This Week in Discover Weekly: 24.04.16

Just how powerful is Spotify’s all conquering algorithm? How accurate is it in guessing a person’s music taste?

In ‘This Week in Discover Weekly’, I attempt to find out. I’ll listen to my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist and offer first impressions on each track in a line or so. I’ll then make a decision as to whether to KEEP in ‘Songs’ or DISCARD.  The ratio of KEEP to DISCARD will give the playlist a score and that’s about a scientific as it gets. 

Your call is very important to Mark McGuire, please enjoy The Naacals while you wait. DISCARD

Didn’t I have this Darondo track on my Discover Weekly a few weeks back? Yes, and a few weeks before that. It remains excellent. KEEP

Jamaican Queens are probably hoping that some ‘edgy’ synth noises and a line about not wanting to ‘go down on her’ will distract from the fact that Water is a cutesy little crock of gimmicky shit. DISCARD

Not knowing much of The Brian Jonestown Massacre outside of what I heard on the mighty fine documentary Dig, (I Love You David Bowie) Since I Was Six is a surprisingly tender, ramshackle effort that has successfully calemed me after how much I hated that Jamaican Queens track. KEEP

While I’d probably enjoy it if it was on the soundtrack to something, it’s doubtful that I would ever seek out Galaxy 500‘s Strange. DISCARD

Jacco Gardener’s Grey Lanes might have soundtracked a Lynx advert had it come out  in 2003. As it stands, it’s more likely to appear mid-morning on BBC 6 Music. DISCARD

Miracle Legion front man Mark Mulcahy gets a life time pass for making the music for ‘The Adventures of Pete and Pete’ under the Polaris moniker. So All For The Best could be a couple of minutes of fart noises and I’d probably KEEP it. It isn’t that.

Documenta’s Love As A Ghost opens with the distant, distorted screeches of Loveless-era My Bloody Valentine before morphing into some delightfully hazy dream pop. It’s not new, but considering the gap between Loveless (1991) and mbv (2013), and the likelihood of Kevin Shields and co. turning out another album any time soon, you’ve got to take this kind of stuff where you can get it. KEEP

Were it not for a vocal performance that I can only describe as ‘needlessley snotty’, Icarus Himself ‘s Digging Holes would be ok. As it stands, it isn’t. DISCARD

EL VY sound very much like a side-project on I’m the Man to Be. Or U2 when Bono was going on about being a Fly. Utter horseshit. DISCARD

Several Shades of Green  is a song by Wreckless Eric that I did not enjoy, despite its Velvet Underground chug. DISCARD

I’m straight up crazy about Dog Bite‘s Forever, Until. It’s murky and wistful and covered in a very fine fuzz. A nailed on KEEP

If R. Stevie Moore and Ariel Pink collaborating on a track sounds like a great idea, then good news! It’s more than an idea… it’s a whole album apparently. Another No Answer is what the ‘demo’ button would sound like on all Casio keyboards if I were to ever gain creative control of the keyboard arm of the Casio corporation. KEEP

On Mark Kozelek’s War on Drugs diss track ‘War on Drugs Suck My Cock’ he writes of the band:

I heard them do their soundcheck; next to The Byrds
They’re definitely the whitest band I’ve ever fucking heard

I often worry that this is the whitest blog I’ve ever read, so Taking The Farm should fit right in here. It doesn’t quite. DISCARD

Larry Gus‘s The Sun Describes has an air of The Postal Service mixed with The Avelanches. It’s ok but I’m not going to be in a hurry to listen again all that soon. DISCARD

The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack starts slowly, continues slowly and ends slowly. Nothing wrong with that, but I’ve forgotten it already. DISCARD

Bedroom’s We All Need Something has that loose twangy guitar sound that you hear on The Microphones’ album ‘The Glow Pt. 2’ – the one that sounds like a guitar that’s been pulled out of the back of a wardrobe and has never had its strings changed because who needs that hassle. KEEP

Can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but there’s a touch of The Dandy Warhols about Gap Dream’s 58th Street and that’s not something I find it easy to get on board with. That said, this isn’t bad. DISCARD

