Back to the top
zooming-background

Ultimate Playlist

ULTIMATE PLAYLIST: International Teachers of Pop

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

For an act that only started out of a chance back in January 2018, International Teachers of Pop have stormed the scene with supporting slot alongside legends, Jarvis Cocker and Roisin Murphy. With members from Eccentronic Research Council, The Moonlandingz and The Soundcarriers, there was never any doubt that when the three core members Adrian, Dean and Leonore united for ITOP that they would be anything short of phenomenal.

Their credibility shines through with their latest single ‘After Dark’ including a music video with award winning actress and ITOP fan, Maxine Peake.  ”Maxine is a long time collaborator with my other project, Eccentronic Research Council, so when ever I want someone to purge the daft ideas in my head and give them some kind of fuzzy artistic logic I always call on my bestest pal, Maxine. She’s the Klaus Kinski to my Werner Herzog. And although our video making budget only stretches to getting props and catering from B & M Bargains, I think we make it work for us, we always manage to pull the ship over the mountain!” Says Adrian.

On Saturday 27th October the collective finally play their first headline set at Salford’s The White Hotel, presented by local promoter Interior and supported by Londoners Los Bitchos. Ahead of the night, we managed to steal the group away and find out what their ultimate playlist would consist of if they were to pull it together. Be prepared, this class act don’t mince their words and are sticklers for a pure, out-and-out disco banger. Here we go:

Adrian Flanagan: Blame it on the Muzick – J.J. FAD

“This Dr Dre produced – electro rap party starter ticks all the boxes for me: 808 beats, pumping bass, sweet synth riffs, sarcasm, silliness. You can literally feel the sweat on the wall of the basement!”

Dean Honer: Hard Times – The League Unlimited Orchestra

“Sheffield Synthetic DNA – fantastic cut up dub mix by the genius that was Martin Rushent. Amazing what can be done with scissors and sellotape.”

Leonore Wheatley : A Camino Del Sol (Todd Terje Remix) – Antena

“I only came across these last year but this album is a party dominator. Simple, French vocals and a melody that just builds and builds with the addition of Balearic beats and harmonies. Another cocktail please barkeep!”

Adrian Flanagan: Who killed the Chicken – Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry

“For me, Scratch is the last of the true greats, an innovator, a scientist – a God in life form and bat shit bonkers. Long may he be the toaster with the most and the lord of the dub!”

Dean Honer: Give Me Back My Man – The B52s from Party Mix album.

“Keeping the the two girl theme going, this 7 minute party mix is ace. I love Cindy Wilsons voice especially when she sings about fish and candy.”

Leonore Wheatley: I Would Die 4 U – Prince

“I’m not going to try and go for the most obscure Prince track and sift through his back catalogue. ‘Purple Rain’ has and will always have the biggest influence on me. I would make up endless dance routines to this album, especially ‘I Would Die 4 U’. My Mum being a professional dancer, I tried my hardest to emulate her, so these ‘choreographies’ would obviously be stadium-worthy in my imagination. I remember seeing him when he played in Manchester a few years ago, I was 13 from the front (a rough estimate) in the middle of the stage and when he played this I was in that music video I created 20 years before.”

Adrian Flanagan: Miraculous Weekend – Peter Ivers

“It’s wrong on so many levels this song but it’s just so beautifully lovely. Peter Ivers’ life ended in tragedy when he was bludgeoned to death with a hammer as he slept. I like those kind of juxtapositions where you have a song so positive and almost naive but with a back story that is totally sinister!”

Dean Honer: From Here To Eternity – Giorgio Moroder

“We use quite a lot of 16th note sequences on the ITOP recordings. Moroder was the king prawn at that game. ‘I Feel Love’ is the greatest disco record ever created. But I chose this from his canon of bangers (as the kids say), because I like the vocoders and his sexy vocals.”

Leonore Wheatley: Love Like This Before – Faith Evans

“This has been doing the rounds a lot recently, it’s following me about. As I was a teenager in the 90’s, 90’s RnB was obviously going to show its face. All the backing vocals, she’s mingling all over the place, that iconic bass line. I’m putting it on again, hang on.”

Adrian Flanagan: Disco Clone – Christina

“A high camp disco classic. Your hard earned night out should be filled with total abandon, otherwise what is the point of putting up with a ‘stickleback twat’ of a boss all week? I’m literally dancing around in a rah rah skirt, doing a helicopter with my penis when this track comes on, albeit – in my head in a dark corner of the club!”

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

259
warmduscher interview

Ultimate Playlist: Warmduscher

It’s not uncommon for musicians to be in multiple bands, but it’s pretty rare for these new projects to shine just as brightly. Exceptions to this trend – made up from members of boundary-pushing underground/alternative greats Fat White Family, Paranoid London, Insecure Men and ChildhoodWarmduscher are one of the most exciting, and certainly one of the sleaziest, bands to surface in the past few years. What started out as an impromptu one-off New Year’s Eve gig between the members quickly blew up into something much bigger, with the band’s second impressive album ‘Whale City’ dropping earlier this year to rave reviews across the board, firmly putting the group of oddballs in the ears of proclaimed music lovers.

