Hullo. Readership dipped again last week, but on I plough with the playlist we now know and love as ‘Nobody’s Listening’. Now in it’s sixteenth edition, this week we have a mid section to move your feet and other selections to move your head.
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on..
Track 1. Holda You (I’m Psycho) by White Denim.
It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of BBC six music,but!, and I’ve said this before elsewhere, during the daytime their playlist policy can be as formulaic as Capital and their ilk. A song which on first listen is utterly amazing can quickly become the most irritating thing ever due to rotation on every single daytime show. Every.Single.Day. For a month or more.
This track by Austin rockers White Denim is receiving heavy airplay at the moment, and I tell you, I can’t get enough of it. It rocks like a bastard with Lynrd Skynrd type guitar licks and a vocal with echoes of Paul Rodgers in his pomp. There’s still time for familiarity to breed contempt, but for now I am all over this!
Track 2. Winter Is Here by Adrian Younge.
Younge’s ‘Something About April’ LP was a highlight for me in 2012. A sixties/seventies inspired psychedelic soul soundtrack for an imaginary film, it had all the Blaxploitation moves without the actual movie. As you can imagine I was thrilled to hear that the sequel has just been released and this is the first track from it. I’ve not listened to the full lp yet, I need an hour without distraction to get fully immersed, just like a film.
Track 3. The Rain by Eddie Gale.
Opening his 1968 debut ‘Ghetto Music’, after his work with Sun Ra’s arkestra, this is Gale’s statement of solo intent. With its dreamy female vocal lead, this is an extremely accessible piece of free jazz which doesn’t eschew melody like most examples of the genre.
Track 4. Window Shades by U.S. Girls.
Lo-fi Shangri La’s as imagined by David Lynch. Meg Remy is new to my ears but she’s been around for five years or so. I’ve got some catching up to do as this is excellent.
Track 5. Bossa Nova Trieste by Shake Keane.
By now, you’re probably aware that I LOVE Bossa Nova. There’s something about the lilting, easy rhythm that stirs the lazy man I am. It can instantly transport one to a Brazilian lifestyle that only exists in dreams and early sixties Latin American films. This, believe it or not, is actually British and it’s crisp, clean production values led me to believe it was a fair bit younger than its 1964 release. Nice, and indeed, easy.
Track 6. Lovely Allen by Holy Fuck.
Canadian electronica up next with a track from their 2007 sophomore release,’LP’. This features fellow Canuck Owen Pallet on violin duties.
Track 7. It’s A Shame by The Detroit Spinners.
A couple of soul dancers coming your way presently. First we have a stone cold classic. Penned by none other than Stevie Wonder, there’s also a brilliant version by Jamaican legend Alton Ellis that slows things down to his languid pace. Persons of a certain age won’t be able to hear this without segueing into Monie Love’s ‘My Sister’ and there’s nowt wrong with that.
Track 8. Time and Place by Lee Moses.
Not as well known as the previous track in our soul twofer, nevertheless, this deep cut still has the propensity to get your plates of meat shuffling like two decks of cards. Check out the guitar intro and brass stabs, marvellous. There’s a whole world of these rarities out there that, thanks to the internet, you don’t have to trawl too deep to find.
Track 9 El Paso by Marty Robbins.
Famously featured in the series finale of Breaking Bad, this song was Marty Robbins’ biggest hit, reaching number one in 1959. The song actually followed Johnny Prestons ‘Running Bear’ to the top spot, another western song in which the protagonist cops it in the end. Sorry if I’ve spoilt the end of the song there, and indeed, the end of Breaking Bad. (like anyone hasn’t seen it, or reads this!).
Track 10. Crescendolls by Daft Punk.
Time to dust off those dancing shoes with a beatastic triptych. Daft Punk’s second LP ‘Discovery’ was the release that really made me sit up and take notice of the French robotic duo. A marked shift from their Chicago house heavy debut, this album was a voyage into future disco and almost every track is a four to the floor pumper. With it’s good time hollers and woahs, this is full on hands in the air abandon. Shift that furniture, there’s a certain amount of rug that requires cutting.
