A Strange Playlist

I knocked at the gates of reason, seeking answers
The door opened
I was knocking from inside

Thus spake Jelaluddin Rumi, 13th century mystic and philosopher. These are lines that I’m rather fond of. There usually is a common thread – however tenuous – that runs through the music set that I listen to at a give time. But the current bewildering (to my mind) assortment of albums that I’m listening to currently brings Rumi’s pondering to the fore…once again. Perhaps as I write, I will find answers.

Our recent vacation in Turkey is the obvious connect to Can (pronounced Jan) Bonomo’s debut album ‘Meczuk’ (roughly translates to ‘Deranged’) which features ‘Bana Bir Saz Verin‘ with its very groovy tune and rather dramatic (melodramatic?) vocal delivery. When I heard it at the store in Istanbul where I bought it, I was all a-sway before my wife very quickly asked for it to be billed and ushered me out of there.

The Joy Formidable is a power trio from Wales that was quite a favourite last year when they released their first full-length album ‘The Big Roar’. Was there ever a more appropriately named album! Any kid who asks me to explain the term ‘wall of sound’ gets pointed to this. What a wonderful combination of big, loud, riotous drum-guitar-bass and melodic singing. I love what a gifted trio (Cream, Rush anyone?) can do and I look forward to  more from this truly formidable band. ‘Whirring’ was in wide circulation and so I opted for a sample from ‘The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie’. No obvious connection between this and the young musician from Turkey – so am still searching for an answer there.

The next one is natural. After the huge roar of The Joy Formidable, I normally would shift to the dreamy soundscapes of a Sigur Ros (I’m waiting for their new one ‘Valtari’ releasing tomorrow, May 29) to give the ears…ummmm….a breather. But I recently laid my hands on Norah Jones’s latest ‘Little Broken Hearts’ which does almost as well. This is a different sounding Ms. Jones and I guess that’s largely due to the production work of Danger Mouse. There’s a slightly heavier and more complex sound to this album than on her earlier works. I gather from what I’ve read  that it’s irked some people while others have welcomed it guardedly – ‘it’s interesting and good listening but I don’t relate emotionally to most of the songs’. I belong to the set that’s embraced it fully…mostly. ‘Say Goodbye’ is a good example of what I’m talking about.

The only – and very hazy, subliminal – reason I have The Kentucky Headhunters in heavy rotation with the artistes already mentioned is a vague country music connection with Jones. Anyway, I heard “Pickin’ On Nashville” when I was in college. Till then, all the country music I’d heard was…er, nice. You know, musically sweet – even the ones with bitter lyrics. But this, this was badass country – the first blend of country-rock I had heard till then. From the opening riff of ‘Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine’ to the last piece of guitar feedback on ‘My Daddy Was A Milkman’ (yup, I told ya – these guys don’t play nice) I loved it – still do.

There’s more in the vicinity of my CD player that boggles my mind as far as the mix goes – among others ‘Undun’ by The Roots is once again back and so is a bunch of L. Subramaniam’s CDs. I should just stop looking for reasons when there’s so much joy being served.

A Strange Playlist

A Strange Playlist.mp3

5 Thoughts

  1. I’ve never gotten into Norah Jones but I quite like the art work on the cover of the new one, plus the production work of Danger mouse is tempting. I will likely also get the Sigur Ros album, and maybe the walkmen as this has been doing good reviews.

    I’ve just gotten hold of the Sharon Van Etten album and one by Damien Jurado which has some great guitar work. I’ve unfortunately not had time to give either a good listen yet with my son being a bit ill.


    1. Ah! so much to listen to. You may also like Lee Ranaldo’s (of Sonic Youth) ‘Between The Time And The Tides’. I read your post on last week’s travails. Hope your son’s alright now


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