Back in the day it was mix tapes, then mix minidiscs, the odd mix CD-R and then playlists. Ever since I started getting into music I have had the compulsion to pluck songs from their natural habitat and rearrange them into some kind of Frankenstein’s monster of a compilation.
It’s fun, you should try it. Oh, who am I kidding you already do, it’s pretty much what sites like Spotify were built for.
I wonder though if your average streaming site user has spent quite so much of their life pondering, deliberating, cogitating and generally Loyd Grossmanning over playlists as I have. I fear I have turned a hobby into a compulsion, which has led me to obsessively create at least one new playlist every month. My monthly playlists have no overarching theme, they’re just what I’ve been listening to recently – or occasionally tracks that I haven’t listened to for a while and want to hear again. It should be a pretty casual thing. It’s not. I can’t listen to a song, an album or a backing track to a bloody advert even, without pondering how I could shoehorn it into the latest list. So it gives me great pleasure that I can finally annotate the fuck out of one of these bastards. The February one is also available and I’ll be doing a post about that one soon but my OCD won’t allow me to just miss out January’s even though it’s almost March…So if you’d rather just listen to the bloody thing than hear me wax lyrical about each tune then it’s available on Spotify right here:
Now without further ado here’s a track by track run down. Enjoy…
1. 2016 – Beans on Toast: I discovered young Mr On Toast a couple of years back, I believe through Frank Turner namechecking him and thoroughly enjoyed what I heard. He releases an album in December each year so he’s prolific if not always consistent, this though is a spot-on song from his latest LP, summing up the debacle that was last year.
2. Blood – Dropkick Murphys: If Celtic Punk is your thing then the Dropkicks need no introduction, if it isn’t your thing then perhaps it should be. This is the first single from their new album and it’s as good a starting point as any for a band that just keep on producing the goods.
3. God Is My Friend – Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes: I liked Gallows but never fell in love with them the way so many did. To my ears Carter’s latest band, with their more classic sound (am I the only one who gets a hint of Phil Spector in the production?) have already surpassed his former group. The latest album is a cracker expect more tracks on subsequent playlists…
4. Gentleman’s Soirée – Groop Dogdrill: It was a sad day last year when Black Spiders announced they were splitting up, but for me they were mere methadone to treat the serious Groop Dogdrill addiction I cultivated in the 90’s (Pete Spiby was the frontman for both in case you’re struggling to see the link). This track from their debut album Half Nelson is well worth bothering your eardrums with.
5. Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd: What can you say about Lynyrd Skynyrd that hasn’t been said before? Well you could say that despite them having an album that explicitly states how to pronounce their name we all still say it wrong don’t we? Don’t we? Anyone? Ah well, whatever, they’ve been a band I’ve always known without really knowing that well and I’m trying to remedy that now before they go and die in some horrific plane crash or something…oh. (Too soon?)
6. I’m Ragged but I’m Right – George Jones: I like my country like I like my women; booze-soaked and heartbreaking. Mr Jones is the epitome of that part of Nashville.
7. Pushin’ Time – Miranda Lambert: I like my female country singers like I like my coffee; full of whiskey. If the rest of her excellent album The Weight of These Wings is anything to go by Miranda Lambert fulfils this criteria, this however is just a beautiful ballad.
8. In the Neighbourhood – Tom Waits: My wife recently almost didn’t buy me Swordfishtrombones on vinyl from a charity shop in Canterbury, having confused Tom Waits with Tom Petty. Fortunately it was eventually purchased and it is really some of Waits’ best work. A blend of his early and later styles. This track leans towards the former but it’s all good.
9. NO CD – Loyle Carner: Just scraping past the ‘with guitars’ rule do to a beefy bass part, this is hip-hop straight outta Croydon. You’ll probably know within seconds if your gonna like this or not, but if you have a soft spot for rap then this is good stuff indeed.
10. Where Did Our Love Go – The Supremes: Just a perfect slice of soulful pop. They don’t make ’em like this anymore.
11. You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover – The Castiles: Bruce Springsteen’s band before he became the Boss. This is an intriguing and exhilarating garage rock track from his Chapter and Verse album.
12. Call of Distress – Cat Southall: Current Hey! Hello! singer Southall blew me away when I saw them supporting The Wildhearts in December. Enough to get me to check out her solo stuff, which is really rather good.
13. Lonesome Rider – Volbeat: I was a late arrival to the Volbeat bandwagon but once I discovered them I fell head over heels at once. I spent a big chunk of 2016 obsessed by them, I can’t promise 2017 will be any different.
14. Pills I Took – Hank Williams III: I like my grandsons of country legends like I like my athletes; high on drugs. Hank abides.
15. It’s Never Too Loud For Rock N Roll – Airbourne: Having purchased my ticket for Download largely on the strength of Aerosmith alone, I felt I should check out some of the other bands on the bill. First up Airbourne, who like so many Aussie bands before them see no reason to attempt to be original but when it sounds this good, who cares?
16. Sucker for the Witch – Clutch: Another Download band, but I already knew these guys. And if you don’t then I promise you you’re in for a treat, they’re one of the best bands around at the moment.
17. Cyber God – Sepultura: They’ve never been the same since Max left but this is probably the best cut off their latest album.
18. The Lost Souls – AFI: I relistened to The Art of Drowning for the first time in ages a few weeks back and I’d forgotten just how damn good it was. This track is just one of many I could’ve plucked from it.
19. Nerve Gas – 3 Colours Red: One day I’ll tell you the story of how I came to be at the studio when 3CR were recording their debut album, until that day console yourself with this deep cut from it…
20. Animals – Honeycrack: While researching something for some other stuff I’m writing I listening to Honeycrack again. It really is a crying shame they only made one album but it’s bloody marvellous that we can still listen to whenever we want. Go on, give it a listen, you know you want to…after the playlist ends though, obvs.