Miles Raymer, Reader music critic
iMaschine for iPhone Maschine is a hardware-software sampler-sequencer setup from Native Instruments, and iMaschine is its standalone companion app for the iPhone—one that's far more powerful than the $4.99 price tag might suggest. Turns out that making beats is an even more satisfying way of killing time than Angry Birds—I bought iMaschine before a three-week tour and came home with an album's worth of material. I fell so in love with the app that I went and upgraded to the real-deal rig.
Guy Clark, Old No. 1 Guy Clark befriended, mentored, and wrote for a who's who of the coolest 70s country musicians. His own albums are traditionally minded but sophisticated and boast a mile-wide sentimental streak, not unlike Townes Van Zandt or Kris Kristofferson.
Classic Albums: Queen—The Making of A Night at the Opera The documentary antidote to tawdry, Behind the Music-style rock-star tell-alls. The big bombshell here is that the members of Queen are nicer guys and better friends and had way more fun recording their best album than you had even imagined.
Ben Fasman, DJ, Big Star manager
Yob, Atma The best American doom band alive today redefined their sound with this record. Mesmerizing, crushingly brutal, and organically apocalyptic. On repeat since the day it came out.
- Max Blau
The Devil Makes Three Working at Big Star, I'm constantly looking for good contemporary country bands, and more often than not I'm faced with epic suckitude. These cats, however, are currently making my favorite records in the genre. Shout-out to Will Lindsay for turning me on to them.
The Numero Group and Dischord Records Regional music is more or less dead in this country. Sure, scenes exist, but they're all simulcast on YouTube and Tumblr. Reading the liner notes to the recent Numero releases made me remember why I got into music in the first place. These releases tell fascinating, intimate histories of communities big and small all over the country; these are essential slices of Americana. Dischord, the fiercely regional label down the street from my childhood home [in D.C.], documented what was tangible and happening around them (and me, by proxy).
Cody Hudson, artist/graphic designer
Studiomusic.fm A website that asks visual artists to make a ten-song playlist to give "an insight into the creative process of visual practitioners, through the music that they listen to whilst working." So if you are curious what Eric Yahnker, Peter Blake, or Kathryn Ferguson are listening to in the studio, go here.
Spacemen 3, The Perfect Prescription I can listen to this album over and over and not get tired of it. Maybe it's the combo of Jesus and drugs.
The Work of Hipgnosis Something I picked up at a used bookstore. It's about the British design group that from 1968 to 1983 designed some amazing record covers for Pink Floyd, UFO, Led Zeppelin, and many others—including one of my favorite cover images of all time for the Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here record.