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Playlist: New tunes from 2022, part one

Happy Monday!* And while we’re at it, happy fifth anniversary to this very blog!

It’s been hard to believe I’ve been at this thing for five years now but really, time has felt a bit weird and out of sorts of late. I’m pretty sure I swore last year that I would try to get my stuff together and put together a proper celebratory post to acknowledge this landmark milestone, but of course, it snuck up on me again. And the best I’ve got is to share part one of my annual, four part playlist of brand new tunes.

“…Best I’ve got..” What am I saying?

These things really are celebrations unto themselves – each truly an exhibition of some of the best music that has passed my ears each year and soundtracked my daily trials and tribulations. If you’ve happened upon this blog at the right time in the past few years, you’d know that each of the parts of these playlists represent twenty-five tunes released during the previous three months and that I have tickled my fancy to some degree.

The year 2022 started off pretty much as the last two years have ended: very much dictated by the tidal waves of this pandemic and the eternal question of when things might return back to whatever normal ever was. Indeed, things for me have been for the most part status quo. I keep working from home, listening to tunes, reading, writing, and spending as much time as I can with my lovely wife. Truly, I do my best to find joy where I can in these crazy times. One thing that has been somewhat different is the amount I’ve spent on the road, travelling between Ottawa and Toronto and back, which means, of course, plenty of car tunes. Spotify and the number of playlists I’ve created thus far have been my saving grace thus far.

More recently, however, I’ve decided to give Apple Music a try. I know a lot of people decided to cut ties with Spotify over the whole Joe Rogan debacle but I don’t really spend a lot of time on the podcasts and have no idea who the guy is so that wasn’t ever a dealbreaker. For me, I’ve always been curious about Apple Music because I am pretty much knee deep in Apple products every where else and have always been happy with the quality and connectivity the company has provided. So far, Apple Music, too, has been as great as expected. The immediate bonus was having my extensive digital music collection available across all my devices. The only downside so far came when I went to create this part one playlist and found out that for some reason, WordPress, that platform upon which this blog is built, doesn’t play nice in the sandbox with Apple Music. So instead of embedding a playlist sampler as I usually do, I’ll include a link to the playlist below. It should work for all you fellow Apple cult initiates and for the rest of you, try out the link and let me know how it works for you. As always, though, if it doesn’t work, I’ve included links to YouTube videos for each of song in the playlist below.

So without further ado, I’ll present twenty five new tunes that have helped keep me going over the first three months of 2022. Highlights include:

      • “Morbid fascination”, a bombastic, statement making playlist intro by Brighton, England-based duo, Blood Red Shoes
      • I’m not always onboard with everything they do, but “Chaos space marine” off their sophomore record has Black Country, New Road reminding me of a certain Montreal band called Arcade Fire circa mid-2000s
      • Glenn Donaldson released my favourite album last year as The Reds, Pinks and Purples and he’s struck gold again with his third long-player, “Summer at land’s end”, this excellent single, “Let’s pretend we’re not in love”, is a prime example
      • I’ve always been a huge fan of Frank Turner‘s songwriting and perhaps because of my age, am drawn to the stripped down tracks that highlight this talent and so when he includes acoustic versions as bonus tracks, like this acoustic version of “Haven’t been doing so well”, I’m sold
      • Britt Daniel and his band Spoon have returned with a new album after five years and this track off it, “Wild”, is triumph epitomized
      • Montreal psych-rockers Elephant Stone have released a new concept EP, their first release completely in French ‘par excellence’, and “M. Lonely” is track one
      • And finally, 90s glam rock/britpop holdouts Placebo have released their first new album in 9 years and “Beautiful James” sounds like they’ve never left us

Here is the entire playlist as I’ve created it:

1. “Morbid fascination” Blood Red Shoes (from the album Ghosts on tape)

2. “Giving in to the love” Aurora (from the album The gods we can touch)

3. “The Overload” Yard Act (from the album Yard Act)

4. “Karl Kardel building” Kids On A Crime Spree (from the album Fall in love not in line)

5. “Chaos space marine” Black Country, New Road (from the album Ants from up there)

6. “Let’s pretend we’re not in love” The Reds, Pinks And Purples (from the album Summer at land’s end)

7. “Anybody else inside” The Slow Show (from the album Still life)

8. “Spud infinity” Big Thief (from the album Dragon new warm mountain I believe in you)

9. “Haven’t been doing so well (acoustic)” Frank Turner (from the album FTHC)

10. “Something like love” Andy Bell (from the album Flicker)

11. “Wild” Spoon (from the album Lucifer on the sofa)

12. “Circles” Basement Revolver (from the album Embody)

13. “Am I really going to die” White Lies (from the album As I try not to fall apart)

14. “Blame (feat. Miki Berenyi” Blushing (from the album Possessions)

15. “M. Lonely” Elephant Stone (from the EP Le voyage de M. Lonely dans la lune)

16. “Hurts to love” Beach House (from the album Once twice melody)

17. “In the name of (Garden version)” Basia Bulat (from the album The Garden)

18. “You in everything” Gangs Of Youth (from the album Angel in realtime)

19. “The tipping point” Tears For Fears (from the album The tipping point)

20. “All being fine” King Hannah (from the album I’m not sorry I was just being me)

21. “In need of repair” Band Of Horses (from the album Things are great)

22. “Means to bleed” The Mysterines (from the album Reeling)

23. “Only wanna see u tonight” Young Guv (from the album Guv III)

24. “Jeff Goldblum” Mattiel (from the album Georgia gothic)

25. “Beautiful James” Placebo (from the album Never let me go)

Apple initiates or lab rats can click here to let me know if this link works to sample the above tracks as a whole playlist.

And as always, wherever you are in the world, I hope you are safe and continue to be well. Above all, 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.

*Whenever I say those words, I automatically start singing the words: “You’re twistin’ my melon man.”

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Playlists

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.