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.
Looks like it’s going to be a big year for Maynard James Keenan. The lead singer of A Perfect Circle will have music coming from at least two of his iconic rock bands. As Tool finishes up their long awaited new project (their first in 12 years), APC is about to release their first new album in 14 years. And, from what we’ve heard so far, it has all been worth the wait.
Whereupon Ryan Adams channels The Byrds and all is well and good with the world.
Meg Remy is the American-Canadian artist behind the U.S. Girls moniker. And while she has worked on her own in the past, her latest album is a result of collaborations with many musicians. In a Poem Unlimited features so many recommended tracks. “Pearly Gates” rides a seductive rhythm with Remy’s vocals perfectly matching the sensuous nature of the arrangement which include elements borrowed from different genres. And the backing vocals? Perfect.
Consistency is key to the success of this mainstream rock outfit fronted by Benjamin Burnley. They keep doing what they do and their fans keep coming back for more.
I am going to be honest right up front: This woman amazes me. She can do no wrong in my book. And this infectious blast of stripped down funk hits all the right notes. Prince worthy.
When it comes to classic synthpop, nobody is doing it better than these guys. Immaculate production, faultless melodies and superb vocals are on display here. “Sea Of Dreams” is a good example of how TAC has updated the motifs of the genre with the technology available today.
I know that this has been around for a few minutes but damn. Who says rock is dead? This is just bad ass. Yes, the Zeppelin references are inescapable but there are other touch stones as well. For me, it’s about the attitude and energy and obvious joy they’re all having. Turn it up to 11.
Scott Hutchison leads the Scottish band Frightened Rabbit. He has a voice at one expressive and addictive. With this new project, he’s teamed up with his brother (drummer in Frightened Rabbit) and Justin Lockey of Editors, along with James Lockey of Minor Victories who also happens to be Justin’s brother. At once cinematic and atmospheric, “Los Angeles, Be Kind” pours forth as a hymnal to the city and one’s past.
Shakey Graves, a gentleman from Texas (from his website) has been making fans for a few years now and with his new album, should see a lot more. “Kids These Days” has more qualities of power pop and early new wave than the Americana scene he springs from and it makes for a great combination.
Fitting name for a band that could fall under the math-r0ck genre. TesseracT is a word from geometry signifying a four dimensional cube. These guys shift time signatures on a dime and never let you get complacent in the listening experience. Dynamic and engaging stuff.
It’s somewhat baffling that these ladies aren’t household names here. Yet. It will happen. They’re already pretty popular overseas (exhibit 1 and exhibit 2) and for good reason. They’ve released two excellent albums and have been embraced by critics and fans alike, and, as you’ll see below, they are becoming VIPs in the collaboration department.
George Lewis, Jr., AKA Twin Shadow is releasing the first new music since a 2015 tour bus crash seriously injured some of his band and crew (and resulting in reconstructive surgery for Lewis). “Saturdays” begins with a sparse arrangement, gradually building into something that would have sounded at home on one of those big 80’s soundtracks. Lewis’s vocals are intimate in the verses and open up in the chorus and when HAIM shows up the whole thing just shines. And if you need a little more of the sisters, catch them here with Lorde, Pusha T, & Q-Tip, here with Kid Cudi and here with M83.
Multi-instrumentalist Shabaka Hutchings leads the British based jazz quartet through a be-bop-meets-Caribbean blast of energetic hustle not terribly far removed from UK Grime. The bottom end comes courtesy of tuba player Theon Cross with drummers Tom Skinner and Eddie Hick providing an inescapably frenetic base upon which it all feeds from. More of this please.
Kyle Thomas, AKA King Tuff is back with a new album and a lead single that sets up a groove and colors it with 70’s organ chords, a big backing chorus and guitar finishes that wrap the whole thing together. It’s an earworm for sure.
Sometimes you just want to kick back to mid 70’s Elton John-inspired rock and these guys have that going on and more.
With “Me & Michael” MGMT return to the synth-pop nature of their first album. Catchy, weird and a little psychedelic. Just don’t ask me what’s going on in the video.
Tonya Donnelly has been in some of modern rock’s most innovative bands, beginning with her time in Throwing Muses alongside Kristen Hersh. She was a founding member of The Breeders before launching her own band Belly. Now 23 years after we last heard from them, they are back. All original members. This is great news for anyone who was a fan, as “Shiny One” fits in really well with the band’s catalogue. Terrific layered guitars, a big hook and Donnelly’s bright vocals. This is a welcomed return.
Muse is not really a band that dabbles in subtlety. “Thought Contagion” carries all of the hallmarks of their sound: “Dr. Who” synth washes, humongous backing vocals, Queen-esque arrangements and Matt Bellamy’s acrobatic vocals. Subtlety can be overrated.
THE CLASSIC: Max Q: “Way of The World”
Max Q was a project Michael Hutchence of INXS created as an outlet for songs which didn’t fit his by this time internationally famous band. Deeply personal and often political, “Way of The World” serves as a warning for what he saw coming. And here we are. An overlooked classic.
For previous editions of The Playlist, see the growing archive here.
View the Spotify playlist here.