Oh hey there, yes you, the wonderful human (I Hope) that is reading this lil' old blog of mine Its been quite a while since I last sat down and put together a playlist for my pleasure and, hopefully, yours as well. The lack of terrible jokes and fun that constitutes a sitting of this playlist has been missing in this life of mine, but now I'm back (unfortunately for you that is). This year has been work work work and more work for me so you have no idea how great it is to be writing about music again, my soul is genuinely filled with joy (Come on, I'm fully allowed to get all soppy on my own blog so don't you even consider judging me). I want to get through a lot of tracks for this playlist so I will stop with this and just get on with the playlist that you are all here for...
Right now I promise...
1. Flyte - Light Me Up
We start this week with a thoroughly under-appreciated delicious piece of 80's synth that got confused and lost in time and subsequently appeared in late 2014, sounds like quite a few of my friends actually. An opening synth overlay that makes me sway in that awkward way that only a white man can leads into soothing vocals which make even a cold winter's day in Cape Town seem somehow romantically tragic. The song gets into your gut with a refrain of "I'm burning up, I need you to light me up" (cue the overboard proposal video at this point). Simply put this is an easy listening classic with a music video that belies the deepness that this track actually brings to the party. Go Go Go listen!
2. Oh Wonder - The Rain
Coming in second this week we have a slow burner from 'Oh Wonder', a groove to make the head bop and vocals that vibrate in your inner being, sort of like the effect that happens after a glorious cup of coffee. This brings us back down from the 80's exuberance we experienced at the start of this playlist and takes us to a baser, (No not the makeup kind, sorry ladies but this is not a fashion blog), place where all worries are brought to the fore, but in that good way that makes us giddy, overexcited and satisfied by the end of it all. The trendy duo that constitutes 'oh wonder' have been releasing a track every month for a full year and at the end of the year (September 2015) they will release their debut album, all I can say is that by now I am refreshing my soundcloud feed for the next morsel that they offer up every month, trust me, that is a ton of refreshing.
3. The Colourist - We Won't Go Home
What would a playlist be without some American rockers from Orange County? Well ... incomplete, tragically underdone and just not right, are some of the responses that I was searching for from you guys and girls. This 4-piece plays, what I will be honest and say is, generic American pop-rock, but for some reason I just love it, usually I can't stand the stuff (Surely that's not too brutally honest?) but these 4 kids do it so so right. Simple hooks and an easy to love melody that puts a smile on your face. They are not attempting to be anything that they are not and for that I love them. They are the mashed potaties of the playlist, everyone eats them and you only miss them then they aren't there, (This may be the worst food analogy that I have ever gone for). Go on and have a listen before I say something else stupid.
4. Beau - One Wing
Now we bring it down a notch and get moody with a New York Duo known as 'Beau'. Beyond that tidbit of information, that they are from NYC, I know absolutely nothing about them except that their music and voices give me chills that run down my spine. This track has outstandingly used minimal instrumentals to complement the pure beauty of the vocals that characterize this haunting ballad. It is a track that gets under your skin within one line and then plays with your ears for the next four minutes, Lana Del Rey eat your heart out! This was an instant classic for me and sadly my vocabulary cannot do it justice today.
5. COIN - Run
Next up is some alt-pop from Nashville locals COIN. They are self described as '90's alt revivalists' (whatever that means) and that they sing songs about 'earnest human emotions'...well that's nice and all but all that I care about is that their music is fun, easy listening for the whole family... Go get your jocks, your hipsters, your moms and dads and everyone will secretly (yes you hipsters) or not so secretly (I'm looking at you Mr. foot tapping loudly) enjoy this track which initially floats on the surface with simple synth and then draws you in with a catchy as chorus...Yes I too am a sucker for something that doesn't require 5 hours of moody listening to decipher!
6. Say Lou Lou - Nothing But A Heartbeat
This. Yoh! What a stunner of a track this one is. The first time I properly heard this track I promptly went into shock. This outstrips anything you hear from main-stream contemporary pop artists in this day and age (bold claims I know). I almost don't have words to describe this one, (Yet again I am a blogger who runs out of words, I really should work on this), it is one of those tracks that just gets you, it catches you unaware and slaps you around a bit and then holds you close and tells you that everything is going to be alright. So go listen and I will keep quiet over here and let the music minister to you in way that my words cannot. The music video is a journey, that is all that I am going to say about that.
To the regulars, they exist I promise, at this point it is safe to come of hiding, we have come to the indie segment of the playlist. 'Declan McKenna' is a UK native who seems to be dreaming of the sunnier climates in South America. I would just like to say to Declan: "Oi Mate we have sun in South Africa too", just saying. I actually don't mind one bit where he sings of, just as long as he is singing it in public. His bluesy, jazzy surfer vibe (Yes that exists now) is a pleasure for my ears to lock onto. He has crafted a track that belies his young years and as he croons over sections of the track I begin to wish that I too was far away in warmer climates.
8. LA Priest - Oino
Good Laaaaawd this is one funky track, the man that made this track must wake up in the morning and literally sweat funk. HOW DID HE MAKE IT SO FUNKY!? This may be one of the wackiest tracks out there, the use of samples and bass is unparalleled and I'm pretty sure that I hear one of the horns used in Lord of the Rings thrown in there, (nerdy Stu came out to play). Track of the year material for me. I'm out: Too. Much. Funk. Yoh.
9. Lusts - Temptations
The penultimate track this week is a throwback to 'The Smiths' from Leicester brothers Andy and James Stone. This is the debut track from these 'dark-pop' proponents and I have to say that it is a pretty spectacular beginning to their musical journey. The playlist started with the 80's come to life and it almost finishes with it once again, jangling guitars, pop-hooks and vocals that are so British that it almost hurts are what set this one apart. Go on and get involved in more of the 80's madness. *Let me go and fetch my over-sized lumo coat for visual effect!
10. M.I.L.K. - If We want To
In the words of the one and only Sean Ross "Ooooooooooooh baby" this is some smooth stuff right here. A Trumpet heavy intro with the sneakiest of rolling beats overlaid some of the most delightfully crafted synth that I have heard this side of 2013. The vocals are so suave that I feel myself agreeing with everything proposed in the track, I mean even to the point of 'going directly from the sky to the sea' hells yeah that's happening now, the man who isn't the biggest fan of heights is going skydiving because of this track! A masterpiece of musical expression and comfortably my track of the year thus far. Go Listen right this instant. Like right now!
Honorary mentions (Because I don't know when I will have time to write again).
11. Desert Sound Colony - Cracks In My Soul
12. Tove Styrke - Borderline
13. Wafia - Let me Love You
14. CHIC feat Nile Rodgers - I'll Be There
15. Flume - Some Minds (feat Andrew Wyatt)
16. Beirut - No No No
Cheers everybody! Hopefully I will find the time to write again soon!