Tag Archives: Playlist

November Playlist: Music Reviews

Jonathan O’Shea continues his pursuit of musical perfection with November’s instalment of his ever expanding playlist – this one features Weezer, but there isn’t an inhaler in sight…

Don’t Breathe Out – Roots Manuva

A soul-stirring sample of portly baritone Barry White’s ‘Honey Please, Can’t Ya See’ forms the unlikely bedrock of this gloriously gospel-tinged track. The orchestral intro to the Walrus of Love’s slightly sickly love letter morphs into something altogether more mystical and compelling under the spell of Stockwell’s philosophical wordsmith, Roots Manuva.

The king of – as he says in the song’s opening throes – ‘twist and adapt’, Roots uses his undimmed gift for vivid imagery to full effect. From his self-proclaimed ‘pulpit’ he delivers a flowing sermon about holding onto a ‘golden breath’ and uplifting invocations of the ‘new black Jesus’. It’s a return to familiar (but fertile) ground for an artist more concerned with espousing his idiosyncratic version of spirituality than figuring out his current place in the UK hip-hop firmament. But Rodney Smith’s trademark humour isn’t entirely absent: with talk of ‘hide the salami’ and ‘flopping it out’ prompting an adolescent grin.

One of his most lyrically potent moments of recent years, ‘Don’t Breathe Out’ is the third single release from Roots Manuva’s sixth studio album, Bleeds, which saw the light of day just last week.

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Thank God for Girls – Weezer

Already this new Weezer track has been interpreted by some imaginative souls as a ‘feminist anthem’, which might be pushing it a bit seeing as the major female role in Rivers Cuomo’s latest verbose rock anthem is a cannoli-maker. Instead, it’s less Taylor Swift girl-power-pop, more middle-aged rock-band paean to women from a particularly male perspective.

God grinding up and microwaving Adam’s rib ‘on the popcorn setting’ is just one of many offbeat images from a song packed with reasons to bow before the fairer sex, while the middle verse focuses on the desperate protagonist’s longing for a deliciously distant femme from an underwear catalogue.

Some of the indie veterans’ more recent output has been bordering on the execrable, so the zippy, infectious ‘Thank God For Girls’ indicates a promising return to form, coming in the slipstream of last year’s ‘Everything Will Be Alright In The End’ LP. The single’s cover art, featuring Pope Francis sharing convivialities with adoring female fans, is an instant classic-in-the-making too.

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Persephone Dreams – NCZA Lines 

Undeniable under (and over) tones of south coast synth-stars Metronomy should come as no surprise on ‘Persephone Dreams’, given that NCZA Lines provided the support on their UK tour last year. Singer and lyricist Michael Lovett is also a self-declared fan of R&B royalty Aaliyah, Ciara and Bajan bottom-barer, Rihanna; though those influences are felt very distantly here.

His electro-pop stylings first caused a stir when an eponymous debut album arrived in 2012, full of silky falsettos and sophisticated sci-fi imagery. Since then, one-time indie band bassist Lovett has been joined by ex-Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley and Hot Chip collaborator Sarah Jones. Their influence has evidently brought about some subtle changes which can be heard on this new single. Intriguingly, the slinky six-minute semi-epic breaks into a sort of steel drums vs synths battle half way through, but carries such implausible sonic adventures off in rare style.

NCZA Lines will be on the bill at the Moshi Moshi label’s new By The Sea festival at Dreamland theme park in Margate, on Nov 13th. An eagerly awaited new album, ‘Infinite Summer’, follows on January 22.

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Also recommended this month


Breaker
– Deerhunter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCVWrqxyt3Y

In My Eyes – Best Coast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhGwARswL_o

Machine – Euros Childs http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/records/n3cjm9

Like what you’ve heard? Infuriated by it? Just want to troll? Leave a comment below! Follow Jonathan O’Shea on Twitter by clicking here.

Written by Jonathan O'Shea

A keen student of sport, music and life. Can generally be found educating small people, bitterly damning Aston Villa's latest attempts at football, or writing nonsense about ephemera.

October Playlist: Music Reviews

Music; it’s not all One Direction and Fine Young Cannibals. Jonathan O’Shea shares his singles of the month, and there isn’t a Zayn Malik themed barbershop quartet in sight.

Window Shades – U.S. Girls

Skilfully structured around an irresistible deep disco beat ‘magpied’ (i.e. ‘nicked’) from Gloria Ann Taylor’s cult classic ‘Love is a Hurting Thing’, ‘Window Shades’ begins with a intriguingly haunting piano refrain and builds to a heart-rending tale of love lost. Accompanied by another bewitching (and self-directed) video, following the similarly mystical ‘Woman’s Work’ promo, this genre-defying single release confirms U.S. Girls as considerable new creative force.

Somehow this track seems just a smidgen under-cooked though; slightly running out of steam mid-way through. Still, it’s another stimulating taste of the idiosyncratic delicacies to expect from Toronto-based Meg Remy’s debut album ‘Half Free’, recently released on 4AD Records.

 

Kuma KitaDeerhoof

Deerhoof

Confuse and astound your neighbours as you jangle your flesh to the frantic, demi-demented electro-wibblings of the loveably strange Deerhoof. A malfunctioning futuristic story-bot tells a twisted tale of an encounter with a brown bear amid intermittently pulsing beats. It’s massively infectious, unreasonably joyous and can be found on the Post Tangent compilation, released in aid of Syrian refugees stranded in Calais.

Not convinced? OK, the lyrics:

Once upon a time/Kumanakumanakuma/Am I safe here?/Is that is that a bear?/Let’s play dead. Play dead!/That is that is a bear. Big and brown head!/Saying Gao Gao/Showing teeth and menacing bang bang bang/Cruel nature, eat or eaten/Everyone waltz.

