Music to Isolate To
In this lonely pandemic, purpose can be lost quite easily. You fall out of your bed for the third morning in a row, except it isn’t morning. The sun is high, and the clock reads noon, and you tell yourself for the fourth morning in a row, “I need to get up earlier.” But the morning after, nothing changes, because you can’t get the thought out of your head: “What reason do I have to get up early?” And so, the cycle repeats. The only purpose left now is to get through all the time put in front of you by our collective isolation. So here’s some music to wake up to, some music for the solitude, some music to lift you up, some music for emotional catharsis, some music to keep you busy, some music to keep you singing, some music to help you feel something, anything. Here’s some music to isolate to.
“Rock Island” by Palm
Palm is an experimental rock band specializing in awkward time signatures, hallucinatory vocals and musical repetition. Their most recent album “Rock Island” finds Palm’s oddly rhythmic guitars playing blindingly bright notes beside the smooth and hypnotic voices of the band’s male and female vocalists. The songs here feel drenched in a tropical sun due to steel drum sound given to the guitars. It’s a sunny, bright musical oddity of an adventure. The standout track is “Dog Milk”, a lulling, repetitive, musical journey with longing vocals set to identify with any lost soul stuck in one place.
“Pop Food” by Jack Stauber
Stauber has a broad range. Upbeat, melancholy, comforting, bursting with joy and energy, all of it simple, all of it odd. This is the best description of “Pop Food”, however wide and contradictory. Synthy, with simple guitar and bass, and a bare bones drum machine, all under eccentric and careening vocals, this solo project hits all the emotions you’re feeling or need to feel. The standout song is the opening track “Buttercup.” One of my friends, Adrian College freshman Jordan Cooper said, “This song, it makes you feel like driving down the highway with all the windows down in the summer.” Stauber also recently uploaded a music video titled “The New Normal” reflecting on our current homely situation in an amazing animation on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4lNq4nhdDQ
“Songs of Grief and Solitude” by Drudkh
This is instrumental, traditional Ukrainian folk music. The only instruments present are acoustic guitars and a few woodwinds. Nothing else. It’s incredibly simple, soothingly natural, and indelibly graceful. It sounds like the birds and trees and the open-air all in peace with each other. This down to earth, real music. If you want to feel outside in the wilderness, this album is the portal to that. It almost feels like a portal to another time, long ago, when music was the most beautiful thing there was, and nature was its greatest inspiration.
Beach Bunny’s Audiotree Live performance.
For all the buoyant happy energy you’ve been missing by staying home, Beach Bunny is the ray of indie pop sunshine that will bring it all back to you. Their Audiotree Live release is a perfect intro to the band, a live performance of a collection of their best songs. All of their work is upbeat, smiley, and just a blast to sing along to with simple, clear, and especially relatable lyrics. Beach Bunny will keep your head up in isolation, and keep you dancing too. Highlight track: “Painkiller”.
[Audiotree Live performance link] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyp-iWKybWI
“The Lamb” by Lala Lala.
Another indie pop project, but this time a little more melancholic. Thoroughly sing-along, thoroughly heartfelt, thoroughly atmospheric. Wavery light guitars drone in simple backing tones and rhythms alongside minimalist drums with the project’s lead Lillie West softly slipping her lyrics out into the air in dissipating beauty. Sometimes energetic, but always calculated and reserved. Pretty, but maybe just a little sad. All of it something you can feel. There is no highlight track, because the whole album is worthy of that title.
“Inner Speech” by Between Silence
Ambience to accompany the quiet days alone, or to blot out the noise of the family, with this album’s persistent sound of meditative seclusion. This album is 40 minutes of ambient music, all of it subtle, all of it calming, full of understated depth.
“The Hallowing of Heirdom” by Winterfylleth
Another folk album, this time English in origin. This is an odyssey through lush, gorgeous, acoustic and string melodies, and pastoral chants and sung verse. The Hallowing of Heirdom has a natural elegance to both its music, and the pace of its tracks. Each slow, careful, and resounding with nature-nurtured vigor and celebration. Highlight tracks include “Elder Mother,” “Frithgeard” and “The Shepherd,” all of them staggering in weight and natural essence.
“Piano Project” by The Daydream Club
This is an album of improvisational piano pieces. Charming, sometimes a little sad, always full of thoughtful progression. It’s piano, that alone says enough about its quality. Highlight Track: “Improv #10 – One Last Thought”.
“No Man’s Sky: Music for An Infinite Universe” by 65daysofstatic
This soundtrack was made for a video game where you explore a near infinite universe all by yourself. This is the perfect music for the journey of an individual cut off from human contact. The album is full of energy from its mix of post-rock and electronics, and occasional emotional flourishes. Tracks like “Supermoon” and “Red Parallax” rush forward with bounding, tense drumming while shoe-gazing and soaring guitars play to the sound of adventure and discovery. Others, like “Heliosphere” dwell in the void of space, its beauty and terrifying emptiness and infinite possibilities amidst drums and electric guitars joined in equal part by electronic beats and tones, adding another layer of spacey atmosphere. The last six songs on the album fade into ambient tracks, leaving behind the previous energy of exploration for a oneness with galactic noise. Highlight Track: “End of the World Sun.” This track embodies all the great aspects of the album.