Thursday, 10 December 2015

I'm really enjoying Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist

Joe writes: If you're not familiar, every Monday Spotify compile a playlist tailored to each subscriber, I guess consisting of tracks listened to by other people who've listened to tracks you've listened to. It rarely includes anything I just wouldn't be interested in, and I've found some gems through it including this Laurie Anderson tune Let X=X which still sounds futuristic after all these years (it's from 1982).

And here's the playlist:

Sunday, 29 November 2015

dvsn - With Me

Joe writes: Can't stop listening to this. Awesome production from Nineteen85 who's best known for his work with The Weeknd. When it comes to the lyrics he seems to have only one thing on his mind.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Tom Waits Ballads - a Spotify playlist

Joe: If I were Adele I wouldn't be too worried about comparisons between Hello and Martha by Tom Waits, but this does give me an excuse to post my Spotify playlist of the best Tom Waits ballads. There isn't a Tom Waits album I really love - I'm not a big fan of the stompy noisy stuff - but I love the first twelve tracks of this playlist. No-one else does a ballad like Tom.

Friday, 18 September 2015

D.R.A.M. feat. Donnie Trumpet - $

Joe writes: I wish there were more melodies and melodic hooks in rap records. That’s why I loved Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and why I like Money ($) by D.R.A.M. featuring Donnie Trumpet.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Lil Kleine & Ronnie Flex - Drank & Drugs

Joe writes: This Dutch hip hop track has been a massive hit in the Netherlands and Belgium. The lyric is controversial even in the liberal Netherlands, as it features two drug dealers talking about all the MDMA they are selling to kids in the club. But the track is great and the video is very, er, viral.

There are various English language versions in the offing but I actually think it could be a UK hit in this Dutch version. Afterall, everyone understands Drank & Drugs right?

Friday, 24 July 2015

DJ Koze - XTC

"Many people are experimenting with the drug ecstasy. I heard you say once that a lie is sweet in the beginning and bitter in the end, and truth is bitter in the beginning and sweet in the end. I have been meditating, but I don't have the experiences people report from the drug ecstasy. Is the drug like the lie, and meditation the truth? Or am I missing something that could really help me?"

Joe writes: You're not missing much; try magic mushrooms instead.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Impressions - We Must Be In Love

Joe writes: This is a faithful cover of The Five Stairsteps' original but Curtis Mayfield's voice just sounds so great on it. It was sampled by J Dilla feat. Pharoahe Monch. I heard it on this old Radio 2 show where Paul Weller picks his favourite soul tunes, as recommended by Peter Watts.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Miguel - Coffee

My favourite R&B track of the moment, and there are a lot of them around right now.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Big Moon - Sucker

Joe writes: This reminds me of listening to Radio 1's Evening Session in the early nineties, in a good way (as do Wolf Alice).

Sunday, 12 July 2015

The Proclaimers - Ten Tiny Fingers

Phil writes: I heard this lovely song on the radio yesterday and was instantly enchanted:

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Romans - Overthinking Part 1

Joe writes: This EP by Naughty Boy collaborator Sam Romans is really great.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Jason Downs feat. Milk - White Boy With A Feather

Joe writes: I've started making a Spotify playlist called The Tip Sheet CD, and in doing so, I've realised there are a lot of good tracks from the last decade or two that aren't on iTunes or Spotify. Some of them are obscure, but this reached no. 19 in the UK chart, with Jason and Milk appearing on Top of the Pops. It is rather a strange hybrid track, both musically and lyrically - I'm not sure there has been anything like it before or since.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Lionel Richie - Stuck On You

Joe writes: If I was going to Glastonbury, I'd be excited about hearing this:

Also love Mark Oh's cover, which was a hit in Germany but sadly not the UK:

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Everything Everything - No Reptiles

Joe writes: New Everything Everything, produced by Stuart Price, with shades of Barenaked Ladies and 10cc. Brave and interesting from a band I hadn't really liked until now.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Jamie Lawson - Wasn't Expecting That

Joe writes: Supporting Ed Sheeran played a big part in Passenger's breakthrough. Now Ed is doing his best to break another British singer songwriter who has been around for a while. He has not only taken Jamie Lawson on tour but has signed him to his amusingly named Gingerbread label.

