Friday Music

As I head into the long slog of the holiday season, where my schedule is filled to the brim with family plans and deadlines alike, I find myself returning to my blog — oddly, I tend not to blog a lot when my schedule is open, but something about the mindset I’m in when my schedule is full prompts additional work.

So, Friday Music: A glimpse at what’s been rattling around in my head as I work on other things.

First up — Florence + The Machine have a new album, Ceremonials, which has been on constantly play for me since its release (slightly before its release, in fact). I’ve fallen for this album hard — and the truly amazing thing about it is that it didn’t find its way into a single playlist for a particular project of mine (as is usually the case — some albums are more suited to FAR WEST, others to Vesper Nova, etc.). As I listen to Ceremonials, however, in the mindset of one project or another, I find it shifting, adapting itself to what I’m thinking about. I see connections. Very cool. My favorite track on the album: Florence + The Machine – “Seven Devils.”

I caught the recent film Red Riding Hood via Netflix — which was OK. Not great, but not awful. The music, though, was pretty cool. A number of tracks on the soundtrack were done by Fever Ray, which is the side project of Karin Dreijer Andersson of the Swedish electronic duo The Knife (who I’ve been a fan of for years — long-time Friday Music readers will remember my discovery of them via “Silent Shout”). Here is one of those tracks: Fever Ray – “The Wolf.”

Here’s a track specifically for my friend Tessa Gratton whose new alt-history YA series, Songs of New Asgard was announced by Random House this week. Týr is a folk-metal group from the Faroe Islands — and their album Eric The Red is full of Viking-y goodness, including several tracks based on traditional Faroese folk songs, and sung in that language (an insular form of Old West Norse that still survives, spoken by about 50K people). If you want to hear what popular music probably sounds like in New Asgard, this is probably close! This is a track about a Smith named Regin: Týr – “Regin Smiður.”

Shifting gears, here’s a track from the latest M83 album, which is currently being used as the backing track to the Holiday 2011 Victoria’s Secret commercials. Retro-synthpop alternative sounds, plus lingerie models with angel wings? Yes, please. M83 – “Midnight City.”

Stumbled across this on the radio of all places — hadn’t heard it in years. This was their first single in 1985 — and a Ska-funk-soul-punk mix of politics, social-consciousness and diversity was right up my alley, having just discovered second-wave Ska from the UK a couple of years previous. Fishbone – “Party at Ground Zero.”

This is getting a lot of airplay now (and I tend not to focus attention on stuff you can hear everywhere), but I really like it, so here it is. This is, as my teenage daughter says, “the most cheerfully catchy song about a school shooting EVER.” Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks.”

There ya go, kids. Enjoy.