After a long playlist–generation hiatus, I’ve created a new house party themed list. Its not new or cutting edge music, just a meticulous arrangement of songs I’ve picked out over the past few days. This kind of mix is something I like to dip into now and again after listening to dreary indie all day long; just to keep ‘it real’.
For the cover I thought I’d take an established image and turn it on its head. In this example its the famous chancellor/briefcase pose used for the UK budget. Sending up authority is always amusing (as too is the juxtaposition of socio-economic classes), hence George is holding out a boombox instead. I liked the cover idea so much that I’ve expanded on it further. The image below is a composition of found net images; utilising this technique is like being a ‘visual’ DJ, which is why it suits the project!
Spotify playlist Number 11: Summer Sounds
For those of you with Seasonal Affective Disorder — fear not — for summer is here again, and about time too! Fingers crossed that we’ve got the volcanic ash and election palaver out of the way – for now anyway – so here’s to a long drawn-out wind-down with chilled drinks in pub gardens, and days at the beach!
I’ve dusted off a few of my favourite seasonal tracks to play this time of the year with a few new ones to boot; so if you’re unlucky enough to be stuck indoors working maybe this will help you get into a summer state of mind.
Spotify playlist Number 10: Modern Retro
I’ve recently been enjoying the upsurge in retro graphic styles and colour usage posted on design and image bookmarking sites. Interestingly this direction correlates with the alternative music scene: the past five years has seen a massive influx of 80s inspired music — whether it be through synthesisers and electro sound effects, writing style, or even mimicking a former popular artists sound.
The popularity of both indie music and the 1980s has also been highlighted in the satirical blog ‘stuffwhitepeoplelike.com’: ‘Indie music’ and ’80s night’ currently feature in the top 100 list at positions 41 and 29 respectively.
Personally I can’t get enough of this potent mix of genres, and I hope this wave continues in both musical and graphical media formats. This playlist is a bite-size update of retro/power/electro/pop/indie that I’ve been frequently listening to over the past month or so.
Spotify playlist Number 9: Student Salad Dayz 89-00
These days the nineties are predominantly marketed using ‘old skool’ dance songs. I liked this period but not as much as the britpop period which would follow on a few years later; dance music in the 90’s was really just a logical progression from the late eighties.
Then came the lowest ebb in music history of recent times: the ‘smash-hits’ dance / reggae / vacuous pop period that reached a peak circa 1994. It felt like a period of cheap music created for instant business gain with little substance. In the background, indie music was building up momentum through this period thanks to bands like the stone roses. This culminated in a britpop explosion that peaked about 1996. I always felt that the rise of britpop was due to a knee-jerk reaction to the awful chart music from previous years. Bands like oasis, blur, pulp, and the manics were championed by the press as the front runners to a new epoch that clung to a more traditional resonance.
This collection of songs earmark my youth – a decade in education and teenage angst that seemed to never end, from school to college and eventually university. Nowadays I don’t often listen to this period of music, but its still worth a listen now and again. This playlist is not strictly indie or britpop as some songs belong to other categories, however these tracks suitably belong to the era. Its too bad the Oasis back catalogue is largely absent from Spotify.
Spotify playlist Number 8: Rebel Yell
I wouldn’t openly champion the idea that I have a rebellious streak, but what makes my blood boil is self-serving and corruption in authority. I expect many of the british people feel the same way which is why the news about the MPs expenses scandal has refused to die down.
On a different note, the latest (albeit minor) revolt covered in the press is the campaign for Rage against the machine to beat the Xfactor finalist to the Christmas number 1 spot. Whereas I sympathise with the principles, I cannot help but feel a strain of cynicism with the details: both artists feature under the Sony Label.
I half believe this is ingenius spin doctoring on behalf of Sony to raise Christmas sales during a flagging economy, (as well as act as an insurance policy as they represent both the runners.) Potentially the publicity stunt could extend projected annual Xfactor artist sales: lets face it, all popular mainstream fads reach a peak and eventually pass. By turning this event into a publicity stunt both artists and the Xfactor programme get a boost in the headlines, to which the latter will no doubt get a token publicity boost next year as there will be a precedent for contention. Shouldn’t we just let this fad die down naturally rather than fuel its longevity?
On the other hand this could be a geniuine grass roots revolt – which has now succeeded. Whatever your thoughts on the matter, Simon Cowell has vested interests in both Xfactor and Sony so hes quids in. This is not necessarily a no win situation for people who really like music, as the overall goal is to diminish chart control from pop-pap manufacturer Xfactor.
…I could easily rant on, but the actual reason for this post is that I’ve made a playlist on the loose theme of rebellion either through lyrical content or band attitude. I make no apologies for including Billy Idol or Pat Benetar!
Spotify playlist Number 7: Classical and Soundtrack
I’ve always been a closet fan of classical music. It seems to have a stigma attached to it as the domain of the stuffy and pompous. Regardless of these percieved notions or implicit connotations I have loved the genre since my formative years. I’ve rummaged together a ‘concert’ list of favourite peices as well as orchestral and instrumental film scores that to this day inspire me.
Spotify playlist Number 6: Experimental Randomness
Where would we be without pioneers? Scientific mavericks? Revolutionary thinkers? Probably still fumbling about in caves dressed in pelts. This playlist is a celebration of the few brave explorers within the realms of music and sound. You may hear techno, dance, ambient, instrumental; mainstream and underground — however it all sounds a little bit experimental. Each track of beats, bleats, and beeps has been lovingly selected for its quaint and melodic properties. Venture forth!
Spotify playlist Number 5: Ultimate 80s
At heart I’m an eighties throwback – the decade I was born somehow feels like a home to which I can never return to, yet never let go of. I doubt I will ever figure the cause of this deep rooted love as it is shrouded through the perception of childhood, and subject to nostalgic romanticism. Nethertheless, here is a collection of 200+ songs (over 15 hours) worth of eighties tunes — and its freakin’ awesome!
Spotify playlist Number 4: Retro Indie Echo
My favoutie kind of music: a retro sounding indie mix featuring elements of electro, punk, alternative, sustain and echo. Inspired by the punk/alternative period in the very late 70s / early 80s, and all the way through to its influences over modern day indie rock. Occasionally electronic, always slick.
Spotify playlist Number 3: Indie Acoustic Collection
A few breezy guitar strumming tracks that remind me of summer. A bit late in the season as the promised barbecue season from the Met office seemed to only last a week in June. However if you believe that summer is also a state of mind, perhaps this audio smokescreen will help you fool yourself. And why not?