Keeping Up With Music

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(The following has been adapted from a Patricia Taxxon RYM review I wrote yesterday, she'll be getting her own thread soon)

There's too much good music coming out. Absolutely nobody is keeping on top of it, or coming close to. You can skim every album that places in the RYM top 40 each week, you can do the same for the esoteric chart, you can sort by genre, you can post to forums, you can listen to everything in your Upcoming, you can check out related artists, investigate what friends are reviewing, dive down rabbit-holes, diligently pore through Bandcamp digests, be a truly open-minded maven of all the musics, and you still won't hear everything that you'll like. The music-nerd exhaustiveness model has broken at some point over the last few years; instead of being able to confidently say you like a bit of everything, you can simply chase the asymptote in vain.

2020 has been a brilliant year so far for music I like. I mean, there's no such thing as a bad year, really, but this year so far has seen an outlandish profusion of albums I've heard and immediately loved. A combination of technological ease, smashed genre policing and what feels like an increasing will to create is manifesting in paradisiacal gardens of sound quite literally beyond measure. Permit me to indulge myself and list every album from the first half of 2020 I've given at least 7/10 to:

Adrasteia - Demo II
Victory Over the Sun - A Tessitura of Transfiguration
The Electric Soft Parade - Stages
Poppy - I Disagree
Algiers - There Is No Year
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - X: The Godless Void and Other Stories
下山 [Gezan] - 狂 (Klue)
Fortress of the Olden Days - Verlassenheit
Katie Gately - Loom
Lazuli - Le fantastique envol de Dieter Böhm
Psalm Zero - Sparta
ゆるめるモ! [You'll Melt More!] - サプライザー
Machine Girl - U-Void Synthesizer
Slift - Ummon
Lake Ruth - Crying Everyone Else's Tears
Lychgate - Also Sprach Futura
Slum of Legs - Slum of Legs
Stabscotch - Twilight Dawn
Empty Country - Empty Country
Triángulo de Amor Bizarro - Triángulo de Amor Bizarro
Zebra Katz - Less Is Moor
Mamaleek - Come and See
The Chats - High Risk Behaviour
Patricia Taxxon - Rainbow Road
Army of Moths - My Kingdom for a Horse
Azusa - Loop of Yesterdays
The Mountain Goats - Songs for Pierre Chuvin
Black Dresses - Peaceful as Hell
Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin kynsi
Salqiu - Orfeu
Elder - Omens
Quelle Chris & Chris Keys - Innocent Country 2
Ulcerate - Stare Into Death and Be Still
Couch Slut - Take a Chance on Rock 'n' Roll
Ka - Descendants of Cain
Biesy - Transsatanizm
Charli XCX - How I'm Feeling Now
Perfume Genius - Set My Heart on Fire Immediately
Girls Rituals - Crap Shit
The 1975 - Notes on a Conditional Form
Owen Pallett - Island
Kavus Torabi - Hip to the Jag
RAY - Pink
Backxwash - God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It
Ada Rook - 2,020 Knives
Run the Jewels - RTJ4
Poppet - The Numinous Voyage
Kate NV - Room for the Moon
Hail Spirit Noir - Eden in Reverse
Hum - Inlet

And you know the thing? This list is totally incomplete. There are SO many more things I've not heard (or have only caught bits of) that I'd undoubtedly love as well. A dedicated program of pan-genre pursuit has left me king of a failed empire. You'd be forgiven for thinking I'm growing tired of the futile drive to ascend. And yet, it doesn't, it keeps accelerating, and I have to balance the giddy thrill of discovery with the disquiet of missing out.

My questions to ILM are: how much are you trying to keep up? Do you think you're hearing everything you need to? Do you think ILM is well-equipped to deal with, as a community, all the music that it should? Are you considering why you listen to some things and not others? Do you trust the filters you or we employ? Do you think that the diversification and increased complexity of music is outpacing you, or ILM, with the result that you or ILM are becoming relatively more conservative, despite clearly having diversified in concrete terms? And when did music get so insanely...much? (I think it may be a very recent (within the last five years, but notably last two) thing that most of even the most dedicated nerd set haven't remotely come to terms with yet...)

imago, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:22 (six months ago) link

i am not keeping up very well at all but just put together a mid-year list myself

reading your list i was like "there's a new couch slut?!??!?!"

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:24 (six months ago) link

Brad, we have a duty and a curse to wade through as much of music as we can, it really is never-ending. Are we doing enough? I hope so

imago, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:25 (six months ago) link

I mostly gave up on 'keeping up' with anything and, when it's not for work, I just listen to whatever seems it would be interesting when I can but largely prioritize spending time with the albums I have spent money on (previously or recently). It does mean that I focus on a few 'genres' that I never come close to getting an authoritative handle on (contemporary classical, modern jazz, classical guitar, American Primitive guitar, avant-ish metal and hard rock) while 15 years I would also try to keep up with major releases in popular genres. I don't keep up much with electronic music or Indian classical music, which are two things I used to follow much more. Playing music > seeing live music > listening to recordings, for the most part. COVID did throw a wrench into the second of those.

