YouTube has a surprisingly rich field of obscure albums for play. I have found myself regularly going down a rabbit hole of fairly random works from talented artists both present and past whose music has for whatever reason fallen through the mainstream. The following is a documentation of some of these cult albums that have particularly caught my ear and are absolutely worth checking out.
Bowery Electric – Beat (1996)
Bowery Electric’s second album is slow and repetitive, something that would normally turn me off from an artist. This drone shoegaze evokes a sweltering heat, however, forcing the listener into a hot car on the highway as depicted in the album cover. Beat finds strength in hammering home ageless rhythm patterns that break down the listener’s ear to cultivate a runner’s high of a sonic experience.
Shindigs – Summa! Goddess! (2016)
As promised in the album title this EP is warm, relaxed, and the indie pop equivalent of Pantera. Shindigs’ joints take the “money riff” and drive it into the soil in the best way possible. Incredibly thick bass dominates these jangly tunes with reverb-soaked vocals dancing in the background. Right off the bat with opening track “Fall’s Coming” I was met with an overwhelming shot of carefree euphoria. The short record holds on to this feeling, plus a nostalgic fondness to carry out this short, sweet ride.
Moondog – Moondog (1969)
Some sort of mix between Rasputin and Captain Beefheart. Moondog brings driving classical tunes that are at times oblong but charming. I found this album to be a relaxing listen, useful for background music when focusing on a task. That’s not to say that this album falters when it’s the focus of your day. Moondog features clever melodies and song progression that spurns from, occasionally, whimsical and non-traditional instruments. Lots of fun.
Glue Trip – Glue Trip (2017)
Glue Trip’s self-titled project is largely acoustic, dancy, and focused on psychedelia true to the band’s namesake. The band puts their Brazilian heritage on display with its traditional sounds having an obvious foothold in their sound. The influence of the mellow strums of a guitar floating peacefully in the clouds balances the sharper pan flutes that waltz through this record. A great listen for daydreaming.
Haruomi Hosono & Miharu Koshi – Swing Slow (1996)
This Japanese jazz oddity lurks from the darkest corner of the toy box. Playful, yet piercingly haunting synth melodies contrast with a more traditional jazz instrument layout. The results are marvelous, as we are treated to a minimalist, lush earworm of an album. The highlight was the childlike “Mr. Echo” that lies somewhere between a nursery rhyme and a chill down the spine. Swing Slow features genuine warm-heartedness that has avoided kitch, but has evolved into something else (perhaps entirely). I highly doubt the original intention of this work was to bring the listener to the uncanny valley of sound; it’s undeniable for me at least that it transcends the genre it honors and inhabits its own unique feeling.
I suppose the only downside to this is that some of the older records can be hard to find in digital format, so one has to rely on YouTube to be able to listen to them. That doesn’t stop their collection from being a treasure trove. I have found myself quite attached to these albums. Undoubtedly it’s not difficult to see (or hear) their inherent charm.