Categories
Playlists

Playlist: New tunes from 2021, part one

Happy Thursday everyone!

A treat for you, given that we’ve already made to the halfway mark of April. That’s right, it’s time for the first instalment in my annual four part playlist sharing new tunes released throughout the year.

Last year when I did my first playlist post, we were just one month into this pandemic thing and none of us had any idea what we were really in for. The music on that first list was all recorded and mostly released pre-pandemic when everything was still ‘normal’. I remember wondering what the impacts would be to musicians and recorded music and from what we’ve seen, despite the restrictions on live performances and travelling, tours and festivals are really the only thing we’ve lost. Sure, there’s been hiccups in the supply chain, causing delays in vinyl releases and the cost of records to steadily increase, but we’ve seen no shortage of good music released. In fact, it feels like creativity is at an all time high when it comes to new music.

I’d say that the majority of these here twenty five tunes were recorded under the shadow of COVID-19. In some cases, the artists were able to work together in person and in some, the process was virtual, working like many of us are having to do, in new and inventive ways. And new music being released is something for which I am super thankful. It’s something to which to look forward, something new and different, and as always, it feeds my soul. Now if only we all can get vaccinated and we can get back to enjoying live performances together. Something else to look forward to, I guess…

In the meantime, here are twenty five new tunes that have helped keep me going over the first three months of 2021. Highlights include:

      • From an album of covers by American singer/songwriter Pete Yorn, this take on The Stone Roses’ “Ten storey love song” is way more enjoyable than I ever would have thought possible
      • Margaret Sohn, aka Miss Grit, lays a haunting and shimmering bomb called “Blonde”, the centrepiece of her latest EP
      • “Michelangelo”, the opening track on Cassandra Jenkins‘ sophomore album calls to mind Jenny Lewis’s work on her 2008 album, “Acid tongue”
      • “I woke up with an open heart”, a hip lounge dreamscape built by Simon Raymonde’s latest project, Lost Horizons, with the help of reggae band, The Hempolics
      • For some reason, I never had the urge to check out POSTDATA up to now, but “Kissing” and the rest of the third album by the side project of Wintersleep’s Paul Murphy has me reaching for their back catalogue
      • Similarly, I had never listened to Scottish indie rock duo Arab Strap before but gave their first new album in 16 years a try and was drawn into the dark depths of opening track, “The turn of our bones”
      • And it all wraps up with “I don’t recognize you” by NewDad, a dream pop gem by a young new Irish band that feels like lazing in the park on a sunny day

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. “Alphabet” shame (from the album Drunk tank pink)

2. “Ten storey love song” Pete Yorn (from the album Pete Yorn sings the classics)

3. “Good girls (don’t get used)” Beach Bunny (from the EP Good girls (don’t get used))

4. “The last exit” Still Corners (from the album The last exit)

5. “Undecided voters” Kiwi Jr. (from the album Cooler returns)

6. “Welcome to the endgame” Typhoon (from the album Sympathetic magic)

7. “Sad cowboy” Goat Girl (from the album On all fours)

8. “Our heads, our hearts on fire again” The Besnard Lakes (from the album The Besnard Lakes are the last of the great thunderstorm warnings)

9. “Blonde” Miss Grit (from the EP Impostor)

10. “Hesitating nation” Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (from the album New fragility)

11. “Michelangelo” Cassandra Jenkins (from the album An overview on phenomenal nature)

12. “The wind was like a train” Wild Pink (from the album A billion little lights)

13. “Lanyards” The Hold Steady (from the album Open door policy)

14. “Goodtimes” Flyying Colours (from the album Fantasy country)

15. “I woke up with an open heart (feat. The Hempolics)” Lost Horizons (from the album In quiet moments)

16. “Faith healer” Julien Baker (from the album Little oblivions)

17. “Kissing” POSTDATA (from the album Twin flames)

18. “The balcony” Fruit Bats (from the album The pet parade)

19. “The turning of our bones” Arab Strap (from the album As days get dark)

20. “I like the way you die” Black Honey (from the album Written and directed)

21. “Brighter then” Real Numbers (from the EP Brighter then)

22. “R U 4 me?” Middle Kids (from the album Today we’re the greatest)

23. “In the middle of the way home” Tuns (from the album Duly noted)

24. “Party lines” Anna Fox Rochinski (from the album Cherry)

25. “I don’t recognize you” NewDad (from the EP Waves)

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.

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2011: #23 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! “Hysterical”

<< #24    |    #22 >>

Here at number twenty three of my Best tunes of 2011 list, we have “Hysterical” by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. For this post and song, I’m going to plagiarize myself a bit from some words I wrote back in 2011.

In the fall of that year, I drafted the first of what would become many best albums of the year lists, the first bunch being for my old blog, Music Insanity! (yes, I still have all the content, despite decommissioning the site). In that first list, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah made a surprise appearance in the top ten. The following somewhat explains:

“When their debut album came out in 2005, it was much hyped by all and hyperboles were unleashed from all directions (e.g., the best indie album ever!). I personally thought the hype a bit much but did really enjoy the album. It sounded to me like it was informed by the geek rock post-punk bands of the late 70s and early 80s, bands like the Violent Femmes, the Talking Heads, and Devo. It was peppy, poppy, and sat nicely in just the right space on the weird scale. Unfortunately, when “Some loud thunder” came out two years later, I couldn’t get into it. I was never able to put my finger on why but I guess to me, it just didn’t sound like the same band.

“Fast forward to 2011 and I had all but given CYHSY up for dead because I hadn’t really heard much from them in three to four years. In September [of that year], they released “Hysterical” (self-released domestically, but with indie label help in Europe, like their previous albums) and I gave the band another chance – as I often do for bands in whom I have seen shades of brilliance. This time around, I was pleasantly surprised to find CYHSY back to energetic pop that I fell in love with in 2005. It was as if that second album had never happened.”

I’ve since grown to appreciate “Some loud thunder” but still enjoy the band’s first and third albums better. “Hysterical”, the title track on the latter of the two is great example of the energy we can find there. Frenetic, danceable drumming over washes of synths, the melodic and jangly guitar work, and overall “new retro” sound. But what really holds the music together is the vocals of Alec Ounsworth, whose voice and singing mannerisms are the amalgam of Gordon Gano and David Byrne.

Turn up the Geek rock and bring the noise!

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2011 list, click here.