Pumarosa’s Princess sounds a bit 2011 and there’s something off-putting about the way this guy hits the ‘d’ in the word ‘dance’. In fact the more I listen, the more obnoxious it gets. DISCARD

I Don’t Mind by Psychic Ills is so completely listless that it’s sucked all the energy out of me. DISCARD

I’ve lost track of Tamaryn in recent years having enjoyed their 2012 album ‘Tender New Signs’ a fair bit. So it’s nice to hear Cranekiss and its Coteau Twins-esque shimmer. KEEP

The Chills’ Pink Frost is pretty good and I feel like I’ve heard it before. KEEP

Electrelane’s Birds is the lo-est of fis for much of its 4 minute run-time, picks up for the last 30 seconds and then judders to a close. Likeably glum. KEEP

Glenn Jones churns out really beautiful, delicate guitar and banjo instrumentals on albums adorned with knowingly-twee paintings of animals playing guitars and banjos on the front. Flower Turned Inside Out might not blow anyone’s mind, but Christ, does everything have to? KEEP

The Bats’ Made Up in Blue mark the second appearance of a band from New Zealand on this week’s DW (The first being The Chills). Proof, if it was needed, that New Zealand isn’t all toothbrush fence and Lord of the Rings. KEEP 

Life Without Buildings do that Life Without Buildings Thing “Spoken… Spoken… Spoken Spoken… Spoken Word. Spoken Word Spoken Word! The verse is Spoken Word.. Spoken words on the verse! … Spoken Spoken etc”) on New Town. I kind of feel like I can get by without it. DISCARD

The She Devils have put a lot of effort into making Where There’s No One sound like it’s playing on vinyl, but this results in the song falling into a ‘faux-vinyl uncanny valley’ from which it would appear there is no escape. DISCARD

Warpaint’s cover of Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes is really fucking good, giving the original a stuttering drumbeat that’s Interpol-esque in its nervy restlessness. It manages to change enough to be worthwhile, but stay respectful to an absolute jam. KEEP

From the sound of No Fear of Helfire, I’d say I like Nap Eyes. While I’m keen to prove that my frame of reference is wide enough that I don’t have to bring everything back to ‘It sounds like Yo La Tengo’, it does a bit. KEEP

Darker My Love’s Backseat is impossibly jaunty and pleased with itself. I am not as pleased with it. DISCARD

14 out of 30

 

This Week in Discover Weekly: 18.04.16

Just how powerful is Spotify’s all conquering algorithm? How accurate is it in guessing a person’s music taste?

In ‘This Week in Discover Weekly’, I attempt to find out. I’ll listen to my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist and offer first impressions on each track in a line or so. I’ll then make a decision as to whether to KEEP in ‘Songs’ or DISCARD.  The ratio of KEEP to DISCARD will give the playlist a score and that’s about a scientific as it gets. 

The Heart Strings’ Beautiful Abys sure is catchy. I don’t like it, but it’s catchy. DISCARD before it gets stuck in my head.

Mourn are adamant that Your Brain is Made of Candy and consequently believe that you can only handle just over two minutes of thrashy guitar squalls. I’m not against it, but I can’t see myself coming back to it. DISCARD

Tomorrow’s Tulips’ Flowers on the Wall has a loose, slacker-ish thing going for it that would be grungey if grunge wasn’t so much goddamn effort. I like it. KEEP

Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind. Like Vashti Bunyan songs. Not this one though. DISCARD

Christopher C Duncan Duncans album ‘Architect’ earned him a Mercury nomination. For is from that album, so this is Mercury nominated stuff, guys. I liked his track ‘Say’ better. DISCARD

Jackson C Frank’s Blues Run The Game is a butter advert waiting to happen. DISCARD

I gave Pile‘s Baby Boy the benefit of the doubt because it very vaguely reminded me of Andrew Cedermark but after a few minutes I decided you can’t go around giving things the benefit of the doubt because they sound a little bit like Andrew Cedermark. I hate this. DISCARD

What’s the charge Unloved?

“Guilty. Guilty of Love that is.”

Objection!

“Overruled!”

To be honest I’ve given more thought to that little scene than I have  to the song which is nice enough but doubt it’ll last the week. DISCARD

When You Finally Return is a duet for plucked guitar and mournful wail that I’ll keep. KEEP

Television Personalities’ Diary of a Young Man is worth writing home… about… in your… diary. No that’s shit. It’s good spoken word over scratchy guitar stuff. Like, have you heard Vox Humana by Deerhunter? This apparently came first. KEEP

Don’t think you’re tricking me into KEEPing your song because it’s got the word Keep in it, Flo & Eddy. That said, a verse about getting high with Ronald “The Gipper” Reagan is a sure-fire way of getting Keep it Warm KEEPed. Well played.

Is This What You Wanted?  asks Leonard Cohen and no this isn’t what I want, no. I hate it, and four minutes with it feels like forever. DISCARD

Stereolab alumni Cavemen of Anti-Matter make exactly the kind of music you might expect for “Stereolab minus Lætitia Sadier”. That being “good but also instrumental”. KEEP

Viet Cong’s Throw it Away sounds like it’s been unearthed from 1979. KEEP

Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch’s Scale of Volitility  earns a coveted KEEP  because it’ll no doubt find its way onto a ‘Songs to Work to’ playlist.

Opening with a gently throbbing beat not dissimilar to something Yo La Tengo might kick off an album with, Cloud’s Fly into the Mystery shifts into something more Broken Social Scene-ish. So the 20 year-old inside me is suitably pleased. KEEP

And so we arrive at the seemingly obligatory and entirely welcome African Pop track on my Discover Weekly. Amanaz’s I am Very Far is what you might describe as Zambia’s version of The Kinks if you were trying to hurriedly describe 30 songs every week. KEEP

Swedish supergroup Amason’s look, you had me at Swedish supergroup. Algen is all the things you might expect from a coming together of alterna-Scandinavians. KEEP

Charlie Hilton’s short, sweet, whispy Palana is… those things I just said. KEEP

A Fistful of Butter makes Happy Jawbone Family Band’s medicine go down, their medicine being adorable psych-folk; a genre I am now confident to say is what this is. KEEP

Oblivion’s opening bars had me settling in for something more ambient than what I got once The Seshen’s vocals came in. It’s pleasant enough but not all that memorable. DISCARD

Artists with a full ‘About’ page,  pics and album artwork but only one track on their profile must be Spotify’s version of a Googlewhack. Such is the case for Lace Curtains, their profile offering up just the one track: High Fantasy, which is a few brief minutes of restless, effervescent jangle pop. KEEP

John WizardsMuizenberg has me wishing I could recycle comments from that track by The Seshen earlier. Oh wait, I can. See above. DISCARD

Car Seat Headrest’s earnest, yelping, fuzz-laden Something Soon is really hard not to like. So I’ve decided to like it. KEEP

In much the same way as I get some kind of African and or Korean pop tune from the 60s in my Discover Weekly each week, I also get a mildly underwhelming blues number that I imagine I’d like more if I was drunk. I’m So Depressed, Abner Jay. DISCARD

The chiming guitars of Gold Celeste’s Is This What You Can Not Do? grabbed my attention from the off and it only got better from there. KEEP

Similarly gripping; Chess by Joon Moon. Sounds like something Minnie Riperton might have panted her way through in the 70s. KEEP

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Sense marks the second appearance of a Wizard on my Discover Weekly. It gets shitter the longer you listen to it. DISCARD

Thanks to Bones & Beaker’s Heartbroken in Love, I now feel like I’m in Zara trying on something fucking ghastly. DISCARD

The Replacements’ Androgynous has the shambling gait of one of those Randy Newman songs that I have to try to ignore in order to enjoy Toy Story. DISCARD

This week, the algorithm scores a borderline average 16 out of 30.

This Week in Discover Weekly: 11.04.16

In ‘This Week in Discover Weekly’, I listen to my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist and offer first impressions on each track in a line or so. I’ll then make a decision as to whether I KEEP it in ‘Songs’ or DISCARD it.