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:39 (six months ago) link

I can't keep up. No one can. Every year I tell myself I'll drop the charade, that it's not worth the hassle, that I need to make peace with FOMO, that diminishing returns are bound to prevail, yet I just can't help myself: not hearing at least 3-4 recent releases a day feels ineffably wrong, even as the sounds tend to blur into each other after a while, regardless of their fundamental differences – this morning, for instance, I put on Material Girl's Tangram, Majid Bekkas's Magic Spirit Quartet and Sombre Héritage's Alpha ursae minoris – so I find myself unable to pick out even the 20 'best' LPs of a given year, because how the fuck are you supposed to assess a newly available embarrassment of riches every week? The result is that I have less time for the classics (whether buried or visible) of time past, which was not the case when I embarked on my obsessive quest in the early noughties. Am I even listening to anything anymore? Hearing has almost completely annexed my experience of music.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:41 (six months ago) link

Well that's a thing too - with every passing year there's more from the archives to catch up with as well! Labour upon labour!

imago, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:45 (six months ago) link

I'm certainly favouring new music over old, with the occasional single-artist retrospective every few weeks

imago, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:46 (six months ago) link

Reminds me of that line from High Fidelity:

"Want to come to the pub for lunch, Dick?" Barry or I ask him a couple of times a week. He looks mournfully at his little stack of cassettes and sighs. "I'd love to, but I've got all these to get through."

enochroot, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:46 (six months ago) link

I will say, though, that while I have become more of an omnivore over the years, there are still plenty of genres and subgenres I have little to no time for, which is a relief. I don't systematically play album X just because everyone (whatever that means) is talking about it. Going by RYM's current top 40, I have no interest whatsoever in Charli XCX, Mac Miller, Against All Logic, The Strokes, Perfume Genius, The Weeknd, Jeff Rosenstock, The Final Fantasy VII remarks soundtrack, Rina Sawayama, tricot, Dan Deacon, Shabaka and the Ancestors, Dua Lipa and Laura Marling. That's a lot of 'critically acclaimed' music that I'm confident I can miss out on.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:49 (six months ago) link

Trying to keep up means never giving any album the amount of listens it deserves, and ending up w/ a very shallow relationship to music, imo. Not that I haven't been guilty of this myself - it's receding as I get older - and of course info overload has a charm of its own, but still, in the end, giving a few chosen artists deep listening time is more rewarding.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:51 (six months ago) link

And then there's all the other art forms too. :(

jmm, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:51 (six months ago) link

I don't even try to keep with everything new in my work area, why would I do so for a leisure activity? it sounds stressful.

Joey Corona (Euler), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:52 (six months ago) link

Oh, I had no idea there was a new Ka album.

I don't really worry about 'keeping up' in a completist sense anymore, even though I'm still as interested in new music as ever. I just make an effort to listen to the new releases in the little sphere of electronic music I'm into (mostly via Twitter and Bandcamp, keeping up with the artists and labels I'm following). And then jazz, which is mostly through ILX I guess?

From an artist standpoint, it is disheartening when I talk to friends who aren't very online, and have no idea about new releases even by artists that they are big fans of.

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:54 (six months ago) link

Yes, this is also a problem for books, films, TV series, video games, and just about everything, really, but it seems to me that music has a special relationship with FOMO insofar as you can 'listen' to it as you go about your daily business, which makes the urge more bearable and unbearable at the same time.

xps

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:55 (six months ago) link

I do listen to some music while I'm working, but not all types of music suit writing well. Really it demands as much attention as work (which for me is creative work, and thus not a drag). But I have no FOMO about anything anymore.

Joey Corona (Euler), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:03 (six months ago) link

I pretty much ignore acclaimed stuff unless it's already in my view or seems really interesting (the latter is pretty rare). Even if I'm mostly concentrating on underground/weird esoteric stuff my to do list is stupidly huge for 2020, so I've stopped worrying about getting through it quickly and resigned to the fact that I'll struggle through it in my own, even if it means I end up get hyped up on something everyone else did months ago. My tastes have broadened a bit in the last couple of years which makes keeping up even more difficult but at least it means I'm not just weeding through close to a hundred black/death/doom releases per year, which is what my 2014-16 listening activities felt like in hindsight.

