THE LISTENING ROOM
Sponsored by East Wisconsin Savings Bank
Looking for suggestions for new music to try? Or just want to get to know someone better through learning what they listen to? That’s what the Listening Room is all about. Up this week is local singer/songwriter, Christopher Gold.
Whether your musical tastes align with his or not, you’ll always get honesty, passion and unbridled enthusiasm for music from Chris! That’s why we love hearing from him. Check out Christopher’s music, find out where he’s playing, and more at christophergold.com Here’s what’s got Christopher’s ear lately.
“Talking about music is a strange thing, because the best music means something different to everyone that hears it and articulating what it means to you can be a dicey proposition. But talking about music is also one of my favorite things, so I was thrilled when The Avenue asked me to share some words on a current favorite, an old favorite, and a guilty pleasure. I’ll try not to go on too long.
“New: In 2016, Astronautalis released his most recent album, “Cut the Body Loose.” I have long been a fan of the Florida via Minneapolis artist, but this album is without question his best. I would even include it in the “best of 2016” conversation. It would be simple to call this hip-hop, but that would be a reductionist view to say the least. Astronautalis has a unique ability and obvious enthusiasm for hip-hop, but he uses it as a vehicle to travel through countless other genres. Throughout the album you’ll find nods to Tom Waits, Modest Mouse, New Orleans, spoken word, jazz, folk, and a thousand things in-between. And that’s to say nothing of the writing, which would be a shame. Throughout the album’s 11 tracks Astronautalis navigates the expanse of human emotion and arrives at a hard-earned joy. The entire record seems to paint the picture of a man who has been through tremendous struggle and pain, found joy on the other side, and is celebrating the next step in the journey having decided to hold on to his joyful spirit even if there is more struggle to come. I love Astronautalis, and I love this record.
Astronautalis “Attila Ambrus” https://youtu.be/AP9V3MGxjOo
“Old: Yesterday I bought “This Year’s Model” by Elvis Costello for the 5th time. Either because it gets lost, stolen, damaged, or reissued I find myself buying a few albums over and over again. While “London Calling” by the Clash holds the title of “Most Copies Purchased” this Costello record is probably second on the list. I’ve loved this record from the moment I heard it in the summer of 2000. I was 15 years old and deeply immersed in my first and longest musical love: punk rock. When I heard “This Year’s Model” I heard a lot of the things I loved about punk rock in the spirit of the record, but it was different. It had a level of musicianship that I wasn’t used to hearing at the time. It had instrumentation I wasn’t used to hearing at the time. It’s poppy but smart, urgent but thought out. It has emotion, attitude, brains, and enthusiasm. I’ve always loved hearing Bob Dylan take 10 minutes to get through a song, but there is a rush that I get from hearing Elvis Costello get through one in 2 that has hugely impacted my own songwriting.
Elvis Costello “Pump It Up” https://youtu.be/3Y71iDvCYXA
“Guilty Pleasure: NONE! I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. Shame has no place in my record collection. Sometimes that means I listen to Converge after the Dixie Chicks, or I spin a Townes Van Zandt record after I finish a Bad Religion album, but that is the joy of music. I tried on elitism and genre loyalty when I was younger and I found it to be a terrible fit. Show me a record collector that believes in guilty pleasures and I’ll show you a boring record collection. Music is one of life’s great gifts to us, and we should all soak up as much as we can.”