Playlist 2016: Bent (Roi’s Song) – DIIV

DIIV’s songs follow a formula of sorts: a shimmery guitar comes in for a few bars, then another even shimmerier guitar comes in, then some reverby vocals, then a variation on the second shimmery guitar, and so on.  They’re the Ink Spots of modern grunge-infused-shoegaze. Sky Ferreira even does a sort of spoken word verse on Blue Boredom.

Bent (Roi’s Song) is real nice. The formula works. Keep at it DIIV.

Playlist 2016: untitled 05 | 09.21.2014 – Kendrick Lamar

I like that as Kendrick Lamar has embraced jazz, soul, funk and blues in the years since good kid mA.A.d city, his lyrics have become more explicitly political. He’s made his music somehow both more radical and more accessible. Everything he does feels like a big deal.


Playlist 2016: The Community of Hope – PJ Harvey

Anyone wondering why PJ Harvey is so concerned with the fact that “they’re going to put a Walmart here” (rather than an ASDA) would be well advised to fall down a Wikipedia rabbit-hole that starts with the HOPE VI project goes to the Defensible Space Theory, and then on to HBO’s Show Me a Hero which I heard was good.

That defensible space stuff has me itching to watch High Rise which, at the time of writing, has just come out in cinemas.

Good to have new PJ Harvey stuff.

Playlist 2016: Winter Beat – Michael Nau

Well isn’t this a nice assortment of jiggly noises.

I’m trying not to lean too hard on referencing other things in these posts, but Pitchfork’s review of Michael Nau’s Mowing describes the album as “a collection of messy indie-rock demos that [Nau] fleshes out into surprising songs” and that works, so why not throw it out there.

It also feels like a particularly apt description of Winter Beat, which sounds like someone accidentally coming up with a great tune while goofing around with various distorted and detuned guitar pedal settings.

Except there’s nothing accidental about it. It’s very good and definitely on purpose. (Mowing is worth a listen too.)

Playlist 2016: Pirate Dial – M. Ward

Befriending an actor who wants to make music is a thankless task. Everyone seems to hate that She & Him Christmas album. Not that Matthew “M. Ward” Ward is probably all that bothered. He does ok.

Pirate Dial is one of those hushed, shuffling songs he puts at the start of his albums that sound more like they should be track seven or eight. But he can do what he wants, I guess. He wrote Chinese Translation. A track six. Sounds like a closer though. Look, I’m not here to pick apart M. Ward’s track listings.

2016 Playlist: Sunset Tower – Nicholas Krgovich

After the outrageously good and criminally ignored On Sunset, there was talk of a new Nicholas Krgovich album that completed a trilogy of “LA albums” (the other being On Cahuenga). Which sounds cool in theory. But as it turns out, On Cahuenga is made entirely of On Sunset demos and The Hills is a mix of off-cuts and instrumental versions of On Sunset tracks.

Which are great n’ all. But if you were hoping for Krgovich to get the kind of recognition he deserves after years of being criminally ignored for his work with P:ano and No Kids The Hills isn’t going to turn any heads.

All the same, Sunset Tower is one of his arch, slow burning odes to a city that he seems to care for, but that doesn’t seem to care for him back.

2016 Playlist: In a Fable – Chris Cohen

Picking up from where he left up on his fucking fantastic 2012 album Overgrown Path, Chris Cohen’s In a Fable is similarly fucking fantastic.

Cohen’s voice is a tuneful sigh that never runs out of breath. He has a twisting, winding, meandering way of structuring his songs that’s instantly recognisable before his never-ending sigh voice even cuts in. In a Fable has all these things too, but with the added bonus of me not having played it incessantly over the last four years.

With the recent Torrey Pine also fucking fantastic, one can only assume that whatever album he’s preparing to drop is also you get the point.

2016 Playlist: Good Morning My Love – Jesu, Sun Kil Moon

Mark Kozelek singing about boxing is like David Foster Wallace writing about tennis. By that I mean it’s completely and utterly worth your time whether you care about boxing/tennis or not.

His verse about Prince Nassim comes around four minutes in to a seven-minute, growling stream of consciousness taken from his collaboration with Justin Broadrick’s Jesu. As always with Kozelek, he uses pugilism to get at something so much more than the act of punching another person senseless. By the time he’s done singing about boxing on Duk Koo Kim or Tavoris Cloud or Good Morning My Love, you come over all Ernest Hemmingway who apparently sucked at boxing, and so do you probably. So don’t try taking it up at 30.

Here’s a good quote:

“Hemingway was lost in the romance of a sport that has no romance to those seriously pursuing it; the romance strictly belongs to spectators.”

2016 Playlist: Magic Spell (Tythe Remix) – This is the Kit

This is the Kit’s Magic Spell appeared on last year’s Bashed Out so it’s kind of a cheat putting this remix in 2016, but a cheat on whom?

Electronic Producer Tythe punches up Magic Spell into something a bit more muscular adding what I, with my AS Level in Music Technology, can only describe as ‘some sadder notes‘ which make the song what I, with my aforementioned AS Level in Music Technology, can only describe as ‘gooder‘.