What to Listen to This Week

If you’re looking to get into Neil Young, skip streaming and head to the record store.


The laudatory press around Neil Young’s departure from Spotify was deflated when he struck a deal with Amazon, so if you’re looking to get into Young, skip streaming and head to the record store. It’s easy to find copies of Harvest and After the Gold Rush. Less familiar from rock radio are Time Fades Away—a live document of a frustrating tour where the band’s anger and drunkenness actually benefits the music—and Rust Never Sleeps, a treatise on death that encourages the listener to value life a little more.


When artists try to get back into the headspace of their glory days, the results usually make you wish they’d just tried something fresh. Yet while Soichi Terada made Asakusa Light with ‘90s equipment and in a ‘90s mindset, it’s as good as anything he’s ever made. Terada is best known as the composer for the Ape Escape games, but in an album format, his mysterious, good-natured take on classic deep house expands into its own little universe. Nostalgia is irrelevant to this music: This stuff sounds great now, and it’ll sound great for years.


Michael Hurley, known as “Snock” to his friends, is still a live fixture around town at 80. His music’s balance of deep weirdness and domestic comfort could only come from a man who’s spent more than five decades as a respected cult figure; the few who know him know how good he is. His newest album, Time of the Foxgloves, is one of his most rustic and beautiful records, but to really understand the Hurley cult, queue up Have Moicy!, his hash-perfumed 1976 collab with Portland band Jeffrey Frederick and the Clamtones and yawp-voiced jester Peter Stampfel.


Yoko Ono doubters need only seek out Season of Glass to have their worldview permanently changed. Recorded in 1981 after John Lennon’s death, Glass expresses grief not through laments to heaven, but by describing Ono’s attempt to lead a routine life while in a daze. Everything feels a little surreal, a little off, a little topsy-turvy. And it’s pop music! Ono’s a good singer, belying hard-earned wisdom with a naive posture, similar to latter-day quirksters like Regina Spektor. It’s rough listening, but not in the way you’d expect from Ono.