(Click the tracklist screengrab to open the playlist.)
These notes are a whole week late – but what the hell, better late than never, etc.
1. My Word! You Do Look Queer! – Stanley Holloway (YouTube)
I often forget how much vintage comedy is out there on Spotify. This monologue was new to me. Its title drew me in, mais bien sur.
2. The Magic – Joan As Police Woman (YouTube)
When it comes to Joan “Police Woman” Wasser, I can’t help feeling that we’re in diminishing returns territory. The new album has yet to grab me much, but this track has a certain je ne sais quoi.
3. The Words That Maketh Murder – PJ Harvey (YouTube)
Considering the number of PJ-influenced acts that are currently surfacing, she couldn’t have chosen a better moment for a comeback. I particularly like the lyrical homage to Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”.
4. Yang Yang – Anika (YouTube)
I tend to imagine this Yoko Ono cover (with production by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow) being played in smoke-choked, sticky-floored boîtes de nuit, where desultory, long-fringed, black-clad ghouls shuffle in the gloom. Do such places even exist any more?
5. Days – Creep (YouTube)
Enough with the French, already. This features vocals from Romy Madley Croft from The xx. Again, we’re in mopey, subterranean territory here…
6. Night – Zola Jesus (YouTube)
..and, for that matter, here. It’s good to run with a theme.
I saw both these bands on the last NME Radar Tour. Neither impressed me on the night, but both have redeemed themselves with their new singles – particularly The Joy Formidable, once I was persuaded to give “Austere” a second listen. Everyone deserves a second chance, don’t they? And besides, it’s about time we had a few guitar bands in here.
9. Adapt – Wire (YouTube)
Still very much working in the music industry today, as they say on Buzzcocks, Wire have described this track (from their new album Red Barked Tree) as “a kind of where-are-we, state-of-the-world address: observations about extreme climate change and disaster, the failure of financial markets (“fairness flounders, sincere cheats”), child labour, hollow politics.”
10. Compared To What? – John Legend and The Roots (YouTube)
The social commentary continues, with the first of three tracks in which John Legend has an involvement. This is taken from his recent album of classic soul covers, recorded with The Roots. Although nothing could ever top Les McCann and Eddie Harris’s brilliant original, Legend does a pretty decent job.
11. All The Boys – Keri Hilson (YouTube)
Although Keri Hilson’s latest album largely left me cold, this Legend-penned adieu (oops) to former lovers is one of the few tracks which grabbed me.
12. Getting Nowhere – Magnetic Man ft John Legend (YouTube)
And here’s Legend for the third and last time, guesting with the second-billed act on the forthcoming NME tour (also featuring Crystal Castles, Everything Everything and The Vaccines).
This week’s synthy selections lead us nicely into…
16. Was Dog A Doughnut? – Cat Stevens (YouTube)
…this startlingly ahead-of-its time album track from 1977, in which Cat Stevens inadvertently invents electro.
17. Doctor My Eyes – Jackson Browne (YouTube)
Staying in the 1970s (which I am all too wont to do, let’s face it), “Doctor My Eyes” was a Top Ten hit for The Jackson 5 in the UK, whereas Jackson Browne’s 1972 original charted in the US. I’d never heard this until a couple of weeks ago. Knowledge gap duly filled.
18. Tourist Leggo – King Short Shirt
Calypso music from Antigua, as brought back to the UK by John Peel after a holiday there in 1977. I lost my taped-off-the-radio copy decades ago, and so was delighted to find this again on Spotify. You half-expect King Short Shirt to lay into his target good and proper – “tourist” being such a loaded word – but he confines himself instead to gentle mockery.
19. Roll Jordan Roll – The Fairfield Four
Discovered via the short-lived, but much-enjoyed, ILX listening room. Bass, HOW low can you go?
20. Coming Home – Diddy-Dirty Money ft Skylar Grey (YouTube)
My ability to appreciate contemporary hip hop hit the skids around six years ago, never to recover – which, to someone who likes to form an accommodation with most genres, is a source of considerable regret. These days, I’m the sort of bozo who only enjoys two or three US rap tracks a year: “Empire State Of Mind”, something by Kanye West (at least up until his most recent album, which again falls into DO NOT GET territory)… and this affectingly bombastic cracker from – of all people! – Puff Bleeding Daddy, whom I have cheerfully loathed for a decade and a half. You never can tell, can you?
To open the playlist in Spotify, please click the track listing at the top of this post.
You can also use this link: http://v.gd/tdcast004