
(Asthmatic Kitty, 2011)
You’re taking a walk in the woods behind your house in Louisiana, you lose track of time and as the sun starts to set you become disoriented, fumbling through the shadows of the trees. You see a white light up ahead, it comes towards you and then surrounds you. The light is speaking to you, but not in words. One voice? Two voices? A thousand? The sounds seem to be coming from nowhere, yet everywhere at the same time. You should be frightened, but your mind is at ease. You lay down on a pile of leaves and for next 45 minutes you are in The Magic Place.
The Streets – Computers and Blues
It’s been almost 10 years since I purchased Original Pirate Material in a record store in London. I brought that album back to the States and played it for anyone who’d listen. It wasn’t that I loved every song, some of them seriously got on my nerves, it was just that this was so ‘original’. I felt I had found something unique. Two years later, I was also pretty impressed that Mike Skinner could put out a full length album about one bad day. I liked it. I felt his pain. I could relate. But after that The Streets became something I couldn’t relate to. The next few albums about the pains of fame only irritated me. But now Skinner has released his last album under The Streets moniker and I believe it’s worth your time. It’s a period piece and I doubt it will stand the test of time, but if you find that most of your social life isn’t actually very social at all…if you interact with people through a computer screen more than in the real world, you will be able to relate to songs like Puzzled By People, Blip on a Screen, OMG, etc. Computers and Blues is a document of this age of isolation, of ‘not-so-social’ networking.
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
When I decided on this post, I had 15 releases in mind, so I knew I would have to find the last album to round everything out. I made a playlist of 5 albums that I was still trying to figure out and have had that playlist on repeat for the past week. After listening to each album over and over, only one got better on each listen, Lykke Li‘s sophomore release, Wounded Rhymes. A friend just asked me last week what I thought of this album and my response was something like ‘ehhh, my wife loves it‘. I’m not sure what I missed that first time around, but some of these songs are incredible. Sure, there are some duds like Rich Kid Blues, but unlike Youth Novels (which no matter how hard it tried could not live up to all the remixes of the various songs), Wounded Rhymes sounds like an adult album. An album that can find it’s audience outside the Twilight crowd. Lykke Li has grown up quite a bit over the past couple years and with Wounded Rhymes she has managed a very mature album without losing that connection with what it feels like to be young.
The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
This is pretty music. Music for grown-ups. Stuff I usually don’t listen to. But if you are feeling ‘all growns up’ and need to escape all the stuff the ‘crazy kids’ are into today, you can’t go wrong with The Civil Wars. A duo formed by John Paul White of Alabama and Joy Williams, a (contemporary christian?!!!) artist from Santa Cruz, The Civil Wars have been making waves across the country the past few months and I have to admit I really like this album. It’s essentially acoustic folk music with heartbreaking/melting, soaring harmonies. But be warned, you do run the risk of feeling like you’re listening to your mother’s music and thoughts around how long it’s been since you’ve seen the inside of a church can seep into your head. When that happens, just go put on The Heelers album and let that little demon on your left shoulder beat the shit out of the little angel whispering in your right ear.
The Heelers – The Devil On Your Shoulder
(self released, 2010)
The Heelers are a rock band with a country feel from Denton, Texas and I’ve been listening to their album, The Devil On Your Shoulder, ever since ninebullets posted it last month. I have to admit that it has taken me the full month to really get into it. At first I thought they just sounded like a band you’d hear in a bar you wandered into. But now I feel like they sound like a band playing in a bar you wandered into and said ‘holy shit! who are these guys?!!!‘
AD Presents :: Dengue Fever
(A Khmer Music Mixtape)
In case you feel like getting a little education with your listening experience, download this free Aquarium Drunkard Khmer Mixtape posted by Dengue Fever’s Ethan Holtzman. You can use it as a soundtrack while reading about the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge…atrocities that claimed the lives of these very artists, in the very country we will be traveling through in the coming weeks.
