Thursday, November 10, 2011

Autumn Favorites - Daniel Knox and Arc In Round

As the leaves turn color in Pennsylvania, we've been speaking with our friends and compadres from around the globe. We like to share what keeps them motivated, what makes them tick, what nostalgia is triggered by the changing season.  Music, food, films, yoga positions, home remedies; all of the great condiments of life.  

For our sixth fall '11 installment, we caught up with our very own Daniel Knox, as well as Mikele Edwards & Jeff Zeigler from Philadelphia's finest progressive ensemble, Arc In Round.

Daniel Knox:

Balanesqu Quartet - 
Angels & Insects Waltz
From the score to Angels & Insects. I saw this movie when I was 15. It played at the Fox Theatre which was where Keresotes dumped art films distributors forced them to play. It didnt play long and though I liked the film enough, I basically saw it evry day of it's week run so I could listen to the score, which wasn't available at any of Springfield's poor music store offerings. 

Al Jolson - Blue River
This song is perfect for October but maybe just to me. That banjo line that starts it off is really dark and sets a tone. But what's important to me most about this song is how I sort of perfectly misheard it. I was sort of disappointed when I read the actual lyrics and continue to sing my version whenever I sing along.

Frank Sinatra - September Of My Years
I used to hate Sinatra and I still dislike most of his early and very late material. But this album finds him at his peak singing about loss and old age. I bought it because I'd heard "It Was A Very Good Year" at the end of a Soprano's episode and because I always admired Harold Arlen's "Last Night When We Were Young" but I quickly grew tired of the former and wasn't impressed much with the latter. This opening track made me understand why people revere Sinatra so much. His voice is starting to age and crack a little but that only elevates the material. I drove around listening to it in my employer's truck delivering calendars trying to imitate his phrasing when he gets to that second "a-aaand I find . . ." which is just perfect. It's one of those songs always I wish I could cover but then there's something distasteful about a young person singing world-weary stuff like this.

Falling / Twin Peaks Theme - Angelo Badalamenti
I think I associate this with autumn because that's probably when I became obsessed with the series. And the song version is called "Falling". There's also that sort of orange-brown hue to the opening titles that feels like October/November.

October In The Railroad Earth - Jack Kerouac and Steve Allan
I sort of outgrew Kerouac's writing when I discovered better writers later on. But I still admire his method and his turn of phrase. His line readings are really terrific and almost a kind of singing, if you're able to try and unhear all the dismal slam-poetry style readings that have come after it. I like this one because it paints a really specific picture that tells a story while leaving room for you to find your own place in it, which is what most good songs do.

Mikele Edwards / Arc In Round:

Fall is my favorite season. It's the time of year when I feel the most alive and creative, and also the time when I yearn to be inspired. There aren't too many female musicians that really inspire me and when I do find them, I become somewhat obsessed. Here's a few female-fronted groups that have inspired me over the years and recently.

Stereolab [Fluorescences]
This band is why I got into analog synths. My sister and I bought a Moog and Farfisa in the fall of '95. I woke up early to play the Moog before high school and thought all day about playing it when I got home. I love that I can still listen to their records and hear something I've never heard the previous 100 times listening to a song. My all-time favorite band.

Broadcast [Ominous Cloud]
Even before the untimely passing of Trish Keenan, I was well aware of the importance and rarity of band like Broadcast. I fell in love with them after seeing them live for the first time. Trish's vocals were so powerful over the insanely well-orchestrated band. Broadcast will always remind me to push limits and expectations.

Bachelorette [Blanket]
This band is a newish discovery for me. This songs builds so well over a really simple drum machine beat and I love how Annabel's vocals feel distant yet inviting with gradually more and more layered harmonies. I can listen to this song over and over.

Anika [No One's There]
This is a band all of Arc In Round has become intrigued with recently. Dubbed out no wave with the perfect production by Geoff Barrow (Portishead/Beak>). And they killed it live!

Lush [For Love]
Sometime this past year I rediscovered Lush after not listening to them for like 15 years. I was surprised at how well their albums stood up after all these years. What can I say…classic 'shoegaze' and Miki is a badass.

Jeff Zeigler / Arc In Round:

Camberwell Now - Working Nights
My Favorite of This Heat offshoots, and one of my fave bands probably ever. I happened to find them in the fall, about 6 years ago. It's the aural equivalent of an old, intricate factory rotting in the English countryside or something to me. I'd imagine their rather limited recorded output will be the soundtrack to my falls and winters 4 eva.

Scott Walker - It's Raining Today
Paints a perfect dreary fall picture of love lost and a cold, resigned world. And the ominous string arrangement creates the perfect amount of dread.

Crescent - Sun
First track I ever heard by Crescent, and their most 
abrasive (and probably least representative) but it's the one that hooked me. The guitar solo at 3:31 is a total burner. 

Belle and Sebastian - Fox In The Snow
This band lost me after awhile, but "If You're Feeling Sinister" and "The Boy with the Arab Strap" are pretty perfect raggedy pop to me. I almost don't like to pick one song since the albums work so well as a whole and that's how I've always listened to them, but if I had to pick one song it'd be this one. 

Beige - Folds 
Great new band from NYC. Really smart contrast between the mostly vintage electronics and warm, melodic vocals. Really looking forward to seeing how they develop. 

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