Hey gang. I hope that, wherever you are, you and your loved ones are safe and well. Give everyone a big virtual (non-contact) squeeze for me, would you?
Today’s playlist comes from our friend and Spotisfaction regular, Ben Hawling. In this current climate, I think that music is a powerful thing; we can all use a bit of positivity and fantasy, so thank you for this, Ben. Here he is:
Hi! Welcome back Spotisfaction!
So, a year ago, I was stuck in a soul-destroying job where I was constantly unhappy. I would often visualise a scene in my mind, wherein I would be on a terrace/ patio, complete with bright beaming sunshine and shimmering music surrounding me, drinking beer, relaxing, with all of the bullshit of work far away from me. Ok, so I appreciate that this all sounds a little pedestrian and cliché. But, naturally, the fantasy became more and more important to me, as it was slowly etched onto my mind and took the form of a sanctuary, where I hoped to finally find resolve. As a result, the terraces/ patios that I actually experienced were, of course, immediately sullied by the impossibly high expectations that I had applied, therefore, making the fantasy seem increasingly more unrealistic and unobtainable, which made the torment even worse.
Anyways, this collection acts as one part of a 2 playlist set that I’ve put together, which both include tracks that would often soundtrack my fantasy, in both the day and night hours, and would, in turn, carry me through the pain and inertia. Also, I’ve included a few new-ish tracks that I feel continue to illustrate this fantasy appropriately. So, I hope that you enjoy this particular collection and that it fills your soul with the taste of sugary sweet positivity and, most importantly, hope, as we draw closer to summer. For me, these collections evoke the feeling of freedom and serenity, as well as the feeling of departure and release from all the hate and worry. I sincerely hope that they do the same for you.
Here’s to the hope for happiness, the hope for renewed good health and well-being, and the hope of a better life. Chin up, we’re almost there…..
Happy Friday, y’all. Jazzanova (one of our favourites here at Spotisfaction HQ) just dropped this week’s update to their on-going playlist Jazzanova on the decks celebrating everything they play “in clubs, coffee shops, bars, festivals, during after parties, warm up, prime time, late night, on the radio and…”. Have a listen, enjoy, and stay safe this weekend.
Gotta tell you, folks, putting these playlists together has completely reinvigorated my love for finding stuff I’ve not heard before. How often do you get stuck in a rut listening to the same old artists over and over again? I know for the last 10 years that was definitely the default action for me.
My standouts this week are the Nai Palm & Amadou Suso three-part cover, Blackstar / Pyramid Song / Breathing Underwater – what an amazing track. I also love chilled-out Beastie Boys, and a bit of Ben Folds Five never goes amiss.
Hope you enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
Morning, gang. Took the kids to Legoland this weekend and my feet are absolutely bloody killing me. Question: is there anything better in this world after a solid two days of walking than getting your shoes off, feet up, pint in hand in front of the telly? Not a lot, as it happens.
This week I’ve put together a playlist made up of some of my most-playeds over the last 6 months or so. I commute to work on the train these days, so I’ve usually got an hour or so of quality music time before I get home in the evening. This is the playlist I’ve been putting on to completely zone out and start to unwind. Hope it does the same for you.
Reminder: we’d love your playlist submissions, I know you’ve got ’em in you. Hit the link here and show us what you got.
Hi folks. It’s been a wonderful, insightful and sometimes strange year in the life of Spotisfaction, and it’s now time to wind-down and get ready for the Christmas period. We’ll be taking a bit of a break until the New Year, but will be back in full force come January! Before we leave you, though, here are our staff picks for 2010’s best albums.
Have a lovely, safe and relaxing holiday and catch you next year!
It has been a toughie to pick the album of the year. There were so many brilliant releases, some of which I still haven’t digested properly, but also nothing that really changed my life. So it had to come down to which album I loved from start to finish and for me, Perfume Genius Learning was pocket aces. It’s a hauntingly beautiful record. Learning has an honesty and fragility which, even after months of obsessive plays, hasn’t lost its poignancy. It wouldn’t win feel good hit of the year by a long shot, however it more than deserves to be a contender for album of the year.
I’ve put a lot of thought into what I think is my album of the year as there are some very strong contenders with albums like High Violet by The National, Spirit Youth by The Depreciation Guild, Forgiveness Rock Record by Broken Social Scene, Infinite Arms by Band Of Horses and The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, to mention just a few, all released this year.
However the one album I find myself keep going back to time and again is Broken Bells by Broken Bells. When I first heard about a collaboration between musician and producer Danger Mouse and The Shins front man James Mercer I was intrigued. Danger Mouse has a bit of a history of getting the most out of an odd mix of musicians but would he be able to do the same with the notoriously introverted Mercer? The answer is quite simply yes as it turns out that these two are a perfect match. What you end up with is something a bit livelier than The Shins and has some of the standard Danger Mouse touches which pushes Mercer’s sumptuous yet melancholic songcraft forward to create a haunting yet captivating experience. It’s rare that you can find something so brooding that is so appealing. It’s an odd mix but it works together so well to create one of the most outstanding debut albums I have heard in years.
