Morning kids. I hope your weekend was as awesome as mine – spent my Saturday screaming like a little girl at Alton Towers, and then spent an extra hour in bend on Sunday. Bliss. Now though, I’m hoarse as hell and work today is a bit of a shock to the system, I’ll be honest. No matter, though, we have another playlist to get us through the Monday blues!
Today’s playlist is by staff-member Woody Whyte, and is curiously entitled “In Bed With Grace Jones”. Incredibly camp playlist today, sir. I approve.
See you folks on Wednesday, Dave
So, I’m not entirely sure what I was thinking when I came up with the title of this playlist. Obviously, I was thinking of Grace Jones, but this playlist isn’t a list of songs I would play her if we did happen to end up in bed together, which lets face it, is probably unlikely. But anyway, this playlist is more a collection of songs which, after listening to ‘Slave to the Rhythm’, got my brain all excited about the prospect of a playlist of new wave/electronic/pop and everything inbetween music from the 80s and early 90s.
I would recommend you only play this to other people if they already expect you to play socially awkward music at the complete wrong time. Otherwise, listen in your room and freak out like you’re Kate Bush on acid for an hour. It will do your soul wonders…
Hey kids. Happy hump day for those labouring away at work. In my opinion, Wednesday is the perfect time to start planning your weekend, so if you’ve not yet sorted your plans for world domination, get yourself to CounterCulture‘s opening weekend under the capital’s London Bridge Station. It looks, frankly, intense – Friday night kicks off with live sets by The Subs and Man Like Me, along with DJ sets by The Whip, Sunday Girl, RightClickSaveAs and many other acts. The following 98 days are shaping up to be equally as awesome. I fully encourage you to give them some love.
Today’s playlist is by staff member Woody Whyte. He’s a bit ashamed of this playlist, and in the interest of being open and honest I’m also a bit ashamed to say I quite enjoyed it…
Rarely does anyone in the world think to themselves “Hmmm, I wonder what happened to Ashanti?”. However, one afternoon procrastinating in my room avoiding writing my dissertation, I experienced this dreaded thought. It bought back memories from when I was 11/12 going to an under 18s disco at a seedy nightclub, bump ‘n’ grindin’ somewhat inappropriately for my age along to many of the tunes in this here playlist. What dark times we (ok, I) was living in. But for a bit of nostalgia (and because I love public humiliation) I decided to make a playlist about it.
I decided to go solely for American female R’n’B singers and rappers from around ’95 till ’05 although that might be a few odd ones in there. Stand outs have to be Aaliyah or Kelis. These songs bring back many memories; the sticky dance floor, punch-ups every week and the smell of teenagers throwing up in the corners, *sigh* those were the days. Eventually the night got closed down and I discovered Muse and Less Than Jake, although I suspect a majority of the clientele didn’t move on. This will either make your skin crawl or you’ll laugh your face off. I do hope it’s the latter.
Today’s playlist is courtesy of Woody Whyte, and is entitled “2010 So Far…”. If you like what you hear and are inspired to create your own playlist, check out our submission guide above. Let us know in the comments if you’d have included any other tracks in your 2010 list. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter either, to keep up to date with us!
Love, hugs and mealy bugs. Dave
With over half the year gone, it felt like the right time to have a little re-cap on what the best of 2010 has had to offer us so far. This is, of course, a subjective list, I don’t claim to have the holy grail of music taste but I hope there is something for most people in there.
What conclusions can we draw from my list? Well, British music is at a low ebb. With a yawn-worthy Mercury list (except The xx), folk-for-all-the-family bands and artists plaguing the airwaves and nothing in the way of a stand out breakthrough British artist, I have mainly had to look elsewhere for something to my taste.
Of the American bands; Perfume Genius, Best Coast, Beach House and Aerial Pink have all released fantastic albums this year. In Europe and the UK, Delorean, Charlotte Gainsbourg and M.I.A have also released some of my favourite albums.
Pop music and ‘surf-rock’ bands seem to be my main fascination and, unintentionally, there is more than a whiff of Pitchfork endorsed music in there. Embarrassing (though I bet you all read it too!).
The promising thing is that there is still some brilliant albums to come. Zola Jesus and Washed Out are on my wishlist, as well as S. Carey (who isn’t on this list) but worth a mention. Classically trained drummer for Bon Iver is releasing a solo album this month. No doubt I shall write a review if it makes it’s way over to Spotify.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoy and feel free to comment your favourite albums of the year so far.
