Sunday, June 11, 2017

Current Listening - June 2017

I thought I'd share some of my recent listening. Some old, some new...and at least 1 artist I've been challenged to over-come a life-long prejudice.

  • Tinariwen - Elwan: I started listening to this band in 2010 when I read raves by artists such as Robert Plant and Radiohead. The band consists of Mali Toureg natives that play a blend a traditional Mali-style guitar music (ala Ali Farke Toure) along with elements of Moroccan folk, Rock, and Blues. On their latest album, they have a guest appearance by Mark Lanegan (QOTSA, Screaming Tree). All the songs on this album are really good but the two that really stick with me is Ittus, a sparse piece with just acoustic guitar and vocals, and Talyat, a building and repetitive "call and answer" piece. I haven't a clue what they are singing about but I love the music. 

  • Roger Waters - Is This The Life We Really Want?:  His 1st Rock album in 25 years is a mellower but no less angry album by the lyrical architect of the great Pink Floyd. The production quality is very contemporary but some of the vibe calls back to Animals. The lyrics are typical Waters brilliance. I had the chance to see him in concert this month and, even with the worst seats in the arena, was blown away. 

  • Grateful Dead - Dead Set: I've owned this album for 35 years and played it maybe 5 times before last weekend when I was convinced by a long-time acquaintance to overcome a common prejudice we've had against the Dead, the prejudice being more towards the stereotypical view of the fan base and the overwhelming cult-of-personality surrounding the late Jerry Garcia than the music. There have been bits of The Dead's legacy that I've enjoyed and I certainly appreciate their impact. However, I could never understand the hard-core devotion they inspired. That said, after listening to this album, I still don't "get it" but I did develop an appreciation for this album that has languished in my vinyl collection for much of my life.