2016 Playlist: Two Coins – Ex Easter Island Head

Picking one track (Two Coins) from Ex-Easter Island Head‘s Twenty-Two Strings does the band a bit of a disservice and, more importantly, it sits real weird on a playlist. A snippet of hypnotic, rhythmic guitar hammering robbed of any context amidst a sea of… songs. But I did it anyway.

Here’s Twenty-Two Strings in its thoroughly excellent entirety.

2016 Playlist: Watchdog – Lina Tullgren

If it were up to me, every song would sound like an early 4-track demo of itself. Lina Tullgren knows what I mean, Watchdog seems like it’s bleeding through the walls from another room wherever you listen to it. The bass, drums and guitar grumble beneath Tullgren’s distant muffled, but very lovely voice. She’s signed to Captured Tracks whose CT5 Sampler is as good an introduction to the label as any.

2016 Playlist: A Man of My Age – Arborist

I know nothing about Arborist beyond A Man of My Age which brings to mind the semi-guilty MOR pleasures of Josh Rouse who I’ve just looked at the Spotify profile of and… Goddamnit, Josh is that a trilby? Jesus can you not just be cool?  You’re making me look like an idiot.

(Can’t argue with “Nothing Gives Me Pleasure” though)

2016 Playlist: Colours – The Avalanches

Hey, The Avalanches are back! I mean, look, I can’t pretend that I was exactly awaiting their return with bated breath, but on the evidence of Colours maybe I should have been? I wanted to say it sounds a little like Zoo Brothers’ Fourth of July, which soundtracked the end of a spoof hoverboard video from 2014, but I listened to Fourth of July again and it’s not that good a comparison. Why am I telling you this? Because it took a lot of googling to find out what that hoverboard song was called and I didn’t want that time to be wasted.

Define “Wasted”.

Touché.

2016 Playlist: Fool – Frankie Cosmos

Going purely off my own playlist, I’d say 2016’s been a great one for the incredibly short song. I feel like I’ve already written about a fair number of candles that burn twice as brightly for half as long.

And so, to Frankie Cosmos, whose songs are a lo-fi grab bag of little Roys Batty, releasing their metaphorical doves from the roof of a dilapidated building before they’ve outstayed their welcome. Not that they’d outstay their welcome if they were twice the length. Here’s Fool:

2016 Playlist: What’s Not Mine – Cate le Bon

Let’s take a moment to discuss the art of the album closer.* Not everyone’s good at them. Not everyone bothers with them, owing to the fact that not everyone makes it through entire albums these days. I mean here’s a blog about picking out individual songs, how many albums do you think I get through on an average week?

But despite my current song/track fetish, I still appreciate the album as a form, especially ones that aren’t front-loaded with the best stuff.  I’m always especially delighted by a good ol’ fashioned closer, particularly ones like Cate le Bon’s What’s Not Mine which confidently brings her album ‘Crab Day’ to a lead-footed, crashing halt. Strangled guitar solos, staccato sax grunts, piano keys that sound distorted by how hard and often they’re being stabbed. It’s good times. Too bad I found it around the middle of 2016 otherwise I’d have closed the whole playlist with it.

*Let’s take a moment to discuss how shit that opener is. Who IS this asshole, am I right?

2016 Playlist: I’m Ready – Alexis Taylor

As someone with a mild dislike for Hot Chip, Alexis Taylor’s sparse piano ballad I’m Ready is a pleasant surprise. Which isn’t to say that one person can’t make different types of music, but I hardly expected to find myself enjoying something like this from the guy who helped unleash “Over and Over” (with its grating, monotonous plinks and plonks and it’s “haha, geddit? … repetition!” lyrics) on me back in the mid-00s.