Lovely Recordings Hosted by Rafe Arnott

My parents are real characters.

I grew up in a home that always had music playing, usually from a fairly well thought out sound system, and for the bulk of my youngest, and most impressionable years it was the sound of vinyl that my father would fill the house with. I don't remember my mother putting a lot of albums on, but she was always there listening, smiling, usually a glass of wine in hand.

I have many, many fond memories of playing with Lego on the big rug between the speakers, reading books on the floor between the speakers... watching out the window as snow fell while I just laid there listening to music.

So a few of these picks are chosen just because when I listen to them now—almost four decades later—I'm still transported right back between those big old speakers. The others are LPs I love to listen to right now. My tastes are quite diverse when it comes to listening sessions, I mix things up a lot, and as always it depends on my mood.

John Stewart: California Bloodlines (Capitol, 1969)
The original image of real Americana for me. Everything good, and somewhat dark that was fought and died for in the '40s, '50s, and '60s. An acoustic guitar wet dream.

Available from Tidal

The Hollies: Another Night (Polydor (UK)/Epic (US), 1975)
Lonely heartbreak lyrics, melancholy riffs, basslines, and guitar with haunting vocal harmonies, and a healthy dose of '70s nostalgia. This LP typifies my father to me when I was young.

Available from Tidal

Bee Gees: Trafalgar (Polydor (UK)/Atco (US), 1971)
Sweeping sonic, and emotional scope with a pining grandeur for all things lost. Listen with no lights on and a good whiskey in hand.

Available from Tidal

Roxy Music: Avalon (E.G. Records/Polydor, 1982)
Solid operatic pop/rock with lush synth, impeccable percussion, and Bryan Ferry's dreamy, cigarette-smoke affected voice crooning throughout. A pre-teen favorite, and one I would often keep flipping over on the turntable.

Available from Tidal

Kevin Morby: Singing Saw (Dead Oceans, 2016)
This album came to me thanks to Jeffrey Catalano of HIghwater Sound. Jeffrey has pretty much the best taste in music of almost anybody I know. It's a haunting, driving force of an LP. This is an after-work regular with me.

Available from Bandcamp

Jerome Sabbagh: The Turn (Sunnyside Records, 20014)
An American/French jazz reference for me, that is exquisitely recorded, and pulsates with fat dynamic swings, resonant harmonics, improvisation, and texture like your old man's beard.

Available from Bandcamp

Agnes Obel: Citizens of Glass (Play It Again Sam, 2016)
Dissonant, and ethereal, with so much lavish string work, and cello timbre that it feels like a back massage you've wanted for weeks. *May incite goosebumps.

Available from Bandcamp

Boards of Canada: Twoism (Music70, 1995)
These guys make music out of noise, and I've loved them for it for more than 15 years. This is deeply emotional storytelling once you're able to see through their creations for what they are: electronic poetry.

Available from Bleep

The Japanese House: Pools To Bath In (Dirty Hit, 2015)
A little electronica EP that just keeps reeling you in with so much attention to detail in every second of their songs, and so much musically going on that lesser artists would make a mess of this many ingredients. Not here, this the perfect soufflé you've tried to make your whole life.

Available from Tidal

Woven Hand: Blush Music (Sargent House, 2003)
This plays as a tapestry of '50s cowboys movies (think The Misfits) in my mind, and reminds me of the time I drove my old Lincoln through the Utah desert in my early twenties and fell asleep under the stars.

Available from Bandcamp

FKA Twigs: LP1 (Young Turks, 2014)
Driving synth/electronic anger fused with heartbreaking aches, and mistakes. Tahliah Barnett has no fucks left to give if you don't like what she is saying. Which is good, because I fucking love what she's laying down.

Available from Tidal

Gurr: In My Head (Duchess Box Records, 2016)
This LP is the perfect summer in California on the beach that you've imagined since you're 12 years old. Think if the Beach Boys were girls and Phil Spectre produced them.

Available from Tidal

My parents with a pet hawk in the mid-sixties when they first started dating

About me: I'm a newspaper journalist who uses multimedia to tell stories. I review audiophile gear on the side.


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COMMENTS
Dewey2's picture

Always nice to see thoughtful lists that aren't loaded with chestnuts. I've worked my way through a few of these. Singing Saw is a great find - thanks for that.

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