Playlist: New tunes from 2020, part one

I can hardly believe that we’re already a third of the way through 2020 and at the same time, with everything going on, I find myself wondering how it’s only the end of April. Indeed, the picture above was taken at the end of February, a mere couple of weeks before we were all sent to our respective rooms to think about what we’ve done, and even that fun weekend spent with friends seems so long ago now.

I started doing these “New tunes of…” Spotify playlists last year, the plan being to post 25 new songs from the previous three months, four times during the year, to have 100 great songs in total. I was only semi-successful at this last year and this year has already gotten off to a rocky start, seeing as that I’m only getting around to sharing this first playlist 2 or 3 weeks later than I was hoping for. To try to make up for my shortcomings, though, I’ve linked each song in the list to its respective YouTube video, in addition to my usually routine of embedding the complete Spotify playlist at the end.

This first playlist for 2020 sees a handful of old and some recent favourites of mine but also a lot of new discoveries. Highlights for this quarter include these:

      • I’m not a fan of everything on Okay Kaya‘s art pop sophomore album but “Insert generic name” tickles my funny bone and has me humming along every time
      • “Try again”, a great track off Andy Shauf‘s latest concept album, “The neon skyline”: hilarious, endearing, and relatable to anyone who’s run into an ex while drinking
      • It’s been five years since Cornershop‘s last record and more than a decade since they released one that I’ve loved but the latest, “England is a garden”, is pretty amazing and opening track, “St Marie under canon”, has had me bopping for weeks
      • New Zealand singer/songwriter Nadia Reid has quite the voice and how could I not fall for “Oh Canada”, a song about how she would like visit to my home country
      • “Ella” is something akin to something Enya or Loreena McKennitt might’ve done, but definitely darker and more haunting, and it’s got me curious about Myrkur‘s (Amalie Bruun, ex of Ex Cops) previous work
      • Just when I’d completely written off Mr. Morrissey, he returns after many years of disappointing me with a new album full of bangers, of which “Jim Jim Falls” is just one
      • “Can’t do much” is the third single off the latest album by Katie Crutchfield, aka Waxahatchee, and sees her cheerfully paying tribute to some of her favourite female singer/songwriters

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. “But you” Alexandra Savior (from the album The archer)
    2. “Your light” The Big Moon (from the album Walking like we do)
    3. “Everything else has gone wrong” Bombay Bicycle Club (from the album Everything else has gone wrong)
    4. “Insert generic name” Okay Kaya (from the album Watch this liquid pour itself)
    5. “Try again” Andy Shauf (from the album The neon skyline)
    6. “Under glass” Wolf Parade (from the album Thin mind)
    7. “I celebrate my fantasy” The Homesick (from the album The big exercise)
    8. “Ms. California” Beach Bunny (from the album Honeymoon)
    9. “I will not return as a tourist” Boniface (from the album Boniface)
    10. “Baddies” Lanterns On The Lake (from the album Spook the herd)
    11. “Everything has changed” Best Coast (from the album Always tomorrow)
    12. “Alien with a sleep mask on” Ratboys (from the album Printer’s devil)
    13. “Control” Brooke Bentham (from the album Everyday nothing)
    14. “The main thing” Real Estate (from the album The main thing)
    15. “Bloodstream” Soccer Mommy (from the album Color theory)
    16. “Jack Parsons” Luke Haines & Peter Buck (from the album Beat poetry for survivalists)
    17. “St Marie under canon” Cornershop (from the album England is a garden)
    18. “Oh Canada” Nadia Reid (from the album Out of my province)
    19. “Be your drug” Circa Waves (from the album Sad Happy)
    20. “Give/take” Porridge Radio (from the album Every bad)
    21. “Ego” Moaning (from the album Uneasy laughter)
    22. “Ella” Myrkur (from the album Folkesange)
    23. “Jim Jim Falls” Morrissey (from the album I am not a dog on a chain)
    24. “Mark Zuckerberg” Nap Eyes (from the album Snapshot of a beginner)
    25. “Can’t do much” Waxahatchee (from the album Saint Cloud)

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.

Best albums of 2017: #4 Waxahatchee “Out in the storm”

I ran into a friend of mine at the O-Train station leaving work back in July, right around the time “Out in the storm” was released. We don’t see each other as often as we used to but when we do, we often share thoughts on the music to which we’ve been listening. I had been on quite an Allison Crutchfield kick at the time so I raved about her debut album, “Tourist in this town” (see album #8 in my “Honourable mentions” post). He then countered, asking what I thought about the new Waxahatchee album, and given that I had only superficially listened to it, boldly proclaimed that I might actually prefer the other sister’s work this time around. Mike being Mike, he just levelled me a withering sneer and told me to listen to it again.

Well, I did. And he was right. Though I still find “Tourist in this town” an excellent debut, “Out in the storm” is a phenomenal album, leaping well ahead of anything else Katie Crutchfield has done under her Waxahatchee moniker.

I got into her music first with her last record, her third, “Ivy Tripp”, which was a poppier affair, happily glorying in her hurt and aimlessness, like it was a badge to be proudly worn. “Out in the storm” is a louder affair than its predecessor. It’s even more emotional, honest, and no holds barred, like she realized she wasn’t as okay with her breakup as she thought she was. So like Allison’s, Katie’s is a breakup album but she’s had more time to stew in it and ruminate on it and her lyrics are incredibly pointed and poignant. There’s a lot of hurt on the ten songs but it’s a powerful hurt, not self-pitying or loathing, taking as much of the responsibility for everything that happened as the other party. Her storm is one that we’ve all encountered and found ourselves in at one point in our lives.

And it’s a lot to take in on one listen, which is likely why it didn’t grab me as quickly as her other work. (It’s not an excuse, Mike, you were right.) And it’s also why I recommend listening to it a few times before passing your own judgement. You can start with my three picks for you below.


“Sparks fly”: A heavy wash of synths and an acoustic guitar strum at the outset suggest something dainty and delicate but Crutchfield comes in with her vocals, wiping all that away and you realize that ‘dainty’ is not what you wanted anyway. “See myself clearly for the first time since I met you on a foggy night. A disaster, dignified.”

“Recite remorse”: Feels like a song that Sinéad O’Connor might have sung on her first or second albums, vocals at the forefront of music hiding behind a curtain of stars in the sky. “Felt the sun on my face. It just felt like a rerun holding everything in place.”

“Silver”: Yes, I like the rockers on the album too. This one, from which the album draws its name, stops short of droning but certainly has that edge. “The kiss on my lips starts to feel unfamiliar. A part of me rots. My skin all turns silver.” Beautifully rendered.


For the rest of the albums in this list, check out my Best Albums page here.