Bit of a strange mix this week. To be honest I’ve said that a fair bit because the combination is always somewhat odd. I think I’m trying to excuse my inability to put together a coherent playlist of music. Ah well. As always, enjoy.
1. ‘THESE WALLS’ – Nessi Gomes
‘These Walls’ was released a little while ago as the lead single from Nessi Gomes’ debut album, Diamonds and Demons, released last Friday. Whilst it’s fair to say that Gomes is clearly very much a folk artist, it’s also important to note the progressive qualities apparent throughout her music. Whether it’s developing on standard folk tropes, or trying something completely original, it all seems to work beautifully. With a gorgeous, near-flawless vocal performance throughout the LP, Gomes has accomplished something wonderful here.
2. ‘HANDS OF TIME’ – Margo Price
This track was a very late entry to the playlist, mainly because I only heard of Margo Price for the first time after listening to Marc Maron’s podcast with her from late last week. It’s another great podcast, in that Maron is able to extract brilliant facts about Price’s life and songwriting process. They discuss ‘Hands of Time,’ the opening track of Price’s critically acclaimed debut solo album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the whole LP yet, but I’m very much looking forward to it.
3. ‘MARCEL’ – Her’s
A lovely bit of tropical jangle pop from Liverpool duo Her’s. The pair met as students, and immediately struck a chord with one another, debuting their first couple of tracks earlier this year. ‘Marcel’ is their latest effort, and promises that there are many more good things to come from the two.
4. ‘I WANNA PROVE TO YOU’ – The Lemon Twigs
I included The Lemon Twigs a few weeks ago on the playlist, but thought I’d include them again after they released their debut album, Do Hollywood, last Friday. It’s had mixed reviews, with some calling it lazy due to its love of nostalgia, whilst others have praised it for the very same reason. I personally enjoyed it, mainly because of the melodic playfulness, beautiful harmonies and quality production. But that’s just me. ‘I Wanna Prove to You’ is the opening track of the album, and opens the LP in a great way.
5. ‘DOUBLETHINK’ – Douglas Dare
One of the singles from Dare’s second album, Aforger, ‘Doublethink’ is a showcase of this London-based musician’s talent for creating infectious hooks in a more avant-garde setting that does not necessarily need catchy melodies. Having released his debut album back in 2014, Dare has been working hard at developing his songwriting and his talent has clearly been growing steadily. Aforger is a solid LP that I would highly recommend.
6. ‘LEARNING TO FLY’ – Deep Sea Arcade
Oh would you look at that. Yet another Australia pysch-indie band that I really fucking like. I dunno what you’re doing to me Aus, but it’s not fair. Deep Sea Arcade received worldwide attention with the release of their debut album back in 2012, and haven’t put out anything since. I suppose that’s good in a way, as it means they haven’t been pumping content out for the sake of it. But it does mean there’s not too much music for me to consume, which is always a shame. ‘Learning to Fly’ is a fun, upbeat track, laden with great vocals and interesting melodies.
7. ‘FRONTIER PSYCHIATRIST’ – The Avalanches
The Aussies are still trying to take over aren’t they? ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’ was the first single by The Avalanches to receive commercial success, and is still praised today by music critics for its use of samples and turntablist Dexter Fabay’s scratching talents. The Avalanches have created music that sounds as fresh today as it probably did 16 years ago, and any future releases are likely to hold this quality as well.
8. ‘DANGER’ – Vic Mensa
Taken from Mensa’s EP release, There’s Alot Going On, ‘Danger’ shows Mensa at his most pop-savvy and commercially aware. That’s not to say it doesn’t hold the same weight as the other tracks on the EP, but it doesn’t have the emotional edge as others. I’ve included it because it’s one of the most appealing on the EP, and it might convince you to check the rest out. Which you should. Nice one.
9. ‘SUDDENLY’ – Billy Ocean
A couple of strange choices to close us out this week. Firstly, a true classic from the honey-voiced Billy Ocean. I don’t know how I got this stuck in my head last week, but I was obsessed with ‘Suddenly’ a few years ago and I’m worried that obsession may have returned. But it is bloody great, right?
10. ‘DONNA’ – Richie Valens
This track was a little different, in that I hadn’t heard it before. Last week though, on BBC 6 Music, Dr John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell performed a cover of ‘Donna’, and it was so good it forced me to look up the original. It’s a gorgeous track, performed brilliantly by a musician who died tragically at the age of 17. Hailed as a rock and roll pioneer, it’s sad that Valens died before his career, and life for that matter, had really begun.