WBER DJ Kelsey’s Playlist

May 22, 2012

Let’s get the ball rolling with our first playlist. This is not a patron requested playlist but one that you may be interested in none-the-less.  Kelsey is a great resource that patrons will benefit from when looking for something interesting and eclectic in the alternative music genre.

Make the Road by Walking/ Menahan Street Band
It’s kind of difficult to describe what kind of music the Menahan Street Band make, although the ten tracks (there’s also an unlisted 11th track) presented on this debut album share a certain pleasant, easy, and sunny vibe. All are unhurried instrumentals, and while it’s tempting to call this stuff soul, it isn’t that exactly. There’s a jazz feel here, too, but it isn’t exactly soul-jazz, either, and then there’s a certain intangible Jamaican dub feel to how things are mixed, but one can’t really call it dub, and while things get lightly funky now and then, it isn’t funk.-All Music Guide
Chinoiserie/ Medeski, Martin & Wood
Here, the MMW direction and loyalties become very clear; they’re possessed and driven by the fatback funk and instruments of an earlier generation. John Medeski becomes one of the wave of keyboardists in the ’90s who started dragging wonderful old Wurlitzer electric pianos, Hohner clavinets, Hammond organs, wah-wah pedals, and other devices out of the mothballs, and used them almost as quasi-percussion instruments at times. Chris Wood remains resolutely on standup bass, playing with a great feeling for Billy Martin’s supremely funky drumming. -All Music Guide
Human Qualities/ Explosions in the Sky
Like their home state of Texas, Explosions in the Sky are all about wide-open spaces, preferring to leave the landscape as it is rather than trying to fill every last bit of empty space just for the sake of doing so. It’s this aesthetic that sets the band apart from the busier bands in post-rock and, really, rock in general. While this may not make it the most immediately exciting album of Explosions in the Sky’s career, it easily stands to be one of their most rewarding. -All Music Guide
Hoppípolla/ Sigur Ros
Named in part after a sister of one of the bandmembers, Reykjavik, Iceland’s Sigur Rós (Victory Rose) was formed by guitarist and vocalist Jon Thor Birgisson (who later went by the name Jónsi), bassist Georg Holm, and drummer Agust. Formed in early 1994 while the members were teenagers, the trio’s first recorded song earned them a deal with Iceland’s Bad Taste label. Svefn-G-Englar, their first release to be distributed outside of their native country, was hailed as NME’s Single of the Week during September of 1999, launching a press hype steamroller in the U.K. and — to a lesser extent — in the U.S.-All Music Guide
First Tube/ Phish
Their rootsiest and most organic effort to date, Farmhouse is also their most fully developed — these are complete, concise songs and not simply outlines for extended jams, boasting a beauty and intimacy which expands the group’s scope even as it serves notice of a new found pop accessibility. The opening title cut, a gorgeously rustic country-pop ballad, immediately establishes Farmhouse’s muted, relaxed tone, and despite the occasional detour like the sunny funk workout “Gotta Jibboo” or the closing instrumental jam “First Tube,” by and large the set opts against kitchen-sink eclecticism in favor of an evocatively pastoral uniformity. -All Music Guide
Om Nashi Me/ Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
“40 Day Dream,” the Motown-infused, OutKast-inspired, heavily orchestrated “Beatlesque” soul jam that opens Up from Below, serves as a pretty good litmus test for what follows. Listeners who are put off by the robe-wearing Polyphonic Spree’s cultish glazed-eye self-help anthems or cringe when they hear the Mamas & the Papas’ “Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon” would be advised to get off the magic bus early, as Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros have crafted a love letter to Laurel Canyon and all of its quasi-mystic juju that is as infuriatingly contrived and retro as it is forward-thinking and majestic. -All Music Guide
Chicken Strut/ The Meters
Rhino’s Funkify Your Life: The Meters Anthology was the first truly comprehensive and widely available CD retrospective of the groundbreaking New Orleans funk band’s work. These two chronologically arranged discs run down virtually every important track the band recorded under its own name, finally allowing a more general audience to hear why the Meters had earned such a stellar reputation among die-hard funk collectors and sample-minded hip-hoppers. There’s more flash in this music, including plenty of nimble-fingered unison passages demonstrating that the band can be as tight as they are loose. It’s more proof that the Meters were the most telepathic funk ensemble this side of the J.B.’s.-All Music Guide
Paris Sunrise #7/ Ben Harper And The Innocent Criminals
“Heart of Matters” gets back to back-porch soul before giving way to a Weissenborn guitar solo on “Paris Sunrise #7,” before closing with the lone acoustic guitar and vocal ballad on the title cut. The set could have gone out on one of the more uptempo tunes after the instrumental, but it’s a small complaint in this mix.  This is a very informal-sounding record, and one that feels comfortable in showing its unvarnished side, its seams. – All Music Guide
Black Mud/ The Black Keys
Retreating from the hazy Danger Mouse-fueled pot dream of Attack & Release, the Black Keys headed down to the legendary Muscle Shoals, recording their third album on their own and dubbing it Brothers. The studio, not to mention the artwork patterned after such disregarded Chess psychedelic-era relics as This Is Howlin’ Wolf’s New Album, are good indications that the tough blues band of the Black Keys earliest records is back, but the group hasn’t forgotten what they’ve learned in their inwardly psychedelic mid-period. -All Music Guide

Origin of Man/ The Budos Band

This Brooklyn-based instrumental collective combines slow-burn Afro-beat rhythms with a ’70s soul-jazz aesthetic, the latter sound well-known by those already familiar with the Daptone label’s other releases. The retro, almost blaxploitation soundtrack groove pushes the predominantly Afro style into American soul territory. They call it “Afro-soul,” which neatly sums up the style but doesn’t entirely do it justice; only hearing it does. Horns and horn charts dominate, which, because these sessions were recorded live in the studio, exude a spark and swing that are somewhat ominous yet hypnotically contagious.-All Music Guide

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