FAX MACHINE ANTHEMS
Hey, hi, go listen #6
At one of our latest intense through-the-night label meetings, we had a long, vibrant discussion about this hey-hi-go-listen-thing. We tried to decide how many editions we would still add. 5 more? 10 more? maybe 20? In the end we decided to stop at edition #250. We drank a whiskey each to celebrate. And we ate a piece of chocolate. Here is "Hey, hi, go listen #6", and we are already looking forward to bringing you the next 244 soon. Honestly, we are loving the contributions we are getting!
DAO STROM | TRAVELER'S ODE (2020)
Recommended by Bas (Wilbur & Moore Records)
I go through musical mood swings. Not the today-i-feel-like-this-and-tomorrow-i-feel-like-that type of mood swings, but more the ones where, for months on end you keep being drawn towards one specific genre with an uncontrollable urge to deep-dive and discover. A couple of years ago this was ambient music. It was a time in which I discovered Ana Roxanne, Gia Margaret, Claire Rousay, Penelope Trappes and so much more.
I have a hard time remembering what triggered this phase in my musical evolution, and by now I have also moved on again (with a new-found love for soundscapes and sampling as lasting result), but I do recall two distinct elements that were there from the start: the blog Deepest Currents and Dao Strom's album Traveler's Ode, which was literally on repeat for weeks. So much so that it's still in my last.fm all-time album top five.
Dao Strom is a Vietnamese-American multidisciplinary artist based in Portland, OR, and in the end I am actually not sure if the term ambient does Traveler's Ode justice. Her site describes it as "an interwoven series of textured, ethereal song-poems", so let's go with that. If you don't have the time or mindset to listen to the entire album right now, at least give the song "I have traveled" a go.
Traveler's Ode accompanies her book Instrument, which I was lucky enough to find a copy of when I was in Portland for a couple of days last year - I still have to read it though.
SWEET BIKE | ODE TO COTY (2023)
Recommended by Avery Black (Routine Fuss)
Sweet Bike. Sweet Band. Sweet Band Name.
Hailing from Chicago, IL. Full of energy, antics, and fun punk/emo music. Sweet Bike is Chris, Jake, Garrett, and Danny. Members from other killer Chicago bands (Darkle, Supercorp, and Damn Champion), these four came together to make a band that makes music to party to, that’s technically impressive, well-written, honest/vulnerable lyrics, and just a ton of fun.
I was fortunate enough to work with Sweet Bike for their first two singles, released under the name ‘Discography’. We recorded everything effortlessly and just had so much fun. Helmed by Chris, co-written by all, their songs are fierce, exciting, and introspective. Following Discography was their debut album ‘Ode To Coty’, which is an 8-song, 21 minute and 27 second banger after banger of an album. Recorded with Simon Small (TunnelofReverb), they were able to capture the energy of their electric live performance. Stand out song is the third track, Rad Dad Redemption.
If you live in or near Chicago, make sure to catch them at their next show. Enjoy the goofy stage banter. Fall in love with the Bike. Make a new friend. Sing along. You won’t be alone, and you’ll see me there.
STEREOLAB | COBRA AND PHASES GROUP PLAY VOLTAGE IN THE MILKY NIGHT (1999)
Recommended by Parent Teacher
In 1993, French/British avant-pop icons Stereolab brought their vision of space age bachelor pad music to the world. By 1999, their vision exploded into a full gamma ray burst. I remember buying this CD at a second-hand shop and upon pressing play my world was changed forever. My ears were immediately met with Carnival-like drums in interlocking patterns which were then joined by a vibrant xylophone melody which declares to the listener: this is not an ordinary album but a retro futuristic universe.
The rest of the album delivers consistently. Unique rhythmic patterns, time signatures, lush lines of colorful Moogs, clavinova, guitar met effortlessly by the dueling voices of two singers who might be the greatest pairing of vocal timbres in indie music history. Like a fine wine, this album has aged so well with time that I wish it could have been included on the Voyager I satellite’s Golden Record as it permeated through the solar system into the interstellar ocean to which this album is obviously dedicated.
To me, the aim of a great album is to have balance in style, vision and musical depth. When all three combine to form a completely new construct, the dream is achieved and the music becomes an astral messenger orbiting around your life forever.
FELIX LABAND | DEAF SAFARI (2015)
Recommended by Saskia Bruininx
A few years ago a friend of mine invited me to host a radio show. He always had a theme and our theme was "festivals, a trip down memory lane". We were in the middle of the pandamic, so this was the best we had. Our festival playlist was closing with a song by Felix Laband and I was immediately obsessed. It felt like nature sounds meeting minimal EDM, and I don't know why but it had and still has a very special effect on me. It calms me down, so whenever I feel restless and uneasy, Felix Laband to the rescue. I was only listening to that one song though, Whistling in Tongues. It is from the album Dark Days Exit which is very difficult to get in the Netherlands.
In 2022 Felix Laband released a new album and re-released Deaf Safari in the Netherlands. The same friend from the radio show saw how much this music calmed me down and bought the album Deaf Safari for me. From that moment on it has been stuck in my car cd-player en whenever I get frustrated I go for little drive just to listen and relax. Nice side-effect; driving frustrates me as well, so that problem is solved too.
THE SADIES | FAVOURITE COLOURS (2004)
Recommended by Dave Schoonderbeek
They were already masters of Country, Surf, Psych, Garage and everything in between but Favourite Colours is where it all began to melt into one thing. This record came out in the summer of 2004. I was playing in a band, my son had been born a few months before and this record can transport me back to that time when present was a dot on the distant horizon. I have a distinct memory of sitting passenger side keeping my drummer company as we did an overnight drive for some shows in NYC and The Iceberg coming on as the sun was coming up and thinking that this album was made for me at this exact moment. I'm sure this album was made for many people in many exact moments.
Instrumental opener Northumberland West was named in honour of Byrds guitarist Clarence Whites band Nashville West. You've got Robyn Hitchcock guest vocals on Why Would Anybody Live Here. You've got a co write with Erics Trip/Elevators Rick White on Why Be So Curious. Joe Burns of Calexico adding trumpets. Backward cymbal crashes on Translucent Sparrow. 3 tracks are labelled as parts 1,2 & 3 without any obvious connection (part IV and V are on follow up New Seasons).
People who know me, know I don't talk much, but get me started on the Sadies I won't shut up. My previous band, the unfortunately named Drunk Woman was an unashamed Sadies rip off. Our musical limitations in comparison to the masters, made us sound like our own thing, but I wasn't afraid of saying that I wanted to do exactly what they were doing. The world lost singer/guitarist Dallas Good in early 2022 after the completion but before the release of their latest "Colder Streams". That car ride with Hil on the way to the show in December was the first time seeing them without Dallas and I wasn't sure what it would be like. I think we were both worried about getting too emotional during the show, but the band made it such a celebration of him and his music. The strength those guys have to push on without him and make it feel like he's there is incredible.
Honestly, if you've never heard them, you can start anywhere in their discography. Check out their records backing Jon Langford, Andre Williams, Neko Case, John Doe or Gord Downie. But make sure you stop by Favourite Colours, it's the sound of a good band becoming great.