We’re working on some big ‘ol stuff for this here blog right now. Coming soon you will see an immense “Rating the Albums” breakdown on a behemoth, beloved band ! Plus “The Best of 2021″ breakdown ! And hey, there will likely be a new installment of ‘That’s Their Pet Sounds” in there somewhere! It will all be coming your way over the next month (uh oh). As a result I have no lengthy anecdote to offer today (giving you a break, because dammit, you deserve it). Instead I humbly present you with this, your latest dose of the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest songs that have crossed our path over the past seven days. They are all seriously swoon-some and gorgeous, I’m telling you.You can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify below.
Today is Joni Mitchell’s 78th birthday and I’m going to make a pop music true confession: I was only inspired to buy my first Joni album (Court And Spark) because Prince “told” me to. It was the ’80s, and I loved my Prince and I’d seen an interview where he mentioned how awesome she was and called her a genius or something to that effect. On went the bulb. If the person who made my #1 favorite album at the time (Purple Rain) with my # 1 favorite song (“I Would Die 4 U”) loved her, there had to be a reason and I needed to know what that reason wasdammit. I bought the album and by the time I’d finished playing it, like most humans upon exposure to Joni, I’d been transformed into a complete devotee, snarfing up every album in her catalog and playing them endlessly forever to this very day. That Prince, he knew what he was talking about. While every day is the right one to play some Joni, today is a really right day ( I am rocking the “Jericho” hard right now). Happy Birthday to the goddess genius.
And hey, it’s time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new music that has crossed our path over recent days. I always say this but I’m telling you there are some spectacularly gorgeous songs in the mix this week, yup. You can hear them all below on Soundcloud or Spotify.
P.S. And hey, if you want a bit of weird and fun Joni-related ephemera to peruse today, I’ve written a couple of features you can check out over at Cover Me sharing some of the coolest covers from Court And Spark (read here) and her underrated ’80s years (read here).
“Nina Simone’s Gum” is a new book by Warren Ellis ( of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Dirty Three). While it is about an actual piece of gum Nina discarded in a towel on her piano before her headlining slot at 1999’s Cave curated Meltdown Festival, it’s also about LOVE.
The story of the gum’s journey, from Nina to the towel to Warren who grabbed it when she’d finished as a souvenir, to its evolution from treasured piece of nerdy fandom to artistic muse to spotlit object in a museum 20 years later is a tearjerker ( or at least a mist-inducer). And the emotion the gum inspired in everyone who came into contact with it, the art that was created in its honor and how protective people became when entrusted with it is incredibly moving (descriptions of that last scenario especially got to me). And so, wanted to recommend the book to you all with a big thumbs up.
I’d like to note that when I went to get the book this Halloween weekend, the woman I spoke to at the information desk was dressed as Liza Minnelli (purple sequined jacket, ink black pixie haircut and serious eyelashes). I wish that was how the earth operated every day.
It is now time for some beauteous music. Welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs that have crossed our path over recent days.They are all gorgeous and currently tied for number one on our hit parade.You can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify below.
I did something weird a while back whilst visiting my hometown. For some reason I wanted to “mark” the town and acknowledge that it was on this patch of land in my sad-weirdo childhood bedroom that I first discovered and was emotionally rescued by pop music. And so I took one of my old 45 adaptors and placed it behind a fence near where I used walk to school many decades ago. Yes, it’s a weird, nonsensical gesture, not to mention non biodegradable. But I liked that there was some small acknowledgement of that musically obsessed squirt listening to records in her 20th century blue shag rugged room on that particular patch of land. I also liked the idea of someone noticing it and thinking “how the f*ck did that get there?” ( well, at least the people who actually knew what it was, I acknowledge that it is a prehistoric artifact at this point). I’m sure it’s at least a foot underground by now, having been pounded by the elements for the past year and is now mingling with the dirt and weeds, relieved at never again having to be forcibly plugged into stuff like “Broken Wings” and “The Candy Man”.You’re free now pal, rest in peace.
Welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest songs that have crossed our path over the past 7 days. They are all beautiful to the core. You can listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify.
Yves Klein (1928-1972) was one of those artists whose work I didn’t quite get when I first saw it. I can remember standing in a museum in NYC as a teenager looking down at one of his huge monochrome paintings and feeling genuinely confused. It was exhibited on the ground as opposed to a wall, looked royal blue but appeared 100x more vivid. Now because I was a teenager who trusted no one I assumed that Yves Klein was making fun of art and me and everyone looking at this thing. I then decided to read up on this trickster whereupon I discovered that he and a chemist/paint supplier friend had actually invented the hue of blue he made his art with, called “International Klein Blue” (or IKB for short). I also discovered his other work which included similar explorations using pink and gold, paintings where he employed naked bodies as brushes and sculptures made from sponges saturated with his crazy, jarring blue. And dammit to hell, it turned out I actually really liked Yves Klein and his big blues. His art had triggered that irritating sensation of totally hating something upon initial exposure to it not because you actually do, but because you are pissed off that it’s upset your physical chemistry which you believe yourself to be the boss of. I resented him because he rattled something. Come to think of it, I remember having similar feelings about Axl Rose (yes, true).
Decades have passed since that first viewing and Yves Klein blue haunts me to this day. It’s frequently utilized as my phone and laptop wallpaper. It is the color of my freakin’ laundry bags. And one of my favorite hoodies. I may secretly wish the sky itself was IKB.
