13 is meant to be an unlucky number, but I don’t really buy into all of that superstition. Not much anyway. One thing’s for certain though; it’s lucky you’ve got these songs in your life, because they’re great. (See what I did there? The old bait and switch? God I’m good.) Enjoy.
1. ‘FILL IN THE BLANK’ – Car Seat Headrest
The release of Car Seat Headrest’s second major label album Teens of Denial was not quite as smooth as the band, or indeed their label Matador would have wanted; a previously approved sample for one of the tracks was pulled at the last minute, resulting in a recall of all the physical albums. Although the album was released on-time digitally, it was likely frustrating for the Virginia group. That aside, the album is a masterful creation, offering hard-edged indie rock and brutally honest lyrics. ‘Fill in the Blank’ is a great opener to a brilliant album.
2. ‘HOT ONE’ – Savoy Motel
You know when you find yourself making weird faces whilst trying to comprehend what you’re listening to? That’s what happened when I first heard ‘Hot One,’ the debut single by Nashville group Savoy Motel released back in January. A brilliantly eccentric mixture of 70’s pop and indie rock, the band race through this track with abandon, creating something strangely beautiful. The band are quite mysterious in their marketing methods, but I hope to learn more about them soon.
3. ‘FRANKIE SINATRA’ – The Avalanches
I hadn’t heard of The Avalanches until ‘Frankie Sinatra’ dropped last week, but it’s been 16 years since they released any music at all. Having listened to their first and only full-length album, Since I Left You, they are now a firm favourite of mine. According to my sources, (what-apedia? What’s that?) The Avalanches create “plunderphonic” music, essentially utilising recordings of other tracks and creating a collage of those sounds. It’s a method that births mind-bending music that’s just fantastic.
4. ‘COME CLEAN – E NEW Y RADIO’ – Jeru the Damaja
Another artist I only came across last week, this time thanks to Romesh Ranganathan’s ‘Hip Hop Saved My Life Podcast.’ A track that is classic 90’s hip hop, featuring a dirty drum beat and a great flow from the New York-born rapper Jeru. The album it comes from, The Sun Rises in the East, has been listed as one of the greatest 100 hip hop albums of all time, and is definitely worth a listen.
5. ‘OLD SKOOL’ – Metronomy
An unashamedly funky, upbeat record that certainly lives up to its name, ‘Old Skool’ is loads of fun. It also promises good things for Metronomy’s fifth album, Summer 08, set for release at the beginning of July. I remember getting a free copy of Love Letters a couple of years ago, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it came with. I do remember loving it though, and I’m very excited for Summer 08.
6. ‘GOLDEN DAYS’ – Whitney
Whitney are a wonderful example of how combining the old and the new can work wonders. Their debut album, Light Upon the Lake, released last Friday, is a ride through vintage Americana tinged with modern indie influences. Julien Ehrlich’s voice is magical, and I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to kiss a man more after hearing his vocals on ‘Golden Days.’
7. ‘DOING IT TO DEATH’ – The Kills
‘Doing it to Death’ has been on the radio nearly non-stop since its release in early March, but it hasn’t been done to death itself yet, (God I’m on fire today). The opening track to their latest album Ash & Ice, released last Friday, the track features a crunchy riff from Jamie Hince, and amazing vocals as ever from Alison Mosshart. No doubt this one will get stuck in your head, apologies for that.
8. ‘GROOVIN’ HIGH’ – Dizzy Gillespie
An absolute master of his art, Dizzy Gillespie was a virtuoso who created some of the best jazz music known today. Breaking the boundaries on harmony and style, Gillespie is also known for popularising bebop, and for destroying the muscles in his cheeks from incredibly long jam sessions. That’s a kind of devotion I envy.
9. ‘MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO’ – Allan Kingdom
Kingdom released his mixtape Northern Lights back in January, but I only came across him last week. He featured on Kanye West’s track ‘All Day’ released in 2015, and it’s clear that West is a big influence on the Canadian rapper. Kingdom is still only 22, and has a lot of potential; I’m excited to see where he goes next.
10. ‘WHERE DID I GO?’ – Jorja Smith
After featuring ‘A Prince’ on a previous playlist, I promised I was going to keep an eye on the R&B songstress. I let ‘Where Did I Go?’ slip under my radar a couple of weeks ago though, but I’m so glad I’ve heard it now. Another excellent release from Smith, with clever songwriting and a voice that’s magical. Can’t wait to hear even more.