deny totes destroyed my attempts to create an April 2015 playlist.
Commentary, because you deserve it:
- RedRed feat Sarkodie – Ghetto This is a happy fucking song, with a happy video (shot in Accra, Ghana, btw). I would dance to it till the cows come home. RedRed is a dish from Ghana made with (ahem) blackeyed peas, and the musicians hail from Ghana and Budapest. What a combination, I say.
- Lydia Ainsworth – Malachite Such an evocative and kooky artiste. Reminds me of the likes of Grimes and My Brightest Diamond, especially in the myriad influences in the music. The video is a single take, and sometimes I feel like I should do a playlist of single-take videos. She is performing in Pasadena on June 6, I am so there!
- Ratatat – Chrome When I heard Ratatat first, I was going to dismiss them as generic 80s-influenced band, but then I discovered that they do fascinating things with the electric guitar. Ratatat’s new album comes out in July – they played a set at Coachella this year, and that’s where this track premiered. The freakiest thing about the innocuous video happens around 1:00, keep your eye on the screen. Oh look, the neon lights from the Malachite video make an appearance in this one. (And it’s kinda single-take too, if you consider the static camera)
- Royksopp – I Had This Thing Goddammit, how much better can this band get? The song is from their 2014 album The Inevitable End, and for the longest time I thought that was it – khattam-shud for Royksopp. Thankfully it’s not, they have a Kafka-themed album coming soon. Vocals on this song about a break-up are by Jamie Irrepressible, and the lyrics/video/feel of it is otherworldly.Yet another exhibit to prove my hypothesis that we should outsource all music-making to the Scandinavian countries.
- Brandon Flowers – I Still Want You Sometimes this song makes me feel like it’s one of those Hugh Grant pastiche songs from a Richard Curtis romcom. But then I listen to it more closely and it has this peculiar class to it – the mellow chorus, the female backing voices. Flowers, going solo off his Killers gig for the second time, gives off a charming Jagger/Bowie vibe in the video, albeit a little more accessible version.
- Zella Day – Hypnotic Zella Day has been making waves recently with one of her songs in the Divergent OST, though she has been around since 2012. I kinda think I like this song more because of the slightly-NSFW video but I don’t deny how it grew on me.
- Ryan Hemsworth – Snow in Newark I ventured inside an interesting-looking store called VNYL, on Abbot Kinney in Venice ( the American, not the Italian version, just to confirm) who sold vinyl records and record players. They had some great records available for listening, and I pounced on the Purity Ring album just because I wanted to see if it sounded better on vinyl (it did, though not 600$ better). The sweet lady helping me out also mentioned that she liked FKA Twigs and – Ryan Hemsworth, who I hadn’t heard of. This was the first of Hemsworth tracks that I heard. For a song with ‘Newark’ in its name, it was shot in Nepal. Go figure.
- Jim James – State of the Art (AEIOU) I had added the Regions of Light and Sound of God album to my Spotify albums because I had seen Jim James pop up in some best-of list, but had dismissed them after one listen because of the slight religious tone to the songs. I revisited it recently thanks to the TV show The Blacklist, where this particular song was used to brilliant effect. Repeat listens have convinced me that this album is a work of astonishing depths, from beginning to end. The way the bass and drums kick in in this particular track – subhanallah!
- Chromeo – Jealous Such a fun 80s throwback. I have been tripping on the album since N, a lady with wonderful and much eclectic taste in music (and mutual interest in art, literature and other assorted things of beauty), pointed me to it. Apparently they are performing in Santa Barbara next month with Com Truise. Worth the 2.5 hour drive? Watch this space.
- Lisa Hannigan – Song of the Sea The most unlikely song to appear on this playlist. But this is the most unlikely of movies I have seen this year – on my last evening in Spain, when we were all mellow and looking to do something together – with the kids, Pablo suggested this movie. I mistook it for an anime at first, but Secret of Kells came up, and once the movie began, the gorgeous animation and music spoke for themselves. This haunting song (and its Irish version) stayed with me after.
- TMJuke – Marbles and Drains This song came up in a random playlist that my pal Chuck was playing in his truck – umm, yeah, I know how that sounds. Very strange combination of a koto, flute and a breakbeat. I am usually skeptical of Asian take-out fare like this, but somehow it works here. And it made me go listen to Vangelis’s ‘Tao of Love’ later, a track that I hadn’t heard in years.
- Cornershop feat Celeste – Non-Stop Radio Another recommendation from the lady N, who offered this in retribution for the extended listens of Yelle, Stromae and Zaz that I subjected her to. “Your kind of music”, she said. She was right, as usual.
- Jabberwocky feat Elodie Wildstars – Photomaton French electronica: check. Sultry female voice: check. Slightly NSFW video: triple check. Pulsating ear-penis of a synth-line: yup. What’s not to love?
- Flo Rida feat Robin Thicke & Verdine White While I like Flo Rida’s music, I cannot claim to be the biggest Robin Thicke fan in the world. But there is no denying the booty-shaking, hop-and-skip potential of this little ditty. It turned up in the Morning Commute playlist on Spotify, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s already doing the radio rounds at the moment. The reliance on the Facebook UI in the video all but guarantees automatic minuscule half-life and time-capsule relegation, possibly by end of the year, maybe even earlier.
- French Horn Rebellion – Swing Into It Ah, Electro-swing. A genre that I like quite a bit, but find myself unable to listen to for more than a few tracks at a time because it all begins to blend into one common sound after 15 minutes. (See also: reggae, country) But the few stray tracks that come forward every now and then manage to sustain my interest in the sound – and this song is one of them. Which makes me sound uncharitable towards it, I know, but bear with an old man’s rambling, yeah? Lovely use of scratches and beats and the single-take (again!) video, while a little poorly-lit for my taste, features excellent dancing. Almost as good as the fan-dance Parov Stelar track, you know which one I am talking about, yeah?
- Fallulah – Dragon Ah, the pleasures of revisiting an old favorite. Fallulah’s 2013 album Escapism finally released worldwide this month, and this track’s video, made painstakingly by hand-drawn animation cels captures the whimsy of the song so perfectly. The art is like a nifty mashup of Noelle Stevenson and Tara McPherson’s work, and the symmetry of the neon-lit visuals is hypnotic. The music, ah, the music. Built around a nifty piano loop, the song cascades breathlessly with growling, simmering bass line, while the drums pack a brutal kick-punch combo in the background. Chinese violins rasp along with the chorus, keeping with the title of the track. Who’s got the key to your heart? This song and its singer, of course. (One of this days, I need to do a rave post on Fallulah’s Escapism. Someone remind me?)