Music is a little like food and clothes. These are areas where it’s probably worthwhile for one to explore & expand their tastes. The Playlist is assembled each month by Dappered’s very own music correspondent, Tim Johnstone. Tim is a former Virgin Records Label Rep & current award winning Program Director at KRVB, which was awarded the FMQB AAA station of the year markets 50+. You can also catch his work on Fridays when he assembles the Weekend Dossier.
This Ithaca NY band is about to release their debut full length album VHS on June 30th. They’ve got a few things going for them besides the ability to put together a catchy song. And given that this is a decidedly of-the-moment type of song (the stripped down acoustic elements, semi-shouted group vocals – we’ll call it The Lumineeers effect) the song is ear-wormy, even among its peers. Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons helped the band land a label deal. Then Jeep decided to used this track on a new ad campaign. And here they are. Extra points for name dropping Kubrick.
Because if Queens of The Stone Age aren’t going to get around to this, this. Immediately added to my gym playlist and stuck in my head for the foreseeable future. Because that riff. That monster monkey huffing riff. OK, and that completely committed vocal. More of this please.
Part of me started moving in ways I never knew possible. The other part of me had some sort of brief, nervous system episode. But I was smiling the whole damn time. So I hit repeat. For those who like Basement Jaxx and wiggling your everything. Infectious does not begin to describe this. From Major Lazer’s new full-length Peace Is The Mission available now.
Whereupon Chance The Rapper presents a positivity hip hop parade resplendent with horn charts and Beach Boys worthy harmonies. Free on iTunes. There’s a little De La Soul at work here, at least in spirit.
Vermont’s electrifying singer steps aside from her backing band The Nocturnals for a solo endeavor. And out of the gate we get a declaration that there is a new Grace in town. This is clearly geared at a mainstream audience and I am perfectly fine with that. She completely shines through the polished production and claims the spotlight for herself. Then there’s this: Grace opened for the Rolling Stones earlier this month and joined the band for “Gimme Shelter”. She totally owned it.
An understated, lovely new track from one of the most influential guitarists of all time. Not even kidding. His work with Fairport Convention, and then the series of classic albums he recorded with his then wife Linda, stands out to this day. This new album has been produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, who seems to be working with many of his personal heroes these days. This track is solidly based in the sound he mined with his iconic British folk outfit. This, and two other previously released tracks, bodes well for the full-length. Thompson has written some of my all time favorite songs, this sitting at the top of that list.
This is basically an Art Rock orgasm. It is impossible to describe how much influence Sparks has had on modern alternative rock. So I’m just not even going to try. Here’s this for example. This one is somewhat infamous. This is simply legendary. And this is just pure unadulterated New Wave. And Franz Ferdinand have done much to mix Art Rock into their particular brand of modern rock. So together? We get an entire album that manages to pretty much fuse the two together in a fairly organic matter. While some tracks lean heavily toward Franz, others are unmistakably from Sparks DNA. If you are a fan of both, you will love this. If you’re new to Sparks, give it a try.
They just keep bringing the passionate and frantic populist punk rock. This New Jersey band serves up its Bruce Springsteen fervor and story telling ala The Clash and nine times out of then they hit it out of the park. “Let me show you my fatal flaw/It’s the best thing you’ve ever seen.” This is another track that sails past the right field wall. The track itself doesn’t appear to be available yet, but their upcoming double-cd / 3-LP album is available for pre-order.
And if you have no idea what the original sounded like, here you go. Then come back and listen again. Oh, true story. I spent an evening with these guys on a run of track dates (performing live vocals to backing tracks) at San Francisco dance clubs as they performed with Dee Lite. That was a pretty rad night.
I would like to think that the music of Bon Iver would sound right at home in the wilds of Iceland. So I am not surprised that this band from that island nation seems to have been inspired in part by Justin Vernon’s sound. That’s not to say that the band doesn’t bring something else to this atmospheric song. In fact, much of their material is more energized, whether they are singing in English or Icelandic. I got to see these guys in May. They did not disappoint.
The band most likely to be hated on by the guys because all the girls won’t stop talking about them. Yes, they have been everywhere with their previously play listed track “Shut Up and Dance.” But whatever. This is relentlessly cheerful. Sometimes that isn’t a terrible thing.
THE UNDERGROUND CLASSIC: Sisters Of Mercy – “This Corrosion”
What if Meat Loaf had made one of the biggest Goth Rock Mad Max mash up anthems ever? Oh wait, never mind. In 1987 Sisters Of Mercy stepped up and did it for him. This song encapsulates so much about the 80’s, from the over the top video, to the obsessively crisp studio production. The definitive version of the song is its original ten plus minute suite. The adjective epic was created for this very moment. Are you up for a spill down the rabbit hole? Start here. Then here. Also, this, this, this and this.
Click here to find this playlist on Spotify.
For previous editions of The Playlist, see the growing archive here.