One of the biggest perks during this whole quarantine situation has been the opportunity to spend more time doing things that we normally wouldn’t have the time to do. For example, I know a lot of you didn’t have the privilege of listening to music while working, let alone blasting it through that expensive sound system you invested in once-upon-a-time. This new experience may or may not have introduced, or re-introduced, you to a lot of albums that have instigated at home dance parties, karoke sessions and so forth.
Although I have always worked from home, quarantine has had a pretty similar effect on me. Normally, I’d work at coffee shops or on my University campus, and in between that I’d go see my friends and so forth, so my time of being physically sat in my room for 8-10 hours a day was not as common as many of you may think.
My new found routine of being sat at my desk for 8-10 hours a day are, honestly, mostly spent staring at the wall or out the window forcing my lack of brain cells to be productive… As you can tell by the lack of articles. But, despite my daily existential dread and crisis’, I have spent a lot of time building myself a cozy “quarantine soundtrack” that has more often than not lifted my spirits and helped the time go by faster.
This so-called playlist ranges from classics from the 60-90s, as well as new(er) albums that I had luckily discovered in this time in insane boredom (and panic). So if you’re reading this and resonate more with post-punk, alternative, doom metal, classic rock, etc… I have a little bit of everything and maybe this will open you up to rediscovering an old favourite, or finding a new favourite!
Violator – Depeche Mode
For many of us, myself included, this viral pandemic has created a lot of mental pressure and fear. As someone that already suffers from severe anxiety, the added stress of “you might accidentally breathe the virus particles and die” has had a significant toll on my ability to simply feel good about life.
Due to this dumpster-fire timeline that we are currently living in, I’ve felt more drawn to music that makes me want to dance, feel good and forget what is happening for an hour or two. Hence my re-discovery of the iconic Violator (1990) album by the legendary Depeche Mode.
Depeche Mode is an English electronic rock (leaning more towards pop) band from the 80s. The group is a pioneer in the synth-new-wave scene, although often grouped with The Smiths and The Cure, Depeche Mode is more dark pop than the two other legendary bands.
Violator (1990) is said to be the most popular album by the British goth-pop icons, as it includes some of their most played songs: Personal Jesus, Enjoy The Silence, Waiting For The Night, etc.
It is actually for these nostalgic purposes that I felt so drawn to play it on repeat for a few hours throughout this time of social isolation. Honestly, I challenge you to not spend a few hours dancing to this album. Think of the song ” Enjoy The Silence” for example, the second the chorus pops into your brain for a split-second, the entire song instinctively loops on its own. So, I just embraced it and had many dance parties to the entire record throughout these past several months.
Now I encourage you to do the same.
Real Dancing – Racing
Drifting away from nostalgia, and entering the territory of new… But still groovy, this next album was a pleasant gift throughout these tough times.
Real Dancing (2018) is the debut record by the New Zealand quartet, Racing, and man, what an introduction to the world of music it is. This album is 56 minutes of pure positive energy that makes you want to dance under the sun and forget all your worries.
What I enjoy most about this album is the journey it takes you from start to finish, although all of it is mostly ‘feel good’, it definitely has the start of the party to end the night feeling (you know, when you don’t really want the night to end because you’re having the time of your life) when you listen to it top to bottom.
From tracks 1-8, the album is high-energy and has all the right grooves that make you want to hit the dancefloor. Then it gets to track number 9, Sweet Bedlam, and from this point on everything transitions to a more slow hazy drunk sensation. One you get to this part of the record you’re transported to those nostalgic summer nights, when patio party is wrapping up and you’re either in the arms of a lover or near-passed-out on the sofa with a group of friends giggling at nonsense.
Overall, there isn’t a single “skip worthy” song on this album and it’s something that I often have playing in the background to get myself in a more positive mindset.
Vol.II – Buffalo Fuzz
Another feel-good album of mine is Vol.II (2020) by Buffalo Fuzz. This album is a perfect mixture of blues and fuzz (which are two of my favourite genres). I had the privilege of listening and reviewing this album before it was released to the public, and ever since I’ve become obsessed.
To avoid sounding like a broken record, I’ll link you guys to my full review on this album if you want to know more about why I dig this album so much.
In terms of quarantine, it’s another grea album that is easy to get lost to when you need a few minutes away from reality.
