This is the official blog for my obsession with music: listening, collecting, creating, playing, and everything in between.
Walk in Silence is named after the first line in Joy Division’s lovely song “Atmosphere”, which got a hell of a lot of play on my Walkman during my senior year in high school. As you may have guessed, I have a certain affinity (read: rabid obsession) with the college rock of the late 80s. Also known as post-punk, modern rock, alternative, indie, and all sorts of other labels. I always have tunage going at any given time of day, whether it be from my collection, a stream, or a radio station.
I’m also an obsessive music collector. I started collecting at seven years old in 1978 and I haven’t stopped since. Currently my collection is almost all digital, and I own about [REDACTED*] mp3s, all ripped and/or downloaded over the last twenty or so years.
* – Let’s just say it’s a metric crapton of music and leave it at that.
I also have another blog called Welcome to Bridgetown, which is where I talk about my long-term career of writing. I’m a self-published author writing primarily in the science fiction genre, but I have been known to write other kinds of fiction as well. WtBt is where I also talk a lot about the writing craft and pass on any knowledge I learn, as I like to Pay It Forward. You can find the blog here.
I wrote a few SF books I call The Bridgetown Trilogy, which are also under a larger umbrella called The Mendaihu Universe. They can be found in e-book form at Smashwords! They can also be found as trade paperbacks on Amazon! Please check out the Buy Stuff tab above for links!
My blog schedule here at Walk in Silence is Tuesday and Thursday, with the occasional fly-by or extra post. I try to post them first thing in the morning, but they may run a few hours later if there are scheduling issues.
…finally! My hiatus is over and I’ve decided to return to the fold with my continued obsession with all things music. In the end it wasn’t all that hard a decision, as I’d come to miss blogging about my latest listening habits. I like sharing the new (and old!) things I find on the intertubes and elsewhere. The one thing I’d wanted to ease back on, however, was the amount of content I was forcing myself to come up with on a weekly basis. Two entries a week isn’t all that bad for me, but two entries a week for each blog was definitely exhausting, especially near the end there!
So what did I do during the hiatus? I mean, aside from checking out new releases and revisiting older catalogs? I had a good long think about what I wanted to do with my blogs here. I eventually decided that I really did want to return to what I’d been posting for the last few years, though I felt it was time for me to scale it back a bit to give myself more time for other projects I wanted to work on. SO! What does this mean, anyway? Well, this means that I am back from here on in, but I’ll only be posting once a week on Mondays. Why Monday? Basically because that’ll give me time to give Friday’s new releases a good repeated listen over the weekend, when I have more time to write them out.
That said…let me catch you up on some of the tunage I’ve been listening to since January!
Toro Y Moi, Outer Peace, released 18 January. “Freelance” is one of those tunes that gets stuck in your head for DAYS, which isn’t really all that bad a thing, considering that it’s funky as hell and reminds me of all the best Daft Punk songs. The rest of the album is just as fun.
Weezer, Weezer (the teal album), released 24 January. Okay, so this was essentially a silly throwaway album of 80s covers, but they managed to pull it off! Taken at face value, these are solid interpretations that are faithful to the originals without a hint of irony. These are songs they (and I) grew up with, so why the hell not, right?
Skunk Anansie, 25Live@25, released 25 January. One of my favorite 90s bands that never got their due here in the States, they released a 2-cd collection of a recent 25th anniversary tour and it’s a solid selection of their entire catalog and well worth checking out. And Skin is a freaking amazing vocalist.
Boy Harsher, Careful, released 1 February. One of numerous songs and bands I’ve discovered through KEXP online in the last six months, I fell in love with this album purely because it reminds me of that late-80s darkwave sound I loved so much. Specifically, they reminded me so much of Clan of Xymox (especially the Twist of Shadows album) that I went and downloaded it on the strength of one song.
The Specials, Encore, released 1 February. The Specials have been here and there over the years, but this particular album sees the return of singer Terry Hall, who hadn’t been with them for ages. The new record returns to their classic Two-Tone sound as well. Well worth checking out.
