Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now

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This week’s curator: Linda Park of SXSW.

five albums you should be listening to right now

Every two weeks, titans of the mediasphere give Nerve their music recommendations. This week: SXSW music blogger Linda Park.

I’m Linda Park… I blog for SXSW and The Louisville Courier-Journal’s weekly, Velocity. This will be the first and last time in my life that I’m ever referred to as a titan. I’m a bit wary of telling anyone what they should be listening to because taste is so subjective, but in honor of SXSW, here are five acts whose current records are keeping me afloat at the office and whose shows I’m really hoping to catch.

Daniel Martin Moore and Ben Sollee, Dear Companion

My goodness, such beauty. Such sweetness. It’s rare that I find riches like this in a record so delicate and deceptively simple. However, the arrangements are deep and the combination of Moore and Sollee’s voices makes for such an interesting trip down their country roads. Plus, the album features banjo and cello, two of my favorite instruments! One of the goals of Dear Companion is to help raise awareness about mountaintop removal mining, an issue that’s really impacted the lives of the people of Central Appalachia. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the environmental organization Appalachian Voices. Also, you might not guess it, but Daniel Martin Moore is wicked funny and writes amazing haikus.

The Temper Trap, Conditions

I’m probably preaching to the choir here, because we’re all in love with The Temper Trap now, aren’t we? I mean, have you heard “Sweet Disposition”? Don’t you just love songs that immediately make you close your eyes, feel the breeze, and, you know, suddenly the stars come out and you’re running through a field or the city streets and maybe there’s a guy or a girl at the end of it or maybe the journey is the destination because really, you’ve never felt this alive?! Aren’t the best records the ones that make you see as well as feel?

Ola Podrida, Belly of the Lion

David Wingo’s voice is like a hug. A really good hug. This album is pretty romance-inducing and achieves a sparse lushness (I know that’s an oxymoron) that’s just brilliant. Some songs sound like waking up on a quiet morning; others are like the best parts of the end of the night, that time right before they turn the lights on and everyone looks beautiful. So many gems on this record, but “The Closest We Will Ever Be” and “Roomful of Sparrows” are two of my faves.

Instrumenti, Pandemiya

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about Europe’s only panda duo, Instrumenti. They are Latvian pandas. You really need to watch this video. I know I said I wouldn’t tell you what you should do, but you really should do this, because seriously, if you’re feeling a little blue, doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or girl, this will pick you right up and dust you off. You cannot deny the power of the panda! They have an EP, Pandemiya, out on iTunes, and the rest of the songs are rather interestingly not like “Life Jacket Under Your Seat,” a sure Eurovision winner if I’ve ever heard one.

Frightened Rabbit, The Winter of Mixed Drinks

Scott Hutchison did my questionnaire on the SXSW blog, and he was one of my faves. I immediately wanted to find him and ask him to be my friend. He also wrote one of the most excellent lyrics I’ve ever heard (from their last album): “You won’t find love in a hole. It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm.” Maybe that looks a bit strange on paper, but his delivery really makes it. The Winter of Mixed Drinks was released a couple weeks ago, and it’s already in heavy rotation on my work playlist.  It feels a bit more subdued than The Midnight Organ Fight but it’s just as divine.

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