Monday, February 1, 2016

January Playlist: Just One Rose

Good news, everyone: monthly playlists are back for 2016! Here are 10 of the tracks that most tickled my tympanic membrane in January...

1. Animal Life - Shearwater
(from Animal Joy)
Shearwater are a band I've been meaning to investigate for ages, and January 2016 was the month in which I finally got around to it. Animal Joy was the album I purchased (thanks to @dickiesview on Twitter for the recommendation), and it's a very strong set of songs - Animal Life could well be one of my all-time favourite opening tracks, and I've only owned its parent album for about two weeks.

2. What Goes Around - The Anchoress
(from Confessions of a Romance Novelist)
'Revenge pop' is the tag that Catherine Anne Davies invented to describe her debut album, Confessions of a Romance Novelist. In a few years' time, when everyone is following The Anchoress's lead and filling the charts with 'revenge pop' music, What Goes Around will be the genre's ur-example.

3. Patricide - Single Mothers
(from Negative Qualities)
Every time I listen to Single Mothers, they sound a little more like an angry alternative universe version of The Hold Steady.

4. Make a Stand - Schizo Fun Addict
(from Kassette)
The raucous, Pixies-esque Make a Stand is just one of the many treats to be found in the madman's rattle-bag that is Kassette, Schizo Fun Addict's split charity release with The Bordellos. Read my full review of Kassette here.

5. Into Your Alien Arms - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
(from Hysterical)
I think a lot of people believe that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah haven't produced anything of note since their brilliant self-titled debut, but 2011's Hysterical is an underrated gem. This song is one of several highlights.

6. California Dreamer - Wolf Parade
(from At Mount Zoomer)
Wolf Parade recently announced that they'd be remobilising in 2016 with new tour dates and a new album. I celebrated this excellent news by compiling a list of my top 10 Wolf Parade tracks. California Dreamer came in at #4; click here to find out which tracks kept it out of my top 3.

7. Holly Hobby (Version) - Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
(from Etiquette)
Like Shearwater, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone are a band I wish I'd checked out long before January 2016. Never mind - Etiquette captivated me in spite of the fact that it's almost a decade old, and Holly Hobby (Version) is a stunning standout that's wonderfully, heart-squeezingly reminiscent of The Magnetic Fields' earliest albums.

8. A Stone - Okkervil River
(from Black Sheep Boy)
Black Sheep Boy has grown on me at a prodigious rate since I wrote up my rather lukewarm first impression at the tail end of December. and A Stone in particular sounds nothing like the ho-hum mid-album track I heard the first time around. Part of me hates this song for its tacit reinforcement of that stupid 'Why do girls only date jerks? I'm a nice guy!' mindset that we should all have outgrown by now, but a larger part of me can't get enough of those beautiful brass parts and the spectacular extended metaphor that brings the song to its shimmering climax.

9. If I Were You (I'd Be Through With Me) - The Divine Comedy
(from A Short Album About Love)
Well, Valentine's Day is coming up, I suppose. Although I maintain that this song - and possibly this entire album - is about a damn horse.

10. Pow Pow - LCD Soundsytem
(from This is Happening)
Back when This is Happening was LCD Soundsystem's final album, Pow Pow sounded like James Murphy's last-ditch, last-hurrah attempt to spit every thought in his head onto the world's most irresistible disco beat. And that was fantastic. Now that This is Happening ISN'T the final LCD Soundsystem album...well, Pow Pow still sounds pretty fantastic.

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