Hello and welcome!
Alright, here we are for Tuesday Time Machine Week 15, featuring my monthly playlist from November of 2020.
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. Dry Fantasy- Mogwai
Listening to this song, I couldn’t help but imagine a flower endlessly in bloom— lots of fuchsias, lots of violets, and a quiet optimism that is much needed, going into this coming year.
I feel good about that, as the person who did the visuals for the music video seems to have felt the same way.
If all the pretty colors in the world were to simultaneously explode, drenching the world in their brilliance, it might sound something like this.
2. Running With the Night- Lionel Richie
I think one of the re-occurring motifs throughout this month is going to revolve around me hating on someone/something HARD-CORE, and then realizing the error of my ways.
I never thought too much of Steve Lukather as a guitar player until I heard this song. The only reason I’d put some respect on his name had to do with him once saying something to the effect of, “God plays guitar with Jeff Beck’s hands,” which is, of course, true.
That said, when he hits the toggle switch mid-way through his marathon outro guitar solo on here?
Those who know me well, know that I like it when something gets pulled straight out of the gutter. Once he sends it to the neck in here, it’s a wrap for everyone else who thought they had it, back in ’83.
To be clear, Lionel Richie performs a very admirable, and fine pop song here too, but the star of the show here is Lukather’s leads.
3. Friends in the Corner- Foxes
Mates put me onto this one, and I’m super thankful for that.
I feel like if Karen O. was in the business of making A1 dance tunes, it might sound something like this.
This definitely went on repeat during a great many drawing sessions this month. Love it.
4. There’s No Need- Silver Liz
This has so many things that I like.
The hi-hat in here sounds filthy, the four-on-the-floor isn’t too overbearing, and I feel like this would be right at home booming throughout the caves of Zion during the freak-fest that we see taking place in Matrix Re-Loaded.
As an aside, Re-Loaded is actually, a lot better than it gets credit for.
I still have no defense for the trainwreck that is, “Revolutions,” but I’ll stand by my belief that The Matrix, The Animatrix, and Re-Loaded form one of the better sci-fi trilogies in pop culture.
5. Death Wolf- Taking Back Sunday
Circa 2006/2007ish, the “scene” band that I was PROBABLY quickest to hate on was Taking Back Sunday, because… boy, did I think they had a lame name.
Of course, I’d never actually HEARD a Taking Back Sunday song, and honestly, this might be their first song that I’ve listened to all the way through?
I’m not quite sure, but I am quite sure that I’m pretty okay with the fact that I think “the scene” actually produced some great bands in the mid-2000s and I was wrong with my misplaced disdain.
6. Crawl- Two Tongues
This is like splitting the difference between Sunny Day Real Estate and Wheatus?
I feel like this song has shades of both the former’s, “In Circles,” and the latter’s, “Teenage Dirtbag,”, and both of those songs are STONE-COLD CLASSICS.
Had I heard this in 2009 when it originally came out, I would have probably dismissed it, because I was STILL hating on “the scene.”
George circa 2009 also though pink and blue polos with boot cut jeans, and a haircut that was not dissimilar to the one favored by Screech on, “Saved by the Bell,” was a good look too, so, he also had ZERO credibility.
7. Chemtrails- Beck
Look, the drummer and bass player in here are pretty much only playing fills, on some old Billy Cobham/Rick Laird shit. On top of that, the last bit of the song contains a truly magnificent, guitar solo in the, “noise holocaust,” mold, so I’m all in.
I recall this album being a big deal when it came out, but I never listened to it because Beck was an artist that I looked down upon as a, “CMYK hipster.”
In case it’s not yet been made obvious, art school George talked PLENTY of shit, folks.
8. Last Stand- Kwabs
As haunting as haunting comes.
But also, really stunning.
9. Love Cry- Four Tet
This is something for a trance or hypnosis, which I suppose are they same thing.
Shapeshifting, and wonderfully textural, this is perhaps, one of the ultimate work songs of the 2010s.
10. Groceries- Rich Jones and Montana Macks featuring Mykele Deville
Sonically, this might be my favorite type of hip-hop production, with flows to compliment.
The Fender Rhodes in here manages to both float and twinkle atop a particularly voluminous bassline— one that allows both Jones and Deville to flex, speak their peace, and be out before the 3 minute mark hits.
I’m with it.
11. Rotten Apple- Alice in Chains
Unfortunately, my connection to this song comes with a somewhat naughty anecdote, and as Indie Pong is a FAMILY OPERATION, I might have to keep that in the tuck.
That said, this is as good as Alice in Chains ever got when it came to their moody numbers, save for perhaps, “Nutshell,” which is also on this EP.
Jerry Cantrell’s guitar playing here is beautifully lyrical, and Layne Stayley’s voice is the perfect compliment.
12. To the End- My Chemical Romance
Want to see if she’s really READY FOR THAT RING?
Tell her this is gonna be the song for the first dance at the wedding, or, it’s time to break up.
13. Jupiter- Gallant
Some might argue that no one really picked up the gauntlet when Maxwell threw it down back in 1997, but if anyone’s come close, I expect it’s Gallant.
On top of having an outrageous voice, he’s got a crack band to back him up too.
The short laser beam blasts that his guitar player shreds through during the final blow-out manage to be both clean and frantic, and that’s a hard balance to hit.
14. Starless- King Crimson
My senior year of high school, I used to sit in my parent’s minivan listening to this with the volume all the way up, waiting to pick my brother up from his bass lessons.
I’m still not sure if drummers have recovered from the percussive onslaught that Bill Buford recoded for this track, and John Wetton’s bass tone never again sounded as mighty and outright brutal as it did here.
As far as final notes go for bands, mid-70s King Crimson couldn’t have gone out with more style. This is a forever piece of music.
15. Today- Fruit Bats
What would happen if Mazzy Star covered Smashing Pumpkins’, “Today,” in the style of, “Fade Into you?”
Here, we are given the answer.
This is daydream music, or, something you put on while you’re cooking in early November.
Pretty wonderful, in either instance.