Categories
Playlists

Playlist: New tunes from 2022, part three

If I was still looking at this blog as something that should be scheduled or on schedule or whatever, I might consider this post a couple weeks behind that “s” word. I’ve been trying* to post these quarterly playlist updates a couple of weeks after the end of each quarter but well, the two week vacation I took that spanned the end of August and the beginning of September put me a bit behind.

Yeah. That’s right. I took some vacation. Two weeks! It was the longest period from work that I’d properly taken since before the pandemic. I spent as much of it as I could experiencing nature, sitting by the water, going on hikes, and just generally taking in our province’s natural beauty. It wasn’t exactly restful, per se, but it was definitely good for the soul.

Prior to that, I actually attended several evenings of an honest-to-goodness music festival at the beginning of July. It was an amazing feeling to return to a bit of normalcy, see some bands I’d seen before and some I hadn’t, and seeing people outside of my bubble, all revelling in the ecstasy that is the live music experience. I say again, I t felt great. Then, the day after the festival ended, a friend of mine who I had attended a couple of the dates with texted me to say he had tested positive for COVID. So I tested myself and thankfully came through it clean. But it was definitely a bitter reminder for me that though we may be done with the pandemic, it may not necessarily be done with us.

Otherwise, the summer flew by in a haze and blur of sameness. With all the work, eat, and sleep, I am super thankful of my continued employment, general good health, and that I am continuing to spend my life with my very best friend and love of my life. And of course, there is always the music.

This third part of this annual playlist represents the music that has followed me and kept me going through this third pandemic summer. It is yet another great 25 tunes (for parts one and two, check here and here) representative of the best that’s been released during the last three months. Highlights include:

      • Opening things up with “Rockstar”, this ripping track off the third album by Momma calls to mind 90s rockers, like maybe Babes in Toyland and L7, but most definitely Veruca Salt
      • “Circumference”, a brilliant synth-pop gem by Working Men’s Club ripped right from the heart of the 80s
      • More dream pop beauty from Toronto-based indie pop quartet Tallies, a sweet explosion called “Wound up tight”
      • I’ve not been a fan of Animal Collective, nor Noah Lennox’s solo work as Panda Bear but his recent collaboration with Pete “Sonic Boom” Kember is pure sunshine, “Gettin’ to the point” is just a case in point
      • When I think of Kasabian, I typically think of blistering high energy numbers but this ballad called “The wall” off their latest record is equally full of passion
      • “It’s always the quiet ones” by Suede – that’s right, they’re back and it’s majestic
      • Kristian Mattson, aka The Tallest Man on Earth, covering “Pink rabbits” by The National is like a collision of some of my favourite music from a decade ago
      • Finally, Yeah Yeah Yeahs teamed up with Perfume Genius for “Spitting off the edge of world”, the magnificent first single of their latest album

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

1. “Rockstar” Momma (from the album Household name)

2. “All comes crashing” Metric (from the album Formentera)

3. “Day 21” Secret Machines (from the EP Day 21)

4. “Fables” Interpol (from the album The other side of make-believe)

5. “Circumference” Working Men’s Club (from the album Fear fear)*

6. “Vanishing point” Julien Baker (from the EP B-sides)

7. “So far for so few” The Sadies (from the album Colder streams)

8. “Eventually” Beach Bunny (from the album Emotional creature)

9. “Wound up tight” Tallies (from the album Patina)

10. “Parasite II” Kiwi Jr. (from the album Chopper)

11. “Gettin’ to the point” Panda Bear & Sonic Boom (from the album Reset)

12. “The wall” Kasabian (from the album The alchemist’s euphoria)

13. “Forever in sunset” Ezra Furman (from the album All of us in flames)

14. “A line of shots” The Afghan Whigs (from the album How do you burn?)

15. “Slowly” Preoccupations (from the album Arrangements)

16. “Roman candles” Death Cab For Cutie (from the album Asphalt meadows)

17. “Expert in a dying field” The Beths (from the album Expert in a dying field)

18. “It’s always the quiet ones” Suede (from the album Autofiction)

19. “Heart attack” Editors (from the album EBM)

20. “Pink rabbits” The Tallest Man On Earth (from the album Too late for edelweiss)

21. “First high” Nikki Lane (from the album Denim & diamonds)

22. “Backup plan” Maya Hawke (from the album Moss)

23. “Friday night” Beth Orton (from the album Weather alive)

24. “Pagan man” Pixies (from the album Doggerel)

25. “Spitting off the edge of the world (ft Perfume Genius)” Yeah Yeah Yeahs (from the album Cool it down)

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.


