Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hypothetical mixtape: January 2014

Just like the Commonwealth Law Reports, we like to sneak in a playlist that is drawn from the same calendar year in which it is published, in order to pretend that we aren't actually as far behind as we, in fact, are. And will no doubt continue to be.

"Dave Allen at Large", by Alan Hawkshaw. You don't often think of TV theme tunes as actual songs. But they are. This one always makes me want to pour a glas of whiskey and light a fag. And I don't even like either of those things.

"A Walk in the Black Forest", by Klaus Wunderlich. Speaking of 1970s British television: "And now, a walk in the black forest." (Bonus: album cover of the month. Eat yr heart out Barry Morgan.)

"Pico", by Lowell Fulsom. Instrumental as anything.

"Keep on Dancing (feat. Marvin Gaye) (Makossa & Megablast Extended Disco Version)", by Parov Stelar. That's quite a title. Almost as long as the song itself. Which (the song) is more Chic than Chic, more "Random Access Memories" than "Random Access Memories". It even kicks into a Moroder thing three minutes in. How good is that?

"Bang a Gong (Get It On) (Radio Edit)", by Witch Queen. Does anybody know anything about this? It looks and feels like a product of the disco heyday, but it also somehow gives off a vibe of being too good to be true. What's that, Skip? There's a 10-minute version? Be still, my beating heart.

"Flow Coma (Remix by Afx)", by 808 State. Munted beats and fractured vocals. We find ourselves in the land of the Aphex Twin, who unexpectedly had a big year in 2014. But this is well before all of that. My guess is that Factory Floor may have once been well into this song.

"Fall From a Height -- The Field Way", by The Honeydrips. Swedish goodness, from 2007. The interesting thing is, listening to the song from this distance, how instantly recognisable it is as the work of The Field, even at that early stage in his career. Dude clearly knew what he was about.

"Silly Crimes", by The Tough Alliance. More Swedish goodness. More instantly recognisable sounds.

"The Brae", by Yumi Zouma. *Sigh*

"Too True to be Good", by Dum Dum Girls. The song title may be too clever by half, but the song itself has ringing guitars and a fine chorus, and the not-so-distant echoes of Siouxsie and the Banshees are a nice touch.

"I Miss Your Bones", by Hospitality. Whereas the title of this song is only disturbing if you stop and think about it. Insert your choice of overused post-punk adjectives here: spiky? Check. Angular? Okay. Oh we go meccanic dancing.

"Love", by Beck. This month's Beck song is a John Lennon cover, thrown together for a Valentine's Day concept album available only from a well-known global coffee emporium. The Hard Rock Cafe of lattes. The song is not so distant in tone from his "Morning Phase" album, which, in my book, is a good thing.

"Facing All the Same Tomorrows", by Vernon Wray. This is the kind of song you would expect Beck to cover. It is a real heartbreaker, from the brother of Link. (That there's a Link link. (Sorry.)) Stunning.

"Losing True", by The Roches. I never heard a Roches song that didn't stop me in my tracks. I think it's the sophisticated and/or complex minor-chord vocal harmonies. And is that Robert Fripp I hear? (Small Things for Small Minds Department: the Roches work on me the same way as Kate & Anna McGarrigle, whom Nick Cave used to striking effect on "No More Shall We Part". And Cave enlisted Fripp to do his thing on the Grinderman song "Heathen Child" (heard to best effect on its big (or at least longer) brother, "Super Heathen Child"). Nick Cave and me, y'know, it's like we're the same person. Or something.)

"Help Me Lose My Mind (Larry Heard Fingers Chillout Mix)", by Disclosure. I didn't quite get the whole Disclosure thing. Maybe I was asleep for the five minutes during which they were huge. This, though, is stunning. The vocal track has been removed from the (relatively) cluttered backdrop of the original, and given room to stretch out and breathe. It needed that.

"Covered in Writing", by Eluvium. This sounds like Pachelbel's "Canon" with all of the frilly bits stripped out. And that means it also sounds like the second side of Eno's "Discreet Music" but without the wonky out-of-phase timing (the idea behind which always struck me as better than the reality).