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. Got a Spotify account? You’ll find a link to this month’s playlist at the end of the post.
This is the sound of a band who is coming out guns blazing. It is a declarative statement regarding Why Are You OK, their upcoming fifth studio album. “Casual Party” is just ramped up fuzzed out fun from the get go and it makes me want to be outside on a summer’s evening with a beer and friends and the stars above. They have also teased the album with another new song called “In A Drawer.”
C’mon now. Who isn’t up for this kind of perfectly crafted pop? Because this is what that is. I would argue that there aren’t enough of these at the moment. With nods to R&B and with a sing along chorus, it is positivity wrapped up in happiness. It’s infectious and it makes me want to bust moves. Many moves.
Not your grandfather’s Chili Peppers. This is expansive. Danger Mouse’s influence is felt in this first new track from the band in half a decade. While it is impossible for the band to not sound like themselves, Flea’s trademark bass notes don’t come in until :47 seconds into the song, which has, by that time, built itself up along a string of picked guitar notes, simple piano providing minor key colors with tension building in the backing strings which give way to the aforementioned baseline. By the time the bridge comes along it becomes apparent that this is really pretty damn good. I know it is cool to hate on these guys. With this, I’m not buying it.
San Antonio’s The Last Bandoleros incorporate their Texas roots in a genre fluid sound. Tight harmonies sweeten the accordion driven honky tonk. Freddy Fender, Flaco Jimenez and these guys surely were as much an influence as The Mavericks.
BETWEEN THE BEATS:
NINE LIVES TO RIGEL FIVE: Scott Miller is not nearly as well known as his mid 80’s college rock contemporaries, but his influence continues today. Miller’s Davis, California band Game Theory were a big part of the paisley/power/jangle-pop scenes of the era. Miller wasn’t afraid to use big words or match them with complicated time signatures. The band’s live shows were sweat inducing high energy affairs. (Sadly, Miller passed several years ago.) This is very good news for the band’s fans. And there’s a strangely narrated yet good overview of Scott and his music right here.
HEY HEY IT’S THE…Well what the heck. This. This right here. How do they sound like this. Still. Well, start with a song written by Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and go from there. But really. Flashback time.
OLDCHELLA: Tickets will most likely be gone by the time you click here.
Well, this is unexpected. And frankly, this is a good opportunity to feature Kesha without the background noise going on in the music trades and tabloids. Which is not a comment on the merits of anything having to do with anything about her recent history. It is to suggest that Kesha’s vocal on this song should break through all of this on its merits. What is that saying about the total being more than the sum of its parts? Because, yep.
Radiohead does what they want. When they want. The band successfully walked away from the label system to fund and release their own work. They have done quite well with that. When they do release new music, it is kind of a big deal. Dead Air Space is the band’s 9th album and, like their previous, finds the band playing with their sound once again. “Burn The Witch” is built upon Phillip Glass inspired staccato strings, providing a perfect base for Thom Yorke’s singular vocals. The instrumentation and arrangement is fairly straightforward for a band which continues to look forward. This video for their second track released from the album was a collaboration with film maker Paul Thomas Anderson.
And not a moment too soon. It seems like it has been forever since we had new music from Beth Orton. And, by today’s standards it has been a while. This finds the original folktronica artist stepping further into the electropop world with a super catchy summer friendly single that bounces along percolating synths and organic drums.
Heartbreaker, Ryan Adams’ debut solo album was released in 2000, following his work with Whiskeytown. It has become a cult classic and Adams has just released a deluxe edition with loads of previously unreleased demos and orphaned songs. And they do not disappoint. “Locked Away” is vintage Adams.
Shirley Manson and the guys provide a tasty 90’s flashback that bites. Manson isn’t just a terrific lyricist and vocalist, she inhabits these songs in a way that is visceral, bringing real emotion to the experience.
One of the nicest guys in music. His passion for justice, fighting inequality and his indignation at the wrongs committed against the powerless has been channeled via numerous outlets over the past 30 years. From his early punk rock days with the Beatnigs, through his groundbreaking industrial hip hop collective The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and into his years as Michael Franti and Spearhead. This latest preview of the next album Soulrocker is a soulful continuation of his main themes. The groove is less urgent and more substantial. The horns and the backing choir create a throwback vibe which, together with the scratched out guitar lines, makes for some relatively uplifting protest music. (He’s really good at this stuff.)
Bobby Gillespie’s Primal Scream never disappoints. Gillespie is one of the most criminally under appreciated figures in rock. He anchored the psych punk powered Scottish band The Jesus and Machine in the early 80’s while simultaneously fronting his own soon-to-be critic favorite Primal Scream. For the last twenty years he has fronted a band fearless in their approach, infusing their core characteristics into several genre specific releases ranging from straight-up mid 70’s Rolling Stones swagger rock, country blues, slick alt dance rock and more. The latest finds the band borrowing from past work in new ways and this duet with Sky Ferreira is a great example of Gillespie’s charisma.
THE CLASSIC: Cat Stevens – “Angelsea”
Prog-folk-rock from the man who helped define the sound of the 70’s. The first time I heard this I just stopped and took it all in in slack-jawed reverie. Even now, I listen and hear things that sweep me up all over again. The hippie in me was an unintended consequence of the cultural touchstones of the time. This is an example of when I am ok with it.
For previous editions of The Playlist, see the growing archive here.
Click here for the Spotify playlist.