Playlist: New tunes from 2020, part two

Back at the end of April, I posted the first part of this series, sharing with you all a playlist containing twenty-five tracks that I enjoyed during the first quarter of 2020. At that time, we were just five weeks or so into COVID-19 lockdown and had no idea what was going to happen or how long things were going to go on the way they were going. And well, we’re now nearing the end of July and we still don’t really have the answer to any of these questions. Restrictions have been relaxed in different parts of the world and we’ve had second outbreaks happen in others. We’ve been very tentative here in Canada. Slowly, slowly, slowly, we’ve seen some return to normalcy, albeit with some changes. Drive-in movie theatres appear to be making a comeback and leapfrogging from that, drive-in concerts. Masks are now prevalent and being made mandatory in all indoor public places. And of course, many of us are still working from home and really, seeing very little of other people outside of our own little bubbles.

Luckily for us, new music is still being released. Something to keep us occupied while we all stuck at home. I’ve (more than once) found myself wondering, though, if it, at some point, the music would stop coming. But no, at least not yet. Indeed, I would imagine that many of the tracks on this playlist were finished up during this crazy time and maybe even some of it recorded while in isolation. And when I get to posting the third playlist in this series, sometime in October, I feel like most of those songs will be influenced in some way by this new reality, whatever that will look like by then.

But before I get to much ahead of myself, let’s have a look at some of the highlights of this season’s playlist:

      • It all opens up with “Breathe”, the frenetic second track off Canadian indie popsters Born Ruffian‘s latest album, “Juice”
      • “The adults are talking” is a tune that I just can’t resist, the first in many years by The Strokes that has grabbed me right from the beginning and has yet to let go
      • One of my favourite Netflix series of late has been this British comedy, “Sex education”, and the soundtrack by Ezra Furman is just phenomenal and it finally saw a release this year, on which “Every feeling” is a standout track
      • I purchased I Break Horses‘s new album, “Warnings“, for my vinyl collection in May and it is quickly becoming one of my favourites of the year – just have a taste of “I’ll be the death of you” to see why
      • I saw and fell for Gateway Drugs when they opened for Swervedriver in 2015 and have been waiting for new material ever since, soooo… yes, “Wait (medication)” off this year’s “PSA” is very welcome and its production by Raveonettes’ Sune Rose Wagner definitely doesn’t hurt
      • It’s been 30 years since Pete “Sonic Boom” Kember’s last solo album but the founding member of Spaceman 3 creates quite the groove on “Just imagine” and the rest of “All things being equal” is quite lovely as well
      • A lot is being made of Phoebe Bridgers‘ sophomore record “Punisher” by the critics and I cannot fault them at all – “Kyoto” is a fine example of her mature and intelligent songwriting

For those who don’t use Spotify or if the embedded playlist below doesn’t work for you, here is the entire playlist as I’ve created it:

    1. “Breathe” Born Ruffians (from the album Juice)
    2. “Pringle creek” Ellis (from the album Born again)
    3. “Petty drone” Mystery Jets (from the album A billion heartbeats)
    4. “Alexandra” Laura Marling (from the album Song for our daughter)
    5. “The adults are talking” The Strokes (from the album The new abnormal)
    6. “Every feeling” Ezra Furman (from the album Sex Education soundtrack)
    7. “Decade” Harkin (from the album Harkin)
    8. “Nites out” Other Lives (from the album For their love)
    9. “Wake UP!” Hazel English (from the album Wake UP!)
    10. “Anywayz” Austra (from the album HiRUDiN)
    11. “Vegetable” Happyness (from the album Floatr)
    12. “I’ll be the death of you” I Break Horses (from the album Warnings)
    13. “Wait (medication)” Gateway Drugs (from the album PSA)
    14. “Temple” Thao & The Get Down Stay Down (from the album Temple)
    15. “Instant nightmare!” The Dears (from the album Lovers rock)
    16. “Hollywood Park” The Airborne Toxic Event (from the album Hollywood Park)
    17. “Is this a dream” Badly Drawn Boy (from the album Banana Skin Shoes)
    18. “(Don’t break my) devotion” Jade Hairpins (from the album Harmony Avenue)
    19. “Just imagine” Sonic Boom (from the album All things being equal)
    20. “Cameo” Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (from the album Sideways to New Italy)
    21. “Red western sky” Muzz (from the album Muzz)
    22. “Riding solo” Hinds (from the album The prettiest curse)
    23. “Kyoto” Phoebe Bridgers (from the album Punisher)
    24. “Real long gong” Rose City Band (from the album Summerlong)
    25. “Hot heater” Pottery (from the album Welcome to Bobby’s Motel)

And just as I said back in April: Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are safe and continue to be well. Until next time, enjoy the tunes.

If you’re interested in checking out any of the other playlists I’ve created and shared on these pages, you can peruse them here.

Playlist: New tunes from 2020, part one

I can hardly believe that we’re already a third of the way through 2020 and at the same time, with everything going on, I find myself wondering how it’s only the end of April. Indeed, the picture above was taken at the end of February, a mere couple of weeks before we were all sent to our respective rooms to think about what we’ve done, and even that fun weekend spent with friends seems so long ago now.

I started doing these “New tunes of…” Spotify playlists last year, the plan being to post 25 new songs from the previous three months, four times during the year, to have 100 great songs in total. I was only semi-successful at this last year and this year has already gotten off to a rocky start, seeing as that I’m only getting around to sharing this first playlist 2 or 3 weeks later than I was hoping for. To try to make up for my shortcomings, though, I’ve linked each song in the list to its respective YouTube video, in addition to my usually routine of embedding the complete Spotify playlist at the end.

