Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Hey Hey, My My (Out of the Blue) (1979)

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Neil Young wrote ‘My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)’ with its rocking counterpart ‘Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)’ as bookends for his 1979 album Rust Never Sleeps. As the second part of the famous line goes: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” Young had tapped into his encounters with Devo and an appreciation of the punk ethic to reach a new audience.

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Badly Drawn Boy – Once Around The Block (1999)

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Badly Drawn Boy’s album The Hour of Bewilderbeast seemingly came out of nowhere in 2000. Critics told us that he took his cues from from Harry Nilsson and Beck. Listeners simply found themselves lost in the observational baroque pop of Damon Gough. ‘Once Around The Block’ was released a year earlier as the first single off the album.

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Gorillaz – Sleeping Powder (2017)

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Gorillaz are back in 2017, cutting their edge between music and technology. ‘Sleeping Powder’ is the first new song to be released since their ‘Humanz’ album dropped in April. Damon Albarn is gone with the self of the day, gone. Have a great week.

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William DeVaughn ‎- Be Thankful For What You Got (1974)

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Massive Attack gave a second life to this song in 1991 when they covered it for their seminal album Blue Lines. ‘Be Thankful For What You Got’ was a originally released by D.C.-born soul singer William Edward DeVaughn Jr. It cuts a beautifully fine line between jazz funk and soul. Have a great weekend.

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Mazzy Star – Look On Down From The Bridge (1996)

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Making up for the lost morning this week, we have a double-header. It’s always a good time for Mazzy Star. The band formed in Santa Monica in 1989 from the group Opal, a collaboration between guitarist David Roback and his then-girlfriend, ex-Dream Syndicate bassist Kendra Smith. Relationships being what they are, Smith left early in the band’s life and Hope Sandoval swiftly became the lead vocalist. In 1996 the band released its third album Among My Swan, for which David Roback wrote all the music apart from the mysterious ‘Look on Down from the Bridge’. That sound was pure Sandoval; it is the closing track on the album.

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David Bowie – Be My Wife (1977)

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As David Bowie got more experimental, his singles became less successful, but no less influential. 40 years ago (19 June 1977) this month, ‘Be My Wife’ was the 2nd and final single release from the ground-breaking album Low, the first of the so-called Berlin Trilogy. It failed to chart but was frequently played during his live sets due to his predilection for the sound. The ragtime intro still stands out.

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Paolo Nutini – Candy (2009)

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Singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini’s sophomore effort, Sunny Side Up, is a relatively easy listening affair. However, within it are some standout moments.  The single ‘Candy’ is full of the type of blue-eyed soul rock that fans of Van Morrison and John Martyn will appreciate. “I’m a heartless man at worst, babe/And a helpless one at best.”

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Bob Marley & The Wailers – Don’t Rock My Boat (1971)

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Rather later than normal, I bring you Bob Marley & The Wailers. The sounds helps soothe the sickness that’s pestered me for the last couple of days. “I Like It Like, I Like It Like.” ‘Don’t Rock My Boat’ was originally released in 1968 in a rocksteady style. By 1971, the group had hooked up with Lee Perry and resurrected the track with a stripped back sound and Marley’s new-found soul. This version of the track first appeared on their Soul Revolution album.

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Andrew Bird – Oh No (2009)

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‘Oh No’ is the opening track off Andrew Bird’s 2009 album Noble Beast. A classically trained violinist and a pervasive whistler, he successfully combines the two talents into a pop song that The Shins would be proud of. Have a great week.

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Shades Of Rhythm – Sound Of Eden (1991)

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Summer hit this week and it’s never too much of a heat-dream for me to think of open air nights in the Med. So step aside for an early 1990s piano house banger. Peterborough dance legends Shades Of Rhythm released ‘Sound Of Eden’ in 1991. They were on a roll; their previous single was the classic ‘Sweet Sensation’. Tuuuuuuunnnnes. “Here’s another chance for you to dance with me.” Have a great weekend.

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Melody Gardot – My One and Only Thrill (2009)

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The haunting sound of Melody Gardot. For her second studio album, Gardot mined a dark piano jazz style, and no more so than on the title track. Critics’ references to a blue-eyed Nina Simone are very complimentary, but not that unfathomable. My One and Only Thrill was released on the Verve label in 2009.

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Evan Dando – Whoops (2003)

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Evan Dando returned to music in 2003 after a long, long lost weekend. The former Lemonheads frontman released the lo-fi Baby I’m Bored, which featured the track ‘It Looks Like You’. Released as a single, its B-side was the jaunty ‘Whoops’. “We all fall short, but it’s a long way down.” The man had seen the dark side; perhaps that’s why the song was incomprehensibly consigned to a flip-side.

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Ryan Adams – AMY (2000)

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Inspired by Ryan Adams’ break-up with industry publicist Amy Lombardi, ‘AMY’ is the self-evidently one of the emotional outpourings that underpin his debut solo album ‘Heartbreaker. Released in September 5, the entire album was was told over fourteen days in a studio in Nashville. Pitchfork have called it “a drinker’s album” and “an ode to sadness”. No regrets Ryan, no regrets.

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Arcade Fire – Creature Comfort (2017)

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With ‘Everything Now’ at the beginning of the month, and last week’s release of ‘Creature Comfort’, early signs are very good for Arcade Fire’s new project. The influence of collaborators Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Portishead’s Geoff Barrow are strong. The result is a synthesised intro that M83 or Chromatics would be proud of; and then the fatalistic chants… arenas get ready. Have a great week.

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Daft Punk – Veridis Quo (2001)

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The gorgeous ‘Veridis Quo’ is a electronic ode of sorts to what sounds like a Handel organ concerto. The hypnotic sound features on their 2001 album Discovery. Have a great weekend.

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