Here We Go Magic’s A Different Ship
So I’m starting my look back on 2014 with a record from 2012. Here’s why: Beyond trying to stay somewhat on top of what’s happening in current dance music (which I can barely manage), I tend not to pay much much attention to new releases. It’s nice, because I end up discovering things through conversations, record store trips and other happenstance. All that is to say that my look back on 2014 is more about my own musical experiences this year than it is about music that actually got released this year.
Anyway, no matter when it came out, Here We Go Magic’s A Different Ship is brilliant. The lyrics, song structures, singing, playing and, not least of all, the production (courtesy of Nigel Godrich), are impeccable. Every song got stuck in my head at some point, and the title track of the album (above) graduated quickly to my favorite-tracks-of-all-time list. I liked the album so much I bought it digitally so I didn’t have to stop listening when I left the record player. There’s only one other album I bought digitally this year…
D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s Black Messiah
Not only did I buy this on iTunes the night it came out, I pre-ordered the vinyl, bought a CD as a gift, AND, when I found out it was available for download as a wav (the format recommended by Russ Elevado), I bought it again.
It only came out two weeks ago, but I’ve already listened to Black Messiah plenty enough times to know it’s one of the best things I’ve heard, not just this year, but ever. Sonically genius, lyrically powerful, socially relevant, it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Also amazing is that the album feels so directly connected to Voodoo, while at the same time, completely fresh. If you haven’t gotten caught up in the hype yet, please do.
Baba Stiltz’s “Palats”
A permanent fixture in my record bag the moment I heard it. What a tune. An ebullient melody and warm drums that build until BOOM! CRAZY PITCHED DOWN AIR RAID SIREN! Go Baba, go.
Universal Togetherness Band’s Upcoming Album on Numero
This Universal Togetherness Band album isn’t coming out until the end of January, but since my best buddy, Jon Kirby, is doing the heavy lifting for the record, I had the pleasure of getting an early copy. If you listen to the Beats In Space or NTS Radio shows that Eamon and I did, you’ll hear a couple of the tracks.
The album was recorded between 1979 and 1982 and then totally forgotten about, never mixed and never released. As they somehow do, Numero has unearthed it. The album an amazing concoction of raw modern soul and disco, and though it’s almost thoroughly a record of dance songs, you can listen to it from end to end. Pre-order it, and if you don’t like it, I’LL give you your money back.
Great new music from Adelaide. Man I love this.
Photay’s “Illusion of Seclusion”
TJ, who helps us run the label and the parties, hipped me to this one, and I’m so glad he did. Photay is a 21-year-old, New York-based producer who’s spent time in Guinea, where he clearly picked up a thing or two about polyrhythm. I can’t wait to hear more.
Mississippi Records’ Reissue of the American Folk Music Anthology
Moses Asch‘s original intention with all Folkways records was that they should never, ever go out of print. And while this seminal collection of American folk music was only truly unavailable for ten years, until Mississipi reissued the collection on vinyl this year, the only wax copies you could get cost upwards of $100 apiece. What a treat to have the full, three-volume collection (plus one more volume that only surfaced in 2000) of songs that launched modern music, along with reprints of the original book Harry Smith made to accompany the set. It’s an education, but it’s a very fun one.
**A highly recommended companion piece is this Folkways podcast series, specifically episodes four to six, which go into great detail on Harry Smith and Moe Asch’s making of the Anthology.
U’s “The Kids Will Take Care Of Themselves”
When we did Beats In Space, Tim Sweeney played this, and it blew me away. Crazy good slow house.
Solaris’s “Music Mind”
A slow disco jam from 1980. It starts off as a mellow head-nodder, but by about four-and-a-half minutes in, the string section starts to stab, and I go nuts. I don’t remember how I found this song this year, but I’m so glad I did.
I’ll spare you the full history, but for anyone who hasn’t already heard me go on about it, Body and Soul played a huge part in my life. Danny Krivit, a B&S resident, has run another party called 718 Sessions for over ten years now, and it was a real honor that he asked Eamon and me to play there this month. The night lived up to all my fantasies, an amazing group of dancers, many of whom I recognized from my days on the Body and Soul dancefloor, intermingling with the Mister Saturday Night and Mister Sunday regulars. Crazy good energy, so special. It’s a night I’ll remember as long as I live.