Hello and welcome!
Alright, here we are for Tuesday Time Machine Week 8, featuring my monthly playlist from October of 2014.
For those of you who are checking in for the first time, these monthly playlists which I’m re-visiting came about as a result of an idea I had back in January of 2010: an idea that would see me create one 80 minute playlist a month.
The reason for doing this was two-fold: I wanted to create and re-enforce very specific lived experiences and memories tied to music, and I wanted a rather consistent set of songs to propel me each month as I created my art.
In creating these playlists, I tried to make things flow— I wanted songs to segue very effortlessly (or abrasively) creating a sense of narrative.
Going forward, once a week, I’m going to update the Spotify playlist that you can find below.
I’d recommend not shuffling the songs, as they were sequenced the way that they were for a reason. To get the full experience, listen to them in the way in which I’ve arranged things.
Included below is a short description of the tune I’ve included, and/or a description of the specifics memory associated with it. If you’re not trying to read all of that, just hit play on the link below!
1. Final Frontier- Thomas Bergersen
“Interstellar,” didn’t REALLY stick the landing for me, (as is the case with most of Christopher Nolan’s, “high concept,” movies) but when its final trailer was released, it featured this really, really, brilliant piece of music by composer Thomas Bergersen.
The soaring vocal melodies that arrive for the home stretch could easily come off as too much, but they don’t. This was a great tune to put on when I had to work quickly, as the song’s rapid-fire sequencer bit in the background encouraged speed, and decision-making.
2. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door- Antony & The Johnsons
Sometimes you need to put something on that will allow you to embrace sadness, if that’s what you’re feeling.
Here, the performers tap into that emotion in way that Bob Dylan either chose not to, or wasn’t able to, in the original recording. Antony’s vocal performance here is both sorrowful and heartfelt, and the instrumental accompaniment is 100% complimentary
Call me crazy, but I’ll listen to this cover over the original, any day of the week.
3. Loverman- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Speaking of covers, Metallica did a cover of this that… well, it’s okay.
This, however, is scary, ferocious, and cathartic.
The Bad Seeds are a band whose songs usually strike a chord with me, but I’ve never really made a deep dive into their work– maybe now is the time to do that.
4. Another Love- Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL
As a song, this is one of my favorite late-career statements that Prince made.
The album that it’s from is not especially successful, but this is a rolicking tune, one that alternates between seductive slinkiness, and swagged-out, gut-bucket, fuzz for your face.
Prince is one of my favorite guitar soloists ever, and here, he unleashes any number of molten lead lines.
This got a lot of rotation when it first came out.
5. You Know Who- T.I.
Not dissimilar to last week’s, “Let the Beat Build,” by Lil’ Wayne, this track is essentially an excuse for T.I. to flex his formidable chops over an irresistible beat. Here, that’s a co-production between Tony Galvin, and drummer Travis Barker, of Blink-182 fame.
King is my favorite or second favorite T.I. album depending on when you ask me, and this is one of the album’s three best cuts.
6. Like a Pimp- David Banner & Lil’ Flip
Dubbed, “The Freestyle King,” by the late (and ALWAYS great) DJ Screw, Lil’ Flip kind of fell off the map when he lost(?) in his beef with T.I., but between this, and, “Ridin Spinners,” he was riding very, very, high for awhile.
This would have been BLASTING through the speakers at either my freshmen or sophomore year of high school homecoming, and… well, you haven’t heard this song at it’s purest, until its bassline and percussion have rattled the inside of your skull.
17 years later, this is still a menacing, sprawling piece of music.
7. Never Catch Me- Flying Lotus (featuring Kendrick Lamar and Thundercat)
Flying Lotus’ music never really did it for me when he’s on his own, but here, he’s aided by a very-able Kendrick Lamar, and modern-day bass maestro, Thundercat.
The video for this is one of the more powerful things that came across my radar in 2014, and I’d recommend watching it in conjunction with the music.
8. Pen Expers- Autechre
My first introduction to Autechre came in 2013, courtesy of my friend Sean, who described them as the, “shredders of electronic music.”
That’s a curious descriptor to be sure, but it’s apt.
There’s a technical precision behind the (at times) full-on chaos of their music, and while their songs sometimes sound like a train going off the rails, upon closer inspection, it’s clear that everything is where it is for a reason.
I can appreciate the people who level complaints of, “cold,” and, “unfeeling,” against their music, though I don’t share in their opinion.
This particular track is spastic robot dance party music with more melody than you think.
I love it.
9. Sweet Lady- Tyrese
Before The Fast and the Furious, Tyrese was making some bedroom jams, and he was fucking GOOD at it.
I know, I know, everyone’s probably heard this song a million times, though that doesn’t make it any less great.
10. Life in a Glasshouse- Radiohead
This is one of the most magnificent pieces of music Radiohead every recorded.
If 1974-era King Crimson played, “Starless,” with instruments that hadn’t been used in the better part of a century, after consuming a full barrel of red wine at a gypsy carnival, it might sounds something like this.
Delirious, uncomfortable, and chaotic, I can’t get enough of how great this tune is.
11. I Knew you Were Trouble- Taylor Swift
This was the first Taylor Swift song I ever heard.
I know, hard to believe I made it to 2014 without getting BLESSED.
In any case, the night of my 27th birthday, there was a halloween party, and a whole bunch of us went to a bar. The woman I was crushing on got up and did a group Karaoke sing-along of this, and that was about all I needed to be fully smitten with her.
Taylor has probably put out better songs that this, and the dubstep bit might not age so well down the road, but I still love it,
12. Ambling Alp- Yeasayer
I saw Yeasayer live once in Minneapolis, and they just happened to play my two favorite songs back to back, so I don’t think I’ll ever speak badly of them.
I’ve not kept up with them in recent years, but those first couple of albums will always have the power to transport me back to my late college days, recalling many great memories.
13. aisatsana - Aphex Twin
Those are indeed chirping birds you hear popping in every now and again.
This is a bit melancholy, I suppose, but I love how delicate it is. As someone who associates Aphex Twin with songs that have a lot going on, I appreciate the less-is-more approach here, if not only because it goes against the grain.
14. Sunbather- Deafheaven
I was a year late, jumping on the Sunbather train, but when I got on, I was on it for a good 3 or 4 years.
To be clear, I still like Deafheaven pretty well. I go back and forth on my thoughts about their last album, but I’ll always check out their music, so long as they’re making it.
Sunbather is not my favorite album of theirs, but it’s probably the most special. I’m not sure any piece of music will be able to replicate what I felt hearing it for the first time.
The pace of this song alternates between glacial and manic, with both sections bringing the listener pure delight. When the homestretch arrives at 8:31, I kind of want to scream along with singer George Clarke sometimes. The music is that powerful.
15. Let’s Ride- Richie Rich
Most underrated West Coast rapper?
Most certainly, my man, DOUBLE R.
I don’t care what anyone says, but he has one of the all-time greatest flows.
Another California rapper of GREAT repute has… “borrowed,” a lot from Rich over the years, and though they’ve collaborated on a couple of songs, I’ll take Rich over the other guy most of the time.