Well this qualifies as my album of the year mainly because it is the only one from this year that I’m still consistently listening to. My one year old seems to like it too. Anyway onto actual reasons. The whole Noise Pop thing is new to me and I think I like it. That distorted, fuzzy style best heard at absurdly ear bleeding levels mixed with Alexis Krauss’ frequently delicate vocals creates a highly pleasing mix. The album is all good, if not especially varied, but stand out tracks include Riot Rhythm and Crown On The Ground. The first because of the feeling that someone went to an American high school pep rally and turned it up till the speakers broke and the latter for its remarkable catchy tune. All in all I think this album is the mutts nuts. Well if someone kicked the buggery out of the poor dogs nuts.
2010 has, I feel confident in saying, being an exceptional year for releases. Indeed I had a ‘short’list of 25 albums that I found it very hard to choose between. The album I decided upon, Foals’ Total Life Forever, was for me an album that edified the potential I knew this band had, but felt they’d failed to capture on their debut album. The maturity and songwriting chops on this album, and the amount I’ve listened to it, meant it had to be my album of 2010.
Embracing a warmth they deliberately shunned on the first album – when their first choice producer Dave Sitek made their songs, apparently, sound like they were ‘in the fucking Grand Canyon’ – reverb is conspicuously present on their follow up. A deeper sound, subtler textures, maturity in songwriting (double header ‘Black Gold and Spanish Sahara’ showing their ability to control flow and dynamics in a way robotically obliterated on their first release) shows a band growing into themselves calmly. They’re also still a phenomenal live band, including an electrifying performance at this years Glastonbury, so for me, it’s Foals this year.
For me, Deftones hit the ground running with Diamond Eyes. It’s no secret that the band have gone through some really rough times in the recent past, particularly since unreleased album Eros was shelved following bassist Chi Cheng’s horrific car accident in 2008 (an accident which has left him even now barely conscious). This rocked the band in a massive way, making the decision to carry on recording undeniably tough. So, the raw energy which is apparent in Diamond Eyes is a statement – the band are focussed, as one, and playing to their (considerable) strengths. It might be seen by some as a band playing it safe (there’s none of the experimenting in soundscapes that has been prevelant since White Pony), but for me this album is brutally heavy, intelligently written, well put-together and a massive triumph.
Reading the liner notes for Hooray! for Happiness (that feel more like a prologue to a book) quickly tell you the conditions of the recording and that, importantly, a computer had no place in the process. Opener ‘Every Second Is A Second Chance’ builds on reverbed guitar, fragments of saxes coming out of the distance and hushed voices that build into mess of melody, choral shouts over a flurry of instruments. It’s the perfect opener and in this respect sets the tone for what’s to come. Part song/part instrumental, never staying within one genre, the band seem to posses a wide range of influences, even throwing in some elements of swing time and prog jazz.
But it’s the moments of calm that stick out for me, like the pairing of ‘Gusts Of Wind Blowing In Different Directions’ leading into ‘Home’. The later gives us simplistic but emotive lyrics, delivered in a dart like melody, building towards a layered crescendo, accompanied in part by the gentle clicking of fingers and heavy breathing, here used as percussion. The former is staggeringly bare leading way to a hunting piano part twinkling over gentle strings, gushing with feeling. It’s the moments like this that truly reflect the warmth of this LP. You get the feel for a recording that was a spur of the moment, late night sessions that went into the early hours of the morning, a series of ‘takes’ never to be repeated; happy accidents that sound intentional. You get a sense of just a group of people getting caught in creating this sound, a group not concerned with a clinical production.
It’s creatively working within the self imposed limitations that make this such a triumph, in this case sparking from an inventive solution round a problem, not simply throwing more money at it until it gets solved. Who needs Abby Road when you have a 16 track, a loop pedal and a few late nights in a quiet suburban town?
I’ve been a huge fan of Cheltenham Underground regular Juey for quite some time and was lucky enough to catch her recently at Vinestock 2010, where she was accompanied by Tom Mitchell on acoustic guitar.
If you missed her, you’re in luck. Juey managed to source a pretty handy BOSS BR series digital recorder and recorded the whole set. Woop etc.
You can download the set here: http://juey.bandcamp.com/, or, alternatively, please feel free to listen to the stream below. Either way, make sure you check her out when she’s next playing near you!
Hello everybody out there in the big wide world music-loving world. It’s a bank holiday over here, nobody’s at work, making it all the more important we give you a playlist to peruse, consume, and enjoy to your hearts content today. We’ve got a good one for you all, with Kev Atkinson’s 2010 So Far – it’s been one hell of a year so far hasn’t it, and there are still… 1.. 2.. 3.. 4 months to go!
Incidentally, we’ve got a particularly eclectic week planned over the next 5 days, so make sure you’re keeping up with us! If you’re just too busy to check, be sure to sign up to our Newsletter, and we’ll email you the occasional update of all our favourite recent content!
Now, here’s Kev’s rundown of this fantastic year so far.
