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 Reset. Got a Spotify account? You’ll find a link to this month’s playlist at the end of the post.
Because sometimes you just want to hear something new from Rage Against The Machine. That is not a diss. It’s pretty much a compliment within an observation.
Lo Moon released their self-titled debut earlier this year. It is one of my favorite releases this year. This new single picks up where their debut left off with exquisite arrangement and production. Matt Lowell’s vocals once again hover just above the atmospherics, clear and expressive and lovely.
Well this is something special. Individually, Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus make distinctive indie folk and rock that is emotional and cathartic. Together they compliment each other in a more-than-a-sum-of-their-parts kind of way. Their new self-titled ep is fantastic and is recommended.
Toro y Moi is the stage name for Chaz Bear, one of those guys who can do everything (according to his Wikipedia entry, he is an “American singer, songwriter, record producer and graphic designer). Once a leader of the chill wave genre, he has expanded his sound and “Freelance” bops along on a slightly wobbly rhythm which nonetheless provides a base for a host of funky synth melodies and percolating percussion.
More rock for your gym playlist. Sheffield rockers BMTH bring Cradle of Filth’s Dani Filth in for this one. Suitably loud and raw but also catchy as can be.
It is an obvious statement, but “Broken” proves the notion that the best pop songs never make it to the charts and such for lack of exposure. THEY are an L.A. duo who, along with guest vocalist Jessie Reyez have assembled a lo-fi and laid back groove that is immediate and intimate. The vocals are absolutely genuine, the jazz guitar tones a perfect foil for the spare atmospherics. Sounds like sexy-time music to my ears. Your ears might be different.
“The Somnabulist” is one of two new songs included on an album that sees Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant reinterpret classic Bunnymen songs. 40 years on, the McCulloch-Sergeant partnership continues to deliver a satisfying combination of great guitar work and McCulloch’s distinctive vocals and his exceptional lyrics. Yes, I’m a fanboy. And proud of it.
Every once in a while a band comes along that makes you think HELL YEAH on the first listen. This is one of those bands. Energetic, earnest and celebratory, The Spielbergs serve up ridiculously catchy pop hooks draped in fuzz and feedback, the kind of rock made for fist pumps, beers and wild-eyed grins. These Norwegians have just given us one of the brightest debuts of the year.
German ex-Pats Nini Fabi and Ben Gebert front this NYC band. “New Compassion” is a more organic sound than their major label debut CD from a few years ago. While that first album was stuffed with gems, you knew from their live shows that there was much more going on here. A mantra of positivity densely layered with vocals and acoustic guitars and more.
For those of you who like your rock loud and agitated, Badflower is here for you. This L.A. band is making fans with their intense, emotional take on hard rock. Singer Josh Katz does not hold back when it comes to baring his soul and this is one of the band’s strengths.
Art pop of the finest order. “Fruity” offers so much to fixate on (the horns, the backing vocals, the lyrics, and the drum fills) that it’s just better to sit back and let the song carry you along. It’s charming in a good way, groovy in a literal way and something I imagine sounds fantastic on headphones walking through, say, any big city.
There is a definite theme emerging in this month’s playlist. I own up to the fact that “Bambi” fits in with the indie-pop approach we’ve heard in Milo Greene, Rubblebucket and THEY. In this case, Midwest indie-rock which is understated, catch and delivered with an abundance of short-lived synth hooks and sampled vocals which come and go as the song floats along in no hurry whatsoever.
Whatever you want to say about Moz, he nails this. An unexpected surprise. (Just don’t ask me about the guitar.)
It’s something of a surprise that this UK band doesn’t have a bigger profile in America. There is a lot to like about them and they consistently offer up Warped Tour-ready (when that was a compliment) melodic rock.
Welcome back! This influential 90’s indie rock band make a somewhat quiet return recently. PTL is essentially David Bazan and this is the first new music from the PTL moniker since 2004. I caught them opening for Death Cab For Cutie this summer and the band sounded fantastic. “Yellow Bike” is a relatable tale about the freedom of your first big kid bike. Good stuff.
This song is one of the most persistent ear-worms of late, and in this case, a good thing. It is subtle and sexy and a most delicious come-on. The arrangement brings to mind a Christine McVie Fleetwood Mac song, with glistening guitar licks, synth washes and the addition of 80’s sounding horn splashes built upon a steady, sensual rhythm.
Kelsey Lu is a vocalist, cellist and producer. This North Carolina native who, along with producers Rodaidh McDonald and Skrillex (yes, that guy), gives us something that can in no way be pigeon-holed into any one genre. Lu’s cello provides the emotional soul which everything else builds on. But it is her vocals which are the revelation here. Lu’s clear voice stretches and contracts, sweeping and languid one moment, insistent and pointed the next. More please.
I’m not sure it’s possible to actually count how many releases GBV had issued in their 40 + years together. That’s only slightly sarcastic. To be honest, I kind of forget about them for a couple years and then discover they have released more music than I can keep up with. For those of you who aren’t familiar, “Cohesive Scoops” is a perfect introduction: Instantly catchy verses, bridges, chorus and maybe one or two other equally tasty change-ups all in a concise 90 seconds or so. The GBV catalogue is a perilous rabbit hole to go down (so. much. music.) but it is always worth it.
There had never really been anything like Roxy Music when they arrived in 1970. I’m not suggesting they created Art rock or Prog rock, or Glam, but they were the first to bring it all together in one spectacular package. Their now legendary single “Virginia Plain” has been an indelible influence on New Wave, Punk, Synth Pop and Rock. And their 1972 performance on the BBC’s “Top Of The Pops” would have fried my mind had I seen in at the time. Which isn’t to say I was around at the time.
For previous editions of The Playlist, see the growing archive here.
See the Spotify playlist here.