20 weeks. Where does the time go? I’ve been more committed to keeping this playlist going than I have been to my personal fitness. But let’s not kid ourselves, that’s not hard to do. Mainly pretty fresh music this week, including some tracks from artists who have featured previously. A lot of this week’s list is extremely laid back; it’s definitely what I needed when the heat caused the train tracks to “bend,” rendering my commute nearly impossible to complete. Absolute joke mate. Enjoy.
1. ‘EVIL’ – Savages
I started off the the first Newish Playlist with a Savages track, so it seemed appropriate for them to begin the list that was going to take us into 200 songs. Also, I know I said most of this playlist was laid back, but I let this one slip in because it’s so bloody good. All members of the group play so brilliantly, it’s easy to get riled up just by the music alone. This is also the track I imagine would fit perfectly over a montage of me storming the South West Trains headquarters and getting all my money back, due to their incompetence and lack of contingency planning skills. But whatever, I’m good.
2. ‘GINGER & RUTH’ – Jerry Paper
As a member of the ‘slacker-rock’ genre, Jerry Paper reminds me of Mac DeMarco, and that’s one reason I like his music. However, the main reason I’ve enjoyed listening to ‘Ginger & Ruth,’ as well as Toon Time Raw, the album it’s taken from, is because of the intricacies of the lyrics, which take a few attempts to fully make sense of (I’m still trying). The blend of synths and acoustic instruments works well, as do the catchy riffs and well-worked backing instrument lines. Although Jerry Paper reminded me of Mr DeMarco at first, he has become an artist I am deeply interested in for different reasons, and I will continue to be for a long while.
3. ‘AUGUSTINE’ – Blood Orange
Taken from Blood Orange’s (real name Dev Hynes) most recent album Freetown Sound, ‘Augustine’ is a beautiful, 80’s pop inspired piece of work that shows off Hynes’ excellent voice and song-writing skills. Calling on inspiration from electro and synth-pop, ‘Augustine’ is powerful and gentle all at once. Freetown Sound is a politically charged album, and comes during a time where racial injustices seem to be occurring all too frequently, especially in the US. Hynes, who is British, vocalises his frustrations at the injustices happening here in the UK, which is something that is not publicised as much as events happening in other parts of the world. He also opens himself up, laying his emotions out on a platter for all to witness, making the album a powerful piece of work that combines political exasperation with self-exploration.
4. ‘COLD LITTLE HEART’ – Michael Kiwanuka
In a similar fashion to Blood Orange’s Freetown Sound, Michael Kiwanuka’s latest album Love & Hate explores both struggles caused by internal and external forces. Again, it’s interesting hearing the prejudices a black man in the UK feels on a daily basis, as it’s something that is not widely publicised in the media, and something that I myself will never experience. Kiwanuka explains that fact on this album, pointing out that I won’t ever experience some of the traumas and injustices he has, and that fact that I will probably never be able to fully understand how it feels. Accompanying Kiwanuka’s lyrics, are his voice and soul, which bleed into the feel of the music and give it a great kick. ‘Cold Little Heart’ opens the album with a five minute orchestral introduction, but then leads into a soul-filled track that carries with it a great hook, and masterfully layered instrumentation.
5. ‘NIGHT ON EARTH’ – Jerkcurb
London-based musician Jerkcurb, (also known as Jacob Read on official government documentation) released 2-part single ‘Night on Earth’ a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since I discovered it. ‘Night on Earth’ describes Read’s online relationship with a girl, and how he imagined that he’d only be able to meet her if the world was ending (read his interview with DIY Mag here). It’s a tortured, dark, wonderfully indie track and I’m looking forward to following Read’s career.
6. ‘LEADLIGHT’ – Julia Jacklin
Returning to the playlist after a whole 2 week absence is Julia Jacklin, one of my new favourites. This time she brings us ‘Leadlight’ which is another excellent track from her recently announced debut full-length album, coming out on October 7th. I’m a little bit excited. She’s also doing a UK tour which I’m a little bit excited about as well. I’m going to be at this gig, anyone wanna come with?
7. ‘LAVENDER SCARS’ – Phebe Starr
I keep going on about the Aussies putting out amazing musicians, and here’s another one to add to the list. Released on the 15th of this month, ‘Lavender Scars’ is dominated by layered vocals, harmonising beautifully with the aid of an incredibly active vocoder. Having grown up in an isolated part of Australia, Starr was able to work on honing her musical skills, and whilst I wouldn’t go so far as to call her completely unique, it’s clear that her influences will aid her in a rich musical career.
8. ‘KOMMETJIE’ – Diamond Thug
It really is great hearing new music from artists you discovered a long, long time ago (20 weeks does seem like a lifetime). I included Diamond Thug on the first playlist, and I’m glad they’re here again this week. According to the group, ‘Kommetjie’ is a surf town south of Cape Town, where the band has been living for the past year. It was here that they recorded a demo of the track using an iPhone, and it blossomed into this gorgeous, ethereal creation that paints images of sun, surf and sand, (you get clichés all year with me).
9. ‘SEA ORGAN’ – Lou Rhodes
I said last week that I was looking forward to Lou Rhodes’ album being released, and it was! And it was…good. Not amazingly thought-provoking or genre-changing, but good. Solid. Decent. Pleasant. Full of tracks like ‘Sea Organ’ that will relax the shit out of you, but won’t have you contemplating them for too long. Rhodes’ voice is great, and it’s especially brilliant on this track.
10. ‘THE SIDESHOW’ – DJ Shadow feat. Ernie Fresh
Having not previously listened to DJ Shadow’s latest album, I wasn’t aware of this track until I heard it on the radio last week. I released the song he made with Run The Jewels for pretty much the same reason; I guess I’ve never actually given a dance record a proper chance, but I will certainly make more of an effort in the future. ‘The Sideshow’ is fantastic, showing off not only Shadow’s production skills, but also his mixing and scratching talent, (God I hope I got that right). This track is infectiously fun, and I reckon you’ll love it.