As you’re probably aware, it’s been a rough couple of days here in the Twin Cities, where I live. Almost a year after Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd on a South Minneapolis street corner, another unarmed black man has been killed by another white police officer — this time in the inner-ring suburb of Brooklyn Center, where 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot to death by Kim Potter, a decades-long veteran of the BCPD, and president of the police union there — just a few miles from where jurors now sit to decide if Chauvin should be convicted of the murder seen by millions of people around the world.
I’m not a huge jazz listener — I like it just fine, but I’m not one of those people who obsesses over which drummer played with whatever trio at some long-shuttered nightclub. Still, for the past few days, I’ve been listening to Dr. Lonnie Smith’s latest album, “Breathe,” on basically a non-stop rotation, after giving it a few cursory goes a week or two ago, largely on the strength of Iggy Pop’s guest vocals on a cover of Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman.” But after this past weekend, the whole album’s taken on an unexpected significance in my life. It feels like a jangly, jarring reflection of the world tearing itself apart so close to me that I worried the sound of circling helicopters would wake up my toddler last night. And at the same time, the album is mellow and soothing to the point that I can listen to it on repeat for hours on end without getting bored or anxious or frustrated at hearing the same songs over and over again. That’s quite the balancing act.
So, for this week’s office hours, I want to hear what you’ve been listening to lately. It can be something important and significant as befits these unsettled times, or just the beginnings to the soundtrack for your hot vaxx summer. New or old, upbeat or angry, I just wanna know what songs you’ve got running through your head these days. Drop a link, a video, a bandcamp, or whatever in the comments. It’s Office Hours, folks. Let’s hear it.