White Lies, Five, released 1 February. I’d almost forgotten about this band (I have an album of theirs from quite a few years back) but thanks to AllMusic’s suggestion, I’m glad I checked out the record because it’s fantastic. Similar to Boy Harsher it’s got that late 80s darkwave sound, though with a more melodic sound similar to Camouflage.
Mercury Rev, Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete Revisited, released 8 February. I did not expect to love this album as much as I do, as I don’t know too many Bobbie Gentry songs other than ‘Ode to Billie Joe’. This is definitely an album recorded for a serious music fan, by same; it’s the band handing you Bobbie Gentry’s music and saying ‘you HAVE to listen to this, it’s amazing.’
Beck’s cover of “Tarantula” from Music Inspired by the film Roma, released 8 February. It’s really a cover of a cover; he’s doing the This Mortal Coil interpretation of the Colourbox track. It’s extremely close to that version, but he makes it his own by brightening the reverb and using a choir. This could easily fit on his Morning Phase album.
Bis, Slight Disconnects, released 15 February. YAY! New Bis album!! Poppy, bouncy and punky, and a hell of a lot of fun. They still sound like a cartoon after all these years, and that’s exactly what makes them so great.
Big Wreck “Locomotive” single, released 22 February. I’ve loved this band since “The Oaf” way back in 1997, and they’re still a great hard rock band with hints of blues, country and maybe even a bit of that jam-prog sound as well. Glad to hear them still going strong.
Chasms, The Mirage, released 22 February. Oh, this one is TOTALLY my wheelhouse. It’s full of shoegazey echo and slides easily between 80s darkwave (there we go again), Love and Rockets’ early psychedelic sound, and the gorgeousness of Slowdive. A lovely album to listen to, especially during my writing sessions.
Hozier, Wasteland, Baby!, released 1 March. I was never the biggest fan, but his new album has totally sold me on him. I didn’t expect it to be so dark and haunting yet so beautiful and moving.
Foals, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Part 1, released 8 March. Yet another band taking the route of releasing multiple shorter albums or EPs over the course of an extended time, but I do so love those because they’re often more cohesive and stronger. This is a darker album for them (which is saying something) but it’s also a stronger and more melodic one for them as well.
The Cinematic Orchestra, To Believe, released 15 March. My favorite find from last Friday, this is a fascinating record that kind of reminds me of my favorite Unkle albums; dark and brooding yet beautiful in their own way. Definitely on my writing session playlist already.
…so yeah, it’s good to be back here on the internets. See you next Monday!
[Posted originally at Dreamwidth, my personal blog. Reposting it here (with slight editing) as an update.]
Yes, folks! I’m still here among the living. I’ve been spending all this time focusing on finishing off In My Blue World (which I’m FINALLY going to drop in March! Wooohoo!) and preparing myself for the revision work for Diwa & Kaffi (yes, I’ve decided that’s going to be the title until further notice). I’ve also been enjoying the extended semi-hiatus from the internets, focusing more on offline projects and personal things. It’s been long delayed and much needed.
I’ve been tempted more than a few times to return to the blogging schedule that I’ve held over the last couple of years, but I’m holding off. As much as I truly enjoyed it, it would often drain me. I ended up repeating myself on more than a few occasions, often without realizing. Some days I’d have all kinds of things to talk about, but other days (especially near the end there) I was really straining to come up with semi-original content.
But I also wanted to move on. I’ve been blogging about writing and music for years now, some years more consistently than others, and after a great personal banner year of music collecting and novel writing, I felt it was time for me to shift my focus. It’s like when I talk about the Yankee Candle/Belfry years: I absolutely loved the schedule that afforded me the time to relax as well as improve my writing, but that could only last for so long. I may be a creature of habit and want to stick with that sort of thing for years at a time, I’m also a creature of wanting to shake things up. I also happen to love the idea of starting a completely new lifestyle, whatever it may be. I get to a point where I realize I’ve gone as far as I can with what I’m doing, and I need to move on. There’s varying reasons for that — I’ve exhausted my interest, I’ve moved on, my tastes have changed/shifted, and so on. Sometimes it’s a deeply personal thing that will change my life, sometimes it’s just an ephemeral thing.
