Ben Bowman delivers another insight into what he’s listening to.
It’s winter now, it’s freezing. Why does the weather change so dramatically between October and November? I’m writing this and it’s 1 degree outside, but instead of a scarf, wrap your ears around these songs from my current playlist. This is a real chill out playlist, perfect for a winter afternoons either spent in the comfort of your own company, or the company of love on the way to nowhere in the car.
Father John Misty – Real Love Baby
The suave American singer, songwriter’s latest offering dates back to this summer after his 2015 album ‘I love you, Honeybear’. The album, highly comedic and satirical in its nature was critically very well received with Rough Trade naming it as the second best album of that year. ‘Real Love Baby’ is something antithetical from Tillman’s previous work, but still he retains his effortlessly polished identity on this track. The track stands alone as upon its release in earlier this summer and it will not feature on any upcoming project. He delivers beautifully soothing vocals accompanied by soulful acoustic guitar and overall a charming song that deserves a listen. You can find the track on his personal soundcloud here….
Warpaint – So Good
Warpaint’s third album ‘Heads Up’ was released in September and was the subject of much attention and praise. NME rated the album 4 out of 5 stars and stated that “these LA ladies have broken with tradition and made a ‘mature’ album that doesn’t mean they’ve bypassed fun.” This statement rings true especially with this track ‘So Good’. A great pop song accompanied by a slick, slapping bass line and finely tuned soft vocals from singers Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman. Influences of perhaps The XX and a more electronic side are evident, but their indie and psychedelic roots still ring true on this track. It’s an impressively simple track that really sucks you into the narrative and takes you on a ride through the gleaming fields of dream pop.
Lou Reed – Vicious
It has been little over three years since the death of Lou Reed, member of the Velvet Underground and of course solo artist. The David Bowie produced album is one that Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner described as “wanting to make you have a shower afterwards”. Transformer is arguably the pinnacle of his solo career, featuring songs such as ‘Walk on the Wild side’ but it is the album opener which is currently getting its fair share of spins on my current playlist. Vicious is an Andy Warhol inspired song, Reed told the Rolling Stone magazine, and it is filled with his undeniable wit and charisma. “Vicious, you hit me with a flower, you do it every hour, oh baby you’re so vicious”, a typically sarcastic introduction from Reed, which was the line which Warhol told him to write. If you’re going to listen to any album this evening, make it this one.
Tame Impala – Led Zeppelin
Tame Impala should just tour forever, right? I’ve been lucky enough to see them live once when supporting Arctic Monkeys at Finsbury Park and Kevin Parker spoke about feeling ill during that set, apologising for not being at the top of his game. This show was prior to their 2015 release ‘Currents’, featuring another batch of fresh psychedelia which has heightened their reputation as one of the world’s best live bands. But if this wasn’t the Australian band at their best, I imagine their own shows to be intimidatingly good. This track Led Zeppelin is only available on the album ‘Lonerism’ as an iTunes bonus feature, but it is well worth spending the extra for the bonus edition. The song, much like many of their songs sounds just like a far out jamming session with the introductory shredding of electric guitar followed by an almost sloppy sounding drum-beat but the song pieces together brilliantly and it is a perfect song to gaze at your bedroom ceiling to.
Arctic Monkeys – Mad Sounds
This song came on in the car the other day when I was with my girlfriend, something Alex Turner spoke about in the build-up to the release of AM saying he wanted it to sound good in the car. On that winter afternoon, that song was the perfect accompaniment to realising how much you love someone. The idea that when the ‘Ooh La La’s’ hit, you can envisage the disco ball coming down and it creates a moment. One of Turner’s simpler tracks, but in this case simple it is perfect enough. It is not necessarily the greatest song in the world, but it is perfect to soundtrack a winter afternoon drive.
Alexandra Savior – Shades
I featured Alexandra Savior’s only other official release in my first installment of this series and her debut single ‘Shades’ has made its way onto the playlist for this week too. The words of Alex Turner have featured heavily in this piece, but he is notably the producer for Savior’s yet to be released debut album which I am extremely looking forward to it given the quality of her first two singles. Shades shares the common quality of being hauntingly beautiful with other release ‘M.T.M.E’, but with a bit more ‘oomph’. Given the ever growing hype surrounding her and a debut album in the not-too distant future, Alexandra Savior’s explosion into the mainstream of alternative music is inevitable.
Words by Ben Bowman, you can follow Ben on twitter here.