Yes, I know; I love Spotify and will gladly proclaim it from the branches. I disregard your disdain at it’s sampling rate and low quality streaming. I see off your debates at how it ‘doesn’t pay’ and quibbles over it’s treatment of artists. I simply close my ears on you and open them on this gigantic library for one simple reason; it helps you discover music better than anything. Not just the hottest indie band or some ‘critically-lauded’ progressive metal group, all music. New, old, good, bad. All of it put together in a sea of sound that you can float through as the need arises. I just really like it, ok? It’s good to like things, especially if they then go and make it better. Spotify’s new Discover Weekly playlist is updated every week with 30 tracks that Spotify (using algorithms on your listening habits I suppose) thinks you’d like. 2 weeks in and we’re on to a winner. At least my Spotify is (though I’ve heard reports that others are experiencing equally awesome selections). So in celebration of this surprisingly brilliant and effective little tweak I hereby present for your listening pleasure the 7 best finds I’ve “discovered” so far.
1: Will Butler – Anna
Get me not wrong, I like The Arcade Fire. They’re interesting and different and, though a little pretension inflected, make a brilliant racket when the need be. But I’d always ignored the other Butler brother, the one who just filled out the sound as it was needed. Not now, this infectious minimalist dance piece oozes cynicism wrapped in sincere funky joy. I went from one song to streaming the album. I went from streaming the album to buying it. That can’t be a bad thing.
I wear with pride my penchant for Twisted Pop. That Pop with one foot in the bland pleasure of charts and the other in the murky puddle of the alternative. This track has that soulful vocal and beat that keeps you satiated while everything else tells you to back away, slowly. Mmm.
3. GoGo Penguin – Garden Dog Barbecue
I saw that name towards the middle of this weeks selections and I knew it would be good. You can’t get away with a name like that if you aren’t good. You’d be hounded out of the first town you played in with pitch and fire in you hair. This is good. This is dance-jazz with all of the open fifths and minimal melodies associated with the electronic genres played on piano and double bass. Top
It was probably all that Sleater-Kinney but I honestly hope that somewhere out there people honestly predicted that what I really needed on a dank Thursday afternoon was aggressive Welsh fuzz-pop. I did. I was happy. I want to thrash a guitar now please.
5. Thundercat – Heartbreaks + Setbacks
I play bass. In the traditional Rock setup I’m always at the side hoping to keep the pulse going. I like bass players who stretch out of their comfort zone. I like Thundercat, erstwhile session bassist of choice for the likes of Flying Lotus. I like him a lot. This song is groove and talent all mixed in a short blessing of soul. I initially thought the bass outro was being played on a Clavnet. Shame on me.
Fear the man who claims any minimalist composer (be it Glass, Reich or Riley etc.) as an influence. They often just like the pleasing effects or laziness of songwriting that the form provides, disregarding the deep philosophy of the form at it’s core. To be honest, I really don’t care if Sellers knows about Moksha or the mathematics behind Minimalism’s simplicity; listening to the surface complexity and implied groove of Spectrolite does a damn fine job of at least trying. The end result is balm for the hips. Snaky and feline. That glance across the room as sweat hangs as mist.
7: Tony Allen – Moving On
One of the pioneers of Afrobeat sounding as vibrant and interesting as he did sitting behind Fela Kuti. Simple musical mobiles repeating and morphing as the drums micro-solo a skittering beat. The type of song that you just want to keep going forever as you slowly offer up yourself to it’s rhythms.
All in all I think that was quite a good haul. I await next week with trepidation.