These past few weeks have been so good. I can’t even begin to articulate how much work I’m getting done on exciting new books, as well as how much I’m getting to enjoy the spring and gather story fodder for whatever comes next.
It seems like every time I turn around I stumble onto an amazing album that has me listening to it cover-to-cover and then playing it again. Seeing as though I’m getting so much joy out of these artists, I thought I’d take a minute and share.
Hadestown by Anais Mitchell has the unique distinction of having introduced me to the concept of a folk opera which I can’t believe I didn’t know about before. I’ve always loved rock operas, but folk opera opens up the possibilities for musical styles and creates a gorgeous down-home vibe for its narrative. Hadestown is a fairly straight-forward retelling of the Orpheus myth out of Greek mythology, but places it in a depression-era small town. Why We Build the Wall is an eerie work song and feels like it was written about current events; it so well captures the timeless fear of outsiders. Our Lady of the Undergound offers some gorgeous imagery and is now my favorite depiction of Persephone in any medium.
If you have any interest in classical piano or Philip Glass, you need to listen to Antigo (named after the town in Wisconsin.) I bumped into Peter Colclasure at an event in downtown San Jose, and I am so happy for it. I love how well he structured his album, balancing the various pieces in a way that gives the mood of the instrumental album a nice ebb and flow. Everything I Love is Stolen was one of my favorite tracks. Another favorite is the sequence of 24hr News Cycle, Palindrome, and Almost (There), which felt like a shift into very dreamy territory. 24hr News Cycle opened with a surprisingly calming sense of static, and maintained a lullaby-like quality to it despite the chaos of the competing broadcasts. The melody that drifts in reminded me of a DeVotchKa song I love, How It Ends. Everything reminded me of something else, which speaks to Peter’s ability to solicit emotion and memory with his music.
Kat Robichaud’s new Misfit Cabaret isn’t out yet, but it is now up for pre-order on iTunes. I backed her wonderfully successful Kickstarter so I’ve had the whole beautiful thing for weeks now. I’ve never had the privilege to see her show in San Francisco, but her amazing energy comes across in all the tracks, weepy and dark to varying degrees. This woman has a voice and a taste for theatrics, both of which become her. Favorite songs right now include “White Snow White Dress” and the title track “Misfit Cabaret.” Her music video for “She Looked Like She Owed Death Money” gives you a sense of what these songs were written for. I definitely recommend checking Kat Robichaud out if you have any love for Amanda Palmer or other screamy-passionate ladies.
But speaking of Amanda Palmer… her new album with Edward Ka-spel, I Can Spin a Rainbow, sounds like the soundtrack to a horror movie that STARTS OFF with dead kids. I like it, I think I will grow to love it, but it is not for the faint of heart. Goths rejoice, everyone else… you should probably just appreciate how lovely and creepy her stop-motion and time-lapse videos are.
My music tastes have been all over the board lately, but I love it. I think all these disparate influences can only benefit my own art. Hadestown and Misfit Cabaret are pretty intense and attention-demanding, but I think I will definitely be doing some writing to the background beauty of I Can Spin a Rainbow and Antigo soon. If you have thoughts on any of the music, let me know what you think in the comments!