2016 Playlist: Chemical Trails – M. Craft

Marking the second of the M.’s featured in this year’s playlist, M.Craft is the less prolific when compared to his ‘Ward’ counterpart. I say less prolific, what I mean is “I’ve not heard anything from him since Silver and Fire which is a very good song and one I still return to often.”

Chemical Trails is no Silver and Fire, but that’s no bad thing. A ghostly piano ballad with some nice harmonies and whatnot. The song has also been ‘re-animated’ by Beyond the Wizards Sleeve, an act with a dumb name who we’ll come to in a later post.

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.”



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: 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.

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.)