Tuesday Tunes, Vol. 2

Over the past week, I have been sorely tempted to try and write this week's Tuesday Tunes in advance. I'll be listening to an album and I'll say, "This is it. This is one of the ones I'm going to write about." Of course, I've said that for about 6 or so items, and according to my self-imposed monarchic rule, I can only tell you about three things per week.

Additionally, I came across something only on Sunday night and Monday morning that I REALLY think I have to tell you about, and if I'd written this any earlier, it would have had to wait!

Here goes.

The Sunset Club: Sunset o639 Hours

Photo Credit:  Alexander Iziliaev

Photo Credit: Alexander Iziliaev

As a Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival intern, I'm able to get into every dance performance for free. Which means I see a LOT of dance each week. Some of it really sticks with me, and some of it gets filed away in the "Oh yeah, I guess I did see that?" folder. BalletX is one of the ones that really stuck. 

I'm not a big fan of ballet, mostly because it brings up a lot of body image issues for me, and the super controlled way that ballet dancers move and hold themselves intimidates me and brings up guilt in the extreme (I'm currently sitting like a twisted pretzel in this armchair). But when I was watching BalletX's piece Sunset, o639 Hours, it didn't feel like I was watching ballet; it was a wonderfully crafted story narrative, with amazing sets, costumes, and music to boot.

If you want to know more about the dance piece itself, you can head on over to this review by Alastair Macaulay in the New York Times. In essence, Sunset, o639 Hours tells the story of Captain Edwin Musick, an airmail pilot in the 1930's, and his flights among the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and Hawaii. Unfortunately, Musick and the crew of his Samoan Clipper met an untimely demise over the Pacific Ocean in 1938.

For the soundtrack to Sunset, o639 Hours, choreographer Matthew Neenan worked in collaboration with composer Rosie Langabeer and a crew of other fine musicians/producers, such as Andrew Mars, Josh Machiz, Isaac Stanford, and Nick Kourtides. In addition to stunning vocals and instruments that we know such as trumpets and ukuleles and a piano, they also made use of instruments invented by Neil Feather, such as the anaplumb and – get this – magnapooter.

If nothing else, you have to listen to this soundtrack because it has an instrument called a magnapooter. (Incidentally, it's a very fitting name for the instrument itself, which makes the poot-poot sound of an oldie-style plane engine by utilizing magnets.)

Album art by Isaac Stanford.

Album art by Isaac Stanford.

How can I listen to The Sunset Club?

Okay, so far I only know one way, and that's their official album Bandcamp, here.

Definitely support them if you can! And I'd recommend checking out other music by Rosie Langabeer and vocalist Andrew Mars (under the name Settled Arrows). Mars's voice is SO beautiful, seriously. He has a YouTube and Bandcamp, and one Settled Arrows album is on Spotify.

Bear's Den: Red Earth & Pouring Rain

I really know nothing about this band, except that their songs keep showing up in my playlists by accident. I say, "Wow, Bear's Den? I've never heard of that, but it sounds vaguely familiar." And then it turns out that I have actually heard of them. For example, the song "Above The Clouds of Pompeii" was in my Spotify bookmarks for a whole year before I discovered Red Earth & Pouring Rain.

Now, when I say I "discovered" this album, A) It didn't come out until July 22nd – which was what, two weeks ago? – and B) I literally used the Spotify "Discover" tab just to see if they really understood my music tastes. And they did.

Concept photo for the album art, by Andrew Whitton.

Concept photo for the album art, by Andrew Whitton.

The vibe of Red Earth & Pouring Rain that I get is kind of like...soft indie alternative, but with a hint of that power you can sense when you're listening to the melodic chorus in a hard rock/metal song, and you know that the singer could start just going AT it at any time. This is, indeed, a very low-key album, but that power makes it feel grounded.

It's also really great to hum along to.

My favorites off of this are "Red Earth & Pouring Rain", "Emeralds," and "New Jerusalem."

Here's a great live version of the titular song:

And, just because I'm a sucker for covers and live studio versions of things, here's a cover that Bear's Den did of Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home." It's not related to their new album, but WHATEVER. Listen to that strumming! Look at that videography!

How can I listen to Red Earth & Pouring Rain?

Official Website

I listened to their album via Spotify – if you don't have Spotify as a program, they have a playlist on the front page of their website.

YouTube, though mostly it just has "making of" videos, which are pretty darn cool.

SoundCloud, though it doesn't have anything from Red Earth & Pouring Rain on it yet!

Cellars

The name Cellars is an artistic front for multi-talented artist Alle Norton. In doing a little basic research for this post, I came across an article titled "Cellars' Alle Norton Is Obsessed With Love And 80's Synthpop." Coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, I am also obsessed with love and 80's synthpop, so frankly it was inevitable that I featured this artist.

As I mentioned in last week's installment of Tuesday Tunes, I had a brief stint as a DJ on my school's radio station. WMHC makes contracts with music producers and labels; they give the station music, and we play their music in return. There is always new music to listen to, new albums to try out, things to review, and so forth. Cellars' Phases was one of the new releases that I always enjoyed playing on my show.

The sound of this album is great, because it hits that sweet spot between crisp, synthy electro goodness, and wonderful, smooth vocals that would be a pleasure to listen to even in an acoustic or stripped down version. Also, for a hopeless romantic who's a little bit sad (read: me) the lyrics are hashtag relatable.

The reason I'm recommending the artist, and not just Phases, is because I also happen to have listened to her previous music on the album Lovesick. It's a little bit more electronic and experimental to my ears, and I feel like Cellars really found a distinct voice in Phases, but if you're as into the genre as I am you'll find some really interesting sounds. Also check out the album art. 

Does this not create the colorful vaporwave/pop aesthetic of your dreams?

My favorite song of hers is probably "Still in Love," so check it out. Here are some songs off of Phases that are on YouTube, with music videos – "Nighttime Girl" and "Do You Miss Me?":

How can I listen to Cellars?

YouTube

Bandcamp

SoundCloud

And, well, you know that nearly everything I listen to I find through Spotify, so both of her albums are on there as well. ;)

Hope you enjoy something off of this week's picks! There's a little bit of everything in here, I think.

For more music, see last week's Tuesday Tunes.