Waking Life: A Music Mix For April 2017

Photo: Gorillaz press photo

I eagerly bought that new Magnetic Fields record -- the one with a 50-song track list. And no, I haven't made it all the way through yet. Even though what I have heard is fantastic.

I think there's a basic question that must be posed in this age of instant-everywhere-all-the-time access and radio stations with fresh and vibrant playlists (ahem): Is too much music a problem? Is it a problem if we don't feel like we can spend adequate relationship-building time with the records we're looking forward to, let alone those we don't know about yet?

Those of us who remember what it was like to go days between hearing a song for the first time, falling in love with it and coming across it randomly days or sometimes weeks later might say no. Then again, that scarcity fed the obsession and made the quest a righteous one.

As you may recall, last month this space found me reveling in the returns of some long-dormant artists I thought we might never hear from again. The last 30 days have seen more of that trend, bringing music from the imminent returns of Gorillaz (April 28), Slowdive (May 5) and Broken Social Scene (TBD, but who promptly took their new "Halfway Home" to Colbert and slayed).

Add to that early singles from upcoming releases from Blonde Redhead, The Black Angels, and Juana Molina, and March did nothing to fix our too-much-music problem -- if, indeed, it is one.

What shouldn't get lost in all of the cavorting with old musical friends is that there are still few things that feel as wonderful as discovering new artists we love for the very first time, and there are plenty among this month's crop. Oakland's Jay Som is getting loads of attention for her new "Everybody Works," and for good reason. It's one of my favorite records of the year so far and you'll be able to see what all of the fuss is all about when Jay Som comes to Lost Lake Lounge April 6.

Also here are promising new cuts from fresh faces Cigarettes After Sex, Sneaks, PWR BTTM and Girlpool, all of whom seem like they might be sticking around for a while.

I can't tell you a thing about Broen, Meursault or Antonio Williams, but I really like these songs! Dave Depper, meanwhile, has played in scores of bands in the Pacific Northwest over the past decade, finally settling on being the newest member of Death Cab For Cutie. The first single from his upcoming solo debut is a head-bobber on par with The Beta Band's "Dry the Rain."

Above all, I think it's a varied and transporting set of 32, best enjoyed on shuffle. A companion or an antidote to the April showers bound to fall on your waking life.

Listen to the Spotify playlist below.