I don’t know, maybe it’s “Release Videos In My Favourite Places” Week because today Unknown Mortal Orchestra unleashed their video for “So Good At Being In Trouble”, parts of which was shot at the Venice beach promenade (and even features a muscle man I once rode the bus with from downtown) — which also brings me back to the point that there obviously needs to be a channel for videos like this one and Solange’s.
In case you haven’t been there yet, NPR does this wonderful thing where they stream full albums before their release dates and that’s where I first listened to Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s second album II and immediately knew that “So Good At Being In Trouble” was the one. It’s got this sweet familiar guitar riff taking you from section to section and an oh-so-smooth beat and groove that reflects sunshine and sunglasses. It’s a real get down kind of tune that gets me in the mood for chilled summer days, but that could also just be me, wishing I was frolicking with the weirdos in Venice. Either way, I really kind of dig this song (and this album)(and this band).
I had THE BEST time jamming to “Smells Like the 90s” on VH1 this morning because it reminds of when the M in MTv stood for music and I could sit for hours watching music videos. And shout out to VH1 for keeping the video hits in their name and making their slogan “Absolutely none of today’s hottest music” which is refreshing and a shame at the same time because some of the great music of our day isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Maybe this shows that there could be a market for a new MTv-like channel to pick up on the kind of youthful freedom and musical expression that the channel started and also use the internet as a tool instead of an enemy.
Anyway this playlist is a highlights package of the 90s groove session I had — from the early years of the decade influenced by the late 80s, to my embarrassing memories of a Spice Girls obsession (don’t worry I still remember the moves from the video) and songs that still hold up like ‘’Creep”.
I want to say something like grab those peddle pushers and bodysuits to enjoy the playlist, but sadly for the 90s, her fashion was nowhere near as cool as her music. So just listen and enjoy the nostalgia and keep those platform sneakers in the closet.
I know that everyone is talking about the return of Beyonce at the SuperBowl and now the world tour she’s just announced, but after watching the video for “Losing You”, I am IN LOVE with the younger (and more my type of gal) Knowles. It’s not just that the song kind of rocks or that her latest EP, True, had already planted the seed of my girl-crush when it first came out in November last year.
“Losing You” has this old school kind of beat and charm with sepia toned nostalgia and cool-kids pop which is the mood that is captured in the video. And the video is where I fell because it was shot in Cape Town! More than that, Solange looks like the kind of girl you want to hang out with just by the way she gets down in the township with the locals and takes a swig out of one of those dark brown beer bottles. I laughed out loud and felt pangs of jealousy (that I wasn’t part of the jam) and basically just jizzed through the video; loving the song, loving the way she captured how FUN South Africans are and absolutely loving her moves (and ‘fro).
There are sometimes moments in songs that turn a pretty decent song into a “I always have to listen to this two times” kind of track – moments like in Broken Bells’ “The High Road” when it changes to “it’s too late to change your mind”; moments that take you from idle listening to hearing – “Do You Think You’re Enough” has that. It’s kind of The Strokes-ey with the guitar distortion and a thick rope of bass running through it until “the moment” and the song emerges in the nude.
PYYRAMIDS is a super-group (I found thanks to Pigeons and Planes) consisting of Tim Nordwind from OK GO and Drea Smith from He Say/She Say (who I’ll admit I am not familiar with – a situation I will rectify immediately because I really dig the lady’s voice). They have an album coming out in April and from what I’ve heard so far, it’s going to be some refreshing listening.
The first time I encountered Thao & The Get Down Stay Down was at a free concert series in downtown Los Angeles and they were kind of fresh off the boat from Virginia, asking people for a ride or a place to stay or something, or they were going to Disneyland — I can’t remember which but it was just endearing and fun to watch the band with their array of individually talented musicians jamming like friends and Thao herself shaking her knees to their rhythms and either rocking a tambourine or a guitar.
So I was pretty excited to hear the entire album, We The Common, with songs that are kind of familiar now when I think of that stage island surrounded by water and the people of downtown enjoying their lunches – but the difference this time is a clean, round studio sound that brings the music a little closer. The Get Down’s sound travels from southern kind of folky-blues (that reminds me a little of Alabama Shakes without Brittany’s voice) to popish indie-ness all with the kind of female vocals I tend to crave when it’s that time of the month.
It’s also the type of album that makes me remember why I love albums because of the way it works as a good 30-something minutes of music and you already start to hear the beginning of the next song as the last one finishes. I love the third track ‘We Don’t Call’ for the Mark Ronson brass and the memory it evokes of that Friday noon-time show, but in general, all the songs have a way of standing out and that’s what keeps me coming back for another listen.
We The Common is out February 5 (US) but you can stream the full album here, thanks to NPR.