Resist that.

Fever Elvis Presley & Michael Buble/
Bad Blood – Ryan Adams

Ever dug up your beloved pet rabbit – let’s call him Snowy – and sinisterly waggled his mangy, mangled remains around in the pretence that the once-lovely bundle of fluffy fun is still alive? No, neither have I. But Michael Buble has. Well, effectively.

This pseudo ‘duet’ between the super-syrupy auto-tuned crooner (AKA Micky Bubbles) and the greatest hip-swinger in rock history makes a sick mockery of the King’s considerable legacy. Presumably prompted more by desperation and greed than any desire to produce something enduringly special, this is the latest of innumerable covers of Little Willie John’s 1962 standard. In fact, Elvis obviously once recorded it himself – y’know, when he was alive and all – so why not just leave it at that?

Similarly, what can alt-crooner Ryan Adams’ motivation really be for recording – and actually releasing – an entire Taylor Swift album (‘1989’), so soon after it was initially a hit for the new queen of pop? Sure, he’s made a pleasant enough job of the universally adored Tay-Tay’s ‘Bad Blood’, but what’s the point? And she’s not even dead (yet)!

Coming soon: Harry Styles jives with the decomposing corpse of Ginger Rogers, while Miley Cyrus twerks malevolently in Marlon Brando’s rotting face…in the exclusive video for Bing Crosby and Peter Andre’s new festive EP, ‘Bing & Pete’s I’m Dreaming of an Insania Christmas’.

 

Also recommended this month

 

Paydirt – Horse Party

Singularity – New Order

A Change – Participant 

Let us know your tracks of the month and win a free iPod! Golf bag! Date with a pop-star! Old phone with nude photos of ex-gf that I can’t find a charger for! Sainsbury’s carrier bag worth 5p!

Written by Jonathan O'Shea

A keen student of sport, music and life. Can generally be found educating small people, bitterly damning Aston Villa's latest attempts at football, or writing nonsense about ephemera.

September Playlist: Music Reviews

Jonathan O’Shea serves up his monthly musical musings for Kureen readers to consume in the September playlist – make sure to let us know your opinions in the comment section below!

Sapokanikan – Joanna Newsom

Airfix-light, playfully plinking piano opens a wrought tale about the colonisation of a Native American settlement that preceded Manhattan. The accompanying video, evocatively directed by Hollywood hot-property Paul Thomas Anderson (‘There Will Be Blood’, ‘Boogie Nights’, ‘Magnolia’) follows Newsom as she strides purposefully across New York, a little like the rootless wanderer played by Greta Gerwig in ‘Frances Ha’; her long skirt billowing along to the parping brass flourishes.

Always charismatic and idiosyncratic in equal measure, the Californian harpist here showcases her imaginative take on events that have shaped NY’s Greenwich Village across the years. A distinctly (inevitable comparison alert!) Kate Bush-esque manic crescendo brings this typically unorthodox, but vivid ballad to its conclusion. Though it follows a familiar formula, the bouncy lightness and engaging lyricism of ‘Sapokanikan’ whets the appetite for Newsom’s upcoming new material.

‘Divers’– a double album – is her much-anticipated fourth LP, which follows in the autumn.

 

One Thing – Roots Manuva

As befitting a man named Rodney, Roots Manuva is unafraid to use prosaic and everyday imagery to illustrate his complex, thought-provoking rhymes.  Following his past declaration of affection for cheese on toast (‘Witness’); scrambled eggs and Walkers crisps are name-checked in this potent latest track.

Money is the ‘one thing’ on Roots’ mind here. A veteran of social commentary from his South London stronghold, he pointedly comments on the obscenity of the social welfare situation while paradoxically dreaming the consumer dream (of Lamborghinis and snakeskin bikinis). Dark, hypnotic production by Switch lends a sense of urgency to the message from the genre-defying instigator.

Fresh from the festival scene and supporting Blur at Hyde Park this summer, a re-energised Roots Manuva releases new album ‘Bleeds’ in October.

 

Snakeskin Deerhunter

Self-styled U.S. indie darling, Bradford Cox, has recently been dabbling in acting (‘Dallas Buyers Club’) and his ongoing solo project, Atlas Sound. But his most revered work comes as part of the fluid 4/5-piece band, Deerhunter. They return with new album ‘Fading Frontier’, concocted in the group’s hometown of Atlanta this year.

“I was born already nailed to the cross” is a killer opening line, if one which is hardly indicative of a sprightly clap-along tune such as this. The sinuously-delivered lyrics to ‘Snakeskin’ appear to be autobiographical – perhaps referencing the lead singer’s unusual adolescence (illness and isolation) and/or his recent unfortunate collision with a car. Funky, melodic and highly accessible; this track offers a good entry-point into Cox’s weird and wonderful world for those who are yet to experience its munificent pleasures.

Deerhunter will return to these shores in October/November; with gigs in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Brighton and London.

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Also recommended this month

 

Gratitude – Talib Kweli.
Hip-hop mastery; inciting us to ‘Fuck The Money’ (but not literally, that’d end messily).

Bodies – Farao.
Soaring and strident stuff from the “Scandi indie-folk goddess”.

Woman’s Work – U.S. Girls.
Like a demented Santigold. Sample YouTube comment: “This is some next level shit!”

Written by Jonathan O'Shea

A keen student of sport, music and life. Can generally be found educating small people, bitterly damning Aston Villa's latest attempts at football, or writing nonsense about ephemera.