That said, this is probably the best year for weirdo extreme metal I've even known, it's exciting times on that front.

ultros ultros-ghali, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:05 (six months ago) link

Guess I'm lucky that idgaf about films/TV which frees up time

ultros ultros-ghali, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:05 (six months ago) link

why no interest in Shabaka?

Mordy, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:06 (six months ago) link

I struggle to get any work done when all is dead silent around me (or rather: music is paradoxically closer to silence in that it drowns out the world's hustle and bustle), which partly explains my addiction, I suppose.

xps

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:07 (six months ago) link

why no interest in Shabaka?

I strongly dislike most vocal jazz, and spoken word is a complete turn off for me. There are exceptions, though, but if I start thinking about that, I'll never conquer my FOMO.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:09 (six months ago) link

but this dope magic spirit quartet album you just turned me onto is vocal jazz!

Mordy, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:11 (six months ago) link

Indeed. :) But I love Arabic-style singing and am able to appreciate it in any setting.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:12 (six months ago) link

I know Dua Lipa because my kids like her. That's the stage of not keeping up I've hit.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:14 (six months ago) link

Re: Shabaka, I wasn't too keen on The Comet Is Coming either, whose repetitions felt a tad sterile to me. I'd be a fan if improvisation played a more significant role in his idiom.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:14 (six months ago) link

i like the shabaka but it's not one of my top albums of the year so i'm not imploring you to spend time with it i was just curious bc based on what i know of yr taste it does seem up yr alley (i love the marling album, the sawayama too, but not as surprised by you not being interested in either)

Mordy, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:17 (six months ago) link

Not everything you listen to and enjoy has to be a long-lasting relationship, you can have a fling with an album too. When I go clubbing I hear stuff once that I might never hear again and while I enjoy the music that fleeting ephemerality doesn't bother me. I carry that into my everyday listening habits - a lot of stuff only gets one or two plays but it doesn't mean I don't enjoy it plenty when it is playing.

boxedjoy, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:18 (six months ago) link

i understand what lj is talking about itt but it's not an issue for me - i mean i assume i'll miss stuff but i try to hear as much as i can that is somewhat in my wheelhouse of interest. i do still struggle with albums that are interesting enough that i want to spend more time with but aren't immediate "free lunch" albums that i can sort into a best albums playlist (or shuffle away into an archival genre playlist)- so i do sorta get clogged up on an album that i'll even hear 3-5 times and still not be sure what i think of it.

Mordy, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:18 (six months ago) link

i've been struggling with this question for a while. i've developed a listening process that prioritizes discovery. it works, i hear a lot of new stuff and old stuff that's new to me, filing away the best stuff in various playlists. and i do get a thrill from discovering something that's new (to me) and incredible. but i've been having second thoughts about the whole thing--plowing through new releases in an effort to hear as much as possible limits the type of emotional connection to music that i had when i was a kid and i'd play the same album 20 times in a row.

idk, i don't feel like i'm listening wrong, but i do worry that the way i'm listening fosters widespread awareness, but not deep understanding.

anyway, back to my listening list (30 hours 51min right now, getting longer every day lol)

ACABincalifornia (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:39 (six months ago) link

If you listen above and beyond a certain point you're not absorbing the records properly anyway, it just becomes ticking something off before moving onto the next thing. It's not homework.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:41 (six months ago) link

I don't remember too much spoken word/vocal on the Shabaka album, maybe just a couple tracks? Mostly what stuck out was his beautiful sound on the ballads, which is not what I normally associate with him.

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:45 (six months ago) link

Alright, alright, I'll check it out.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:47 (six months ago) link

I don't really try to keep up anymore. I mainly just read sites like ILM which put me in a position to be exposed to things, and then trust in chance or whim to pull me in this or that direction. It's enough to find a few things which reward closer listening.

jmm, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:48 (six months ago) link

If you listen above and beyond a certain point you're not absorbing the records properly anyway, it just becomes ticking something off before moving onto the next thing. It's not homework.

― Matt DC, Wednesday, July 1, 2020 11:41 AM (four minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

i feel that. this is a process that's gotten a bit more mechanical for me during the pandemic, since i'm home all the time, and that's when i want to listen to new (to me) music. travel/subway time is gone, and so is group/social listening, and therefore the context for all my listening is either "me sitting at my desk" or "me sitting on my couch."

ACABincalifornia (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:51 (six months ago) link

'They Who Must Die' is sounding pretty good so far, the vox don't grate on me at all.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:57 (six months ago) link

I listen to a minimum of 20 and more like 30 jazz albums a month to come up with 15 to write about for Stereogum, plus I have at least 1 or 2 reviews in each issue of The Wire and maybe 1 or 2 in a couple of other outlets. And I try to write two reviews a week for Burning Ambulance, though I don't always have time.

