I’ve decided to make a list of some of the things I’ve been listening to lately. It’s summertime, which means I’m in a foreign country and instead of spending all of my time interacting with the locals, I walk around like a hip American with my headphones listening to depressing music.

Owen – I Do Perceive – Polyvinyl Records

I only discovered Owen recently, thanks to many conversations with dj partner Luke about the 90s band, American Football. Owen is the solo project of Mike Kinsella, formerly of American Football, Cap’n Jazz, and others. It’s bedroom-constructed melancholy pop. Throwing the ’emo’ tag around sells this short. Layers of acoustic guitars and drum machines build up to blissful, lush melodic stretches under tender, fractured vocals. I haven’t made one of those all-time lists in a while, but this has climbed into my hypothetical top 50 within the span of weeks. I think my favorite songs on here are the dreamy, depressing, “Bed Abuse,” the My Bloody Valentine-meets-Elliott Smith, “Lights Out” (yeah, really), and the bouncy opener, “Who Found Who’s Hair in Who’s Bed.” Also check out the like-minded ep, (the ep). Fans of Elliott Smith, Mark Kozelek, and American Football take note.

Josh T. Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen – Mute Records

At this point there is no album this year in the same league as Josh T. Pearson‘s Last of the Country Gentlemen. Oh my goodness. Crawling spindly folkish acoustic dirges wallowing in the misgivings and imperfections of humanity. This album is an hour long and is seven songs long. That is pretty typical for what I usually listen to, but this album also has lyrics on every track. I feel like I’m already failing to promote it by attempting to describe it or how it makes me feel. The songs hinge so much on Pearson’s emotions that I’m pretty sure this is a textbook example of how not to keep time (my lack of being a musician may be showing here). Lush strings are added tastefully here and there, only augmenting the drama and pathos. For the most part, however, the songs are structured around a repetitive guitar pattern that varies slightly with the slowly unfolding confessional narratives about alcoholism, lust, and religion. Every song is an absolute gem. I’m going to do my darndest to try to see him in continental Europe in August.

Coastal – Coastal – Words on Music

This one may be a little bit more obscure. It is a sin to admit, but it’s true that I found this artist on pandora. I don’t remember what sort of situation I was in, in which I decided to listen to that sinful device, but it was the least of whatever evil I was faced with choosing. In any case, I’m glad I found Coastal. Low impersonators they may be, but I cannot get enough of that hazy, dreamy, slow, simplistic navelgazing pop. Just extended, languid songs that slowly bob along blissfully.  I imagine that it may be difficult to find a lot of information about this band. Thank goodness for KZSU. Who would have thought they came from Utah? Oh wait, the Low thing makes even more sense.

Thanks for reading and geeking out with me.