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Playlists

Playlist: New tunes from 2022, part two

Happy Sunday!

And welcome back to this little thing I do every three months, adding twenty five new tracks to a multiple part playlist that soundtracks each year as it passes. If you missed part one for the first three months of 2022, you can find it here.

This year’s first quarter was very much same-same, continuing the pandemic trend that I’ve been living for what seems like an eternity, but in contrast, the last three months have been anything but status quo. The Ontario government continued with its plans of reopening, the lifting of restrictions and mandates, and the people have been slowly dipping their toes back into society, yours truly, a little more slowly than most.

In May, we discovered a new meteorological term called ‘derecho’ firsthand. The fast moving cluster of storms tore a swathe through Ontario and Quebec, travelling more than 1000 km from Windsor to Quebec City in an afternoon and wreaking havoc* along the way. Personally, I didn’t see any damage to our own property and our power was only out for a mere fifty-two hours. I consider myself very lucky, given the other stories I’ve heard and the photos of damage that I’ve seen.

Then, at the end of June, I saw my  first piece of live music in more than two and a half years and as serendipity would have it, the first headlining band that I got to see was the same as the last that I saw before the start of the pandemic. Of course, I instantly remembered why I loved going to shows and got over my initial anxiety of hanging in the crowds again. Over the last week or so, I’ve made a handful of returns to the biggest local music festival, Ottawa Bluesfest, and I am intending on returning to the final night tonight. (The National! Yes!)

Of course, through all this, I’ve been doing my darnedest to keep up with all the new releases and finding my favourites amongst those. So without further ado, I’ll present twenty five new tunes that have helped keep me going over the second three months of 2022. Highlights include:

      • I’ve heard many say that the new album by Spiritualized is the best thing Jason Pierce has done since his 1997 album, “Ladies & gentlemen we are floating in space”… well… “Always together with you” sounds like a sequel to the title track off that iconic album
      • At one minute and twenty-four seconds, “Who’s in the dark” by Jeanines is a pop gem that feels way too short, but fortunately/unfortunately, that’s this band’s M.O.
      • “Tap” is an apt name for this mellow, toe-tapping indie folk ear worm by Tomberlin
      • I couldn’t help myself but include both parts of “The lightning” by Arcade Fire because they fit so nicely and juxtaposed against each, they feel like a perfect revisit to their early days
      • “Toast” is just pure fun bedroom pop by Fanclubwallet, a young artist who is apparently local, living right here in Ottawa
      • Just Mustard is haunting and harrowing on “23”, sounding not a little like the gothic dream pop of 90s rockers, Cranes
      • With its ominous bassline and frittering synth washes, “Shotgun, the advance single off Soccer Mommy‘s third album makes for a great outro

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

1. “Rubberneckers” Christian Lee Hutson (from the album Quitters)

2. “Be by your side” Pillow Queens (from the album Leave the light on)

3. “Ur mom” Wet Leg (from the album Wet Leg)

4. “Always together with you” Spiritualized (from the album Everything was beautiful)

5. “Louis” Charlotte Rose Benjamin (from the album Dreamtina)

6. “Who’s in the dark” Jeanines (from the album Don’t wait for a sign)

7. “Looking backward” Melody’s Echo Chamber (from the album Emotional eternal)

8. “Messy roomz” Frontperson (from the album Parade)

9. “Hall of mirrors” Let’s Eat Grandma (from the album Two ribbons)

10. “Tap” Tomberlin (from the album I don’t know who needs to hear this)

11. “Nervous breakdown” Pink Mountaintops (from the album Peacock Pools)

12. “The lightning I & II” Arcade Fire (from the album WE)

13. “Mistakes” Sharon Van Etten (from the album We’ve been going about this all wrong)

14. “Young and stupid” Belle and Sebastian (from the album A bit of previous)

15. “You will never work in television again” The Smile (from the album A light for attracting attention)

16. “The amarillo kid” Craig Finn (from the album A legacy of rentals)

17. “U can be happy if U want to” Porridge Radio (from the album Waterslide, diving board, ladder to the sky)

18. “Toast” Fanclubwallet (from the album You have got to be kidding me)

19. “Wow” Tess Parks (from the album And those who were seen dancing)

20. “Bad love” Dehd (from the album Blue skies)

21. “Pretenders” Stars (from the album From Capelton Hill)

22. “23” Just Mustard (from the album Heart under)

23. “All the flowers” Angel Olsen (from the album Big time)

24. “Anti-glory” Horsegirl (from the album Versions of modern performance)

25. “Shotgun” Soccer Mommy (from the album Sometimes, forever)

Those of you who are on the Apple Music train can click here 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.


*The photo for this playlist’s cover is one that I took of a couple of gigantic trees that were torn up by their roots at the end of my street.

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 2012: #9 Spiritualized “Hey Jane”

<< #10    |    #8 >>

The first time I saw Spiritualized perform live was on the Toronto stop for their tour in support of “Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space”, way back at the end of November 1997. My friend Terry had picked me up a ticket to the show and he still (amazingly) had an extra ticket on the day of the concert. On the way to the bus stop to head down to the show, we ran into another friend of ours, named Mark, and convinced him to come with.

That night will live on in infamy for the three of us. We made more than a few stops for drinks on the way down to the now shut-down Guvernment Night Club, where Jason Pierce and his band were slated to play. Indeed, by the time the headlining act hit the stage, we were all very deep in the bag. For me, it was incredible, akin to a religious experience, but I can still very clearly remember Mark touching my shoulder at the end of the first song, his eyeballs as huge as cannonballs, telling me he had to leave. For him, it was all just too intense.