Since this somewhat haphazard inception in 2014, Warmduscher have become something more permanent with the lineup today consisting of Clams Baker Jr (Craig Louis Higgins Jr), Lightnin’ Jack Everett (Jack Everett), Mr. Salt Fingers Lovecraft (Ben Romans-Hopcraft), The Witherer aka Little Whiskers (Quinn Whalley) and Thunder Strings AKA Quicksand (Adam J Harmer) each lending themselves to a straight up no-holds-barred live performance.

A guitar-led band first and foremostly, Warmduscher do things their own way; seamlessly blending their confident air of ‘no-fucks-given’ and outlandish outfit choices with a more careful & ultimately intelligent refinery to their scuzzy-sound that puts them in a strange league of their own. Imaginative and twisted, the quintet pose as an air of difference amongst a sea of leather-jacket clad indie bands – their fractured rock’n’roll cum hellish-pop would sound just as in place in 2018 as it would decades ago, or perhaps years in the future. They can’t be pinned down and that is exactly what makes them so exciting.

With an upcoming date in Manchester ( & to find out a little more about the band behind-the-scenes), we asked Warmduscher to delve into their top music picks and create us their Ultimate Playlist. Going B2B, Lightnin & Clams’ top picks are probably something a little different to what you might expect (at least to us they were!)

warmduscher interview 

Lightnin: Lil Noid – Binghampton Niggas

I think I found out about Lil Noid from an interview with Juicy J. The song is from his album called Paranoid Funk, the whole thing is great.

Clams: Greedo – Street Life

I’ve picked Greedo’s ‘Street Life’ just because it reminds me of the songs my grandma would sing to me at night.

Lightnin: Jackie McLean – The tob

I heard this on one of those old 411 skate videos, or on a Mark Gonzales video, (or neither of those).

Clams: Doja Cat – MOOO!

My girls can’t stop singing it!

Lightnin: Domenique Dumont – La Bataille de Neige

My dog is into this song, it’s like sweating underwater.

Clams: Young M.A. –  PettyWap

Because the video makes me think of another great summer on Cape Cod

Lightnin: Black Randy & The Metrosquad – Loner with a Boner

Clams showed me this & the rest is poetry.

Clams: Iron Galaxy  – Cannibal Ox

My song for 2019.

Lightnin: Sickazz Dog – Royal Trux

Comforting and rewarding. Can’t eat puke without throwing up first.

Clams: Lil Duval – Smile

This one is just a song to do the robot to all those haters to.

Like the sound of them? You can catch Warmduscher on tour on the dates below –

OCT 16 – The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool

OCT 17 – YES, Manchester

OCT 18 – The Dome, Tufnell Park

OCT 19 – The Festing, Southsea

OCT 22 – The Chameleon Arts Cafe,  Nottingham

OCT 20 – Cowley Road, Oxford

OCT 20 – Simple Things Festival, Bristol

OCT 20 – Hare & Hounds Kings Heath, Birmingham

NOV 8 – Upstairs at Dolans, Limerick

NOV 9 – The Workman’s Club, Dublin

 

302
false heads playlist

Ultimate Playlist: False Heads

Garnering a growing reputation as one of the UK͛s brightest young exports of 2018, False Heads have just released their biggest package yet; a four-track EP for once proving that actually, Less Is Better! Hailing down in East-London (listen to them and you’d be hard pressed to think they could come from anywhere else), it͛s taken only two years for False Heads to receive support from the likes of punk legend Iggy Pop, who said that ‘they are young, talented and going places’, dropping their tracks in many of his prestigious 6 Music shows. Impressive, no?

But how have the band gone from playing to empty rooms in 2016 to supporting the likes of The Libertines, to Band of Skulls & Josh Homme, in the space of just two years? Having an impressive array of recorded music is just one aspect in which makes a band successful. Presence, persistence and maintaining punchy passionate performance one after another seems to be the basis of False Heads’ winning punk-rock formula. With a blistering set at this year’s Liverpool Sound City, it hasn’t taken long for news to spread about False Heads regular performances with many whispers from publications to punters penning the young band as one of the best live bands about at the moment.

A common theme in the punk-genre, False Heads often use their music & growing popularity to highlight their opinions on aspects that affect us all; socialism, the media and politics. They aren’t afraid to tell you about it, as lead-single ‘Yellow’ showcases delivering with a sound that comes at you in a way that you are almost unprepared for, thanks to lulling you with it’s laidback verses before a characteristically punchy chorus.

On the EP, growling frontman Luke Griffiths has said that “Less is Better͛ lyrically is slightly more personal, but it also covers [our] views of social media, censorship and authoritarianism.”  With a blurring line between the actions in online worlds, those in reality, and personal relationships blurred to the band it is a “worrying thing” as it is easier to create “a divide” between so many that might not have been present before (especially on factors like politics).

