Music I Liked Last Week – Archspire, Raven Hollywood, Be’lakor, Tchaikovsky

Music I Liked Last Week – Archspire, Raven Hollywood, Be’lakor, Tchaikovsky

portable cassette player
Image by Gratisography

Last week was tough. I was sick and I had deadlines. But when the going gets tough, the tough listen to music. Not a lot, though. I’d put on an album then not noticed when it finished. But a few things penetrated the fog. This is what stood out last week.

Archspire

I got a notice from Soundkick announcing a Seattle tour date by Archspire. I thought, “Who?” But I must have liked them at some point, since I’d signed up for concert announcements. So I headed over to Bandcamp. They are from Vancouver, B.C. and put out an album last September. I probably read about that on No Clean Singing, liked what I heard there, and added them to my concert alerts before forgetting all about them. Last week I listened to their latest album Relentless Mutation. Past me had good taste.

Raven Hollywood

I don’t listen to a lot of hip-hop because I usually listen to music while I’m working. Since my work is words, any very verbal music is extremely distracting. I catch myself transcribing songs instead of generating content. But I was reading the KEXP blog during a break last week and they had a song from local artist Raven Hollywood. I ended up extending my break so I could listen to it. I really like the way that beats take a backseat to a dream-pop melodic flow.

Be’lakor

Sometimes you love an album so hard that no sequel could satisfy you. That’s what happened with me and Be’lakor’s Of Breath and Bone. When Vessels came out, I listened to it once, thought, “That’s nice,” and went right back to listening to Of Breath and Bone. Then last week, I was walking around Greenlake and sort of randomly decided to listen to Vessels. Oh my god. It was exquisite. The songs were more discrete than on Breath and Bone, which allowed the album to cover more ground. It sounded like Be’lakor but felt like Agalloch. So elegant. So beautiful.

Tchaikovsky

I saw Swan Lake on opening night at Pacific Northwest Ballet last week (more on that later). The music of Swan Lake is not as ubiquitous as The Nutcracker Suite; it’s just too tightly attached to the ballet to be used for cat food commercials. But both pieces are so canonical, it’s easy to forget how good they are. I mean, Tchaikovsky is famous for a reason. Of course there’s the big swan melody, but the violin solo at the beginning of the pas de deux in Act Two – damn.

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