News broke last Thursday that Prince had passed away. This news, much like that of Bowie’s death, drove home the fact that musical legends are, unfortunately, human like the rest of us. But unlike the majority of us, they have the ability to reach millions of people through creative expression, communicating with people they will never meet through their music and their words. What a gift to own, and what selflessness to have to share that gift with the world. Prince was a little before my time, and while I knew the big hits, I hadn’t listened to most of his back catalogue. However, after the airwaves were full of his music over the weekend, I had the chance to appreciate his genius. What a shame I didn’t do it sooner.
However, there are people who I look at as the musical heroes of my generation, one of them being Mac Demarco. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who spent a few, tense hours obtaining tickets for one of his shows in June, and I’m really bloody excited. He’s kicking off the playlist this week. Enjoy.
1. ‘ANOTHER ONE’ – Mac Demarco
The title track from Mr Demarco’s 2015 mini-album, ‘Another One’ describes the thought process of a jealous lover in just two simple verses in a typically laid back way, with elements of psychedelia and Mac’s wonderfully relaxed delivery. This track, and indeed much of Mac Demarco’s catalogue have been listened to thoroughly this week after I found out I’d be seeing him. Can’t wait.
2. ‘A WELL ADJUSTED MAN’ – Coastguard
I fell in love with surf-rock after first watching Pulp Fiction many years ago. It fit the vibe of the film so perfectly, and accompanies many other things perfectly too. Like making a cup of tea, or playing Sudoku on the tube. ‘A Well Adjusted Man’ has been accompanying those things this week, and is a brilliant track from Brooklyn group Coastguard’s album, Devil on the Balcony. Check out the entire LP, it’s great.
3. ‘CORPSE’ – Franky Flowers
I mentioned ‘Corpse’ a few backs back when Franky Flowers first featured on the NEWISH Playlist, but I’ve been listening to it a lot more recently. A lot more upbeat that ‘Sneakers,’ this track fully captures the raw garage-rock sound that makes this band so exciting. I just wish there was more of them to consume. In an auditory format, I mean.
4. ‘START WEARING PURPLE’ – Gogol Bordello
I’ll be honest, I nicked the idea of using this tune from the radio. On Friday afternoon, the hosts played this is as an encouragement to honour Prince by wearing as much purple as possible. Although that was last week, this song got stuck in my head so quick I had to lie down. It also made me fall in love with Gogol Bordello all over again, who I’ve been neglecting in recent years. Wonderfully catchy, strange, and just brilliant.
5. ‘ARCHIE, MARRY ME’ – Alvvays
Released back in 2014, ‘Archie, Marry Me’ reminds me of when I first started Uni and met great people who introduced me to great music. Funny, that when I went to see some of them last Friday, this song came up on shuffle as I jumped off the train. Spooky stuff. A jangly, deliciously indie track from Canadian group Alvvays. It’s “Alvvays” on my regular playlist #winkwink.
6. ‘HAND IN GLOVE’ – The Smiths
‘Hand in Glove’ is one of my favourite tracks by The Smiths, mainly because it’s great following the guitar, bass, and vocal lines which all tumble along together beautifully. Being one of the first tracks I heard by The Smiths, it’ll always be on a playlist somewhere in my library, but I’ve been seeking it out more this week, and I have no idea why.
7. ‘GOLDEN CHORDS’ – Deakin
Deakin, a co-founding member of Animal Collective released his debut solo album, Sleep Cycle, a couple of weeks ago. A project that was nearly seven years in the making, Deakin has said that it was a long, difficult creative process, but Sleep Cycle is beautiful and definitely worth the wait. ‘Golden Chords’ is as ethereal as they come, and is incredibly experimental, like much of Animal Collective’s work.
8. ‘POEM‘ – She drew the gun
I know I only included Merseyside group She drew the gun last week, but they released an album on Friday and it’s bloody excellent. I couldn’t not include ‘Poem’ this week; it helped me stay calm on a packed train on Friday night as rain fell heavily, as it normally does in London. Singer Louisa Roach’s voice is sublimely captivating. Absolutely love this.
9. ‘CUT ME DOWN’ – Kevin Morby
Kevin Morby’s album Singing Saw has been garnering a shed load of attention since its release. Not normally listening to this kind of music, I stayed away from it. After Prince died, I realised I was being stupid and decided to try and expand my horizons a bit. I’m glad I did; Morby’s album is ensnaring, and this is mainly down to his vocal delivery which isn’t necessarily relaxed, but is intimate and delicate. ‘Cut me Down’ is a great example of this, and a good advert for the album.
10. ‘HOCUS POCUS’ – Focus
Massive change of pace here compared to the last few tracks. Released back in 1971, ‘Hocus Pocus’ by Focus is still not just enjoyable to say, but remains one of the best examples of music virtuosi having a tonne of fun, and showing off a bit whilst doing so. This song has yodelling, flute solos, guitar solos, drum solos, and a solid riff that carries it all through. I don’t know why I’ve been listening to it so much recently, but I have, and it’s wonderful.