The xx – I Dare You (2017)

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‘I Dare You’ finds The xx’s Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim exploring their feelings. Madley Croft was about to get engaged and Oliver Sim was thinking about his issues with alcohol. Unlike much of last year’s album I See You, the resulting song is positive in mood. Have a great week.

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Jubilee Street (2013)

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‘Jubilee Street’ was the second single from The Bad Seeds’ album Push the Sky Away. This slow burner has echoes of The Velvet Underground; a song about a prostitute named Bee who lived on Jubilee Street in Brighton. Before the Australian star left the city for L.A., following the death of his son, he had spent the best part of two decades down on the south coast. That’s enough time to see a lot of change. Have a great weekend.

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Forest Swords – War It (2017)

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As with Burial or Floating Points, Forest Swords is the electronic magic of just one producer. Matthew Barnes is from The Wirral and taps the evocative landscape and urban sprawl to infuse his music. ‘War It’ is the opening track of last year’s album Compassion.

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Big Star – Stroke it Noel (1975)

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In late 1974, Alex Chilton and band went into Stax’s studio and recorded the album 3rd. Already recognised for their self-conscious power pop, this album was much more experimental and final. The band was falling apart, but the album would become highly influential in the development of alternative rock. The delicate  ‘Stroke It Noel’ reminds me of Van Morrisoon, John Cale…. “Do you want to dance?”

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Can – Vitamin C (1972)

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“Hey you! You’re losing your Vitamin C”. Despite the quirky lyrics, Can’s 1972 song ‘Vitamin C’ is best known for its kick-ass bass line and the precise drumming of Jaki Liebezeit, co-founder of the krautrock pioneers. The track featured on their 1972 album Ege Bamyasi and has been a staple sample since the era of block parties.

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Stevie Wonder – All I Do (1980)

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I spent the weekend in the sun and it has had its effect. Over to you Stevie. ‘All I Do’ featured on his 1980 album Hotter Than July. Have a great week.

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Jean Carn – Don’t Let It Go To Your Head (1978)

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Jean Carn hit one of the heights of Philly soul with her single ‘Don’t Let It Go to Your Head’ and its Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff production. The song would be covered 12 years later by the The Brand New Heavies, quickly becoming a soul/acid jazz standard. Have a great weekend.

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Lil Louis ‎- French Kiss (1989)

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This record defined the dancefloor in 1989. The creation of Chicago house producer Marvin (Lil) Louis Burns, ‘French Kiss’ was raw, unrelenting and a little bit rude. The zeitgeist.

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Yasmine Hamdan – La Ba’den (2017)

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Last year, Beirut-born Yasmine Hamdan released her album Al Jamilat. The singer-songwriter and actress is now based in Paris, but first made her name as one half of electro-pop duo Soap Kills, a cult trip-hop group in Lebanon. Since then, she’s become a flag bearer for modern Arabic music. Al Jamilat is Arabic for The Beautiful Ones. Remarkably progressive to these western ears.

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Car Seat Headrest – Nervous Young Inhumans (2011)

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I have been keeping an ear open for Will Toledo ever since I first listened to the remarkable ‘Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales’ a couple of years back. I am pleased, yet disappointed, to see that he has just released a video and single edit of an old track. ‘Nervous Young Inhumans’ featured on his album Twin Fantasy, which he self-released in 2012. New material, Mr Barnes!

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Pavement – Stereo (1997)

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Good morning! Some dissonance to clear the weekend cobwebs. The single ‘Stereo’ featured on their Pavement’s fourth album Brighten The Corners. Stephen Malkmus yells, “listen to me, I’m on the stereo!” Has it really been over 20 years? Have a great week.

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Letta Mbulu – What’s Wrong With Groovin’ (1967)

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Letta Mbulu was born in Soweto, but left South Africa and Apartheid for the US in 1965. She quickly befriended fellow South African exile Hugh Masekela. In 1967, she recorded Masekela’s anthem ‘What’s Wrong With Groovin’’ on Random Records. Later that same year, producer David Axelrod fell under Letta’s spell, had her signed to Capitol Records and produced her debut album, Letta Mbulu Sings. Have a great weekend.

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Aphex Twin – Xtal (1992)

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Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92 was a standout collection of tracks from Richard D. James when it was released in 1992. Today, it still sounds incredibly fresh. With its dreamy synth line and great use of hi-hat, ‘Xtal’ kicks off the album perfectly. It is and was one of the great ambient house tracks ever pressed onto vinyl.
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Alt-J – Something Good (2012)

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In 2012, Alt-J was awash with critical praise. At first listen, one could draw comparisons to Radiohead, but there was something alt in the cosmic folk of ‘Something Good’. Singer Joe Newman evokes the bullring, and like a band of picadores, the group tease listeners with a number of entwined musical interludes. The song features on their award-winning album An Awesome Wave. 

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Klaxons – It’s Not Over Yet (2007)

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10 years ago, many were were enjoying the heady days of nu rave. Klaxons were at the centre of the scene, whether they wanted it or not; the genre had been coined by their record company to advertise their first gig and then adopted by everyone else who wanted to wear neon, all of a sudden. Aptly, they released a cover of Grace’s mid-1990s dance track ‘Not Over Yet’ as a single off their debut album, Myths of the Near Future. Electro pop, It’s Not Over Yet’.

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