07 Oct Monthly Mix #002: 10 Songs I’ve Had On Repeat
Listening to so many podcasts and audiobooks nowadays means I’ve really had to start making a point of setting time aside for music. I’ve written before about how each year I have a playlist that I update with songs I’ve discovered throughout the year – a sort of soundtrack to reflect back on at the end of the year.
I’ve decided to break that playlist down into a monthly playlist. It will be refreshed each month with 10 new discoveries I’m excited about. And by new discoveries I mean songs that are new to me, not necessarily brand new songs.
Here is the October edition:
1. The Trip – Still Corners
I recently reinvigorated my love for my favourite bands – New Order and The Cure. Like 15 year old me, I spent a recent evening joyfully going through their music videos, finding the kind of awe that gets muted through repeat listens, and letting it resurface for a bit.
There’s something about post-punk music, that combination of 80’s synth and distorted, gloomy guitar riffs that makes for pure audio bliss, in my humble opinion. Footnote: listen to True Faith and A Forest.
Anyway, I ended up down a YouTube rabbit hole and found this magical little number. With a strange ability to invoke introspection, the simple synthy splendour of The Trip by Still Corners diversifies into layered, moody guitar riffs, languid and lavishing in their own melancholy. When the zephyr-like vocals coalesce with the instrumentals The Trip achieves spellbinding, ethereal success. It’s probably one of my favourite songs at the moment, it reminds me a lot of one of my favs from last summer, Shadow by Chromatics – another dream-like haze of a song.
2. Only Heather – Wild Nothing
I don’t know if this song is written about someone called Heather or if it’s written about the violet shrub commonly found in rural areas and moorland. Most likely the former but I for one hope for the latter because the shimmering, gossamer guitar and lo-fi vocals throughout this song reminds me of running through a meadow in spring. I know, how poetic. In my defence, I did specialise in 18th Century Romanticism during my English Literature degree so I’m pretty much helpless to nature imagery.
Drawing comparisons to the likes of Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, after listening to their album “Nocturne” I feel like I’ve uncovered a real gem and only tentatively want to share it with the world.
3. Gimme The Night – The Band of Love
I’m about to shift gears here genre-wise and it isn’t going to be a smooth transition – buckle up.
Folk and disco music is a marring of genres I can say I’ve never had any desire to listen to. Yet, this is what The Band of Love do and somehow, against all odds, it works. Covering disco classics in traditional folk style, there is an initial moment of slight recoil and then suddenly, as though your mind is adjusting to this strange transmission, you find yourself enjoying it.
Technically this discovery isn’t really recent, it’s from the start of the summer when I was washing the dishes and found my ears perking up to this folk infused version of Gimme The Night on the radio. After extensive research and not being able to find the song anywhere I unearthed the information that it was to be released in a full album of folk disco goodness at the end of the summer.
4. Remember Me – Tame Impala
Moving swiftly from a Funk cover and onwards to another cover. Tame Impala have been a real slow burner for me. I remember listening to Lonerism back when it was released in 2012 and conclusively deciding that their music was not for me. Yet, since then, I’ve heard Tame Impala songs, without knowing the artist, and found myself really enjoying their stuff. Idk.
This Marlena Shaw cover is a complete homage to 60’s rock – think Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, Steppenwolf – I can’t resist a good heavy guitar riff. Its got those psychedelic, Vietnam war veteran vibes going on. I’m always struck by how varied Tame Impala’s sound is. Compare this to Let it Happen or The Less I Know The Better (personal fave).
5. Your Wife – Self Esteem
This catchy AF lil number popped up in my Spotify Discover Weekly and I have a lot of time for it. It does a lot with a little, opening with pared back percussion that puts the foundation in place for the rhythm sustained throughout. Its got a bit of synth going on later too which y’all know I’M a fan of. Rather than having one set of vocals, this songs brings together multiple vocal talents which further enriches the layered effect this song builds throughout.
6. The Magic – Joan As Police Woman
I’ve been wracking my brains trying to work out why The Magic sounds so familiar to me even though I’m pretty sure I haven’t heard it until recently. Then I read a YouTube comment comparing it to Cry Me a River by Justin Timberlake and well, take a listen for yourself.
Zeroing in on a sweet escape from life’s complications, The Magic is a meditation on the the magical, numbing qualities of self medication. “I’m looking for the magic, I’m feeling for the right way out of my mind, looking for the alchemy to release me from the maze I’ve made of myself…”
Musically similar to the likes of Feist and Cat Power, Joan As a Policewoman adds a bit more of an RnB flavour to the mix.
7. The Pit – Public Service Broadcasting
After catching them at BBC’s Biggest Weekend in Belfast back in May I have become an avid listener of Public Service Broadcasting. I find their music incredibly moving. For anyone who hasn’t heard them before, they weave instrumentals with soundbites from documentaries, speeches and archived audio content from years back.
Often socially and politically focused, their music invokes vivid images of times gone by in a style that always reminds me of the opening montage scene in This Is England. During a time of great political division, unrest and confusion, PSB’s music is particularly poignant.
The Pit, puts together a scene of coal workers in terrible working conditions, a voice removed from such conditions invites you to spectate, describing their labour. The droning, menacing sounds throughout this song make it an incredibly bleak but wholly atmospheric listen. PSB’s ambitious, unique sound gives you cause to think about posterity and if history has taught us anything.
8. Tales Of Endurance (Parts 4, 5 & 6) – Supergrass
I’ve always enjoyed songs that play up the instrumentals and keeps the vocals to a minimum. It’s nice to immerse yourself in the instrumentals. A few vocals are interspersed throughout but overall they aren’t too imposing. That is until around three and a half minutes in when things get a bit heavier and frantic with vocal verging on throat-wrenching screaming.
This song had my attention immediately with that opening guitar melody that sounds like its straight out of Led Zeppelin IV. It evolves beyond this however through the addition of piano and trumpet building an altogether introspective, varied listen.
9. Only One Cloud – Beth Rowley
I started listening to the Cerys Matthews BBC blues show during the summer. It’s a delight to listen to because I get to hear a Welsh accent (my FAV accent) and of course the music is pretty good too. Blues is a genre I really enjoy listening to but don’t actually listen to a lot of. I’m starting to remedy this.
Anyway, this lil number played one summer evening and those impressive vocals perked my ears up immediately. Languid and infectiously unhurried, it’s a song that was meant for chilled out Sunday afternoons or a quiet evening drink as the sun goes down. Instrumentals are pared down, giving centre stage to the vocals yet the steady, constant presence of the strings in the background add a bluesey edge. It starts to get a little repetitive but given how chilled it is I don’t really mind.
10. Haley – Kismet Kill
We’ve come full circle. We’re back to the start with my love for distorted guitar. Haley brings a melodious, rock-charged vibe to the table with Kismet Kill. Paired with vocals dripping in nonchalance, there’s the slightest whiff of country influence levelling out this guitar heavy track. It’s like a more mellowed out Breeders song and it’s enough to entice me to listen to more of Haley’s stuff.
Listen to the playlist on Spotify