Corelli’s Sonata Op. 2, No. 12

I played a lot of 18th-century music throughout the writing of BELL WEATHER. Today’s selection is from Corelli’s Sonata Op. 2, No. 12.

LISTEN HERE

corelli archiv

Note: Beats Music membership required; they offer a free two-week trial.

Learn more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015)

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

Johney, Cock Thy Beaver!

I played a lot of 18th-century music throughout the writing of BELL WEATHER. Today’s selection is the traditional song, “Johney, Cock Thy Beaver!”

LISTEN HERE

english country dances

Note: Beats Music membership required; they offer a free two-week trial.

Learn more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015)

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

Corelli’s Concerto Op. 6, No. 6

I played a lot of 18th-century music throughout the writing of BELL WEATHER. Today’s selection is from Corelli’s Concerto Op. 6, No. 6.

LISTEN HERE

corelli grossi

Note: Beats Music membership required; they offer a free two-week trial.

Learn more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015)

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

Corelli’s Concerto Op. 6, No. 9

I played a lot of 18th-century music throughout the writing of BELL WEATHER. Today’s selection is from Corelli’s Concerto Op. 6, No. 9.

LISTEN HERE

corelli grossi

Note: Beats Music membership required; they offer a free two-week trial.

Learn more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015)

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

Random Thoughts About Godspeed You! Black Emperor

  • gybePost-rock is a term for music that could also be called post-symphonic.
  • The apocalypse sounds interesting.
  • Sometimes visionary bands get so ouroborosy about their work, their music is overshadowed by how annoying they get while rejecting common praise, but somehow this hasn’t yet happened with GY!BE, because their music remains fantastically good.
  • Some wives, and I’m not necessarily talking about anyone specific, will accompany their husbands to a GY!BE concert at the now-defunct Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ and take years before admitting that yes, GY!BE is a good band.
  • We could perhaps call it metamorphic rock.
  • It’s worth noting that certain husbands will suffer tinnitus after accompanying their wives to a Dinosaur Jr. concert, which is so loud he never actually perceives a melody, so let’s call it even.
  • One of their LPs is called F♯A♯∞ (pronounced “F-sharp, A-sharp, Infinity”), and the second side of the vinyl edition ends with a closed groove, so the needle will keep playing a drone forever.
  • In an age when almost no decent band on Earth retains any degree of mystique, GY!BE still sounds like something you’d accidentally hear on a fuzzy radio at 3AM, or on an unlabelled mix tape you found in the street.
  • One afternoon I didn’t even realize I’d been listening to the infinite vinyl drone for 30+ minutes.
  • They have a new LP coming out in March.
  • I went into a tiny record store last year, looking for a copy of the latest GY!BE album, which they didn’t seem to have until I asked the clerk, who coincidentally had a single album — the one I wanted — under the counter. He and I were both a little weirded out by that, and a little delighted.

Neil Gow’s Lamentation for the Death of His Second Wife

I played a lot of 18th-century music throughout the writing of BELL WEATHER. Today’s selection is Neil Gow’s Lamentation for the Death of His Second Wife.

LISTEN HERE

christmas revels

Note: Beats Music membership required; they offer a free two-week trial.

Learn more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015)

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

Handel’s Sonata Op. 5, No. 4

I played a lot of 18th-century music throughout the writing of BELL WEATHER. Today’s selection is from Handel’s Sonata Op. 5, No. 4.

LISTEN HERE

handel trios

Note: Beats Music membership required; they offer a free two-week trial.

Learn more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015)

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

“Tom Scarlett”

I played a lot of 18th-century music throughout the writing of BELL WEATHER. Today’s selection is a traditional song called “Tom Scarlett”.

LISTEN HERE

english country dances

Note: Beats Music membership required; they offer a free two-week trial.

Learn more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015)

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

New Vinyl: “Vs”

vsIf a fortyish man ever asks you, “Were you a Nirvana fan or a Pearl Jam fan?”, you’re talking to a Nirvana fan. Pearl Jam fans never ask this question. Much was made of this early grunge rivalry, which was almost entirely manufactured by posers who pretended they had more cred than other posers. Cobain briefly expressed disdain for Eddie and Co.’s anthemic style, then retracted that disdain, had a nice talk with Eddie on the phone, and said he liked him. What remained was a lot of Nirvana fans who swallowed a media-conjured debate and pretended their favorite Top 40, MTV-darling, Rolling Stone-cover band was, you know, like, realer. But they’re both seminal bands with lots of great tunes, and it’s worth remembering that Pearl Jam (a) jumped off the MTV-video machine with their second album, and (b) gleefully released a genuinely weird and subcultural third LP that cost them legions of casual fans.

Is In Utero better than Vs.? Was Nirvana’s Unplugged more electrifying than Pearl Jam’s Unplugged? I’ll leave those debates to guys who are still trying to prove their Pixies/Westerberg/Sex Pistols taste is cooler than other guys’ Neil Young/Kiss/arena-rock taste.

Vs. is a gangbuster album. There’s so much tension and propulsion in “Go”, “Animal”, and “Rearviewmirror,” and so much heartfelt, oddball pop-hookery in “Daughter” and “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”, it’s hard to believe the album came from a band who was, at the time, badly dazed by the music world’s ludicrously high expectationsVs. holds up.

New Vinyl: “As the Stars”

woodsThis was the year I got back into metal. I don’t mean the hair metal I listened to in high school (although I admit to still enjoying the fun idiocy of that genre; rock could use a little more fun idiocy these days). The metal I discovered and rediscovered this year is the quality stuff, beginning with Black Sabbath and Judas Priest — two bands I grossly underappreciated in the past — and continuing on to current bands such as Mastodon. When people talk of metal being a good-riddance flash in the pan, they’re generally talking about the L.A. glam scene of the 80s (Ratt, Posion, Warrant, & co.), but metal is astonishingly vital and current, and has existed as a large, active subculture since the 70s.

Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal is a superb primer, and VH1’s documentary series, Metal Evolution, is worth watching start to finish for its exploration of metal as an important artistic genre. You might not like metal music, but both the book and the documentary prove that the genre can’t be dismissed as stupid noise. In the last year, I listened to loads of albums, old and new, and found myself becoming a genuine fan, not from any nostalgic teenage connection with loud guitars, but from a real connection to the music. One great discovery was Woods of Desolation, headed by a musician known simply as D, and his 2014 LP “As the Stars”. It sounds cacophonous at first but quickly unfolds, and blooms, and reveals its layers and melodies. What a thing to hear such a mess of sound and realize it’s actually lovely inside. I bought the vinyl for myself and it just arrived from Germany. Sounds amazing loud.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 160 other followers