And now please enjoy the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new music that has crossed our path over recent days. There are epics, tearjerkers and some dirty pop ‘n’ roll and all of ’em are as gorgeous and vivid as Yves blues. You can listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify.
October 9th marked what would have been John Lennon’s 81st birthday. Every year, fans gather around the dedicated memorial spot in Central Park, ‘Strawberry Fields’ and leave mementos, pix, cards and flowers. And there’s always a band playing both Beatles and Lennon songs. I have no idea who the bands are, I always assume it’s whoever got there first and claimed the spot. People come and go throughout the day and everyone sings along to whatever is being played at that given moment. No matter how cynical you are, it’s hard not to be moved by the outpouring of love and how shockingly “in tune” everyone sounds ( which I think is related to everyone having heard these songs ten trillion times). Anyway, I hung around for a few songs this week and while the audience participation in “Working Class Hero” was pretty low-key, the crowd went hog wild during “All My Loving” and “Twist and Shout” because people just plain love to scream together. It is now time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs that have crossed our path this week. Gotta say, there are some real beauties this week and am hopeful you will find your new theme song for the upcoming week amongst them. Strawberry fields forever…
I want to recommend a few movies, all of which are nuts, beautiful, wtf and absolutely worth seeing: Titane, Benedetta and Red Rocket. I’m not going to spill anything as I’m in self-imposed spoiler reveal rehab and trying to stay on the wagon but lets just say they are all sleazy, gross ‘n’ gruesome yet positively brimming with love. You know that old TLC song where T-Boz says “Yeah, CrazySexyCool, I can get with that, y’all should too.”? That’s my nerdy advice. Anyway, go check them out !
It’s time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest songs that have crossed our path over recent days. This week’s batch are particularly late night wistful and lush and are hopefully taking turns occupying the #1 spot over on earth two this week. You can listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify.
This is a pic I took at a Mets-Giants game back in 2011 and it still makes me laugh. This is a panda who has come to cheer on the Panda ( that’d be Giants beloved third baseman at the time Pablo Sandoval, whose actual nickname was/is “Kung Fu Panda” but whom everyone refers to as just plain Panda).
I find baseball to be very calming despite the fact that failure is its primary characteristic. Or maybe that’s just my own perception because I’ve supported the Mets my whole life. Anyway, the 2021 season is ending this week ( for the bad teams that is…like the Mets). They lost both games I went to this season, one of which was so bad I would qualify it as a forfeit. Their record as of this writing is 73 wins and 80 losses with 8 games left. You do the math. But it’s too late in my life to stop loving them. Wait’ll next year or something.
And now its time for something good. Welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest songs that have come our way over recent days. Within it are spaced out epics, lo-fi falsettos, heartbreaking pleas, Laurel Canyon breezes and a damn fine cover. You can listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify.
I always love an excuse to post a pic of Poly Styrene ( that’s an actual centerfold pin-up from Record Mirror magazine in 1978).
And so Rolling Stone published a revised version of their infamous “500 Best Songs of All Time” list this week (which you can check out here). A lot of people hate these lists and get upset at how predictable, pandering or deliberately contrarian they can be.Then there’s the generational divide, meaning depending on where you came in “there’s too much old stuff” or “this new stuff isn’t worthy of being on the same list as this established stuff”. And of course some people just plain take issue with the idea of ranking art.
But you know what, I like a nice, reasonably thought out list made by a bunch of passionate nerds (like me and presumably you). Even if I don’t necessarily agree with the rankings or choices (understatement), these “All-Time Whatever” lists are just good, geeky, absurdist fun. And of course they say more about the people compiling them than they do the music. On the negative side I do believe that the more people that contribute to the creation of a list, the more watered down and predictable they tend to get (kind of like The Grammys). They are always better and weirder when there are only a small handful of people or a solo soul behind their creation.
As for the actual Rolling Stone list some of the picks aren’t the first ones I would reach for if I wanted to listen to say Aretha, Joni Mitchell or Janet Jackson but it IS exceedingly nice to see X-Ray Spex, The Slits, Pulp, freakin’ “More Than A Feeling” and “Umbrella” on there. It makes the exclusion of songs like say, Diana Ross’s version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” or John Martyn’s “Solid Air” somewhat forgivable (but not entirely). I’m not gonna be mean here except to say RHCP’s “Under The Bridge” and U2’s “One” are big f-ing no’s. To have those taking up valuable real estate that SZA’s “Aftermath” or 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love” could have been justifiably occupying is unacceptable. And where is freakin’ “Unfinished Sympathy” by Massive Attack ? What the holy hell is that about ??? Okay, see how easily I fell into the trap there? That’s why these ridiculously subjective, crazy ass lists are fun.
And now come meet some songs that will hopefully be on Top 500 lists of the future. Welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest, foxiest songs we’ve heard over recent days. You can listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify.
I know we’re miles from Easter but this 1950 magazine illustration by Stevan Dohanos of a chocolate rabbit assembly line is perfect for every day of every year for every reason. Welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs we’ve heard over recent days. It’s two weeks worth, is as big as a vintage milky candy hare and just as awesomely sweet. You can listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify.
The other reason for sharing this wondrous piece of artwork is to let you know we’ve been toiling away at a very large and deranged pop music essay for the blog ( which is the reason there was no playlist last week for anyone who was wondering…also I’m sorry). Anyway, it’s a hyperbolic monster, involves teenagers, ’80s pop music, true confessions and general humiliation and is coming soon, soon, soon.