Welcome to The SALSA Weekly! The SALSA Weekly is a curated playlist/post on the blog, wherein members of SALSA will submit one song they have been digging the past week and why. This week was a double dip — A bunch of us were out of town last weekend, so we didn’t have a chance for the post then. We’re catching up this week with a few songs each.
For your listening pleasure, here are our picks in one handy dandy Spotify playlist. Scroll down for what we have to say!
Makyo’s first: Dmitri Shostakovich — String Quartet No. 12 Mvt. 2
So, we were talking about music that induces a frisson - in the ASMR sense - in the chat, and we started to discuss songs that induce that sensation in us. I had two examples, both Shostakovich, which do that for me (the other is the first movement of his 4th string quartet, which I offered up once when asked what piece of music would I share with someone hearing for the first time). The entirety of the 12th is wonderful, and the entirety of the second movement in particular, but it isn’t until the last five minutes that it becomes frissonable material for me. The jarring alarm feeling from the opening of the movement becomes a quiet, delicate break of the clouds, and as it becomes stronger and more assertive, everything suddenly gets clearer, like the sun steaming rain off sidewalks (to take that metaphor too far). The triumphant end in this recording deserves every bit of the hollering applause at the end.
Also: sorry for leading with a 20 minute classical piece. We sort our Weekly lists by URL (which is pretty random), and this wound up on top!
Alteq’s first: Tennis — Origins
Gosh I love Tennis. Alaina Moore has some lovely vocals, and I really enjoy the hum/buzzy bass in this track.
Alteq’s second: Courtney Barnett — Avant Gardener
I really didn’t enjoy Courtney Barnett when I was first introduced. I don’t know if it was the Shatner-esque spoken word or what, but as I was exposed to her music more and more, I felt myself drawn to her song structure and lyricism. I chose Avant Gardener because of its drawling sound and mundane feel, while discussing an ambulance call.
Lorxus’ first: Godspeed You! Black Emperor — Dead Flag Blues
You ever get in such a hideously black mood, so despairing at the endless, short-sighted cruelty of the world that you just cry out for friendly bombs to come burn the unclean earth to ash and the ash to slag and the slag to glass?
Proxy’s first: Wye Oak — Watching the Waiting
I’ve never been much of a fan of Wye Oak, but that’s probably just due to lack of exposure. Hearing their recent collection of what they called outtakes makes me wonder why I wasn’t, though, as there’s a lot of excellent, cutting songwriting and excellent guitar work. This closing track off of Tween has a folksy vibe while also including some captivating key and synth work. This feels like a bonafide hit I would hear on the radio, and is fun while still being emotional and captivating. I’m exciting to dig more back into this band now, as this outtake is one of my favourite tracks I’ve heard this year.
Amdusias’ first: Haken — The Architect
I’ve been on a big prog kick lately, but hadn’t caught up on Haken’s releases since mentioning them last time in my writeup about Nova Collective. Anyway, I think this might actually be the perfect absurd prog song. There’s a David Hasselhoff Retrowave Breakdown, tasteful autotune, a random guest vocalist, some somehow-not-out-of-place trip-hop, less than 20% of it is in 4/4, the vocals fucking soar; it’s just everything that I expect out of almost-overwrought-but-not-quite proggy deliciousness. Seriously, I’m pretty sure I’ve blasted my ears out with that spare me your obsolete empathy hook at 3:54. It’s so fucking good.
(Also apparently the main artistic inspiration for this album was “we listened to a whole lot of Toto, which I don’t hear at all, but hey, man, Toto’s kinda great!)
Lunostophiles’ first: Annie Lennox — Love Song for a Vampire
Annie Lennox is a force of nature — this much is just known to be true by music fans. She has made album upon album of astounding, moody, evocative music, with more than enough ethos and pathos to spare. What I specifically like about “Love Song for a Vampire” is how she keenly avoids all the traditional tropes one might find themselves falling into with the idea of writing a love song for, well, a vampire. No lines about biting, sucking blood, or living forever. Lennox’s forethought to go more mercurial speaks to her talent. Pair all that with how big and shuddering this song is, and I just want to live in its four minute runtime for days.
Lorxus’ second: Baths — Miasma Sky
Hah, yeah, me neither, of course, wouldn’t that be weird, good thing we’re insulated for now from all the consequences of the collapse of late capitalism and neoimperialism as we slide giddily down Moloch’s gullet
Makyo’s second: Amon Tobin — Journeyman
I know ISAM made a big splash when it came out, at least among the folks I follow on twitter, and the tour that went along with it looked cool as hell. Still, I didn’t really listen until just recently after listening to a mixtape by Eskmo (which is fantastic and you should listen to that too). I’m not a huge fan of the rest of the album, but Journeyman is wonderful. It’s very…hm. Very decisive, assertive, and doom-y — with doom being sort of the old sense of a judgement or decision about one’s future. I dig it.
Proxy’s second: HEALTH — Die Slow
Being on a noise kick lately made me revisit older HEALTH records in addition to exploring harsher noise, but I will always have a lot of love for HEALTH’s ear for melody, unintelligible vocals, and industrial sensibitilities turned up to 11. Die Slow feels like the best of a Nine Inch Nails track, with a dour, catchy melody and blaring noise that delivers its melody in a captivating way. HEALTH may have in recent years gone almost fully electronic, but hearing them blend the two masterfully on their 2009 record will never be old.
Lunostophiles’ second: The Y Axes — Passcode Protected
Sometimes, Spotify’s Discover Weekly does me right. The Y Axes showed up on one a few weeks ago and I’ve been flat-out obsessed with their album Umbra since then. There’s a brightness to their sound, and hearing a full rock band (with some synths) again feels refreshing after nearly a decade where the prevailing music style was nothing but electronic. Just give The Y Axes an hour of your time and you won’t be disappointed.
Amdusias’ second: Obituary — Sentence Day
Okay, raise your hand if you can tell that this is “Ammy went on a vacation with their partner and is catching up on the metal releases they didn’t want to be super annoying with” week? Good.
If Evile is the modern Metallica (okay, Metallica is the modern Metallica, but, shush), Obituary is the modern Slayer (wait, fuck, Slayer is still around too, um, just bear with me for a sec?), and despite being someone who is mostly completely over modern thrash metal, this surprised me a whole bunch. This is a classic thrash release in every way but production; there’s only one song over four minutes, everything is fast and loud as hell, the solos are faster and louder, I probably shouldn’t be allowed to drive while listening to it. It’s a lot more direct than a band like Vektor would give you, but since Terminal Redux came out last year, this gets to be the most fun I’ve had with REALLY ANGRY MEEDLEY GUITARS so far this year.
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