In The Time of Playlists

Singles prevail

Ok, so currently it is the time for playlists in all shapes and sizes. Musicians make them, DJ’s make them, so do the reviewers and so does your neighbor. And so do you. So it seems that singles dominate at the moment, mostly in the shape of the stream. Most of the younger music fans are probably familiar with the original 7” plastic thingies from the images available online, or from the currently popular drink coasters. Which are not even 7” inches anyway.

Whatever, singles, or is it more precise - single tracks are again becoming a key vehicle for promoting music, whether an album is coming soon, or a few months away. No wonder the single piles tend to be the largest ones to gather some sort of dust or other. So let’s take a few from there.

Jealous Butcher Records are one of those independent, or should I say boutique record labels that carry to that off-kilter crowd that wants something with both pop and off-the-wall elements included. That is exactly where Longstocking and their ‘Jehu on a Rollercoaster’ come from. Once-removed driving pop song anywhere between power pop and post-punk. It could be a preview of their singles collection. But then it doesn’t have to be, as there it will be included in a demo format.

Another album preview comes from the Austin duo Tele Novella. Judging by ‘Paper Crown,’ the duo’s forthcoming album ‘Merllyn Belle,’ will continue that fine line yarn that Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura have been spinning so far. This time around, the American way, or should we say with the touches of country, it seems. Quite promising, either way.

Any kind of a playlist would be lacking if it doesn’t include some form of a soundtrack excerpt. After all, aren’t playlists supposed to be soundtracks? New York composer T. Griffin prepared this one for “The Smell of Wet Clay,” a collaboration with the conceptual artist, writer, and filmmaker Jill Magid, and film editor Hannah Buck that stems from their work together on Jill’s 2018 film The Proposal. 

Lydia Luce is one of those singer/songwriters from the oncoming new Nashville generation that is not afraid to cross into any other territory that is not country, without really losing that ‘Nashville’ identity. “All The Time” here with its pounding drums, guitars, and effects goes to prove the fact.

If you ever wondered what it would sound like if Will Oldham, aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy or somebody with similar vocal inflection (here and there) would sound playing Bossa Nova, you wouldn’t have to go any further than Brazilian singer/songwriter Mauricio Benedeti. His album ‘Banal’ is all that and more, making it something of essential late-night material. ‘Vertigem’ is more Bossa than Billy, though.

The ‘old’ pile this time around might not be so old (for some, though). This one comes from 2008 by a Manchester, England quintet Anna Kashfi (no not the actress and one-time wife of Marlon Brando). Their album ‘Procurement’ is yet another late-night gem with excellent vocals and even more brilliant arrangements with their version of Nick Cave’s ‘Mercy Seat’ and ‘Glass House’ (here) perfect examples of this seemingly lost gem.