by Leilani Polk
The listening series otherwise known as The Well-Played List kicks off in 2014! For those new to WPL, the ongoing series features the most listened-to, jammed-out songs, albums and artists of the week as submitted by the CL Music Team along with a rotating crew of tastemakers — local music promoters, record store and venue owners, music fans and scenesters, DJs, musicians, and a radio personality or two; check past editions here.
Because of overwhelming response and the high number of participants in WPL, we're breaking it into two parts to run twice-weekly, on Wednesdays and Fridays. Here's this week's first half. Audio and video included, along with any applicable show information. And on that note, what are you jamming this week? Tell us in the comments…
Damien Jurado, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son (out Jan. 21, 2014, via Secretly Canadian) Starting the new year out right with this highly eclectic, psychedelic foray from the Seattle singer-songwriter. Though it's his 11th full-length, I was first introduced to him via Moby's Innocents album, which was rather tepid on its own save for a few guest appearances, including the ones by this dude. He has a very tender vocal timbre paired with surreally layered vocal harmonies and a sound that veers from luscious vintage-hued psychedelia with big thick basslines and synthesizers, wall-of-sound production qualities and percussive texturing straight out of '69, to more stripped-down alt folk with off-beat melodies reminiscent of Syd Barrett.
Busta Rhymes ft. Nicki Minaj, "#Twerkit" (2013) The first single off Busta Rhyme's forthcoming Cash Money Records debut (in association with his own label The Conglomerate) is produced by Pharrell Williams, features Nicki Minaj ... and sounds so far removed from what all three of them would typically be involved in as to be intriguing. Both he and Minaj rhyme dirty innuendos in a Jamaican patois, the "hook" is Busta grunting/repeating "Twerk it" like a badly skipping track, and I can't even begin to wrap my head around the creature Busta occasionally morphs into in the video. (According to Skillz, it's Venom, a villain from Spiderman.) But somehow I've become addicted to its weirdness. Video after the jump along with the rest of Wednesday's entries...
Woods of Ypres, Woods IV: The Green Album (2009)
Pelican, Forever Becoming (2013)
Alcest, Souvenirs d'un autre monde (Memories of Another World) (2007)
Pop music lost one of its golden voices on Jan. 3, when Phil Everly, the younger half of the Everly Brothers, died at 74 of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. I've grown up loving Phil and Don Everly's sweet harmonies. Their perfect blend of country and pop set a standard for artists years after. Check out REM's performance of the Everly Brothers' "Dream (All I Have to Do)" from the former's Athens, Ga.: Inside-Out documentary; it may very well be my favorite cover of all time; listen below. I've also made a Spotify playlist of favorite Everly tunes songs in remembrance of brother Phil, which you can listen to here.
Alkaline Trio, My Shame is True (2013) Came out in April, but I didn't pay any attention until the songs from it started popping up on Shuffle while I was working. From Here to Infirmary remains their high-water mark, but there's some damned good stuff here.
Disclosure, "Latch" (off Settle, 2013)
Young Loves, "Rotten Fruit" (2010)
Black Light Dinner Party, "We Are Golden" (2013; video below)
Lee Konitz, Motion (1962) Considered to be the cool jazz titan's best album. Alto sax, bass, drums.
Herbie Hancock, Thrust (1974) Follow-up to Headhunters — about as funky, lots of terrific Rhodes piano.
Dabrowski Sorey Duo, Steps (2013) Polish trumpeter and American drummer team for a great set of impressionistic duets.
Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City (2013) I overlooked this album when released, having previously dismissed Vampire Weekend with a yawn after a couple spins of Contra. In contrast to their first album's unique Afro-preppie-New Wave sucker-punch, the followup was regurgitated and bland. This third studio album's appearance on pretty much everyone's best of 2013 list earned it just enough of my time for a once-over. And then twice. And again and again.
The influences and references are vast and layered, every listen turning up something new. Mostly, though, it comes through with the easy comfort of old vinyl and yet enough intrigue and individuality to freshen up the airwaves. Check the Paul Simon-iest track off the release, "Unbelievers," on the Spotify Playlist below.