What all that mostly-jazz listening has done, though, is made listening to other types of music a chore and an imposition. I used to love metal; now I don't listen to it hardly at all. If I'm out for a walk with headphones on, I'll listen to something old that I know I like - Metallica, Eyehategod, Incantation, Black Sabbath, Slayer... I don't really like much of the new metal I hear these days, anyway.

I try and listen to more chamber music and modern composition than I once did but I tend to go down tunnels, for example listening to everything that comes out on Sono Luminus, which leaves little time for any further exploration. I stumbled on an awesome album of harpsichord music recently, though.

I am consciously rejecting a lot of music out of hand, too, though. Pop, including country, is completely off my radar now. I no longer have any FOMO with regard to stuff that's "in the charts" or trending on Twitter or being discussed by my so-called music critic peers, and won't even click on a link to a review if I already know it's something I won't like or care about - something that will not in any way reward me for listening to it, in other words.

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 17:06 (six months ago) link

What all that mostly-jazz listening has done, though, is made listening to other types of music a chore and an imposition

Substitute classical for jazz and this was my experience for almost 15 years. I'm at a point where I feel like I've mapped out the tradition reasonably well in my head, so an nth recording of Beethoven's Violin Concerto or the complete works for violin and piano of a neglected late 19th century composer who turns out to be as middling as you'd expect don't really excite me all that much. Contemporary classical is a bottomless wellspring, however, and I generally know where to look for new material that's likely to pique my ears, as well as what to avoid (at least 80% of the North American scene, for instance) based on my personal preferences.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 17:21 (six months ago) link

I don't really try to keep up anymore. I mainly just read sites like ILM which put me in a position to be exposed to things, and then trust in chance or whim to pull me in this or that direction. It's enough to find a few things which reward closer listening.

Pretty much OTM for me, though I never tried to keep up, just discover a handful of things that engage me each year.

This might be a separate question (and I'm sure it's been discussed here many times), but I'm assuming most of you who listen to hundreds of new releases every year mostly stream or play downloads. Does having/not having a physical collection impact your listening habits? I find my physical collection has gravitational pull for listening more lately — the stay-at-home mandate has actually reduced the amount of streaming I've done, and thus I've listened to more relatively neglected items in my collection (of which there are many). So I've investigated little new music. And I tend to only play two or three albums a day.

I do feel the need to "get out more" a bit and plan to listen to a few things mentioned above. I'm glad there are people still getting excited about new music. It gives me hope.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:31 (six months ago) link

I couldn't care less whether I'm listening to a physical copy or mp3s, as long as the bitrate is good enough (I aim for 320 kbps). In fact, I tend to prefer the latter because managing a CD/tape/vinyl collection is a chore more than anything.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:38 (six months ago) link

Does having/not having a physical collection impact your listening habits?

I download a shit-ton of promos and Bandcamp purchases, but if I really like something (or if it's not available any other way), I'll buy it on CD. Yesterday, for example, I pulled out a 4CD box by Derek Bailey, Han Bennink and Evan Parker that I bought a year or two ago and then kinda forgot about, and threw on one of the discs, and followed that with a disc from one of several King Crimson live box sets I own. In fact, I've been buying a lot more physical music in the first half of this year than I did last year, probably as a psychological effect of being "stuck at home" (even though I have technically been "stuck at home" - i.e. no office job, working entirely freelance - since 2017).

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:42 (six months ago) link

I find it especially satisfying when an album gets a ton of plays these days, since I basically don't mess with physical media at all anymore. This only happens when 1) it's something my wife is into too, so it makes it into the weekend coffee/evening cooking rotation (see Sault, Moses Sumney, Dirty Projectors). Or 2) it just hits and I keep going back to it, of course.

Keeping my Google doc of releases I've listened to and liked really helps, otherwise it's so easy to forget these days.

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 20:19 (six months ago) link

I can't be arsed, I basically listen to whatever Spotify tells me to which is a bottomless well of 1970s/80s singer songwriters. I've gotten into contemporary Irish trad music and classic ECM boring bastard jazz like Don cherry and Horace tapscott (without any delusions that I 'get' it). I've also fallen back in love with some of the 'classic' albums from when I was a teenager (transformer, horses) and I care far more about them now than I did then (they seemed like homework at the time, now I could listen to the guitar riff on 'wagon wheel' forever). My primary exposure to contemporary pop music for years came from working in a school but I really came to hate the sound of modern pop music, it's default vocal performance styles, the production clichés that make everything sound like the free music you can use to jazz up your YouTube tutorial. I know this is what everyone says when they lose interest so I'm not claiming that this is any sort of insight into the music itself, just that its receded in my interest into ambient irritation to be ignored.

