Wildcard - Adam Hopkins

I've been a little all-over-the-map in terms of music consumption lately. Is consumption the right word for listening to music? I go through periods of time where I REALLY check out an album and nothing else for an extended period of time. The last time that happened to me was with Snakeoil's Shadow Man. It was basically on repeat for a month without me listening to much else. Currently I'm more in a phase of checking out a lot of stuff and moving on...I think it's because I broke my iPod, and my phone has limited space. I'll just put 5 albums on my phone at the beginning of the week for when I'm driving or riding the train, then switch it up the following week. It's been fun!

1. Cheap At Half The Price - Fred Frith

This album and the album below go together in terms of what I wanted to hear this week, which was Fred Frith. I love Fred Frith, from his bass playing in Naked City to his more freely improvised music. But this album is my absolute favorite...more like his take on pop songs. It was recommended to me years ago by my good friend TJ Huff (who did the recent album art for Signal Problems and the upcoming Ideal Bread release), and I return to it at least a couple of times a year. This week was one of those times. I couldn't possibly pick a favorite track, so I'd recommend everyone in the world get this record and listen to the whole thing all the way through.

2. Learn To Talk/The Country of Blinds - Skeleton Crew

Skeleton Crew was the joint project of Fred Frith with the amazing improvising cellist Tom Cora (who passed away far too young...one of the musicians that I most would have liked to have had the opportunity to see live), and very often Zeena Parkins. Everyone in the band plays percussion, but there's no set percussionist as they are all playing other instruments simultaneously. Wikipedia can be awesome sometimes, and this is one of those times...the history section of the band is quite informative. Instead of me typing it out, you can just check out this link! I actually do have a favorite Skeleton Crew song. The whole double set is great, but here's a link to my favorite track, entitled We're Still Free.

3. Strange Negotiations - David Bazan

I am kind of in a constant loop of David Bazan albums right now, and it seems like there is always one in my phone at any given time. It might be the Headphones album, or Pedro The Lion (maybe a little less likely), but it is often one of the solo albums under his name. I rarely listen to lyrics when I check out an album...it's almost always the last thing that resonates with me. I'm not sure if this means I don't have a soul, but it's just the way I am. The point is that I listen to David Bazan lyrics more than most other artists that I check out (with the exception maybe being Tom Waits). I've been slowly working on a solo bass set, although I'm not sure that I'll ever present it. David Bazan has been an inspiration in a lot of ways, and one of his songs may make its' way into the set if I ever do decide to reveal it to the general public. For now it's just been good for me to try to play a bass part and sing independently.

4. Waiting For You To Grow - Kris Davis

This is a very recently obtained album, although I have checked out all of the albums under Kris' own name. Rye Eclipse was probably the first one I got really into, and this is her most recent trio release. After one or two listens I'm really enjoying it. The record is trio with John Hebert on bass and Tom Rainey on drums. and it's one of the few trio albums I've heard in a while that keeps me engaged throughout texturally. Very cool so far! I'd definitely recommend it, along with pretty much everything else on the Clean Feed label.


5. Jeremiah Cymerman's 5049 Podcast

Is this cheating? I'm not sure, because I don't remember what the requirements for the Wildcard are. Even if it is cheating, I'm including it! I'm sure many of the followers of Wing Walker are also familiar with Jeremiah Cymerman's 5049 Podcast. He interviews musicians and they get into it, simply put. This is what I've been listening to on the train for the past couple of months. Some of my favorite past interviews are those with Chris Speed and Nate Wooley, but this week I checked out the episodes of Ellery Eskelin (Baltimore represent!) and Matt Bauder...both very, very good, and well worth the listen.

Adam Hopkins is a bassist, composer, and educator born and raised in Baltimore, MD and currently living in Brooklyn, NY.