Playlist of the Month: Beware the Ides of March

Florence Welch posing in all of her mystical glory. Photo from Hypetrak.

Florence Welch posing in all of her mystical glory. Photo from Hypetrak.

March is that weird month when the merciless titan Winter clashes with the docile sprite of Spring. These four-ish weeks are filled with bipolar weather of the extreme kind, like accumulating eight inches of snow one day to sunny and warm tank-top weather two days later. This continues until about the beginning of March, when an onslaught of rain bombards us and eventually make everything lush and green. For this month, we have contrasting music tastes to go with whatever weather patterns mother nature decides to hurl at Southeastern Ohio.

1. Florence + The Machine
The arrival of spring creates an awakening of senses with the Earth. Florence + The Machine capture this phenomenon with their celestial music. Florence Welch’s voice can switch from sweet and gentle to powerful and full of emotion at the snap of a finger, just like March can switch its weather patterns. The music is poetic and uses a plethora of instruments to form a genre fit for magical folk. Suggested tracks are “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up),” “What The Water Gave Me,” “Heavy In Your Arms” and “Howl.”

2. Ásgeir
Iceland has knack for producing some amazing musicians. Ásgeir Trausti is a singer-songwriter who fuses folk music with electronic tones. This creates a sound vaguely reminiscent of Bon Iver that’s bound to enchant listeners with synthy beats and the earthy voice of the 21-year-old musician. Some songs to check out are “King and Cross,” “Lupine Intrigue,” “Torrent” and “Nyfallid Regn.”

3. letlive.
This post-hardcore band seriously know how to jam. The LA-based band has a driving energy behind their music that dances on the line between hardcore and punk. Vocalist Jason Aalon Butler does some crazy things with his voice, ranging from piercing and powerful screams, to melodic singing and even some rap here and there. A good portion of the band’s music are political rants, with other tracks discussing various personal struggles. Suggested tracks are “Banshee – Ghost Fame,” “White America’s Beautiful Black Market,” “Muther” and “Younger.”

4. Mono
This fantastic instrumental band from Japan will definitely induce some major spiritual and inner reflection in listeners during this partially-winter month. The band has released several albums and live recordings of their music, producing an instrumental post-rock sound that’s absolutely gorgeous to the ears. Suggested songs are “Moonlight,” “The Battle to Heaven,” “Pure As Snow” and “Nostalgia”.

5. Hozier
It’s kind of necessary to have an Irish musician somewhere in a March playlist. Hozier weaves folk culture into the blues music he creates that inspires a listener to imagine rolling green hills and cloudy blue skies on a mildly temperate March day. The gorgeous mix is great to play during a sunny afternoon drive or a brisk sunset walk as well. Tracks to check out include “Like Real People Do,” “Angel of Small Death and Codeine Scene,” “Take Me To Church” and “Cherry Wine.”

6. Night Beds
Oh yes, there’s definitely needs to be more folk music on a March playlist, and this band absolutely needs to be included. This group’s music is as earthy as it gets. Imagine listening to this band while taking a hike during March. Everything is still mostly dead-looking, but the Sun is shining more often and small buds are growing on the trees. It’s definitely a great band to listen to for heartbreak, tranquility and good feelings. Recommended tracks are “Cherry Blossoms,” “Even If We Try,” “How Did You Get So Far Away” and “Ramona.”

7. Tycho
Warm weather is a great excuse to play extensive amounts of chillwave music, and Tycho is one of the best options for March. Tycho’s music produces a feeling of rejuvenation and a sense of awakening with his melodic tones. Tycho just released his fourth album, “Awake,” which only stresses how great his music is during this season. Tracks to listen to are “A Walk,” “Dive,” “Dictaphone’s Lament” and “Apogee.”

8. The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers fall under multiple categories of folk and rock, so sticking to these two broad genres will have to suffice for this small little blurb. The band consists of brothers Seth and Scott Avett, along with Bob Crawford as the double bass player and Joe Kwon on the cello. This band has won the hearts of listeners with their bluegrassy mix of sound. The Avett Brothers will be playing at the Nelsonville Music Festival in May, six years after their last performance at the festival. Suggested tracks are “I And Love And You,” “Live and Die,” “January Wedding” and “Morning Song.”

9. Arcade Fire
I’m honestly kind of afraid to attempt to describe the sound of this ridiculously talented band. They have graced the music industry with albums like Neon Bible and more recently Reflektor. Their music has an indie rock feel with a myriad of other elements included in their unique sound. It certainly wasn’t an easy task to limit it to only four suggested tracks, but they include “Reflektor,” “Black Mirror,” “Wake Up” and “The Suburbs.”

10. Eivør
Last but not least, we have the Faroese singer-songwriter Eivør Pálsdóttir. Her distinctive voice accents the variety of music she has created, including folk rock in most songs with others having been heavily influenced by jazz. Other elements she includes in her music are mixes of pop and classical style genres. Suggested tracks are “Trøllabundin,” “True Love,” “Undo Your Mind” and “Mín Móðir.”

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