Hey, here’s the latest in exceptional new music, ’tis the Weekly New Wonders playlist. There’s a lot to absorb but I swear there are some quality vitamins in here that will do you good, so please indulge all the way. Going forward, in addition to the full aforementioned playlist, we’re going to do a “Best of the Wonders” (or something like that) at the end of each month featuring the Top 6 so be on the lookout for that soon.
And wait, one more Important Notice !! : the Soundcloud playlist is 7 songs longer because those tracks are not yet available on Spotify, so for this week gonna especially encourage you to check out the former so you don’t miss anything ! Onward…
Soundcloud is here:
Spotify is here:
Understated, winding and turning, shimmering and pretty, “Tired” is basically a sigh in song form. There’s a line within it that goes “Oh God, won’t you get off your phone and tell me how you feel. I’m tired”, which just about sums it all up. The guitar within somehow manages to both chime and sound utterly defeated and it all makes for something exceptionally fine.
“Lazy Love” is the long lost cousin, or modern day offspring (take your pick), of Nilsson’s “The Moonbeam Song” and Gilbert O’Sullivan’s legendary ” Alone Again (Naturally)”, the latter being one of the darkest # 1 songs ever, which is to say it sounds like it’s wistfully wandered into 2018 straight out of 1971. Plush and simple, awash in sorrowful sun going down strings, and starring both drums and guitars that literally cry, it’s taken from Johnny’s forthcoming ep, and is a fantastically sweet thing.
Well here we are again, open heartedly offering up a playlist with the best new tracks that have surfaced over the past week, which is to say here’s the latest Weekly New Wonders Playlist. And we’ve been gifted with some very special things so please open your heart to ’em. You can listen on Spotify or Soundcloud, links below…
“Garden Roses” is echoey, mournful, and transportive, and Beckie Margaret’s crying, siren-esque vocal absolutely shines: when she hits the high notes, it calls to mind the legendary Shara Nelson of Massive Attack “Blue Lines” LP fame. What a lovely thing, wish it were even longer.
By the mid-80’s, Prince was at the height of his creative powers. Utterly fearless and endlessly adventurous. One of his most surprising inventions at the time was the creation of a female alter-ego whom he christened Camille. Basically she was Prince with studio manipulated/pitched up vocals. Now the plan at the time was to release an album as Camille. It was recorded, mastered and allegedly printed but the plug was pulled at the last minute for reasons unknown. Fortunately a few of the songs earmarked for that project ended up on the “Sign ‘O” The Times”, most famously “If I Was Your Girlfriend”, and so we were at least blessed with a little something. Still, how brilliant and boundary pushing would it have been for such a gloriously androgynous pop creation, and work of art to have been properly unleashed. Lord.
Prince had Camille, and Emma Louise has Joseph. And it is Joseph who sings the lead on the epic, plush, Goldfrapp-ian “Mexico”. Story is that while recording her first album back in 2013, Emma heard her some of her backing vocals pitched down and was so taken with the effect that a new identity was born to embody this otherworldly voice, and that is Joseph. And the result is just beauteous: a galloping, widescreen anthem of the highest order. It also brought to mind the brilliant “My Father” as sung by Alison Limerick on the 2nd legendary This Mortal Coil LP from ’84 and you can’t get any better than that.
Astral Drive aka Phil Thornalley is a lot of things. Producer (The Cure, Prefab Sprout, Pixie Lott), one-time member of aforementioned Cure, and co-writer of Natalie Imbruglia’s mega hit ‘Torn”, with loads of other credits under his belt. He is also completely infatuated and crushing hard on Todd Rundgren. On his new self-titled album , the Todd influence is so overt, so brazen, so unabashed in it’s love and reverence that it’s nearly impossible to cast a critical eye…or at least it is for me as a Todd loving fool. There are flourishes in certain songs that are reminiscent of very specific Rundgren tracks ( the title track both is and isn’t Todd’s 1973 “Sometimes I Just Don’t Know What to Feel”)… but they are delivered so earnestly, are so heart on the sleeve, that complaining about them seems nonsensical ( gotta say this as I suspect some purists may take issue with it). The entire LP is just melodic to the core, full of pretty glorious, un-cynical piano pop-soul, and hooks, hooks,hooks (of course). Want to mention that things get even more meta on tracks like ” No One Escapes” and the fab lead single “Summer of ’76”, where the respective chorus’s brush shoulders with those of another wondrous artist who himself was openly influenced by Todd, namely New Radicals/ Gregg Alexander…and so if you dig that stuff at all, you will very likely be susceptible to the charms on display here.
The additional irony is that Todd himself embarked on a similar venture way back in 1980 with his band Utopia, releasing an album of deliberately Beatle-esque songs called “Deface The Music”, which itself was all love (and pretty fun honestly)…and so, thinking Todd would heartily approve of this labor of love.
And with that, take a listen to the album on Spotify below and party like it’s 1976:
And have a look at the video for lead single “Summer of ’76” which pretty much captures the feeling in a bottle :
“The Weekend” is a jaunty lament which I know sounds impossibly contradictory but is truly what this is…and it’s as lovable and infectious as self-pitying gets. Contents include the line “I’d give anything to see myself the way you saw me then”, a name check for Thomas Pynchon, and a “request” be tortured with recaps of the aforementioned weekend, all whilst sounding like Tim Kasher from Cursive fronting Peter Bjorn and John. Basically all the nerd bases are covered here ( which this nerd appreciates) and it adds up to something pretty damn good.
And hey, please check out “Every Decision” below for some lovely, wistful Beach Boys “In My Room” style swoon material, which is also pretty exceptional.
Something a bit Todd Rundgren-esque happening here in the best way, which is to say “Everything” is slightly spaced out, ridiculously melodic, brazenly prog…and of course features a seductive little piano opening. It is plush, lush, and most handsome.
And now for this week’s batch of glitter-filled and otherworldly new pop songs i.e. welcome to the Weekly New Wonders Playlist. You can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify and yeah you should (please) because there’s some fine stuff to hear for real.