Holy moly. Is it just me or is there quite a lot of music out there right now? It’s getting silly now. Half the world seems to have a musical project of some description and, even more disconcertingly, half of those are at least decent. Which is frankly too much. I can’t seem to walk out of my front door without bumping into 4 or 5 intriguingly pitched psychedelic doom bands these days. Maybe I live in a weird area. Of course most of them end up sounding like a tenth rate Sabbath with Ozzy singing from the bottom of a particularly deep well, but still. Even once you’ve hacked away the chaff there’s an overwhelming amount of good music left. There’s barely enough time to hear it all, never mind begin to actually digest any of it. Most of the stuff on this playlist is stuff I’ve made a point of spending time with, pondering, musing upon, nodding to in a barely conscious drunken daze, that sort of thing. But I’d be lying if I claimed there weren’t a few pieces of freshly regurgitated noise that I’ve been very much enjoying in the brief windows I’ve had with it on there, stuff that may reveal itself to be actually a bit dull once I’ve had time to really get under it’s skin. But thems the risks you take in life. Or in music blogging at least.
With that in mind I recommend that you have a listen to this playlist of things-that-have-been-getting-me-excited for the second quarter of the year and be assured that the hit rate should be more than respectable when all is said and done. We can worry about how things shake out for posterity at a later date. For now we need to take the little time we have not working or sleeping or worrying about not working or not sleeping to be slapped around the chops by the woozy, cerebral politicised trip-pop of Jenny Hval; be clobbered into a trance by the bass-heavy pulse of GNOD’s latest work; get hypnotised by the ceaseless doom jams of Headless Kross (this one being named after a gag from 30 Rock for reasons I’m sure made sense at the time); get lost in the labyrinthine riffs of Tempel’s spectacular new stuff and be enveloped in the final crescendo of Petrel’s brilliant new record Flailing Tomb. And of course plenty more. I’d wager that you’ll be glad you did.
Music scribes always like to describe the present moment, the state of the ecosystem at this very second, as if it were a singular entity. A person even. It’s an age old conceit that we’re all guilty of. A year in music will reguarly described as exploding out of the blocks as if it were a real, living sprinter competing against years gone by in some weird chrono-Olympics. It’s all a bit silly.
But this one, well, it has to be said: it’s come out swinging. It’s not looking to out point 2014 – it’s gone straight for the knockout with a furry of brutal punches. I mean, um, records.
But yes, behold this 25 track playlist. We’ve got Isis’ Aaron Turner unleashing some of his most terrifying noise yet as part of Sumac; Chilean psych-monkeys Föllakzoid stretching out with the almost drone-like sprawl of Piure; Elder augmenting their stoner armoury with some prog-rock ponderings on Legend; Hey Colossus! both scaling new heights and plumbing new depths on Eat It; Torche coming back heavier than ever on Loose Men; day-glo shoegaze courtesy of Russia’s Pinkshinyultrablast; Sleater-Kinney sounding the same as ever after a 10 year hiatus and yet as fresh as they ever did; Pyramids somehow being both terrifying and gorgeous simultaneously on Indigo Birds and Public Service Broadcasting doing funk-rock about Yuri Gagarin like it’s never been done before (because, unsurprisingly it hasn’t). And that’s just for starters. That’s over 2 hours of great music with one song per band taken only from the albums I’ve got around to listening to from this year so far. I’d say that’s a pretty good start, wouldn’t you?
Well it seems the gray curtain of February has lifted and left us blinking in the slightly brighter month of March. So it seems like the perfect time from me to finish up the WD 20 track rundown of 2014. I might change the tagline on here to: “Wanton Dilettantery: as timely as a Summer advent calendar.”
Anyway, here it is: my 20 songs of 2014, including a lengthy doom workout, some indie rock noodlings, a hefty dose of shouty alt-rock, a heart rendingly fragile piano piece and whatever the hell Mazel Tov is. Despite my best efforts it’s too all-over-the-place to hang together as a well curated mixtape. But as 20 individual tracks it shows that 2014 was a pretty great year for music. But then they all are if you look hard enough – there’s an unholy amount of it released every month, if you aren’t enjoying it you aren’t looking in the right places. And if you can’t be bothered WD has got your back – sporadically bringing you good music long after it was in any way relevant. That’s the WD guarantee.
Ok, sure, a 20 song playlist for a 13 song list may not make any sense. But 20 is a nice round number and anyway, bigger is better, right? Sure it is. And unless you have Hot Grave on your hard drive (and you really should) it’s actually a 19 song playlist as that’s not available on Spotify. Either way – these 20 songs were my favourite musical moments of 2013, fragments of my year shoved awkwardly into a playlist for your delectation. Given the title of this blog you can expect there to be little focus or cehesion in this as a mixtape – that’s just par for the course. Being a natural born dilettante rarely lends itself to nice tidy narratives and makes neat segueing a tricky thing to pull off. But this is as good as it got last year. You should have a listen and find out how right I am.