Sounds of Modern Times

One of our little joys of working within the coffeehouse is our freedom to play whatever music we find most suitable as we make you your drinks and food and, thankfully, it seems that a sizable amount of you all seem to agree with us. There's always a steady flow of questions - namely, "I like this, who is it?" - about the different types of music we play so we'll be periodically posting little pieces on these albums and the bands behind them. Having said all of that, on to the muzak:

Recommended by James
I have a special affection for the music of a woman named Zoe Keating who plays the beautiful, looping cello that you'll hear almost every day if you come in before 10:00A.M. I first heard of Zoe on the (single best) radio program out there, Radiolab. In an interview on the show, she describes her methods of layering her own recordings over each other to create weird, enchanting melodies and extra-long notes that blend perfectly with her knocks on the cello itself that give the music a percussive element that keeps it all moving along. You can download the Radiolab short featuring Zoe on iTunes for free or stream it from the Radiolab website- it's called Quantum Cello and is well worth your time, along with every other episode.

Recommended by Anna
On Fire, album from late 80's/early 90's band Galaxie 500. Shoegazers before their time, this three-piece band released three albums and developed a signature minimalist sound that you simply either like or you don't. After singer/guitarist Dean Wareham left the band to form Luna, and then Dean & Britta; bassist Naomi Yang and drummer Damon Krukowski played under the name Damon & Naomi and recorded a fantastic collaboration with the Japanese psychedelic band Ghost. The two bonus tracks at the end of On Fire-- and the ones that most people tend to hear and ask who is on the speakers-- are actually covers: a sparse version of George Harrison's lovely Isn't It A Pity; and a searing, reverb-y rendition of the bittersweet New Order/Joy Division single Ceremony.

Recommended by Alex (MTC Emeritus)
For fans of The Replacements, Bruce Springsteen and 80's style garage rock and punk. This album showcases some incredibly catchy and impressive guitar work and the lyrics and their reverb-drenched delivery are perfect for the type of anxiety that only a cup of black coffee can induce. A must-have for anyone who considers his/her self to be a fan of rock'n'roll.

Recommended by Javier
Lately, the album that I have gotten the most questions about while at the shop is Chancha Via Circuito's Rio Arriba, a beautiful blend of South American Nueva Cancion samples, cumbia, psychedelic swirls and endless echoing electronic beats. Sounds of a decaying city-jungle dream.

Speaking of Nueva Cancion, I recently discovered Victor Jara's body of work. His mournful voice, a perfect medium for folk songs and stories of love, oppression, war and social justice, was silenced in September 15, 1973 during the Chilean military coup.

What about you? What kinds of music do you like to listen to while you're here?

1 comment:

  1. When I'm relaxing or working at MTC, the tunes most commonly pumping through my ear buds are the Latin jazz-tinged shimmies and shakes of Esperanza Spalding, classic Talking Heads or Tim Buckley or Rufus Wainwright, and the new Iron & Wine is also a sure thing... Beach House: good. Calexico: gooood. Active Child and Twin Shadow are both emerging indie talents and perhaps a little more haunting/ethereal than people want with their afternoon latte, but both still very highly recommended (actually mood-wise, might be kind of suitable/okay for the last gasps of wintertime!). Also check out the "neo-classical" experimentations of Olafur Arnalds.