Now we’ve gotten over the obvious excitement of the Mercury Prize nominations, it’s time to return to the normal playlist, which this week features a lovely combo of tracks old and new. Enjoy.
1. ‘IN WAVES’ – Slow Club
Born out of Sheffield, Slow Club formed in 2005 and have been touring and writing relentlessly ever since. I’ve said before that I’m a sucker for great harmonies, and I reckon much of that comes out of envy; I truly wish I could do what these people do so well. ‘In Waves’ is a great demonstration of the duo’s vocal talents, and is the first track I’ve heard by them. Rebecca Taylor sounds like Karen Carpenter reborn; it’s gorgeous to listen to. The single comes from their upcoming album One Day All of This Won’t Matter Anymore, due for release this Friday.
2. ‘SUDDENLY‘ – Drugdealer feat. Weyes Blood
Another mesmerising vocal performance from Natalie Mering, AKA Weyes Blood, on a track that, funnily enough, calls to mind something The Carpenters may have released, just like ‘In Waves.’ Michael Collins, AKA Drugdealer, has adopted a number of pseudonyms over his musical career, but Drugdealer is the first of those I’ve come across. ‘Suddenly’ is upbeat, psychedelic, and contains a gorgeous sax solo. Definitely keeping my eye on whatever else this musical marvel comes out with in the future.
3. ‘I KNOW IT’S OVER’ – The Smiths
Downtrodden and crushing lyrics are present throughout most of The Smiths’ work, but often they are accompanied by a raucous backing that make the tracks, at times, seem like something of a piss-take. ‘I Know It’s Over,’ however, does not fall in that category. Instead, it is stripped back and hollow, allowing Morrissey’s voice to dominate and make those words really pierce the soul. It’s one of my favourite tracks by The Smiths, due to the raw emotion and beautiful composition.
4. ‘TEXIA’ – Blossoms
Need a little cheering up after that one? Yeah, me too. This will sort that right out. A blistering track right from the start, ‘Texia’ takes inspiriation from the 90’s Madchester sound, but is infused with elements of psychedelia and funk. This helps to make it a great representation of the modern indie scene, with sounds akin to similarly brilliant bands like Peace and Temples. Their debut was released a couple of weeks ago, and is worth a listen.
5. ‘C-SIDE’ – The Wytches
I love these guys. They got me into a heavier, darker side of indie that I didn’t know existed at the time. I thought indie meant Razorlight or the Kooks, and no-one wants that. The Brighton-based group have had a crazy couple of years, and it looks like they have no intention of slowing down anytime soon. ‘C-Side’ comes from their upcoming album All Your Happy Life, due out on the 30th of September. The track is The Wytches to its core, but seems to have adopted slightly different production, making it sound a little more polished. Polished with no shine though; this is as heavy as previous releases, and I love it.
6. ‘WIDE EYED AND WILD’ – Rad FrÜ
A friend recommended Rad FrÜ to me and I’m so glad he did. Released as part of a 2-sided single, ‘Wide Eyed and Wild’ is electric, infectious, and hearkens back to a number of older rock groups whose influence has clearly been big on the duo. Not only do they create great music, but they also appear to be having a load of fun in the process of it. I’m looking forward to hearing more from them.
7. ‘VOREL’ – Russian Circles
Formed back in 2004, the Chicago-based group Russian Circles utilise their outstanding musicianship and obvious knowledge of the intricacies of timing and melody to form their sound. With no need to rely on vocals, the group create immersive walls of noise that are so engaging, I was forced to go back and re-listen to certain moments a number of times. ‘Vorel’ is taken from their most recent album Guidance, and it’s wonderfully hard-hitting.
8. ‘STUPID FACE’ – Haley Bonar
Combining all the best bits from folk, country and indie rock, Haley Bonar’s latest album Impossible Dream is 30 minutes of adrenaline-filled self-reflection, that is brilliant listening for the most part. Bonar’s voice is gorgeous and full of emotion, especially here on ‘Stupid Face.’ It’s catchy, wonderfully layered, and I love it.
9. ‘(I’M AFRAID) THE MASQUERADE IS OVER’ – Marvin Gaye
I’d added this to the list last week before the news broke that Ed Sheeran was being sued for “infringing” on ‘Let’s Get It On.’ After I heard that, I thought of removing this track, but then thought that was a ridiculous idea. Almost as ridiculous as the heirs of Ed Townsend (who co-wrote the track) bringing a lawsuit against Mr Sheeran. I won’t go into it too much here, but I don’t agree with it. Of course, I agree with protecting artistic integrity and copyrighted work, one-hundred percent. What I don’t agree with is this culture of suing that seems to be emerging in the industry, from those who arguably have no right suing in the first place. Anyway, back to this track. Gaye’s voice is magnificent here; gentle, haunting, incredible. Legendary stuff from a legend himself.
10. ‘TOBACCO ROAD’ – War
A classic funk track from a classic funk group. War were famous for combining a huge number of influences and mashing them into tight, intricate pieces of work that I’d love to dance to if I knew how. ‘Tobacco Road’ is fast and unforgiving; you’ll get lost if you stop listening, even for a second.