Playlist – 2014 (the first half)

My playlist for the first half of 2014 includes two songs I’ve been loving for at least a year, but were never available before now.

California (Cast Iron Soul) – Jamestown Revival

Red Eyes – The War of Drugs

Seasons (Waiting on You) – Future Islands

Take Me to Church – Hozier

Hollywood – RAC featuring Penguin Prison (been trying to get hold of this one for ages, finally released with the album)

Jerk Ribs – Kelis (ditto)

Supernova – Ray LaMontagne

This is the Last Time – The National (yes, the album is last year, but this has got play this year, and so I could sneak it in)

Control – Broken Bells

Avant Gardener – Courtney Barnett

Helpless Blues – The Bamboos

Magic – Coldplay (yes, yes I know. Nothing about this album grabs me except this song which won’t get out of my head. There’s one every year.)

Like I Need You – Kan Wakan

Angels of Fire – The Jezabels

Conviction – Meshell Ndegeocello

This Love is Here to Stay – Thomas Dybdahl

Waitress Song – First Aid Kit

Just One of the Guys – Jenny Lewis

Sherman (Animals in the Jungle) – Tom Vek

Cheap Sunglasses – RAC (featuring Matthew Koma)

Coming Down – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (featuring Matt Berninger)

Lazaretto – Jack White



Playlist – 2013

(Belatedly) My final playlist for 2013 ended up like this:

Little Numbers – BOY

Lanterns – Birds of Tokyo

Miracle Mile – Cold War Kids

Lightning Bolt – Jake Bugg

Joy to You Baby – Josh Ritter

Time to Run – Lord Huron

Entertainment – Phoenix

Diane Young – Vampire Weekend

Do It Again – Camera Obscura

Oh Sailor – Mr Little Jeans

The Way We Move – Langhorne Slim & the Law

The Woodpile – Frightened Rabbit

I Remember You – Rilo Kiley

Grace for Saints & Ramblers – Iron & Wine

Rumble and Sway – Jamie N Commons

Don’t Swallow the Cap – The National

Hold Me – Tom Odell

Ain’t That the Way – Divine Fits

Head in the Dirt – Hanni El Khatib

Made to Love – John Legend

Strong – London Grammar

Get Lucky – Daft Punk

Get Lucky – Daughter

I Sat By the Ocean – Queens of the Stone Age

Elephant – Tame Impala

State of the Art (AEIOU) – Jim James

You Already Know – Arcade Fire

No Destruction – Foxygen

Riptide – Vance Joy

Creep in T-shirt – Portugal. The Man

Right Action – Franz Ferdinand

A Ton of Love – Editors

Come Save Me – Jagwar Ma

Everything – Nine Inch Nails

Dangerous – Big Data

Falling – HAIM

Is This How You Feel? – The Preatures

Do I Wanne Know? – Arctic Monkeys

Birth in Reverse – St Vincent


Playlist – 2013 Part 1

I’ve been buying a lot of music so far this year, after a slow start.

My playlist for the first half of 2013 is:

Little Numbers – BOY (Mutual Friends)

Lanterns – Birds of Tokyo (March Fires)

Miracle Mile – Cold War Kids (Dear Miss Lonelyhearts)

Lightning Bolt – Jake Bugg (Jake Bugg)

Joy to You Baby – Josh Ritter (The Beast in its Tracks)

Time to Run – Lord Huron (Time to Run EP)

Entertainment – Phoenix (Bankrupt!)

Diane Young – Vampire Weekend (Modern Vampires of the City)

Do It Again – Camera Obscura (Desire Lines)

Oh Sailor – Mr Little Jeans

The Way We Move – Langhorne Slim & The Law

The Woodpile – Frightened Rabbit (Pedestrian Verse)

I Remember You – Rilo Kiley (Rkives)

Grace for Saints and Ramblers – Iron & Wine (Ghost on Ghost)

Rumble and Sway – Jamie N Commons

Don’t Swallow the Cap – The National (Trouble Will Find Me)

Hold Me – Tom Odell (Songs from Another Love EP)

Ain’t That The Way – Divine Fits (Aint that the Way EP)

Head in the Dirt – Hanni El Khatib (Head in the Dirt)

Made to Love – John Legend

Get Lucky – Daft Punk (Random Access Memories)

Get Lucky – Daughter

I Sat By the Ocean – Queens of the Stone Age (…Like Clockwork)

No Destruction – Foxygen (We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic)

Evil Friends – Portugal. The Man (Evil Friends)

She Looks Her Age

On a couple of occasions recently I have found myself having an internal conversation of which I am not proud.

To a point.

