Lovely Recordings Hosted by Matthew Tande

I have long read and enjoyed the Lovely Recordings postings on AudioStream. I have found it to be a great resource when I am looking for new or different music to try out, and have found many gems that I have added to my preferred list of artists and recordings.

I have learned over the years that "texture" is the thing that I find most important to my listening. Synesthesia is a phenomenon in which perception by one sense can cause the experience of another sense. For me, music (especially live music and well-recorded and well-reproduced music) causes me to see and sense patterns, waves, textures, and colors. With some music the sensations I experience while listening can bring me to tears. Some music (especially recordings with ragged-feeling artifacts) causes me to see jagged textures and feel a sensation in my jaw and facial nerves akin to grinding my teeth.

These are some of my favorite recordings, some because I have loved them for so long that they've accompanied me on some great times in my life, and some because my ears simply find them lovely.

Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Session (Latent, RCA, 1988)
This album was recorded around a single stereo microphone in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto. The mic positioning and recording levels were set during practice sessions and the recording was not mixed or edited after recording—it is essentially as it was captured. The reverberations and echoes captured on the recording are particularly lovely to my ears.

Available from Tidal

Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor's Guide to Earth (Atlantic, 2016)
I discovered Sturgill several years ago when he opened for Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson at a local concert. It was a great show, and I really like everything he's done. He has made three very different sounding albums. His first, Hightop Mountain, had an almost vintage-country flavor to it, and is worth a mention on its own. His second, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music took his country sound in a little different, more hard-driven direction. His third, A Sailor's Guide to Earth has the Dap-Kings backing up some of the songs, and the music on the album casts a much broader scope than his first two albums. At first I was a little disappointed that it didn't sound as classically country as his first album, but after much listening, it has become my favorite album. (It also helps that he wrote it for his son, and I have three sons).

Available from Tidal

Johnny Cash: American IV: The Man Comes Around (American Recordings, 2002)
This is the last album Johnny Cash released during his lifetime, and is mostly covers. It is quite different from his other albums, as it is quite simple—mostly him and his guitar, with very little added.

Available from Tidal

The Okee Dokee Brothers: Saddle Up! (Okee Dokee Music, 2016)
This is on the list for my boys. The Okee Dokee Brothers are a Minnesota-based band whose music is aimed at children. Their last three albums, including Saddle Up! were written during trips they took together for the purpose of songwriting. This album was written while traveling the Western United States. It is well made and well played and is very listenable, especially for long car rides with kids.

Available from Tidal

Trampled by Turtles: Stars and Satellites (Banjodad Records, 2002)
Another Minnesota band, I have followed them for years and have listened as their music has grown in complexity. This album is more mellow and has a slower tempo than their prior albums, but is no less complex.

Available from Tidal

Lake Street Dive: Bad Self Portraits (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2014)
Lake Street is one of the main thoroughfares in Minneapolis, and does have its share of dive bars. Aside from one of the members growing up in Minneapolis, this group doesn't have much in common with those. This album is well mixed, and the lead singer's voice sounds clear as a bell to me, with an extremely smooth texture (especially when played through tube gear). This is one of my favorite recordings to listen to when changing components in my systems to assess changes in sound.

Available from Tidal

Smashing Pumpkins: Pisces Iscariot (Caroline Records, 1994)
This may be nostalgia, as I listened to Smashing Pumpkins pretty much non-stop through junior high and high school, but I really enjoy the Smashing Pumpkins sound—the smoldering guitar power chords layered together, Jimmy Chamberlain's jazz-influenced drumming, and Billy Corgan's wailing voice topping it off. There is a good mix of louder, brasher songs, and more subdued songs on this album. The first three albums by Smashing Pumpkins are my favorite of their albums. It may be the musical equivalent of comfort food to me, but I find it quite pleasing to listen to (I have found that the recent remix/remaster releases are far more listenable than the original releases).

Available from Tidal

Stan Kenton and his Orchestra: Kenton '76 (Creative World, 1976)
When I am looking for music with bold, smooth textures, and fat, open sound, I turn to big band jazz. This is probably my favorite big band jazz album of all; it has a very 70's big band sound, which is not to everyone's liking. I played tenor and baritone saxophones in big band jazz ensembles through college, and the sound of Kenton's orchestra seems to emphasize the lower and middle registers, with the saxophones and trombones out front.

Available from Tidal

Cootie Williams: Cootie Williams In Hi-Fi (Moonbeams Records, 2011)
This is another album with a bold, powerful wall of big-band sound. It is an album I can crank up and enjoy while working.

Available from Tidal

Music has always been a part of my life. I listen daily at work and at home, and try to attend shows as my busy family life will allow. Whether we have it on as background around the house, or I am truly trying to dig into the music in a more intense session, it brings great enjoyment to me and (hopefully) my family. I'd love to pass my love of music on to my sons.


Share your Lovely Recordings with us!

COMMENTS
2_channel_ears's picture

Interesting what you thought of their album. I saw LSD live and was blown away at the performance so bought the CD. But I thought it was rather flat sounding. Just different experiences I guess.

X