I've also realised that I consume music at a very slow pace now, so it will take me a long time to notice say that iris dement has released a new song on YouTube and weeks before I remember to listen to it again and start to enjoy it. Sometimes something will jump out at me and cut through, for example a couple of weeks ago I was reminded of a counter tenor I was blown away by when I saw him at the ENO and looked to see if he had released anything, his album came out a couple of years ago and it's Handel and glass lieder. I've never liked glass aside from his solo piano but I love the performances on this of the glass pieces as much as the Handel and I've been listening to it obsessively. I'd recommend it were the world not overstocked with recommendations.

plax (ico), Thursday, 2 July 2020 08:36 (six months ago) link

I don't need to see all the trees in the forest, or walk down all of the paths until there are none new left. I don't need to eat all chips in the barm, much less all the barms in the shop.

saer, Thursday, 2 July 2020 09:00 (six months ago) link

I will listen to more music this year than I ever have but maybe only a fifth of it will be new.

nashwan, Thursday, 2 July 2020 09:23 (six months ago) link

I am listening to music chronologically, currently up to 1937, I devote December each year to new music. Don't know if this is a good idea TBH, makes me too reliant on end of year lists, which have various issues.

Anti-Cop Ponceortium (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 2 July 2020 09:25 (six months ago) link

classic ECM boring bastard jazz would be like idk Jan Gabarek or something. not Don Cherry!!

fp'ed plax for dissing Horace Tapscott. Fucking disgraceful posting!

calzino, Thursday, 2 July 2020 09:41 (six months ago) link

thread was always destined to turn into ignorantly taking a shit on music I'm not inclined to investigate space!

calzino, Thursday, 2 July 2020 09:44 (six months ago) link

listen to The Dark Tree while kneeling on hard rice on a stone floor as a penance

calzino, Thursday, 2 July 2020 09:50 (six months ago) link

Does anybody else feel the sudden and enormous profusion of music even compared to a few years ago?

imago, Thursday, 2 July 2020 10:01 (six months ago) link

Most certainly. And to answer your original question: there is no way to keep up. Over the past ten years I'd say I've gradually found it harder to keep up, whilst simultaneously seeing that what I would like to keep up with growing exponentially. There really is only one way to somewhat come to terms with this, to not implode or go insane trying to keep up while you know you can't, and that is to stop worrying and love as much music as you can.

Like one individual can't keep up with everything, communties can't either. But a small community like ILM is doing a hell of a lot of heavy lifting, covering pretty much all shades of music; whether not always as deep as sub-communities, it does cover nearly all the bases. I don't believe bigger communities do a better job: RYM, or Reddit, or what have you, may be bigger in numbers but that has its own downsides. Of flattening out niches, for one; of having to learn the specific social norms and vagaries.

Music has really gotten much, due to technical advancements, the internet as a place to network, share and collaborate, the demise of the Big Labels etc. These are all very good things. The only way I can cope is acknowledging I'll miss out on stuff, all the time, as there's not enough time to read about, track down, and yes, listen to everything. I'm here for the ride, and treasuring what I can, it's a beautiful ride.

Scampidocio (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 2 July 2020 10:42 (six months ago) link

that thread is super useful, yes, shout out to ulysses for putting in some work there in 2020

rob, Friday, 3 July 2020 16:05 (six months ago) link

another "never heard Ed Sheeran" person here btw

sleeve, Friday, 3 July 2020 16:07 (six months ago) link

I *think* I've heard one song by him. Certainly only one song that I'd recognize by name.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 3 July 2020 16:13 (six months ago) link

I went from buying 400+ non-current-release albums a year and maybe 10 current-release albums from 2000-2015, to by now buying 200-300+ current release albums per year the last few, and honestly, it's wonderful to be overwhelmed by how much excellent new music there is. For me, most of that excellent music is being made by Black artists (mostly) pushing the boundaries of or completely obliterating genre. Obviously even buying hundreds of records a year, you'll "miss" tons of great music--but so what? That's what the rest of your life is for, to "discover" it later. I'm just trying to enjoy the pleasure of getting to hear all this happen in more or less real time, and it's a deeply necessary antidote to the hope-sucking nature of so much of the current era, outside of realms of human creativity.

The pan/sans/anti-genre music made by Black artists the last half decade should be revered, like mid-80s "house," 78-82 "post-punk," 80s-90s "golden age" hip-hop...

But perversely, it'll probably take a catch-all term for geeks to latch on...https://t.co/BjUjExA7jp pic.twitter.com/uVAWILskoz

— Musicophilia (@musicophiliamix) July 3, 2020

On 7/3 all $ spent at @Bandcamp goes to artists/labels, and @MikeSchpitz and I will buy you (2) digital albums by of your choice by Black artists!

Just retweet w/ a link to a favorite album by a Black artist.

