Like fashion, music is cyclical in my opinion. Perhaps not in the way you are familiar with. Yes, alt bands now are all using 80s synth as a main component of their sound, and yes, Bruno Mars’ new track is straight 90s flavor. For this instance, I am referring to the manner in which we consume music. And while I highly doubt that the Sony Minidisc player is going to make a comeback, Vinyl’s have definitely made a resurgence over the last five years.
Why though? I have no idea. They don’t sound that great, and most music today is recorded digitally and then converted to a vinyl format, which makes it sound worse. “Oh, but the grainy sound is what makes it so good!” Sure, I hate listening to clear, crisp recordings. I suspect it’s that Urban Outfitters has something to do with it, they always do! Besides being one of the largest distributors of vinyl records in 2018, it’s about the perception. Having a collection of records is just as much about the style as it is the sound. It’s become part of interior design. That’s OK though. The sound doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as you are listening to something. Some people have built-in speakers to an original 1981 Crosley Woodframe that pumps Sweet Baby James and some buy a Audio-Technica bluetooth record player and hook up their Sonos One and blast Kanye West all night.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally own a record player and my collection sits in an old milk crate on the side of my entertainment stand, lol. A nice mixture of stuff from my parents, who instituted a 1 for 1 deal growing up, (We listened to one of theirs in the car, in order to listen to one of mine) new stuff I have bought on Amazon while slightly buzzed listening to the band on Spotify, and some randoms I have grabbed at Record Store Day events. The point of this post isn’t to preach one thing over the other. But as my introductory post for the #music section on HD, I thought I would share some of the albums I have fallen in love with over the past year. Most of which would serve as a great starter kit for those looking for some good music that sounds great under the needle.
Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
You really can’t go wrong with any M&S album to start, but this one in particular is special. The whole album uses acoustic instruments and they harmonize like no band I have ever heard.
The Revivalists – Men Amongst Mountains
I heard this New Orleans style rock while perusing a playlist on Spotify, and holy hell was it awesome. Not only are the tunes excellent, and lyrics dark but it sounds like what you would expect walking into a bar off Frenchmen Street.
Kaleo – A/B
Icelandic Southern Rock. Three words that don’t seem to go together, but these guys blend it with ease. The grungy guitar licks and raspy singing go perfectly with a 2 finger pour of your favorite whiskey.
Phantogram – Three
This was a pick right from the lady of the house. I got into them much later than her, but the choppy tempo paired with Sarah Barthel’s euro pop voice sound great on the turntable. I was doubtful at first, but as the direct result of Drunk & Prime, I couldn’t be happier with the choice.
Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the band who inspired the post title. The Alabama Shakes have that bluesy thing down pat. Brittany Howard is a master with the mic and the heavy jazz guitar and bass really bring it home. You find you’ll be running to flip sides in no time.