Ben Allen, music editor
I feel your pain. You have been stuck at home for weeks and the cabin fever has made you so bat-shit crazy, you’re about to conduct an elaborate animal sacrifice and ceremoniously murder your beloved pet bunny rabbit. I feel your pain.
But wait, what’s that? You mean there’s a way to occupy your time productively without sacrificing Mr. Fluffers in a blood ritual? Yes, many creative types have embraced this time of isolation to produce some incredible works of art.
While festivals and tours continue to drop like flies, some musicians have gravitated toward live-streaming performances, releasing new quarantine-inspired songs and writing, writing and writing some more. Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard has been live-streaming solo performances almost daily, including full cover sets. Hell, even Green Day’s Billy Joe reports he’s got six new songs in the bag. Gibbard, Bono, and even Adam Sandler have already written and shared songs about their COVID-19 quarantine experience. The list goes on and on.
The dark Winter of pandemic is rapidly transforming dormant creative seeds into glorious Spring blossoms.
These strange times offer up an incredible opportunity for discovering new music you may have overlooked previously. Here are some suggestions, all from creative current or former Humboldt residents.
Gifted artist and musician Mike Sargent is constantly cooking up new creative endeavors. Sheltering in place has only fueled his fire and among other projects, Mike’s Norton Subtonic will be musically accompanying a twenty minute collage of experimental film. Do not miss this live stream!
The duo have been recording and live-streaming their rehearsals. Chuck McCammon and Christophere Scherer combine ambient experimental elements with sturdy, indie-leaning song craftsmanship. The sounds are a logical progression and unintentional homage to some of their great Pacific Northwest Indie forefathers. (click titles to be directed to the artist’s work)
Patrick Foss of Pure County Gold, The Suicide Notes and Perfect Buzz fame misses his bands and bandmates. So far, he’s shared two solo tracks with the world while quarantined. While normally Foss is a rough and rowdy punk/garage rocker, these tracks embrace a bit of the 80’s new wave pop vibe and will have you “microdancing” instantly.
Peter Agoston’s podcast has been evolving as of late. Previously consisting of extensive interviews with artists and music industry folks, lately The House List has featured exclusive DJ sets by well known artists. With two sets a week currently being posted, you’ll want to subscribe, and soon.
Matt Souza is the brains behind this quarantine recording project. Parliament of Trees is brilliant in its simplistic immediacy. A guy, his guitar, his voice a digital recorder and some unforgettable melodies and songwriting. The easy, accesible folk vibe is accentuated by Souza’s gritty vocals and inspired lyric content. You will find new songs posted frequently by the talented, prolific artist.
TKB is a weekly radio broadcast curated, produced and hosted by Matt Crawford out in San Francisco. The show features, “choice tracks from concerts and parties coming to the Bay Area,” every Sunday, 6:00pm to 8:00pm PST. While Crawford’s cuts tend to lean hip-hop, R&B and Soul, his impeccable taste guarantees you’ll get a weekly tasty variety.
Local Humboldt musician Oryan Peterson-Jones has been incredibly prolific during the pandemic. Performing live on KHSU, curating content on I Heart Humboldt Musicians Radio, writing, recording and performing regularly through live-streaming. Check out the technicality and classical beauty in the solo guitar record he’s currently working on.
There you have it. A very brief list of musical projects to immerse yourself in while working from home, bored as hell or tempted to viciously slaughter your beloved pets. Possibly more importantly, these artists have served as an inspiration and motivating factor to others to start creating quality works and collaborating.
Pull that clarinet out of the closet and start producing that Ace of Base interpretative-jazz covers record you’ve always fantasized about.