Such is their ubiquitous presence online, it is difficult to say anything new about Best Coast which hasnâ€™t been repeated a thousand of times before.Â â€œIt seems like the whole internet is talking about the Best Coast albumâ€ tweeted their record companyÂ Wichita Records last month. I, my Spotisfaction friends, shall try to avoid talking about their hilarious twitter feed, or famous boyfriends or music blog hysteria surrounding this album and the current wave of â€˜low-fiâ€™ bands from America (er, well, starting from now). Letâ€™s just concentrate on one thing,Crazy For You, the debut album by Best Coast, the solo project of Bethany Consentino from California accompanied by Bobb Bruno on bass and Ali Koehler on drums.
Far from reinventing the wheel, or doing anything which would typically generate the amount of press attention as they have,Â Crazy For You finds itâ€™s virtue by sticking with traditional low-fi philosophy of keeping things simple. The album is a meeting point between slacker culture of the 90s and minimal production (it was recorded in just two weeks). The album is full of nostalgia, sing-a-long melodies and throw-away lyrics about life, love and summer and it is this that makes the album such an enjoyable listen. Opening single â€˜Boyfriendâ€™ wouldn’t have seemed out of place on alt.rock radio playlists circa 1994. Grungy guitars playing a 3 chord structured verses and that rare beast nowadays, a guitar solo! But as soon as second trackÂ â€˜Crazy For Youâ€™ comes along, it becomes apparent that there is another era which Best Coast are paying homage. The track is a concoction of the Shangri-Laâ€™s aptitude of all things sinister and the Beach Boys ‘Surfin’ USA’. You can imagine Bethany cruising down the Californian coast with her boyfriend, basking in the sunshine as she is singing to himÂ â€œI would kill you but then Iâ€™d miss youâ€.
Iâ€™m sitting in my lounge watching Nirvanaâ€™s headline set at Reading Festival in 1992 on DVD. The heavy fuzz of Kurtâ€™s guitar, the chaotic nature of their live show and the screaming, unruly crowd is a far cry from my pleasant, family-friendly experience in the Dorset countryside at Camp Bestival last weekend.
My weekend, which was interrupted by shifts working for Oxfam, started with a midnight set by the exceedingly talented comedian Tim Minchin on Friday night in the Big Top. Minchin accompanied by a piano ran through a short but well received set of songs including an expletive-ridden attack on the â€˜mutherfuckerâ€™ Pope Benedict XVI. But the highlight came at the end when Minchin was on the brink of doing the unforgivable by forgetting his words during an encore. Minchinâ€™s saving grace came in the form of a random trumpet player in the audience who started playing along and then was beckoned on stage by Minchin which turned into an electrifying 10 minute jazz improvisation with both performers showing off their formidable playing capabilities.
Mystery Jets career seems to be in an odd yet encouraging position compared to the wave of British indie bands that have fallen before them. Never achieving mass commercial success, but with a dedicated following, critic approval and song writing stamina to still warrant the attention of fans, critics and media alike. At the grand old age of 3 albums, the Mystery Jets have everything to play for. The good news for all involved is that the Eel Pie islanders from London have produced another gem to add to their last release, 2008â€™s infectious â€˜Twenty Oneâ€™.
It seems inaccurate to state that the Mystery Jets have matured on this album, but there is a noticeable added depth to the song writing on â€˜Serotoninâ€™. â€˜Itâ€™s Too Lateâ€™ demonstrates the bands ability to recreate the grandeur of power-ballads without descending into Bonnie Tyler-esque melodrama. The melodies are as striking as the honest and tender delivery by lead singer Blaine Harrison, accurately evoking the feelings of many heart-broken 20-somethings across the land. â€˜Flash a Hungry Smileâ€™ feels like, what can now be titled as, a â€˜classicâ€™ Mystery Jets track. Itâ€™s an experimental yet playful outing into the pop universe with fuzzy guitars, sweeping whistle harmonies and lyrics about the more promiscuous side of love. Like many songs in their back catalogue, itâ€™s instantly catchy yet they never bore, nor do they repeat themselves, such is the skill and craft of their material. And just when you think theyâ€™ve peaked, title track â€˜Serotoninâ€™ starts its cinematic, pop assault on the listener. The vocal refrain near the end â€˜Sero, Serotoninâ€™ has been lingering in my head for at least 2 weeks as if to prove two points. Firstly that a) this is the best song of the summer so far and b) that I still havenâ€™t finished reviewing this brilliant album yet you moron!
