Day’s Plays Guest Post: Dave King



[You can hear Dave’s music here, here, and here.]
Paul Motian Trio, One Time Out (Spotify): Sounds like this only come from these three masters. Joe Lovano, Paul Motian, Bill Frisell — totally personal and powerful music.
Django Bates, Summer Fruits and Unrest (Discogs): One of the most unsung geniuses of creative music this is a masterwork of large ensemble composition with incredible, unique improvisers from the UK.
Little Jimmy Scott, Dream (Spotify): The best evening-cold-weather-jazz-vocal album from the last 40 years by an outsider art master.
Keith Jarrett, Bop Be (Spotify): A super-swinging deeply personal sound from the great American Quartet-era of this genius of the music.
Deerhoof, Future Teenage Cave Artists (Bandcamp): I’m a new fan after not knowing them much and this record is really interesting, like a prog/glam band with West Coast confidence if there is there is such a thing.
Van Halen, Fair Warning (Spotify): Eddie Van Halen was the Charlie Parker of rock music, bar none. RIP.

Day’s Plays Guest Post: Matt LeMay


[You can learn more about Matt here and here.]
They Might Be Giants, Flood (1990): Like many children of the 1990s, I enjoyed listening to “Particle Man” and “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” way back when. But revisiting the album now, I can’t get over what a gloriously improbable and incoherent hodgepodge the whole thing is. This record has two gratuitous trumpet solos, one and a half sea shanties, a country-power-pop song that name drops the dB’s and the Young Fresh Fellows, an opening chorale announcing the album’s release… it shouldn’t make any sense, and it doesn’t make any sense, but it makes its own kind of vaguely sense-like thing and I love it. The song “Dead”, an off-kilter ditty about boredom, reincarnation, and groceries that apparently lifted its vocal interplay from the Proclaimers’“I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, has become a private anthem for the darker moments of this strange time: “Now it’s over, I’m dead, and I haven’t done anything that I want / Or I’m still alive and there’s nothing I want to do.”
Absent City, Continue Normal Living (2020): The title kinda says it all; this record was intended to be a balm, and it is a balm, and it is just so lovely and comforting without being naive or heavy-handed. It’s a real tightrope act to make a record that feels needed and relevant in these times without self-consciously winking and nodding to “in these times”. I’ve been appreciating this record the same way I appreciate the plants in our living room, which I think/hope registers as the King Lear-style reverse-backhanded compliment it is intended to be. Start with “California Afternoons” and keep going.
Miss Eaves, How It Is (2020): This EP makes me miss New York, makes me miss my friends, and makes me wish that the early 2000s “Electroclash” moment had been less self-conscious, more inclusive, and more fun. I had the pleasure of mixing a track that Miss Eaves made with my friend Casey Dienel four years ago, and it’s been amazing to watch both of them become even stronger, funnier, and more fearless artists since then. The song “Stacks” captures the sandwich-and-not-much-else-rich life of a NYC freelancer better than anything else I’ve ever heard, and specifically makes me nostalgic for the varied and plentiful sandwiches at Hana Food in Williamsburg.
Joni Mitchell, Hejira (1976): I started digging into this album in earnest earlier this year, and “Amelia” has been haunting me ever since. The song is built around a circular chord progression that modulates up and back without ever settling into anything that feels predictably like a verse or a chorus. It’s a mind-blower when you stop and think about it, but it never asks you to stop and think about it–it just works its magic, subtly, invisibly. I don’t think there’s a higher achievement in popular music than that. We spent all of 2018 living in a house off a dirt road in New Mexico, and this album sounds like the color of the sky and movement of the planes flying overhead and I don’t really know how else to describe it.
Cynthia Gooding, The Queen of Hearts: Early English Folksongs Sung By Cynthia Gooding (1955): Cynthia Gooding was a friend of my father’s family, an unsung pioneer of the American folk music movement in the 1950s and 1960s, and the owner of a strong and singular voice that I wish more people had the opportunity to hear. I grew up hearing these songs as performed by my father, but I never had a recording of them until I tracked this album down on Discogs. Most days, I’m not prepared for the emotional timewarp that this album triggers–but some days, it’s exactly what I need.
Jawbox: For Your Own Special Sweetheart (1994): One way I’ve been keeping (relatively) stable and (relatively) healthy this time is to practice drumming as often as I can. I’ve played drums since I was 15–first in an awful high school band with hated pharma exec Martin Shkreli and then in an excellent band called Lame Drivers with my dear friend and Get Him Eat Him bandmate Jason Sigal–but I didn’t own a drumset until we moved to New Mexico in 2017. Since then, I’ve maintained a “drum practice” playlist with a mix of old(er) and new(er) songs. A handful of songs from this record have been mainstays on that playlist, and have served as informal markers of progress; first, I could comfortably play “68”, then “Savory”, and now, slowly but surely, “Motorist”. It’s amazing to feel my brain, hands, and feet talking to each other in new ways–so let me close this out by expressing my gratitude to Zach, Scott Plouf, Devin Ocampo, Dan Didier, Chris Wilson, Orestes Morfin, and every other musician whose work has kept me going, both mentally and physically, during this [insert string of adjectives here] time.

