What We're Listening To #3: Music is My Life

Updated: Aug 20

Curated and Written By Abdul Defashah

Editor: Aliyya Asra

I'm not saying that this list has anything to do with being isolated given the current situation, where ever you are, but this extra time no one asked for has given me the time to appreciate new and older releases. All in all, this is just another list of records anyone reading should make time for.

Surprise Chef - All News is Good News (Album)

A newly discovered record that i've been playing non stop for the last few months. Surprise Chef is a four-piece instrumental group from Melbourne that experiments with jazz-funk sounds, and as they proclaimed themselves, with a DIY mentality. They're a hidden gem in the midst of all these new musicians and their debut release solidifies their talent. Great compositions, great recording, they really did jam on this album. A recorded proof of four musicians conversing in the best way they know how, and it's a very humble conversation.

Sam Gendell - Satin doll (Album)

Sam Gendell is most well known for his saxophone playing, however this record shows that this man can do so much more. Filled with samples, glitches, and beautiful harmonies, Satin Doll is an immersive listening experience from top to bottom. The production on this thing is also impressive, all the sounds are delivered perfectly, just like the way it was intended to be. Well that's what I like to think. Every song has minor saxophone sounds, he uses his saxophone in a very unique way. Placing them between the empty spaces, filling gaps of the songs, or to ending them with deconstructed saxophone playing. A decision to let go of the conventional ways one would use the saxophone and rather apply it as a whole other different tool.

Additionally, Sam Gendell has worked with a number of musicians as well which includes Perfume Genius and Vampire Weekend, and that alone is a good enough reason to check this eerily soothing record.

Girls - Broken Dreams Club (Album)

This here is a personal favourite of mine since high school. From all of Girls' short discography, this EP left the biggest impression on me. Its honest songwriting is the record's greatest appeal. Christopher Owens paints a picture of broken hearts accompanied by different sounds on every song. Picturing himself as a hopeless romantic on Oh so Protective One, expressing his disbelief and insecurities towards love on Heartbreaker, or simply going home to Carolina with a seven-minute sonic rock out jam.

Girls told stories of love and broken dreams through rock and roll, and it was a bittersweet story to say the least. However, a story that has stayed with me all these years.

Anna Roxanne - ~~~ (Album)

For some reason, the longer I live the more I am drawn to ambient music, and Anna Roxanne's ~~~ is one of the records that stood out the most for me last year. Comprised of six songs, Anna Roxanne delivers hypnotising sounds made of subtle repetitive synths. She uses live recordings of her surroundings as well, even using most of it on the last track, In a Small Valley. A song showcasing a conversation between friends and families, a static radio playing, the sound of wind chimes, to a beautiful choir, all of these sounds that make the listener feel like they're in a totally different place, or rather somewhere in a small valley where the simple sounds of daily routine can bring relaxation. The mixing on this record is also a notable mention, as it really lays out the whole atmosphere for this EP. ~~~ is simply a relaxing experience.

The Allman Brothers Band - In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (Track)

At Fillmore East is one of the best live albums that was ever recorded, at least to me it is. Originally around six minutes long, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed was jammed and improvised up to thirteen-minutes long in this record. An amazing performance by The Allman Brothers Band that shows their amazing and favoured live improvisations and instrumentals. This of course still featured Duane Allman before his tragic death in 1971. With him on the guitars and his brother, Gregg Allman, on the organs, the band showcases their ability to mix sounds from blues, rock, jazz, to country in an eclectic performance. A prime example why they were considered one of the most influential rock bands from 60's America.

Deerhunter - He Would Have Laughed (Track)

The perfect track to end an amazing album. Personally, Halcyon Digest is one of the greatest records to be released by any band ever, and Deerhunter executed it perfectly by ending it with He Would Have Laguhed. There really isn't much that I can say about this song. The song feels very close and very familiar to me. Everything about this song is great, the writing, the instrumentals, the ambience, the sweet ending. And so, without saying too much about it, I would like to simply suggest this song to anyone reading this and may it be as special as it is for me, for you.

that's basically it.

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