There are a couple of tracks which contain some less inspired moments as these peaks. â€˜Meltâ€™ plods along, struggling to keep up with the 80s pop-euphoria pace and â€˜Lady Grayâ€™ lacks the flare of other tracks, but these are minor set backs. â€˜Serotoninâ€™ will cement the love for fans of the Mystery Jets and hopefully serve as an invitation card for those who may have passed them by. Itâ€™s an album which is deserving of more exposure and a bigger audience than it will sadly receive.
Nobody loves an album of gloomy, haunting music about abuse, addiction and domestic turmoil more than this particular reviewer. You can imagine, therefore, my joy at discovering the debut album Learning by Mike Hadreas, 26, from Seattle who performs under the name Perfume Genius. Evoking similarities to singer-songwriters such as Antony and the Johnsons and Cat Power, Perfume Genius has written a heartbreaking yet wondrous record.
The opening lyric on the title track and album opener, â€˜Learningâ€™, sets the ominous tone: â€˜No one will answer your prayers, until you take off that dressâ€™. The lyrics throughout are sinister tales of a damaged upbringing but are delivered with a fragility and innocence that is both endearing and captivating to the listener. Instrumentation is kept minimal with plonky-piano and breathy vocals and the occasional synthesizer. This creates an intimate listen, much in the same vein as The xx. When other elements come into play, such as the distorted vocal noises at the end of â€˜Perryâ€™, they are used to great effect, bringing a beautifully chaotic ending to a song about a broken and abusive relationship.
The conflict between the dark subject matter and the light, strangely ethereal music is what gives the album a life span far greater than most releases. The arrangements on songs such as â€˜Mr Petersonâ€™ are simple, yet when you listen to the lyrics, their bluntness is chilling. â€˜He made me a tape of Joy Division / He told me there was a part of him missing / When I was sixteen / He jumped off a buildingâ€™.
Learning, like the best albums, is not only beautiful but has a depth which will resonate for years with its listeners. Itâ€™s what lies underneath the veil of black – the fragmented world of Perfume Genius – which makes this album truly outstanding.
Afternoon, kids. World Cup day, wooo! Weâ€™re split at Spotisfaction Towers – personally, Iâ€™m ridiculously excited and am now pretty much resigned to a month of lounging on the sofa to the despair of my ever patient wife (no change there, then). Thom, on the other hand, would rather gouge his eyes out with a rusty spoon than watch a bunch of girly blokes poncing around. Horses for courses, I guess, but Iâ€™m totally the one in the right hereâ€¦ Iâ€™ve managed to luck out in the sweepstakes this time around – in the two Iâ€™m participating in, Iâ€™ve drawn England and Italy. Not the best, but better than Algeria and USA so in your face Pat, HAH!
Anyway, to business.
Weâ€™ve got a few announcements to make next week and, to be honest, we really hope you like them. I donâ€™t want to give away too much, but weâ€™ve listened to your feedback and are ready to roll out some pretty cool things for you all. Come back next week for the scoop :)
Todayâ€™s playlist is, quite simply, a pleasure. I always look forward to Woodyâ€™s mixes and this one doesnâ€™t disappoint. I think itâ€™ll put a smile on your face. Unless your heart is cold and dead, or youâ€™re Rorschach from Watchmen. Freaks.
Remember (Walkinâ€™ In The Sand) – The Shangri-Las
California Soul – Marlena Shaw
War – Single Version – Edwin Starr
Iâ€™m A Woman – Minnie Riperton
Save Me – Aretha Franklin
I Just Want To Make Love To You – Etta James
Introduction – James Brown & The Famous Flames
Get Up Offa That Thing – James Brown
Street Life – Randy Crawford
Baby Itâ€™s You – The Shirelles
Les Fleurs – Minnie Riperton
Iâ€™m Blue – The Shangri-Las
Wonderful World – Sam Cooke
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free – Nina Simone
September – Earth, Wind & Fire
Move On Up – Curtis Mayfield
Ok, so Iâ€™ve always loved Motown, Soul and old R&B music but apart from going to the odd Motown/Northern Soul night back in my home town 5 years ago and the odd night at Komedia in Brighton, Iâ€™ve rarely properly looked up artists from that era so I decided to take it upon myself to educate my ears and to look stuff up for a playlist.
