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Playlist for a new turntable

After a bit of a hiatus, I’m re-entering the analog domain, though hopefully with a more manageable, pared-down collection exclusive to albums that I would actually want to sit through in their entireties. With that said, I know my first session or two will come of sporadic playlists, selected tracks that either mean a lot to me, make me happy for whatever reason, or challenge an audio system. Ten ideas for the inaugural spin-up:

War on Women, “Second Wave Goodbye”
Loud, anthemic demand for intersectional feminism. Which, I suppose could sum up this Baltimorean trio’s entire debut S/T LP, but this track is the icing on a wonderfully biting cake. Listen on Bandcamp.
Against Me!, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues”
Maybe a bit less loud, but also anthemic. And important. The album (which shares its name with this, the first track) was Against Me!’s first after frontwoman Laura Jane Grace came out as trans, and the wave of affirmation it brought to trans and gender-noncomforming folks was just incredible. Powerful track. Listen on YouTube.
Green Day, “F.O.D.”
A definite call back to my youth, but I still regard Dookie as a classic, and for whatever reason I consider “F.O.D.” to be the highlight. Great buildup. Great drum work. Listen on YouTube.
Sky Ferreira, “I Will”
This is actually a pretty intense and noisy track, though Ferreira’s vocals smooth it out a bit. At first blush, Night Time, My Time seems like just any old youthful poppy album, and it is those things, but it’s also very interesting. Musically diverse yet cohesive. I didn’t really anticipate liking it as much as I have. Listen on YouTube.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “The Sweets”
Holy shit, this song. I don’t think I’d ever be able to make the Sophie’s choice between Fever to Tell and Show Your Bones, and both albums are likely to be on my all time top 50. This song always leaves me awe-struck, though. Doesn’t hurt that it’s followed up by “Warrior”, which I’ll inevitably let play through as well. Listen on YouTube.
Venetian Snares, “Can’t Vote For Yourself v1”
I don’t think Traditional Synthesizer Music is Aaron Funk’s best album, but it may be my favorite. Because it’s all done with these analog modular synths, it’s very warm and unconventional for a breakcore album. Whole album is good, but this seems like a safe track. Listen on Bandcamp.
Portishead, “Machine Gun”
The minimalist electronics on this track have a way of whacking a system hard. As always, Beth Gibbons’ voice places its own demands on a system. Perhaps not in a purely technical way, but it’s a disservice to Portishead to play them on lackluster equipment. I didn’t immediately love Third compared to Dummy and Portishead, but it grew on me over time, it’s wonderfully dark and the instrumentation has this sort of grit to it that was reflected in Barrow’s other project, BEAK>. Listen on YouTube.
Dead Can Dance, “Emmeleia”
While “Machine Gun” may have started the process, this is a good track to ultimately melt my body via vocals. No instruments beyond the voice, and it’s Gerrard and Perry in harmony. Definitely don’t want to listen to this track on a system that fails to favor vocals. Listen on YouTube.
Gang Gang Dance, “∞∞∞”/“Thru and Thru”
Two 4AD bands with three-word names, last of which is ‘Dance’ in a row. Hm. Anyway, this one is a bit of a cheat being two tracks, but the first is essentially an interlude that builds into the second, so it’s happening that way. Listen to ∞∞∞, Thru and Thru on YouTube.
Shara Nova v., Nico Muhly pf, et al., “I hear you”
death speaks, composed by David Lang and recorded by an ensemble including vocalist Shara Nova (formerly Worden) and pianist Nico Muhly, is (like most Lang pieces) a brilliant collage-like composition. Lang built the lyrics to these songs from lyrics to Schubert songs where, well, Death speaks. As with everything else on the list, the entire recording is golden, but the song “I hear you” stands out for how driving the instrumentation is, while still pushing Nova’s haunting vocals to the forefront. Listen on Bandcamp.