Welcome to The Notebook. Every month explore the new sounds that the Hult Center team (and some special guests) are listening to.
This month we have acoustic performances, synth-wave and the return of several legendary bands.
Daniel Olbrych – Content and Design Coordinator
Postcard from the American Dream got me. It got me real good. The final song on Unicorn, the new album from Synth Wavers Gunship, hit me in a way that made the rest of the jam packed record make sense. “I think I’ve taken this a little too far but it’s something I had to see.” It would appear Gunship knows very well they are pushing this love for the 80’s about as far as one can, but I welcome it. It’s equal parts The Lost Boys soundtrack and a handful of Nintendo soundtracks. It might clock in at 1 hour 59 seconds, but it’s worth every minute.
It was bound to happen eventually. Tom DeLonge finally made his way back to the band he founded with Mark Hoppus in 1992. That’s right kids, Blink-182 is back. Again. I was 14 when I first heard Dude Ranch (1997) and I’ve been listening ever since. The new song One More Time is a pretty solemn return for the trio. They sing about Mark getting cancer and Travis almost dying in a plane crash. Not exactly the immature Blink-182 you might have expected to hear with all the promo material being that of a urinal. But we don’t have to wait long for the rest of the album out on October 20, and I’m sure it will have plenty of adolescent humor on it.*
*Update, since writing this a new song was released and indeed includes the adolescent humor I expected.
Gunship – Unicorn
Blink-182 – One More Time
Greg – House of Records
Recorded in a Salem, Oregon boarding house in 1995 or 1996, this record mainly consists of dreamy, meditative solo guitar pieces accompanied by either an amplified acoustic or an electric guitar that provides background distortion and atmospherics. There is also some Tuvan-style throat singing on a few tracks that sounds both devotional and terrifying. From delta blues to dobro to Indian ragas, the sound of John Fahey’s iron fingers plucking a guitar is a marvel of technique and imagination. This is definitely a record to accompany a dark night of the soul.
Energetic Nashville, Tennessee punk band’s first record is a concept album about fitness and working out. True to form, the record races by in just over 23 minutes. It’s a little reminiscent of the Go Team in its cheerleader-chant style vocals, and also of the Suburban Lawns, one of whose songs is covered here. Each track is superfast, with quick changes from song to song. Even Henry Rollins likes this. Give it a listen. If nothing else, you’ll at least burn a few calories.
John Fahey – Proofs & Refutations
Snooper – Super Snooper
Eryn Hummel – Marketing Coordinator
Wiley spent the summer releasing Killing Time Before The Flood, a mixtape in five parts, and I’ve been stuck in for the whole ride. Each and every track is a living thing built from husky vocals, heady blues-fuse backtracks, and the Wiley X factor that I absolutely live for. “Open Arms” is on heavy repeat, but his new acoustic release of “Snakeskin” on YouTube is my new, true obsession.
Triple j’s weekly Like A Version is a gift to the world in general, but Rum Jungle’s saltwater homage to Rihanna’s “Stay” is beyond measure. The heartbreak ballad gets an Aussie-coast glow up that feels both natural and mind-blowing in the same moment. The accompanying video takes the track all the way, showcasing the relaxed verve that the band brings so coolly.
Wiley From Atlanta – Killing Time Before The Flood
Rum Jungle – Stay
Hannah Bulkley – Programming and Booking Coordinator
I first heard Moonfruits at a recent conference. Their music is not my typical taste, but something about their melodies and harmonies has me enraptured. Their sound is reassuring, optimistic but also a little bit haunting. Everything feels so smooth and natural, like the sounds are literally just flowing out of them. I am particularly mesmerized by their song Brittle Earth. It makes me want to dance and I can’t stop listening to it.
Moonfruits – Brittle Earth
Zeph Michaels – Sr. Admin Specialist
Slowdive’s last album was easily one of my favorite to have come out in the last decade. I was cautiously optimistic about something new from them – I’m glad the new album from the shoegaze veterans doesn’t disappoint. Everything Is Alive, picks up where their last album leaves off while also pursuing new sounds and energies. They’re as dreamy, as heavy and as inexplicably catchy as ever. It’s a perfect October album, with synths that evoke some kind of VHS John Carpenter nostalgia.
Wilco is like that friend who you can go years without seeing then you pick right up where you left off when you reconnect. Every time I find myself thinking perhaps Jeff Tweedy and Co are starting to slow down they go back to their seemingly endless well and continue to make music that is quintessentially Wilco. Cousins, leans heavy on familiar inspirations like George Harrison and Tom Petty but also somehow still sounds fresh and vibrant (and worthy of hanging on playlists with Petty and Harrison). This is music for Wilco diehards and newcomers alike.
Slowdive – Shanty
Wilco – Cousin
Rich Hobby – Director of Marketing
I’m a real sucker for a good cover and quickly have fallen head over heels for the newest release from Elisapie, an indigenous Canadian singer-songwriter for her newest release, Inuktitut, which is also the name of her territory and language. The release is a collection of amazing covers of legendary tunes like Cyndi Lauper’s “Time after Time” and Zeppelin’s “Going to California” but all sung in Inuktitut and also with some gorgeous rearrangements. I’m particularly enamored with her version of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” which features The Westerlies and a horn section that evokes all new feelings from such a cherished song.
Elisapie – Inuktitut