It’s Monday Playlist [19/10/20]

Five songs to start the week! Follow the Spotify playlist here.

Mirrors – Rejjie Snow / Snoh Aalegra / Cam O’bi (2020)

A beautifully constructed track, ‘Mirrors’ intricately traverses realms of jazz and R&B to create a softly discordant atmosphere reminiscent of the complex rhythms of Thundercat. The vocals are soft recollections that are vitally understated, allowing the meticulous backing to gently flourish without overpowering the poetics. This is a song of enticing sparsity that displays an undeniable aptitude in arrangement and form.

Comet Face – King Krule (2020)

While King Krule’s output often relies on an individualistic approach to genre-mashing, ‘Comet Face’ comes straight out of the post-punk playbook. The bassline is dark and lurks behind the oppressive pace of the track, with unsettlingly ambiguous lyrics complimenting the unnerving nature of the soundscape (“Boy in the ground with his pants down / What happened to him in his past life?“). ‘Comet Face’ is a haunting number that doesn’t let its sinister intensity escape to become anything more digestible or smooth, and rightly so.

Frail – Crystal Castles (2015)

Leading with a deceptively ethereal opening, ‘Frail’ grows into a rambunctious club stomper with blissful spirit. This is arguably a somewhat simple track, with a heavy beat overseeing a backdrop of fuzzy, distorted synths. Though, it would be unfair to ignore its gloriously celestial being. It moves from dreamy interludes to divine and elegant fervor seamlessly, generously offering euphoria and emotion in equal quantities.

Don’t Breathe Out – Roots Manuva (2015)

Giving in both divinity and optimism, ‘Don’t Breathe Out’ is a gorgeous composition that explores spritiualism and self-reflection. Musically, the track grows subtly in emphasis while remaining beautifully restrained as Manuva inquires his own existential motivations (“Me and my God lead a pureness love / Known to be about what pureness does“). This is a sumptuously mellow and uplifting number, showcasing the lyrical and musical maturity of Manuva in graceful assuredness.

He War – Cat Power (2003)

A three minute hit of urgency, power and utter quality. Power’s vocals hold a jagged edge in their authoritative resonance while also being able to transform the exquisite gentleness from her more reserved work, a shift in tone readily deployed when necessary. Simply, ‘He War’ is an excellent song that thrives in its minimalism and confidence.

‘It’s Monday’ Playlist (05/10/20)

Five more songs to absorb! Follow the Spotify playlist here for a weekly update of tunes direct to your account.

Sad Cowboy – Goat Girl (2020)

A real statement of intent from the South London quartet. Clottie Cream’s vocals descend in graceful haziness over a rough rock sound effortlessly integrated with an undercurrent of dreamy synth reminiscent of post-Currents Tame Impala. Leading the charge towards the release of their second studio album On All Fours in January, ‘Sad Cowboy’ showcases a huge progression in maturity and musicality in Goat Girl’s repertoire that strides beyond the three-minute-hit spirit of their eponymous debut without compromising their punk credentials.

Jumbo – Underworld (1999)

Combining dancefloor urgency and psychedelic romanticism, ‘Jumbo’ is an emotional yet understated number that seamlessly drifts between otherworldly abstraction and earthly existentialism. The listener is taken on a surreal journey starting with a conversation between two southern Americans about ‘“A little sale on a vest at Walmart”‘, before eventually finding a conclusion with a final reappearance of the anchoring beat drowned in swirling, elusively beautiful harmonies. While ‘Jumbo’ may not share the powerfully direct aura of some of its club-night contemporaries, it stands alone in its atmospheric offering.

Repetition – David Bowie (1978)

Bleak realism haunts every corner of ‘Repetition’, which details the oppressive domesticity of a psychologically abusive relationship with vacant sentimentalism. Underpinning the desolate being of the track is Bowie’s deadpan vocal delivery simutaenously supported by a persistently wobbly two-note bassline, providing a stark representation of the often unspoken and ignored consequences of reluctant romantic entanglements.

Sex Drive – Tricky (1996)

A track of glorious destruction and distortion, ‘Sex Drive’ is a reckless culmination of punk, industrial dance and dark electronica executed for maximum disorder. Harnessing the track with determined dedication lies a rampantly urgent bassline in wonderful disharmony with a combative snare-led groove. Tricky’s nearly whispered delivery also opens up another layer of textural intrigue and interest, culminating in a shamelessly ramshackle composition.

Whole New Mess – Angel Olsen (2020)

Hushed melancholia takes centre-stage in the gentleness of ‘Whole New Mess’. Though not a track of any particular power or imposition, its drifting and directionless nature is what personifies and promotes the track. Without enforcing itself onto the listener it is able to uphold its vitality and attraction through its irresistible calm and grace, never fading into the backdrop. Though a straightforward creation in arrangement and formula, Olsen has cultivated an independence in sound through a unique softness and tranquility rarely showcased elsewhere.

‘It’s Monday’ Playlist [28/09/20]

Follow the It’s Monday playlist on Spotify here for five new tracks every week!

Changeling – DJ Shadow (1996)

Calling back to and combining early 90s sounds of The Orb and Portishead, DJ Shadow’s 1996 album ‘Endtroducing…..’ is personified by an eccentric introversion that is rarely accessed as ably and powerfully by other artists of the time.

‘Changeling’ is a track of unease and simmering tension that, while tapping into darker tones, maintains an addictive character thanks to it’s looseness in arrangement and sparsity in sound. It offers hypnotic captivation and ethereal liberation in equal quantities, with each second of its seven-minute stint as vital as the next.

Island Song – U.S. Girls (2011)

While known for more danceable compositions in recent times, Meg Remy’s solo project U.S. Girls displayed effortless capability in creating more unnervingly harmonious tracks a decade ago.

‘Island Song’ is a child of Berlin-era Bowie, transporting the arresting sounds of ‘Warszawa’ to the 21st Century. The subtle fusion of melodic vocals and understated percussion rejuvenates such soundscapes without comprimising the influence of her artistic forefathers.

Y/o Dragon – Cross Record (2019)

Led by an imposing and all-powerful percussive stomp, ‘Y/o Dragon’ is a track of defiance and fragility. Vocalist Emily Cross’ presence is delicately poised throughout; at first the reluctant spearhead, she becomes the elusive overseer of her territory who floats elegantly across the beautifully destructive disarray left in her trail.

The lyrics also provide an additionally resistant dimension (“Watch me drag in / The space to move ahead / And climb a mountain / Keep climbing ’til I’m dead“), evidencing further the emotional tension and brutal realism the track so effortlessly brings.

Offence – Little Simz (2019)

An imperious and swaggering number, ‘Offence’ blends influences of Zamrock, jazz and East Coast rap to devastating effect. It grooves without being pastiche, asserts itself without overpowering, and attacks without losing composure. Every aspect of this song has been intricately and carefully constructed to optimal power and delicacy – a truly brilliant track.

Pendulum – Broadcast (2003)

In ‘Pendulum’, Broadcast demostrate their ability to mould throwback sounds to more jagged and disorderly ends. Departing from their usually more ethereal and dreamy sound, they deliver a punchy, synth-laden post-punk stunner while maintaining their unmistakable distinctiveness.

While Trish Keenan’s vocals standout for their chilling restraint, the unrelenting percussion is the real leader in ‘Pendulum’. Distorted and compressed to the max, they sustain an attitude of meticulous ferocity throughout.