Are you going stir crazy yet? I am. I fully confess that as I’m typing this, my insanity levels are peaking. And it’s only been a few days of self-isolation. We need distractions. We need something to get our minds off the current crisis. We need a cure not only COVID-19 but also a cure for the Corona crazies! Music helps, and AudioPerfecta is fully prepared to help with your lockdown listening needs.
With the need for lockdown listening, I evoke this challenge: explore a handful of albums you have never heard. Get to know these albums. Make a list of what you like and share these albums with others. Of course, I’ll provide you with five great albums suitable for this challenge. So, for your lockdown listening needs, here are five albums for you to explore.
The Innocence Mission – Glow
Fans of the movie Empire Records might recognize the second track, Bright as Yellow, from Glow. Admittedly, Bright as Yellow was my gateway song to Glow, and the band The Innocence Mission. Still, Glow has so many other worthwhile songs, some of which are superior to Bright as Yellow.
Glow starts with the song “And Keeping Awake.” The song paints a peaceful scene of, well, being in a sanguine and peaceful family environment. The song Brave gives us a toe-tapping, almost Django pop ditty. Everything’s Different Now provides an anthem for change, and for chasing our dreams. Happy, The End, perhaps the slowest song on the album, takes a soulful look at pure bliss – and a home full of people who love you.
The Storyful lyrics of singer Karin Peris make the Innocence Mission’s songs great. The feeling of the Innocence Mission’s music, specifically the guitars of Don Peris, truly makes the album Glow a special piece of music. With hints of classic rock, Django pop, even Hawaiian overtones, Don Peris never tries to compete with the lyrics – rather the two coexist. The effects are songs that become greater than the sum of their parts.
Genres: Folk, Folk Rock, Art Rock
Chagall Guevara – Chagall Guevara
1991’s eponymous release by Chagall Guevara was the first and the last recording by what might have been the greatest American rock band ever assembled. Veteran lyricist and singer Steve Taylor, producers Lynn Nichols and Dave Perkins, and studio musicians Wade Jaynes and Mike Mead merged their talents to create what has become, in my opinion, the best album of the 1990s.
The album starts strong with Murder in the Big House, an apocalyptic, hard rock tale. The second track, Escher’s World, takes a fun romp through a world that refuses any sense of logic. Violent Blue focuses on those who throw away their youthful values for greed and self-worth. The album ends with If It All Comes True, which shows the struggle of an insignificant man and his partner, just trying to make sense of this life.
Chagall Guevara’s name comes from an artist and a revolutionary, and that’s not accidental. Chagall Guevara truly set the stage for an artistic revolution with their 1991 album.
Genres: Rock, Alternative
The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic
When Mass Romantic first came out nearly 20 years ago, we thought The New Pornographers were a single album band. Thankfully, we were wrong. TNP has since put out seven more amazing albums. Still, there’s something special about Mass Romantic.
Mass Romantic starts with the title track, a raucous rockabilly song fronted by Neko Case. Next, the progressive ballad, The Fake Headlines introduces the wall of harmonious noise that has become a hallmark of the band. Letter from an Occupant, another Neko Case driven song, combines every TNP member and their talents to form a chaotic, Voltron like superhero of a badass motherfreaking song.
Mass Romantic ends with Breakin’ The Law, a power ballad originally performed by member Dan Bejer. The song crowns itself at the end with a strong and powerful, yet tongue in cheek chant. This chant encourages us to “trust” our city fathers…they know what they’re doing. We have nothing to be afraid of, do we? Of course, we have a lot to be afraid of right now, but we can make it through these times with amazing music from The New Pornographers.
Genres: Power pop, Indie Rock
Good Dog, Bad Dog – Over The Rhine
Good Dog, Bad Dog is a great album for listening to while contemplating life late in the evening over a glass of wine. The album doubles as a decent, mellow and calming album to play while working from home, and trying to drown out the outside world.
The opening ballad, Latter Days, laments how we treat our significant others and features a captivating piano part. Track 2, All I Need is Everything, gives the sense of being on an urgent mission with an uptempo beat. The strongest song on the album, The Seahorse, shows a journey of a young couple as they fall through the world together. While the only accompaniment comes from an acoustic guitar, The Seahorse is musically fascinating with its rhythm and melody.
The quirkiest track on the album, Jack’s Valentine, is a near rap / spoken jazz piece about alcoholism. With lines such as “I drink you cause you help me to see, it’s mostly myself that’s killing me,” we hear the remorse of a man struggling with something he can’t get over.
Over The Rhine’s home-recorded Good Dog, Bad Dog showcases the beauty and confessionalism of their music.
Genres: Acoustic, folk, americana
SoundGoRound – Dressy Bessy
Maybe you want an album you can dance to or something you can just enjoy without thinking too hard. Dressy Bessy’s 2002 release, SoundGoRound, fits the bill nicely. That’s not to say Dressy Bessy skimps on the lyrics, but SoundGoRound is serious fun!
Track one talks about a free spirit named Cinnamon, who loves to spread joy through his music. The third track, There’s a Girl, talks about more people and their songs – a girl and a boy, writing love songs to each other. How cute! With the song Buttercup, we find another musician. The protagonist of Buttercup might not be the most socially aware, but she’s got a great heart. You just can’t help but love Buttercup (the song and the girl).
SoundGoRound ends with the song Carry On. At first listen, Carry On seems like a song about moving on and keeping the journey going. However, as we dive into Carry On, the song laments the fast pace at which we live our lives. Take whatever interpretation you wish though.
SoundGoRound gives us a fun, yet deep, look at the universe – with a side of cuteness and love.
Genres: Indie rock, pop rock
What albums should be on my next lockdown listening list?
I just gave you five albums you should explore. Now it’s your turn, tell me five albums I should explore? Maybe there will be a part two to this article – the crisis is slated to last awhile, so I’m looking for a lot of new music for my lockdown listening. Tell me what you like about these albums, and what memories you have attached to them. Sharing our music is sharing our lives after all.
Stay tuned for more playlists and articles as we deal with this crisis together. I’ve added the tag “coronavirus” to all the articles written to help you through this crisis. I’ll also be compiling a few extra playlists. I hope they help you battle the corona crazies.
Stay safe everyone.