A Reader staffer shares three musical obsessions, then asks someone (who asks someone else) to take a turn.
- Hunter Desportes
- Yes bassist Chris Squire onstage in South Carolina in 1974
Luca Cimarusti, Reader music listings coordinator
Self-Inflicted Aural Nostalgia podcast Jeff Gomez's yearlong podcasting project is a must-listen for anyone even slightly interested in the music of Guided by Voices. Every two weeks starting this January, he's breaking down every single full-length by the band, releasing an episode dedicated to each one in chronological order. He's just now entering the era of the really good shit, so this is a good time to start listening.
Chris Squire, Fish Out of Water This 1975 solo record by Yes bassist Chris Squire was a $3 bargain-bin find and has spent a whole lot of time on my turntable over the past year. On these largely bass-led songs, Squire is backed by Yes alums Bill Bruford on drums and Patrick Moraz on organ, and the group walks the line between epic, knotty prog a la Yes and beautiful, orchestral pop. Easily a top-three album in the massive Yes and Yes-adjacent discography. Rest in peace, Chris.
Blink-155 podcast Another podcast that aims to cover a band's entire career, Blink-155 is an effort by Canadian musicians and writers Sam Sutherland and Josiah Hughes to provide incredibly in-depth analyses of all 155 songs Blink-182 has written and recorded, one song per episode. The episodes are hilarious, with plenty of sarcastic bite, and an astounding amount of thought and research goes into each one. Sutherland and Hughes occasionally welcome guests to the podcast, including Canadian punks such as Mish Way of White Lung and Ben Cook of No Warning and Fucked Up.
Luca is curious what's in the rotation of . . .
- Kubla Khan
- Father-and-sons trio Solid Freex
Hanna Hazard, guitarist and singer in Lifestyles and Lil Tits
Current Wisconsin punk/rock My favorites are Solid Freex, No Hoax, and Platinum Boys. I especially dig Solid Freex, a trio with a badass drummer (from the better-known Trin Tran) and his two sons, one of whom is I think still in high school. The music is everything I want to hear, and my love for it is partly inspired by how I imagine their home life: it's gotta be great growing up with a talented musician dad who shows you the deepest cuts of rad music and then encourages you to play DIY basement shows after school. If you haven't heard them, get to it before they blow up.
Lou Miami A few years ago I was introduced to Boston glam punk Lou Miami. At first I laughed at the "Dance With Death" video, but the song turned into an earworm—I had fun singing it in a weird, mocking tone. A year or two ago I dove deeper, discovering his rad band, Lou Miami & the Kozmetix. They only toured for a few years in the late 70s and early 80s. Their first single included a cover of "To Sir With Love" by Lulu—one of my all-time favorite songs. Also check out "Ghosts"—you'll be convinced you've heard it before, because it's amazing.
Dolly Parton If you've ever heard the saga of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, you know she's a deep lover. The fact that she wrote "I Will Always Love You" for Porter, who basically tried to usurp her talent, blows my mind. She wrote one of the most bitchin' songs of all time—and growing up, she slept four to a bed with her brothers and sisters and often woke up covered in somebody's pee. She is a god.
Hanna is curious what's in the rotation of . . .
- The best country record of all time?
Adam Luksetich, who works for Numero Group and plays in Lifestyles and Foul Tip
Steve Hiett, Down on the Road by the Beach Steve Hiett is known more for his fashion photography than for his guitar playing. But in 1983 he recorded his one and only album, Down on the Road by the Beach, released exclusively in Japan on CBS/Sony. You could call it AOR, smooth jazz, or ambient, but to me this perfect summer record sounds like a guitar-pop version of relaxing new age music. Its shimmering, layered riffs create soft waves of melody. With warmer weather around the corner, this is what I'm listening to in preparation for lying in the sun on the warm sand.
Bernard Herrmann's Vertigo score A couple months ago I rewatched Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 film Vertigo. I left the theater thinking not about the colorful cinematography, the groundbreaking use of zoom, or James Stewart's weird voice, but instead obsessing about Bernard Herrmann's eerily beautiful score. I've revisited this soundtrack an embarrassing number of times since then. It's darkly romantic, moody, and genuinely haunting.
Sanford Clark, They Call Me Country Here's my hot take: This is best country record of all time. Released in 1968, it has that classic sound and covers all the themes we love in the genre. It's set apart mainly by the conviction in Sanford's unique and deadpan baritone voice. He sings about bar fights, heartache, and drinking till you can't stand with more feeling than most of his peers. The album is cleverly produced by Lee Hazlewood, and Waylon Jennings provides distorted guitar leads and twangs. So yeah, get real—it's the best.