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.


Best tunes of 2011: #25 Lanterns on the Lake “Lungs quicken”

<< #26    |    #24 >>

Sometimes the way we classify and typify bands and sounds and try to put names to certain styles or movements really turns me off. Words like “Emo” and “Screamo“ and “Nugaze” and “Chillwave” and “Folktronica” just make me shake my head. I get it. And these terms often do aptly describe the music they are meant to represent. However, if I had heard the term “Folktronica”, for instance, in reference to Lanterns on the Lake before listening to their debut album, “Gracious tide, take me home”, I might never have picked it up.

As it stands right now, I don’t actually remember at all how I came across them. In 2011, I was listening to everything that was being released, an exercise in futile mass consumption that was initiated by a fledgling blog. I all of a sudden felt that I had to have my finger even more fully pressed down hard on the pulse of music, everything new and hip. It was futile because there’s just too much out there and I was forced to decide whether I liked something in fewer samples, one or two go arounds, rather than five or six. I was also discovering bands in bunches, which meant I wasn’t always getting the time I wanted with each album before I was on to the next. I’ve been trying to remedy this in the last couple of years, since putting that old blog to bed and starting afresh, to go back to spend more time with albums that did stick out amongst the rest and give them their due. “Gracious tide, take me home” is one of these and I’ve so been looking forward to spending more time with it to write this post.

Lanterns on the Lake are a five-piece from Newcastle-on-Tyne that has released three studio albums in total, a live album, and a handful of EPs since their formation in 2007. They recently toured in support of one of my very favourite bands, James, and by all accounts, they got on quite well. Listening to both bands, this doesn’t surprise me in the least. Like James, Lanterns on the Lake doesn’t just write music, as much as build it. Their sound is very atmospheric and big and beautiful.

“Lungs quicken”, the album opener, is a prime of example of what I speak. It’s washes of synths, a subdued electronic beat and the hint of strings. Lead vocalist Hazel Wilde lightly touches her brush to the canvas, breathy and whispery, a tinkling of keys. It makes you think that their name is perfect. Candles in paper lanterns, hundreds of them, maybe thousands, just visible in the mist out on the grey lake. And then the wind whips up, the music builds in volume and gusto, and the lanterns jostle on the waves, crashing and splashing but not going out. At five and a half minutes, “Lungs quicken” does just that, light breathing becomes breathless and just when you think you have to give up, it ends, leaving you wanting to start all over again.

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