We did this back in April, which was technically 3 years ago, so I’m bringing it back! Take it away, past me:
“There’s an old, occasional tradition around LL known as the “Friday Morning/Afternoon Music Thread,” which is a sort of b-side to the usual Off-topic open threads. I believe it was started by Jeff Sullivan just as a way to share links to whatever music people felt like spreading about. It’s been a good way to find out about bands and artists you might not otherwise hear. LLers are nothing if not eclectic as a whole.”
Here we are at the end of June 2020 with MLB on the precipice of starting a 60-game season, COVID-19 numbers spiking all over the country worse than ever, and Seattle weather is still doing that thing where it punches you a couple days in a row in the face with 80 degree weather and then goes back to 60 degree rain on the weekends. Things are extremely weird and uncertain, pretty much just as they’ve been since the end of March. What music is fitting that mood for you?
I’ll add some prompts in the comments, but first here are my Top Jams for June 2020.
Run The Jewels - JU$T
I admit I was late to the Run The Jewels party, which in hindsight I realize was really dumb. I knew Killer Mike was dope from his Dungeon Family/Outkast affiliated stuff from nearly 20 years ago (“Catch a beat runnin’ like Randy MOSS”). I knew El-P could make awesome, weird beats from his Definitive Jux days, even though I never cared for his rapping. But for reason I put off checking out RTJ until about a year ago when I picked up their first 3 albums and was blown away. Killer Mike just destroys every verse, El-P knows his role, and they have lots of good guest features. So they dropped their 4th album for basically free/a small donation during the shut down and right after the George Floyd protests started up and it couldn’t possibly be any more timely. Killer Mike’s verse in “Walking in the Snow” stops me in my tracks every time. But the song above, “JU$T,” really condenses their appeal in one song for me. It has an extremely catchy and political chorus/hook, a trunk-rattling beat, and sick verses from all, including one from the elusive Zach de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine. This music will absolutely bum out anyone over the age of 55.
Xibalba - Años en Infierno
Full disclosure, I go way back with these dudes. One of my old bands got to play with them a few times when they came up to Washington for the first time in 2010 and we became good friends due to our similar approach to slow & heavy metal-influenced hardcore and a mutual appreciation for shitty action movies. They are unique for many reasons, but notably because they are all Mexican-American guys from Los Angeles playing heavy music with some lyrics partially in Spanish. Despite being very open to all and very anti-racist in general, the punk and metal scene is very historically very white in a cultural sense. So, it’s important when bands make a point out of being outspoken about being people of color and in Xibalba’s case, incorporating their own cultural heritage into their sound and aesthetic. Originally influenced by 90s hardcore and metal bands like Disembodied, Sepultura, and Crowbar, they progressively started incorporating tons of doom and death metal influence into their sound and this whole album is the result of years of pushing that sonic growth. The title translates to “years in hell,” and I can’t imagine a more appropriate theme for 2020. Play it loud, fuckers.
Phoebe Bridgers - Kyoto
Sending this one out to staff writers Zach Gottschalk and Matthew Roberson for recommending it. As someone who grew up worshiping sad music from bands like Mineral, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Codeine, this isn’t what I would naturally reach for when I’m in the mood for something mopey. But, this sounds exactly like what someone 10-15 years younger than me hears when they feel sad and I am into it. Sad music translates through the generations. I can connect with Townes Van Zandt and Neil Young just as well as any Boomer, what’s stopping me from relating to the sad music from younger generations? Nothing but my own washed-ness. Anyways, the song “Kyoto” sounds like exactly like what complicated longing feels like when you’re half a world away from said complicated person. It’s perfect.
Happy Friday, go listen to some new-to-you music!