Categories
Playlists

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.

Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: I Break Horses “Warnings”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: I Break Horses
Album Title: Warnings
Year released: 2020
Details: double LP, clear vinyl, gatefold sleeve

The skinny: I first came across the name I Break Horses back in 2011 and fell for the then-duo’s shoegaze-influenced debut album, “Hearts”. Then, I went to see them as the opening band on M83’s North American tour the following spring. And I Break Horses put on a blistering set, all but showing up the headliners. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as sold on their sophomore release, 2014’s “Chiascuro”, and after that, things were quiet for many years. When I heard tell that Maria Lindén was putting out a new album this year under the I Break Horses moniker, I was cautiously optimistic. When it was released, I gave it a spin on Spotify. I wasn’t even finished one go around (perhaps not even through the opening track featured below) before I was on the Bella Union website ordering this clear vinyl pressing. Yep. So far, “Warnings” is definitely one of my favourite albums of the year.

Standout track: “Turn”

Categories
Playlists

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.