Goal is 78 albums! 6/5+6/19, we bought 132 albums--keep it going! pic.twitter.com/FxNrWj7DYu

— Musicophilia (@musicophiliamix) July 2, 2020

Soundslike, Friday, 3 July 2020 16:46 (six months ago) link

this is the only ed sheeran song you really need to know imo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yN1JBYTtF8

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 3 July 2020 18:06 (six months ago) link

and thanks for the love.

here's my ongoing 2020 keepers playlist; not everything I hear is on spotify but most of it is: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0kXJmmQP3udiqToIDPQvZp

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 3 July 2020 18:08 (six months ago) link

two months pass...

I don't think I've ever listened to 41 albums released in a single year (let alone a single season) within that calendar year. Maybe in 1998 when I lived with a guy who would compulsively buy music, like weekly trips to the record store, coming back with a stack of 10.

rob, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:24 (four months ago) link

I don't think I've ever listened to 41 albums released in a single year

https://i.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/030/710/dd0.png

pomenitul, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:28 (four months ago) link

all that but no Arch Garrison or Hen Ogledd

imago, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:29 (four months ago) link

Actress, Autechre, Deftones and Pallbearer are the only ones I care about.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:32 (four months ago) link

counted 20 that i will likely play through at least once, maybe 10 that i'm genuinely looking forward to

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:34 (four months ago) link

(actress, autechre, black thought, blackpink, cardi, G garzon-Montano, Juicy, Kylie, Lattimore, Mountain Goats, yg)

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:36 (four months ago) link

pom, I don't understand that image

rob, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:45 (four months ago) link

I think the Tim Heidecker album might be kinda good

frogbs, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:46 (four months ago) link

I read the Quietus and Resident Advisor and follow labels and groups on bandcamp, and everyone around me thinks I'm incredibly well-informed about music. A little perplexing to me that anyone feels pressure to keep up in this day and age rather than just follow their impulse and ears, but I also don't write about this stuff professionally any longer.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:47 (four months ago) link

Oh sorry, rob, it's a dumb meme:

https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/awkward-look-monkey-puppet

What I meant by it is that I'm ashamed of the ridiculous amounts of new music I listen to in a given year so reading that sentence was kind of awkward on my end, i.e. 'best to pretend this isn't me'.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:47 (four months ago) link

I will also say that I just don't give a shit about much pop music, it's just not where my head nor heart have been at for years.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:48 (four months ago) link

I don't think I've ever listened to 41 albums released in a single year (let alone a single season) within that calendar year.

Professional obligation forces me to listen to ~25 new albums a month. 90% of those (at a minimum) are jazz titles, though. Re the Pitchfork list, I will listen to Autechre and maybe Deftones and maybe Pallbearer but none of the rest of that stuff has any relevance to my life. Which doesn't make it good or bad, just Not For Me.

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:53 (four months ago) link

xp
ah got it, and no need to feel shame--I probably do listen to more than 41 album's worth (~50 min.) of music in a year, but not all in album form (and when I had an office job I listened to way more than that, but that was when I was a lot less invested in current music).

anyway, I was more just struck by how the number was both arbitrary and high, like I wonder if their analytics show that 41 brings in more clicks than a round number

rob, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:57 (four months ago) link

They could have removed the PE album (is anyone really anticipating that?), and made it an even 40.

“Pizza House!” (morrisp), Wednesday, 9 September 2020 17:41 (four months ago) link

both the new PE singles are very good!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQvDRe79F8k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNUl8bAKdi4

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 9 September 2020 17:48 (four months ago) link

Where’s the upcoming Afropop list ? and the reggaeton one? Not that I am up to date on what has come out already this year.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 21:01 (four months ago) link

Wizkid is perpetually upcoming

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 9 September 2020 21:07 (four months ago) link

^ that was me being sarcastic/bitter/frustrated: Wizkid has been dangling his Made In Lagos project in front of us for at least three years now. I suspect he has several discarded finished versions in his vault. I’m secretly hoping (still!) for Oct 1, Nigeria’s Independence Day.

To further answer (part of) your question:
On the Nigerian side of things, there have been recent releases by Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Fireboy DML, Adekunle Gold, Patoranking and Kizz Daniel. Niniola will have an album out soon (that’s something to be excited about!), and so might Davido.

As for South Africa, Sun-El Musician has promised a new album in (Southern Hemisphere) “spring”, and Kabza De Small will undoubtedly drop (yet) another album, with or without DJ Maphorisa. I’m also looking forward to De Mthuda’s new album.

But there will be much more than just these obviously.

No mean feat. DaBaby (breastcrawl), Thursday, 10 September 2020 06:33 (four months ago) link

three months pass...

