Welcome to my weekly column “What I’ve Been Listening To,” where I publish a post every Sunday with my 5×5 collage of most-listened releases (which is sourced by my Last.fm account and made into a collage via this site). I do not intend these to be lengthy write-ups, but I like to include notes on my listening habits, discoveries, etc.
- My foolishly busy life continues here with, I believe, the third weekly post in a row to include a road trip (and next week will make it four!). On a seven-hour drive, my wife and I listened to The White Album by Weezer (which is how we usually start our road trips together — “(Girl We Got a) Good Thing” was our wedding recessional song), Major/Minor by Thrice, All We Know is Falling by Paramore, Eat, Sleep, Repeat by Copeland, Falling Up by Falling Up, and (not pictured) Midnight Sun/Polar Sun EP by cinema staff. It was a wonderful playlist, great for staying awake on a long stretch where we didn’t arrive at our destination until midnight. As a brief aside, the aforementioned cinema staff EP, despite being only 3 songs long, has solidified itself as my favorite release of 2021. It’ll be interesting to see if any full-length albums are able to topple it from the #1 spot.
- Otherwise, three artists dominate this week’s 5×5: Baroness, Earth Groans, and Seabird. Earth Groans is here primarily because I was working on reviewing their new EP, The Body. (I actually listened to it more times than listed above, but those listens were through a pre-release media stream which I was unable to track.) If you’re curious about my thoughts, you can read my published review here. Similarly, my listens to Seabird’s three albums were in preparation for the podcast that I host for the same website. If you’d like to hear the episode, you can do so here.
- Last week, I promised to share my full thoughts on Baroness and their discography. Yet while I did finish listening through their albums, I don’t have many thoughts to share outside of thinking that all the albums are pretty great. The newest one, Gold & Grey, is probably still my favorite, but it’s not my favorite in every way — they have albums that sound better as well as albums that are shorter and more direct. I enjoyed this band enough that I’ll probably circle around in the future and finalize my thoughts in a “Ranking and Reviews” post; but for now, I’ll put out my general recommendation for anyone who appreciates progressive rock, sludge metal, or weird rock sub-genre hybrids. If screaming is your preference, go with the older material; if screaming is a turnoff for you, stick with the newer stuff.
- In terms of new music, I spent more time catching up on August 27 releases than I did listening to September 3 releases. Of the brand new albums, my favorite discovery was Coming Down by Jail Socks, which does nothing to reinvent the emo/pop-punk wheel, but it plays by the rules exceedingly well. My favorite August 27 release (Narrow / Arrow) makes another appearance, meanwhile I checked out the fantastic new Steve Gunn album and gave another chance to the widely acclaimed Turnstile album. The acclaim still doesn’t make very much sense to me — the songs largely sound the same from track to track, which causes that which sounds cool and exciting towards the front of the album to grow tiring and monotonous by the end of the fifteen tracks. From what I can gather, much of the praise for GLOW ON has centered around how the band managed to make the hardcore genre widely appealing without diluting the hardcore sound; however, to my ears, the album sounds so far-removed from the genre that I was initially shocked to see people referring to Turnstile as a “hardcore” band at all. That said, whether or not they do the genre justice had no bearings on my initial lackluster enjoyment of the album. My overall takeaway is that the album is simply fine: great mood music if you’re digging what you hear from the start (because you’re not going to get much of anything different).
- A random entry on this list is Gravity Waves by Slider — a local band from here in Nashville that contains some of the most virtuosic young musicians I’ve ever met. They put on an incredible live show, which I’ve been lucky enough to catch multiple times. The production quality of this album doesn’t give their music full justice, but I highly recommend finding videos of them performing on YouTube, so that you can watch them, not merely hear them. Meanwhile, I’m sincerely hoping they have new music on the horizon soon!
Author’s Note: The reason I created this website and write these articles stems from my belief that artists should support other artists, in the same way that art inspires art. My debut album Unfall is available now and I’d love for you to hear it. You can click here to Spotify pre-save “I Don’t,” the first single for my upcoming sophomore album.