I’m really into this Ty Segall tour – some of my favorite shows over the years have been when an artist I love indulges us and plays one of their classic records all the way through. It’s a win-win scenario – if they stay faithful to the album, everyone is singing along; if they come up with new arrangements or interpretations you’ve gained additional appreciation for a piece of art you know and love. That being said, there’s not that many artists who could pull this off – it would have to be someone with a pretty solid back catalog. I don’t want to sit through crap while I wait for a new record that I know nothing about.
Björk (Homogenic, Debut, Vespertine): I would even pay to see Björk read the phonebook. She remains an idiosyncratic voice in music and art, and now entering the fourth decade of her career, she’s earned the right to do whatever the hell she wants. Homogenic is one of the few records I come back to over and over, and although Debut and Vespertine lack the same volcanic, pulsing rhythms, they’re still albums I’d happily see her perform live, with gusto.
Erykah Badu (Baduizm, Mama’s Gun): It’s wild to think that these were Erykah Badu’s first two releases, considering the impact they would have on R&B and the development of “neo-soul” as a genre. I guess most of her shows pull heavily from this catalogue, but it’d be special to sit through these, particularly if she brings the cast and crew of collaborators on these records: Ron Carter, James Poyser, Questlove, Pino Palladino, N’Dambi.
Feist (Let It Die, The Reminder, Metals): Leslie Feist is a goddamn Canadian treasure and should be treated as such. Give me anything and everything she’s ever put on record – from the early days with Broken Social Scene to her live sessions at the Trabendo in Paris – and let her fly on her guitar. She’ll shred your face off while singing you softly to sleep.
The Internet (Ego Death, Feel Good): I’m aware The Internet put out a record last year, and are currently sticking to their creative plan – one band album, followed by solo releases by each member, then another band album. It’s unorthodox, but the strategy seems to be working; it allows for the group dynamic to remain relaxed and collaborative while also giving them the leeway to explore their more curious tendencies. And while 2018’s Hive Mind was really good, I’d love to see the Los Angeles-based collective do front-to-back renditions of the records that made me fall in love with them in the first place. There was something so magical about those early days.
King Krule (6 Feet Beneath the Moon, The OOZ, A New Place To Drown): Each of these albums would be the perfect companion to a midnight bender. Start the show at 11:30 p.m. with just Archy Marshall on guitar, his metallic croak filling a packed blues club, and end it with a sunrise set of new tunes and you’ve got the ideal SXSW showcase. All thank yous on a postcard, please.
Vampire Weekend (Vampire Weekend, Contra, Modern Vampires of the City): It’s kind of strange to see Vampire Weekend’s return. Their music is so strongly associated with a place and time – drinking cheap beer outside in my early 20s – that anything new is viewed through the lens of curiosity. But the release of singles “Harmony Hall”, “This Life” and “Unbearably White” sent me down a path of rediscovery of their first three albums. From the popped-collar pop aesthetic of their self-titled debut to the more nuanced lyricism of Contra and Modern Vampires of the City, these albums are the soundtrack to internal growth and increased self-awareness that comes with maturing. They were still not quite beyond reproach – like your white friend who traded his Sperry boat shoes for Chacos – but at least they’re aware there’s more to the world than privilege.