False Heads also explore the idea that individualism is dying out, making everyone “desperate to be part of a group, and then appease that group by any means necessary, even if that means not expressing your own opinion.” With a bloody huge ethos promoting that people “need to stand up for what they believe in”, we asked False Heads to put together their Ultimate Playlist of tracks which have influenced the new EP Less Is Better. CHECK IT.

 

false heads playlist

Guerrilla Radio – Rage Against The Machine

The fucking power behind this song influenced a lot of the sound of the riffs but also in particular ‘Wrap Up’ – that was like putting this song in a blender and then putting it back together. The power in that song had a big influence on ‘Wrap Up.’ Rage Against The Machine are probably quite a big influence on the EP. 

The Bends – Radiohead

‘Help Yourself’ started as a bit of a nod to this and then turned into its own thing. The song and the album in general actually. Radiohead was a first love of mine and I recently revisited it. ‘Help Yourself’ started out as a bit of a play on that, the opening chords anyway.

Don’t Look Back in Anger – Oasis

Firstly, we aren’t just saying this to pander to Manchester crowds haha – this didn’t really have an influence on the sound but on ‘Help Yourself’ we wanted a big soaring chorus that exploded, probably because we were listening to a lot of Oasis at the time.

Micro Cuts – Muse

The middle breakdown in ‘Yellow’ always reminds me of those mental breakdowns in early (and good) Muse, we wanted a mental out of nowhere, chaotic, almost robotic breakdown and also the production on early Muse fits that well. A lot of John Leckie popping up….

Bottle Up and Explode – Elliot Smith

I could have picked almost any Elliott Smith song but this one in particular, the imagery he creates in his lyrics is just beautiful. ‘Retina’s lyrics are full of images and Elliott Smith has an influence on that. 

Say It Aint So – Weezer

The general vibe of the song formed the up and downyness (if that’s a word) of ‘Help Yourself.’ Really catchy and weird little quirky verses.

Yellow – Coldplay

We stole the title.

Wait For The Others – Grizzly Bear

The chorus of this track is a nice little indicator of something we’ve built into our sound. In a lot of choruses I’m singing very aggressively and Barney is doing something very melodic and high over the top, it’s almost duelling with each other.

The House Is A Circus – Arctic Monkeys

The really driving rhythm section of the verses lets the noodley guitar do its own thing and gives the vocals space to be free – this was something reflected in ‘Yellow.’

Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys

Always an influence for the harmonies and oooooohs, especially on ‘Yellow’ and ‘Help Yourself.’

False Heads play Jimmy’s on Friday 28th of September and tickets have SOLD OUT! But keep an eye on them here, and make sure to check out their new EP!

91

ULTIMATE PLAYLIST: Brooke Bentham

Dubbed the North’s answer to Angel Olsen, Brooke Bentham has just released a new track ‘Out Of My Mind’ after spending time in the studio with ex-The Coral (and celebrated musician in his own right) Bill Ryder-Jones. At only twenty-two years old, the punchy energy of the new single shows depth, refinement, & progression but this is only the beginning of her ever-blossoming career.

The aim for many when leaving their hometown for the first time (often aided through the rite of going away to University), is to live independently – a fresh start (hopefully) surrounded by the people and a community that you associate yourself with, though might not have had the opportunity to align with, growing up. For Brooke, the experience was not too dissimilar and marked the kickstart of what was to come. Although Bentham was born and raised in Southshields (just outside Newcastle), the musician is now located in New Cross where she has been studying at the prestigious Goldsmith’s and here she, at last, felt part of a wider arts community. In New Cross, Bentham met and formed her live band whilst finding a mutual sense of camaraderie among a new generation of South London creatives.

Brooke graduated only last year, and with the occasion released her acclaimed debut EP ‘The Room Swayed’. At times the 4-track collection is a brutally honest dissection of those static, unfulfilling relationships – forming the backdrop to her final year – before her second vulnerable EP, ‘This Rapture’, just a few months later. A musician on a mission, Brooke is now on tour across the UK with Tennessee’s Soccer Mommy and is taking the opportunity with all guns blazing, airing some brand new, bold and adventurous material for the first time in vein of her latest release, whispering a new direction of what is to come.

In light of the release of Brooke’s ‘Out Of My Mind’, we caught up with the singer-songwriter to compile her ULTIMATE playlist featuring an array of tracks that have influenced her new sound.

brooke bentham

Bill Ryder-Jones – And Then There’s You

I really love Bill’s music and his voice. He sent me his album early before we started recording and I fell in love with it and it made me really excited to work with him. I’ve had this song stuck in my head for weeks. He just has really great ideas and is an absolute pleasure to work with – Bill makes my songs sound better than they do in my head.

Angel Olsen – Shut Up Kiss Me

Angel has always been a big influence for me. I love her early folkier stuff, and I take a lot of lyrical influence away from her. When ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ was released, it was pretty new for her because it was very clean and forward and I loved how much attitude there was.

