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.
I am bowled over by this. From the very beginning, it scrambled my brain. I was hearing distinct elements of New Order records circa 1987 and early Bloc Party songs and my brain was woozy for a minute. And then I laughed out loud and turned it up. This is a man from Cleveland that I expect big things from. Exhilarating.
This is where Green Day reminds the world about Joan Jett’s status as a rock icon and in doing so gives people a chance to smile for a couple minutes and change. This is a good thing.
There is an instant familiarity here: pure girl group retro-pop updated for the 21st century. Meg Remy previews her 7th album under the moniker U.S. Girls with an effervescent slice of grade A American ear worm. “You can do a lot with four American Dollars” indeed. Multi-layered vocals, a guitar line that grooves throughout, it is refreshing from start to finish.
Since Jason Isbell departed the Drive-By Truckers, he has made some big changes in his life. He has also become pretty prolific. In addition to producing albums for other artists, he has released 10 albums in the last 13 years with a new one right around the corner called Reunions which is his fourth with the 400 Unit. “Be Afraid” is pretty much classic Isbell with driving guitars, a dense arrangement of stringed instruments and a big chorus. The song reverberates throughout with excellent production.
One of the bands that I’m excited to hear more from. A definite new take on old school art rock from bands like The Fall or Gang Of Four: refreshingly weird enough to get your attention before unleashing super hooky choruses and absolutely owning you. More please.
Resurrected after 16 years, and moving on without his Guru who has passed, Gang Starr’s DJ Premier has teamed up with Methodman and Redman on this remix of “Bad Name.” This is some old-school magic here. And yes, there is a Harambe shout out. So, a little new mixed with the classic.
Super-catchy indie pop from this four-piece band of señoritas from Madrid, Spain. Fresh, fun, and hard to ignore. Sounds like Spring to me.
Because sometimes the Talking Heads show up when least expected. And because when you’re Pearl Jam, you get to do whatever you want. Both of these things are true. And for that I’m smiling. Our first taste of the band’s upcoming Gigaton album slashes and pounces it’s way into your brain and just might make you move in unexpected fashion. This is a good thing.
Smooth and sleek, Disclosure and Khalid deliver something that is trance-worthy. It is all about the rhythm here, a bounce that carries through and provides the perfect foundation to Khalid’s croon. Positive vibrations abound.
The energy and urgency here come flooding from the start and don’t give up. Absolutely perfect power-pop rock that infects all of your happy parts. Infectious as shit. Their live shows are a blast.
This is impressive. Over the last few years we’ve heard some elements of dance music in some of Noel Gallagher’s work. Perhaps Noel’s wife loves to dance and he in turn loves to make music for her? Or, he’s just doing his thing. And that’s worth applauding. “Blue Moon Rising” is a deeper dive into electronica and it is a completely fresh take on it. The Kate Bush samples are really cool and I appreciate that he is not afraid to explore new sounds.
Ah yeah! A new project from The Gorillaz, Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s musical collective which is manifested in a have always been inclusive, on this track they feature current UK rap star slowthai and Slaves. Having said that, “Momentary Bliss” is inherently British.
This is a nice surprise. The Psychedelic Furs have been touring for the last twenty years, give or take. They have a rich catalog of alternative rock dating back to MTV’s early days. But this is the first new music we have had from the band in 29 years. To these ears, it sounds every bit like it could have come from their first album. Singer Richard Butler’s voice is in prime condition, raspy and on point. This bodes well for the upcoming album.
“Mercury in Retrograde” is one of my favorite tracks from Sturgill Simpson’s fantastic 2019 album. A percolating rhythm powers Simpson’s vocals which tell the story of life on the road and those who populate it. It’s not a pretty sight but Simpson makes it sound bittersweet and provides a chorus for the ages.
The video is charming. The song is lovely. I can’t tell you that it sounds like a meditation on something uplifting, but I didn’t check the translated lyrics and also, it doesn’t matter. The feeling is there. It towers above Pimienta’s own soaring vocals, the crisp percussion, the traditional jazz tones of the clarinet and horns, and the backing vocals. There is a lot to like here. Rolling Stone magazine has more to say about the people featured in the video and Pimienta’s history.
Ed O’Brien is best known for being the guitarist for Radiohead. In EOB, O’Brien steps out on his own with an album called EARTH arriving in April. O’Brien introduced the project with a fascinating track called “Brasil” which stretched out over the course of nine minutes. “Shangri-la” is more immediate. And it does its best to grab your attention. There are all sorts of attention grabbing production elements here, from the beats that define the track, to the layered vocals and fuzzed-out guitars.
If you are a fan of early Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown or Wilco or Springsteen, these guys are going to make you smile.
Mongolian band of the moment teams up with Papa Roach’s vocalist for an updated version of their song “Wolf Totem.” The HU have introduced the world to traditional Mongolian instrumentation which incorporates regional “throat singing” into a unique and exciting version of hard rock.
As I was putting this all together, I started realizing the huge impact his music had on me as kid. His songs were all over radio and they all seeped into my grey matter. Even the most simple Stevens songs have a singular beauty to them. But, when you get to songs like “Another Saturday Night” and “Angelsea,” the arrangements blossom out, with Moog synthesizers, layered backing vocals and the occasional prog element like what we have here. It’s a heady mix.
For previous editions of The Playlist, see the growing archive here.
See the Spotify playlist here.