Wasn't Expecting That is a different kind of song to Passenger's Let Her Go but maybe equally good in its way, especially lyrically. Any Nashville songwriter would be proud of this song, and it also has pleasant echoes of Squeeze's Up The Junction.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Little Big Town - Girl Crush

Joe writes: This is a big hit in the US despite being pulled from country radio stations after complaints from their listeners who (wrongly) felt it was endorsing lesbianism.

The lyric is clever and I love the production - classic soul from a country band.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

more Graceland - Paul Simon

Joe writes: My last post was about a song inspired by a visit to Graceland. Here's Paul Simon talking about the role Graceland played in inspiring his song of the same name:

Hot Chip guested and chose some records on Jo Whiley's Radio 2 recently including Paul Simon's Late In The Evening, chosen by Alexis from the band. I've written before about Late In The Evening and the One Trick Pony album and film from whence it came, but hearing it again made me realise that the template for the Graceland album was right there, lyrically and musically, six years earlier.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Eternal Flame, Graceland and songs without choruses

Joe writes: I learnt recently that Eternal Flame, the classic Bangles hit, was inspired by a visit to Elvis Presley's former home Graceland, which has a supposedly eternal but actually intermittent flame. More info here from Billy Steinberg who wrote the song with Tom Kelly and Susanna Hoffs. Interesting to learn that the demo of the song was acoustic guitar-based in a bid to make it more "Bangles-y".

Here's a very evocative Top of the Pops performance:

Billy says Eternal Flame doesn't have a chorus. It's an interesting one - when you're listening to "Close your eyes, give me your hand darling", you're clearly listening to the verse, but by the end of the verse and especially by the end of the song, the verse has effectively become a chorus, as Billy says. Anyway, I've added it to my "Songs without choruses" playlist on Spotify. Other suggestions welcome:

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Ricky Nelson - Lonesome Town

Phil writes: The new Blur single 'Lonesome Road' reminded me of this great Ricky Nelson track.  The Blur song even has what must surely be a reference to the earlier song with the words 'going down to....' repeated several times in the outro.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Ainsie Wills - Hawaii

Joe writes: This is my favourite Ainsie Wills track and it's her new single. The vocal really reminds me of Tracey Thorn. Beautiful.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Carly Simon and Warren Beatty

Joe writes: Carly Simon had had breast cancer when she recorded The Bedroom Tapes album, so called because a studio had to be built in her daughter's old bedroom to enable her to make the album. She thought it might be the last album she was able to make, and she used it to settle some old scores. There are some wonderful and vitriolic tracks on there, my favourite of which is Scar. You're So Vain is famously rumoured to be about Warren Beatty and I have it on good authority that Warren may also be the old flame who makes an unsavoury appearance in Scar.


The Bedroom Tapes album has just been reissued on Carly's own label, having initially been released on Arista.

Here's a live version of You're So Vain:

[this is an update of a post originally from October 2007]

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

R.I.P. Percy Sledge

Phil writes: I remember being blown away when I first heard 'When a Man Loves a Woman'. An archetypal soul number, it has that rare ability to get to you every time:

Monday, 6 April 2015

Sandy Denny

Joe writes: I've been listening to Sandy Denny again after reading a review of her biography. Of the songs mentioned in the review, my favourite is No End - predictably, as it's a bitter break-up song with echoes of The Last Time I Saw Richard and Diamonds & Rust.

I've just added it to my Spotify playlist of break-up songs, .

But I'd still say Sandy's greatest hit is Fairport Convention's Who Knows Where The Time Goes:

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Ciara - I Bet

Joe writes: I very much enjoyed this throwback to the She'kspere/Rodney Jerkins era of R&B. In fact I had to double check I wasn't listening to an old Ciara track by accident.

Here's She'kspere's greatest hit, No Scrubs by TLC. I heard this played as a feminist anthem recently. I'm not sure it is, but it is a classic pop record.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Chumbawamba - Ugh! Your Ugly Houses

Joe writes: This is the Chumbawamba track that should have been re-released as the follow-up to Tubthumping. It would have been huge. Chumbawamba instead elected to go with a track called Amnesia and were soon forgotten.