Jessica Lea Mayfield – Standing In The Sun 

A friend showed me Jessica Lea Mayfield when we were at uni a couple of years ago. We were amazed that she’d gone from country singer to doing dark grungy stuff. Her lyrics can be really dark but also really sweet and I love that twist – I also just love how simple this song is.

Mazzy Star – Blue Flower / So Tonight That I Might See

I’ve put two Mazzy Star songs on this playlist and it goes without saying that she’s a huge influence for me. I really love Hope Sandoval’s voice and how it’s so laid back and soft but with those really dirty guitars; it’s just perfect and gets me in such an otherworldly mood. The lyrics are also amazing. I could fill this playlist with Mazzy Star songs – they’re the kind of songs that make you think you could’ve written them because the lyrics are so simple, but they’re actually beautiful; I mean “fade into you, strange you never knew’”?!

Pavement – Here

Bill introduced me to this. I love a lot of nineties rock and I have always wanted my songs to live in that realm. I really love personal and funny lyrics, and I love it when you just get little lines in songs that stand out like that. I love the “am I the only one who laughs, at the jokes when they are so bad, and your jokes are always bad”. The melody and the guitars are just really beautiful. (I feel like this playlist is just a lot of me saying ‘it’s just so good’.)

Smog – Hit The Ground Running

I only heard of Smog and Bill Callahan around a year ago but I like the way Bill sings, it’s like speak-singing. This album is really good. (There we go again…)

Yo La Tengo – You can have it all

Oh Yo La… Where to begin. I fucking love this band. I first heard ‘Nowhere Near’ (one of my favourite songs in the world) when I was about 16. Painful is such a good album. Again, the lyrics are really straightforward but genius – ‘When I see you look at me, I’m not sure of anything’ – how lovely, and true, and great is that lyric? It seems when I speak to other people about Yo La Tengo, most other people haven’t heard of them and I just think they’re underrated. I love that the singing is so close too. It sounds like they’re in your ear and speaking to you. Ah, I just love them.

Mitski – A Loving Feeling

Mitski was my way into writing rock. The lyrics are very relatable and her voice is so soft and purposeful – the music is rock but it’s all catered to her vocal and the vocal melody.

Sonic Youth – A Bull In The Heather

I recently read Kim Gordon’s biography and it was a really interesting read into the music industry for women in the 90s. She spoke about this song and how she had Kathleen Hanna dance around them for the video – I think Kim is amazing and I love Sonic Youth.

BROOKE BENTHAM UK TOUR DATES w/ SOCCER MOMMY

Tue, 04 Sept, UK, Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
Wed, 05 Sept, UK, Manchester, The Deaf Institute
Fri, 07 Sept, Ireland, Dublin, The Grand Social
Sat, 08 Sept, UK, Liverpool, Shipping Forecast
Mon, 10 Sept, UK, Nottingham, Bodega
Tue, 11 Sept, UK, Bristol, Thekla
Wed, 12 Sept, UK, Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
Thu, 13 Sept, UK, London, Scala
Fri, 14 Sept, Belgium, Gent
Mon, 17 Sept, Sweden, Gothenburg, Oceanen
Tue, 18 Sept, Sweden, Stockholm, Melodybox
Wed, 19 Sept, Denmark, Copenhagen, Ideal Bar

79
Boston Manor

ULTIMATE PLAYLIST: Boston Manor

Boston Manor Photo – Niall Lea, Words – Jess Campbell

You might have heard of Blackpool’s punk-powerhouse Boston Manor off the back of the success of their debut album, 2016’s Be Nothing, but a lot has changed sonically for the 5-piece in that time. From sold-out shows up and down the country to a stonking performance slot on the main stage at this year’s Download Festival, Boston Manor have been through a lot in this time and have their own experiences at the heart of their music – self-directing their recent video ‘Bad Machine‘. With so much going on (heightened with this creative control), and with a tonne more experience under their belts the change is natural and marks a hefty personal progression. However, this progression is not something that should be looked at naively, and by all means, do not let it put you off as something “cookie-cutter” from the punk-factory. Welcome To The Neighbourhood is brooding in a way the predecessor wasn’t, and it seems a heck more personal.

It is evident that the young band are maturing into their sound, yet still leaving room for further growth as the LP seems to reflect Boston Manor at this moment in time (well, at least the two years between the releases). With ups and downs throughout the body of work, pushing through the album is a sense of bleak honesty and – lyrically – reflecting the theme in order to take us around a fictionalised version of place they all know; their “neighbourhood”, Blackpool.

With the new album coming out in just a week’s time (pre-order here), we asked frontman Henry Cox to put together Boston Manor’s Ultimate playlist that reflects the new LP. Like Welcome To The Neighbourhood, featuring classics from Tool to more unexpected additions from The Weeknd, the playlist reflects the band in a way you won’t have seen before. Check it out below!

boston manor

Deftones – Digital Bath

We’ve grown up loving this band. I think White Pony is probably their best record & this is my favourite track. They manage to have this heaviness about them whilst still having groove & rhythm. Also, they’re the masters of dynamics; that quiet to loud structure is done so well on this album without sounding jarring or forced.

