PINK NAVEL on Just Got Back From Discomfort — We’re Alright
(photo by Michael Taylor)
An album I’ve been heavily revisiting is “Just Got Back From Discomfort — We’re Alright” by The Brave Little Abacus. I think this band is the definition of hopeful emo, as well as one of few bands that really subvert the genre while being so supportive of it (along with another fav, Crying). This record has a certain mix that is almost inviting you to play along with the closest instrument to you. It feels like you’ll be adding onto endless layers, as opposed to shoehorning in another track of sound. One of my favorite things about this band is their last show video. The room is filled with family and friends as opposed to diy figures making sure they were seen at the gig. Band members share easter egg-esque information like how the movie “Mallrats” is playing in the background of the whole album. Hell, the singers dad hops on drums for a Tom Petty cover. What is more pure than that?
Being asked to write about why I love “Just Got Back From Discomfort…” so much helped me more accurately realize that it’s the wholesomeness of the whole affair. This quality is something I find slowly creeping back up to the forefront of New England diy, but The Brave Little Abacus will always take the cake for me! The open, sincere, pure vibes from these songs are qualities I strive to incorporate into my own music.
Lunamariposa on Spa 700
This collaborative album between Moor Mother (Camae Ayewa) & DJ Haram (Zubeyda Muzeyyen) has been on my top albums to listen to since it came out last year. “Living” & “Ring the Alarm” are my favorite tracks in this album to play out when doing a dj set. The first minute and a half of “Living” has such an ambient vibe to it at first, it really makes you feel like you’re in a literal spa. However once that southeast asian rhythm kicks in, & the truth that are the lyrics glide on the beat miraculously, it’s nothing but greatness. Both of these underground artists bring light and power to reality via their art so check out their work outside of 700 Bliss, as well.
VINCE on Foxwarren
(photo by Fox Hillyer)
Foxwarren released their self-titled album recently and I can’t stop listening to it. Everything Andy Shauf is a part of makes me feel so nostalgic, my heart aches for moments I can’t identify, for bright days that may not have even existed in times darker than I can allow myself to remember. His voice, lyrics and arrangements are always so intentional and this project is no exception. If you’re not familiar with Andy Shauf I suggest you definitely check out The Bearer of Bad News and The Party as well, they’re two of my top 10 favorite albums ever they’re so meticulous and beautiful.
Timothy-Anne on Locket
(photo by Misbah Khan)
I first heard Crumb when they came on some random Spotify playlist a few years ago and ever since, I’ve been annoyingly hooked. Their title track Locket, encompasses all of what Crumb is. The band is clearly made entirely of amazing, trained musicians but all give space to each other to shine in a very subtle, respectful way. The synths are other-worldly, bass and drums are tight as fuck, and Lila’s guitar playing and vocals, though more subdued than the rest of the psychedelics happening around her, never have to beg to be heard. Their attention to space in between notes is especially evident in “Plants”—after the first guitar chord is strummed, you’re like “Wait…wait when’s it coming? WHEN’S IT COMIN—oh..okay, thanks”. I’ve never heard of another band (besides Earth Wind and Fire) that puts so much emphasis on stretching time and sets such a trippy swirly scene without being overbearing or “jam-band”-like. Crumb is dreamy and whirly and warm and feels like a hug from déjà vu.
Aubrey Haddard on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
(photo by Darius Hale)
This album has been with me since the beginning. I remember secretly worshipping my sister’s Best of Bowie CD, burning my own copy and eventually diving into his full discography when I was about 13, and truthfully I believe he was my first real musical obsession. He somehow manages to make you feel as if you belong to the world but the world belongs to you, like you are both an alien and a child of humanity. Bowie’s mastery is on full display in Ziggy Stardust and as an adolescent I was glued to the rock and roll of it, belting along to tracks like “Suffragette City” and “Moonage Daydream”. But behind every energetic, genre-bending song is some profound meaning, and the distinct intimacy of Bowie holding your hand while you come to realize it. As I’ve gotten older I still regularly return to Ziggy, and as I’m preparing to perform the album live I find myself in awe of the dramatic catharsis and effortless storytelling that goes on front to back.
You can catch Aubrey performing Ziggy Stardust at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge on March 15 & 16.