I work a stressful job – teaching in a middle school in a poor(er) area of the Bronx. I use these albums as insomniac lullabies. Sometimes it takes me to the middle of the second side for things to go into effect. Here’s what’s currently working for me:
1 – Roxy Music, Siren: I recently went on a Roxy jag that lasted three months. There’s something compelling/comprehensive about the world they created from this current point in space and time. Probably the polar opposite to my working world – lush, unpredictable, romantic, and opulent. Siren seemed to be the mid-point between their prog and lounge periods without the medieval-styled incursions or latter lounge schmaltz.
2 – Leslie Winer, Witch: What a fantastic album of late-night dub-poetry. Rightfully anointed the “Godmother of Trip-Hop” Winer channels Burroughs, Ginsberg, Gainsbourg, etc. poeticizing, chanting, and dubbing over deep grooves created with Kevin Mooney and pals. Completely hypnotic.
3 – Caetano Veloso, Abraçaço: In his early seventies, Caetano created a trilogy of “indie-rock” styled albums with his sons’ bands. These are perhaps better than your favorite band’s records. The work of a mature poet. As someone just said, “once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing albums”.
4 – JP Nataf, Clair: When not one-half of France’s Crowded House (Les Innocents), Jean-Phillippe Nataf makes these beautiful low-fi haunted things that are just sort of intimate and bare the way Robert Wyatt’s work makes you feel. Hypnotic grooves from a dark Beatle universe.
5 – Juana Molina, Halo: I found her earlier work easy to dismiss as “Argentinian Bjork”; just a bit too precious, the parts not cohering. Then she dropped this and everything swings and grooves in a way that wouldn’t have been predicted from its precedents. She found a new way to put the pieces together.
I’ll try to listen to young people next time. And I should mention, I’m very proud of producing “Still Life/Real Life” (2017) for Peri Mason. Neither of us have any idea where that album came from, but it still sounds good to us.