I am always on the hunt for new music and this past week I have discovered a few new gems to add to my growing pre-drinking playlist titled ‘TUNESS’. There are some songs I fall in love with instantly, and some which I never truly fall out of love with. So for this week’s What’s Your Playlist I bring you a mix of old and new.
Basement Jaxx – Rock This Road (featuring Shakka, Sharlene Hector & Vula Malinga)
Basement Jaxx’s new album Junto is a classic in their discography. They have moved somewhat from their house sound to incorporate elements of world music, and this is very evident in ‘Rock This Road’, a true standout of the album. The house foundations are still there, and I am a big fan of house music, but it’s married with tribal chants, steel drums and warbling vocals. A new member of Jaxx’s core collaborators, Shakka is on top form here. His sweetly harsh vocals gel insatiably with the back music and he harmonises perfectly with Sharlene Hector and Vula Malinga who provide the backing vocals. In a seminal album of diamonds, ‘Rock This Road’ is a standout for me, although you’ll be hard pressed to decide on your true favourite. There’s so many.
Fly Panda – Rx3 (Rock Ratchet Roll)
I first discovered Fly Panda last year, a relatively unknown dub-band on the cusp of stardom. Since interviewing them they have come a long way, having just signed their first major recording contract. To celebrate they released their new song ‘Rx3’. It’s rather sensitised in terms of their usual in-your-face beats, but it is infectious nonetheless. Combining pop, hip-hop and dubstep, you’ll find it impossible to not sing along to the chorus. Winter Rae’s child-like vocals are beautifully juxtaposed with Lukas Ka$h’s harsher tones but they both suit the tone of the song. This is ratchet pop at its best. Fly Panda have a huge future ahead of them.
David Bowie – Velvet Goldmine
In a career spanning over five decades, David Bowie has some truly stunning pieces of work. As such, it was very hard to choose a song of his which I loved more than the rest. ‘Velvet Goldmine’, released as a B-side to 1975’s ground-breaking ‘Space Oddity’ is a song which I think perfectly captures everything Bowie is about. It’s ambiguous in terms of lyrical content (it reportedly began as an ode to same-sex making out); it has a simple, refined beat; and the chorus sweeps the listener off of their feet. Bowie’s vocals are silky-smooth and striking.
Lady Gaga – ARTPOP
For a very long time nothing could beat ‘Bad Romance’. This was often touted as Lady Gaga’s ‘Thriller’ and it was included in many top lists. And then along came ‘ARTPOP’. This psychedelic techno song may consist of lyrical garbage, but it is pure Gaga. It drips in sultry notes, stunning vocals and bonkers visual imagery. What exactly Gaga means by ARTPOP no one really knows, but ‘ARTPOP’ is nevertheless an encapsulating song. Her iTunes festival performance of this song, along with her screeching ‘hee hee’s’ is stunning. The bridge brings in a darker tone to an otherwise complex album (in terms of musical influence, and not in terms of lyrics) and Gaga really needs to recapture this sound for her fourth album. We don’t necessarily need another concept album from her, but we need one with more substance than ARTPOP.
Scissor Sisters – Invisible Light
No other song quite eclipses ‘Invisible Light’ from Scissor Sisters entire work. The last track on their brilliant Night Work, ‘Invisible Light’ sees a darker quality take over Jake Shears lead vocals. This synthpop and nu-disco crossover is mesmerising and takes the listener to another world. Gone are the camp hangovers from their second album, ‘Invisible Light’ rather renders Scissor Sisters as a true band whereas before they are simple known as ‘that gay band’. Here they reached their pinnacle. Currently on an indefinite hiatus, Scissor Sisters need to make the mother of all comebacks sooner rather than later. I miss their work.