It's been a rough week, to say the least. It's also been a week when it couldn't feel more trivial to be a part of the music industry. Exclamation point- packed e-mails on upcoming shows languished in our inboxes unread; overcaffeinated publicists' voices chirped unheeded into voice mail. What was the point of hyping one more mediocre house record or mocking yet another nu-metal band when our landmarks, and our sense of national security, were collapsing like a poorly constructed Erector set? Then, as the shock and horror began to dissipate a little, we decided to pull the curtain on the self-pity party, and realized how much sustenance we were getting from certain artists and certain albums. With this in mind, we asked a number of friends and acquaintances in the industry—the majority of them in New York, but some here at home—what, music-wise, was getting them through this week.
From Michael, in N.Y.C.: "Gorecki, Symphony #3, anything by Nina Simone." From Lazlo in Texas: "The usual suspects (Barber, Gorecki) plus a quiet moment with the reissue of Hilmarsson & Sigur Ros, Angels of the Universe, which appeared on my doorstep like magic a couple weeks ago. New Order, 'Run'— in particular, the verse that begins, 'What the hell is happening?/I can't think of everything/I don't know what day it is, or who I'm talking to.'" Phil, N.Y.C.: "Jim O'Rourke's version of 'Women of the World.'" Justin, Los Angeles: "I've found myself listening to 'Pink Moon' by Nick Drake. I've always hated that lousy Volkswagen Cabriolet commercial for being the introduction of the title track to the American public, for if you listen closely, you discover that the song is not about going to a party and silently discovering that you're cooler than everyone else there. It's about the end of the world. Think about it—'Saw it written and I saw it say/Pink moon is on its way/And none of you will stand so tall/Pink moon's gonna get you all.'" Rob, Brooklyn: "Wilco's Being There." Andrew and Adrienne, Seattleites stranded in N.Y.C.: "PJ Harvey's Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea." Brendan, N.Y.C.: "The Louvin Brothers, the Delgados, Future Pilot AKA, and a book of poetry by Silver Jews' frontman David Berman called Actual Air."
What are we listening to at the Weekly? Well, "Chelsea Hotel" by Leonard Cohen, "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" by the Smiths, "So Much Beauty in Dirt" by Modest Mouse, "Blackbird" by the Beatles, "Rainy Season" by Seam, Inland Empires by Joel RL Phelps and the Downer Trio. Elliot Smith's Either/Or will probably have its jersey retired by the time all this is over, as will Emmylou Harris' Red Dirt Girl. Everything from Carissa's Wierd's "To Be There Now" and the rest of Ugly But Honest, Arvo Part's wordless "Fratres," tons of Joni Mitchell, the Tudor Choir's Shapenote, Earl Scruggs and Friends duet album "because it seems really 'American' in a good way," to Abbey Road, Frederic Rzewski's "The People United Will Never Be Defeated," Francois Hardy's Best Of, and much, much more.
Benefits to look out for: This Saturday, Sept. 22, Death Cab for Cutie, DJ Dann Galucci, and more at I-Spy, as well as Friday's show at the Sit & Spin featuring the Turn-Ons, Charming Snakes, and Jupiter Crash, both for the Red Cross Relief Fund. Many more are in the works; we'll try to keep you posted.