Archive for September, 2015

First, here’s the link to the playlist: What I’m Listening To 28/09/2015.

And here’s what’s on it:

Women of a certain Age – Arcade Fire is getting more mileage out of “Reflektor” by releasing the third half of the two-disc set. This song has a kind of a left-of center, Indi-reggae feel to it. It’s OK, might be a grower. I’d listen to it again.

When I was a Boy –– Ohhh, it’s Jeff Lynne’s ELO now, is it? Uh, Jeff, it’s been officially your ELO since co-founder Bev Bevan retired 15 years ago, and even before that you were usually the first person everyone thought of in connection with Electric Light Orchestra. So now that you’re putting out ELO’s first new album in 15 years, why are you using a name that makes you sound like your own tribute band?

OK, I can hear the essential elements of a successful trademark ELO track, but it’s yet another song about yearning for the good old days that too many geezers put out too often. It’s a little more rueful than I prefer my ELO. Hopefully there will be some livelier tracks on the album.

People on the High Line – Much more infectious in the elder statesmen category is this new track from New Order. Sounds like a return to the disco days, bopping synths, busy piano chords and seductive sirens on the background vocals. Whether I get anything else out of this remains to be seen, but it’s easy on the ear and easy to dance to. Add this to your party mix.

Singularity – Might as well get the other New Order song up while I’m here. This one is a bit harder, heavier, and darker, relatively speaking. It’s still a New order dance track, although it breaks down perhaps a bit too much for a party towards the end before kicking back in again. Anyway, if you liked them before, you’ll like them now.

No One Can Tell – I have to say I like this Youth Lagoon song right off the bat, which is interesting because, to a large extent, this modern psychedelic trend seems less than inspiring to me. I should also point out that I have not listened to much Youth Lagoon. I’m almost positive I listened to Wondrous Bughouse at least once. I don’t recall any of it but, hey, I listen to a lot of music.

I reckon I might remember this track.  This mid-tempo pop song has enough going on melodically and lyrically to hold interest while staying in a recognizable form. The production keeps the song moving while adding some clever rhythm’s and breakdowns that serve the song well without getting in the way. Based on this track, I’d be interested in hearing the rest of “Savage Hills Ballroom”, the album it’s taken from.

War in Peace – Don’t you know I’m going to listen to a band named Sexwitch at least once. Turns out it’s a collaboration between Toy and Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Khan. I haven’t listened to Bat for Lashes, but I spent too long last year trying to like Toy’s “Join the Dots” album. Well, nevermind, let’s give it a chance…

The Guardian said Sexwitch‘s tracks were “hypnotic, groove-based tracks that feature jagged post-punk guitars” and “shrieking crescendos”. That lowered my expectations to expect noise so I was pleasantly surprised when I got music. It certainly has that experimental edge to it, not a million miles away from Siouxsie Sioux or some of Bjork’s material. I like it better than Toy on their own anyway.

I’d listen to it again, but I appreciate that it might not be to everyone’s taste.

‘Cause I’m a Man – HAIM Remix – Nice try HAIM and I won’t hold it against you but, sorry Tame Impala, I still don’t like it.

Psycho – Muse is a band that can sound credibly hard and heavy on one level while still sounding like a pop band, kind of like Green Day sometimes does, only smoother. I have a rational argument against that, but this track kind of works for me, so maybe I shouldn’t complain. The sampled boot camp dialog I could do without. Is that “Full Metal Jacket”? That or something similar.

Helelyos – On first listen I think I like this Sexwitch track better than War in Peace, with its hypnotic rhythm perfect for dancing with abandon in the moonlight. It will take a few listens to determine whether this is just an infatuation.

Crosswords – I wasn’t altogether certain whether I’d even be able to distinguish between this EP remix of one of Panda Bear’s most melodic tracks from his latest multi-layered electronic album “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper”, but there does seem to be just a little ping-pong delay on the rhythmic clacking and an even more pronounced vibrato effect in this version. However, I suspect the production might drive me a bit crazy with repeated listening, sending me back to the original.

I’m still waiting for something that blows me away as much as his Animal Collective track “My Girls” did, but this will do while I’m waiting.

Writing’s on the Wall – I knew, even before I looked, from just the opening strains. Of course I had to confirm, but it was clear from the start that was the BIG SONG from the opening title sequence of the latest James Bond film. So congratulations Sam Smith, but as with previous such songs in this series, I’ve already heard enough.

It’s that talk Again – Ever since Broken Bells introduced themselves with “The High Road” five years ago, I’ve been hopeful about their releases. Sadly, I’ve yet to hear anything as delicious as their first release. This isn’t a bad song, but it’s not exceptional either, and by next week I might forget what it sounds like. Not too unlike the New Order tracks, but it pales in comparison.

Bad Blood – I’m kind of liking this Ryan Adams track on third listen. It’s a radio-friendly, countryesque pop song that moves along pleasantly enough even though it seems to be about a bad break-up, and has some gentle peaks and valleys to keep it interesting.

Exhibit Diaz – I’ve been ranging from almost to kind-of liking Ibeyl with each new song of theirs I’ve heard this year. I love the vocal sound, and mostly the feel, but there was something with each track that kept it from completely resonating with me. This is the first one I feel like I can say I like without equivocating.

She Used to Be Mine – There’s something bittersweet, simple and scincere about Sara Bareilles ballad that makes this torch song stand out for me. It starts out with a sparse piano arrangement that suits it, but the build-up towards the end works well enough too.

Love Me Like You – This Little Mix track starts out as a fairly typical modern pop song but, hang on, there’s just a hint about halfway through the first verse, then comes the chorus and, BAM, we’re listening to the Ronettes with the Phil Spector wall of sound and it’s 1963 all over again. I’m sure I’m showing my age, but this is going on my list of favourites this week.

Keep You On My Side – This CHVRCHES track has just enough of a 1960s girl group radio vibe that I had to leave it in as a companion piece to Love Me Like You. Enough of a vocal hook to make it memorable to me anyway.