Not proud, first, because such conversations spring from watching Non-Highbrow Television. You know, telemovies on the Universal channel, routine procedurals, etc.

The scripted television hierarchy for me goes like this:

1. Really, really good on every level

2.  That which many consider guilty pleasures and/or only family entertainment but which are actually smart, great shows

3. Pretty good – decent procedurals/predictable but nevertheless funny sitcoms and/or kids shows I’m too old to watch but which are still pretty damn good

4.  So bad they’re good

5. Mediocre/Predictable/Wholly formulaic

6. Horrible

7. Urg

I live in the world of 1-3, and wade frequently into the pool of 4-5. I’d prefer not too, but we all have our weaknesses. And clearly enough of us have them to generate an audience for such programming. For which I am grateful. And embarrassed. And grateful. And embarrassed.

But that’s not the point.

The point is that I’ve found myself spending some time at level 5 recently, and, in turn thinking the following:

“Wow, she sure looks her age”,  followed rapidly by “Thank goodness she looks her age.”

Women in their mid-40s, on television, in HD, looking like women in their mid-40s.

Which is not to say bad at all.

Just looking un-injected and un-touched-up. With wrinkles around their eyes, and maybe their lips, and a certain something about their necks and/or decolletage and skin generally. Looking great, just not 25. Actors who have been on television or in films since their 20s. Who I have seen on television since their 20s. Who no longer look like they’re in their 20s, but nor do they look plastic.

It’s fantastic. I really appreciate it.

But that was not my first reaction. My first reaction was, essentially, “damn she’s looking old”. And I’m really not happy with myself for that. Why did I think that? Am I ageist? Am I just so conditioned by Hollywood? Have I just met/seen a lot of really well-preserved women? (I’ve met a few 50 year-olds in the last few months who have floored me with how un-flawed but un-injected they look.) Am I judgmental cow?

All of the above.

I’m not proud that my first reaction is “damn she’s looking old”. Ideally I’d like to not notice at all. Given that’s unlikely, I’d prefer that the entertainment industry generally was not so youth obsessed and training the rest of us to be in what seems like the proverbial vicious circle. And if it has to be, I’d prefer not to be sucked into it even if I don’t realise I’m being sucked into it. Not everyone is under 35 or over 60, which seem to be the only categories allowed.

So, in short, I’m very much pleased to see women on television – even in predictable, crapola programs which are really appealing with just the right number of alcoholic beverages or when one’s brain simply needs a break – who look fantastic but also the age they actually are. And I’m really going to try to only have a positive reaction to that, and eventually not notice at all, instead of noting it derisively before remembering it’s a bloody good thing.


With Events approaching over the next couple of weeks, I feel I must declare myself and make the following statements, damn the consequences:

1.  I am not into Game of Thrones. I tried, I really did. Not for me. I respect your obsession, but leave me out of it.


2.  I do not like hot cross buns.

3.  I gave up on Dr Who halfway through season 6 (season 236?) and deleted it off my IQ.

3a.  BUT, I came back to the Dr Who Christmas Special last year (thanks Frey) and am now much looking forward to series 7b.

4.  I much prefer Cadbury honeycomb Easter eggs to Haigh’s, Lindt or any vaguely ‘decent’ chocolate.


5.  Cadbury Creme Eggs are disgusting.

And there we have it.


2012 Playlist

My 2012 Playlist wound up shorter than usual, as new music went by the wayside when Events overtook (post to come, I’m sure) in favour of the nostalgic. Still, there was a lot of new music in my world this year.

So here’s my 2012 in new music (otherwise known as One of These Things is Not Like the Others, But I Am Not A Robot):

Gold of the Ceiling – The Black Keys – El Camino (yes, I started this list in 2011 to spread this album over 2 years)

Sweet Sour – Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour

Go Your Own Way – Lissie – Covered Up With Flowers

Simple Song – The Shins – Port of Morrow (Album that grew on me most this year)

Primitive Girl – M. Ward – A Wasteland Companion

1901 – Birdy – Birdy

Gray Goes Black – Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral

Blue – First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar

Warrior – Mark Foster + A-Track + Kimbra

Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen

Parted Ways – Heartless Bastards – Arrow

Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings – Father John Misty – Fear Fun

Hang Loose – Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

Love Interruption – Jack White – Blunderbuss

On the Road – Keane – Strangeland

1904 – The Tallest Man on Earth – There’s No Leaving Now

Man on Fire – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – Here

The Keepers – Santigold – Master of My Make Believe

Laura – Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man

Run My Heart – Twin Shadow – Confess

Maybe Not Tonight – Glen Hansard – Rhythm and Repose

Octopus – Bloc Party – Four

Splitter – Calexico – Algiers

Bigger Than Love – Benjamin Gibbard (with Aimee Mann) – Former Lives

Random #74

My favourite uses of music over movie credits (in no particular order):

Wake Up – Rage Against the Machine – The Matrix

Extreme Ways – Moby – The Bourne Films

The Hearts Filthy Lesson – David Bowie – Seven

I think it’s the adrenalin rush at the ends of each of the movies combined with the thump of the music. I also think it’s that I knew each song before each movie, so when they started up over the credits I knew exactly where the movie’s head was at (so to speak) and was in the same place. Plus (let’s ignore the later films), what exactly is going to play over the end of The Matrix if not Rage Against the Machine?