Nine Inch Nails – Terrible Lie

Probably the band that influenced the record the most. You could name any number of songs, but there’s something unique about that first record. Made in the late 80’s it still has this vibe of being a synth-pop album (I think it’s in the drum sounds), but evil & fucked up. It’s so heavy but so catchy.

The Neighbourhood – R.I.P 2 My Youth

Hip Hop was my first love & I tried to incorporate more of an R&B style to some of my singing on this album. But The Neighbourhood are a perfect example of how a band can play Hip Hop. Love the drums & reverb-y guitars on this track, it was a big influence on the title track of the record.

Tears For Fears – Shout

Next in the playlist of dark 80’s synth-pop is this banger. Dunno why but we listened to this non-stop when we were in the studio. I wish more of their tracks sounded like this but sadly it’s a one-off.

Marilyn Manson – The Beautiful People

Love some of the guitar tones & percussion on all of his records. Him being a big Nine Inch Nails fan we referenced a lot of his tones on the record. Also he makes choruses sound so big with no harmonies, just by layering his voice. That’s something I’ll be experimenting with more on future albums.

The Weeknd – The Hills

Another example of really moody hip-hop that can be super intense but pretty. We’ve been calling the scream before the chorus “the kettle”. Such a creative way to drop into something.

Failure – Stuck On You

I love this band, one of the real unsung heroes of the 90’s. This whole album’s incredible & I urge anyone who hasn’t heard of them to check them out. I love the overdrive on the lead on this song that kicks it off.

Radiohead – True Love Waits

This was the inspiration for the song “The Day That I Ruined Your Life”. I had these really sad lyrics written & I wanted to capture the desperation that’s on that song. We really liked the cyclic nature of its structure, but it didn’t really work for ours. So instead we decided to build it gradually, adding instruments as the song goes on. We knew it was going to be the album closer, so it worked well.

Bloc Party – The Prayer

How to boil a song down to what is essential. We tried to do this throughout the writing process & this is just a masterclass in that.

Tool – Vicarious

An expedition into the weird and wonderful. Our producer was a Tool fan, as well as some of the bizarre pedals that we referenced from Tool we used them as a measuring stick, is it weird enough? Is it too weird….

‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’ UK Tour (w/ support from Microwave, Drug Church & Wallflower) 
Fri 21 Sep UK    Bristol              Thekla
Sat 22 Sep UK   London            Electric Ballroom
Sun 23 Sep UK   Birmingham     Mama Roux’s
Mon 24 Sep UK Nottingham      Rescue Rooms
Wed 26 Sep UK Liverpool         Hangar 34
Thu 27 Sep UK  Glasgow           SWG3
Fri 28 Sep   UK   Leeds               Key Club
Sat 29 Sep  UK  Manchester      Gorilla

174
san mei ultimate playlist

 ULTIMATE PLAYLIST: San Mei

When you think of music, often-times Australia might not be the first place you look. However, with bands like Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett and – one of our favourite bands from 2017 – Methyl Ethel this outlook is seriously on the cusp of changing. When it comes to the music we’re listening to, in the summer months (and the winter when we wish it was a little bit warmer) we have a firm eye on the psychedelic Gold Coast. Adding to the incredibly exciting scene, a brand-new talent caught our eye and we want to get her on your radar too.

San Mei (AKA Emily Hamilton) is the ethereal, dream-pop songstress that has taken us aback with her sultry new single Wonder, the first glistening slice of sonic brilliance taken from her forthcoming EP. If you’re reading the words ‘dream-pop’ and expecting something kitsch you might be taken by surprise upon listening to the psych-ladened, and anything but wishy-washy, sounds of the talented up-comer. Drawing similarities to California’s Warpaint, or a soft-core Marmozets, inspiration for Hamilton comes from guitar-driven heroes such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Cat Power and Feist with a sound tied together by atmospheric synth melodies and a persistently-ripping drum beat.

New single Wonder is “about that classic butterfly moment you get when someone unknown to you captures your attention, and you’re not sure why. It’s that person becoming a daydream to you, wondering who they are, what they’re about, and not necessarily wanting them to become anything more than some intoxicating illusion”.

We asked San Mei to create us a collection of tracks that have inspired her so you can get to know her better. Listen to San Mei’s ‘Ultimate Playlist’, below.

san mei ultimate playlist

God Knows I Tried – Lana Del Rey -This one is on my “Songs I Wish I’d Written” list. The melodies and lyrics are so moving, and it’s one of those songs that doesn’t need to rely on production – you could sing it a capella and it would be just as strong.

Lover, You Should’ve Come Over – Jeff Buckley – I don’t really need to say anything about this song. It’s genius.

Wicked Game – Chris Isaak – Nobody does heartbreak better than Chris, in my opinion. The melodies in this song are so beautiful and melancholy, they just wrap you up and take you into that moment.

