Gray Days and Gold August 2020

Hello, friends. We’re back with an hour of music that sounds the way August feels: humid and hazy, languid and lazy. (If you’re just discovering Gray Days and Gold, here’s an introduction that explains the show’s raison d’être.)

You can listen via the embedded player just below in this post—if you don’t see it, try turning off your ad-blocker then reloading the page—or on the Mixcloud website, via the Mixcloud mobile app, on your Sonos system, etc.

For those who prefer Spotify, there’s also a more bare-bones iteration of this episode’s playlist here (minus my commentary, as well as any songs that are missing from Spotify’s library).

Gray Days and Gold, August 2020

  1. Jacques Brel, “Je suis un soir d’été” (1968) • BUY
  2. The Clientele, “Closer” (2020) • BUY
  3. Thanya Iyer, “Into the Water” (2020) • BUY
  4. Astrud Gilberto with Stanley Turrentine, “Ponteio” (1971) • BUY
  5. Kamaal Williams, “Toulouse” (2020) • BUY
  6. Wye Oak, “No Place” (2020) • BUY
  7. Broadcast, “Where Youth and Laughter Go” (2000) • BUY
  8. David Ian Roberts, “Now Or Never” (2020) • BUY
  9. Terry & The Lovemen (XTC), “The Good Things” (1995) • BUY
  10. White Boy Scream, “Bituing” (2020) • BUY
  11. Stuart Moxham & Louis Philippe, “The Devil Laughs” (2020) • BUY
  12. Mr. Elevator, “Bamboo Forest” (2020) • BUY
  13. Atmosphere, “Postal Lady” (2019) • BUY
  14. Momus, “September” (2020) • BUY
  15. Maria Schneider Orchestra, “Sanzenin” (2020) • BUY
  16. Nelson Kempf, “Sweetness & Strife” (2020) • BUY


Brel Presents “Je suis un soir d’été” on TV

The performance is a lip-synch, but the staging—human dioramas illustrating each verse—is lovely, capturing the song’s sense of heavy stillness. (This video’s English subtitles are artlessly literal, but at least useful for context.)

My LP Wall, Coronavirus Edition Update No. 3

As last mentioned with the May episode, I maintain a display of nine ever-changing LP covers on the dining room wall. Since Coronavirus hit, I’ve been using the display to express the phases of the crisis. Here’s update No. 3: maintaining social distance.

An arrangement of nine LP record covers on a wall, in which all the pictured figures are maintaining distance from one another. Artists include Al diMeola, The Jam, Kissing the Pink, Abba, Rush, Thomas Dolby, Tears for Fears, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, and John Trubee & the Ugly Janitors of America

The Importance of the U.S. Postal Service

This episode contains a brief tribute to the U.S. Postal Service, the role and funding of which were actively undermined by former President George W. Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress with an onerous 2006 law, and are currently under attack by the sitting US president in his attempt to subvert electoral democracy.

In 2017, the 99% Invisible podcast aired a fascinating piece on the history of the Postal Service, and how it can convincingly lay claim to having united the American colonies into a single entity and created the infrastructure we now take for granted. Find it here.

Japanese Gardens

This episode also contains an instrumental piece inspired by Tokyo’s Sanzen-in Temple & Gardens, a place I’d love to see someday. If visiting Tokyo’s not in your cards in the foreseeable future, you might be surprised to find a number of Japanese gardens closer to home. One of my favorites, the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, is in Philadelphia; even on a November day (when I visited), it was stunningly beautiful.

As always, thanks for listening. If you’d like to receive these posts via email, you can sign up for my newsletter here. Be well, and I’ll see you again soon.

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    Gray Days and Gold