If you spend any time on the archaeology Twitter (or the field with archaeologists), you soon come to realize that music is key part of what archaeologists do. Some of this is because so much of archaeology is routine and anything we can do to distract ourself from the tedium is welcome. Sometimes, it is because archaeologists spend way too much time in close company of other adults and a little music through headphones gives us a bit of private space. Sometimes, it’s the opposite of that: we often find ourselves talking about music because it gives us a social break from bickering about this or that issue with a database or some kind of intractable archaeological problem.
Usually on this blog, I comment on the music that I’m enjoying on my Friday Quick Hits and Varia. Since I spend far less time surfing the web during the summer and don’t run my quick hits and varia, I thought I might post some of my new summertime music for folks looking to enjoy some music as the new academic year looms!
I’ve been particularly enjoying Shabaka Hutchings various projects that have come to define – in some ways – the resurgent London jazz scene. The Comet is Coming is some pretty entertaining space jazz. His Sons of Kemet has produced brilliant Afro-Caribbean inflected music for almost a decade. Shabaka and the Ancestors is another of his projects and Wisdom of the Elders is really enjoyable.
The recent revival in various kinds of spiritual and space jazz (if you haven’t checked out the newly reissued version of Don Cherry’s Don Cherry (also known as Brown Rice), and this kind of music is your jam, you should definitely give it a listen) has inspired me to think a bit more about big bands. This winter, I really enjoyed the 1960s big band sounds of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. I listened to Charles Mingus’s Let My Children Hear Music this summer for the first time in years, and I loved it far more than I remembered. There’s been some buzz surrounding the re-release of some of the side cut by Horace Tapscott’s Pan-Afrikan People’s Orchestra in the 1970s and The Call and Live at U.I.C.C. are definitely worth a listen.
For my pop music fix, I’ve liked Vampire Weekend’s newest album, Father of the Bride. It shares a kind of refined mediocrity with recent released from U2, the National, LCD Soundsystem, and a number of other bands who are still trying to do what they do, but also making tiny moves that show they still have something new to say (but not really inclined to say it very loudly). I’ve also liked Kishi Bashi’s Omoiyari.
I’ve also enjoyed John the Martyr’s self-titled first album and the bittersweet covers of tracks from Frightened Rabbit’s The Midnight Organ Fight titled Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit’s The Midnight Organ Fight. Daughter’s cover of “Poke” and Josh Ritter’s cover of “Old Old Fashioned” are particular favorites. Finally, check out David Berman’s newest project, Purple Mountains. I really like the lyrics which remind me of the best songs from Silver Jews, but with better arrangements.