People Under The Stairs feat. Murs – Pulp Fiction (2000)

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Here’s an oddball finish to the week. People Under The Stairs’ ‘Pulp Fiction’ is a hip hop adventure into the surreal. MURS, Double K, and Thes One find themselves stranded on a desert island where a pink gorilla steals their cigarettes. They come up with a plan to ambush it, but then find their friend and a boat which takes them to Boston Market. Yes, have a great weekend.

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Roy Davis Jr. feat. Peven Everett ‎- Gabrielle (1996)

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Despite the 2-Step influences on this track, Roy Davis Jr. shows his class with the soulful downtempo vibe that he wraps around Peven Everett’s vocals. And don’t get me started on that horn. Not sure which mix this YouTube version is, but it’s the one I like. He pressed ‘Gabrielle’ on Chicago’s Large Records while still part of house-music innovators Phuture.

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Chromatics – Shadow (2015)

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The intense post-punk disco of Chromatics has been celebrated this week through the feature of 2015’s ‘Shadow’ on the new two-hour reboot of Twin Peaks.  In fact, Johnny Jewel and group appear on performing the song in the show’s Bang Bang Club.

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The National – The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness (2017)

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This month, The National released a new song, ‘The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness’. Rejoice. While the dulcet tones of Matt Berninger are still there, there is a definite pop swagger that might be more expected from the likes of Spoon. I really like the shift and the Aaron Dessner’s guitar solo is an added bonus. The new album Sleep Well Beast is out in September.

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Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love (1969)

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This song needs no introduction. Have a great week.

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The Five Stairsteps – O-o-h Child (1970)

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At about the same time that The Jackson 5 were making waves, the first family of soul, The Five Stairsteps, released the song ‘O-o-h Child’.  The family were Betty and Clarence Burke Sr.’s five children: Alohe Jean, Clarence Jr., James, Dennis and Keni. Maybe it’s just me, but that earworm chorus, the drum rhythm and the singing siren (at roughly a minute in) make me wonder why this disc only sold a million copies. Have a great weekend.

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Parliament – Flash Light (1977)

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In 1977, the Parliament ‎entourage released a long player called Funkentelechy Vs. The Placebo Syndrome. Yes, that’s right. Written by George Clinton, Bernie Worrell and Bootsy Collins, the simply named ‘Flash Light’ closes the album on a momentous high; all channelled through Worrell’s killer synth-bassline and Clinton’s otherwordly vocals.

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The Police – Wrapped Around Your Finger (1983)

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‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ was the second single off The Police’s fifth, final and most successful album Synchronicity. Written by Sting, it was never going to be one of Andy Summers’s favourite tracks, but he still got to play around with his trademark effects, even when playing second fiddle.

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The Handsome Family – Far From Any Road (2003)

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Husband-and-wife duo Brett and Rennie Sparks explore some dark, wistful americana on their 2003 album Singing Bones. With its mandolin and trumpet, ‘Far From Any Road’ evokes dusty backcountry, far removed from The Handsome Family’s Chicago.

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Pavement – Spit On A Stranger (1999)

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Pavement’s last album had some serious back catalogue competition. The Nigel Godrich-produced Terror Twilight may not be their best, but it was really good and it featured ‘Spit On A Stranger’. Have a great week.

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The Impressions – Stay Close To Me (1968)

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Close to you, close to me… get it? The pressing of the LP This Is My Country looks and reads as if it should be a protest album by Chicago-based The Impressions. However, aside of the title track, the album was anything but. For example, the Curtis Mayfield-penned track ‘Stay Close To Me’ sounds more like upbeat Motown than gritty Chicago soul. In fact, The Five Stairsteps & Cubie version would become a Northern Soul dance floor staple. Both records were released in 1968 on Mayfield’s Curtom Records label. Have a great weekend.

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Haruomi Hosono – Close To You (2010)

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Like Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi (Harry) Hosono first gained global recognition as one third of the electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra. In 2010, postrock maverick Jim O’Rourke had the genius idea of producing All Kinds of People: Love Burt Bacharach, a tribute album to 60s lounge don Burt Bacharach. Yes, I kid you not. The LP features guest vocalists Kahimi Karie, Yoshimi, and several other venerable Japanese artists, including Hosono, who gets a helping drum hand from Wilco’s Glenn Kotche on the classic ‘Close To You’.

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The War On Drugs – Thinking Of A Place (2017)

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If you think nine minutes of Yo La Tengo is long… check this. It’s been a long three years since their 2014 LP Lost in the Dream, but Philly rockers The War on Drugs have decided to return with 11 minutes of ‘Thinking Of A Place’. The expansive and psychedelic sounds are the first from a new work due later this year. Will the fourth album cement Adam Granduciel as the modern-day Springsteen?

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Yo La Tengo – Blue Line Swinger (1995)

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Last week, Broadcast made me think of Yo La Tengo for the first time in a little while. The band hit its stride by the 1990s, releasing a sequence of classic indie-rock albums: 1993’s Painful, 1995’s Electr-O-Pura, and 1997’s I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. The latter’s superiority is hard to dispute, but Electr-O-Pura boasts the epic ‘Blue Line Swinger’. It grows from a fragile start to something full of musicianship and swagger: an organ, drum fills, the feedback and Georgia Hubley’s “Ba da ba ba-dop, ba da ba ba-dop, ba da ba ba-dop”. Glorious.

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LCD Soundsystem – Call The Police (2017)

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LCD Soundsystem have returned in the last week with ‘Call the Police’, a seven-minute ode to the sounds of David Bowie and U2. This is a welcome step off the dancefloor from my perspective. However, Mr James Murphy is evidently upset about something: “Well, there’s a full-blown rebellion but you’re easy to confuse/ By triggered kids and fakers and some questionable views,” he sings. The song is the lead single from the band’s upcoming new album – date and name TBC. Have a great week.

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