inspiration & weekend

Playlist 02.08.16 : Five Songs for the Week

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Playlist 02.08.16 : Five Songs for the Week
Playlist 02.08.16 : Five Songs for the Week
Playlist 02.08.16 : Five Songs for the Week

Anna Straker – How We Are

We were first introduced to Anna Straker in May with her mesmerizing debut single“Late Night Swimming.” After spending time providing background vocals for some of London’s other talented newcomers, Straker finally took a bold step into the forefront with a hit on her hands.

Today Straker returns with another new single—written, recorded, and produced by herself. This time around she turns up the energy with a song made for the dance floor. Her newest track, “How We Are,” starts with a steady, mid-tempo rhythm but that intro soon feels like the warm-up for the real party that starts a minute in. With these two brilliant offerings, there’s no doubt that Anna Straker is certainly one to watch.

Read the rest of this article at Pigeons & Planes

Glass Animals – Youth

Glass Animals’ members are taking the concept album to a new level. The U.K. indie-pop band’s forthcoming album, How To Be A Human Being, follows an overarching storyline, with chapters rolled out one by one as if part of a TV miniseries.

Here’s what we know so far: The cover art is a Technicolor portrait of 11 characters — a basketball player, a boy on a tricycle, a man in a speedo, and so on — styled like an old-school movie poster. The characters also appear in the music videos. The story begins with “Life Itself.” In the clip, the boy escapes a hostage situation while a waitress, presumably his mom, works at a diner. He’s last seen wandering down a dusty road, which is where the video for “Youth” begins. The waitress searches frantically for the boy by following memories and intuitions, but always stays a few steps behind. It ends with the same cliffhanger shot of the boy trotting down the road.

The video’s aesthetic — dramatic slow-motion shots that volley between the two characters — matches the song’s melancholic, almost mournful tone. Its warmth and tenderness are contrasted by heavy feelings of remorse and distance. Floating along like a gloomy lullaby, it blends perky, high-pitched synths with rich R&B drums, and you can’t help but sense tragedy in the air. “You were clearly meant for more,” frontman Dave Bayley sings woozily. “You’ll be happy all the time, I know you can make it right.”

The plot is just confusing enough to have already stirred up speculation on Reddit and YouTube, but don’t expect spoilers. “I always try to leave enough space for people to make their own interpretations,” Bayley says. “For me, that’s more interesting than having a definitive ‘correct’ explanation.”

Read the rest of this article at NPR

Two Feet  – Quick Musical Doodles & Sex

This mysterious newcomer only has two songs to his name but already I feel like he’s building to something big. Over the past 2 weeks, Two Feet has uploaded two stunning tracks that blur the lines between Pop, Rock, Electronic and Soul. Both tracks have a strong atmosphere of emotion, with haunting vocals and powerful bass, and give the listeners something different than the average pop ballad or House track. Two Feet’s sound will draw comparisons to Chet Faker and Ben Khan, and is making me hope for more new tracks soon.

Read the rest of this article at BearToons

Brett – California Nights

Kerouac described it as “wild, sweaty, important, the land of lonely and exiled and eccentric lovers come to forgather like birds.” California is the place Brett maestro Mick Coogan currently calls home, but you don’t need us to tell you that. It’s written all over the gorgeous, slow-motion explosion of his new single, which seeps America’s sunshine state from every gorgeous pore. Full of widescreen guitars, shoegaze haze and lyrics about late night drives down rebel highways beneath dusky skies, it’s a track as big as the land that inspired it. Kerouac got this place. And on ‘California Nights’, so do Brett.

Born in DC, the band, completed by guitarist Scott Dittrich, bassist Dave Kuehl and drummer Jon Jester, are new to 10K, but you may know them already. Their latest full-length ‘Mode’ was released in March this year on Cascine, adding even more weight to their reputation as an indie best-kept-secret whose cult-acclaimed sound stretches multiple inspirations. On ‘California Nights’ and their upcoming ‘Die Young’ EP, out later this year on 10K, it’s Tom Petty and Kevin Shields leading the way: a fever dream of screeching guitars over descending keyboard melodies and floating falsetto vocals that will melt you where you stand.

Read the rest of this article at 10K Islands

PWR BTTM – Projection

It’s not yet time for a new PWR BTTM album, but the punk duo have shared a new song, “Projection.” It’s an anxious, melancholy anthem to — what else — anxiety and apathy. The song debuted today on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 radio show, but you can enjoy it here, complete with Laurent Hrybrk’s sweet little DIY animation of a lonely punk homebody.