(Speaking of which, I could go on about how hard it is to shift to that new lifestyle while attempting to shed old habits, ideas and so on, but I’ll save that for another entry.)
I’m still a music-collecting geek and a writer, and I highly doubt those two things will be changing any time soon. But what I’ve realized over the past month and a half is that I still have a long way to go if I want to make the changes I do want to make. Sliding back into old habits and schedules will not help me, as again — I can be quite the creature of habit. I’m going out of my way NOT to return to things like that, as it’s the only way I’ll be able to get to where I DO need to be.
That said, Walk in Silence is going to remain on hiatus for just a little while longer, while I get my writing and personal priorities taken care of, and while I decide what I’m going to do with it. In the meantime, I’ll be making more steady (and more personal) appearances at my Dreamwidth account. Thanks again for hanging around for so long!
So yeah, I’ve been busy. Day Job has been testing my patience the last few weeks but otherwise it’s same old same old. I’m on the hopefully last go-round of revision for In My Blue World and am planning for a March release for that. Then it’s into first-level revision for the Apartment Complex story.
In other news, I’ve bought myself a Gretsch Electromatic (thank you, Tall Toad Music!) and I am absolutely in love with this thing. It fits quite nicely in my hands and plays just wonderfully. I’ve been recording lo-fi demos on my phone for my Drunken Owl project, which I’m hoping to expand on soon.
Other than that? Not too much to report. January had some really cool music releases, and perhaps in a few days I’ll do a quick rundown of it all. But yeah, I’m treating this hiatus as a much-welcomed vacation from the internets. I’m still floating around on Twitter now and again, and I’ve been having some personal conversations with friends, but other than that, I don’t have any huge project plans on the boards. Even my whiteboard schedule is still blank!
So…not sure when this hiatus will end, but I promise I’ll try to be back soon enough. Thanks for waiting!
Whew! This took a lot longer to compile than I thought. As I’d said previously, it was a banner year for great music and it was tough to narrow it all down to my favorite top fifteen albums and songs! This time I went with the albums and songs that (I believe) I not only listened to the most, but the ones I kept coming back to time and again because they were just that enjoyable. Many of them were also part of my writing session heavy rotation.
I’ve also added my silly side lists of releases that may not have hit the top spots but certain got notice in other ways.
TOP 15 ALBUMS 15. The Decemberists, I’ll Be Your Girl 14. Eric Bachmann, No Recover 13. The Beatles, The Beatles (Super Deluxe Edition) 12. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Wrong Creatures 11. Wye Oak, The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs 10. Metric, Art of Doubt 9. Arctic Monkeys, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino 8. Shame, Songs of Praise 7. Failure, In the Future Your Body Will Be the Furthest Thing from Your Mind 6. The Neighbourhood, The Neighbourhood / Hard to Imagine the Neighbourhood Ever Changing 5. Lucy Dacus, Historian 4. Snow Patrol, Wildness 3. Johnny Marr, Call the Comet 2. GoGo Penguin, A Humdrum Star 1. Bob Moses, Battle Lines
