- Mizan K “Looking For” (From “Dark Blue”)
Raised in Ethiopia and transplanted to New York, Mizan K created a dark, introspective, and sophisticated strain of R&B on her debut EP that positions her as a peer of Solange, NAO, and Blood Orange. In her own words: “Generally speaking, racism and patriarchy make me want to kill myself so I’m mostly in love with making music that uplifts people and lets them know they are not alone.” According to a recent interview with Billboard, she is already working on a follow-up LP, and I can’t wait to hear more from this great new voice.
- A Tribe Called Quest “Can I Kick It? (J. Cole Remix)” (From “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm” Reissue)
“Can I Kick It?” is one of the greatest hip-hop tracks from one of the greatest hip-hop debuts of all time, with Q-Tip and Phife Dawg laying out the group’s Afrocentric message over a sample of Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side”. A remix in 2015 seems superfluous at best, blasphemous at worst, but J. Cole and Raphael Saddiq manage to tastefully flip the song into an even smoother, jazzier Quiet Storm ride. It functions as any successful remix should: presenting a song in a new light, without undercutting what made the track great in the first place.
- The Brian Jonestown Massacre “Pish” (From “Mini Album Thingy Wingy”)
The Brian Jonestown Massacre has had a tumultuous history replete with on-stage fights, void-gazing substance abuse, a fascinating and uncomfortable documentary with The Dandy Warhols (“Dig!”), and a revolving-door lineup. At the center of the maelstrom is Anton Newcombe, a prolific songwriter who has made a career of cheekily recombining the vibes of late-‘60s psilocybin psychedelia and late-‘80s/early-‘90s opioid shoegaze for over twenty years now. Perhaps no one this side of Noel Gallagher has ever been as cocksure of his own genius as Newcombe, and a lack of self-editing has led to a sometimes supererogatory discography of highs and lows. “Pish”, thankfully, is another high.
- Anna Von Hausswolff “Come Wander With Me/Deliverence” (From “The Miraculous”)
Swedish artist Anna Von Hausswolff recorded her new album just south of the Arctic Circle on the Acusticum Pipe Organ, a titanic instrument comprising 9,000 pipes. With her ethereal vocals and the pace and intensity of doom metal, this lengthy track is positioned somewhere between Dead Can Dance, Earth, and Swans. Translated: music to get you through another cold winter.
1. Alice Coltrane “Turiya & Ramakrishna” (From “Ptah The El Daoud”)
2. Allen Toussaint “Cruel Way To Go Down” (From “Southern Nights”)
3. Mizan K “Looking For” (From “Dark Blue”)
4. Solange “Losing You” (From “True”)
5. A Tribe Called Quest “Can I Kick It? (J. Cole Remix)” (From “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm”)
6. Queen Latifah “Just Another Day…” (From “Black Reign”)
7. Funkadelic “I’ll Stay” (From “Standing On the Verge of Getting It On”)
8. Spiritualized “I Think I’m In Love” (From “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space”)
9. The Brian Jonestown Massacre “Pish” (From “Mini Album Thingy Wingy”)
10. The Rolling Stones “2000 Light Years From Home” (From “Their Satanic Majesties Request”)
11. Randy Newman “Baltimore” (From “Little Criminals”)
12. Dead Can Dance “De Profundis (Out of the Depths of Sorrow)” (From “Spleen and Ideal”)
13. Anna Von Hausswolff “Come Wander With Me/Deliverance” (From “The Miraculous”)
14. Swans “Why Are We Alive?” (From “White Light from the Mouth of Infinity”)
Christopher Piercy used to blog at Silence in Architecture and his mother keeps hoping he will revive the site. In the meantime, for a glimpse of how music has impacted his life, you can read “A Personal Music History” which he wrote a few years ago. It also explains quite a bit about our weird family.