This first playlist for 2020 sees a handful of old and some recent favourites of mine but also a lot of new discoveries. Highlights for this quarter include these:

      • I’m not a fan of everything on Okay Kaya‘s art pop sophomore album but “Insert generic name” tickles my funny bone and has me humming along every time
      • “Try again”, a great track off Andy Shauf‘s latest concept album, “The neon skyline”: hilarious, endearing, and relatable to anyone who’s run into an ex while drinking
      • It’s been five years since Cornershop‘s last record and more than a decade since they released one that I’ve loved but the latest, “England is a garden”, is pretty amazing and opening track, “St Marie under canon”, has had me bopping for weeks
      • New Zealand singer/songwriter Nadia Reid has quite the voice and how could I not fall for “Oh Canada”, a song about how she would like visit to my home country
      • “Ella” is something akin to something Enya or Loreena McKennitt might’ve done, but definitely darker and more haunting, and it’s got me curious about Myrkur‘s (Amalie Bruun, ex of Ex Cops) previous work
      • Just when I’d completely written off Mr. Morrissey, he returns after many years of disappointing me with a new album full of bangers, of which “Jim Jim Falls” is just one
      • “Can’t do much” is the third single off the latest album by Katie Crutchfield, aka Waxahatchee, and sees her cheerfully paying tribute to some of her favourite female singer/songwriters

For those who don’t use Spotify or if the embedded playlist below doesn’t work for you, here is the entire playlist as I’ve created it:

    1. “But you” Alexandra Savior (from the album The archer)
    2. “Your light” The Big Moon (from the album Walking like we do)
    3. “Everything else has gone wrong” Bombay Bicycle Club (from the album Everything else has gone wrong)
    4. “Insert generic name” Okay Kaya (from the album Watch this liquid pour itself)
    5. “Try again” Andy Shauf (from the album The neon skyline)
    6. “Under glass” Wolf Parade (from the album Thin mind)
    7. “I celebrate my fantasy” The Homesick (from the album The big exercise)
    8. “Ms. California” Beach Bunny (from the album Honeymoon)
    9. “I will not return as a tourist” Boniface (from the album Boniface)
    10. “Baddies” Lanterns On The Lake (from the album Spook the herd)
    11. “Everything has changed” Best Coast (from the album Always tomorrow)
    12. “Alien with a sleep mask on” Ratboys (from the album Printer’s devil)
    13. “Control” Brooke Bentham (from the album Everyday nothing)
    14. “The main thing” Real Estate (from the album The main thing)
    15. “Bloodstream” Soccer Mommy (from the album Color theory)
    16. “Jack Parsons” Luke Haines & Peter Buck (from the album Beat poetry for survivalists)
    17. “St Marie under canon” Cornershop (from the album England is a garden)
    18. “Oh Canada” Nadia Reid (from the album Out of my province)
    19. “Be your drug” Circa Waves (from the album Sad Happy)
    20. “Give/take” Porridge Radio (from the album Every bad)
    21. “Ego” Moaning (from the album Uneasy laughter)
    22. “Ella” Myrkur (from the album Folkesange)
    23. “Jim Jim Falls” Morrissey (from the album I am not a dog on a chain)
    24. “Mark Zuckerberg” Nap Eyes (from the album Snapshot of a beginner)
    25. “Can’t do much” Waxahatchee (from the album Saint Cloud)

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are safe, continue to be well, and well, enjoy the tunes.

If you’re interested in checking out any of the other playlists I’ve created and shared on these pages, you can peruse them here.

Playlist: The ultimate playlist

Well, hello there. Did the title catch your attention? Did you think it was hyperbole? Or perhaps a bit full of itself? I guess time will tell.

I’ve tried this before and have let the rope drop but somehow, this time, I think the experiment will work. My aim here is to create an infinite playlist, much like that of Nick and Norah, a playlist of songs that just continues to grow and evolve by itself, much like life and love does. I started adding songs to it a couple of weeks ago, just before the COVID-19 scare took hold for real here in Canada. I’ve since been spending a lot of time around the house and slowing life down quite a bit. The spectre of things has been weighing heavy and I’ve found myself wanting (even more so than usual) to rock out to some excellent tunes. I started things off with my favourite Manic Street Preachers tune from the mid 90s and have been letting my mood dictate things from there. Since I started the mix on that Sunday night in mid-March, I’ve added to it over a couple of different sessions while wearing earphones and sipping at a beer and now we’re up just past the 100 song and seven hour mark. A good time as any to share it with you all.

There’s no real theme for this playlist, unless you count that I am trying to include some my biggest and best tunes from across the decades. Of course, it reflects my own tastes, which tend towards the alternative and indie rock side of the musical spectrum, pretty much anything left of the dial.  So far I’ve name-checked punk and post-punk and post-punk revival, ska, goth, shoegaze, dream pop, indie folk, psychedelic rock, Madchester, britpop, new wave, alt-country, and art rock. I’ve danced and dabbled across the decades and I think thus far, haven’t included more than one song per artist. However, I don’t intend to continue that particular trend because a lot of these artists have way more than one good song and I don’t want to impose such strict limitations on this mix.

So depending on when you happen upon these words, whether just after I publish them today or perhaps even a year or two down the road, this playlist could last you a good evening’s drink or perhaps an excellent road trip or a weekend painting the house. It may get super unruly and daunting but that is okay. It could be that you might want to throw it on shuffle, though there is some sort of method to this madness, or you may just want to sample a segment based on a name or two piquing interest.

Give this ole playlist a follow and check in with me from time to time and might I suggest opening a beer as you do so. It might help you get into the spirit of things a bit more because, yeah, it is meant to be a party of sorts. Cheers!

If you’re interested in checking out any of the other playlists I’ve created and shared on these pages, you can peruse them here.