Rockin' & Roastin' : About Today

Monday, 21 January, 2013
Richard Dirk Gevers is a Glenwood local, economist by trade, he of the majestic hipster beard, Black Dog, loves all the things Apple, constantly has a tune playing in his ear and has a habit of making his local cafes his coffice. But don't call him a hipster. That's just offensive.

All words and song choices by Richard Gevers

Music is all about context. Coffee, is all about context. Having partaken in some of the great coffee at some of Durban’s finest coffee establishments, I have learnt that those times the coffee is accompanied by its natural partner, a great song, the experience is able to centre, inspire and refuel the soul.

For me, the places I go are not playing deep acid house. Nor are they playing Norah jones on endless repeat. They are the places that play what I listen to. Slightly off-mainstream, alternative/indie, with the best bits of the usual suspects from folk, jazz, soul and R&B, and blues. The places that you can hear a lot of the songs that are already on your playlist, and others that should be.

In compiling this list I understand that there will be times when the locals all insist on Local Natives' Gorilla Manor on repeat until the needle falls off. There are times when you need to blast Rock and Roll (the Led Zeppelin song, not the genre) as loud as it gets. You could probably play Dark Was The Night, Every Kingdom, or various other albums from side A to D to equal the calibre laid out by the list below. The music at a coffee shop is part of the brew, and needs to fit into the mix like that perfectly pulled shot, not jolt you out of your concentration as only a bitter edge can.

Maybe it’s feeding into the subconscious as we furiously try to finish our paper, post, article, novel (haha), or message. Maybe it’s providing the sustenance we need to get us through the meeting we arranged at our local, probably for that reason. Maybe its weaving in the background as we chat with friends, or giving us the resonating cocoon that enables us to lose ourselves in what we're reading. Whatever it is, it needs to be our soul music. The music we don't have to focus on because we have heard the melody so many times it can feed intravenously into our temporal lobes, the words we can mouth without breaking thought.

Whatever it’s purpose, here are the ten songs I would like to hear while drinking my usual double shot cappuccino (in a normal cup):

1. Cortez the Killer - Neil Young
I seem to remember reading Neil Young wrote this song when he was 14. Which just seems ridiculous. I think I would find a way to work Neil Young into any music I made. With the lyrics only staring at 3:23, and his signature idiosyncratic guitar work being expertly backed by Crazy Horse, this Epic is the best way I could think of to start off the list.

2. About Today - The National
I got into The National’s albums in reverse order, so I only recently got into this song properly. It’s been on repeat since then.

3. Carousel - Iron and Wine
The blessed Mr Beam gave us so much of the sound we crave. I am not a fan of his most recent release, Kiss Each Other Clean, which joins a growing trend of disappointing releases by artists who should know better (Band of Horses? Sufjan?). This song however is the first that came to my mind when thinking about this list.

4. House of Cards – Radiohead
Radiohead. If you feel like I do, there is no need to write anymore. If you don’t, I can’t explain.

5. Silver Soul - Beach House
The second song in Teen Dream’s wonderful opening trilogy. Possibly they are better heard together than one being singled out. The wavering lead and Victoria Legrand’s voice hold the in a perfect balance when it feels like it should spiral out of control. It is happening again…

6. Keep Your Head Up - Ben Howard
I got into Every Kingdom flying back and forth between Cape Town and Durban last year. Think flying at night, the dim lights of the cabin, the hum of the engine, headphones on max volume, letting the music heighten and illuminate the journey your thoughts take you on.

7. Naima - John Coltrane
I don’t profess to know a lot about jazz. My collection is mostly limited to Greatest Hits of Davis, Armstrong, Coltrane, Brubeck and the like. This song, apparently named after his wife, is apparently a standard. Beautiful.

8. Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix
I’ve heard friends describe this song as contrived. Maybe my tastes are contrived, but this is my favourite Hendrix song. He says as much with his guitar as with his lyrics, and the song just seems to glide.

9. The Cure - Pictures of You
I want to say Just Like Heaven or Mint Car, but if I'm honest they would not induce anything but the need to stand up and sing along at the top of my voice, which I am told is not advised.

10. Nobody But You – The Black Keys
Cruising riff, anchored by a steady beat, and straightforward longing blues, off an album that needs to be played through.

Top tens are an interesting concept. Hmmm. No Bon Iver? Lumineers? Fleet Foxes? Let’s just say that these are ten songs that, if you share some of my tastes, would be good to hear at our homes from home. Maybe it's more of a playlist, but I wouldn't profess to know as much as the Colombo boys do about that.

Happy listening :) What are you listening to while sipping on your cup of goodness?

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