2010 So Far – Blurby stuff
Ok so we are now halfway through 2010 and to be honest there has been a lot of great music released in the last eight months. Here I have put together a collection of tracks from some of the albums that I have been listening to in the first half of the year, but it’s by no means a comprehensive collection.
Coming into the year there were two albums that I was really looking forward to, the first was Intriguer by my all time favourite band Crowded House, unfortunately this isn’t currently on Spotify so I couldn’tt add a track, but I do highly recommend the album so check it out if you get a chance.
Second was the sophomore release from The Depreciation Guild. I think Spirit Youth is a more mature and accessible album than In Her Gentle Jaws and on first listen there were many great tracks but November was one of those that initially stood out for me.
I wont go over every single album in the playlist but I will give a run down on some of my personal highlights of the year so far.
Good afternoon, folks. You may have noticed that our new logo has gone live today. We like it (obviously), but let us know what you think!
This last couple of weeks have been crazy busy, but it’s all been made worthwhile knowing that we’ve got a whole bunch of new ears for our musical evangelism. We’ve even had a number of playlist submissions from all over the Europe, including today’s by Dan Herlin. This is a fantastic mix, and it’s incredible to be given a glimpse of people’s lives through a playlist – more of this please, interwebs! Thank you Dan.
Before I hand over to him for his explanatory blurb, I just want to mention that if you have a playlist idea of your own we’d love to publish it. Please do check out our submission guide for info on how you can do that.
Have a lovely one, Dave
NB. One or two of the tracks don’t work in the UK. I’ve left them in the playlist for our European listeners, and also to help maintain the flow of the playlist if you happen to have a local version of those tracks.
I believe in niched playlists, where there is a flow between each song and you remember it just like you remember an album. I composed this one during a train-ride between Stockholm and Copenhagen and its named after the Swedish governmental railroad company, Statens Järnvägar.
Evening all. Couple of quick ones for you this evening.
For those that are new to Spotisfaction since the relaunch, we run playlists on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with news, reviews and features interspersed throughout the week. Check back tomorrow for our next playlist, #101.
We’re currently looking for a few people to join our happy crew and contribute regular pieces of work. To rip off an earlier post of mine:
…If you’re the kind of person that prioritises buying albums or going to gigs over buying food, then come write a few reviews for us.
…If most of your time is spent in a mammoth Spotify click-through blur, come be one of our playlist crafters.
…If you spend all day on the Internet trawling music sites, then compile that stuff and chuck us some news.
…If you spend more time looking through a camera viewfinder than your own eyeballs, be our lensman/woman.
…If you fancy yourself less grammar Nazi, more grammar Hitler, come help us edit our content.
…If you can view HTML and PHP like Neo views the Matrix, slip in as our resident grouchy coder.
If any of these absurd stereotypes are you, get in touch. If you would rather just submit a one-off playlist, review or article, that’s fine too.
Finally, we’ve started work on a “once every now and again” newsletter, so if you’d like to be kept up-to-date with periodic bulletins, then please do feel free to subscribe.
The X Factor returns this Saturday, and we all know what to expect: the treacly piano score; the soft focus blur; the tears beginning to trickle down the contestant’s face during their tale about their paraplegic gran, and how she used to hum “Danny Boy” using only her throat mic after Nazi dentists stole her larynx, and that’s why in a modern interpretation they’ll now be singing “SK8R Boi” for dear old Gran. Its such a cliché that as soon as Keane come on the soundtrack you know the weeping chancer is going through. Other than this one downside, I’m looking forward to what is the saviour of the music industry.
Last week we had a feature lambasting reality TV shows and their impact on the music industry (If you haven’t read it yet then it can be found here. I’ll wait while you do.). I think these programs are a good thing and will attempt to convince you, too.
And you know what that means. Yes, after 99 Spotisfactions and numerous features over the last 6 months, I am leaving the Spotisfaction team.
Since it’s birth back in February, Spotisfaction has grown from two frustrated 20-somethings swapping playlists into, well, what you’re reading right now – A fully featured music blog with news, reviews and a handful of dedicated and enthusiastic contributors. I wish Dave and the rest of the team all the best in the coming months and look forward to seeing the further growth of our little baby.
Right, so without further delay, here is Thom Lavelle, posting a Spotisfaction playlist for the last time.
[Dave’s Note: Goodbye Thom, it’s been a massive pleasure my young sir. Stay safe, and keep us updated with your goings on. PEACE and TRUCKING]
Don’t do it, kids. Seriously. Just stay at home. I’m feeling like 17 tonnes of horrible today. It’s been a very busy week, very stressful. Speaking of stress, Stressechos (the band that Ben drums in when he’s not giving out free candy to children) cut an 4 track EP yesterday. I had a sneak listen to it and I have to say, I’m blown away. Further proof that there is more to the Cheltenham music scene than new-folk (not knocking new-folk, here. Just sayin’, is all). Is it “new-folk” or “nu-folk”? Gah, that conjures up horrible images of Fred Durst with a resonator…
Anyway, without further delay, here is today’s playlist. Bought to you by my very own Joform Hawling, entitled “Indie Disco”. Have a listen.