– Rachel Minetti // DJ bread
January, for me, has consisted mostly of long drives – through the swamps of central Florida, along the mountains of north Georgia, and endless stop and go traffic on I-26. My third year at USC and I’ve finally gotten used to the seven and a half hour drive from Columbia to Tampa, Tampa to Columbia. Hours and hours of switching lanes, merging from highway to highway, sitting alone in my Volvo with the heat blasting. A month of transitory places, wrapping it up by settling in and falling back into routine. The music that has guided me through January has mostly been songs of recent discovery – some new releases, some that have been sitting in my music library for years, waiting to come to fruition when the moment was right.
Norah Jones has been a big mood this month, especially her work with Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi (specifically the track “Black,” in case you were wondering). N.E.R.D.’s new album has been on heavy rotation, Portishead made a reappearance in recent playlists, and some Au Revoir Simone remixes have popped back up because I like to pretend that it’s summer in Tampa year round. Here are some stand out tracks from my January timeline, starting warm and slow, moving to heavy and soft, then crisp and chilling. I hope you can feel the stagnancy of the air, the chill of the moment in these tracks as much as I did.
Seven’s Day – SALES
Sales LP, 2016
My friend Dylan introduced me to this band at the end of December, this LP traveling with me through the start of the year, still soaking in as the month wraps up, on the path to settling in throughout February. The duo consists of Lauren Morgan on guitar and vocals and Jordan Shih on guitar and programming. This song is smooth and hypnotic, like waking up past noon, unable to escape the haze until the early evening – a day gone by without taking account of reality.
La Ballade – Adrian Younge
Adrian Younge Presents Something About April II, 2016
I found Adrian Younge my first semester on WUSC back in the fall of 2015, this album one of the first to play on The Dough with DJ Bread. The songs have taken their time to sink in, mesh into my music library. The lyrics are in French, whimsical and light, floating along the brink of weightlessness.
All or Nothing – Au Revoir Simone
Still Night, Still Light, 2009
May of 2016 was defined by The Execution of All Things (2002) by Rilo Kiley, easily one of my favorite bands of all time, anything by Fiona Apple, and this album. I discovered Au Revoir Simone when Jenny Lewis paired up with Tennessee Thomas of The Like and Erika Forster of ARS to form a funky, 60s inspired band, Nice as F*ck, with a debut EP full of political statements and catchy hooks. While Still Night, Still Light is almost inseparable from that summer, this song came back to bask in the height of winter (keeping in mind that winter in Florida hardly reaches below 40 degrees). Quiet and stirring, this track is like tip-toeing across hardwood floors in the middle of the afternoon, “can’t you see that we’re in the middle of somewhere?”
Royal Stare – Grace Joyner
Maybe Sometimes – in C, 2016
Getting her start in Charleston as a harmony singer in various bands, Joyner released her first EP in 2014 and her debut LP in 2016. The song sounds slightly muted, it doesn’t bounce back from the walls, the sound is just pumped into the air, adding weight to the room, a humidity. The pop influences are subtle, the bass line jumpy yet smooth. There is something distant she is trying to reach for, some disconnect somewhere that can never align, like listening in from another room.
Free Room (feat. Appleby) – Ravyn Lenae
Moon Shoes EP, 2016
On the topic of standing on the cusp of knowing a person, the stage where there is not yet anything to owe. January, a bridge to somewhere else, forced to contemplate the free room. This song is a nice interlude piece, it sits on the surface, ending where it begins, beginning where it ends.
Captain Stupido – Thundercat
An almost seamless transition from the last track, the bass line harmonizes with the constantly changing chord progressions. Stephen Bruner, the man behind Thundercat, manages to get a bass heavy song to feel light and airy, a song about the monotony of a string of slow days. The song gets peacefully frazzled throughout, addressing the weird, the search for a lost wallet.
Panic Drills – Sleigh Bells
Kid Kruschev, 2017
Sleigh Bells released this EP a little more than a year after their crushing Jessica Rabbit released last Fall. Tamer than some of the band’s other songs, “Panic Drills” is bursting at the seams, a song that just keeps building and building. The guitar shreds in true Sleigh Bells style, Alexis Krauss’ vocals absolutely piercing, desperate for something. A little more than halfway, the song cracks, braces itself, the vocals shatter through fog, “I’d like to find some other time.”
Black Icy Stare – Pnau vs. Elton John
Good Morning to the Night, 2012
The Australian duo (as of 2016, a trio) released an album of remixes of songs by Elton John. Working with John, Good Morning to the Night mashed up parts of various early Elton John songs and made entirely different songs out of them. “Black Icy Stare” consists of lyrics from “Cold Highway” and “Solar Prestige a Gammon.” Around 40 seconds in, a static pulls, rips, and releases – like driving too fast around a curve on Rainbow Road, watching yourself slowly glide off into the colorful stars, weightless, the road twinkling below, will you land?
Slowly (feat. Matosic) – Giraffage
Too Real, 2017
Ending the list with an energetic, just-rained feel. A song that meshes with the seasons, in the summer it will feel slow and steady, for now, sharp and short. I’ll see you in February.
You can listen to this playlist and many more @RACHELMINETTI on Apple Music.