Bouquet’s Stacks on Stacks sounds a lot like Broadcast or Stereolab in their lowest respective gears. Vintage synthesisers and drum machines, light fuzzy crackle. Never quite kicks on though. DISCARD

As someone with a deep and abiding love for shoegaze, I’m often recommended post-“spooky era” Horrors. I don’t quite get it. Connan Mockasin’s “remix”  of Still Life however (which is basically a cover) re imagines the swaggery, lagery indie of the original as something… squelchier. KEEP

I am The Changer by Cotton Jones is a warm, burbling low-fi alt-country tune that I will skip back to as soon as I hit a track I don’t like. And fuck: I’m a liar, got a tongue on fire, I oughta cut it off […] and when I do I’m gonna let you know”… that’s good. KEEP

Savas and Savalas’ Te quiero pero por otro lado is ‘pleasant’ in the way a ‘nice candle’ or ‘cool soap’ is pleasant. DISCARD and play ‘I am The Changer’ again

Boxed In’s All Your Love is Gone passes mostly without incident. DISCARD

Fallin Rain by Karl Blau never really goes anywhere which I wouldn’t normally hold against it, except it’s over nine minutes long. So buckle in for some of that good ol’ whimsical, sweeping Country, I guess. DISCARD

Yamasuki Singers’ Yamma Yamma  apparently featured in the opening episode of season 2 of Fargo which I haven’t seen and have no strong feelings about. DISCARD

Naytronix is Nate Brenner who plays bass in tUnE-yArDs. So it’s surprising that I’m ok with Mister Divine. Despite my feelings on tUnE-yArDs, the Song Exploder episode about ‘Water Fountain’ is a great bit of podcasting and made me respect tUnE-yArDs without enjoying the music all that much. This is good though. KEEP

Slim Twig‘s Cannabis sees fit to suck all the charm out of the Serge Gainsbourg original and pretty much double the length. Don’t get it. DISCARD

Beautiful Gurrls is a short song by Ricky Eat Acid so it’s got that going for it. DISCARD

Martin Rev’s  Mari is cute, real cute. Rev was in Suicide who I know very little about. KEEP

Flying Saucer Attack’s My Dreaming Hill is kind of like Yo La Tengo’s murmured vocals beneath the crunchy guitars of Sonic Youth or Jesus and Mary Chain. I don’t need to tell you that that’s good. KEEP

I was always a big French Kicks fan but I’ve not heard much from them for a while. Said So What comes from 2008’s excellent Swimming and makes you wonder why they never got the props that The Walkmen did. KEEP

I have a lot of time for Ariel Pink and Put Your Number in my Phone offers up some of his usual wry psych-pop, but this time with added “voicemail spoken word break”. It isn’t new to me but KEEP anyway.

Cross Record’s Steady Waves is the kind of gloomy growling gloom folk that Wye Oak were so good at before they became good at what they do now. Also reminds me of the Microphones. So KEEP, naturally.

Tell you what I’m not hungry for, Marching Church’s Hungry for Love. DISCARD

If “Animal Collective doing ‘Get Lucky'” sounds like something you’d be on board with, play Golden Dawn Arkestra‘s Dimensions at your wedding or something. DISCARD

The sheer time it’s taken me to write this week’s ‘This Week in Discover Weekly’ has benefited Harriet’s Burbank, which sounded impossibly weedy on first listen. On repeated plays however, it’s grown on me thanks to its restrained, murky atmosphere and a really ominous chord change that I believe to be pretty cool. KEEP

Fog Wave’s Get Back is some spooky echoey slow-core-ish stuff, so it’s ok with me. KEEP

Sentiment by Better Person trades in the same slinky 80s RnB pop that Nicholas Krgovich discovered post No Kids, but it’s somehow slinkier. KEEP

The Mantles The Island sounds way familiar. It’s alright. Bit like Woods but in much the same way that the long writing time let Burbank grow on me, The Island has seemed less and less like a place I want to visit. And hey, those are both places. God damn, sometimes they just sit up for you, y’know? DISCARD

Bleep blurp dingle dingle doop… Yeah Hot Sugar, Sinkies is ok. KEEP

One of the many reasons that Catatonia’s ‘Mulder and Scully’ is better than ‘Road Rage’ is that Mulder and Scully’s chord progression (and its transition between verses, choruses and bridges) feels more natural. Road Rage on the other hand, lumps between seemingly disconnected Britpop blobs like “fuck how do we get to the ‘Rrrroaddrrrrrage!’ bit?”. George Harrison’s I’d Have You Any Time is like Road Rage. Sure, the bits are nice enough but they don’t fit. And actually are the bits even that nice? DISCARD

