January’s Top 3
Ani Difranco - Mariachi
She’s equally good at ferocious and sweet, and sometimes a mix of both. This one’s all sweet. After I decided that this was probably my fave from her new album, the wonderful little low-power radio station at the youth & cultural center in Pa’ia played it as I was driving down to the shore. It’s nice when life makes you feel like you’re in the right place, even if it’s just coincidence.
Fretwork - Goldberg Variations (Bach), var. 8
Listen to this first - it’s pretty, no? - and then read the 2-star Amazon review left by someone who clearly has a lot of knowledge about classical music, and this work specifically. He calls it an embarrassment, and allows all his expectations and knowledge about what instruments it should be played on and what tempi it should be played at to conspire against his ability to simply find enjoyment and be content. I know almost nothing about classical music in comparison, but I think this album is absolutely lovely and warm; it’s good to be reminded of the importance of keeping an open mind instead of letting your experience and expectations shrink your opportunities for discovering joy.
Nada Surf - Jules & Jim
Not much to say about this one, I just like the bit of melody they eventually build to at the end of the chorus. Maybe I will rent the movie sometime.
Honorable mention - the new Kathleen Edwards, produced by Bon Iver. Soft Place to Land is nice.
Re-discovery: Matthew Sweet - Wait. Everyone has those songs they could play 1000 times and never tire of. Here’s one of mine I’d forgotten about. He’s hit or miss for me, but I really connect with his best stuff.