Music Appreciation Hour, Episode 1

One of the hoariest questions in music journalism (right after, “how would you describe your music” and “how did the band get together”) is “what are you listening to these days?”  It’s a fun one, because it changes all the time, and it gives us an opportunity to rave about stuff we’re excited about. There have been periods of time in the past couple of years where there really wasn’t that much in terms of new music that was catching my ears, but then something really great would pop up and I’d realize that it was more a matter of me not looking hard enough.

So here are a couple of recent finds that have been getting heavy rotation in my ear buds. (I didn’t intend this to happen, but it turns out that most of these picks are music made by our friends, but don’t let that keep you from seeking it out):

Benji Hughes, A Love Extreme - This record is a treasure trove of pop brilliance. It’s almost too much to digest all at one sitting, but impossible to put down, like a pint of Chubby Hubby. Almost the entire history of rock and roll and pop music can be found in the twists and turns of these tunes, and Benji manages a perfect mix of earnesty, good times, and absurdity. Check out “The Mummy,” “So Well,” “Went With Some Friends to See the Flaming Lips,” and “Neighbor Down the Hall.”

The Walkmen, You and Me – I’ve been listening to this one constantly for many months now, and really can’t get enough. Majestic, elegaic, wry, wistful, it’s a travelogue of a dissolute life, and you can almost taste the rum and sleep deprivation. I’ve described it to friends as “Like the Who meet Leonard Cohen with Tchad Blake producing” but I usually just get a glazed look in reply, so it’s probably just better to listen to it yourself. I love this album so much. Favorite tracks: “Seven Years of Holidays,” “Canadian Girl,” “If Only It Were True.”

Dex Romweber Duo, Ruins of BerlinPretty much everyone in the Triangle knows about Dex, and luckily lots of people everywhere else are discovering him all the time. If Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Link Wray had a baby, he’d sound a lot like this. And check out his sister Sara’s kick-ass drumming.

The Love Language, The Love Language – yes, they’re the Triangle’s ‘buzz band’ of the moment,  but don’t overlook the fact that there are great songs and a whole lot of talent in here. Bands like this (and Max Indian, The Tomahawks, and Megafaun, to name a few) are helping to make people realize just how deep the musical well goes around here.

If you have any other recommendations of great new music, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and let us know.

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