Looking Backwards & Forwards: What I’m Listening To
It’s early 2018, and so I’ve sort of missed the time-frame where sites might be expected to do their “Best of…” lists – that said: I’m still going to make this first contribution about what records really grabbed me last year, and then a few that I’m looking forward to checking out this new year.
Here are some personal standouts from this last year and what’s comin’ up in 2018:
Last year I went to my first-ever music festival, and in going I was exposed to a lot of artists I’d never heard of. I made a point to listen to just about everything listed on the bill in advance of making the trip, and even made a Spotify playlist of things I was excited about seeing.
I went to Voodoo Fest in New Orleans – which featured headlining performances from Kendrick Lamar, the Foo Fighters, the Killers, LCD Soundsystem, and Brand New, whose front man, Jesse Lacey, was yet to be in trouble for being one of the many public figures to take advantage of his position of power and respect.
The headliner that grabbed me, and that led to me buying those tickets as soon as they went on sale, was the Foo Fighters. I’m an unabashed Dave Grohl fanboy. If ever I could have the opportunity, I’d love an hour at a bar to just drink and talk music with him. He’s just done so much. Oh, and obviously Concrete and Gold , which came out last year had me excited + the video for “The Sky is A Neighborhood” was cool as hell.
While working my way through the Voodoo’s massive bill, I came across Colony House. I’d never really heard of them, but their single “You & I” grabbed me – it’s got some sort of experimental/indie guitar hooks, and is pop- and alternative-friendly enough that I feel like they’re going to eventually climb rank and be a big deal. Also, holy-hell their drummer was good. Moreover, the drummer and lead-singer are brothers. Ain’t that cute? Check out their record, Only the Lonely.
The record that probably grabbed my attention for the longest this last year has to be Paramore’s After Laughter. I liked it from the start, but it really, really hooked me once I went from being in a happy relationship to needing a good strong breakup record. It fit the bill perfectly – that, and I got to (#humblebrag) personally interact with the band a little bit, as I got to meet them at an after-show at Radio City (again with my now ex, who I obviously now wish wasn’t a part of the pictures with Hayley, and then with the full band). They’re all real sweethearts, but the one I spoke with the most was Hayley, as she came out to hang before the rest, and just sort of waited in the middle of the room for a second before anyone surrounded her to chat – and I was among the first there.
A couple final honorable mentions for 2017, from my ears to yours, would belong to (1) Benjamin Booker’s record Witness. It has some indie qualities, and some more high-energy jammers — but, on a personal note and most importantly: I got it on an absolutely beautiful blue vinyl record.
And secondly, Manchester Orchestra’s newest record is a complete masterpiece. I caught them live on their tour with Frightened Rabbit at Terminal 5 here in NYC, and was amazed by how they found ways to make even the most quiet places heavy and emotional. Check out their uniquely weird video for “The Sunshine“.
Looking forward, and without reading my way through a list of things to come, I’ve got a couple country-influenced records I’m excited about: Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats’ follow-up album (check out lead single “You Worry Me“), and Devin Dawson‘s debut album, La Dispute and Carly Rae Jepsen should have new records, and then, lastly, I have a sneaking suspicion that Jimmy Eat World will add something new to their legacy sometime this spring or summer.
Spencer is King of the Chill’s music contributor. If he’s not dog-sitting during his time off, you can find him cruising through New York City on his bike. Oddly, he enjoys his pizza with a tall glass of orange juice.