I’m On Fire – Bruce Springsteen – This song is electric and it’s always over too soon for me – I always want it to last forever when I listen to it.

Whiteout – Warpaint – Warpaint do melodies, mood and beats so perfectly. They’re a huge inspiration to me in that way.

Soft Shock – Yeah Yeah Yeahs – This song is so sweet and kinda feels like a lullaby to me. Karen O is also a hero of mine.

Future Starts Slow – The Kills – The Kills have been a huge influence for me and this is one of the first songs that got me hooked on them.

Groundswell – Methyl Ethyl – I love the tension of this song and how it builds into that glorious chorus/outro. These guys have such unique melodies but it’s always easy to connect with them.

Weekend Wars – MGMT – MGMT have always been an enigma to me as to how they managed to maintain their weirdness and intelligence but still had such huge mainstream success. This song is one of my favourites of theirs.

Mind mischief – Tame Impala – Major Beatles vibes with this one. I kinda wish I’d written this one, too.

Don’t Delete the Kisses – Wolf Alice – This song is pretty much perfect to me. It sends me straight into a daydream.

Don’t Wanna Fight – Alabama Shakes – I love how percussive all the parts in this song feel. And obviously her voice is magic.

Whole Wide World – Wreckless Eric – This song makes me so happy. I love how simple/naive and romantic it is. I never get sick of hearing it.

I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – The Beatles – This song is so sultry and addictive, and my dad told me it was one of the heaviest/risqué songs to come out at that time. I reckon that’s pretty cool.

Howl – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Possibly my favourite song from one of my all-time favourite bands and influences.

San Mei’s Wonder is out now via LXVI Records and available on all platforms.

68
Sam Fender

Ultimate Playlist: Sam Fender

Supporting the likes of Catfish and The Bottlemen, Hozier, Michael Kiwanuka and Daughter and penned as one of the BBC’s ‘Sound of’ 2018 artists, Sam Fender is one of our top tips to keep an eye on in this year. In his early twenties, Sam hails from the North East of England, penning tracks about love, disillusionment, raw relationships & youth culture in means beyond his age and we really think he is on the cusp of some great things come the latter end of the year. ‘Play God’ sparked something pretty massive for Sam, hitting the number 1 spot on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart & we have play-listed every single release since – but what we’re really interested in is the music influencing the upcoming indie-rock star.

We asked Sam to put together his ‘Ultimate’ playlist – somewhat unsurprisingly, renowned classics including  Jeff Buckley, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan feature alongside a few left-wing choices including Young Fathers and Kendrick. We say left-wing, but check out Sam ‘s punchy, hard-hitting, vocals and you might think otherwise – tracks like latest release ‘Friday Fighting’ showcase a heavier drum that pump throughout the tune non-typical to the mellow nature of the singer-songwriter genre that really showcase his unique vocals.

Follow our Spotify here.

 

sam fender

Sam ‘s full track-list in no particular order:

Joni Mitchell- Both Sides Now 
I’m listening to loads of Joni Mitchell at the moment, she’s an incredible artist, her voice flaws me every time and she’s a total wordsmith. This was the first Joni song I ever heard, I love both the original and the 2001 orchestral version of ‘both sides now’, if it doesn’t move you to tears then you’re clearly a reptilian shape shifter.

Bruce Springsteen – Racing In The Street 
One of my favourite songs by my biggest hero.

Jeff Buckley – Grace 
The title track of an album we all need in our lives.

Aretha Franklin – Chain of Fools 
Possibly my favourite vocal take of all time.  When she sings ‘my doctor said “take it easy”‘ I get shivers.

The Smiths – Frankly, Mr. Shankly 

One of the many bangers from the album ‘The Queen is Dead’. Love that album.

A Blaze of Feather – Dust in The Wind 
An Absolute hammer of a tune from a band of legends. Lie back and soak in the intense soundscape that is A Blaze of Feather.

Pinegrove – Old Friends 
Love the lyrics in this track.

Kendrick Lamar – The Blacker the Berry 
My favourite track off one of my favourite albums.

The War On Drugs – Strangest Thing 

I adore them. It’s very easy for guitar music to sound unoriginal due to the sheer abundance of it. However, this song made me feel like I’d just heard a guitar for the first time, it’s not often that a guitar part evokes this much emotion in me, I’m more of a lyrics and vocal lover, but this track never fails to make my hair stand up.

Brooke Bentham – Have To Be Around You
Her voice and songs are stunning. She writes with conviction and performs like it’s her last night on earth. I’m completely in awe of her.

Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place 
This song means a lot to me. It reminds me of my producer and best mate Bramwell. It’s a belter.

Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’
A timeless masterpiece.

Warpaint – Love Is To Die

Warpaint have a knack for writing tunes with a great beat. I love the drum and bass tracks on this song, it makes me want to move. The vocals are eerie and lax but sit on a firm groove, that juxtaposition makes for a rad listening experience.

