It's a rough time no matter who you are during this pandemic. Although we have all experienced different levels of tragedy, economic loss, and stress, we are all going through this together... yet not at all. It is lonely. Even with technology, the ability to Facetime or Zoom someone, our ability to download and play a game with friends online... it feels lonely. We are keeping 6ft from each other, we aren't experiencing group gatherings; festivals, school, concerts, spiritual gatherings, birthday parties, weddings, and even funerals. Unlike most tragedy bringing people together, this one has made the world feel quiet, distant, and uncertain. Which is why music has become this force in many of our lives to get us through hard times.
Now before this post becomes depressing to no return I want to explain highlights within our store during this rough patch because there has been silver linings.
Firstly, we have been grateful for those who have reached out. We have had people buy gift cards, turntables, records, and apparel. Every sale counts right now. Secondly, Bishop Arts' stores have come together to help each other. We've had Eno's keep a crate of mystery bags for sale with every pizza bought on the go. Thirdly, our staff has been forced into this opportunity of finding unique ways to get the store by and update our website. We hosted our first live auction on Instagram and sold all our auction records. We had margaritas, played some tunes, danced... it was a good time. So we are staying strong and working as hard as we can. It's frustrating to see large multi-million dollar corporate companies get the small business loans we've been trying to receive, but go figure.
Anyways. Long prologue... we wanted to share the Staff Picks Albums getting us through quarantine... these range in genre, beat, and no order. Some relate into our sadness of self-isolation while others help us get up in the morning and find joy in life. Here we go...
1. Postal Service "Give Up"
If you've listened to this album while not being alone and sad in your room then you haven't listened to it correctly. It's beautifully written, melancholy, and lyrics have qualities of longing. Even in the first track you know what you're getting, " The District Sleeps Alone Tonight". Just take a moment and listen to the lyrics of this album, it's as if it was written for this pandemic.... "I've got a cupboard with cans of food. Filtered water and pictures of you. And I'm not coming out until this is all over. And I'm looking through the glass. Where the light bends at the cracks. And I'm screaming at the top of my lungs."
2. Animal Collective "Strawberry Jam"
Animal Collective is one of my favorite bands and I enjoy all of their albums. However, I’ve found Strawberry Jam to be comforting to me during this time. I like to listen to it while closing my eyes and lounging in my hammock. It’s nice because I have no where to be so I can get really lost in the sound. It’s soothing to me to basically micro dose harsh electronics and ambient drift but in this super synthetic pop exterior. I feel this album paved the way for most of the indie records in the 2010s. Every song on the album is ￼intricate and detailed. from the instruments, vocals (very shrill and unpredictable), to the lyrics and this albums production is￼￼￼ proficient. I often revisit the albums I loved in the 2000s. When Strawberry Jam came out I was 15 and I think the album shaped me and my taste in music heavily. I actually don’t care for a majority of indie music being produced present day.
3. Las Hermanas Hernandez "Boleros de Hoy y Siempre"
I’ve been listening to boleros, which is a really amazing style of love songs that were very popular in the 50s and 60s with horns and awesome harmonies. It makes you feel like you’re in some Cantina on the beach in Acapulco in the 50s! The kind of escape we all are longing for right now... especially given all the rain.
4. Grimes "Miss Anthropocene"
I’ve also been listening to Grimes new album, Miss Anthropocene aka the goddess of the climate crisis. I particularly like this album because it’s a 2020 production that presents current crisis’ and futuristic themes (that somehow feel more present the I think even Grimes intended). Grimes conceived a child in the making of this album. As a new mom and total weirdo I somehow feel more of a connection to Grimes in this album. It feel weird to have to have a child during all of this. In all of Grimes music videos she’s rubbing her tummy but it’s all taking place in this sci-fi nihilistic setting. In one video she’s even wearing a fabric mask. So it feels very on theme for current situation and I can get down with the dystopian vibes of the album.
5. Arcade Fire "The Suburbs"
Yes, this album is about being stuck in the suburbs and waiting for more.... inspired by Will Butler growing up in The Woodlands of Houston. However, I found this record relevant for a whole new reason during this quarantine. The song "Wasted Hours" holds that patient waiting and trying to pass time to live. Also with the "Month of May" around the corner I can feel all the angst and wanting to create and be a part of the world again. This record came out when I was a reckless senior in high school in The Suburbs, and I love how it's meaning has become something new in this experience.
6. Amy Winehouse "Back to Black"
We usually always have Amy Winehouse in stock and it's because it's one of our best selling albums, and reaches a large audience. This album is full of so much heartbreak and longing. We feel even though the song "Rehab" is a number one hit, the song that reaches us emotionally during this pandemic is "Wake Up Alone".
7. Al Green "Gets Next To You"
I feel like I throw Al Green as a common suggestion for every situation... heartbreak, weddings, bedtime, waking up... I feel like Al Green is a great go to in any situation. Now I will explain why he's great in Quarantine. He is so damn perfectly optimistic even with sad lyrics. I just feel like there's good to come after I hear his voice. Upbeat, sensual, warm... its everything we need to get out of our funks. I picked this album because of his song "Tired of Being Alone" because I'm so tired of being alone...
8. Atlas Sound "Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel"
This gem came out 2008. I feel a lot of Atlas Sound (AKA Deerhunter singer Bradford Cox) songs are about isolation and not feeling understood. They are magical sounding and layer a lot of interesting sounds... this is the first album he released under Atlas Sound and I feel he only got better as he progressed. This album literally has a song called "Quarantined"... so if the shoe fits play the music.
So there's some of our picks. We will get through this, and music will help with our nerves and mind... so please give us a call if you need any records, turntables, speakers... anything. We can't wait to have our doors open again bringing music to our intimate neighborhood, and see what our local musicians have been cooking up during this time of isolation.