Hullo. Exciting news for all readers inside! As your favourite childhood comic used to say. This week we announce a brand new feature, ‘Paulo’s Pick Of The Week’, in which my very good friend, bandmate and collector of rare faberge eggs, Paul D’Cruz will be selecting a track from his vast and eclectic musical palette for inclusion on the playlist.
I’m sure you will all join me in welcoming him, the first track he’s selected is an absolute gem.
With that, let’s take off our shoes and jump feet first into this weeks ocean of musical delights.
Into the sea, you and me..
Track 1. The Train From Kansas City by The Shangri Las.
We begin with a 1965 b-side from the Brill Building. The late, great Ellie Greenwich and her partner Jeff Barry penned this and the influence of the British invasion is apparent. A heavy piano bass coupled with the girls distinctive vocals combine to give us a lost classic, one which I’m happy to find and share as our opener this week.
Track 2. Golden Gal by Animal Collective.
Brand new from A.C. That’s always a sentence that’s a pleasure to read. This Panda Bear heavy track starts with a snippet from Bea Arthur from the sitcom it (almost) steals it’s title. It seems AC have opted to go down the pop highway on their latest release, which is no bad thing. You can’t really guarantee much with this lot in terms of where they’ll go next, but you can put money on it being absolute quality. This doesn’t disappoint.
Track 3. How To Recognise A Work Of Art by Meilyr Jones.
Former ‘Racehorses’ frontman with a cut from late last year. The drum intro fools you into expecting Ian Brown’s idiosyncratic vocal is about to make an appearance, that is until it morphs into Jones’s reedy tones. A critique of the art world in general, it has some lovely instrumentation behind that Detroit beat.
Track 4. Thank You by The Pale Fountains.
I must admit, these lot completely passed me by until a tiny French cat called James brought them to my attention recently. I was surprised to discover that it is none other than former ‘Shack’ man Mick Head’s band from the eighties. This is a superb Bacharach tinged song, which has a timelessness you would associate with that particular maestro’s work. Listen to that lovely horn just underneath Mick’s vocal and the dramatic timpani rolls. Just a couple of deft touches in a song chock full of them.
Track 5. My World Fell Down by Sagittarius.
Next up, we have some sunshine pop from 1968 with a fantastic pedigree. Gary Usher is probably best known for his work with Brian Wilson, particularly on the gorgeous ‘In My Room’. This is his late sixties project which spawned some beautiful, of the time psych-pop. This track has other beach boys connections as it also features Bruce Johnston and on lead vocals, former touring bass player and Brian stand-in Mr Glen Campbell.
Track 6. Andro Queen by Pixies.
This comes from EP1, recorded a couple of years ago and finds our heroes in fine form twenty or so years since they were last in the studio. Released with little fanfare, it gently goes about its business and whilst not in the quiet loud quiet mould of classic Pixies, it certainly deserves its place in their canon.
Track 7. La Plus Belle Chanson by Jacqueline Taieb.
Classic ye-ye is our next stop. A genre I’ve always got time for due to its Joie de vivre. French pop from the sixties should be part of everyone’s musical diet. May I suggest at least twice a week to banish any bleus.
Track 8. Your Heart Out by The Fall.
Not sure how many times I’ve featured Prestwich’s finest in N.L. so far. Rest assured this won’t be the last. Taken from ‘Dragnet’, the album which jockeys for front position with ‘Hex Enduction Hour’ as my favourite Fall LP. MES is in playful mode here. Always loved the delivery of the line ‘Don’t Cry For Me-ah A-Mexicooo’, makes me smile every time.
Track 9. Pow by The Beastie Boys.
Taken from their 1996 instrumental album, ‘The In Sound From Way Out’, this is the beasties in full 1970’s funk mode. Check those keys from Money Mark.
Track 10. Whistle Down The Wind by Malcolm Arnold.
A very different instrumental up next in the shape of Malcolm Arnold’s wistful theme to the Hayley Mills classic from 1961. This is a beautiful accompaniment to the picture, it captures the themes of innocence perfectly. Unlike the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical reimagining I was unfortunate enough to experience some years ago. Horribly misjudged. I still wake up in a cold sweat most nights.
Track 11. Harness Your Hopes by Pavement.
Cover star time, for that feller up the top there be the genius that is Stephen Malkmus. This is the b-side to the ‘Terror Twilight’ single ‘Spit on A Stranger’ but was actually recorded during the sessions for the previous album ‘Brighten The Corners’ It’s classic Pavement and more than deserved a wider release. I was surprised and incredibly delighted when Malkmus played it as an encore when I saw him with The Jicks a couple of years back. Expect to hear a lot more from this band in forthcoming playlists, so rich is their catalogue and so large is my fondness for it and them.
Track 12. Fleur Tropicale by Francis Bebey.
This is the title track from Cameroonian Bebey’s 1976 album. A smashing piece of trippy afro folk rock.
Track 13. 1 Thing by Amerie.
Latter day American R&B has to be my least favourite genre, but like anything, you cant write off a whole movement due to some smelly eggs. I loved this from the first time I heard it, thanks in no small part to the prominent sample from The Meters’ ‘Oh Calcutta’, a fantastic break which is the motor of this track. That’s not to dismiss Amerie’s vocal which is just the right side of frantic. Superb stuff.
Track 14. Best Of My Love by The Emotions.
Penned by the recently departed Maurice White, this 1977 chart smash should be familiar to everyone. See, we’re not all about the esoteric here at NL. The main remit for inclusion is quality. And man, does this have it. Pure, unbridled joy.
Track 15. At The Crossroads by Sir Douglas Quintet.
Lovely tex-mex Country rock slows us down next. This track from 1969 was covered by Mott The Hoople a few years later.
Track 16. The Truth by Dr. Dog.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
So here we are with our brand new feature. This week Mr PDC esq has suggested this beautiful piece by Pennsylvanian psych rock favourites, Dr.Dog. This comes from their 2013 release ‘B-Room’, an LP which showed a polished, lush side at odds with their often shambolic history (They’ve been about since the late nineties). A cracking first pick from the Dacrooz operator. I look forward to his further contributions to NL.
Track 17. Ain’t Gonna Rest (Till I Get You) by The Five Stairsteps.
The ‘First family of soul’ are probably best known for their 1970 smash ‘Ooh Child’. Most of their output is in a similar vein with the odd exception here and there, this thumper being one of them. They were eventually signed to George Harrison’s label and there’s another Beatles connection in the fact that their spin on ‘Dear Prudence’ was the flip side to the aforementioned chart smash. And it’s great.
Track 18. You Make Me Feel Music (Inside My Head) by The School.
What do you get when you cross this weeks openers The Shangri Las with Belle & Sebastian type indie pop? Cardiff’s The school, that’s what. This lot have been quietly crafting sixties influenced mini masterpieces since 2010, which is surprising as it seems they’ve been around a lot longer. This is one of them from 2012. Blissfully romantic.
Track 19. Where’s The Shoorah by Elton John.
Ah, seventies Elton. Back when he had that voice. You can’t beat it. This gospel infused track comes from 1976’s ‘Blue Moves’, probably one of his last great LP’s before the slide into increasingly mundane MOR and that growly, deeper register. Remember him this way.
Track 20. Dream Of A Lifetime by The Flamingos.
Closing for us this week we have some doo-wop from 1954. Nate Nelson takes the lead here on a typically harmonious cut from probably the most sophisticated exponents of the genre.
Well, that’s another week done as we rocket towards March. The nights will get longer and hopefully the weather will get dryer and that’ll make us all happier.
See you next week. Same time(ish) same place.
Until then, don’t go changing, to try and please me.