Joy Division- Love Will Tear Us Apart 
Anthem.

Young Fathers – Shame 
Such a gritty beast. I remember bouncing around like a psycho to this at a festival in the highlands.

493
puma blue

ULTIMATE PLAYLIST: Puma Blue

i-D have likened him to “combining J Dilla grooves with laconic vocals…it’s dark and sexy, the sound of London on those nights when everything feels a certain shade of (puma) blue”, Dummy magazine and Evening Standard think this guy is really “going places this year”, “tipped for big things in 2018” and DIY think that Puma Blue – aka Jacob Allen – “might have the most singular pipes of them all.” We respect every one of these statements.

Puma Blue is suburban soul at it’s finest – with fashionably slacker King Krule vibes a-plenty, his music is dreamlike yet incredibly accessible. Hazy and unconstrained, Puma Blue makes incredibly free-flowing, natural sounds that make you feel as if you’re on an all-night bender – tip toeing that state between reality and the surreal, the limbo of a dream. With an immediate buzz following a self-released demo with fans by way of Jamz Supernova and Gilles Peterson & having supported artists including Jordan Rakai, Mr Jukes, Nilüfer Yanya and Nick Hakim there’s no doubt in our mind that this guy is going to be someone to have a firm eye on in 2018.

We love to find out what people are listening to because we feel that it says a lot about a person whilst hinting at sounds you might have heard in their music, yet not associate to an artist. We asked Puma Blue to put together a collection of his favourite tracks in order to find out a little more about the mysterious and incredibly exciting up-comer. From Burial to Björk he has everything here – and in regard to why he had chosen this selection, all Jacob had to say was ‘no reason other than that they’re all songs that I love’ and we promise it’s an eclectic selection – you can find them all below!

 

puma blue

96

ULTIMATE PLAYLIST: The Amazons

Kicking off their first tour of the year tonight (Feb 1st), and as a band renowned for their raucous and ridiculously energetic live-performances, we knew we had to ask Reading’s The Amazons what they’re listening to that builds the hype before – let’s say, it’s a pretty big meld.

From Lana Del Rey (somewhat unexpected) to classics from Nirvana and even a spattering of Eagles of Death Metal to fit in with Chris’ ‘tight little panties’ the guys have picked out 16 of their favourite tunes that fit in with their own tastes and each in turn help make The Amazons, The Amazons. Check it out below!

amazons

Matt

Joni Mitchell –  Carey

I think ‘Blue’ as a whole is brilliant, ‘Carey’ was my entry to the record.  The stripped back production lets Joni’s voice and lyrics and raw talent soar.

The Beatles – Dear Prudence 

One of my favourite Beatles cuts. There is a real beauty to Lennon’s simple lyrics, attempting to persuade an overzealous friend at a meditation camp shutting herself out from the world. The track features some of my favourite basslines from McCartney, but also some of his finest drumming, as at the time of recording, Ringo had left the band.

Led Zeppelin – Since I’ve Been Loving You Live (Song Remains the Same)

The sound of the greatest band in the world at the peak of their powers.

Lana Del Rey – Cruel World

After the insane commercial success of Lana’s first record ‘Born to Die’, she had the balls to open her 2nd record (not counting the ‘Paradise’ add on to the debut) with this 7 minute woozy, psychedelic jam produced by Dan Auerbach.

 

 

Elliot

Tame Impala – List of People (To Try And Forget About)

Currents has been a absolute favourite of mine ever since it was released. Can’t wait for new music from you Kev, Whenever you’re ready…

Kali Uchis – After the Storm (Ft. Tyler, The Creator & Bootsy Collins) 

Such a great groove on this track. Plus the vocals are divine.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand.

Just finished 4 seasons of non stop Peaky Blinders, still doesn’t hate this song.

Nirvana – Lithium

One of the bands that inspired me to learn and play music. Still sounds as good now as it did when I first picked up a guitar.

 

 

Chris

Baxter Dury – Miami

Some of the niftiest lyrics of 2017.

Eagles of Death Metal – (I Used To Couldn’t Dance) Tight Pants

As I too have tight little panties.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – American Guilt

New track from UMO with one of my favourite guitarists, Ruban Nielson, whipping out a stinkin’ riff.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Beginner’s Luck

5 albums in a (calendar year), you gotta give it to ‘em.

 

 

Josef

Stereo Honey – The Bay

Fast becoming my favourite new band. Delightful guitar hooks with soaring falsetto vocals.

NIN – Less Than 

A monumental pop track but only as Trent Reznor knows how.

Sam Fender – Play God

Another new artist that’s topping tip lists and emerging with his own lane.

Beck – Colors

Funky synth pop come back from the man who needs no introduction.

194
Queen Zee

Ultimate Playlist: Queen Zee

With an upcoming gig at the end of the month at Manchester’s most quickly-established venue, Jimmy’s, we asked Queen Zee to take-over our Spotify account to curate a playlist that truly digs into the music they listen to when nobody’s about. From underrated up-comers to some big punk-rock names, find out everything you need to know about Queen Zee through their favourite tracks; listen on Spotify below and find out a bit more as to why they’ve chosen each one!