“Projection” will appear as a bonus track on the U.K. version of the band’s 2015 LP Ugly Cherries, which is set for an October 7 re-release from Big Scary Monsters.

Read the rest of this article at Spin

News

The inspirations of Grace Jones, one of pop music’s greatest chameleons

Grace Jones was born into a strict, religious family in Jamaica in 1948 – a time when artistic expression, style experimentation and gender fluidity was absolutely not an option. Somehow from this rigid upbringing, sprang a woman who was, and continues to be, one of the most unique figures in pop.

Exploring the enduring power of Grace Jones’ genre-bending 1980s album, Warm Leatherette.
Grace Jones was born into a strict, religious family in Jamaica in 1948 – a time when artistic expression, style experimentation and gender fluidity was absolutely not an option. Somehow from this rigid upbringing, sprang a woman who was, and continues to be, one of the most unique figures in pop.Often criticised for performing covers, and not writing her own songs, what’s most inspiring about Jones is the ability to take music, even well-known tracks, and turn them into her own wholly distinct sound. No small feat when the music was written by the likes of Smokey Robinson, Tom Petty and Roxy Music. From reggae to disco, funk to soul, R’n’B to New Wave, the beauty of Grace Jones is she’s no singer. Jones is a performer from the same cloth as the likes of David Bowie, an experimenter.

Following the reissue of her fourth album, Warm Leatherette, Classic Album Sundays assembled Horse Meat Disco’s Luke Howard, alongside original ‘Blitz Kid’ and writer Princess Julia, to delve into the inspirations and influences of one of pop’s greatest shape-shifters. What followed was a primer on why, 36 years later, the album is as relevant as ever.

 

Read the rest of the story at Huck

Modern masculinity and music: 2016, the year of the ambiguous male

When we made our first album I was in my early 20s and was mainly writing about all the guys that I had dumped; all the time I’d spent going out and getting wasted and sleeping with men I didn’t particularly like. It wasn’t until a bit later I realised it was pretty unusual to have a song like Take Shelter – essentially a song about a guy using me for sex – played on mainstream commercial radio.

In spite of my honesty in songs, I find it hard to articulate my thoughts about gender. The way we think and the words we use are all structured to fit around the gender binary. When I was about five years old I loved playing with Polly Pocket toys – this was the early 1990s, and they were the bomb. I knew even then I wasn’t supposed to like something so “girly”. We have our gender identities forced on us from the moment we are born, from the language we use to refer to children, to the clothes we put them in and the games we let them play. At about 10 years old I had long curtains-style hair (again, the 90s) and people frequently thought I was a girl. I would burn with shame and I was never entirely sure why. I was bullied throughout my early teens for being skinny, for being bad at sports, for being “feminine”, for not being masculine enough. I’ve had a difficult relationship with my own so-called masculinity. I’ve gone from wanting desperately to “be like everybody else” to rejecting the idea totally, and then to where I am now, which is a sort of ambiguous mashup of identities. I don’t have it worked out, but it doesn’t feel shameful or wrong.

Read the rest of the story at The Guardian

Head To The Sky: Mariah Carey Interviewed

From our prudent vantage point of a hotel lobby couch, Clash watches incredulously as all around us the anticipation of an impending appearance from one of their noted guests sends officious-looking staff members into a flurry of impertinent gestures and repeated anxious checks of order and protocol, hovering around the front door, doing their best to maintain the dignity and decorum of this luxury establishment within its safeguarded dominion.

Meanwhile, the view to our left is a tall glass door through which we can survey the bewildered expressions of an antiquated doorman – the only defense between the entrance and a horde of impatient fans and paparazzi, some of whom have begun climbing trees for a more shrewd position. He remains noble, his flat black cap unruffled, but there’s a sense of relief when a team of young, hulking American brutes join him to secure the perimeter.

All this apprehension and expectancy is high entertainment for Clash, especially after a three-beer lunch. Fellow guests are unperturbed – some appear curious, perhaps unaware of the identity of their famous cohabiter, while others pretend not to care, yet stealthily keep one eye on the elevator. We, however, find ourselves caught in the middle of this maelstrom – part of it, yet somehow removed. But fuck it; we’re on holiday.

Read the rest of the story at Clash

P.S. previous PLAYLISTS & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @frassyaudrey, @jasminetartine, @thetrendique