2011 Playlist

Every Christmas when I was a kid the present I’d most look forward to was the Compilation Tape. The album put out close to the end of the year with the year’s big hits on it.

Or, as the case usually was, a number of the year’s big hits and a bunch of songs that were random tracks which either (a) the record company wanted to push; or (b) I’d never heard of. In going back and looking at these tapes now – and yes, I still have them all in a box – it’s frequently the songs that I dismissed as a young teen as ‘crap I’d never heard of’ that I now most appreciate.

Here I give you “Howlin’ for Hits” from 1984.

You’ll see on the cover there a veritible Who’s Who of mid-80s pop and rock. It includes “Billie Jean” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Maniac” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. It also includes songs from bands not big enough to make the list on the front cover, like Depeche Mode and Style Council and Tears for Fears.

These tapes were perfect for me. A middle of the road commercial FM radio listener, spending my pocket money on mixed lollies and the odd cassette, taping songs off the radio, but not being ‘into’ music. A Compilation Tape delivering me a whole lot of singles in one place = most desired Christmas present.

Now my music taste is completely different. It really changed sometime during my last year of school, 1990. That would have been the last time I listened to commercial FM radio. Cannot stand it now. That’s not always about the music though, it’s mainly about the ads and the presenters. Also, in recent years, the auto-tune.

While I buy and listen to whole albums now, 35 or 40 a year, I also buy individual songs – so much easier to do now – and I still gravitate to certain songs, singles, and like a compilation. A mix-tape. Like most people I just make them myself. And I don’t wait for Christmas.

At the beginning of each year I start a new Playlist and over the course of the year I just add the songs that are most popular with me to the list. I’ll burn it progresively to CD to listen to in the car, and, as such I come to know these songs really well. Limit one song per artist, which can sometimes be a hard call. Sometimes the song is a single. Sometimes it’s something buried on the album. Sometimes the album came out the year before, but the song only hits me in the relavant year.

All of which is a very round-about way of getting to my 2011 Playlist:

Royal Blue – Cold War Kids (Mine is Yours)

I’ll Be Waiting – Adele (21)

Strange Girl – The Airborne Toxic Event (All At Once)

All of This – The Naked & Famous (Passive Me, Aggressive You)

Helena Beat – Foster the People (Foster the People)

Losers – The Belle Brigade (The Belle Brigade)

Make Some Noise – Beastie Boys (Hot Sauce Committee Part Two)

Beatles & Stones – Beady Eye (Different Gear, Still Speeding)

Sydney, I’ll Come Running – Brett Dennen (Loverboy)

Two Against One – Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi, feat. Jack White (Rome)

Piledriver Waltz – Artic Monkeys (Suck it and See)

Nail in My Coffin – The Kills (Blood Pressures)

Exile Vilify – The National

Machu Pichu – The Strokes (Angles)

(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care – Cee Lo Green (Rave On Buddy Holly)

Got it All (This Can’t be Living Now) – Portugal. The Man (In the Mountain, In the Cloud)

Puzzle Pieces – Saint Motel

Monday Morning – Death Cab for Cutie (Codes and Keys)

A Long Time – Mayer Hawthorne (How Do You Do)

Second Song – TV On The Radio (Nine Types of Light)

Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye (Making Mirrors)

Lonely Boy – The Black Keys (El Camino)

Poison & Wine – The Civil Wars (Barton Hollow)

The Death of You and Me – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds)

Lover to Lover – Florence + The Machine (Ceremonials)

Money – The Drums (Portamento)

Teardrops on My Pillow – Dum Dum Girls (Only in Dreams)

Tree By the River – Iron & Wine (Kiss Each Other Clean)

Of course there are many other songs on the albums, and many other albums that I’ve loved and listened to during the year. As for my favourite album? That’s always so hard. The ones getting the most play have been those by The Belle Brigade, The Drums, and The Black Keys (though that will roll over into next year and I might already have started my 2012 Playlist for the purposes of putting Gold on the Ceiling on it). But if forced to make the call my favourite album of the year is Blood Pressures by The Kills.