Banjo or Freakout – Banjo or Freakout
(Rare Book Room, 2011)
Don’t expect any banjos or any freakouts on this album. Like Bradford and that collective of animals before him, Alessio Natalizia just gave himself that silly name and started recording syrupy bedroom pop. The differences between Banjo or Freakout and those other projects is that this album does not demand your attention. This album has been the background of my year. It’s playing when I’m working on a packing list, it’s playing when I’m writing a blog about a completely different subject, it’s playing while my daughter is doing her homework or when I’m getting ready for bed. It’s there, but it’s not. And that’s why it took me so long to realize what a great album it is. Without requiring anything from it’s listener, it provides a very chill atmosphere. It will make whatever you are doing less stressful. It injects a sort of simple joy into your subconscious. I would be hard pressed to tell you my favorite track, because I don’t even know the names of the tracks. I just know that no matter what I’m doing, I seem to be more relaxed, in a better mood, when I do it with Banjo or Freakout.
Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours
Yeah, I know…Cold War Kids lost their edge and went and made a mainstream rock album with Mine Is Yours. But you know, I never thought Cold War Kids had an edge to begin with, so I have to disagree with the critics on that part of their argument. Now, about this being a mainstream rock album, yeah, I think it probably is. I have no doubt the majority of these songs could be ruined on rotation on any of the ‘alternative’ rock stations across the country. But until I have to hear them on every commercial, in every Chipotle and grocery store; until the exposure gets so bad I can’t get the songs out of my head, I will continue to listen to this album. It’s not groundbreaking, it might not have an edge, but it’s a fun album and with all the dark, electronic, metal and experimental music I listen to, sometimes fun is exactly what I need.
…and for those of you with a dark side
Fen – Epoch
Fen is one of those bands and Epoch is one of those albums that is only black metal based on the vocal. This is essentially an atmospheric, post-rock album. The extreme beauty of the waves of the North Sea washing ashore in Northern England; soaring soundscapes allowing you to close your eyes and explore your own thoughts, only to be jolted from your serenity by the screaming of souls lost at sea. If you enjoyed the metal on from the basement vol. 1, you will like this. Fen remind me of a British Agalloch and that can’t be a bad thing!
Deicide – To Hell With God
(Century Media Records, 2011)
Hailing from Tampa, Florida, pioneering death metallers Deicide don’t mince words. They believe in God and they hate his guts. Unlike a lot of death metal, you can actually understand their lyrics and at times you probably wish you couldn’t. That being said, with so much generic, crappy death metal out there, Deicide are showing the kids how it’s done. Once again, I don’t subscribe to the imagery or lyrical material, but this is one of the best modern death metal albums to keep you company if you’re feeling homicidal (or -cidal of any kind). Put it on, pump your fists and bang your head to the blast beats until your neck breaks. And then take a nap…sleep it off.
Belphegor – Blood Magick Necromance
Austria‘s Belphegor are named after a demon, a demon who helps people discover new things. So maybe this band will help you discover blackened death metal? Or maybe you won’t be able to get past the cover art and song titles? Well, to each his/her own, but I did get past the ridiculous imagery, like I have to do with most metal these days and what I discovered was one of the best metal albums to be released this year. ‘ Blackened death’ means these guy employ the normal ‘satanic/anti-Christian’ lyrics over blast beat drumming and other death elements…so musically it’s got more of a death feel. Anyway, it’s so hard to explain this type of music without repeating the same words..evil, punishing, riffage, etc. So ignore the album cover, ignore the titles and check it out if the spirit (or demon) moves ya.
Mitochondrion – Parasignosis
(Profound Lore, 2011)
If you are not really into extreme music but just wanna, you know, give it a try…DO NOT start with this album from Canadian death metallers Mitochondrion. Parasignosis is a trip to the depths of hell with a plastic bag over your head. To call this album heavy is a ridiculous statement. 45 minutes of progressive death metal that is so dense , so debilitating, that there is no chance to come up for air. The Ambient Outro which clocks in at almost 10 minutes was put there for safety reasons, because without this comedown it would not be safe to wander back into the world.