Indie pop/rocker Pat Keen is what you want in DIY musician: a good sense of humor, catchy hooks and lyrics, well recorded but with still a lo-fi edge, and plenty of experimentation to keep things interesting. On his latest album Albatross, Keen aimed to be "stretching the conventions of homemade-pop" and certainly managed to do so, without losing sight of what relaxing folk-pop is all about. It's the kind of album that lets you pull up a chair by the morning light and drift, but with enough going on to not let you quite fall asleep, like an herbal tea.
With Whispering Wire and Sunset Strangers. At 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Free. 21+.
The Beatles The White Album
When I was 10 or 11, I used to think I was cool for hating the Beatles until my brother in law told me I was dumb and turned me onto this one. I listened to it nonstop for about three years. It really brought me an early sense of the art of songwriting.
Ahmad Jamal Live at the Pershing
The tasteful arrangements amongst the space used in the improvising, it sounds like crystals. Sheer bliss.
Arthur Russel Love is Overtaking Me
I heard this when I was just starting the project that is Pat Keen back in 2015. The approach he takes to singing these songs and how that fits inside the arrangements made me realize the essence of the music I make.
Jessica Pratt On Your Own Love Again
Such honesty and conviction in every sound on this record. Perfect.
Joni Mitchell Clouds
I thought I was cool for even longer for not liking Joni up until Chris Weisman (a teacher of mine and amazing songwriter who probably should've made this list) told me to get this one. Her guitar playing, her voice, that's all you need. Such richness in pure melody and harmony. A hero to say the least.