Alternative

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You Forgot It in People was released in 2002 and was a reinvention of the ensemble. Expanding to 11 musicians, with numerous other members joining the band temporarily, Broken Social Scene evolved from ambient textures to a more experimental progressive rock sound. With a base of traditional rock instrumentation, the tracks are layered with vocals, deep bass and percussion grooves, and experimental sounds. This is a great breakthrough album.

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Spending warm Summer days indoors
Writing frightening verse
To a buck-toothed girl in Luxembourg

Ask was released as a single in 1988. Like many Smiths tracks it wasn’t included on any original studio album. However, it can be found on some compilation albums. Controversy seems to define the Smiths, as guitarist Craig Gannon felt he should’ve been given writing credit for the song, but was snubbed. Kirsty Macoll, a standout singer/songwriter in Great Britain, sang background vocals on the track.

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It was a bit of a surprise to learn that First Aid Kit, was a folk duo from Sweden. Their 2014 release, Stay Gold, is filled with calming Folk-Rock and an occasional Bluegrass kick. Stay Gold invokes a melancholy peace that relieves the stress of the concrete jungle.

The accompanying video is also an homage to my former hometown, San Diego, CA?

Above San Diego from Jeff Morris on Vimeo.

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I never thought I’d listen to, or even recommend an Electronica record. I was completely wrong. This Daft Punk release is a highly enjoyable set of tracks that one can dance to, or even just chill and groove with. There is a lot of heavy base and percussion, as well as some amazing synthesized experimentation. Random Access Memories is a 2013 release that won numerous accolades and awards. Unlike other Daft Punk Records, Random Access Memories” relies heavily on guest musicians and vocalists. The only electronic instrumentation is drum machines and synthesizers.

Beck – Guero

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This is the sixth studio album from Beck and is filled with a variety of alternative music styles, including Latin and Hip-Hop. Base and percussion dominate most of the tracks and it results in some pile-driving rock with some built in quirkiness. Beck also indulges in some experimentation on Guero, making this 2005 release an interesting and enjoyable record.

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Another recent release from a band that made a bit of a transformation. With Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes has evolved from Gospell Bluegrass to Zeppelenesque Blues-Rock. The tracks are intense and gritty, with a lot of experiments effects throughout. This record is an onslaught of hard driven guitars and vocals. A definite addition to your collection.

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Wow! Prior to Wilder Minds I always felt “meh” about Mumford & Sons. With this release, the band made a huge change in their musical style. The record is a significant departure from the banjo heavy folk of past LPs. Their sound is now hard driven alternative rock. Just as with Cowboy Junkie’s “Miles From Our Home”, the band is sure to lose a few dedicated fans over this sonic evolvement. I, however, applaud the risky style change.

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I almost passed on this LP. Thinking, because of the title, that it would be upscale retail pop that one hears in “eclectic” new age mall outlets. I’m glad I didn’t. While this Karl Verkade work is ambient and meditative, it does have a sonic texture that doesn’t allow it to be stashed in the background. As the artist states, it is an “accompaniment” to any meditative or introspective down time for body and soul and it does envelope, rather than follow behind you.

Water: Music for Meditation is available as a “Name Your Price” selection at bandcamp.com.