*Trying might be a strong word here.

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

100 best covers: #53 Suede “Shipbuilding”

<< #54    |    #52 >>

I’ve already written bits about the Help Warchild album a couple of times for this series. Songs from this, my favourite ever compilation, have already appeared at number 100 and number 74 on this list and here we are again, this time with Suede’s cover of Elvis Costello’s “Shipbuilding”.

Of course, at the time, I had no idea this was a cover. Given how quickly the Help album was recorded and released*, the CD copy of the compilation that I purchased used from Penguin Music the year after its release had almost nothing in the way of liner and production notes. I was also still something of a newbie when it came to Suede. I had obviously heard of them, their eponymously titled glam rock debut, and had fallen hard for “My insatiable one” off the “So I married an axe murderer” soundtrack, as well as the “We are the pigs” single off their sophomore release “Dog man star”. Still, I was a few months shy of the full on love affair with their third record, “Coming up”.

I only discovered the original when I finally decided it was time to explore the work of Elvis Costello a decade or so later. It appeared on a Best Of compilation that I tracked down and recognized it immediately as track eight from Warchild. The music was originally written by Clive Langer for Robert Wyatt but unhappy with his own lyrics, he approached Costello to refine them. The song was a reaction to the Falklands war and played on the irony that shipbuilding towns would see a modicum of resurgence while its fighting age sons would be sent off to fight and perhaps die.

Costello’s original is a hip and jazzy number, emboldened by a trumpet solo by Chet Baker. The musicianship is tremendous and you can’t argue with those phenomenal lyrics** but there is something just a bit more suave and swank about Brett Anderson, no? In his and Suede’s hands, it’s a bit more of a rock ballad, heavy on the bass and the piano, and though the trumpet still appears, it’s more muted.

Yeah, I dig Elvis Costello. But I love Suede. I’m going with the cover here.

Cover:

The original:

*All within eight days!!!

**Elvis Costello himself has said that these were some of the best lyrics he had ever written

For the rest of the 100 best covers list, click here.

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 1993: #24 Suede “The drowners”

<< #25    |    #23 >>

Suede is one of the great british rock bands of the 1990s. They formed in 1989 and quickly grew to prominence around the friendship and combined talents of Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler. Their self-titled debut had the British press fawning all over them and their sleek and sexy glam rock. The band would later be seen as one of the big three or four groups that spearheaded Britpop, a renaissance era in British rock and culture, and a scene I completely bought into, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, over here in Canada.

However… however, I didn’t get into them right away. I know. Even now, I don’t have a good reason why not.

I was aware of them from the get-go and a lot of my friends were falling all over themselves for Suede. I remember a bunch of people I know wearing T-shirts with the debut cover art on the front, the androgynous figures kissing was definitely an attention grabber in my small hometown. I had a bit of a fling with “We are the pigs”, a single off their sophomore record, but the full on love didn’t come until the Britpop extravagance of their third record, “Coming up”.

Alas, the love for “Suede”, the mighty debut, would come much later for me and yeah, today’s song, even a bit after that. But now, it’s easily my favourite on the record and one of my favourite all-time Suede songs. “The drowners” was originally released in 1992 as a single* but I made the executive decision for it to appear here as the lone representative on this list of 1993 tunes from such an auspicious debut.

“The drowners” is a swanky, four-minute seduction. It’s introduced by machine gun fire drums and rip raunchy guitars. From there it slithers down your spine, like a slick stripteasing dancer, greased up and swinging around on the pole. Brett Anderson teases us snidely, vaguely hinting at drugs or sex or both, a wanton pleasure that can’t be helped, and that might just be fatal. And yet, our protagonist gives in to it. We all give in to it eventually.

“So slow down
Slow down
You’re taking me over
And so we drown”

*Incidentally, one of the b-sides off “The drowners”, an amazing ballad called “My insatiable one” appeared at number ten on my Best Tunes of 1992 list.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1993 list, click here.