Welcome to The Notebook. Every month explore the new sounds that the Hult Center team (and some special guests) are listening to.
Daniel Olbrych – Content and Design Coordinator
Originally written by Björk somewhere between Homogenic (1997) and Vespertine (2001) explains why I like this song so much. The funny thing is that I didn’t know this on first listen and when I read that I was like “Oh, yeah, of course it was.” It has just the right amount of that extravagant avant garde Björk sound but ultimately is a beautiful pop song with sweeping orchestration. And it has a music video where Björk and Rosalía battle it out with swords and flips all thanks to deepfake technology. Plus Björk and Rosalía are donating all their rights to income generated by this song to the Aegis non-profit organization to combat open pen fish farming in Iceland. It’s a beautiful song that has me listening to Björk again.
Björk and Rosalía – “Oral”
Abbey Aronica – Marketing Manager
I’m switching it up this month and including my current hyperfixation, Good Children Podcast! For a little background, two childhood best friends/comedians, Joe Hegyes and Andrew Muscarella, set up this podcast to reminisce about growing up as closeted queer kids in Long Island and the shared experiences that 23 years of friendship foster. So much of this content is absolutely HILARIOUS and brings me back to my childhood of scoping out my friends Webkinz, romanticizing my theatre kid experiences and being an ABSOLUTE Panera girl (IYKYK) but they also touch on how isolating and sad growing up with these circumstances can be. I am just completely obsessed with their banter/subject material (they just GET it) and am consistently working my way through their podcasts along with the YouTube versions at the speed of light. I cannot recommend listening to this enough.
Eryn Hummel – Marketing Coordinator
Josiah and the Bonnevilles released Endurance in late October and “Blood Moon” has occupied a top spot in my rotation for the month of November with hauntingly beautiful vocals, affecting lyrics, and a stirring acoustic sway that feels like falling leaves and settling in for winter months.
Late October also saw the release of Hans Williams’ single “Georgia Walks,” and it feels like autumn golden hour with a low sun on the horizon, serving as the perfect accompaniment for November afternoons. The ambient chorus is framed tremendously by honest melodies, an easy groove, and starry instrumentation.
Hans Williams – “Georgia Walks”
Josiah and the Bonnevilles – “Blood Moon”
Greg – House of Records
The first few times I listened to this record, I would get halfway through and be suddenly lost for a moment and ask “What was I listening to again?” It’s an impressive rollout of songs, and they all seem completely different from each other. There’s an overall emphasis on groove, and the songs are very well crafted. Nothing lazy about this record. On some songs, singer Alison Mosshart sounds uncannily like Patti Smith, on some like Siouxie, and on some like Beth Gibbons from Portishead!
This actually works, and on so many levels. It’s a great idea as a concept, and she executes it so well–these are staggering interpretations. Cat Power’s deepening voice suits Dylan’s songs perfectly. She even sounds like him at times. But she is not merely copying. And what chutzpah to sing all twelve and a half minutes of Desolation Row! Or to deliberately rush the phrasing on “Ballad of a Thin Man”; or to even cover “Just Like a Woman” at all. A surprisingly powerful record, where the singer takes big risks and sounds comfortable doing it.
The Kills – God Games
Cat Power – Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert
Zeph Michaels – Sr. Admin Specialist
This one snuck up on me, which is saying something because somehow I managed to completely torpedo our household’s Spotify Wrapped by playing The Smile’s last album on repeat while I did any sort of chore around the house this year. Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood have nothing to prove at this point, yet they keep churning out their brand of hauntingly beautiful music at a dizzying pace. Like most of Yorke and co’s music Wall of Eyes is filled to the brim with sound and texture. At this point you either like the Radiohead ecosystem or you don’t, but if you do odds are you’ll find a lot to love with The Smile’s new stuff. Personally, I’m looking forward to ruining some Spotify analytics with their new album when it comes out.
I’ll admit, I started listening to this album one night recently as a bit of a meme. When I heard that André 3000 had come out with an ambient jazz (wait for it) flute album, I thought there is no way he isn’t trolling us. But, it’s actually a vibe. I can see this album becoming a staple for massage parlor, yoga studios and D&D campaigns – and I don’t mean any of this to sound like any sort of insult. I bet this album will be sampled heavily in the years to come, and it actually reminds me a lot of one of my favorite ambient weirdo albums of all time La Planète Sauvage, the soundtrack to the 1973 psychedelic sci/fi French film Fantastic Planet which has been sampled extensively for years so it’s easy to trace the roots of André inspiration here. All in all, if you feel like getting a little weird or giving yourself permission to unwind and meditate you should check out New Blue Sun.
The Smile – Wall of Eyes
André 3000 – New Blue Sun