Rae Amitay (Immortal Bird, Errant) discusses 7 albums getting her through quarantine
With the coronavirus pandemic keeping many of us home a lot more, we've been asking artists about the music they've been listening to in isolation, and this list comes from Rae Amitay of Immortal Bird, who released her whose debut solo EP as Errant in April.
I haven't been listening to a lot of music during quarantine. Why? It's hard to pinpoint an exact reason (DEPRESSION?!), but my mind often feels both chaotic and empty at the same time. It's as though I have permanent option paralysis and I often end up choosing sleep. I've found that it's sometimes intense and exhausting to purposefully engage with music the way I'd like to during all this. I'm not someone that can really put on background music. If it's playing, I'm listening, and if I'm listening, I'm thinking. I guess I've been really in my own head over the last couple of months and I'm nervous about fully submerging myself in certain thoughts. All of that said, I have been listening to some records despite all of these dark, weird, feelings, and I am trying to listen to more.
With this in mind, she put together an eclectic list that spans from classic albums by Neil Young and jazz fusion vets Weather Report to Radiohead's In Rainbows to new albums by Fiona Apple and Bad Bunny. She also wrote intriguing commentary on each pick, filled with personal anecdotes, which you can check out right here:
In Rainbows - Radiohead
When this album first came out, I was still in high school and was completely obsessed with Radiohead's previous material, especially OK Computer. I didn't "get" In Rainbows and thought of it as one of my least favorite releases. A decade later, I decided to revisit it and the music floored me. It felt like I'd had the wind knocked out of me, and the air flooding back into my lungs felt different as I tried to absorb every sound I was hearing. It's been back in my rotation ever since, and I've been listening to it a lot in quarantine. "All I Need" is one of the most emotionally resonant songs I've ever heard, and it always hits a special place, but especially now that fear and isolation are such a part of everyday life.
Fetch the Bolt Cutters - Fiona Apple
What a beautiful record. We don't deserve Fiona Apple but I am so grateful that she put out new music. She is a master of arranging and dynamics, and this is such an engaging and evocative collection of songs. Listening to this album is so inspiring and it reminds me that music can be inventive and experimental and unconventional while still connecting with a massive audience. Let this album take you away from whatever's hurting you, if only for a few moments.
Heavy Weather - Weather Report
I have always loved Weather Report, and my big bass-related project this quarantine has been to learn "Teen Town." It's coming along really well (and by "really well" I mean I can play most of it at 60% speed). Jaco Pastorius will always be a master of his craft and obviously everyone on that album is legendary. I just found out that Jaco played drums on "Teen Town" too, which is wild. I love jazz fusion and this is one of the most celebrated albums of the genre for a reason. Can't really get enough of it. It's catchy and intelligent and progressive without being at all inaccessible.
X'ed Out - Tera Melos
I used to listen to Patagonian Rats most often, but now I find myself coming to X'ed Out a lot more often. It's hazy, warm, thoughtful, hypnotic, and heavy music with a lot to grab ahold of. If you have access to a backyard or a safe place to be outside, I'd highly recommend listening to it outdoors on a sunny day.
Assorted Albums - Martha Argerich
Martha is one of my favorite pianists and I've been listening to a ton of her recordings, especially ones of her playing Chopin, Prokofiev, and Schumann. She brings so much raw energy and technical ability to everything she plays, I love listening to her interpretations above many others because she just has "that" quality that brings so much life to the music. It's both inspiring and comforting to hear such virtuosity.
YHLQMDLG - Bad Bunny
I've liked Bad Bunny for a while. I used to have a good friend who was obsessed with him, and we'd ride in her car with "200 Mph" and "Caro" blasting (those are off X 100PRE). I don't know a ton about him as a person, but I know he likes to get creative with gender expression, I like his voice, and his songs are catchy. This album is one of those 'on in the background' exceptions, because I love listening to it while I'm cleaning my apartment, making dinner, randomly trying to do push-ups, or just sitting on my couch while partaking in completely legal substances.
On the Beach - Neil Young
This isn't usually my go-to for Neil but during quarantine it has been. I find myself getting so stressed out about going outside to complete basic tasks, I need to have a "soundtrack" to keep me feeling calm and collected. "Walk On" just makes me smile and it feels like a sunny day even when you're terrified and surrounded by plague. The rest of the album is fantastic; "Revolution Blues" always gives me chills, and I think I'll associate this record with this period of time more than any other.
Stream Errant's self-titled EP: