Category: Weekly New Wonders Playlist !

Weekly New Wonders Playlist #30 of 2022

Part of my routine for finding new music involves doing a weekly scroll through Bandcamp. And while I like getting recommendations from their writers and contributors, I generally prefer to explore the wilds on my own. The amount of stuff uploaded there daily is pretty overwhelming and even if you are only looking through the offerings of a specific genre, it can be hard to know where to start. As for me, I use the most basic human algorithm there is to determine what I’m gonna press play on; the album cover. More often than not, that’s the determining factor over whether I give something a spin.

I am an old-school-album-art lover and my childhood dream was to draw (literally) album covers for a living. And so, I’m kinda partial to actual art. When I see a childhood photograph of the artist opening Xmas presents or wearing a Halloween costume being used as a cover or to represent an album or song, I feel angry. I recoil at the overt attempt to illicit cheap “awwws”. I shudder at the self-absorption. I rage at the laziness. Fuck those album covers. Give me something weirdly beautiful (this). Give me something cheap and disgusting (this). Give me anything but a 5-year-old on vacation in neon-framed sunglasses or wearing a batman outfit. 

Music is not always just about the music; the way it’s presented is part of the experience. I admit my feelings are rooted in the fact that I grew up listening to vinyl albums so that cliched ritual of putting a record on and then analyzing the cover as it played was a foundational experience for me. That experience was even better if the album came with a poster or stickers. These “gifts” never ceased to thrill me. Sliding out a cool poster ( which I ALWAYS hung up) or stickers (which I ALWAYS slapped on my school notebooks and then regretted because they were then “gone forever”) was genuinely exciting to me. It got to a point where I felt cheated if there wasn’t a “present” inside an album ( “what, there’s no poster? Fuck you fill in artist name here“). 

So for me, the outside of an album has always set the table for the music inside. When I see a drawing, painting, sculpture, or cool photo on a Bandcamp page, I’ll usually give the song or album it represents a listen.

Back in 2018, during one of my Bandcamp hikes, I stumbled upon a weirdly magnetic album cover featuring the torso of a reclining Barbie doll with a brain in place of her head. The image was so striking compared to what surrounded it that I instantly wanted to hear the album it represented. The record was called Surgery and it was by Cherophobiac (aka Alexandra Sullivan). 

I couldn’t believe my luck. Surgery was amazing. Sonically, it sat somewhere between the balladic tracks on Radiohead’s exceptional opus Moon Shaped Pool and Laura Nyro at her saddest. Four years have passed since its initial release and its dark, melodic piano-based balladry still sounds freakin’ amazing.

This past week saw the release of an extended video for two songs from Surgery; the title track and “Prayer Hands”. It was created by Olivia Rotante and emanates a gloriously sinister seventies vibe, where the decor is brown, the wives are Stepford-ian and the food is toxically terrifying in its banality. It’s like looking through a blood-stained copy of a Family CircleRedbook, or McCall’s magazine from 1973.  

You can check out the video right here. Come feel the creepy contradiction!

And now please join me in welcoming the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the BEST new songs that have crossed our path in recent weeks. It features two holy-jeezus-are-these-good covers of songs originally done by Paula Cole and The Long Winters as well as lustrous offerings by some sweetly familiar names. Yup, it was just one of those homecoming-type weeks. You can listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify. 

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist #29 of 2022

Don’t be scared. I’m not about to preach to you. That’s just a ballpoint drawing I did for my Mom recently, featuring what’s probably the millionth sheep I’ve drawn in my life. This is not the first time I’ve drawn J.C. About five years ago I did a pic of him (Him) by request for a friend that featured the actual crucifixion scene. As I don’t know anything about the nuances of the bible, it was a weird depiction. His torso had an enormous tattoo of a tree for one thing. Anyway, I emailed a pic of that one to my Mom and she went nuts. So much so that she had a bunch of photocopies made and started selling them for $10 a pop at her table at the southern flea market where she sells her flipped wares each week. She didn’t tell me she was doing this until after she’d been hawking them for a few weeks. I was disturbed by this. Not because I wanted a cut of the meager profits (FYI: she did pop me a $20 bill once) but because people actually wanted such a cartoony, pseudo-religious, amateurish thing in their homes for maybe prayer purposes. And so here I am gifting-trusting my Mom with her own J.C. to manipulate at her will. Only God (or J.C.) knows what she’s gonna do with it though I wouldn’t mind another $20. Thanks in advance Mom.

Hey, it’s time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the best new songs that have been launched into the world this week. They are lustrous, smokey, and embraceable in every way and you can hear ’em below on Soundcloud or Spotify.

P.S. I wrote some stuff in honor of Eurythmics induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame this week over at Cover Me. If you love Annie and Dave, and wanna hear some crazy beautiful covers of “Here Comes The Rain Again”, I invite you to check it out here!

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Weekly New Wonders #28 of 2022

I’m gonna quickly do what I’m required to by law and talk about Taylor Swift. Yes, I bought the new album Midnights (3am edition) because like a huge part of the pop population, I’m a sheep who (over) cares. I hardly qualify as an obsessive fan (when I crave having my thoughts verbalized by a pop genius, it’s Annie Lennox’s Bare or Songs Of Mass Destruction for me always). But I dig TS enough to have all her albums and generally think she’s pretty kickass. And I confess to a sick, long-term fascination with the Kaylor “conspiracy” ( google if you are unsure what that is, and sorry in advance).

I wouldn’t go so far as to call Midnights a five-star “masterpiece” like the review in The Guardian declared, nor do I think it’s as good as 2020’s Folklore…but it’s still pretty damn good. If you are a crotchety old melody-hound like me, then these six tracks (out of the album’s 20) might be up yer alley: “Maroon”, “Anti-Hero”, “Question…?”, “Labyrinth”, “Bigger Than the Whole Sky”, “Would’ve, Should’ve, Could’ve”. They’re all pretty awesome.

And now I offer you, the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the best new songs not invented by Taylor Swift that have been thrust into the world this week (or so). I want to shout out the lead track, “The Owl Of the Night” by the brilliant sister duo Fire In Her Eyes because it is just so freakin’ gorgeous. That beauty is not on Spotify as of this writing but it is on Soundcloud so you can check it out that way below ( and I’ll plug it into the Spotify list as soon as it’s available there).

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist #27 of 2022

Ron Darling, Gary Cohen, and Keith Hernandez are the supreme broadcast team of the NY Mets.

If you are not a baseball fan or more specifically a NY Mets fan, you probably won’t know who those three guys up there are. They are the Mets broadcast team of Ron Darling, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez and are as good as baseball announcers get. Along with great analysis and brutal honesty, they offer something else…or rather Gary Cohen does. He is a music nerd who will occasionally drop in references to his blessed musical nerdiness when he is calling the games. As I am both a music nerd and lifelong Mets fan, I find this to be absolutely f*cking awesome.

Whenever Gary mentions a band or song during a broadcast, I write it down. I started doing it casually about a year ago, but this season I went all in; every time he said something, I logged it on a singular running list (reminder, nerd here). Anyway, I would like to now share the highlights of the finest, most embraceable, and often impressive, musical references Gary Cohen offered during the Mets 2022 season:

Welcome to NY Mets Announcer Gary Cohen’s Top In-Game Musical References: 2022 Edition otherwise known as THERE’S A MUSIC NERD IN THE BOOTH. Here they are in chronological order:

1May 18: Gary quotes from Public Image Ltd’s “Rise“, and sings its key line “Anger is an energy”. He then turns to Keith (non-music nerd) and says “Keith you don’t remember Public Image Ltd” (because of course he doesn’t).

2May 31: Gary mentions that he saw The Clash at the Palladium and then states that Joe Strummer “was a visionary”. He also found time to mention the Mudd Club, Danceteria, and The Ramones along the way.

3June 5: Gary quotes a line from Olivia Newton-John’s “Please Mr.Please” in response to a Keith anecdote and says “don’t play B-17”.

4July 2: Gary calls Martha & the Vandellas “one of the most underrated groups of the sixties” (true), mentions Phil Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound” and later drops the fact that Mary Hopkin’s evergreen 1971 classic “Those Were The Days” was produced by Paul McCartney.

5July 4: Gary celebrates the band X on independence day by quoting the eponymous song and tipping his hat to the legends: “Hey baby, it’s the 4th of July“, in the immortal words of John Doe and Exene Cervenka”

6July 8: Gary quotes the Mountain’s 1970 sludge-rock classic “Missississippi Queen” and says “Mississippi queen, you know what I mean”. He then mentions band leader Leslie West. It didn’t stop there. Both the song and West got namechecks on 8/4 and again on 8/17 ( by Gary AND Ron). The booth is weirdly obsessed with Mountain, West, and “Mississippi Queen”.

7July 11: Gary mentioned the time when a New York Times article allegedly referred to Meatloaf as “Mr.Loaf“.

8August 3: In reference to Mets slugger Pete Alonso hitting his 88th RBI, Gary quotes the trashy former #1 song from 1988 “Wild Wild West” by The Escape Club and offers up a bit of the chorus; “Heading for the nineties, Living in the wild, wild west”.

9August 5: Gary mentions The Monkees deep cut and cult classic “Gonna Buy Me a Dog“.

10August 15: In regards to the then pending anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, Gary offered this little nugget: “Elvis left this mortal coil…in the sitting position I believe”.

11August 30: Gary salutes The Temptations “Papa Was A Rolling Stone“‘ and sings “It was the third of September, that day I’ll always remember”

12September 7: Gary says he likes ska and most specifically, loves Madness , who of course, Keith has never ever heard of. He also mentions that he listens to Little Steven’s radio show, “Underground Garage“.

13September 11: Gary sings a line from Cake’s “Never There“: “You’re never there, You’re never ever, ever, ever, there”.

I still can’t believe he quoted freakin’ “Rise” during a freakin’ Met game, I mean what the holy hell?! Brilliant. Gary Cohen rules.

Okay, now to our regularly scheduled programming! It is time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs that have crossed our path this week. There’s a gorgeous retro feel to this week’s bunch and they are all superfoxybeautiful. Listen below on Soundcloud OR Spotify!

P.S. And thanks for indulging me today non-baseball/strictly music nerds and PuR friends. You won’t have to read anything like this again until next October, swear 😉

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist #26 of 2022

I’m not sure what Pinterest is for but I kinda like it. It seems very quaint compared to the manic “look at me!” vibe that Instagram, TikTok, and others tend to showcase. Pinterest, with its collections of photos of basically everything in existence, is more of a porch swing sittin’, cold drink swiggin’, old lady scrapbookin’ kind of experience. Its pace is “old dog on a hot day” slow. A few months ago we wrote a big piece breaking down the entire Genesis discography (see here). I had wanted to include this wonderfully homoerotic pic I found on Pinterest of Genesis’s Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford wearing matching jackets, blue eyes, and beards and looking every inch like the late ’70s bear-boyfriends they were not in real life. Alas, I found it impossible to justify including in an essay meant to talk solely about Genesis albums and their contents. I mean, there was no godly reason to include it other than the fact I myself found it to be amusingly suggestive and weirdly hot. Hell, I still do, thus I am including it with today’s WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST because I can’t stand to see it go to waste any longer.

And with that, may I now offer you the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the absolute finest songs that have crossed our path over recent days. There is a lustrous, epic, and oddly ’90s feeling about this week’s bunch, and dammit, are they good. Listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify. Turn it on again…

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist #25 of 2022

I don’t have any weird anecdotes to offer with this week’s edition of the WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST. All I have is a bouquet of the most wistful, wondrous, dirty ‘n’ beautiful new songs that have crossed our path over recent days. I’m not being lazy I swear, I’m working on a new discographic breakdown and assembling it requires the full engagement of every one my small brain cells (p.s. it’s coming in late September!). In the meantime, please enjoy these fabulous tunes as well as this bonus pic of David B looking supa-hot as he floats serenely in Bangkok in 1983 (I care about you). You can listen to the playlist on Soundcloud or Spotify below. Let’s sway…

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist #24 of 2022

“What does it sound like?” The year was 1997 and I wanted to know if the latest Björk album, Homogenic was any good. My inquiry was directed at a friend who was a big fan. To this day, his reply still makes me laugh: “Oh you know, it’s the usual, like pots and pans falling down the stairs with Björk singing over the top of it”. Perfect.

When it comes to Björk, I have only ever been a casual fan. I’ve seen live shows (both The Sugarcubes and solo) and own all of her solo studio albums (including Homogenic!). And I remember being particularly enamored with her soundtrack album from 2000, Selmasongs, and listening to it non-stop for months. Still, while there have been songs and albums I’ve genuinely loved along the way, I’ve never been a fanatic.

But man oh man, do I LOVE her new podcast. It is called Björk: Sonic Symbolism. Each episode is dedicated to a particular album in her discography (find it here). It is earnest, fascinating, and funny (she cuts down the male-dominated society of the Smurfs!). And if you are an introverted weirdo like me, you will find it shockingly relatable. Yes, there are all sorts of poignant Björk-ian anecdotes—like how during her daily 40-minute walk to school as a child, she used to sing to herself to keep calm as she trudged through extreme and scary Icelandic weather conditions. And she describes how the cover of the album Post was meant to represent an innocent girl being overwhelmed by the colors, lights, and intensity of the city (which inspired me to really look at the cover properly for the first time, crazy but true). But honestly, the most amazing thing about the podcast is how often she references her introversion and the challenge of operating as an introvert in a world that favors and overrates extroverts (sidebar: she also mentions being a Scorpio, so shout out to all my fellow Scorps). As of this writing, there are only three episodes posted so she has at least another six to go and yeah, I think you should go spend some time with Björk because life is hard, and hearing a fellow weirdo talk about making art and “being different” so effusively will absolutely make you feel better.

It is now time for the WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs that have crossed our path this week. They are all oh so wonderful. Listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify. And hey, there’s another little treat following the playlists so keep scrolling!

We live on a mountain…

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Bonus beats!

PuR pal Ed Zed of the band Strange Flesh (formerly known as The Casual Sexists) wrote us a thunderous review of the equally thunderous new album by Anzahlung, What You Think Is All You’ve Got. Sock it to us hero Ed…

“ANZAHLUNG!” What a delightfully stentorian way to bark what translates into plummy old English as “deposit”. And by jingo, dearest reader, Anzahlung are about to firmly deposit their dazzling brand of warped electronic anti-pop into your unexpecting earholes this very day.
The duo, an offshoot of the almighty Cravats comprised of chief yelper The Shend and multipronged muso Joe 91, is a project originally manifested during the dark days of 2020’s lockdown, now back with a glorious second album, which just might be their best.
(Before we go any further if any of you are unfamiliar with The Cravats, have a go on my earlier PuR pieces about them here and here, and by god, I envy you getting to hear this band for the first time).

What You Think Is All You’ve Got—a title that really resonates with me, albeit uneasily—kicks off with the sonically Suicide-esque “Pet”, which explores the equally uneasy concept of ownership of another living entity. 

From here, Anzahlung really goes into overdrive, fusing clangingly deconstructed techno and bass music stylings with The Shend’s scything social commentary, delivered in playfully mocking singsong tones on “Boneless Man”, before giving way to sky-clawing, borderline showtune acrobatics for the parping “Too Famous”.

“Can Be Happy”, “Ghost” and “Have You Any Ha Ha Ha” provide a cordially punishing industrial interlude before we arrive at one of the brightest jewels in Anzahlung’s crown: a smoldering synthpop ballad which speaks so delicately of the horror and absurdity of war, I confess that I haven’t made it dry-eyed through one single exposure to this exquisite song. 
Conjuring the blind fear of a WWII pilot on a mission that makes little sense, “Junkers” is a poignant, harrowing and beautiful epistle to one forced into the maelstrom, and I’m not going to lie, it’s probably my favorite track on the album.

As well as poignant synthpop ballads, however, I also have a passion for deeply unwell club music, and the cuckoo “Fan Out” spews the perfect amount of unholy muck onto the dancefloor before “Can’t Take It With You” injects a dose of staccato electro-glam into the proceedings.
Next, the wonderful “Cliff”, pulsing with anthropomorphic angst, ferries us into the uncomfortable waters of the album’s title track, and one of its very best. 

“What You Think is All You’ve Got” begins with the always great combination of drums, vocals, and a few unidentifiable dissonant noises before waging its fractured assault on the jivin’ arena, all paranoia and horror movie bass frequencies, before it culminates in a final strangled yawp.
Rounding out the affair is the apocalyptic funk freakout of “You Won’t Come Back” and bonkers “Don’t Open The Door”, which simultaneously recalls The Cravats’ absurdist album closer “All U Bish Dumpers” fused with Sun Ra’s “Strange Strings”.

Anzahlung’s barnstorming new opus proves that while many elder statespeople of punk are content to retread old boards, the best ones are far happier continuing to pogo on those boards until they splinter to matchwood, precipitating a daredevil plunge into new and exotic netherworlds below. And as a lifelong devotee of the stuff, to me, that’s what punk was always supposed to do, innit?

Anzahlung’s ‘What You Think Is All You’ve Got’ is available at Bandcamp (here), both digitally and as a very limited vinyl LP, which you should purchase as a Christmas present for absolutely everyone you know, before Santa and his wicked elves distribute them to far less deserving parties.

Weekly New Wonders Playlist #23 of 2022

This is weird but I want to “advertise ” the piece posted just before this latest edition of WEEKLY NEW WONDERS I’m about to serve up, aka our round-up of the best new songs from recent days which are seriously exquisite but hold that thought!

A few months ago, PuR reader-friend Tim asked if he could write a piece for the blog about how influential a particular book had been in his burgeoning musical nerdom as a child. When he told me it was The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Rock by Nick Logan and Bob Woffinden, I couldn’t f*cking believe it for this book had been a foundational piece in my childhood as well. 

I get how Where The Wild Things Are, Harry Potter or The Baby-sitters Club books were seminal for millions of normal kids, inspiring their love of reading, dreaming and all that. But for me, no book was as glamorous or spoke to me as profoundly as The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Rock. It was home to a full-page picture of sweaty Jimmy Page coming offstage that I was both fascinated with and completely disgusted by. It featured hundreds of entries about bands I had never heard of like “Fairport Convention” (who?) and “Slade”(again, who?), and depicted album covers I’d never seen. Plus there were all sorts of sordid anecdotes about musicians OD-ing and jumping in front of trains. As a child who kept a scrapbook of obituaries for “fun”, I found these grim factoids to be especially intoxicating (I was a real Wednesday Addams). I used to sit for hours in my walk-in closet reading and re-reading this book, making lists of bands I wanted to seek out at the record store while gawping at, and occasionally being scared by the weird pictures (true).

And so after you listen to these brilliant new songs, please read Tim’s fabulous piece below. Or hell, why not multi-task and listen to the WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST while you read Tim’s piece and immerse yourself in a full-on musical haze. Rock on…

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Weekly New Wonders Playlist # 22 of 2022

Yes, it’s Kate Bush again. I thought I was done writing about her after our recent feature (here!) but no, I had just a little more in the tank. I now humbly, beggingly invite you to visit Cover Me, home of everything cover version, for a feature scribbled by my nerdy arse, on the evergreen classic Hounds Of Love (here!). I listened to what felt like hundreds of covers of songs from the album, delicately extracted and exalted the best, then wrote some love notes to them. There are some magnificent specimens in there for you to hear, I promise! Unfortunately, my immersion in Kate covers has resulted in a trial separation between “Running Up That Hill”and myself. I still love “RUTH” but I need a break from her for a while so I can learn to appreciate her again. I’ll be back girl, just give me a few years.

It is now time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs that have crossed our path this week. They are lustrous and wonderful to the last and you can listen to ’em below on Soundcloud or Spotify.

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Weekly New Wonders #21 of 2022

I don’t think a week has gone by in the past century that I haven’t listened to at least one Olivia Newton-John song (with “Sam”, “A Little More Love” and her duet w/Cliff Richard “Suddenly” topping the playlist). As with most Gen X-ers, she was a constant pop presence through most of my childhood and teenage years. It wasn’t Grease that hooked me, or her brilliant string of AM radio hits (though I did love them) but her 1978 album “Totally Hot” where for the first time, she began to ROCK (not too hard mind you, this is Olivia Newton-John we’re talking about). I can’t adequately explain how jarring her sonic transformation seemed at the time, how back-alley dirty “A Little More Love” sounded compared to everything else she’d ever done. I recollect being kind of shocked (I was an unworldly child). Up until then, she’d been “sweet Olivia” and her tough girl persona had just been a performative thing in a movie. To a kid who’d only known that side of her, it was very “scary” indeed…scary exciting. It turned out Olivia wanted to “rock”, just like me, who freakin’ knew? I was all in after that.

When she passed away this week, it hit a particular nerve with me (as it did with a million other people) and so I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge her awesomeness and reiterate how she was so much more than Grease. ONJ forever.

It is now time for the WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs that have crossed our path this week. They are weird and wonderful to the last. Listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify. And HEY, there’s a little treat following the playlists so please mr. please keep scrolling 😉

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Bonus beats!

PuR pal Ed Zed of the band Strange Flesh (formerly known as The Casual Sexists) wrote us a review of the new album by New Zealand radio legend Stinky Jim, called Spacial Awareness, which he has been seriously digging and wanted to share with all you adventurers. Lay it on us hero Ed…

Meet Stinky Jim…

The venerable Stinky Jim – now into his fourth decade of bringing much of the world’s finest new music to the listeners of his Stinky Grooves radio show on Auckland’s 95bFM – is back with a brand new album to remind us that he too makes utterly corking music of his own.

Spacial Awareness is a reggaematical kaleidoscope, encompassing dancehall, dub, roots, and even a skeletal smattering of reggaeton. But what makes it so hypnotically compelling is the fusion of these elements with Jim’s unique avant garde electronic sensibilities that truly know no bounds.

The album is festooned with vocal fragments, which often feel like instruments in their own right, and on other occasions hint tantalisingly—dubwise style—at whole vocal tracks that might exist elsewhere. 

The one fully fledged vocal performance on the album is the truly spectacular ‘Steam Fish’, featuring Kingston dub poet Nazamba, whose gravelly baritone carries the ominous beauty of a summer thunderstorm.

This luscious opus is out now on Bandcamp. Get involved, good people.