Letting go is not easy. One of the things helping to take little edge off the inevitable changes happening without our consent is to occupy one’s mind with some pleasant and engaging activity. I am one of those people who get a bit apprehensive around this time of the year. And whilst catching the last rays of the fading summer sun, I have kept myself busy doing the one thing I enjoy the most, going through new music. Well, that is no news for those of you coming back here, seeking their monthly music fix. Keeping a close eye on the new releases is a routine I had started many autumns ago. I do that for various reasons. To get people to notice me, to get people to like me, to document the passage of time, to relax, to escape the moment and, as it is in this case, to deal with minor anxieties. And the result of this continuous, self-conducted therapy is (surprise, surprise) another playlist, that may you help out a bit as well. I am quietly hoping that listening to this selection will aide you to soothe the existential pain of the early days of autumn.
Having all those years spent as a professional selector, I came to the conclusion that there of something of rhythm to new music coming out, which somehow resembles the seasons. That rhythm is indicated by noticeable shifts in the mood. This month’s playlist is a good example of that. If you compare it the previous one, you will notice that the selection is getting more nostalgic and introverted, but also much cosier and more mellow. And that happened without too much of my intervention. Some artists take this seasonal shift to their hearts quite literally. The example LYDER ØVREÅS RØED’ jazz number entitled “Autumn” is quite extreme, but nonetheless proves my point. Even himself IGGY POP, the usually unruly godfather of punk, puts his raincoat on. Though it seem like not everyone got the memo. There are others who are refusing to let go of the summer and remain in the full-on party mode (YUKSEK, HYPNOLOVE).
Apart from keeping busy, another advice for the anxious listeners out there is to surround oneself with the familiar things. It is quite timely that many of the great albums from the past are coming back into the domain. There seems to be no better time than now to revisit MASSIVE ATTACK’s murky masterpiece, “Mezzanine”. The recently rereleased album comes in a remastered form completed with the lost reworks by the band’s collaborator and master of dub, MAD PROFESSOR., I myself have been spending the past couple of weeks with the second batch of reissued and expanded albums by Anglo-French indie band, STEREOLAB. “Dots and Loops”, “Emperor Tomato Ketchup” and “Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in The Milky Night” are hailed as the group’s creative pick and contain STEREOLAB’s signature warm, orange hued, vintage pop sound. The BEATLES’s legendary “Abbey Road”, and a music transcending milestone of popular culture, got an anniversary treatment for its 50thbirthday. The additional material includes demos, alternative takes and instrumental versions salvaged from the original tapes. And while totally indulging in all this remaster glory, I am already rubbing my hands with excitement about more of those coming out, including R.E.M’s 1994 guitar-heavy album, “Monster”. Finally, the boxset entitled “WXAXRXPX” announced by the cult WARP record, collecting previously unreleased live sessions by the label’s flagship artist such as APHEX TWIN, BOARDS OF CANADA and BIBIO will go down nicely with the fans of electronic music. The sound of the beloved records, sounding bigger and better then ever, is what keeps me going at the moment.
It might sound like a well-worn cliché but jazz is the go-to-genre during the autumn days, and evenings. If you share the same sentiment, there are few records you might want to check out this month, including JOE ARMAN-JONES’ “Turn To Clear View”, ORANGE TANE’s “Wolność”, LYDER ØVREÅS RØED’s “The Moon Does Drink” and surprisingly, CHRISSIE HYNDES’ “Valve Bone Woe”. The Pretenders’ frontwoman finds her inner smooth jazz diva on the covering rock standards in the company of Valve Bone Woe Ensemble. An album like this probably won’t please the more serious jazz fans, but they have the lost and recently unearthed albums of two legends, namely MILES DAVIES and JOHN COLTRANE to keep them going.
At some other point in time the marriage of Dublin’s COAMHIN Ó RAGHALLAIGH’s folky fiddle and THOMAS BARTLET’s modern classical piano would have been uncomfortably out of place among all the electronic and guitar music but at this moment it provides a timely and necessary moment of tranquillity and contemplation.
But worry not, even though it is the spirit of calm that hangs over in this month’s selection (BENOIT PIOULARD, A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN), there are serious outburst of fun (ROISIN MURPHY, DJ SHADOW, HIOB DYLAN, LARRY GUS), sheer energy (BOULEVARDS, BJÖRK, MICHAEL KINAWUKA, MIND ENTERPRISES, SQUID) and anger (SLYRYDES, BATTLES, KIM GORDON).
The other aspects of the last months of the year that provide me with some consolation are: the usual spike in the amount of new albums hitting the shelves, actual store shelves and digital ones; and the prospect of many long evenings to enjoy them. METRONOMY, LIAM GALLAGHER, BON IVER (Super Autumnal Album Alert!), TOOL (Doom and Gloom Metal Alert!), BRITTANY HOWARD, BAT FOR LASHES, IGGY POP, TRUPA TRUPA, PIXIES, LANA DEL REY, JENNY HVAL among others have already delivered on their promises. And thanks to upcoming records from WILCO, FLOATING POINTS, CIGARETTES AFTER SEX, DANNY BROWN, DJ SHADOW, ELBOW and FKA TWIGS, just to list the mayor ones, my evenings will be anything but boring. As per usual, the songs teasing the upcoming LP’s are included in this month’s playlist. Even though this blogging feature is obviously not and probably never will be as influential as its fashion counterpart, Vogue, but our own September issue also aims to recognize the hottest trends for the upcoming season.
With the festival season over, the regular gig schedule is back on, filling up the roster generously. Here are few of my personal picks from the long list of concerts happening in Dublin this autumn: HOT CHIP are bringing their new album, “A Bath Full of Ecstasy”, as well as a career spanning show to The Olympia on the 17thof October; later that month, on the 22nd,Los Angeles’ electronic label, Italians Do it Better, will showcase three of their acts during the night described as of an audio-visual experience headlined by THE CHROMATICS; on 12thof November, Jessica Pratt will weave her mysterious aura of haunting melodies, acoustic arrangements and otherworldly vocals in The Sugar Club. Finally, BJÖRK is bringing her accurately named “Cornucopia” show on the European tour with stopover in Dublin’s 3ARENA, November 28th. This multi-layered concert, packed with whimsical elements (costumes, choreography, stage design) and completed with stunning 3D projections is Björk’s most complex project to date and the fulfilment of her bold, artistic vision. As someone who had been extremely lucky to catch the premiere of the show in The Shed, New York’s newly opened art space, I can assure you this spectacular event is worth every cent spent. Keep in mind that some of the concerts this season may have already been sold out, so be smart thing and start checking out what’s on in 2020. BON IVER, BLACK MIDI, KINDNESS, (SANDY) ALEX G, BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB, SLEATER-KINNEY, ELBOW, SUPERGRASS are among the first acts scheduled to play Dublin next year. Get your tickets now!
There you have it, a perfectly timed playlist; on theme and in the right mood. Hopefully it will provide a comforting listening experience. It certainly is for me. Music is the best medicine.
(Disclaimer: Piotrek in not a certified counsellor nor a doctor and his advise on how to be deal with the seasonal blues are not to be taken seriously. Moreover, his claims of being a professional selector are totally unvalidated. And his philosophical musings are for entertainment purposes only.)