SNDTRK: Volume 6


Gizmodo published an article highlighting nine apps to improve your knowledge base (here). It couldn’t have come at a better time. I found myself being more distracted by the infinite scroll. Per their recommendation, I downloaded Duolingo, a language-learning app, and Curiosity, a "did you know this random fact?” app. Mi español es muy mal pero yo lo en trabajando.

When I was a kid, my dad’s main job was DJ. He mostly performed at proms, high school reunions and other school dances. My obsession with music comes from his never-ending bank of CD wallets that he compiled relentlessly, pre-Internet, pre-torrenting and P2P, pre-streaming. His eclectic taste and academic approach to music research and curation is what drove me to do the same as I acquired my own ear for music.

So with that, this week’s theme is about discovery. Whether it’s through your own due diligence or serendipity, the high from uncovering a new song or performer(s) to add to your own catalog is hard to emulate.

A change you’ll notice this week is the inclusion of full albums instead of individual songs. With all three of these performers, I found it hard to narrow down my selection to one track and felt it was important to give the reader/listener options when exploring new material. All three albums are ones that I listened to in their entirety during a Settlers of Catan marathon over Hurricane Florence weekend. Opportunities to sit and digest entire albums these days is few and far between. I suggest doing so with all three of these albums.

Leave a comment below or @ me on Twitter with your thoughts.

Kikagaku Moyo

Kikagaku Moyo

One of the many highlights from my experience this summer was traveling to Montréal for a weekend getaway. The trip up took us through Montpelier, Vermont where we stopped at this vintage clothing and record store downtown. Right before we left the shop, the clerk put on this record over the loud speaker. The cover caught my attention as it was propped up on the checkout desk. The art and the name, Kikagaku Moyo, were enough to warrant further investigation.

Their sound is unlike anything else I was listening to. A more adept rock-n-roll fan could examine their style and give an appropriate critique, but that’s not me. I will say, I’m pretty sure there is far out theramin harmonization happening on “Zo No Senaka.” They’re listed as Japanese psychedelic rock on Wikipedia which is the best I can do to describe their music. Khruangbin, another band who I featured on Volume 3, has also been in heavy rotation for me lately and similarly attributes Eastern influences to their sound.

You only need 30 minutes to get through their debut EP. If you instantly hooked like I was, the band is performing at Cat’s Cradle on October 21. Best believe I’ll be front row.

*Special bonus track*

Their most-played song on Spotify, Smoke and Mirrors, has a more classic rock feel to it and can be a low-bar introduction to the group.

So..Hows Your Girl

Handsome Boy Modeling School

Handsome Boy Modeling School is one of those deep cut, underground projects that only the real heads know about but features artists that anyone who considers themselves a hip-hop fan would recognize. Prince Paul (De La Soul) and Dan the Automator (Gorillaz, Deltron) aren’t household names but their imprint on hip-hop is widespread. Other names on So..Hows Your Girl include Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Mike D of the Beastie Boys, DJ Shadow, Kid Koala, and El-P, among others.

Instrumental, sample-based hip-hop was still finding its footing in the genre at-large at the time of this album’s release. Endtroducing, the debut album of DJ Shadow and one of the most influential albums in hip-hop history, had only been released three years prior. It was actually mixed and mastered at Dan the Automator’s home studio.

I’m a huge fan of both Prince Paul and Dan the Automator and their respective production work. The Gorillaz was one of my favorite bands growing up. Naturally, the idea of the two on the same project piqued my interest but I had only heard their second album, White People, before this weekend. Many people whose music opinions I respect gleamed when I shared that I was listening to it. This came on the heels of listening to the aforementioned Kikagaku Moyo. Quite the 1-2 punch!

*Special bonus track*

This is a fantastic rendition of Breakdown by Jack Johnson from White People. I prefer it over the original but respect the JJ purists.

Kingdoms in Colour

Maribou State

It’s impossible to keep up with anything these days, especially music. At any given moment, someone is dropping a new single, new video, or an entire album. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Maribou State, a band I had just become a fan of less than a month ago, put out their new project. I knew it was on the horizon after two of their singles; Feel Good, which I featured on Volume 3, and Nervous Tics, a song that includes Holly Walker who is one of the best things about Maribou State and is featured on all my favorite songs (see Steal, Midas, Tongue).

North Carolina music festivals, if you’re listening, I would happily welcome Maribou State or Khruangbin to the Durham-Raleigh area for next year’s lineup.

*Special bonus track*

One of the songs featuring Holly Walker that hooked me into their catalog. They should honestly do all their songs with her.

If there was one positive from being imprisoned by the hurricane, it was the time spent listening to three albums all the way through as I’m sure the artist intended. Ideally, it won’t take natural disasters for me to do this again so don’t be shocked to see more full album posts here in SNDTRK going forward.

Each Friday, SNDTRK will hit this site and your inbox, providing you with three songs.

Ranging from music that has inspired me, invigorated me, or just songs that bump including fresh cuts and old classics. In doing this series, I want to share the connections I have to music and in turn, make a connection to you.

You can find the full playlist here.