Today I had the tremendous pleasure of appearing on my dear friend Myke Hurley’s wonderful podcast series, Inquisitive. On this episode, we discussed my favorite album, Mutemath’s "Armistice Live" (Spotify, iTunes Video, iTunes Audio, Amazon, Rdio).
When Myke first started this favorite albums series with our mutual friend Faith Korpi, I was immediately hooked. I love music; as with so many others, it has been an important part of my life since I can remember. Listening to people discuss their favorite albums is always fascinating, and fun. Myke’s masterful editing just makes it that much more fun to listen to.
When I listened to Faith’s episode, I immediately wondered what I would choose as my favorite album. The one I chose for Inquisitive was Armistice Live, for a couple reasons. Mutemath is presently my favorite band, and has been for a few years now. Armistice Live, mostly a live performance of their then-new album “Armistice”, is my favorite of all their albums.
Mutemath is without question one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. Their energy is phenomenal, and riveting. Armistice Live does a great job of capturing that.
Naturally, I have quite a lot more to say; please have a listen.
Before I landed on Armistice Live, I had spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to answer such a simple question — what is my favorite album? I ran through tons of different choices, narrowing it down to just a few. Though I stick by my choice, there are a few others I nearly chose. In case you’re in need of some new music to try, I thought I’d call them out here.
In college, my good friend Brian introduced me to an absolutely phenomenal debut album by an artist that seemed to come out of nowhere. Rob Dougan’s "Furious Angels" (Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Rdio) is best known for some of the tracks that were used on the soundtrack for The Matrix. Nevertheless, it’s a stunningly beautiful and powerful album; one that still gets regular plays to this day.
Anytime I listen to “Furious Angels”, I’m immediately brought back to college. That brings with it all the good and bad times that defined my college experience. Furthermore, I feel like “Furious Angels” was the gateway drug into my love of trip-hop and downtempo music.
When I was in high school, my parents bought a Nissan 300ZX from one of my dad’s coworkers. We knew that it only had a cassette player in it, and when we bought it, we brought one of the only cassettes we had in the house to listen to on the way home. That cassette was an album that I can’t find for purchase anymore. The album is “Seal: The Acoustic Session”, which is six tracks, all acoustic. There’s a video available as well, which we had on VHS and eventually captured digitally. As with so many things, that video is available on YouTube.
This album has, just like “Furious Angels”, remained in constant rotation since that day we picked up the Z in 1996 or so. It’s scary to realize that was very nearly twenty years ago.
“The Acoustic Session” is also unique in that I always tend to play it on rainy days. The day we picked up the Z was a very very wet day in New York and Connecticut, and I had only six songs to listen to on the hour drive home. I will forever associate rain with this album, and vice versa.
As a child, I tended to gravitate toward the music my parents liked. We heard a stunning array of wildly unrelated artists, but there were a few mainstays. Elton John was one of them. Though “Live in Australia” will always have a special place in my heart (one of the tracks was our wedding song, among other reasons), I very nearly chose a different album altogether.
Elton’s “17-11-70” (Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Rdio), or 11-17-70 for us silly Americans, is an absolutely stunning live performance by just three people. The performance of Sixty Years On, particularly that of drummer Nigel Olsson, is breathtaking.
Finally, it would be peculiar if I didn’t mention at least one Dave Matthews Band album. For at least 10 years, beginning early in high school, DMB was my favorite band. Though I rarely listen to them anymore, I always enjoy it when I do. Of all of their studio albums, my favorite is “Before These Crowded Streets” (Spotify, iTunes, Amazon). It was to me, and many other DMB fans, their pinnacle.
Superlatives are in many ways a silly endeavor. A waste of time. Yet, they force reflection and introspection in a way that many other excercises do not.
Coming up with this list, and eventually selecting “Armistice Live”, was a ton of fun, before I even got in front of a microphone. Check out Inquisitive if you’d like to hear more, and hear how I landed on “Armistice Live” over these other stellar albums.