‘WTF Am I Listening To’ is a monthly music list consisting of five releases (both new and old) that demand to be heard. Whether you like pop, folk, rock, disco, or R&B — the good stuff is on this list. New lists published the last Friday of every month.
By: Nick Ciccone
It’s pretty astonishing how quick Fall always seems to arrive. You can sort of feel a change in the air even from August 31st to September 1st. Music behaves the same way, and the changes we experiences in weather as seasons pass also effect the way we hear new songs. Those summer jams you spent hours listening to on the beach seem so far gone, and as we prepare for winter, our sonic preferences change shape too.
In no particular order, here’s what the f%$* I’m listening to:
Junip – “Line of Fire”
Album Title: Junip
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Genre: Acoustic Rock
I’d be telling hipster lies if I said that I’ve known about Junip all along. The truth of the matter is that I was introduced to this little-known wonder by the fantastically edited Breaking Bad series finale trailer that aired after Sunday’s episode. The song, “Line of Fire,” is an emotionally stirring ballad that wonderfully folds under the umbrella of the hit TV series. However, this is not to say that the song is only listenable if you are familiar with Walter Hartwell White. The song is a story all its own, and a beautifully told one at that. Can you tell I can’t wait for Sunday?
HAIM – “The Wire”
Album Title: Days Are Gone
Release Date: September 30, 2013
I’m trying to shrink the number of expletives I use daily, but gadzooks is this song incredible. It’s got the hook and tempo of a great pop song, all without being overtly pop. This is something I think the alternative music scene has really done well over the past decade or so. Taking the things we like about music on the radio while leaving out the things we don’t like. Minimalist in style, the simple kick to the drumbeat coupled with ornate harmonies and engaging vocals make these ladies a group to watch.
Hellogoodbye – “The Magic Hour is Now”
Album Title: Everything is Debatable
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Hello, Hellogoodbye, nice to see you guys. It’s been awhile since 2006’s “Here In Your Arms,” was a hit, and you may not recognize their sound this time around, that is, unless you listen for it. That’s the beauty of artistic maturation, the simultaneous change and continuity of expression. Their new single “The Magic Hour is Now,” is very 2013 pop-rock, but it also has the quirks you liked about them when you were younger. If you aren’t familiar with the group, get familiar. The song is universally likable regardless of your sensibilities. Again minimalist in nature (are you sensing a trend?) this sweet song is infectious because it’s simple and simple because it’s infectious. A perfect Fall tune to help you both celebrate the end to another beautiful summer.
Geographer – “Night Winds”
Album Title: Animal Shapes
Release Date: August 17, 2010
Though a little bit older, “Night Winds,” is such a soothing and beautiful song. For some reason, I find it hard to articulate why, which, in a way, is testament to the power of music. There’s symmetry to the melody that I find comforting, in addition to the wide variety of synthesizers and real instruments being used. I’m also prejudiced toward songs that are one big crescendo, starting soft and ending loud. There’s an ethereal quality to this song that I seriously am unable to pin down. However, I do know that if there’s one song you owe it to yourself to listen to this month, it’s this one.
Avicii – “You Make Me”
Album Title: True
Release Date: September 13, 2013
I recognize that to put Avicii on this list looks and feels totally out of place, especially since I try to pander to the kind of music that you may not have heard of. That being said, he has to be on this month’s list, because his new LP is so doggone ambitious and different. Throw whatever preconceived notions you may have about modern dance music out the window, because this album demands to be heard. No, it isn’t a masterpiece, and it isn’t perfect. Yet the cross between dance music and folk is so bizarre, but so fun at the same time. I have a lot of grievances about electronic music and how mundane and emotionless it often is, but this album is definitely a step outside that construct.
Check back for the next ‘WTF Am I Listening To’ on Friday, October 25, 2013.