TOP 15 SONGS 15. The Damned, “Standing On the Edge of Tomorrow” 14. Arctic Monkeys, “Four Out of Five” 13. Parquet Courts, “Wide Awake” 12. The Decemberists, “Severed” 11. Sylvan Esso, “Parad (W/M)E” 10. Johnny Marr, “Hi Hello” 9. Death Cab for Cutie, “Gold Rush” 8. Local H, “Innocents (Edited for Television)” 7. GoGo Penguin, “Raven” 6. Lucy Dacus, “Addictions” 5. K/DA & Madison Beer & (G)I-DLE, “Pop/Stars” 4. tUnE-yArDs, “Heart Attack” 3. Lucius, “Woman” 2. Bob Moses, “Heaven Only Knows” 1. Snow Patrol, “Life On Earth”
BEST NON-ALBUM SINGLES AND EPS Sylvan Esso, “Parad(W/M)E” Failure, In the Future EP Failure, Your Body Will Be EP Failure, The Furthest Thing EP Local H, “Innocents (Edited for Television)” Various Artists, Universal Love – Wedding Songs Reimagined EP Prince, “Nothing Compares 2 U” Childish Gambino, “This Is America” Weezer, “Africa” / “Rosanna” Matt Nathanson, Pyromattia EP Dave Grohl, Play EP Live, Local 717 EP Nothing But Thieves, What Did You Think When You Made Me This Way? EP boygenius, boygenius EP K/DA & Madison Beer & (G)I-DLE, “Pop/Stars” Mutemath, Voice in the Silence EP
BEST ALBUMS TO BLAST WITH HEADPHONES Shame, Songs of Praise Preoccupations, New Material Pinkshinyultrablast, Miserable Miracles Soft Science, Maps Cloud Nothings, Last Building Standing
BEST RETURN AFTER A LONG HIATUS The Breeders, All Nerve Tracey Thorn, Record Andrew WK, You’re Not Alone Jesus Jones, Passages Belly, Dove Arctic Monkeys, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino The Get Up Kids, Kicker EP The English Beat, Here We Go Love Dubstar, One Robyn, Honey Dead Can Dance, Dionysus The Good, the Bad & the Queen, Merrie Land Art Brut, Wham! Bang! Pow! Let’s Rock Out!
BEST ACOUSTIC/REWORKINGS ALBUM Lucius, Nudes The Naked and Famous, A Still Heart Beach Slang, Everything Matters But No One Is Listening (Quiet Slang) Alt-J, Reduxer St Vincent, MassEducation
BEST BOX SETS AND REISSUES Wire, Nine Sevens Bow Wow Wow, Your Box Set Pet: The Complete Recordings 1980-1984 Black Box Recorder, Life Is Unfair The Cure, Mixed Up (Deluxe Edition) Guns n’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction (Super Deluxe Edition) Public Image Ltd, The Public Image Is Rotten (Songs from the Heart) Various Artists, C89 Prince, Anthology: 1995-2010 Various Artists, Live Aid Phil Collins, Plays Well with Others John Lennon, Imagine (The Ultimate Collection) Semisonic, Feeling Strangely Fine (20th Anniversary Edition) The Beatles, The Beatles (Super Deluxe Edition)
…and that’s it! Hope everyone has a wonderful, fun-filled and rockin’ 2019!
END NOTE! I’ll be taking a bit of time off from blogging, starting in January, for personal reasons. I’m not sure how long this hiatus will last, but I’m not going to be making any scheduled posts for a while. I will try to post here every now and again, though I most likely won’t have them on any strict schedule. As always, thank you for following, and I hope 2019 treats you well!
Last review entry, kids, and it’s another long one! A lot of great albums and singles squeaked in during the last couple of months of the year, and they’re all pretty damn cool if you ask me.
Kikagaku Moyo, Masana Temples, released 5 October. Another band I discovered via KEXP. Not quite prog, not quite indie, always mesmerising.
Kristin Hersh, Possible Dust Clouds, released 5 October. A wonderful, boisterous album from one of my favorite indie songwriters.
Matthew Dear, Bunny, released 12 October. I thought this was an Editors record at first, but it’s so much weirder and darker, and I love it.
St Vincent, MassEducation, released 12 October. An amazing acoustic reworking of her 2017 record MassEduction.
Dubstar, One, released 12 October. WAIT, DUBSTAR IS BACK??? SWEET! I loved this band back in the 90s (go find their album Goodbye if you don’t have it already), so happy to see them again!