This is absolutely the first year I can remember where not only did I struggle to keep up with music, but I totally forgot about albums I liked from bands that I love. For example, I totally forgot that X released a good record this year. Or, the Dua/Jessie/Roisin glossy nu-disco trio, for example, all albums I really enjoyed and enjoy listening to yet keep forgetting to play. Or Fiona Apple and Kathleen Edwards, two artists I love that released great new comebacks that I love that I just keep forgetting to play. Looking over year-end lists, there is just so much I haven't heard or even heard of, and of the stuff I have heard it's just downright impossible for me to keep straight in my brain, let alone fore of mind. So much music!

Weirdly, I wonder if this has been inadvertently pandemic related. My family is around all the time, but I'm a speaker guy, not a headphone guy, and just haven't been free to blast stuff on the stereo when the mood strikes. Hmm ...

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 21:59 (one month ago) link

i've struggled a bit too tbh. combination of (1) leaving my desk job means i spent far less time sitting in front of a computer and reading reviews and mailing list emails and ilx or whatever when i should've been working, (2) being at home means i'm more inclined to listen to the records and cds i already own rather than scouting for new stuff on spotify or bandcamp, and (3) too much other crazy shit going on to worry about it all that much

kites aren't fun (NickB), Tuesday, 15 December 2020 22:13 (one month ago) link

I binged even more than usual on new releases this year and I kind of regret it. I should probably stop trying to understand what the fuss is all about when it comes to genres I *know* I don't care for at least 95% of the time. I think part of the reason I do that is because just having so much as a vague sense of what other people are into makes me feel less alienated (except it also has the exact opposite effect, concomitantly).

pomenitul, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 22:20 (one month ago) link

Took me 9 months to realize I could secretly listen to music on zoom calls

— vijay iyer (@vijayiyer) December 15, 2020

loose Orwellian mobs (rob), Tuesday, 15 December 2020 22:52 (one month ago) link

After a gap from 2004-2009 I managed to keep up with music from 2010-2019.
This year I can think of about five tracks which have been released.

٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶ (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 15 December 2020 22:54 (one month ago) link

as long as you're aware of "wap"

la table sur la table (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 15 December 2020 22:57 (one month ago) link

WAP is one of the five, yes.

Actually if Minecraft and Among Us parody songs count, real total is maybe 20 or 30.

٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶ (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:01 (one month ago) link

'WAP' is pretty good, as are the ensuing Ben Shapiro self-owns.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:04 (one month ago) link

I think I was arguing to deej elsewhere that the predominance" of "WAP" in 2020 feels almost like it has less to do with the song itself and more that it's maybe the only song this year that inspired both a massive tiktok dance craze and lots of political memes (via laughing at Ben Shapiro et. al) (though my favourite WAP meme was one about the despondence of the writers of KidzBop versions when they first heard it). So it feels like it sums up 2020 in that it captures a lot of the changing context in which music is situated now.

Tim F, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:10 (one month ago) link

that's as good an explanation as any for why such a gleefully ridiculous sex jam will be the first song that people remember from the roughest year of American life since the depression

la table sur la table (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:16 (one month ago) link

lol, i mean it will also be remembered for being a gleefully ridiculous sex jam, but I'm not sure that an equivalent song in say 2009 (which was also a pretty rough year for many) would have gotten equivalent critical traction.

Tim F, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:20 (one month ago) link

the way I listen to music has changed - I live in a small flat with my boyfriend and it's harder to listen to stuff that he wouldn't want to because we are both always indoors now. When I'm physically going into work, I take a bus that's approx 40 mins each way and that's my time to listen to new music on my headphones.

We have listened to a lot of ambient and new-age adjacent stuff this year, more than any other. I don't think we'd have managed without Gigi Masin and Jonny Nash.

boxedjoy, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:21 (one month ago) link

xpost should have qualified "predominance" as "critical predominance" in the first post (i.e. being p4k's song of the year)

Tim F, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:21 (one month ago) link

lol I'm pretty sure I still haven't heard WAP but honestly haven't particularly connected to anything I've heard from Cardi B. *or* Megan Thee Stallion yet. Haven't even given the new Dylan the time and attention it deserves!

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:29 (one month ago) link

I consciously decided at the beginning of the year that I wasn't going to actively try keeping up with new music this year.

What that really meant was that I wasn't going to put in all the work that I usually do for the sake of creating a long best-of-the-year playlist: scanning Album of the Year for new albums every week, dragging them into an "new albums" playlist, listening to them repeatedly until I have a favorite track (or else I've decided the album isn't for me), scanning unperson's monthly jazz column to see if there are any albums I've missed, occasionally scanning The Singles Jukebox for songs with high scores and maintaining a playlist of those songs, aggregating songs that show up on major publications' year-end lists into yet another playlist and finding more favorites, etc. etc.

