THE LISTENING ROOM
Sponsored by East Wisconsin Savings Bank
Joshua Hester is one-third of Listening Party, the alternative folk trio out of Milwaukee whose music has found a home on The Avenue. Joshua’s the guy on the right side of the stage unassumingly, yet very skillfully, handling guitar, mandolin and bass duties. During a live set you’ll see those skills take center stage when he loops a solo arrangement. We wanted to know what Joshua was listening to that might have influenced him.
Listening Party is a band you definitely want to see live – for more information and show dates visit https://www.listeningpartymusic.com or follow them on Facebook.
Check out “Train” from Listening Party’s most recent album LESS IS MORE
Radiohead/Thom Yorke – THE KING OF LIMBS
Beginning with my early teens, Radiohead has been in my heavy rotation, to the point where I did not listen to much else. I have this way of obsessing over a musical influence, dissecting the puzzle, reading and learning each phrase, note, and part. There is a particular aspect of Yorke’s music that speaks to me; abject despair and relentless optimism, both working in tandem.
The album, THE KING OF LIMBS resonated with me most of all during a time of much emotional duress. Out of the whole piece, “Separator” was the song that I fixated on. The syncopated drums, a dreamy soundscape lined bottom and top with perfect layers of bass and keys/guitars. The haunting vocal lines of Yorke telling a story of perpetual discomfort and progress, begging to be let out of the dream.
Lord Huron – STRANGE TRAILS
Another amazing album.
When I first heard the song “The Night We Met” by Lord Huron, it struck me. That ethereal chorus warbling in the background, the arpeggiating guitar and shuffling drum beat. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, haunted by the ghost of you.’” I read that line and got goosebumps.
Then there’s “Fool for Love.” The ballad of a man fighting for the woman he loves against the aptly named Big Jim and losing everything in the process. Embracing his failure, we see a fallen warrior regretting but one thing: leaving his opponent alive. The song closes with the lines “I stare into the endless sky, and the sorry tale of my life goes by. I drift into the great unknown, and I really don’t know where I’m going.”
Punch Brothers – WHO’S FEELING YOUNG NOW?
The opening piece of this record, “Movement and Location” speaks volumes. It’s a song that came about when Chris Thile and Noam Pikelny were discussing the pitching technique of former Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux. It’s percussive, ambient, and driving. The unerring thump of the bass with Chris Thile’s unique percussive mandolin playing immediately catches my breath in my throat, regardless of how many listens I get in.
Pair that with the tracks “Flippen,” “Patchwork Girlfriend,” their cover of Radiohead’s “Kid A,” this album clearly exhibits a new genre of music, dubbed “progressive bluegrass.” It’s just a perfect personification of that term and has enchanted me since the first listen.
What are you listening to?