Cloud Nothings, Last Building Burning, released 19 October. This album just punches you in the face and doesn’t relent. Powerful and brutal.
Robyn, Honey, released 26 October. A welcome return after an extended hiatus, an extremely enjoyable pop record.
Steven Wilson, Home Invasion: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, released 2 November. A wonderful live record featuring some of his best tracks from both his solo career and his Porcupine Tree catalog.
K-DA & Madison Beer & (G)I-DLE, “POP/STARS” single, released 3 November. The only reason it dropped on my radar was hearing all the artists I follow on Twitter gushing about the amazing rendering for this game-related video. The track is ridiculously catchy and sounds amazing in headphones.
The Beatles, The Beatles (Super Deluxe Edition), released 9 November. Giles Martin did a fine job remixing his dad’s work here. It sounds updated, beefier, and more energetic. Dare I say, it makes them sound like an indie garage band…?
Failure, In the Future Your Body Will Be the Furthest Thing from Your Mind, released 16 November. The year-long project is complete, and it’s a winner with its spooky sci-fi themes an sounds.
Hooverphonic, Looking for Stars, released 16 November. A new singer (their fourth, I think?) but still an amazing band.
The Smashing Pumpkins, Shiny and Oh So Bright, vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun., released 16 November. Overblown title aside, this is actually a tight, fun and positive record from the band.
Art Brut, Wham! Bang! Pow! Let’s Rock Out!, released 23 November. Hooray! New Art Brut! Eddie Argos & Co bring back their distinctive brand of off-kilter punk rock.
MuteMath, Voice in the Silence EP, released 5 December. Essentially a Paul Meany solo project at this point, but he’s still providing some fantastic grooves and sounds.
Whew! That was one hell of a fine year in music. So many great albums, singles, and EPs that came out, many of which I actually didn’t share here due to space! I’m going to be listening to a lot of stuff from this year for a long time running, I think.
Despite the ups and downs and excitements and frustrations of the past year (both personal and otherwise, of course), I have to say it was an overwhelmingly positive one on multiple levels, and I’m glad that I had such a soundtrack for it all.
Summertime in 2018 seemed to go by in a blur for me somehow…I know I was ridiculously busy with the writing of both In My Blue World and the Apartment Complex story, not to mention dealing with consistent Day Job drama. What kept me sane, as always, was the music. It was around this time that I’d decided to change my listening habits (I’d been listening to Indie617 and occasionally SiriusXM up to that point) but found myself drawn to KEXP out of Seattle. That station provided me with a hell of a lot of new bands I’d never heard otherwise, and I’m happier for it.
Erasure, World Be Live, released 6 July. I can only describe this live record as ‘fabulous’, partly because the tunes are fantastic, and Andy Bell’s between-song commentary is absolutely hilarious.
Cowboy Junkies, All That Reckoning, released 13 July. A powerful record about facing that which you fear.
Tanukichan, Sundays, released 13 July. Not quite indie rock, not quite dreampop, but contains the best parts of both. A lovely relaxing album.
Gaika, Basic Volume, released 27 July. Trippy dancehall rap from Brixton with a mood that channels the murkiness of Tricky.
ShadowParty, ShadowParty, released 27 July. A fun, poppy alt-rock album from a sort-of supergroup containing members of New Order’s touring band.
El Ten Eleven, Banker’s Hill, released 10 August. I seem to be drawn to these indietronic-duo-with-a-sampler-footpedal bands, but I’m not complaining. Thanks to KEXP for pointing me in their direction!
Prince, Anthology: 1995-2010, released 17 August. I’d stopped listening to him sometime around Diamonds and Pearls, so I missed out on quite a lot. This collection surprised the hell out of me and made me appreciate his later work.
Mitski, Be the Cowboy, released 17 August. I’m a late follower of her work but this was a great starting off point for me.
Death Cab for Cutie, Thank You for Today, released 17 August. “Gold Rush” is quite the earworm for me.
Nothing, Dance On the Blacktop, released 24 August. Loud and crunchy, but quiet and tender as well. An interesting detour from their last album, but I love it.
