Shuffled Selections: February 5 – February 11

Welcome to Shuffled Selections, your weekly mini-mixtape of whatever I’m listening to this week! Because I adore nothing more than exploring all the music and sharing it with every person I can, this is my way to cover as much ground as possible in between life and bigger reviews. Enjoy!

Thievery Corporation – “Thief Rockers”

For me, the release of new Thievery Corporation is cause for great and boisterous celebration. One my absolute favorite go-to meditation and/or riot bands, Thievery Corporation have perfected their art as world class world music DJs above and beyond time and time again. I have been desperately awaiting their newest release all the more so once I heard about its focus on Jamaican music and the spirit of that beautiful island of resistance. Especially after the singular dedication to the Portuguese musical landscape that was Saudade, I was expecting this album to be pure dubby ecstasy. Although I will readily and excitedly extol its praises, it breaks my heart to report that it doesn’t feel quite as focused as their previous effort. Although it is certainly drenched in dub, its occasional dips into Thievery’s go-to deep house tendencies are a bit distracting when you’re wanting more Lee “Scratch” Perry and less Massive Attack. Having said that however, this album is every bit as gorgeously textured and joyously groovy as Thievery can be – I mean, just look at that stunning cover art and you know what you’re in for.

Radical Face – “Sunn”

When you think overly ornate high-concept story lines that span numerous albums, you might think prog-rock – not twee indie folk troubadours. Ben Cooper, however, has been a man with a mission and that mission was to tell a massive, sprawling tale about his family’s saga. Over the course of 3 albums, numerous EPS, and several singles, he has unfurled his epic The Family Tree that has been both beautifully moving and harrowingly unnerving. Having said all of this, however, Radical Face’s newest release is the first not immediately connected to what has otherwise been the defining aspect of his entire career. Although it only spans three songs, it maintains every bit of his meticulously orchestrated musicality and over flows with meditative charm. This EP feels less like a history lesson and more like the scope of a moment spent alone.

The Flat Five – “This Is Your Night”

Oh, this band is a pure delight! A 60’s retro lounge/folk/psychedelia 5 piece made up of touring musicians who’ve worked with everyone from Neko Case to the New Pornographers, they formed for the love of harmony and, as they state it, “for the mother effing fun of it” – and it shows. Honestly, this is one of the most purely enjoyable albums I’ve heard recently and have not been able to take it off repeat. I cannot wait for a bit of warmer weather to take it for a proper spin, however, because this music was made for the sunshine.

Nice As F*ck – “Door”

I had completely forgotten about Jenny Lewis’ shoe gaze side project to the point that when I heard this song even the unforgettable name didn’t ring a bell. Better late than never, however, because this album is great fun through and through. Far from the most ornate, or even engaging, thing that Lewis has been a part of, this album is nonetheless a stripped down, post-punk gem that would make Debbie Harry proud.

Relient K – “Candy Hearts”

Just in time for Valentine’s Day – Christian pop-punk masterminds Relient K have released one of their patented holiday EPs in celebration and, per usual, it’s a joy. On this track, they find themselves attempting to piece together the confounding components of this crazy thing called love with the help of everyone’s least favorite Valentine treat. Much like the bittersweet taste of those chalky hearts, this song reminisces on the hard won trials of a love lived fully, piecing together their truth from the little moments that brought them here today. Although the rest of the EP devolves into a more (still awesome) acoustic affair, this track is a great burst of energy for a band that has thankfully refused to slow down.

Happy Valentines, lovers.