Pony – Orville Peck
I know I’ve been emphasizing a lot on albums that make me feel positive and shift my mindset from panicked to a calmer one, but sometimes you need to be pulled back to earth and connect with your sad feelings.
An album that has been good at grounding me, as well as reminding me that no matter how hard I try, I’ll always be a “sad b*tch”, is Pony (2019) by masked Canadian artist Orville Peck.
Initially, I was kind of turned off by the idea of his music, because it is very much country-leaning but it shares a lot of elements you would hear in post-punk goth music. For example, similar to Morrissey (and The Smiths), the singing style is a melodic spoken word layered on top of a simple sultry, yet deep, instrumentals.
I’m not an expert on the new-wave and post-punk sound, so I don’t know the technical terms, but the guitars in Pony (2019) sound like natural distortion that would be used in a Smiths song or The Cure. Thus, with the singing style of Orville Peck, as well as his writing style that follows a more tragic narrative… You can hear why he calls his genre “Goth Cowboy”.
I am a big fan of the feeling this record gives, and it’s often an album I listen to when I have those “sit and are at the wall” moments because I am so brain dead.
The record also helps me mentally transcend into this alternative reality where I have a lover and we’re siting in a shitty truck watching the sun set [oddly specific, I know, but you’ll get what I mean once you listen to it].
Columbia – The Blinders
On top of viral pandemic fear, there has been an overwhelming feeling of political turmoil and political charge amongst those of us with an IQ higher than a walnut — seriously, if you’re not disgusted by what’s been happening in terms of politics and racism, you have the brain of a rock.
Idiots aside, I know that a lot of us have been feeling a huge surge of upset feelings towards the state of the world, which is why the record Columbia (2018) has been such a staple album of mine during quarantine and the overall mess of 2020.
Nightfall – Candlemass
Continuing with the feeling of intense dramatics, another record that I have been finding very appropriate to fit this quarantine-dystopian vibe is the album Nightfall (1987) by the Swedish doom metal legends, Candlemass.
Please refrain from rolling your eyes, because of course, I have to include a Swedish band or two.
Nightfall (1987) is the band’s sophomore album. Although it is now considered a staple record in the collection of Doom Metal basics, Candlemass was not well received at first. After their first album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986), the Swedish group was dropped by their first label due to disappointing sales. Not the best way to step a foot into the music industry, but despite this, the band freshened up their lineup and created this [Nightfall (1987)] epic nearly 2-hour piece and released the album under Axis Records.
It almost feels sinful to have to introduce and explain such an epic record/band, but for those of you who are not really familiar with the Heavy Metal and Doom Metal genre, this album is truly a great introduction (after you listen to Black Sabbath).
For those of you who are more familiar with the Doom Metal genre, you would know what I mean when I say that this album is a pure heavy adventure. I often start my days with this record blasting through the apartment, and it makes me feel mentally and spiritually ready to fight an epic battle of some sort. Although it isn’t your classic ‘feel good’ light record, I still find it to be a feel-good because it makes me feel strong and overall heroic, which is honestly really important in times of turmoil.
This article is not an exhaustive list of all the music that I’ve been loving throughout these gloomy days, but it encompasses the albums that I have been listening to the front to back in the past four months. However, inbetween these records, there have been a lot of random EPs and songs off of a multitude of different albums that I have been listening to on repeat. If you’re curious to know what those may be, be sure to give my Spotify a follow because I have a whole array of playlists representing so many different genres where I update WEEKLY with these random songs that I’m listening to.
In terms of artists that I’ve been listening to a lot but not full albums this is a small selection of that list:
- Ritual Howls
- Isolated Youth
- Fever 333
With all that being said, the pandemic is not over. I know we’re all tired of being confined to our houses, we miss doing normal summer activities, but please don’t be an absolute doorknob and be cautious. Wear a mask, wash your hands, stay 2 meters apart. This won’t be a forever thing IF we all do our part in respecting what the science and health officials say.
I know we all want live shows to come back, we all want to mosh, to dance, to sweat all our worries out in the pit again. It WILL happen if we use some of our remaining brain cells and be compassionate towards those around us.
Stay safe & Don’t be a f*cking asshole.
Until next time Interwebs! 🕸
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