Interpol, Marauder, released 24 August. They seem to have returned to the darker, louder post-punk that made Turn On the Bright Lights such a great album.
tunng, Songs You Make at Night, released 24 August. Late follower to this band as well, but I’m glad I found them. Quiet, delicate, and very quirky.
Paul McCartney, Egypt Station, released 7 September. How does this man keep writing such amazing records??
Eric Bachmann, No Recover, released 7 September. A lovely and tender album. This got heavy rotation during my writing sessions.
Chai, Pink, released 7 September. J-Punk with the energy of Shonen Knife and the goofiness of Puffy AmiYumi.
Bob Moses, Battle Lines, released 14 September. “Heaven Only Knows” is definitely in my Top 5 favorite tunes of the year. The whole album is simply amazing.
Failure, The Furthest Thing EP, released 14 September. Third of three EPs released, with the full album dropping a few months later.
Metric, Art of Doubt, released 21 September. A return to their rockier sound, though their synth layers are still front and center.
The Joy Formidable, Aaarth, released 28 September. Noisy, wild, and sultry. Listen to this loud.
Dave Grohl, Play EP, released 28 September. Sure, you could write this off as a twenty-minute long prog rock experiment, but Dave really is an amazing multi-instrumentalist.
Get comfy, y’all, because this is a huge entry. We had a ton of great releases this past summer that are worth checking out. Enjoy!
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Sex & Food, released 6 April. My first reaction to this was that they sound remarkably like Steely Dan here, and I kinda love it.
Eels, The Deconstruction, released 6 April. Mark Oliver Everett can write deceptively touching songs, even when the subject matter is pain and sadness. An album that’s both about endings and beginnings.
Wye Oak, The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs, released 6 April. An album as quirky as its title, it’s a hell of a fun listen. This one got a lot of listens during writing sessions this year.
The Damned, Evil Spirits, released 13 April. This album really reminded me of their early 80s post-punk era, especially The Black Album (which is incidentally my favorite of their back catalog). Great stuff.
Jesus Jones, Passages, released 20 April. So glad to see these guys returning. One of my favorite 90s bands, and one of the few that can combine hard rock and electronics and make it sound amazing.
Pinkshinyultrablast, Miserable Miracles, released 4 May. Russian shoegaze that hits all my buttons: soaring melodies, heavy reverb, light and echoey vocals. A lovely album.
Local H, “Innocents (Edited for Television)” single, released 7 May. A great and powerful single-only release from the duo that I love cranking up on my headphones.
Beach House, 7, released 11 May. They’ve perfected that dreamy shoegazey sound and truly made it their own.
Arctic Monkeys, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, released 11 May. It’s a weird album and I’m still not entirely sure what it’s about (my theory is that it’s about a bellboy/desk jockey at said hotel working solo on the night shift and having a long dark night of the soul), but it’s still amazing.
Failure, Your Body Will Be EP, released 24 May. Second of the band’s four releases. This is going somewhere interesting, but we still don’t have the full story yet…
Snow Patrol, Wildness, released 25 May. A VERY welcome return for the band. “Life on Earth” is another contender for favorite song of the year for me…one of the most powerful tracks they’ve ever released.
Dave Matthews Band, Come Tomorrow, released 8 June. This record felt like a return to their Crash-era sound; it’s quite enjoyable.
Johnny Marr, Call the Comet, released 15 June. His recent solo albums over the past few years have always been great, but he’s surpassed himself here, reinserting his signature ‘guitarchestra’ sound into his work, and it’s simply gorgeous.
Florence + the Machine, High As Hope, released 29 June. One of her most personal albums, this one really reminded me of Patti Smith’s work, and that’s definitely a high compliment.
Gorillaz, The Now Now, released 29 June. After the glorious and crowded Humanz from last year, the ridiculously productive Damon Albarn followed up with a light and poppy record with a lot of sunny radio-friendly tunes.