The Playlist: April 26th, 2013

Daft Punk

The Playlist is a weekly column where staff writers and occasional guest musicians will have the opportunity to put together a Spotify playlist of songs which they’ve been listening to recently.


01. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky” (feat. Pharrell)

Daft Punk are back with their first single in three years, and they’ve brought Pharell and Nile Rodgers along for the ride. Using no samples and nothing more technical than the vocoder on the bridge, “Get Lucky” is an infectious disco-funk anthem and will certainly be taking over our Summer playlists. SOTY anyone? Just listen below. ~Evan Kaloudis


02. Fred Neil – “The Dolphins”

With an expansive soundtrack spread out munificently over its six seasons, The Sopranos was a gold mine for music, new and old. I binged on this show a few months back, and Fred Neil was probably my favourite discovery. “The Dolphins” plays over a mobster tripping on heroin on the outskirts of a carnival. While the serene sadness of the visuals and the audio sound like they were made for each other (see here), the song is just as beautiful on its own. ~Brendan Frank

03. Vhol – “The Wall”

Metal super group Vhol (whose members are all metal veterans of related bands) recently released their debut album on Profound Lore Records, and it is loud, mesmerizing, and appropriately bone rattling. On lead track “The Wall,” you can practically hear the band tearing apart the studio through sheer force of will—the mammoth guitar riffs and jackhammer percussion don’t hurt either. The entire album maintains this level of dynamic interplay and labyrinthine tonality, and it will absolutely shake the skin from your bones. ~Joshua Pickard

04. Charli XCX – “You (Ha Ha Ha)”

Charli XCX (aka Charlotte Aitchison) makes hip-shattering, electronic bubblegum-pop. And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Her songs, despite their superficial pop gaudiness, hide subtle variations on the pop templates that radio riders have been using for years. She subverts pop expectations while sounding as though she could chew through the latest pop starlet without thinking twice about it. “You (Ha Ha Ha)” encapsulates all the best aspects of her seditious pop stylings. Once you hear it, it’s difficult to think about anything else. Listen but listen with caution. Go ahead, press play…I dare you. ~Joshua Pickard

05. War – “Brodermordet”

While the Copenhagen duo is now a quartet for their forthcoming Sacred Bones-released debut as Vår, this early single features  longtime friends Elias Bender Rønnenfelt (of Iceage) and Loke Rahbek (of Sexdrome). “Brodermordet” (which translates to “fratricide”) buries Rønnenfelt’s mumble amidst blown out synth pop. This is bleary industrial techno as heard through club walls after a long night out, translated by drug induced insomnia into something that straddles the thin line between fantasy and terror. ~Colin Joyce

06. A Hawk and A Hacksaw – “Ivan and Marichka/The Sorcerer”

I’ve been a fan of A Hawk and A Hacksaw ever since my formative Elephant 6 obsession. And when I heard that AHAAH co-founder Jeremy Barnes was associated with and had played on various E6 records, I didn’t need any more incentive to dive into the band’s discography. The band’s latest album You Have Already Gone to the Other World was inspired by filmmaker Sergei Parajanov’s 1965 film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. And “Ivan and Marichka/The Sorcerer” draws heavily upon Myroslav Skoryk’s original score for the film but updates the traditional European leanings with modern-day production and even manages to sneak in a furious electronic drum freakout toward the end. I guess I never really grew out of that initial E6 obsession. And artists like A Hawk and A Hacksaw are probably a big part of why I didn’t. ~Joshua Pickard

07. CHVRCHES – “Recover”

People sometimes forget how essential a good melody is to any given song and how difficult it can be to make that melody integral to the song. Some musicians think that a sickly sweet synth line or a repeated electronic squiggle can be used in place of well crafted melody but that’s only so much window dressing to cover weak songwriting. Scottish electro-pop group CHVRCHES seem to understand this far better than most of their electronically-minded peers. On their song “Recover,” which is the title track from their recent EP, the group put together one of the stickiest, most memorable melodies I’ve heard all year. It ranks up there with Robyn’s recent output in terms of pure pop satisfaction. ~Joshua Pickard

08. Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto – “mur”

Ryuichi Sakamoto, the keyboardist of Yellow Magic Orchestra and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence Soundtrack fame, has built something of a late career renaissance as a purveyor of beautifully sparse piano songs. His solo work is certainly compelling in its own right, but his work in collaboration is stunning, if only for comparing the ways that each of his partners treats his piano signal. Christian Fennesz casts a slight veil around the whole thing, shrouding Sakamoto’s work in brief swells of reverb, his touch is light and largely allows the piano to speak for itself. Sakamoto’s work with famed German electro-aesthete Alva Noto is often more heavy handed, but on “mur” he takes a similarly slight route, allowing Sakamoto’s keyboard work to soar above his bedrock of percussive blips and airy waves of noise. As I bury myself in a stack of final papers due as the semester draws to a close, I need fuzzy, indistinct tunes like “mur” to keep me company. ~Colin Joyce

09. Daughn Gibson – “The Sound of Law”

Daughn Gibson’s 2012 solo debut All Hell combined samples of country music with Gibson’s studied vocal crooning and delivered one of the most underrated albums of the year (and one that definitely got lost in the shuffle of year-end lists). He recently signed to Sub Pop Records and will release Me Moan, his first record for the veteran indie label, in June. “The Sound of Law,” the lead-off track from his new record, immediately ups the ante in terms of back roads workmanship, with tremulous guitars and snare rolls creating a vast deserted highway of inescapable isolation. His new record can’t get here soon enough. ~Joshua Pickard


10. Great Thunder – “Kees”

The Breeders-era rock crunch of Katie Crutchfield’s main band Waxahatchee has given way to something more relaxed—something more loosely knit together. This side-project, under the moniker Great Thunder, is also the home to Swearin’s Keith Spencer, and the two have formed an inimitable bond over mid-90’s alt-rock. They have just quietly released an EP of new material called Strange Kicks, and it is as deliciously and unapologetically pop/rock-ish as you might imagine. “Kees” shows Crutchfield and Spencer blowing through their influences at a marathon pace, tossing off rows of hummable guitar licks and tongue-curling melodies. You can hear the full EP over at their Bandcamp page. ~Joshua Pickard


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