Track 11. The Rhinohead by Von Sudenfed.
When this collaboration between Mouse On Mars and God like genius Mark E Smith was announced, I have to admit I had my doubts. But like most things on paper that look dubious, it was an inspired meeting of very different minds. Although a certain amount of post production tinkering is involved with The Fall mans vocals, this is a perfect marriage of German electro and sarky Salfordian delivery. The LP, ‘Tromatic Reflexxions’ is a must have.
Track 12. Calm Down by Katy B.
Kathleen Ann Brien was completely off my radar before I heard this. Apparently she’s massive in the garage scene and on this showing it’s not hard to see why. I’ll be honest, it was the involvement of the masterful Floating Points that piqued my interest in this track but I’m glad I give it a go. Intelligent UK dance with some lovely touches, not least the gorgeous strings that appear unexpectedly.
Track 13. Depth Charge by King Tubby and The Barrett Brothers.
Let’s slow things down with a supreme slab of dub from 1974. This is a pure summer sound. There’s no doubt it will make an appearance on my holiday playlist when I take a break in April. The cruelest month? It’ll be the coolest month with this in my lugs and something long and cool in my hand.
Track 14. The Homeless Wanderer by Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou.
Next up we have a nonagenarian nun from Ethiopia playing the piano. You’d be forgiven if you mistook that sentence as an introduction to a Monty Python sketch, but this is no joke. A stunning, simple piece that is quite difficult to label but extremely easy to get lost in.
Track 15. Are You Sure by The Freedom Sounds.
Before ‘Street Life’, The Crusaders were The Jazz Crusaders, a hard bop jazz outfit who counted one Wayne Henderson amongst their members. This track comes from the trombonist’s offshoot project, released in 1968, and showcases the embryonic, slick soul sound that would be adopted by The Crusaders throughout the seventies.
Track 16. Icing On The Cake by Stephen Duffy.
Let’s not beat around the bush, the erstwhile Mr Tin-tin has been responsible for some serious crimes against music. His role as a founding member of eighties pastel-suited poseurs Duran Duran and his work with smug faced dancer and ‘entertainer’ Robbie Williams should be enough grounds for a ten year stretch in a pop music penitentiary. But this slice of mid eighties pop perfection and his work with the undervalued Lilac Time are enough to earn him a suspended sentence. Listen to that chorus, you just want to throw your arms around it.
Track 17. E-Musik by Neu!
You only need to check their Wikipedia entry to see just how influential NEU! were and still remain to be. Along with their former band Kraftwerk and Can, Dinger and Rother’s band completed the holy trinity of Krautrock. Still futuristic today, this, from their third (and in my opinion best LP), ‘Neu! ’75’ is an absolute masterclass in Motorik electronic music. Fantastic to drive to, particularly on a motorway at three in the morning with nothing else on the road.
Track 18. C.C. Rider by Julie London.
Ma Rainey’s 12 bar blues classic given a smoky, seductive make-over by this weeks cover star, the divine Julie London.
Track 19. I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun by The Rotary Connection.
Smooth soul which still retains the psychedelic elements that the band were most known for. This track is elevated by the vocals of one Minnie Riperton, a receptionist at Chess records. She was unknown when this was recorded in 1971 but went on to have massive success later in the decade. The classical guitar intro which leads into the piano motif, esoteric lyric and multi-layered vocals all add up to one of the most sun drenched recordings I can think of.
Track 20. I Don’t Care Anymore by Doris Duke.
Wrapping things up this week we have Doris Duke with a cut from her superb 1970 release, ‘I’m A Loser’. Produced by the legendary Swamp Dogg, the LP is a forgotten classic. Filled with ‘wronged woman’ laments, Duke’s powerful gospel voice is a revelation, wringing emotion from every phrase. It truly is one to stick on in the wee small hours, particularly if you’re feeling a tad emotional.
And with that, it’s farewell for another week. Until next time, keep on truckin’.