Mar 24, 2010

Swimming in Strawberry Yogurt

Blithe Field "Ghost Riding the Whip"
Blithe Field "Bible School"

Some albums are musical Advil to me. Literally. I listen to them when I feel a headache brewing behind my eyes. The best headache defense albums are ones that push a fair amount of repetition but introduce enough modulation to keep things interesting. The repetition helps me relax, while the modulation gives me something to focus on. My two go-to albums are Brightblack Morning Light's eponymous debut and The Books' The Lemon of Pink. Blithe Field's latest album, Beautiful Wave '74, is now among that rarefied bunch, an album that relaxes and focuses me enough to fend off a gray after-work headache.

Blithe Field is Ohio's own Spencer Radcliffe, who, incidentally, is friends with the one-man show behind Foxes in Fiction. Spencer's latest album, Beautiful Wave '74, employs a simple formula: buttress a simple organic melody with spoken word samples and found sounds. The album is simple without being childlike, reserved without being restrained. The two songs I've posted here ("Bible School" and "Ghost Riding the Whip") give you a glance of the range on the album. The cool beat that drives "Bible School" is belied by mid-song monologue about rectangles and straight lines by a British guy (who sounds remarkably like Martin Amis). Meanwhile, the gorgeously hypnotic "Ghost Riding the Whip" never sounds as busy as all the blips and tocks that actually make up the song.

I'm kind of excited to leave a frustrating workday of meetings and bureaucracy with a headache bubbling in my gray matter. Blithe Field's Beautiful Wave '74 is going to be right there with the antidote.

You can check out Blithe Field here and here, where you can purchase a copy of the new album.