Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – Kids (Kapka remix) (2016)

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Netflix are currently engendering a renaissance in soundtrack writing. At the head of the queue are Survive’s analogue synthesisers. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, two members of Austin-based band, wrote the score for miniseries Stranger Things. Set in the 1980s of E.T.’s America, the show borrows from Spielberg and John Carpenter movies.

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Dusky – Cold Heart (2017)

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Dusky’s Nick Harriman and Alfie Granger-Howell do something that Londoners have been good at for some time. They make house music. Off an EP with the same name, ‘Cold Heart’ is unadulterated trance that borrows from the cavernous dance floors of the 1990s. The Hardrive-sounding sample is in fact Naked Music NYC’s ‘I’ll Take You to Love’ from 1996. The synthesised hi-hats, the simple bassline and the euphoria all sound eye-wateringly familiar.

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Dornik – God Knows (2017)

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Dornik is back, two years after the release of his well-received, self-titled debut. The evolution from Jessie Ware’s touring drummer to standalone R&B star has been so startling that his arty sound has been compared to that of Frank Ocean, Miguel and Raury. With ‘God Knows’, I am thinking more Croydon’s answer to Anderson .Paak. Long may it continue.

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Whitney – Golden Days (2016)

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Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich started their country-rock project Whitney as their former band Smith Westerns disintegrated in 2014. Like ‘No Woman’ posted here a year or so ago, the sound is a nostalgic one. The twangy guitar of a Pavement track; Ehrlich’s strikingly high-pitched vocals; the aching lyrics; and of course, those horns. Released as a single in 2016, the song features on their debut album Light Upon The Lake.

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The Doors – People Are Strange (1967)

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50 years ago, to the day, The Doors’ ‘People Are Strange’ hit the Billboard charts. The day before, the band had performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show, during a set they’d secured owing to the success and brilliance of ‘Light My Fire’. The track would kick off the flipside of their sophomore studio album Strange Days. Strange Days indeed. One assumes Jim was experiencing some form of drug-induced realisation or depression or both. Have a great week.

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The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again (1971)

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For me, the climactic finish to The Who’s classic album Who’s Next is all about Pete Townsend. Firstly, there’s his decision to use the synthesizer throughout, and then, his delivery of the most awesome power chords… sweeeet. Even Roger Daltrey could only scream. In 1971, these guys were on fire. Have a great weekend.

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Air – Playground Love (2000)

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A year or so after their hugely successful album Moon Safari, Air wrote the score for Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides. The opening track ‘Playground Love’ is the only one with vocals, which emanate from neither Jean-Benoît Dunckel nor Nicolas Godin (nor Beth Hirsch). They bring in Phoenix’s singer Thomas Mars to deliver the low key “I’m a highschool lover/And you’re my favorite flavour”.

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Daryl Hall & John Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (1981)

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Well, I will do Hall & Oates the justice of posting their 1981 single ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)’ and not giving into my tendency to reach for De La Soul’s sample ‘Say No Go’. Give these blue-eyed soul boys credit, where credit is due. Michael Jackson once confessed that the song heavily influenced his delivery of ‘Billie Jean’.

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Björk – Venus As A Boy (1993)

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‘Venus As A Boy’ was one of the last songs Björk recorded for her Debut album. It was 1993, and the song offered a touch of Kate Bush, when the latter wouldn’t. It wasn’t just the vocals, the experimental use of synthesisers, strings and sitahs were not out of place. Björk was her own woman, but I am sure she would forgive me the musical reference.

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The National – Day I Die (2017)

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Twenty years in, seven albums through and I think I might be really starting to like The National. It’s taken it’s time and I’ve not been expecting. The downbeat outlook remains everpresent, particularly in Matt Berninger’s vocals, but this year’s Sleep Well Beast sounds different. Berninger sings “Let’s just get high enough to see our problems” on ‘Day I Die’, but it’s in the wake of an U2-like guitar riff and Bryan Devendorf’s thumping guitars. I like. Have a great week.

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Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill (1977)

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Solsbury Hill is located near Bath, where Peter Gabriel would often stroll. It became the setting for his all-important first single as a solo artist after leaving Genesis. It was a big deal for him and the lyrics say it all: “My heart going boom boom boom/’Son’, he said ‘Grab your things, I’ve come to take you home’. The song is the second track on the first volume of Peter Gabriel’s eponymous body of work, later retitled Peter Gabriel 1 (Car). Despite his trepidation, it’s incredibly uplifting sound. Have a great weekend.

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Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Prayer (1968)

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In 1968, Aretha Franklin was at one of her early peaks. The Bacharach & David-penned song ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ was the second track on Aretha Now, the album pressed by Atlantic Records. Aretha came up with the arrangement,for a song that had been a hit for Dionne Warwick the year before. Bacharach later said that he liked Aretha’s version the best. As for the album, the first three songs were ‘Think’, ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ and ‘See Saw’. Not too shoddy, then.

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Four Tet – Planet (2017)

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Kieran Hebden is a bit of a national treasure nowadays. His electronic sounds with Four Tet inspire dinner parties and chill out rooms alike. ‘Planet’ is the B-side to his latest single release ‘SW9 9SL’ – otherwise known as the Brixton Academy. Feel the synths.

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Shack – Comedy (1999)

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Mick Head was inspired to start his own band during his formative years in Liverpool listening to the sounds of Echo & the Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes. Shack was his second group with his brother John and together they made music on the band’s third long player, HMS Fable. ‘Comedy’ is the type of carefully crafted single that Noel G would be proud of. Despite support of the critics, the band would not deliver the hit that their sparkling work warranted.

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St. Vincent – New York (2017)

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Good morning! The treat for today is singer-songwriter Annie Clark’s latest single. Over the last decade, Clark has acquired many admirers for her quirky and creative art-rock. The ballad ‘New York’ is from her forthcoming fifth album as St. Vincent. With the death of David Bowie, Clark has lost a hero and a friend, but found a rich vein of form. Have a great week.

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