Monthly Music Favourites – August 2016

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I listen to an awful lot of music. I work at a record store that plays albums for nine hours a day, I spend a ton of my free time digging through Spotify, and of course I have my own favourite vinyl that I drop a needle onto when I need the comforting warmth that only comes from records. I read once that in order to be an artist, you have to consume as much art as you possibly can, and that has stuck with me ever since. The queue of things I take in – especially music – is essentially endless, but that’s how I like it.

Because my intake of songs and albums and the like is so constant, I’m left with a lot to mull over. I write about as much as I can, but there are often things left that don’t necessarily fit into a category or have a good place on this blog, so I’ve somehow ended up here, writing a post about all the music and music-related things that I’ve been loving this month. In the end, I want Babbleogue to be an amalgamation of most of the music that I’ve ever adored, so why not document my monthly fixations.

1. Gabriel Bruce

I fell in love with Gabriel Bruce on a plane home from London at the end of May. I had saved his debut effort, Love in Arms, onto my Spotify, and it was the first thing I decided to listen to as we soared through the sky and away from the city I had fallen head over heels for. Love in Arms is something incredible. Bruce’s music is intimate and consuming, it draws you in as if it’s a deep and dark vortex of intensity. The entire album is hills and valleys of exuberant triumphs and profound lows. It’s honest and real, and his words tell vivid tales and weave beautiful imagery into your mind – images of heartbreak and love and the messy stuff in between. Listening to Gabriel Bruce is almost an out of body experience, his songs hit you straight in the chest and cause shifts in your mind that feel as big as the movement of the tectonic plates. Love in Arms, as well as his newly released sophomore record Come All Sufferers are two albums that came to me at the perfect time, almost as if I had manifested them out of need. And I’m so infatuated with them and with the man who created them that if I could climb Mount Kilimanjaro or Machu Picchu and yell and scream about the beauty of these records to the whole world, I would. I adore these songs, and if you listen to anything today, it should be Gabriel Bruce.

2. Anderson .Paak

I’ve never really listened to hip hop. In my mind it all kind of gets lumped together into a mess of misogynistic, vulgar lyrics layered over samples and beats, but over the past year or so I’ve come to realize that that’s not always the case and that there is actually hip hop music that I really enjoy. Anderson .Paak is included in that category, and he’s occupied a lot of my music-listening time over the past month. He’s a musician who has crafted a beautiful space for himself, one that he uses to stand tall and tell incredible stories and testimonies. His songs aren’t all explicitly hip-hop toned – in fact, they’re often soft and smooth, the kind of track that invites you to settle into it, to close your eyes and let it seep into your skin. I love how honest and real and idealistic his lyrics are, how easily he colours his world and paints a picture of a specific moment for his audience to step into. I’m quite enamored by his art form and by the musician himself, and I’m happy that he’s helped me open myself up to music that I never thought I’d enjoy.

3. Roadies

 I just started watching Roadies last week and I’m halfway through the series. I’m interested by anything to do with the music industry and anything created by Cameron Crowe, so this show seemed right up my alley – and it totally is. The show is pretty self-explanatory and it follows a group of roadies throughout their time touring with a band. It documents the highs and lows, the problems that arise and seem as though they’ll end everything, but also the triumphant moments of putting on an incredible show in a different city each night. That alone would be enough for me to love the show, but the creators have also added small touches to the series that only a true music fan could appreciate. They feature a specific song each episode, and there are guest appearances by real life bands and musicians like The Head and The Heart and Lindsey Buckingham, just to name a couple standouts. Roadies excites me, it’s cheesy in just the right way and it pulls at my heartstrings without making me overly emotional. When I watch it I can feel the excitement of being at a concert, it draws up the perfect feelings and stirs my spirit in the best way. So far it’s only solidified the fact that I want to work in the music industry and be part of something that big and that powerful and that moving, and that’s all I can really ask of a TV show.

4. Spector

It’s safe to say that I’ve been slightly obsessed with Spector for the past three years. I think their lyrics are absolutely genius, their songs are catchy as hell, and they can put me in the best mood or let me wallow beyond belief when that’s what I need out of life. I’ve spent the last two months (or three or four, really) listening to them on repeat, and I think at this point I can confirm that they’re one of my favourite bands. Their debut album, Enjoy it While it Lasts, is full of hit after hit about adolescence and young-adulthood – the awkwardness of it, the moments that you want to capture in a snow globe and keep on your shelf, and the naïve beauty of what it is to be young. It’s about the weird limbo-like state that can sometimes happen in relationships, the nights that make all the hard stuff worth it, and the things you wish you could change. The band’s sophomore effort, Moth Boys, is almost a follow-up to that storyline. It’s sullen and often heartbreaking, it’s about coming down after the highest of highs. There are bursts of joy and triumph within it, but a lot of it is about the beauty of life’s lows. Both of these albums have come to be companions to me, and I genuinely cherish them. One of the best feelings in the world is rediscovering your intense, overwhelming love for a band, and I spent all of August in that dreamlike state. And I adored it.

I feel like I got a lot out of my system after writing all that. Hopefully you’ve found someone new to listen to or a cool show to watch, but if not, we’ve always got next month. Let me know what you think about the things I mentioned and feel free to tell me what you loved in August!

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