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Playlist: New tunes from 2021, part four

Well, we made through another year. It’s New Years’s Eve, a mere handful of hours left of 2021. I would normally be all optimistic for the new year, but I can’t help but question if things will really get better with the turn of the calendar. I saw someone post a meme recently on social media somewheres that gloomily said: “That moment that you realize that 2022 is pronounced twenty twenty too.” I laughed out loud because it rang so true.

Still, traditions must be adhered to. The countdown will go on, resolutions will be made and broken, young lovers will kiss at midnight, sparkling wines will be uncorked and guzzled, and of course, I will post the final instalment of my annual four-part playlist sharing some of the new tunes released during the year. You are welcome to go back and revisit parts one, two, and three, which include songs from the first three quarters of the year. And this final playlist, twenty five songs, much like the previous three, collects the bangers from the last three months. However, since new releases are typically scant at this time of year (the calendar usually being more full of reissues and box sets for Christmas), I bolstered whatever spots remain with the b-sides, or tracks that just missed being included in the previous three parts.

As rough as the year has been personally and for all of us collectively, we’ve at least had some great music being created and released to keep us going. In some areas of the world, things began opening up in the fall and live shows were being held, a sort of tease and taste of how things can be if they ever return to normal, and then, Omricon swept in to remind us that this pandemic isn’t quite beaten yet.

But let’s focus, just for a few minutes, on the joy of music, shall we? Right then.

Highlights of this playlist’s last twenty-five songs include:

    • “Still the same” is infectious synth pop from the latest album by Princess Century, the solo project of Maya Postepski (ex of Austra and TR/ST)
    • Always whimsical and dreamy and mellow rocking, Luna frontman Dean Wareham delivers fun on “The past is our plaything” from his newest solo album
    • On “Dying in LA”, Canadian indie electronic rock band, Gold and Youth, channels OMD and Simple Minds for the soundtrack of the film that John Hughes never made
    • And speaking of 80s revival, Nation of Language do their best impression of New Order on “Across that fine line”
    • It’s almost sickening how Elbow keep continuing to make untouchable and beautiful music each and every album but songs like “Six words” draw me in every time
    • Departure Lounge came out of nowhere earlier this year to release their first album in two decades and songs like the jangly “Australia” show why more people should have missed them
    • And finally, “(We like to) Do it with the lights on” is just one of many reasons I’m glad that Nicholas Thoburn didn’t stop making music as Islands, as he had threatened back in 2016

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, complete with links to YouTube videos:

1. “Pool hopping” Illuminati Hotties (from the album Let me do one more)

2. “Human touch” Pond (from the album 9)

3. “Still the same” Princess Century (from the album s u r r e n d e r)

4. “Mid-century modern” Billy Bragg (from the album The million things that never happened)

5. “The past is our plaything” Dean Wareham (from the album I have nothing to say to the mayor of L.A.)

6. “Aquamarine” Hand Habits (from the album Fun house)

7. “Bessie, did you make it?” Marissa Nadler (from the album The path of the clouds)

8. “Wasted” The War On Drugs (from the album I don’t live here anymore)

9. “Proud home” Lily Konigsberg (from the album Lily we need to talk)

10. “Miss Moon” Penelope Isles (from the album Which way to happy)

11. “Dying in LA” Gold & Youth (from the album Dream baby)

12. “Across that fine line” Nation Of Language (from the album A way forward)

13. “Turning green” Courtney Barnett (from the album Things take time, take time)

14. “It should have been fun” Pip Blom (from the album Welcome break)

15. “Royal morning blue” Damon Albarn (from the album The nearer the fountain, more pure the stream flows)

16. “Six words” Elbow (from the album Flying dream 1)

17. “Tell me tell me tell me” Rinse (from the EP Wherever I am)

18. “Australia” Departure Lounge (from the album Transmeridian)

19. “Too loud” Autogramm (from the album No rules)

20. “(We like to) Do it with the lights on” Islands (from the album Islomania)

21. “When I come around” Nap Eyes (from the EP Nap Eyes)

22. “When it breaks” Quivers (from the album Golden doubt)

23. “The right thing is hard to do” Lightning Bug (from the album A color of the sky)

24. “In the stone” The Goon Sax (from the album Mirror II)

25. “Jaywalker” Andy Shauf (from the album Wilds)

As always, 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
Playlists

Playlist: New tunes from 2021, part three

Things have been quieter around these parts over the last couple of months. I went from posting to these pages two or three times a week back in August to averaging just a couple of posts each for the months of September and October. It’s been a rough year all around and my wife and I took a look around mid-August and realized that the summer was almost over. We decided to spend as much time outside as we could and tried to do things that would make things feel like normalcy was returning. All that being said, we’ve had a good couple of months and now, I feel like I’m ready to start picking up the proverbial pen with more regularity again, though nothing like the pace at which I had going prior to my unexpected mini hiatus.

