Music to work to

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I like working when there’s music. Spending loads of time writing, studying and making things for work is great but if there’s one thing that makes me restless it’s silence.  The right soundtrack is a delicate thing: lyrics are distracting, for real concentration I have to veto any kind of radio and tracks that are too upbeat set the rhythm all wrong (sorry Motown, I’ll see you later). Here’s where I got to: the finest instrumental alt-rock and acoustic albums to help lift productivity – along with mood and general life happiness.

Yo La Tengo 

American’s Yo La Tengo are an insanely good band. Last year they released some shimmering pop in Fade, my top album for sitting studiously is 2008’s They Shoot, We Score.

Mogwai 

When it comes to Mogwai the only thing to say is their an incredible, continually evolving band. My favourite album to work to is A Wrenched Virile Love, all too often I have ‘Rano Pano’ on repeat. 

Explosions in the Sky 

Stylistic bedfellows of another act I revere, Godspeed You Black Emperor! Explosions in the Sky’s music a swirling pool of instrumental joy. Back-catalogue wise Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is a solid shout.

Remember Remember 

When Remember Remember released their 2011 album The Quickening I slid right into it. Think Mogwai with a xylophone and jingle bells after they’ve eaten too much sugar.

William Tyler 

Tyler’s music is a hypnotic haven: what one man can achieve with an acoustic guitar the stuff that spurs dreams.

-What’s that I hear you cry?

-A Spotify playlist would be insanely handy?

-Good job I made one

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Listen Up! Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

American singer-songwriter Angel Olsen is an artist I heard of last year through her 2012 release Half Way Home. New album Burn Your Fire For No Witness is one of the best records I’ve stumbled on in a long time: it begs to be listened to all the way through and is wholly addictive. I’ve  listened to it over and over again – it makes you want to even though you know you shouldn’t because  eventually you might ruin it for yourself.

Olsen’s voice goes from honeyed to wild, fierce and rasping, her lyrics project straightforward truths, her musicianship is crafted and poignant. Like all great music emotions –  heartache, loneliness, desperation, anger and serenity – ring right through it.

Burn Your Fire For No Witness a subtly dazzling collection of songs with a rare and beautiful kind of timelessness. Befriend them.

Listen to the album now via NPR, it will be released through Jagjaguwar.

LISTEN UP! MOGWAI’s RAVE TAPES

Rave Tapes A recent conversation:

My friend: I always thought Mogwai were a rubbish indie band.

Me: No they’re not.

My friend: I know. I’ve been listening to them. They’re really good.

Me: Yes. Yes they are. They’re new album Rave Tapes is awesome.

Both: Nod heads with quiet satisfaction.

Stream it here, as a pointer ‘Replelish’s’ spoken word sampling and eerie melody are spine-tingling.

 

 

Sweet Blue Eues

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Aram Bajakian is an incredible guitarist from New York who’s toured with the late Lou Reed, Diana Krall and many other infamous musicians. ‘There Were Flowers Also in Hell’ is a solo album I first heard today and instantly fell for. ‘Sweet Blue Eues’ (track 5) is a slower, thoughtful track, set to a glorious foundational rhythm.