Ugh! Your Ugly Houses is a political song in the best kind of way and has shades of both Clean Bandit (in the string breakdown) and Blur's new anthem of overpopulation (in the lyrics, all seven of them).

Monday, 23 March 2015

Ainslie Wills - Drive

Joe writes: I've been listening to a lot of Ainslie Wills, who is from Melbourne. I really love her voice which (on other tracks, not so much this one) has shades of Tracey Thorn, and this song is infectious.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Courtney Barnett - Pedestrian At Best

Joe writes: My brother sent me a Pitchfork link to this in February and now it's everywhere (or it might seem that way if you listen to a lot of Radio 1 in the evenings, and 6 Music, which I do).

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Deacon Blue - Win

Phil writes: This new Deacon Blue single is up there is almost on a par with their best work I think.  It reminds me a bit of the Tom Baxter song 'Better' which deserves to be much better-known:

Friday, 13 March 2015

These are the greatest Todd Terje edits of all-time

good list from Thump

but they forgot this one, the Diamonds Dub (Tangoterje Edit) of Paul Simon's Diamonds In The Soles Of Her Shoes:

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tobias Jesso Jr - How Could You Babe

Joe writes: I thoroughly approve of Tobias Jesso Jr because I love the seventies soft rock he's referencing, and he's doing it authentically - you could play this next to Nilsson or the first Elton John album and it would stand up. OK this is no Your Song or Without You, but it's a decent song, with shades of George Michael's One More Try.

Your Song:

Without You:

One More Try:

R.I.P. Lesley Gore

Phil writes: Lesley Gore will surely be remembered for one monster hit that has echoed down the years.  It may or may not be great music.  I happen to think that it is a worthy pop classic.  When a song is played so many times over so many years it usually deserves to be on WGM:

LunchBox Lewis - Bills

Joe writes: Fun pop hip hop tune on Dr Luke's label Kemosabe/Sony.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Houndmouth - Sedona

Joe writes: This is such a clever song. The backing track is a very simple eight bar loop. The vocal seems to start midway through a line, then embarks on an extended melody that finally resolves 36 bars later (yes, I counted them). Björn and Benny or Bruce (Springsteen, circa 1975) would be proud.

Ellie Goulding - Love Me Like You Do

Joe writes: A song written from the point of view of the female protagonist of 50 Shades Of Grey could be very bad, but this is very good. It was produced by Max Martin and Ali Payami and written by those two plus Savan Kotecha, Ilya and Tove Nilsson. I especially like the line "What are you waiting for?". I also admire the relentless opportunism of Ellie and her team - almost every single seems to have an angle of some kind, and there are a lot of them.

Friday, 23 January 2015

James Bay - Scars

Joe writes: This is the first James Bay track I've really liked, but I do really like it.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Emmy The Great - Swimming Pool

Joe writes: Someone on YouTube described this as Lana Del Rey without the artifice which seems accurate.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Jeff Buckley - Mama You Been On My Mind

Joe writes: Lapsley did the bedtime mix on Annie Mac's Radio 1 show last night including Jeff Buckley's cover of this early Dylan break up song:

Jeff Buckley was a brilliant interpreter of other people's songs. He needed nothing more than a guitar and vocal to elevate them into something magical (he reminds me of Eva Cassidy in this respect).

I've just added this to my Spotify playlist of favourite Dylan songs:

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Ona Watson - Take This Job And Shove It

Joe writes: I heard this on Cerys Matthew's excellent 6 Music show. She prefaced it by saying that a large proportion of people who quit their jobs do so in January. It's a 1978 cover of a song by David Allen Coe. It wasn't a hit and Ona doesn't appear to have recorded again, but he's still performing in Birmingham, Alabama. The track is hard to find but it has been compiled by the excellent Tony Rounce on the album Cold Cold Heart: Where Country Meets Soul volume 3, which is available here.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Bob Seger inspired Prince to write Purple Rain this article explains (it also explains a lot of other fascinating stuff about Purple Rain).

Joe writes: So here are my two favourite Bob Seger songs.

We've Got Tonight - you can hear how this might have inspired Purple Rain:

and Still The Same, which my dad used to sing all through my childhood, but didn't own, so I didn't hear the Bob Seger version of it until years later:

and here's Purple Rain which is even better than the best of Bob Seger: