The future of what

Everything new is new again

The future of what
“It’s been decided that if you lay down no-one will die,” Loula Yorke [Bandcamp]

I like being wrong. I don’t want all the answers. That’s what I look for in music. Something that, for sometimes even the smallest reasons—some of which I outline below—qualifies as something I haven’t quite heard before.

And now, here’s this week’s playlist. (Spotify / Apple Music)

“the weight of the world,” naive nature

Shoegaze Social Distortion is not a thing I had ever imagined, and my late-teenage self is right there at the front of the stage. Really, really curious to see where this goes next.

“Desiderata,” Mary Halvorson

Anything new from Mary Halvorson is an event for me, ever since I was first blown away by her nothing-quite-like-it guitar work on the dizzying “Balloon Chord” (Spotify / Apple Music) from 2019’s A Tangle of Stars.

“World I Know,” Porcelain

Last October, I finally saw Unwound play live. (It took me more than 20 years, which is understandable since the band only recently reformed.) Beyond it being one of the best shows I’ve ever seen—absolutely thrilling and no overstatement to say life affirming—it was also something to see just how many under-25s were there, and who obviously know and love the music as much as the fans who were around the first time in the mid-’90s. Anyway, the Unwound influence is unmissable in this song, and I’m calling that a good thing—the future needs more like this. Hopefully it’s one sign of what’s to come.

“Eliminar Lo Innecesario,” Fer Franco

The bad news is our current era is absolutely drowning in a glut of ambient music. This is also good news, because it’s that much more exciting when you happen upon the good stuff, with compositions that shake off the “sonic wallpaper” cliché, asserting their place in your attention.

“It’s been decided that if you lay down no-one will die,” Loula Yorke

Atmospheric and foreboding, this clever piece balances ever-shifting synth melodies over a simple, deceptively steady pace. If you stop to consider just how little is actually going on in this track—with very little actually happening in terms of what’s being played—it’s all a little mind boggling.

“Soft Axe,” Saintseneca

Looks like I accidentally listened to a folk-adjacent song and loved it. What a beautiful, haunting tune. Tender and barely held together, until the midway point when the full expression of the song comes into being.

“Computer Hum,” Natasha Sandworms

This hooked me right in with that two-chord guitar sequence in the main riff. I don’t love getting overly analytical about music, but if I were sitting in a room with you right now I’d be pointing at the speaker 20 seconds in and saying, that, that right there. The anticipation of that sequence, the way it comes back throughout, it’s a little thing but it makes such a difference.

“CRASH,” Giant Claw, galen tipton, diana starshine

I may hope Unwound is the sound of the future, but more realistically this is what the future sounds like, courtesy of Giant Claw (aka Keith Rankin of Death’s Dynamic Shroud and Orange Milk Records), who’s no stranger to tearing apart genres and piecing them back together into, well, things like this.

“Bliss,” Arab Strap

I sure didn’t know I needed to hear a new Arab Strap song this week, and I sure wasn’t expecting it to be this throbbing, club-inspired track. But here I am.

“Ask Me to Dance,” Full Mood

When I think of disco, I often think of this anecdote about Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” as told by David Bowie about Brian Eno during the “Heroes” recording sessions in the late 1970s:

“One day in Berlin, Eno came running in and said, ‘I have heard the sound of the future.’ And I said, ‘Come on, we’re supposed to be doing it right now.’ He said, ‘No, listen to this,’ and he puts on ‘I Feel Love,’ by Donna Summer. Eno had gone bonkers over it, absolutely bonkers. He said, ‘This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.’ Which was more or less right.”

This is not that song, but it’s disco, and it portends some kind of future. I just don’t know what yet.

“The Well,” mimike

What a tidy, spectacular song—fairly straightforward and unassuming at first, nothing tricky, until that synth hits, and this whole thing becomes its own thing. On repeat all week.