Merchandise’s Become What You Are is… urgh what a terrible title. Like the name of an Ocean Colour Scene album track. It’s alright though. It’s sort of bombastic and melodramatic in the way that a McAlmont and Butler song might be. But wait! There’s a tempo change and an organ freak out and it’s 10 minutes long! Yeah, no, fuck it. DISCARD

Widowspeak’s Dead Love (So Still) is whispy-voiced jangle pop by a band with a singer who has hair I quite like. Wild and voluminous. The hair that is. KEEP

TW Walsh’s Fundamental Ground is good, but even better is TW Walsh’s profile pic on Spotify in which he has cool silver fox hair and a cool beard and is holding a cool axe. KEEP

End Girl sees Cara Striker and John Kirby join forces for a skittish, juddering 80s disco pop thing that has a fucking great synthy bass sound. There’s even a male-female vocal switch which is one of my favourite things when done well. KEEP

I was once chastised in GCSE Music for turning in a piece of work that sounded “like it was recorded in a toilet”. I still don’t see how that’s a valid criticism to this day. I mean, Julia Holter is covering Roxy Music’s  2HB in what may or may not be a public restroom and it sounds great to me. KEEP

Smog’s Time for the Blues is wearying in the most tiresome way. DISCARD

Early Interpol EPs and demos sounded not dissimilar to Country TeasersGolden Apples; spiky, distant, kind of unknowable. I wouldn’t have minded waiting two hours for this to download on Limewire. KEEP

This week the algorithm scores a respectable 17 out of 30

This Week in Discover Weekly: 04.04.16

In ‘This Week in Discover Weekly’, I listen to my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist and offer first impressions on each track in a line or so. I’ll then make a decision as to whether I KEEP it in ‘Songs’ or DISCARD it.

Mildly psychedelic and deeply jaunty, Michael Rault’s Too Bad So Sad is nice enough, but sounds like a lot of stuff has done since Unknown Mortal Orchestra proved this kind of thing was profitable. KEEP

A while back, Spotify offered a breakdown of users’ listening tastes and assigned a segment of mine as ‘Freak Folk’. I’m not sure what that means but I imagine  The Crayon Fields’ All the Pleasures of the World might be an example of it, offering as it does the gentle, hushed vocals of a folk act over a song that said folk act might describe as ‘freaky’. It’s alright. KEEP

Good Morning’s Give Me Something to Do almost immediately earns back the points it loses for a tired opening line with a dueling sax break that’s followed by a complete tempo change that makes you wonder why this isn’t two songs. It’s going in 2016 anyway. KEEP

As someone who only really knows Television for 1977’s Marquee Moon, 1880 or Or So answers any lingering questions I had on what Television sounded like in 1992. The answer is ‘more studio polish’. KEEP

Tweedy is Wilco’s  Jeff Tweedy accompanied by his son Spencer on drums. So any enjoyment one might get out of Low Key‘s ELO meets Wilco stomp is slightly marred by the thought of this kid getting to do what he wants because his Dad is in Wilco. KEEP

In the Moonlight by Blithe Field would be perfect to proofread to.

Ethio-Jazz forefather Mulatu Astatke will be familiar to fans of Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers; his track ‘Yègellé Tezeta’ featured on a mix CD that Jeffrey Wright gives to Bill Murray. Tezeta (different track) is a gorgeous, waltzing, crackly little number that’s appeared on my DW before, but it’s welcome to come back any time. Know it already but KEEP

Turtle Necks are back, did you hear? Bosnian Ranbows’ Turtle Neck came our in 2013 so one can only assume they were ahead of the trend on that front. Goes a bit proggy about 4 mins in. Skiiiiiiip. DISCARD

MT.OSSA‘s Love Jam sounds like Van Morrison trying to sing the Jackie Brown soundtrack. So we’ve established that it works. Just maybe don’t read the band’s Facebook page. They don’t talk a good game.  KEEP

Clash The Truth is the opener to Beach Fossils’ excellent album Clash the Truth. What this demo version loses in throbbing urgency, it gains in sounding more like New Order. KEEP

