The holidays are the one time of year that we can and should embrace nostalgia and all of its gooey center. The holiday routines of my childhood remain some of the fondest and most pure memories. As I grew older, of course, those routines adjusted and changes and dissipated. Santa Claus and gift counting and shaking and guessing eventually give way for the comfort of family, friends, food, the records that get dusted off every year — these things become our traditions. During a certain point in my life I forgot the importance of these things. It’s not until they’re gone and reappear that we realize the odd, irrational place they hold in our hearts. I hope to share a number of my holiday traditions, both new and old over the next few weeks. Maybe something I write stirs memories of your own favorite family traditions. I’d love to hear yours too. Here are the Essential 30Hz Christmas Albums. Not the best (because let’s be honest here, Christmas music isn’t around all year for a reason), mind you. Merely the ones I can’t do without.
It’s been awhile since I dished out a new music recommendation but this guy has forced my hand. I loved this record from the first listen, but my esteem has only grown for this debut LP from the Liverpool-based producer/artist Matthew Barnes. I had this record on during a workout the other day– I know, not exactly workout tunes but I couldn’t help myself — and I had to stop what I was doing to listen. How many records do you hear each year that force you to stop… and just get lost in the music? One? Maybe two?
Really, when it comes right down to it, is there anything better than a great guitar riff to get the blood flowing again? That riff, to a fan of Franz Ferdinand, is Pavlov’s bell. Calling it iconic might be overselling, but goddammit that’s how it felt. Universal. Iconic. Rejuvenating.
Last night was my first show since “the Mumford Debacle.” Savages at Mr. Smalls. Now in my mind Savages are a big deal. They’re THE rock band of 2013. So when I walked in at the tail end of the opening act and saw a half-full Mr. Smalls my jaw dropped. Mr. Smalls clearly had not expected much of a crowd; they didn’t even tap the kegs. Bottled beer only. I was dismayed. And then I remembered Mumford.
It’s been a few months since I was last blown away by a new record. There have been some great records, don’t get me wrong, but nothing really sent me scurrying to the bl-g to scream names from my squatty soapbox of musical superiority. Well, I’m back with a new recommendation and it did indeed send me scurrying for the soapbox. While it’s not Paul Simon’s Graceland, the fact that I’m mentioning this record in the same sentence says just about as much as I need about it’s musical pedigree.