I should point out now that just because I’ve been quiet here, that this doesn’t mean I haven’t been listening to music. Far from it. I’ve continued to spin records whenever I get the chance and I am often streaming new music on the Spotify while doing chores or while working away at the computer. And yeah, there’s been lots of new music released over the last few months, more than I expected to find in coffers when I sat down to try to put together this third part of my New tunes of 2021 series of playlists.

“Third part?”, you might be asking.

Why, yes. This is part three. In fact, this is my third year running, doing these multi-part playlists. Typically, each part collects twenty-five or so songs, representing the musical output for a three month segment of the year. You can go back and have a peek at the songs that made my world turn for the first six months of 2021 here and here if you’d like.

Otherwise, I’ll stop my blathering and lead you off towards some of my songs of summer. Highlights include:

    • Drug Store Romeos have more than a great name, “Frame of reference” off the group’s debut shows off some peppy synth dreams worth mooning over
    • I’m not all that familiar with Australian indie rockers, Gang of Youths, and I only checked out their new EP to listen to a certain Elbow cover but instead, fell hard for “The angel of 8th Ave.”
    • It was “Scratching at the lid”, this dreamy but rocking first track that I heard in advance of Piroshka’s second album that had me looking hard and finally succumbing to that album pre-order button
    • Angel Olsen has some fun with an EP of reinterpreted 80s classics but this slowed down robotic take on Men Without Hats’ “Safety dance” takes the cake for me
    • Toronto artist Josh Korody aka Breeze has put together an album that sounds so much like the music me and my friends grew up on, we almost jokingly convinced my friend Tim that “Come around” was a lost 90s nugget
    • “Heart land”, an ear worm the likes of which I haven’t heard from The Vaccines since their blistering debut
    • And closing things off is Kurt Vile’s rip-roaring rendition of “Run run run”, just one of a number of great covers on the new Velvet Underground* & Nico tribute album, “I’ll be your mirror”

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, complete with links to YouTube videos:

1. “Personality girlfriend” Desperate Journalist (from the album Maximum sorrow!)

2. “Who’s your money on? (Plastic house)” Inhaler (from the album It won’t always be like this)

3. “Frame of reference” Drug Store Romeos (from the album The world within our bedrooms)

4. “End of the night” A Place to Bury Strangers (from the EP Hologram)

5. “The angel of 8th ave.” Gang of Youths (from the EP Total serene)

6. “Scratching at the lid” Piroshka (from the album Love drips and gathers)

7. “Romantic images” Molly Burch (from the album Romantic images)

8. “Animal” Lump (from the album Animal)

9. “Don’t go puttin wishes in my head” Torres (from the album Thirstier)

10. “Lonely” The Umbrellas (from the album The Umbrellas)

11. “Time walk” Bnny (from the album Everything)

12. “Anyway” Swim School (from the EP Making sense of it all)

13. “Safety dance” Angel Olsen (from the EP Aisles)

14. “Midnight wine” Shannon & the Clams (from the album Year of the spider)

15. “How not to drown (feat. Robert Smith)” Chvrches (from the album Screen violence)

16. “Come around (feat. Cadence Weapon)” Breeze (from the album Only up)

17. “Real pain” Indigo De Souza (from the album Any shape you take)

18. “Magnolia” Big Red Machine (from the album How long do you think it’s gonna last)

19. “Heart land” The Vaccines (from the album Back in love city)

20. “An acre lost” Sleigh Bells (from the album Texis)

21. “Days like these” Low (from the album Hey what)

22. “Is it light where you are” Art School Girlfriend (from the album Is it light where you are)

23. “Don’t hold your breath for too long” We Were Promised Jetpacks (from the album Enjoy the view)

24. “Head on” José González (from the album Local valley)

25. “Run run run” Kurt Vile (from the album I’ll be your mirror: A tribute to The Velvet Underground & Nico)

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

*If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend checking out Todd Haynes’ Velvet Underground documentary. It is excellent.

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.