November 2020 Plays

I recently had to confront a new bad habit: I wasn’t listening to enough music. It was a carryover I think, slurry from the very beginning of COVID, when it seemed like everything took forever while any larger sense of time vanished, absorbed into a kind of recursive panic and withdrawal.

Days became weeks became months, and in October I decided to set aside time each day to listen to one record in its entirety without other distraction or complement. It was a good start, but I missed some days and thought logging the nightly plays for the entirety of November would hold me to the plan.

It worked. I’m not sure I’ll do this again but if I do, I might include CDs and digital releases as well, instead of limiting the exercise to vinyl. I’m pretty attached to putting on music though, so I’m not sure how that would shake out. We’ll see.

It’s worth noting that these listenings offered no escape as such — I’ve had enough of that — but have rather given me something to experience outside of my usual routines, which is, of course, why I got into music in the first place.

11/01 Paul Bley, Alone, Again LP (Spotify)

11/02 Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, John Tchicai, Roswell Rudd, Gary Peacock, Sonny Murray, New York Eye and Ear Control LP (Spotify)

11/02 Luke Stewart, Exposure Quintet LP (Bandcamp)

11/03 Alan Braufman, The Fire Still Burns LP (Bandcamp)

11/04 Benjamin Britten, String Quartets Nos. 2 & 3, performed by the The Alberni Steing Quartet (Spotify)

11/05 Aquiles Navarro + Tcheser Holmes, Heritage of the Invisible II LP (Bandcamp)

11/06 Rob Mazurek, Alternate Moon Cycles LP (Bandcamp)

11/07 Michael Galasso, Scenes LP (Spotify)

11/08 Max Richter, Songs from Before LP (Spotify)

11/09 Matana Roberts, Coin Coin Volume Four: Memphis LP (Bandcamp)

11/10 Masayoshi Fujita, Book of Life LP (Bandcamp)

11/11 Erik Friedlander, American Power LP (Bandcamp)

11/12 Akira Miyazawa, My Piccolo LP (Discogs)

11/13 Richard Davis, Harvest LP (Discogs)

11/14 Julius Hemphill & Abdul Wadud, Live in New York_LP (Spotify)

11/15 Tsege Mariam Gebru, Spielt Eigene Kompositionen LP (Spotify — this is not the album I have but rather the entire session from which the release I have is culled.)

11/16 Hamiett Bluiett, Orchestra, Duo & Septet LP (Discogs)

11/17 Morton Feldman, For Brunita Marcus (performed by Lenio Liatsou) LP (Discogs or a different performance/recording on Spotify)

11/18 John Coltrane / Alice Coltrane, Cosmic Music LP (Spotify)

11/19 Rashied Ali / Frank Lowe, Duo Exchange LP (Bandcamp)

11/20 Anthony Davis Hemispheres LP (Discogs)

11/21 Leroy Jenkins, The Legend of Ai Glatson LP (Spotify)

11/22 The Pyramids, King of Kings LP (Spotify)

11/23 Black Unity Trio, Al-Fatihah LP (Discogs)

11/24 Wildflowers: the New York Loft Jazz Sessions, Vol. 1 LP (Spotify)

11/25 Wildflowers: the New York Loft Jazz Sessions, Vol. 2 LP (Spotify)

11/26 Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe & Ariel Kalma, FRKWYS Vol. 12: We Know Each Other Somehow LP (Spotify)

11/26 Rob Mazurek – Exploding Star Orchestra, Dimensional Stardust LP (Bandcamp)

11/27 Alessandro Cortini, Forse 1 LP (Bandcamp)

11/28 Jeremy Cunningham, The Weather Up There LP (Bandcamp)

11/29 Philip Glass, Music in Twelve Parts: Parts 1 & 2 LP (Discogs

11/30 Freedom, Rhythm & Sound: Revolutionary Jazz & the Civil Rights Movement 1963-82, Volume 2 LP (Discogs)