A Reader staffer shares three musical obsessions, then asks someone (who asks someone else) to take a turn.
- The 1972 solo debut of Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir
Luca Cimarusti, Reader music listings coordinator
Bob Weir, Ace My current favorite LP from the expansive Grateful Dead family tree is the 1972 solo debut by Dead rhythm guitarist Bob Weir. Released the same year as the solo debuts of Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart, Ace is straightforward rock 'n' roll, with Bobby backed by the greatest band on earth: the Grateful Dead. (This is basically a Dead album under another name.) No fluff, no filler, no meandering jams . . . just unstoppable tunes.
Song Exploder This podcast invites artists to break down every last detail about how they write and record their music, starting with the story and inspiration and leading into the studio process. Presented as an interview intercut with demo recordings and isolated master tracks, Song Exploder is so honest and fascinating that it can keep me totally engaged even when I'm absolutely not a fan of the musician whose work is getting dissected (the Lumineers, what?). The best episodes so far have been the ones with Converge, St. Vincent, Metallica, and Iggy Pop.
104.3 Jams Imagine my surprise when I went shuffling through the radio dial and arrived at what I thought was soft-rock station K-Hits, only to hear Mark Morrison's "Return of the Mack." About a month ago, K-Hits turned into 104.3 Jams, a station completely devoted to all the 90s hip-hop and R&B that soundtracked my middle-school dances—songs from a simpler time, when for some baffling reason Ja Rule's out-of-key yelling seemed like a necessary addition to nearly every song on the radio.
Luca is curious what's in the rotation of . . .
- Courtesy the artist
- Gyda Valtysdottir
Mike Gebel, head booker and venue manager for the Empty Bottle
Gyda Valtysdottir, Epicycle Cellist Gyda Valtysdottir is best known from mercurial Icelandic group Múm, but last year the composer and improviser released a collection of reinterpreted classical compositions that I've been loving this fall. The nine pieces, which date back to 100 A.D. (the ancient "Seikilos Epitaph"), are delicate, spacious, and hauntingly beautiful. Originally released only on CD and only in Iceland, Epicycle was "reissued" in October on Figureight, a new label that's off to a helluva start in its first year.
Firm Believers, Hard Country We've got the Hoyle Brothers happy hour every Friday at the Bottle, so I get my share of "hard country," but boy howdy was I was delighted to stumble upon Chicago's Firm Believers early this year. These local punks play cosmic country with a rock 'n' roll heart, and my favorites are "Last Will & Testament," the self-effacing "Born to Loose," and a pair of howlers, "Circles" and "I Get By." Classic cuts, start to finish—Hard Country is damn fine songwriting and sounds like the ghost of Gram Parsons.
Liam Gallagher's press cycle I don't care how good his new album is, it's been a joy to have Liam in the press behind As You Were. He seemingly never turns down an interview or opportunity to share his crass, unfiltered, and often foul-mouthed observations. My personal favorites are Liam's Weekly Music Corner on Vice News, where I found our tastes surprisingly similar, and the "best and worst haircuts" piece for NME, which is peak L.G. Here's hoping for a podcast or a spoken-word tour.
Mike is curious what's in the rotation of . . .
- Kevin Winter
- The Eurythmics in 2014
Nikki Hartel, sponsorship and events director for Audiotree
Anniversary tours I love taking road trips down memory lane, especially if it involves Tegan & Sara and Frightened Rabbit. These bands are celebrating the tenth birthdays of their classic records The Con and The Midnight Organ Fight, respectively. Listening to my favorite acts play full-album gigs really takes me back. I hope I can hear more of these anniversary tours in 2018, because thinking about the "now" is overrated.
Broken Social Scene, Hug of Thunder and reunion tour This amazing group of humans and musicians, who take care of one another and their fans, got the band back together. Broken Social Scene's album and reunion tour featured familiar faces, including Feist and Amy Millan, and other Canadian heroes such as Andy Kim and opening band the Belle Game—both very welcome additions. Hug of Thunder gives me the same glorious feeling I get as an adult when I can still sock-slide on hardwood floors like an agile teen.
The Eurythmics' 2018 vinyl reissue campaign If you know me well (which you probably don't), you know I'm a huge Annie Lennox fan, which means I love the Eurythmics. Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox are an untouchable dynamic duo (if you say otherwise, we are fighting). Their music and videos are beyond inspirational—they're transformational. If you don't own their records yet, not all is lost, because you can preorder vinyl reissues now! Also noteworthy is an 11-minute retrospective "Eurythmix" by DJ Earworm, compiled from 23 videos spanning 1983 to 2005.