Like this? Queen Zee & The Sasstones are back in Manchester for: Sassden 002 on January 26th.

Full Line Up: Thirsty Girls Collective (DJ), Queen Zee (Live), Incisions (Live), Jo Mary (Live), Asylums on Fire (DJ) + MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED.

OR watch our session with them from Off The Record a few months back here.

queen zee

 

Slowcoaches – Get Ripped

A certain aging front man got in a bit of trouble last week *cough Bono cough* for saying that modern music was too “girly” for you be able to feel rage. For us, Slowcoaches are at the forefront of British bands showing that that simply isn’t true. Femininity and rage are not mutually exclusive terms.

Youth Man – Heavy Rain

One of the most underrated bands in the country right now. One for the Fugazi fans and just utterly totally vicious.

Bad Breeding – Burn This Flag

There’s a scene bubbling under the surface at the moment of great British punk bands, for the first time in a long time it feels as if there will be an assault on the industry again. Bad Breeding have definitely had their hand in this.

Green Day – F.O.D.

I think the only band we can all agree with love in Queen Zee is Green Day and The Runaways. This is my favourite Green Day song and a dynamic I’ve mimicked in a lot of our songs with the full band coming in for the last chorus.

Petrol Girls – Slug

The band we all need. Uncompromising in their political commentary, lead vocalist Ren has already had her writings compiled and published in various release most notably “Nasty Women” alongside Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!. This is my favourite track of their’s, I’ve seen them play big stages, I’ve seen them play social centre basements, they’re incredible and a glimmer of hope in the darkness that is the political landscape of 2018.

Venom Prison – Celestial Patricide

Venom Prison are probably my favourite UK band at the moment. They’re combating the horrible misogyny the heavy music scene is riddled with and it’s great to see such a relentlessly visceral band doing well. Our Liverpool show together was one of my favourites ever.

Taman Shud – The Hex Inverted

I follow a lot of the releases from Trash Mouth Records, since it’s always good stuff. This in particular caught my attention. It feels like the kind of song you’d make a voodoo doll of your ex to.

Mos Def – Mathematics

“69 billion in the last 20 years, Spent on national defence but folks still live in fear” Mos Def is a massive influence on us all, politically, musically, ethically. Yasiin Bey is a genius and this song shows his at his best.

Chroma – Vampires

Chroma blew my head off at Reading & Leeds, we were lucky to share a stage with them so I got to see them both days. Noisey danceable punk from South Wales in the vein of Death From Above or Yeah Yeah Yeahs, watch this space they’re gonna be bloody massive.

Crywank – I am Shit

James from Crywank is a friend of mine, so I’m more than a little bias. That being said “Tomorrow is Nearly Yesterday and Everything is Stupid” is hands down one of my favourite records ever. James’ lyricism is untouchable, but it goes beyond that, they manage to shed a light on human aspects, such as narcissism in I am Shit, better than anyone. It’s music for a generation of kids that so thoroughly misunderstood and let down again and again. How James and Dan have conducted themselves as musicians and role models to those kids deserves a standing ovation. I have nothing but absolute admiration for them both and always love our shows together.

Touts – Political People

– Touts are undeniably a straight up no nonsense punk band. To see them opening for Liam Gallagher and headlining the Introducing Stage at Reading & Leeds is ridiculously good news for fans of the fast stuff. What a tune as well, why are we relying on old has been punk icons when the next ones are touring the country right now, get with program,  go see Touts.

Nervus – Bones

Venn Records is another label that’s always churning of the best of Britain’s noisiest and Nervus really caught my attention, there’s a particular hopeful melancholy to the songs. I write a lot about my experiences being transgender, and more often it’s about being visible as a musician. Seeing artists like Em Foster from Nervus absolutely smashing it, is an incredible scene for me witness. I absolutely love this band.

The Spook School – Burn Masculinity

How can you disagree with “Burn Masculinity”? They tour relentlessly, they constantly release great music, great ethos, great song writing. They’re the whole package.

Dawn Ray’d – Black Cloth

Liverpool’s finest. Dawn Ray’d are not just what black metal needed, or what heavy music needed, but what every music fan out there needed. An uncompromising approach to their art, their message and their purpose. They have taken anti-fascist politics to the forefront of the black metal scene, which is so often plagued by far-right imagery and ideology. But in an area of far-right politics meandering it’s way into Britian’s political landscape this isn’t just a message for the niche audience of heavy music, but for everyone.

Wonk Unit – Go Easy

Saving the best for the last, Wonk are the absolute kings of the UK DIY scene – their annual Wonkfest is THE punk gathering of the year every year. Alex’s lyrics are witty, hilarious and tongue and in cheek. Let’s ditch all these stale leather clad lad rock look-a-likes and have a Wonk instead. Vote for Wonk.

222