I’ve been in a rather dreamy mood this week, and a number of songs on this list represent that. There’s no particular reason for my mood, but I suppose it’s because I feel fully settled into my new job now. The songs probably reflect that; relaxed and more laid back for the most part. God, maybe I’m just turning into an old man already. Scary stuff. Enjoy.
1. ‘RADIO SILENCE’ – James Blake
James Blake makes wonderful, atmospheric music that transports into different dimensions. ‘Radio Silence’ is the opening track from The Colour In Anything, released just over a month ago. After winning the Mercury Prize for his second album, Blake has continued to grow as musician. Not only has he collaborated with some huge names, but he has shown that there is beauty in bleakness through his music.
2. ‘ANY DAY NOW’ – Elbow
More Mercury Prize winners here; Elbow have been working solidly as a band for nearly two decades, and received huge mainstream success when they’re album The Seldom Seen Kid was awarded the Mercury Prize in 2008. ‘any day now’ is the opener for their debut album, released way back in 2001, but it still holds up brilliantly today.
3. ‘QUEEN CHAMELEON’ – Cat’s Eyes
Formed by The Horrors frontman Faris Badwan and classical multi-instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira, Cat’s Eyes are a cross-pollination of styles that has yielded brilliant results. Badwan’s voice glides across the backing instrumentation ‘Chameleon Queen,’ culminating is something that is reminiscent of Pachelbel’s Canon. I worked at the NME awards a couple of years ago, and was looking after Cat’s Eyes. I say looking after, but perhaps looking for them is a better description of the evening. Lovely people though, who make lovely music.
4. ‘THE BALLAD OF THE COSTA CONCORDIA’ – Car Seat Headrest
Although I included Car Seat Headrest only last week, I couldn’t refuse putting ‘The Ballad of Costa Concordia’ on this list, mainly because I’ve had it on near-constant repeat. It’s a harrowing, heart-wrenching confessional from Will Toledo, as he compares his perceived failures of life with the sinking of the Costa Concordia back in 2012. His lyrics are accompanied by juxtaposing heavy and delicate sounds that clash throughout the song’s 11-and-a-half minutes.
5. ‘YOUR LIFE IN THE END’ – Prince Rama
Something a bit lighter and more upbeat is needed after that last one, hey? Prince Rama are a psych-dance outfit based in Brooklyn. Their album Xtreme Now, released in March, was apparently the group’s attempt at representing the world of extreme sports through music. Yeah, I don’t really get that from this song either. Instead, I get an infectious, pysch-pop romp that’s great fun to listen to.
6. ‘NOBODY SPEAK’ – DJ Shadow feat. Run The Jewels
DJ Shadow was featured on a playlist a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I’d let RTJ have the picture for this one. And I mean, just look at it. Perfection. Run the Jewels are an incredible duo, and I’m ashamed I haven’t included them sooner. ‘Nobody Speak’ is a full of funk and great flows from Killer Mike and El-P, with top-quality production from DJ Shadows. As a side note, listen to Scroobius Pip interview Killer Mike on his Distraction Pieces Podcast if you have a spare hour or so. It’s incredible.
7. ‘FAIRIES WEAR BOOTS’ – Black Sabbath
After a wonderfully heavy intro, Ozzy’s signature voice kicks in on ‘Fairies in Boots,’ the closing track to Black Sabbath’s 1970 album Paranoid. Combining elements of blues, hard rock, and ideas that would later be called heavy metal, it’s so classically Sabbath it hurts.
8. ‘BEAUTIFUL THING’ – The Stone Roses
If I believed in a God, I’d thank him. I’d thank him for this, because it shows The Stone Roses still have it. I can now be honest and say that I’m not a fan of ‘All For One,’ but so blinded was I by the excitement of new music from this lot, that I lied to myself. ‘Beautiful Thing’ isn’t ground-breaking or innovative, but it’s solid, great music from The Stone Roses, and I actually enjoy listening to it.
9. ‘I AM THE BLACK GOLD OF THE SUN’ – Rotary Connection
I’d never heard of Rotary Connection before, but heard this track on the radio late last week. It turns out that they were the backing musicians on Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf’s forays into the world of psychedelia after the success of their debut album. A band recruited by Marshall Chess, Rotary Connection created highly experimental music during the psychedelic explosion in the US.
10. ‘DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW’ – ABBA
You’ll know why if you’ve seen Johnny English. If you haven’t, here you are.