Thursday, March 07, 2013


Believe me, I hate to love Spotify, but I give up, because I do love it. Don't get me wrong, I still hate it too. I can't stand about 52 or so really minor things about their interface, and I'm sure you've heard that they pay their artists .00966947678815 cents per play, which is pretty disheartening. I guess I should just pay for Premium, in hopes that some day more money will trickle back to the artists. It would also be very nice to not have to listen to any of those horrible ads again, like the one where some cheery young Pitchfork Fest type says "If you have Spotify, you'll never have to buy music ever again." (Emphasis mine.) Wow. Of course we know that physical media is dying, but that really crystallizes it: music lives on, but people buying records has been replaced by people buying computer devices (which they'll use to play records for free).

So that's a bummer, but I can't deny that I like listening to music on computer devices almost as much as I like listening to records on my stereo, and here in head-in-the-sand internet la-la land, one thing I'm really enjoying about Spotify is making playlists to go with the music books I'm reading. Here's three of 'em that I think are pretty good, whether you're reading the book or not, though I highly recommend all of these books as well.

This first playlist goes with Electric Eden (Faber & Faber, 2011), Rob Young's expansive history of British folk music, that goes back to early 20th Century Classical, and continues all the way up through stuff like Talk Talk and The Orb, turning me on to several excellent groups I wasn't really aware of before, such as Mr. Fox, the Albion Family Band, Dr. Strangely Strange, and Spirogyra... this could also use some tweaking, and I'm not sure if The Orb really fits on there, but lots of great stuff:


I think this next one turned out great, though it might also undergo a few more changes and additions. It's inspired by Chapter 6 of the rather overwhelming new book Psychedelia: An Ancient Culture, A Modern Way Of Life (Lysergia, 2012), by the author of the great Acid Archives record guide, Patrick Lundborg. In Psychedelia, Lundborg lays out the entire history of humans using psychedelic drugs, from prehistoric times to the present day, introducing several challenging perspectives in the process. One of them is that 1950s Electronic Music and Exotica were the first (and truest??) psychedelic music. After making this playlist from a bunch of his examples, I feel like I could almost agree with him: 

And finally, if I still threw rock'n'roll parties where everybody got wasted and hung out, I would put on this next playlist and boom, I'd be done DJing. It's an audio version of Nick Kent's "Soundtrack to the Seventies," an addendum to his memoir Apathy For The Devil (Da Capo, 2010) , a real page-turner of a rock book that I think I got through in about 3 hours. Not a whole lot of obscuro choices here, but this is a fine staple diet. Your local corporate classic rock station could easily be this good.... or would corporate financial power be steadily fragmented and decentralized by the subtly progressive and mind-expanding sounds on offer here? A topic for discussion at said rock'n'roll party, though I do wish this playlist didn't have like 5 David Bowie songs, or even 1 by Jackson Browne and/or Elvis Costello. As for Blue Valentine by Tom Waits, it was on Kent's list but I simply couldn't bear to include a song from it. I took the liberty of replacing it with "Space Is Deep" by Hawkwind, who surprisingly weren't on Kent's list.

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