Most of us are locked in, all of us have lost the chance to socialise, to meet and drink and talk and eat and see music and work out and enjoy things outside the house. But music doesn’t have to stop and The Great Confinement has opened up a chance to explore at home, to dig up old favourites and find new pleasures.
In this series we ask: what music is making your life better? Today, consultant, recovering journalist, vinyl lover and collector, Lucinda Pitt.
WHAT ALBUMS OR ARTISTS HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING SINCE BEING CONFINED TO HOME?
God, what haven’t I been playing? There’s been so much time for music and I’ve been making the most of it. If we’re talking vinyl, I seem to be in a bit of a glam-rock mood: lots of Bowie, Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music on repeat. For quieter moments, it’s been Sufjan Stevens, Julia Jacklin, Marlon Williams, Bon Iver. And because I miss live music so very much, I’m favouring the live recordings in my collection to simulate that feeling of crushed bodies (memories!) and the incredible electricity of gigs. A gal can dream…
WHICH HAVE BEEN GETTING MULTIPLE SPINS?
Angus and Julia Stone’s A Book Like This which is such a beautiful, comforting album I’d forgotten about, multiple Leon Bridges albums always deliver a feel-good factor, as does Roísín Murphy’s new euro-disco release Roísín Machine which one of my best friends sent me. I think of him every time I see that clear vinyl spinning.
But if we’re talking about singles, then I’m leaning on an odd assortment of bangers that I plug into my ears to get me through home workouts, long walks, or as the soundtrack to my morning shower to set my brain to positive. Like R U High by The Knocks (featuring Mallrat), Rostam’s In A River, Le Tigre’s Deceptacon, Good Old Days – Classixx Remix by JR JR, and two of my all-time faves: Bowie’s Young Americans (Live in Detroit) and The Cure’s Just Like Heaven.
HOW HAS LOCKDOWN CHANGED THE WAY YOU CONSUME MUSIC?
Happily, my vinyl collection is receiving way more love, attention, and appreciation than normal life allows – and for that I am grateful to have this time. I’ve been reorganising my collection, breaking the seals on new vinyl I haven’t yet listened to and forgotten about, discovering long-forgotten favourites, admiring all the great cover art, and shopping online to fill some gaps, chase new releases, and just support my favourite record stores who are doing it tough.
I don’t listen to music when I work so filling the house with music acts as an instant clock-off and has helped mark the end of the work day and create a divide between home life and work life, if only mentally. On the weekends I fling open my front door and send good music out into the street for a few hours a day. My neighbours may not agree with my definition of “good music” but I mix it up so there’s something for everyone.
WHAT ALBUM FROM YOUR PAST HAVE YOU REDISCOVERED? WHAT DO YOU STILL LOVE ABOUT IT?
Oh c’mon…just one?! I’m pretty fond of my Bowie collection and I’ve rediscovered my faves, Young Americans and Changes One and Two albums. Young Americans is definitely one of my favourite songs of all time and there’s a really beautiful cover of The Beatles’ Across The Universe plus some great backing vocals throughout that album. I believe a little Bowie suits any and every occasion.
HAVE YOU FOUND NEW MUSIC – OR AN ARTIST OR GENRE - THAT WAS UNEXPECTED?
I would say the unexpected is the expected for me. My taste is all over the place from girl bands like Haim, boy bands like The Avalanches, Boy and Bear, and Bon Iver, to composers Max Richter and Ennio Morricone, and then a lot of indie folk artists. I also have a thing for great band names and it’s often how I find new music — though sometimes their names appeal more than their music and they’re better enjoyed as t-shirts. My latest finds from shopping on https://sound-merch.com.au are both Melbourne bands, Amyl And The Sniffers and Tropical Fuck Storm: I’ve been listening to their Stayin’ Alive cover.
Recently I have been listening to a bit of Noah Cyrus; I first came across her through the Spotify Singles sessions and fell for her Bon Iver cover of Stacks. I also love her duet, July, with Leon Bridges. As much as I love a good cover, I also enjoy an unlikely pairing of voices.
WHAT’S EXCITED YOU ABOUT IT? I’m a long-time listener of Triple J’s Like a Version and Spotify Singles sessions. I especially love it when an unlikely artist covers a song and that’s what I loved about Noah’s version of Stacks. And I guess I’ve always gone for the lesser-known sibling e.g. Solange over Beyonce. I really like the range of Noah’s voice and I lean into country quite easily.
WHAT’S THE BEST MUSIC TO FLATTEN YOUR (ANXIETY) CURVE?
I’ve always used music as my meds of choice and I’ve definitely been relying on it even more heavily through lockdown to help tune out the bad news and fill the house with good vibrations. If I’m feeling a bit flat, I’ll press play on those bangers I mentioned earlier but I don’t mind the dips down into more sombre music sometimes.
I think light and shade within your listening can be transportive in itself. That said, I don’t think I’ll be picking up my Antony & The Johnsons or The Smiths albums anytime soon!
Lucinda Pitt runs her Sydney-based brand and communications consultancy.