Discover Weekly often suggests I listen to Moses Sumney‘s Man on the Moon which is very nice. KEEP

At around the half-way point, I’m getting the sense that the mighty algorithm has decreed it a very low key week on Discover Weekly. Here We Go Magic‘s Over the Ocean bears this out. A pleasant little tune that’s not too dissimilar from something Air might make. KEEP

My interest in jazz dries up in the late 60s. It’s when they start using electric basses and Miles Davis grows long hair and starts wearing wacky jackets with no shirt underneath. BadBadNotGood’s Triangle sounds alright and I doubt they’ve got the guts for that look. KEEP

Travis Bretzer‘s Lady Red has that aggressively applied twee-pop sheen of late-period Smiths singles. Needs a video of a girl with a quiff looking at a TV through a shop window as it shows an episode of Coronation Street. She smiles knowingly. KEEP

Joan Shelley‘s Siren is eminently skippable. DISCARD

If this is former Strokes man Albert Hammond, Jr‘s idea of a Spooky Couch, I would very much like to sit on’t. KEEP (Oh, hard KEEP)

Holy Toledo was a line uttered by Jeremy Irons’ Simon Gruber in Die Hard with a Vengeance. Vundabar have a German name and a song called Holy Toledo. Coincidence? Almost certainly. Thumbs up anyway. KEEP

Shamir’s Lived and Died Alone isn’t doing it for me. DISCARD

Pastor T.L.Barrnett and the (…) have a great tune called ‘Like a Ship’ that Wonderful doesn’t quite match. Is it possible to criticise a song by a Pastor for being too religious? Yes, I believe it is. DISCARD

Think I recognise the chorus of Baby by Os Mutantes but no idea where from. Probably an advert… I mean one of the cool places I hang out in. KEEP

Point that thing somewhere else by The Clean is a punchy, scrappy li’l fella that I like plenty but can’t see myself listening to all that much once it slips out of the DW. KEEP (Just in case)

The Smoking TreesHome in the Morning deploys a metric tonne of fuzz atop another mildly psychedelic jam. Is this Freak Folk? KEEP

Maybe it’s because it’s Monday, maybe it’s the song, maybe I’m trying to “blog” on the 59 bus using an iPhone (surprisingly well, thanks) but Jackson Scott‘s Ripe for Love is a bit too fidgety for me. A more frenetic, jittery Paranoid Android of sorts. If that sounds good to you then you’re welcome to it. DISCARD

I like talking about butts and so does Doug Hream Blunt whose Gentle Persuasion gets a lot of mileage out of what, one would presume, is a really good butt. KEEP

Yes to Kim Jung Mi, and yes to Beautiful Rivers and Mountains. The Kill Bill Vol 1 soundtrack’s loss is my Discover Weekly’s gain. KEEP

Broadcast I already like a fair bit. Moreso after Tears in the Typing Pool. Whispy. KEEP

Cass McCombs is another artist I like and who often turns up in my playlists but I cannot lie, I Cannot Lie is no I Went to the Hospital or That’s That. DISCARD

Blue Zipper by Made of Oak is instrumental electronica of the sort I proof read to. Perhaps I mentioned that. I’m struggling to find a way to say that without repeating myself from earlier. KEEP

Barbarella is great post-post-punk. At least I think it is. My usage of multiple posts- was to obfuscate my lack of confidence in nailing down Billy Changer‘s true genre with any certainty. KEEP

Sunflower Bean‘s Easier Said is thoroughly lovely Beach Fossils-esque jangle pop with the kind of bell-clear ladyvocal that I can’t ever say “no” to. Welcome to the 2016 playlist, guys. KEEP

This week, the mighty algorithm scores 23/30.

2016 Playlist: Nothin about Nothin – Twerps

Twerps make the kind of songs that could have appeared on Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete and Pete. Maybe one of the Petes would have one of those bitter-sweet realisations that they were leaving some part of childhood behind. Maybe it was brought on by a high stakes game of rock paper scissors, a week as apprentice School Bus Driver, or a fight to abolish Adult Swim at the local pool.  All of which puts Twerps in pretty good company if you ask me.

Much of The Adventures of Pete and Pete is available to watch on YouTube.