I've still heard a bit of new music this year, when I've happened to notice that an artist I like has put something out. But I haven't been systematic about it at all, so a lot has slipped through the cracks.

To be honest, it's been kind of relaxing. I've ended up just listening to a lot of old stuff. At one point I worked on a 1999 playlist. But as the best-of-2020 lists have been coming out, I've found myself wanting to...get a handle on all of it. So I'm not sure yet whether this year is a permanent break from Keeping Up or just a temporary one.

jaymc, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:49 (one month ago) link

xp The first time I heard WAP was the other day, when I listened to Pitchfork's top songs of 2020 list!

jaymc, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:50 (one month ago) link

lack of commute has killed my primary listening mode - has been tough to replace it tbh. podcasts have suffered this year too for me.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:52 (one month ago) link

around the house i put on stuff i already know - too distracting to listen 'actively'

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:53 (one month ago) link

This is absolutely the first year I can remember where not only did I struggle to keep up with music, but I totally forgot about albums I liked from bands that I love. For example, I totally forgot that X released a good record this year. Or, the Dua/Jessie/Roisin glossy nu-disco trio, for example, all albums I really enjoyed and enjoy listening to yet keep forgetting to play. Or Fiona Apple and Kathleen Edwards, two artists I love that released great new comebacks that I love that I just keep forgetting to play. Looking over year-end lists, there is just so much I haven't heard or even heard of, and of the stuff I have heard it's just downright impossible for me to keep straight in my brain, let alone fore of mind. So much music!

Weirdly, I wonder if this has been inadvertently pandemic related. My family is around all the time, but I'm a speaker guy, not a headphone guy, and just haven't been free to blast stuff on the stereo when the mood strikes. Hmm ...

― Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 21:59 (one hour ago) bookmarkflaglink

I feel this post. I was reminded yesterday of the existence of the Eddie Chacon album, which I loved when I first heard it and then promptly forgot about. Dylan too!

I think this year I have listened to as much new music as ever, but in the same way that I struggle a bit to keep track of what happened in which month this year (like, all the jokes that currently it's the 247th of March or whatever), almost all experiences of music have felt more transient, and less amenable to ordering and recollection.

Tim F, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 23:58 (one month ago) link

one of the reasons i think tiktok has struck such a nerve and created so many big hits this year is that it helps people create those associations with songs that they aren't having in IRL

la table sur la table (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 16 December 2020 00:04 (one month ago) link

Right!

Including that we can't dance to these songs at a club but we can perform/watch tiktok dances.

Dancing at bars, albeit in small numbers, is starting to be allowed again in Australia for the first time since mid-March, and it's amusing to see teh-gays in particular express this sense of pent-up release at finally being able to dance in public to the broadly-recognised gay anthems of 2020 ("Physical", "Rain on Me", "WAP"), almost as if the very existence of these songs and their impact was somehow quasi-spectral until it could be properly acknowledged in that way.

Tim F, Wednesday, 16 December 2020 00:15 (one month ago) link

my real name rhymes with and has the exact same number of syllables as "a savage" and the fact I haven't been able to do a karaoke performance of Megan & Beyoncè with my personal spin on it is killing me

boxedjoy, Wednesday, 16 December 2020 00:45 (one month ago) link

xp great post, Tim

good karma, my aesthetic (morrisp), Wednesday, 16 December 2020 01:17 (one month ago) link

this year, probably more than any other, i've listened to the same 10-12 new or new-to-me albums hundreds of times. they were all very good at giving me what i needed in particular moments, and i kept coming back to them. i just didn't feel the need to adopt more, though i did scan through a few new releases here and there. my music listening experience is more and more becoming this reader response thing where every time i listen to the same thing my experience is a little different but no less rich. but the thing has to have sort of passed a few tests for it to get there, lol.

Dancing at bars, albeit in small numbers, is starting to be allowed again in Australia for the first time since mid-March, and it's amusing to see teh-gays in particular express this sense of pent-up release at finally being able to dance in public to the broadly-recognised gay anthems of 2020 ("Physical", "Rain on Me", "WAP"), almost as if the very existence of these songs and their impact was somehow quasi-spectral until it could be properly acknowledged in that way.

very jealous, i miss hearing music in a room with friends. some music just needs to be embodied and shared in social, physical space.

cosmic vision | bleak epiphany | erotic email (map), Wednesday, 16 December 2020 02:01 (one month ago) link

one of the reasons i think tiktok has struck such a nerve and created so many big hits this year is that it helps people create those associations with songs that they aren't having in IRL

Possibly the first thing I've read that's helped me understand tik tok!

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 16 December 2020 04:02 (one month ago) link


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