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.
Beck – “Saw Lightning”
This was unexpected. Beck took a great deal of time between his last two records but apparently he was already hard at work on something new. And our first taste of it is a smile-maker. This goes back to his early sound ala One Foot In The Grave. Only on this outing he has Pharrell Williams joining him. This is all sorts of fun.
Nipsey Hussle – “Victory Lap” featuring Stacy Barthe
What a loss. This man worked to make where he came from a better place for everyone. He was doing good things along with making exciting music. He will be missed.
Taron Egerton – “Rocket Man”
Taron Egerton and Giles Martin have done something I didn’t think was possible: they produced a version of Elton John’s classic outer-space ballad in a manner that manages to not only honor the original, but arrange it such that it feels like it could have been on an alternate version of the same album. It is true to the original in ways than some covers could never be. There are familiar instrumental flourishes from other Elton songs included here. Then there’s Egerton’s vocals. They are for real. Talent. Some people get it in heaping helpings. Can’t wait to see the movie.
The Flaming Lips – “All For The Life Of The City”
The Flaming Lips are really great at making weird prog-pop-rock. And sometimes they bring the pretty. I’ve always appreciated their “pretty” phases. See Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. This song (and the album it comes from) was released on Record Store Day in extremely limited quantities and will see a widespread release in July. We will get another concept album, this one called King’s Mouth: Music And Songs. This is very good news. I haven’t been able to see any of the installations the band has done for this project leading up to the album so I’m pretty excited to hear the whole thing.
Of Monsters and Men – “Alligator”
Well this was a nice surprise. I’d reached the anxiously tapping my fingers stage in the “where are these guys” game I play when bands I dig have taken more than a couple years in between records. I’m selfish and entitled. I admit it. When this landed on my desk a couple weeks ago I listened three times in a row just to absorb the guitars and the arrangement that takes this Icelandic band in a fresh direction for their upcoming third album. I’m good with this. I’m really good with this.
Ingrid Michaelson – “Missing You”
It should come as no surprise that Ingrid’s upcoming album was inspired by her Stranger Things fandom. One look at that video still above says it all. Ingrid spoke at length with Billboard magazine about how she wanted to make an 80’s inspired album. “Missing You” is exactly what you would think of in that context. There’s a little less Ingrid and a little more production than I normally prefer but I get what she’s doing. And by the second listen I was totally ok with it.
Gary Clark Jr. – “What About Us”
Blistering licks, pointed lyrics, and a heavy blues vibe make this one of those songs you have to actively pay attention to. This is not background music. This is not comfortable either. And that’s kind of the point.
Boston Manor – “Halo”
This is the kind of solid new rock that powers many a gym playlist. Melodic, crunchy, and energetic. These guys are from Blackpool, England and if you are a fan of Bring Me The Horizon, you should dig these guys.
Bruce Springsteen – “Hello Sunshine”
Springsteen has said that this upcoming solo record, Western Stars, is a return to an acoustic sound he mined on Nebraska (editor’s note: YAY!!!!) But “Hello Sunshine” is much more Chet Atkins than “Atlantic City.” This is not a bad thing. At all. Pedal Steel guitar and piano, brushed drums and strings provide the lion’s share of the arrangement here all of which provides a lovely base for Bruce’s warm vocals. He has already promised another E-Street Band album for the future which makes this feel like something to savor.
Mannequin Pussy – “Drunk II”
I had a hard time finding out much about this Philly band. But that doesn’t really matter. This is one of those songs that hit you in the gut thanks to lead singer and guitarist Marisa Dabice’s impassioned vocals. She is sharing so much here. And delivered among the wonderful cacophony of distortion and guitar fuzz, it is something you can get lost in. This band has just landed on my “must see live” list.
Local Natives – “When Am I Gonna Lose You”
I for one am not going to complain about the influence Fleetwood Mac has had on more than a few indie-rock bands I’ve featured here of late. LA’s Local Natives have just released their fourth album and it features echoes of Laurel Canyon as well. Heavy on hooks and harmonies, the band has a reputation for terrific live shows.
Rival Sons – “Too Bad”
Straight forward blue-collar rock and roll. This is what I call nod your head and sip your beer rock which is what I would be doing if I saw them live.
Calexico & Iron and Wine – “Midnight Sun”
If ever two bands were made to collaborate, it would be these two. Sam Beam and the guys in Calexico follow up their previous ep (2004’s In The Reins) with a new album and a tour later this summer. Calexico’s wide open spaces and Beam’s well worn folk compliment each other in the best possible manner. “Midnight Sun” is a great example of the airy sonic treats coming our way. Absolutely lovely. This will no doubt be the soundtrack for at least one campfire experience this summer.
Mark Lanegan Band – “Stitch It Up”
If you’ve been checking out these playlists for any amount of time, you’ve come to realize that I am a Mark Lanegan fan boy. Wait, I guess I’m a Stan. I don’t really hide it. He remains one of my favorite rock vocalists. He is back with a new single from an upcoming album. It is everything I love about his songs: it is propulsive and edgy, it’s raw and gritty, and Lanegan’s vocals bring sex and danger to the mix. This is one glorious din indeed.
Future Teens – “Emotional Bachelor”
I know. I’m sharing a bunch of indie-rock this month. But this is another example of a song that brings the feels. Part of it is the duo-vocals from Amy Hoffman and Daniel Radin and the melancholy of the music. But part of it is the sense that you are being let in on a personal experience that maybe you can relate to. These Bostonians bring to mind some really great mid 90’s sounds and, well, nostalgia. Also, I may have played this four times in a row on first listen.
THE CLASSIC: Robert Palmer – “Johnny And Mary”
Robert had bigger hits (here, here and here) but this one always stuck with me. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that MTV played this a great deal when it came out. But I was always drawn to what is basically the story of a relationship dealing with ennui and angst served up in a digital soundscape.
Johnny’s always running around/Trying to find certainty
He needs all the world to confirm/That he ain’t lonely
Mary counts the walls/Knows he tires easily”
There’s a chance you may be familiar with this song via one of several covers that have come out since Palmer’s original. Another artist who died far too young.
For previous editions of The Playlist, see the growing archive here.
See the Spotify playlist here.