I know, I know, I’m consistently inconsistent, but I’m trying to do better mainly because I feel like sharing music is all I have to keep me relatively sane. And if I consider all the pleasure I get from my daily listening and the possibility that I could spread that joy even just a little bit, then I’m basically punking myself when I don’t share posts because it’s something that I know is important to me.
So even though after all this time I feel like you are owed some sort of coherent wrap-up of all the music that has been filling my soul, I have to start here with this ultra-chill playlist that I made a while ago, which perfectly suited the Friday-after-work-vibes-with-a-strong-cocktail I was feeling when I put it on today. It’s got some songs from 2016, which for everything that it was in terms of borderline apocalyptic, has to go down as one of my favorite musical years along with 2013, 2009 and 1998 – and yes, there is a playlist dedicated to 2016: A Shit Year for the World but a Dope One for Music that will come.
The song on this playlist with the coolest background story has to be Ariel Pink’s “Baby”, which is a cover of an original by Donnie and Joe Emerson – two brothers from a tiny town in Washington state who cut a record in their home studio in the ‘70s after their father took out a loan on his farm to support his sons’ talents.
Dreamin’ Wild was pretty much unheard of until a crate-digger found it in a record shop in 2012, and eventually Ariel Pink’s cover of opening track“Baby” blew the lid on the long-forgotten passion project. The albumwas re-released shortly after the cover was, and the Emerson brothers got acclaim for the amazing album they made when they were just teenagers on a farm. So with that bit of optimism and reminder of good in the world, here’s a sit-back-and-chill playlist with a little old and a little new, which I mainly hope can briefly remove you from the craziness of the world right now, even if it’s just for the amount of time it takes to listen to twelve songs.
Tracklist: Ariel Pink – Baby
Night Moves – Colored Emotions
The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows
Japanese Breakfast – The Woman That Loves You
Bon Iver – For Emma
Dumbo Gets Mad – Indian Food
The Flaming Lips – The Castle
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – So Good At Being in Trouble
Pond – Sweep Me Off My Feet
Soft Hair – Lying Has To Stop
Good Morning – Warned You
Khruangbin – Dern Kala
Ok, so before this year gets steamrolling with music I really love (I’m already smitten with an EP of dance tracks that samples space sounds recorded by NASA and an upcoming album by a band whose oldest member is only 16 (!)) I must share the tracks I loved in 2014. The year can be summed up as a musical dream come true, mainly because La Roux finally released an album after FIVE YEARS of luminous electro-poplessness and I could once again dote on her fabulous falsetto. And then,to add to the dream, I got to see her perform live: she was amazing and cool and she danced and played guitar and threw a sweat towel into the audience.
So this playlist obviously includes my Queen of Pop (La Roux’s pop perfection is a whole ‘nother post) and many ditties that are contenders to be my personal Song of the Year. Ultimately, I’d have to give that title to ‘Hey Mami’ by Sylvan Esso, because even though I’ve listened to it an abusive number of times, the tune actually still physically gets me every time Amelia Meath starts singing and the electronics drop a few seconds later. Plus, ‘Hey Mami’ is a bit of a feminist anthem calling out cat calling, and there’s nothing I like more than a good jam with a good point.
As for Album of the Year, I want to say Chet Faker’s Built on Glass for it’s albuminess (take that The Album is Dead theorists!). The collection of tracks works best when listened to as a whole, and though there are single songs, like ‘Talk is Cheap’, that could be played on their own all day, most are best in the context of the thoughtful 51 minutes. Chet Faker also appears twice in this playlist because ‘Lesson in Patience’ is just the perfect track to wind down a party or listening session, and my favourite thing about it is that the song is so named because Faker doubts his sax playing skills (for no reason!).
So here’s my 2014 in a nutshell.The best thing about the beginning of a new year is the thought of all the music that is going to embellish the seasons, and the thought of a soundtrack to remind you of those that have been.