The Ultimate Playlist has been going a little neglected for awhile. It’s not that there hasn’t been music catching my ear at all, I’ve just been facing the practical challenge of a full memory on my iPhone until recently. This, however, is no longer a concern, as I have a sexy new upgrade to an iPhone 5 with a much larger 32MB memory so it was time to get caught up with some fresh tunes in the playlist. There have been some albums I’ve had knocking around since last summer that I’ve enjoyed and had tracks I fancied throwing on The Ultimate Playlist so the new larger memory has been quite liberating and some fresh blood on the playlist has been loooooong overdue.
So – for anyone who cares to know, here are those latest additions to the playlist;
‘Shotgun’, ‘Harliquinade’, ‘Joshua’, ‘Lion’, ‘Sugarplum’, ‘Thunderbolt’ – Eugene McGuiness
I enjoyed many aspects of Eugene McGuiness’ third album The Invitation to the Voyage. I hadn’t really been aware of his work but I recognised him as Miles Kane‘s guitarist when I saw him play ‘Harliquinade’ on a late night music show I stumbled across. I went out and picked up the album and found a great deal of pleasure from it.
I love the retro sound of the album and especially the electro-pop sound in the handful of Ultimate Playlist choices above. There is something that feels so familiar yet so different and fresh too that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I love it.
I think there’s some interesting musical & lyrical choices here that have really switched me on. The amalgamation of 80s synth pop, 60s Bond style theme, and early Naughties Indie has made the album so engaging and intriguing for me I had to put a good few songs from it on the playlist.
‘R U Mine’ – Arctic Monkeys
I’ve totally gone off the Arctics in the last couple of years but this was a redeeming tune for me. It’s still loaded up with the new wave of Alex Turner’s pretentious jibberish lyrics that i’ve found so off-putting about the band in recent years, but is saved by the simple riff and driving drums that takes me back to the early days when I fell in love with a garage band bootleg called “Beneath the Boardwalk“.
I really think the video is f**king awesome too. Check it out;
‘Sun’ – Two Door Cinema Club
This tune bordered on overplayed on XFM when it was out as a single. Thankfully, it didn’t get too annoying and every time I heard it I found myself bobbing my head along and whistling it through the day; it’s a grower the more you hear it.
It’s quite a subtle & jaunty tune that has more rythym sitting under it than you might first realise; in a way that makes it a great tune for driving to work or strolling around town. It makes me sway and move without realising, which definitely indicates playlist inclusion status. The bass, drums & guitar all come together perfectly in beautiful layers to make this a great little Indie-pop tune.
It’s just a shame the band have got to look so “Topman”.
‘Freedom at 21’. ‘Sixteen Saltines‘ – Jack White
Jack White is awesome. These tunes rule (even in spite of the weird second drum beat thing going on in ‘Freedom at 21′).
There’s just something really pure about the the guy and the flavour he brings to the music he writes & plays. I find his music so authentic and engaging and these two tunes are just more recent examples of his genius. I know some people really can’t grasp him and what he does – but I freakin’ love it and am mad fer having some new(ish) Jack White stuff on The Ultimate Playlist.
‘First of my Kind’, ‘Give Up’ – Miles Kane
So far there has been nothing of this guy’s output I haven’t liked, and this stand-alone single last year and new single this year haven’t let me down either.
On ‘First of my Kind’ I just adore the broad, sweeping, wall of sound style strings and 60s retro vibe; Kane has got an outstanding ear for the sound of his idols and replicates them with such glorious homage mixed with his own contemporary flavour it really works for me.
His latest single; ‘Give Up’, indicates a move away from 60s nostalgia to something more reminiscent of late 90s, early 00s Britpop/rock sounds, something more aggressive and wailing than his previous output has us accustomed to, but I like it anyway, and I’m eager to see what he follows it with.
‘You Can’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover’, ‘Blue Collar Jane’ – The Strypes
These kids are the epitome of retro Mod cool. I’m not even sure that their total collective age much exceeds my own age, but they definitely seem to ‘get’ it.
They don’t have an album out, but I heard about them on the grapevine after reading that they were the band of the minute with various musical heroes of mine (Elton John, Noel Gallagher, Miles Kane, & Dave Grohl have all been photographed with or have referenced the band in interviews lately), so I tracked down some YouTube vids and bootlegs around Christmas time last year.
While Jake Bugg might be touting retro sounds around as the 2013 rep for Mods and classic R n B’ers these kids are the real deal in vestigial rock n roll and are like The Stones or The Who circa 1964 reincarnate. Everything about these kids is right; musical talent, style, image and attitude. The lead guitarist pulls off Ray Bans like I’ve never seen before, the guitarist solos like a maniac, the bassist just ‘feels’ the music, and the drummer looks far too young to play as well as he does. They make me green with envy they are so talented – it’s truly amazing to watch and I’m looking forward to more original material from them.
Like so much I add to the playlist lately; there’s something about how they remind of music I already love, and how they continue a tradition, that makes me drawn to them and support them as much as do. This may not be the most original, but it’s homage of he highest order and when it’s played this well I can’t see how anybody couldn’t like it.
Long live rock, be it dead or alive.
‘Born Liar’ – Coroner for the Police
These guys are a great example of Internet social media marketing working to spread the word.
A little while ago I got a random Twitter follow from this band. Humble, little old me getting a local rock n’ roll bands following me, I’ve really no idea how they landed on me. Being the naturally curious sort that I am I went and checked out who these new followers of mine were and fell in love with this neo-blues/rock Black Keys-esque tune that was on the EP available to download on their website. (Enjoy the £2 I gave you lads; a lesser man would have downloaded it for free then gone to Greggs for a Steak Bake and a sausage roll).
The tune has got some real nice touches that sets it apart from the usual copy-cat bandwagon type stuff that’s been knocking around and it’s obvious these guys know how to play. It’s good stuff and it’s clicked with me enough to sit on my playlist, alongside other such Web-marketed breakthroughs with playlist longevity as The Arctic Monkeys, Little Man Tate, Reverend and the Maker, The Libertines, The View, and Milburn. Let’s hope you turn out more of a Monkeys than the others…