Desert Sessions: Songs for Personal and Public Apocalypse Survival

A soundtrack for end times (kidding!).

While the Bitchfork readership is measly in quantity, it is international (or all of you use VPNs or a combo of both). Usually it is the music that brings us together, but today, please join me as we socially distance ourselves.

Before the virus, I’ve contemplated a self-imposed social distancing. The idea came from a plane ride and some fungi. For a long-enough-to-be-annoying-frame-of-time, I have felt like I was standing at the edge of the world. The Earth and all its contents at my back, looking out at infinite– overwhelmingly lonely and in awe of the how, despite being filled with stars and planets, space is so stark.

The fact a virus that requires distancing ourselves from humans is an ironic and somewhat cathartic event to (maybe?) wrap up these last few weeks. However, just as I am in awe of the starkness of the universe, I am equally thankful for the solitude.

The Desert Sessions Vol. 11 & 12 is the perfect soundtrack for everything I am seeing and feeling at this time. It offers an apocalyptic feel without much of the seriousness but much of the absurdness and loneliness mixed with elements of survival.

Desert-Sessions-Vol-11

From Wiki:

The Desert Sessions are a musical collective series, founded by Josh Homme in 1997. Artists such as Brant BjorkPJ HarveyJeordie White (a.k.a. Twiggy Ramirez)Dave CatchingNick OliveriMark LaneganJohn McBainBen ShepherdJosh FreeseChris GossAlain JohannesTroy Van LeeuwenDean Ween, and many others from the Palm Desert Scene have contributed as songwriters and musicians.

I am a big/huge/large/massive/fluffy fan of Josh Homme’s talents, work, and collaborative efforts. Like members of The Mars Volta as well as Mike Patton, I don’t know how the dude sleeps: Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Eagles of Death Metal, KYUSS, Iggy Pop; and extensive work with Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys.

Example 1:

It’s not often you see a very large, ginger man with such moves. Also, please never tell me masculinity and flamboyance are an oxymoron or mutually exclusive (and have you seen him roller skate?).

Josh Homme has been doing wonderful things for decades. He began the Desert Sessions in 1997. Since that time, he has produced 12 volumes, the latest being Vol. 11: Arriverderci Despair and  Volume 12: Tightwads & Nitwits & Critics & Heels. These volumes features greats like Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Les Claypool of Primus, Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint, Jakes Shears of Scissor Sisters, Matt Berry of everything, Matt Sweeney, Carla Azar of Autolux and Jack White, and Mike Kerr of Royal Blood (all seen in the featured photo of this post).

Here are some of my favorites from the latest volumes.

Continue reading “Desert Sessions: Songs for Personal and Public Apocalypse Survival”

Esteemed Bass + Jazz Rap Playlists

Boost your mood with some non-EDM bass.

I recently read a study that found bass heavy music boosts feelings of empowerment and confidence. The study data is likely over 6 years old, and there may be updated research on the topic (feel free to share in the comments if there is).

I think when most younger people hear “bass heavy”, they think of EDM music. If, like me, EDM is not your cup of tea,  have made a playlist and found a Spotify playlist that offer some bass alternatives.

ESTEEMED BASS (by yours truly)

This is a multi genre playlist with songs from Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, Pink Floyd, Primus, Labi Siffre and many others.

JAZZ RAP (by Spotify)

Spotify has some excellent compilation playlists. I did not know jazz rap was an actual genre (I’m honestly surprised the name is both so on the nose and also sort of a catch all for any hip hop that has jazz in the background? I’m still sorting it out), but to me, every artist and song in this genre is excellent. Most of the artists and songs were big in the 80s-90s (Digable Planets, The Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest, and others), but there are a fewer newer artists (most notably one of my favorite gemini men Kendrick Lamar, MF DOOM, and Anderson. Paak).

This is my favorite song from that list:

The track is a stunner, and the backstory makes it even more interesting.

So, I’m not sure where any of you are at in your life, but if you need a boost, hit dat bass.