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 you happy. Today, writer, student and sportsman, Luke Ablett.
WHAT ALBUMS OR ARTISTS HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING SINCE BEING CONFINED TO HOME?
I’m living in Darwin at the moment, so we haven’t quite been as confined as those in other states. Over the past months I’ve been listening to a lot of Big Thief, Midlake, LCD Soundsystem, Songs: Ohia, Angel Olsen, Cash Savage. But also some heavier stuff like McCluskey, At the Drive In, and Holy Fuck.
WHICH HAVE BEEN GETTING MULTIPLE SPINS?
I’ve been listening to Dave Berman/Silver Jews/Purple Mountains a lot over the past year or so, and that has continued over the past couple of months. Specifically, I’ve been hooked on Bright Flight recently but I’ll listen to any of them. After he died late last year, his records became almost impossible to find, and those online were going for hundreds of dollars. Then, when I was in Melbourne last I picked up The Natural Bridge on vinyl, which I think is my favourite of his. There’s something haunting and painful about his lyrics, but really beautiful and funny too (San Francisco BC is incredibly funny).
And the Purple Mountains album just kills me, especially knowing that all the pain he mentions in those songs was real - he wasn’t singing in metaphor. Yet despite that, some of the songs are super catchy pop songs, with these incredible lyrics and rhymes, so there’s a real dissonance there. So, Berman and Big Thief mostly, which has been the same for like 2 years now.
WHAT ALBUM FROM YOUR PAST HAVE YOU REDISCOVERED? WHAT DO YOU STILL LOVE ABOUT IT?
Not that this is from a long way in my past, but I kind of rediscovered the Pixies this year. I was in Melbourne for Golden Plains in March (literally the last weekend before the world changed), and the Pixies were playing, so I’d been listening to Surfer Rosa and Doolittle again for the first time in years. I was super excited to see them and had high hopes, but even still they blew me away. They opened with Gouge Away, and when Frank/Black (whatever his name is now) started screaming I fell in love with them all over again.
HAVE YOU FOUND NEW MUSIC? WHAT’S EXCITED YOU ABOUT IT?
I heard the new RVG song today on the radio and that sounded great, actually - I need to explore that some more. The new Khrangbin song with Leon Bridges is really good too. Also, the Cate Le Bon album is great, the most recent Julia Jacklin album (which is totally heartbreaking), the most recent Aldous Harding album, and Hunter, by Anna Calvi.
WHAT’S THE BEST MUSIC TO FLATTEN YOUR (ANXIETY) CURVE?
I made a playlist the other day called ‘country-ish’ and I’ve been listening to that a lot actually. It’s soothing, though it wouldn’t usually be. It’s got Karen Dalton, Drive by Truckers, Jason Isbell, Lindi Ortega, Midlake, Songs: Ohio, Julia Jacklin, Tom Waits and heaps more. A bunch of random stuff that just makes a lot of sense together for me right now. Something about the sadness of all those songs that just seems to work. (It’s here if you want to listen/share).
Luke Ablett is a failed vegetarian and eventual Spanish speaker.