I’ve always struggled combining my two favorite art forms: music and writing. Often, they can distract from one another when I’m attempting to both read and listen simultaneously. I’m sure many of us have experienced the distraction that comes with music interrupting the literary train of focus and thought. Throughout my years, however, I have collected a group of albums that I love to read and write to, with mostly relaxing, dreamy sounds or delightfully patterned instrumentals that add ambiance to your next cozy day with a book. Here are my picks for albums to read to:
An Awesome Wave by Alt-J
A really cool, really pleasing to the ears collection of music. Their sound has a folky, electronic pop with a splash of psychedelia, in certain songs. Instrumentally satisfying. A perfect album to play on a rainy, book-in-bed day.
My favorite song from the album: Dissolve Me
III by BadBadNotGood
BadBad is a stellar modern jazz group ties a little hip-hop inspiration into velvety, cascading tones. This dynamic group provides brain food while not distracting you from your reading with words. Perfect for those of us who can’t seem to concentrate when they listen to music and try to read or write. The lack of singing allows for a clean, instrumental flow. The jazz background is also proven to help with studying and focusing.
My favorite song from the record: Kaleidoscope
Bread Pilot by Bread Pilot
Check them out on BandCamp
Bread Pilot is originally a local band from my high school town of Southbury, CT. Their sound has punk, rock and psychedelic-inspired instrumentals and flows perfectly, taking a more relaxed tone to those rock and punk ideas. Melancholy lyrics provide a blue yet soothing layer to their garage-style tunes.
My favorite song from the record: Evandaddi
Con Todo El Mundo by Khruangbin
Probably the most beautiful, relaxing collection of music I’ve ever listened to. With roots of classical soul and jazz and layering overtones of psychedelia, this music provides relaxation and stimulation perfect for reading. With some Latin, Thai and Middle East-inspired beats, this album also has some dancing tunes mixed in. Nearly lyric-less, it’s perfect brain food for settling down with a book or even some homework. I’ve listened to it on repeat ever since it was released.
My favorite song from the record: I don’t have one! This entire album is incredible.
Past is Prologue by Tycho
Tycho has been described as an “electronic dream,” and it is just that. Psychedelic instrumentals are perfect for down-winding with a book. They produce a cosmic relaxation that is gorgeous.
My favorite song from the record: Sunrise Projector
Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens
This collection of melancholy tunes along with soothing, gentle instrumentals are perfect for a good read. This is another album I love to listen to in the rain. This album also somewhat reminds me of reading poetry, as the lyrics are poignantly dark and emotional. The simple, peaceful tunes in this album are good for those of us who can listen to lyrics while reading or writing.
My favorite song from the record: Death with Dignity
Mantis I by Mantis
Check them out on BandCamp.
This is another local artist that a friend showed me recently. They’re out of Hartford, carrying with them loose, indie-rock vibes with splashes of modern psychedelia. Some songs are accompanied by lyrics, most are jazz-inspired grooves that remind me of sunny days and happiness. Good mood tunes for good reads!
My favorite song from the record: Lakeside