Best tunes of 2012: #7 Porcelain Raft “Drifting in and out”

<< #8    |    #6 >>

Wake up all you dream pop fanatics, just long enough to open up your Spotify app, locate the album “Strange weekend” by Porcelain Raft, press play, and drift back into the musical haze of its opening track: “Drifting in and out”.

Yeah, that’s the spot. Right there. An itch you didn’t know you needed scratched. I know because I’ve been there myself. In fact, why don’t you go listen to it again. I’ll wait (or perhaps I’ll give it another go myself).

This beautiful piece and the nine tracks that follow it are the work of the unfortunately-named Porcelain Raft, a “basement” project of Italian-born composer/songwriter, Mauro Remiddi. “Strange weekend” was in fact the debut album under this name but you couldn’t mark Remiddi down as fresh-faced kid with a crazy dream, even at the time. He had already been at the music game for many years in 2012, cutting his teeth working as a musician in projects all around the world and dabbling in musical styles ranging from gypsy Klezmer music to North Korean traditional music.

This particular chapter in his music story was inspired by his move to New York City. Remiddi worked alone on the album, without a lot of external intervention, but it does not feel as detached and self-aggrandizing as these types of projects tend to feel. This could have something to do with how quickly Remiddi reportedly recorded the album, just focusing on the music in the moment, as fleeting as that can be.

“Strange weekend” was released very early in 2012. It made an impression on me from the get-go and though I remember doing my best to discover and listen to as much new music as I could that year, somehow, this one was never very far from my ear phones. So many great mind-expanding and explosive moments for me and I’ve likened it many times over to an alien retelling of Primal Scream’s “Screamadelica”. And it all starts here, with this track.

If you haven’t heard it already, I’ll just point out the similarity here to Chapterhouse’s “Mesmerise” and now you won’t be able unhear it. The dreamy danceable vibe. The skull latching medicine. The synths that flit about in shards of light and in between wispy clouds. The lasers beaming out from the retro spaceship. The half-remembered saturday night on the town played in reverse and in slow motion. This is blissful dream pop. Yeah, let’s listen to it again.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2012 list, click here.


Playlist: New tunes from 2020, part four

Good morning, good morning. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday weekend and if you celebrate them, a merry Christmas and a fruitful Boxing day… well, as merry and as fruitful as possible, given the circumstances.

We’ve finally nearly reached the end of this crazy year 2020 (give yourselves a congratulatory pat on the back). We’re now just two days removed from New Year’s eve and the unveiling of my favourite album of the year, and here I am unleashing the fourth part of my ‘New tunes of 2020’ playlist series. This is the first time in the past three years of doing these playlist series that I’ve actually managed a fourth part, even though it has always been planned in the past. And this is only partially because of life getting in the way of my blogging and playlist creation fun. In reality, one of the biggest roadblocks to managing a fourth part for the fourth quarter has, in the past, been the lack of quality new releases. I’ve always found that the new music release calendar trails off a bit after November, brand new music giving way to reissues and best of compilations, just in time for Christmas giving.

I was more successful putting together this fourth playlist this year because I accepted these limitations and decided to make this a b-sides compilation of sorts. The first half of these tracks are new tunes that came out in October and the first half of November and the rest are tracks that didn’t make the cut, for one reason or another, for the first three playlists of this year but were still great enough to share. You may want to check out the other three mixes first (here, here, and here) but I think you’ll find this one just as excellent.

So let’s have a look at some of the highlights of this ‘b-side’ playlist:

      • “Hold my hand”, a raucous psych-rock mess by Death Valley Girls, aka a song pulled from the pages of a book called “Why haven’t I heard of this band before?”
      • A heavy-duty, jangly bundle of energy called “Love comes in waves” off the debut solo album by Ride’s Andy Bell
      • “Stay out”, a banjo barn stomper off “Keeper”, the latest album by Canadian alternative country trio Elliott Brood
      • Isobel Campbell’s soft touch cover of Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ down a dream”
      • A super fun, eighties throwback called “On division st.” by Brooklyn indie pop act, Nation of Language
      • “Vibrant colours”, the dreamy single off the debut album by new Canadian artist, Zoon, cheekily coined moccasin-gaze

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. “Hold my hand” Death Valley Girls (from the album Under the spell of joy)

2. “Trade it” Slow Pulp (from the album Moveys)

3. “Waving at the window” Travis (from the album 10 songs)

4. “For sure” Future Islands (from the album As long as you are)

5. “Impossible weight” Deep Sea Diver with Sharon Van Etten (from the album Impossible weight)

6. “Worth it” beabadoobee (from the album Fake it flowers)

7. “Distant axis” Matt Berninger (from the album Serpentine prison)

8. “Say less” Nothing (from the album The great dismal)

9. “Love comes in waves” Andy Bell (from the album The view from halfway down)

10. “Stay out” Elliott Brood (from the album Keeper)

11. “Weight of the world” 5 Billion In Diamonds (from the album Divine accidents)

12. “Barcelona” Twin Atlantic (from the album Power)

13. “Runnin’ down a dream” Isobel Campbell (from the album There is no other…)

14. “Southwark” Yumi Zouma (from the album Truth or consequence)

15. “Electric roses” Basia Bulat (from the album Are you in love?)

16. “I got the hots for Charlie Watts” The Exbats (from the album Kicks, hits and fits)

17. “What I’ve done to help” Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (from the album Reunions)

18. “Can’t get out” Woods (from the album Strange to explain)

19. “Shake your diamonds” The Rentals (from the album Q36)

20. “Chaos and confusion” Venus Furs (from the album Venus Furs)

21. “Party with the kids who wanna party with you” Bad Moves (from the album Untenable)

22. “The way things are” Porcelain Raft (from the album Come rain)

23. “On Division st.” Nation Of Language (from the album Introduction, presence)

24. “Bad girls forever” Pins (from the album Hot slick)

25. “Vibrant colours” Zoon (from the album Bleached wavves)

And as I’ve said before, I’ll say again: 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.