Recommended Listening

Wilco // Yankee Hotel Foxtrot // Nonesuch // 2002

The brain of every divergent young adult houses the same facade that is flaunted by their favorite alternative bands: “different is better.” A mindset driven by those who cling to the coattails of collectivism but spout the necessity of individualism. “Alternative” was a movement that began in the early 80s by meshing the successful formula of pop music with the creative sensibilities of the underground scenes. The result was a rotten intermediary that could not boast the success of pop or the innovation of the underground, but advertised itself as the brainchild of every collective movement driven by the need to feel unique.

The movement produced some of the least creative albums of the past 40 years: The Smith’s The Queen Is Dead, Nirvana’s Nevermind, Pixies’ Doolittle, R.E.M.’s Murmur, The Strokes’ Is This It—Albums too afraid to admit that that their conception was neither creative or innovative, but too cocky to admit that they cared. The movement produced no innovation to take pride in, no creativity to get excited about, and the voices of the hive mind that conceived it faded from the rally cry of a self-aware mind to the lamentations of a lugubrious burnout. To make matters worse, the commercial success of Nirvana and Pearl Jam lifted the genre into the mainstream and effectively sealed its fate, but a great evil arose from its ashesindie rockdefinitive proof that if music was a man, he was not capable of learning from his mistakes.

That being said, Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is only indie rock album I’ll ever recommend. It’s got the self-reflection of a man who can swallow his pride, the societal commentary of a human who isn’t afraid to look up from their technology, and the playfulness of your best friend who shrugs off an embarrassing moment by remembering that there’s plenty more to come.

Recommended Listening

Steve Roach // Dreamtime Return // Fortuna // 1988

Genre: Tribal Ambient, Ambient  Progressive Electronic, Indigenous Australian Music, New Age

A serious exercise in patience, Roach’s 1988 double LP will challenge even the highest echelons of veteran music listeners. In a short four years, Roach managed to squeeze the ethereal reverberations of Structures From Silence into the Australian aboriginal concept of “Dreamtime”a period of continuum of past, present and futurea beginning that never ended. At the beginning of this [beginning], The Ancestors created land, people and everything in between. Dreamtime offered explanations for the creation of the universe and detailed man’s role within it. Though only myths, Dreamtime would become the foundation of Aborigine society, and provide unquestioned solidarity about existence.

Recommended Listening

 

Stars of the Lid // And Their Refinement of the Decline // Kranky // 2007

Genre: Ambient, Drone

I’m a laggard when it comes to talking about my New Year’s resolutions, and that’s mainly because I don’t make any, but it’s 06:23 in the morning on a chilly January morning and I can’t stop thinking about this album.

Sleep or coffee, what will it be? And Their Refinement of the Decline — Incredible, when warm and cool coalesce.