I didn’t publish a playlist last week due to an unfortunate glitch on my mobile app, and the week before my laptop was having a funny five minutes, so I didn’t do a write up then. Regardless, I’m back this week, and it’s crazy to think it’s been over half a year since I began this. Enjoy.
1. ‘FLOWER’ – Soundgarden
A great bit of old-school grunge from one of the founding groups of the genre. Soundgarden were instrumental in the creation of the alternative-rock and grunge scene in their hometown of Seattle, along with other Seattle bands who were also signed to the Sub-Pop label. You might have heard of a couple of them. There’s um, Nirvana? Alice in Chains? Maybe, maybe not. ‘Flower’ is the opening track from Soundgarden’s debut album, Ultramega OK, and still as energising today as I’m sure it was back when it was first released.
2. ‘SHUT UP AND KISS ME’ – Angel Olsen
‘Shut Up And Kiss Me’ comes from American folk-rocker Angel Olsen’s most recent album, My Woman. Released as a single back in June, the track has been on the radio at work a lot recently, which I suppose is due, in part, to how infectious and how brilliant it is. The majority of My Woman is more laid back and at times emotionally crippling. ‘Shut Up and Kiss Me’ comes across as a more jaunty expression of frustration, and is a good lead into the rest of the album, which I highly recommend.
3. ‘DON’T BREATHE OUT’ – Roots Manuva
After getting all excited over featuring Roots Manuva’s ‘On A High’ quite a while ago, I managed to completely miss the release of the deluxe version of his 2015 album Bleeds. How that happened I don’t know, but I’m gutted that it’s taken me so long to give it a listen. Roots Manuva is one of the best British hip-hop artists because he brings together sounds from various cultures and backgrounds that have made the UK their home, and mashes them into a beautiful mixture, his voice adding to that mix wonderfully. ‘Don’t Breathe Out’ holds elements of dub, soul and hip-hop, and says a lot about Manuva’s musical upbringing.
4. ‘LOOKS IS DECEIVING’ – The Gladiators
The Gladiators gained most of their popularity during the 1970s, with possibly their most famous album, Trenchtown Mix Up, being released in 1976. From that album, ‘Looks is Deceiving’ is a gorgeous reggae track, containing simple, steady instrumentation, with beautiful harmonies soaring over the top. I’ve had this song on near-constant repeat all week, and had my first ever listen to Trenchtown Mix Up. It’s amazing stuff.
5. ‘LIKE EYE DID’ – Fil Bo Riva
I don’t think I’ve featured an Italian musician on the playlist before, so it’s great to see the kind of music coming out of the indie sector over there. Riva’s soulful voice in entrancing, and it haunts the five tracks on his EP, If You’re Right, It’s Alright. Mixing soul and folk, the singer-songwriter adds solid beats to sweeping harmonies, but it’s that voice that’ll leave you hungry for more. Incredibly excited to see how Riva’s career progresses.
6. ‘WHAT DOES YOUR SOUL LOOK LIKE? – PART 1 – BLUE SKY REVISIT’ – DJ Shadow
I’ve featured DJ Shadow on the playlist a couple of times already, but both of those times have used tracks from his most recent album. ‘What Does Your Soul Look Like – Part 1’ comes from Shadow’s 1996 debut album Entroducing…, and represents what much of the album is like. Most prominent throughout the LP are laid back, slow jams that create a rich, calming atmosphere. Entroducing… was met with critical acclaim, and after listening to it a couple of times, it’s easy to see why. Absolutely incredible.
7. ‘KEEP YOUR NAME’ – Dirty Projectors
Dirty Projectors are an American group that presumably formed after frontman David Longstreth decided he wanted to create music with other, equally talented individuals. After releasing a multitude of material between 2007 and 2012, the group seemed to go on hiatus up until late last week when Keep Your Name was released. It’s a haunting, somewhat scathing attack on the idea of art as commerce, and the desire of those who seek only fame, rather than true artistic quality. It’s the first bit of music by the group I’ve heard, but it’s made me want to hear so much more. Luckily, there’s a lot of it to keep me occupied.
8. ‘NEW SONG’ – Warpaint
Back in August, American indie outfit Warpaint released a new song, titled ‘New Song.’ That bloody hilarious American humour is so biting. It was part of their latest album, Heads Up, released last Friday. Whilst I’m not so much a fan of this album as their previous releases, it does contain some catchy tracks, including the disco inspired ‘New Song.’ It doesn’t, unfortunately, have quite the same edge as some of their older music, but at least it shows that they’ve grown as a group. Just maybe not in the way I would have liked.
9. ‘LIONHEARTED’ – Billie Marten
I’ve been waiting so bloody long for this album, ever since I first heard ‘Milk & Honey,’ and luckily it was worth the wait. Whilst it doesn’t necessarily cross the board with its range of emotions, Writings of Blues and Yellows shows how incredibly talented this 17-year old is. Yeah, 17. Incredibly beautiful work from a musician who has an amazing career ahead of her.
10. ‘CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ – The Mamas & The Papas
This song popped up randomly on shuffle the other day, and I must have repeated it at least 10 times (a whole lot, I know). Since then, it’s been stuck in my head like an itch I can’t scratch, and it’s really frustrating. Either that, or I have nits. Who knows? The harmonies are perfect here, and you can’t get better than a flute solo, can you really?