Weezer – Waiting On You (1996)

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Weezer’s Pinkerton was a slow burner. Much grittier than the polished power pop that Ric Ocasek had helped the band realise on their successful debut, their sophomore pressing was produced by Weezer themselves. The result was a more Pixies/Flaming Lips-like sound that would give the album longevity. Listen to ‘Waiting On You’ and enjoy. Have a great week.

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9 of the best – sounds of 1998

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 1998 in no particular order:

Belle and Sebastian – The Boy With the Arab Strap

Boards Of Canada – Roygbiv

Money Mark – Tomorrow Will Be Like Today

Neutral Milk Hotel – Holland, 1945

Mercury Rev – Holes

Beastie Boys – Intergalactic

Lauryn Hill – Doo-Wop

Refused – New Noise

Silver Jews – People

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Honourable mentions also go to: Air for ‘La Femme D’Argent‘; Elliott Smith for ‘Waltz#2‘; Eels for ‘Last Stop: This Town‘; People Under The Stairs for ‘San Francisco Nights‘: The Beta Band for ‘Dry The Rain‘; and Massive Attack for ‘Teardrop‘.

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Action Bronson – The Chairman’s Intent (2017)

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Ariyan Arslani, aka Action Bronson, is a rapper from Queens, New York. He’s of Albanian descent and unusual stature. Zany, amusing and King Fu… ‘The Chairman’s Intent’ is just splendid sir. “I started clapping when the chef brought the duck to the table/That shit was shining like an angel/I never trust a dude named Angel.” Have a great weekend.
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Rhythm On The Loose ‎- Break of Dawn (1991)

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Geoff Hibbert had been producing dance music since 1988 under various guises. In 1991, he released this house banger as Rhythm On The Loose. I am tempted to label ‘Break Of Dawn’ as progressive house, but really this was a slice of breakbeat techno that was so prevalent in 1991. What made this track so ubiquitous on dance floors was Hibbert’s sampling of classic Salsoul. The Shep Pettibone mix of First Choice’s ‘Let No Man Put Asunder’ is cleverly blended.

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Khruangbin – White Gloves (2015)

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Khruangbin is the Thai word for airplane and its use by the band serves as a tribute to the Thai rock/funk that inspires them. Laura Lee (bass), Mark Speer (guitar) and Donald “DJ” Johnson (drums) are all from Texas (I kid you not), but evidently well travelled. “She was a queen. She had a house. She was a fighter. She was a queen. Had a good dude. Bought me a rabbit… She was a queen. One day she was gone. She died in a fight. ‘Cause she was a fighter. She was a queen. She was a queen.” The murmuring sounds of ‘White Gloves’ feature on their only studio album to date, The Universe Smiles Upon You.

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Big Thief – Masterpiece (2016)

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And now to a different strand of the mythical folk rock genre. Brooklyn’s Big Thief balances the singer-songwriter’s storytelling with indie rock. Their debut album’s title track ‘Masterpiece’ sums it up. Adrianne Lenker sings: “There’s only so much letting go you can ask someone to do.”

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Father John Misty – Total Entertainment Forever (2017)

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I saw Josh Tillman last week at one of his sold-out nights at Hammersmith Apollo. In some ways, his recordings don’t really do his voice justice. ‘Total Entertainment Forever’ is the the fourth single off the Father John Misty album Pure Comedy. The breezy Beatles-like sound and eccentric video both live up to one of the all-time opening, rhyming couplets: “Bedding Taylor Swift/Every night inside the Oculus Rift”. Have a great week.

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Raphael Saadiq – Good Man (2011)

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“I’m a good man, food’s on the table, working two jobs/Ready willing and able check your name.” The vocals of Taura Stinson kick off this soulful track before the lonesome Raphael Saadiq questions his woman’s betrayal. His sound is reminiscent of Isaac Hayes. Have a great weekend.

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Honey Dijon – 808 State Of Mind (2017)

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Unlike me, Honey Dijon was a witness to the birth of Chicago house. (Location rather than age.) And so, ‘808 State of Mind’ is a nostalgic journey into early house music. ‘Pacific State’ is the obvious musical reference, but this tribute travels through the ballrooms of New York to the beaches of Ibiza via the warehouses of Chicago.

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Phum Viphurit – Long Gone (2017)

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Phum Viphurit is Thai-born, Kiwi-raised and is now living in Bangkok as a solo artist with an acoustic guitar. The combination is infectious…part MacDeMarco, part Haircut 100. He released ‘Long Gone’ as a single back in the summer.

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – French Press (2017) 

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One of Melbourne current standout bands, Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever grabbed enough people’s attention this year on the strength of their first single ‘French Press’. The band was formed by singer-guitarists Fran Keaney, Tom Russo and Joe White, and all three of their instruments are at the fore on this somewhat downcast surf rock jam.

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Foals – Spanish Sahara (2010)

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The Foals’ sophomore album Total Life Forever, and more specifically the song ‘Spanish Sahara’, was when the band metamorphosed from hyped math rock into a bonafide stadium act. When composing the song, lead singer Yannis Philippakis had tapped some emotional memories of encountering a dead dog in the surf when he was a child. It worked. Have a great week.

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Kamasi Washington – Truth (2017)

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This song is almost 14 minutes long, but who’s counting.’Truth’ is everywhere. This uplifting piece of art features on Kamasi Washington’s sophomore solo recording Harmony Of Difference. He makes jazz cool again. Have a great weekend.

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John Joseph Brill – I’m Not Alright (2017)

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Keeping to the contemporary theme this week… there is more than a slight resemblance of Matt Berninger’s baritone and his dystopian outlook in today’s sound. But this is not The National; instead I present Londoner John Joseph Brill’s recent single ‘I’m Not Alright’.

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Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Over Everything (2017)

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Full of humour and good chemistry, this year’s standout release from Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile was ‘Over Everything’. As the first single from the duo’s album, Lotta Sea Lice, the song is an effortlessly blissful introduction into their own brand of space folk.

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