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.
Arriving in the midst of a Nationwide deep-freeze, James Mercer and the guys serve up a warm and bright homage to a certain type of women. “Name For You” is a Beach Boys song for those of us who never cared for the band, bouncing upon an elastic rhythm, ridiculously bright harmonies and a swirling arrangement packed with keyboards and percussion. “All your bits and pieces, yeah.” Indeed.
Beats, bass and badass production. Inventive rhymes and pointed commentary. These guys are consistently impressive. The entire album is worthy of your time.
This band yanks all of my chains. Crunchy guitars, string arrangements (real or otherwise) and synthesizers. It’s not a common sound in the harder rock genres but these guys consistently pull it off. They know how to come up with a hook and they keep things interesting by changing up time signatures and instrumentation arrangements. This went right onto my gym playlist. And if you asked my Editor, he would point you in the direction of this one.
Rory Graham is the English singer behind the Rag’N’Bone pseudonym and he’s every bit as big as his voice. Rory’s background is in the blues, but he as also worked as an MC in Britain’s Jungle scene. “Human” definitely features the blues side of Graham’s work but this is so much more than that. It features a timely message and it resonates . And I admire the way Graham addresses body image; he is on the record saying, “If you don’t like the way I look, that’s your problem.” Choice words sir.
This is pretty much a dream collaboration and it does not disappoint. A dramatic intro gives way to a percolating and propulsive rhythm over which Abel Makkonen Tesfaye croons and then some. None of that matters. This is just so damn sexy. It has been so fun watching the evolution of this artist.
This is the sound of someone growing up. This upbeat and melancholic salute to his home town is genuine and personal. It is, beyond that, effortlessly catchy and completely relatable. Here’s where I admit that I had an incredible day with Ed about 5 years ago when he did a performance for my station at a local record store. It was his first such event in America. He was genuine, kind, hilarious and… So yeah. I’m a fan. But this is good.
Raul Malo and the rest of The Mavericks are criminally underrated. But they are a band which is nearly impossible to stick a label on and that has limited the amount of mainstream exposure they’ve received. This song is yet another showcase for Malo’s superhuman voice. Basically, “Brand New Day” is the best Roy Orbison “Wall Of Sound” song to come along in 30 years. This is swoon worthy.
Chances are very good that I will always share new music from this Scottish band. But, since they haven’t released an album in over 18 years, that hasn’t happened much. The Reid Brothers have been applying the heavy fuzz and distortion to retro power pop since their formation in 1983. “Amputation” is not as energetic as their early work but it maintains their bluesy and pseudo psychedelic influences and still sounds great.
Ryan Adams’ break up albums are my favorite Ryan Adams’ albums. “To Be With You” could have been on Adams’ Heartbreaker, which happens to remain my favorite Ryan Adams’ album. It’s just lovely.
Warning: more nostalgia. It’s been 22 years since Slowdive released their last record. How the hell did that happen? Along with My Bloody Valentine and Ride, Slowdive led the British “shoe gaze” movement of the late 80’s early 90’s. The genre was known for multi-tracked layers of swirling guitars, vocals generally buried below the mix. This is every bit as good as anything the band has previously released and credit to them for that.
This new band from Los Angeles delivers something special on their first single. Lo Moon arent’t trip-hop or shoegaze. Despite the church organ here, they are not gospel. They are somehow all of that and more. The band sounds like they would have fit on the 4AD label back in the 80’s. This is dreamy and gorgeous, and it is beautiful and completely immersive. It feels like one could fall inside of it. Total headphones experience.
Elbow is one of those British bands that enjoys great success at home but has so far failed to find a significant audience here in the states. And that’s a shame. The band creates lush, sweeping ballads and anthems which soar but they aren’t afraid to let loose with heavier arrangements when the song requires such. Lead singer Guy Garvey’s vocals are always the emotional center of their songs and he turns in a nuanced performance on this, their preview of their upcoming album. Terrific.
Garage Rock for those of you who swear you hate it. This is just all sorts of fun. It is funny and fuzzy (no, really, there is a lot of guitar efx going on here) and destined for no small number of summer party playlists.
I am not going to try and pigeonhole Bishop Briggs. Because that would be a disservice and also, I’m not sure where to start. This is the second song from her that has made us stop and notice what she is serving up. And we like it.
While this isn’t new, it is new to us. And we can’t stop listening. Down Like Silver is the duo Caitlin Canty and Peter Bradley Smith – who was in the band eastmountainsouth which released a couple well received records in the early oughts. Goth Americana. “When I die, let the wolves enjoy my bones.”
The Catherine Wheel were responsible for some of the best rock to come out of England in the 90’s. The band had a certain swagger and had a heavier sound than many of their contemporaries. Tanya Donnely was not only a founding member of The Breeders, but her band Belly had a string of hits. Their styles were pretty different but here they meld perfectly.
For previous editions of The Playlist, see the growing archive here.
Click here for the Spotify playlist.