Anyone who’s been reading this silly little website for some amount of time knows that Kai Orion is one of our favorite artists in the history of forever, and his 2015 set, “Pots & Pans,” was nothing short of a masterpiece. He’s going to be bringing his Gabriel-ian awesomeness to Cafe Nola on Friday, July 7, and not only are we told that the show will mark his birthday, but we also wanted to make sure that you had ample amount of time to adjust your schedule accordingly in order to make it out and celebrate with him next week. In anticipation of the show, we reached out to Kai, who was kind enough to offer up a Celebrity Playlist that features everything from Elbow to Genesis to Massive Attack to Tom Waits. He’ll be taking the stage with Alexander Gallows and Luna. The fun will start at 10 p.m. If you miss it, you’ll be missing out. And that’s the truth, friends. That’s the truth.
Peter Gabriel: “Here Comes The Flood”
Peter Gabriel is something of a musical father figure to me, and this song has always been one of my favorites. As I understand, the lyrics depict a supernatural event in which all of consciousness joins together and everyone’s secrets are released. There’s several versions of this song and my personal favorite is the gorgeously sparse rendition that appears on Robert Fripp’s album “Exposure.”
Talk Talk: “After the Flood”
The first time I heard Talk Talk’s “Laughing Stock” I was blown away. This is one of the darker moments on the album – it’s a moody, intense track that sort of builds out of nothing. Midway through, there’s this horrible guitar sound that comes in out of nowhere, lasts for like a minute and a half, and then vanishes. Supposedly, the band was actually sued by their record company over this album for being “willfully uncommercial and obscure.”
Elbow are a wonderful band that I’ve been really into lately. This song is a great example of their ability to marry explorative music with incredibly poignant lines like, “You are the only thing in any room you’re ever in.”
The National: “Apartment Story”
The National has this strange effect where the first time you hear them you’re not all that impressed, and then six days later, you’re at the laundromat, going through the motions, when all of the sudden you come to the realization that they’re the greatest band ever. They’ve become one of my favorite bands over the years, and I’m not just saying that because they paid me.
Tom Waits: “Anywhere I Lay My Head”
Not many artists can sound this strange and this moving at the same time. It’s a cathartic, hymn-like piece with one of the most impassioned vocals I’ve ever heard, and the New Orleans-style big band reprise at the end is icing on the cake.
Leonard Cohen: “Suzanne”
I’ve been rediscovering Leonard Cohen’s music since his death last year. This is a classic song and features one of my favorite lyrics, illustrating Cohen’s ability to write beautiful imagery that alternates between intimate and grandiose.
Genesis: “Supper’s Ready”
I think I was eight years old when I first heard this song, and it really captured my imagination and showed me how music could be a storytelling medium. It’s a 22-minute exploration into the quieter side of prog, the first half of the song being almost entirely acoustic. There’s no shortage of lengthy instrumental passages, and yet it never feels self-indulgent to me.
Jethro Tull: “Thick As A Brick”
Rock guitarists have an infinite litany of idols to choose from, but us flautists are stuck with Jethro Tull. Not that that’s a bad thing. I loved everything about this song/album when I discovered it – the snarling flute sounds, the folksy songwriting, the clever lyrics, and the Pythonian humor that tied it all together.
Massive Attack: “Teardrop”
Massive Attack was my gateway into electronic music. This is one of favorite songs by them, with its iconic guitar and piano pattern. Hypnotic and peaceful.
Bruce Cockburn: “Live on My Mind”
“It’s your eyes I wanna see looking into mine/I got you live on my mind, all the time.” This has been one of my favorite songs to cover over the years.