I was mainly inspired by the first song Wade in the Water by Marlena Shaw, which is horribly overlooked, which my flatmate played me (heâ€™s obsessed with this kind of music but I did not cheat and ask him for suggestions!) and so it kind of went on from there.
I think the biggest revelation for me on the list was Minnie Riperton. I watched a program years ago about her but never remembered who she was. So to dig up some of her tracks was amazing. As was Marlena Shaw. I think when you listen to those songs they speak for themselves in regards to how brilliant they are. I find it surprising they arenâ€™t as famous as say Nina Simone or Aretha Franklin because they clearly had some major hits in their time.
Song such as â€˜Warâ€™ and â€˜I Just Want To Make Love To Youâ€™ also are stand outs. Not even musically but culturally with obviously those coke (or was it pepsi?) adverts and â€˜Warâ€™ which I suppose, rather regrettably, I knew from the Rush Hour films, both bring back quite funny memories. Also finding out who the artists were that sang all these songs was fascinating.
This time I tried to include some random interludes by artists as well. Mainly inspired by listening to The Score by Fugees the other day. I loved the interludes between songs on that album so I thought I would be cool to hear some on a playlist as well. The bizarre Gill Scott-Heron interlude being my favourite.
All in all, this has been my favourite playlist I have put together. I recommend you don a 60s inspired outfit, do the Watusi and enjoy a Martini for this one! I really hope you like it as much as I do.
This is probably the latest a Spotisfaction update has ever been. What? What of it? Shouldnâ€™t you all be out enjoying the sun?
Dave: I got stuck between two mirrors.
Thom: I tripped over a cobweb.
But, finally, here is the update. Iâ€™ve enjoyed the last couple of playlists, and here is another one it looks like Iâ€™m going to enjoy. The last submission by this guy was great and truth be told, it looks like this could surpass the last. So wake up, tune in and listen to this. Then shower Woody with appriciation via Twitter. Cheers, man.
Yerba Buena – Bellydancer (Featuring Fulanito and Gogol Bordello)
Balkan Beat Box – Move It
Taj Mahal – Johnny Too Bad
Yo La Tengo – Upside-Down
Mission Of Burma – Thatâ€™s When I Reach For My Revolver
Woody Guthrie – This Land Is Your Land
So it actually took me ages to do another playlist. Mainly because I tried to come up with themes, or a similar sound or something for them but I generally found them all to be crap. I realised what I most enjoy in a playlist is when it is comprised of music I havenâ€™t either heard before or songs I wouldnâ€™t have put together.
So I started with Yo La Tengo (I had just watched Adventureland which they contributed a song for the soundtrack) and from there I just started searching random bands from lots of different genres, hopefully with the effect of making sense together as a playlist but also to be a bit unpredictable at the same time.
Apart from Janis Joplin and Violent Femmes, most of the other music I had either never heard or only played a few tracks before. Balkan Beat Box are definitely a highlight, they are like the ultimate gypsy/world/party music band, they have such a range of sounds and influences and its pulled off to great effect. Beach Fossils and Foolâ€™s Gold are rapidly becoming some of my favourite new bands, perfect for chilling out in the sun. I also revisited classic bands such as Husker Du and The Replacements and even further back to Woody Guthrie because, well, why not?
Serving suggestion is some sunshine, a beer and ice cream. [EDITORS NOTE: We fully endorse this]
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did putting it together.
I started the playlist because I watched a film set in Argentina about a kid who listened to the Violent Femmes. This was my first exposure to them and within a couple of hours of watching the film I went out and bought their first album and pretty much fell in love with them. They are such an underrated band.
But anywho, for some reason that just put me in the mood to make a playlist of American acoustic/folk/indie music. Something to play in the sunshine and pretend I was somewhere else.
I didnâ€™t want to just put songs I already knew on it or the artists most famous songs, so I looked up not so obvious choices and other artists I hadnâ€™t listened to before from recommendations on last.fm etc that I would probably like such as Rilo Kiley, Atlas Sound and Amadou and Mariam, which as luck turns out, i did like. Most of all I wanted it to flow well, create a â€œmoodâ€ or something like that. No sudden drumâ€™nâ€™bass suddenly pumping out, but maybe one or two well placed random tracks. I will apologize about the Fleetwood Mac at the end. I donâ€™t know what is wrong with me at the moment, itâ€™s embarrassing. Iâ€™m seeking help.