Fast forward fifteen years or so. I hadn’t seen Terry for a long time. However, I was still quite close to Mark, though we hadn’t lived in the same city – for some periods, the same country – for more than a decade. I was now living in Ottawa with my wife and Mark was living back in his hometown of Sault Ste Marie. I believe it was April 2012 that my wife and I put Mark up for a week so that he could take a course and write a test to qualify for a job fighting wildfires in Northern Ontario. We were working during the days while he was on his course and he was super exhausted in the evenings so we didn’t see him a lot.

When the week finished out, we had one proper night to catch up and share some laughs before he was due to catch the long bus back home. That night, the two of us killed five bottles of wine, a half bottle of scotch, and a handful of beers and we were up real late. At some point, we started watching YouTube videos on my laptop, each sharing new tunes with the other and on one of my turns, I slipped on the video for Spiritualized’s latest tune, “Hey Jane”, having heard the song but not having seen the video. We got just over half way through it when my friend asked gently if we could switch to something lighter. So still too intense for my friend, but this time, for a different reason (if you’ve seen the video you know what I mean).

Spiritualized’s seventh record, “Sweet heart, sweet light”, came four years after “Songs in A & E”, the album widely seen as Jason Pierce’s comeback, for many reasons, but most significantly because of his near death experience, and it also came after he spent the previous year performing the aforementioned landmark album, “Ladies and gentlemen”, in full, at various shows. At the time, Pierce talked about how his new album embraced a poppier bent but I just thought it rocked like hell. And only in the way that Spiritualized can, blending gospel and droning psychedelia, love, drugs, and religion.

“You broke my heart then you ran away
Some say you got a rotten soul
But I say Janey loves rock and roll”

“Hey Jane” is a prime example of what makes Spiritualized and their work on this album so great. Intense music video aside, this is a track that does not let up for its entirety, nearly nine minutes in all. It’s a rousing, incessant beating heart, pounding and pounding the pavement, both a sprint and a marathon. The guitars keep pace and swirl and roar around the drums, a choir of demons taunt and laugh, and the bass just hums. It threatens disintegration throughout and right in the middle, it does indeed devolve into madness and implodes into an echoing silence. And just when you think it’s over, that maddening rhythm starts back up again. But as opposed to in its first movement, where Pierce seems angry and threatening and mean, the finale sees him uplifting and glorious, even as he’s asking the Jane of the title where she’s gonna go, knowing full well the answer is nowhere. And it all builds to the choir of angels joining him singing the album’s title over and over as an outro.

“Sweet heart, sweet light. Sweet heart, sweet light. Sweet heart, sweet light.”

Yessssss.

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

Categories
Playlists

Playlist: In the summertime

Earlier this year, I had this brilliant idea to make a series of seasonal-themed playlists and post each on these pages on the first day of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. The idea was inspired by my friend Andrew Rodriguez, who has posited in the past that there are certain songs and albums that just scream out a particular season to him. I think there’s something to his idea and wanted to shared the love and expand upon it.

My playlist for Spring, the aptly titled “The first day of spring”, went off without a hitch. It was predictably full of the hope and pent-up excitement that the season brings and I posted it right on time. Of course, and incidentally, my summer playlist wasn’t as punctual. I had it made in time for the turning of the season on the calendar date but perhaps something in me felt that the time wasn’t quite right. Indeed, if you listen to these twenty-five tracks, it just screams out from the depths and the heights of mid-summer, wavering between the hazy and languid, and the all out beach and patio party.

Yes, I know August is more than half over and the kids are heading back to school soon but that doesn’t mean we have to let the summer end. As long as the sun beats down on us and the patios remain open, we can stretch this thing out and enjoy it to the fullest. So I suggest we put this playlist on repeat, turn it up, and get ready to “Lay back in the sun” and hit as many “Happy hour”s as we can.

Other highlights on this mix include:

    • “In the summertime”, the title track and opening number sets the tone with love
    • Camera Obscura’s “Lloyd, I’m ready to be heartbroken” isn’t necessarily linked to the season lyrically but it definitely has the feel that we wished all summers had
    • “Island in the sun” is Weezer as The Beach Boys and resulted in one of their biggest ever hits
    • I remember first hearing Smash Mouth’s retro fling, “Walkin’ on the sun” in the summer of 1997, falling for it, and then, falling all over myself trying to find their album in the stores
    • Black Box Recorder’s lovely cover of the wistful “Seasons in the sun”, a song originally made famous by Canadian Terry Jacks

For those who don’t use Spotify or if the embedded playlist below doesn’t work for you, here is the entire playlist (complete with YouTube links) as I’ve created it:

1. The Rural Alberta Advantage “In the summertime”
2. The Housemartins “Happy hour”
3. Primal Scream “Higher than the sun”
4. Young Galaxy “New summer”
5. Doves “Catch the sun”
6. Camera Obscura “Lloyd, I’m ready to be heartbroken”
7. Galaxy 500 “Fourth of July”
8. The Airborne Toxic Event “The girls in their summer dresses”
9. Weezer “Island in the sun”
10. Pink Mountaintops “The second summer of love”
11. Violent Femmes “Blister in the sun”
12. The Polyphonic Spree “Light & day / Reach for the sun”
13. The Pogues “Summer in Siam”
14. Spiritualized “Lay back in the sun”
15. The Sundays “Summertime”
16. Rachel Goswell “Warm summer sun”
17. Munroe “Summer”
18. Belle and Sebastian “Another sunny day”
19. Shannon Lay “August”
20. Vampire Weekend “Cape Cod kwassa Bkwassa”
21. Smash Mouth “Walkin’ on the sun”
22. Dodgy “Staying out for the summer”
23. Black Box Recorder “Seasons in the sun”
24. The Jezabels “Endless summer”
25. The Decemberists “Anti-summersong”

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.

For those of you who are on Spotify, feel free to look me up. My user name is “jprobichaud911”.