It’s March, so what better time to share my February playlist with you? To see my reasons for each pick keep on reading…
1. Tobacco Road – Nashville Teens: My parents grew up in the 60s which subsequently led to me hearing vast swathes of sixties songs as a kid. However I often didn’t know one band from the other, so everyone now and then I’ll hear a song I recognise but won’t have a clue who it’s by but thankfully we have Google and Shazam and Spotify so we can track down these songs and listen as often as we want, and that’s exactly what I did when I heard this little snorter at the end of an episode of Mad Men recently.
2. Seven Deadly Sins – Flogging Molly: Occupying the admittedly narrow ground between the Pogues and the Dropkick Murphys it baffles me that I’ve only just got round to giving Flogging Molly a proper listen, and I’m damn glad I did. This is a rabble rousing stomper of the highest order and hopefully enough to whet your appetite for their forthcoming album that’s being released later in the year.
3. Sand in the Gears – Frank Turner: When I first heard Frank Turner’s music I fell madly and deeply in love. Here was a man who seemed to articulate my thoughts into music. More recently though I have been left underwhelmed by his efforts, I think largely because he has eschewed the political and social commentary for a plethora of heartfelt break up songs. Here though he’s back with an anti-Trump anthem that might just be the best things he’s released in years. And you thought there were no positives to come out of the American election…
4. Dead Bury the Dead – The Legendary Shack Shakers: Having released one of my favourite albums ever in Swampblood and following it up with the excellent Agridustrial I thought the Shack Shackers had gone on indefinite hiatus. Imagine my surprise and joy when I discovered this month that they’d released an album in 2015 and as this song shows their southern gothic, twisted Americana is still awesome. Time for another eh lads?
5. Cherokee St – Son Volt: Less dark Americana but a fine song nonetheless from an artist I’d long heard of and never listened to. If this taster from his new album Notes of Blue is anything to go by I’ll be kicking myself for not getting into him earlier.
6. Highway Queen – Nikki Lane: While I’ll always be a rocker at heart, I’m a sucker for some good ol’ country music. Nikki Lane is a rising star in Nashville and whilst her authenticity is a little more suspect than say Kacey Musgraves or Miranda Lambert this is a damn fine slice of country-rock.
7. Who Rides the Tiger – Black Star Riders: Let’s face it, the fact there was a band touring as Thin Lizzy right up to last year was just plain weird wasn’t it? Thankfully that band is now the Black Star Riders, I’m not entirely sold on them yet but tracks like this show promise and I imagine they’d be great to see at festival with a few beers in you.
8. So Beneath You – AFI: Never a band to stand still AFI have developed their sound with each album, not always for the better it has to be said. Their latest album is their strongest for a fair while though and this is one of the highlights from it.
9. Hell is Regina – Pink Pissycats from Hell: Who knew Portuguese garage rock was a thing? The Pink Pussycats from Hell, that’s who. They’re an acquired taste but this is an infectious slice of rock n roll and will have you singing along with the furious crescendo even if you can’t remember the exact words. Altogether now: I say someday, you say someday, I say Green Day, you say Coldplay, I say iPay, you say no way, I say toupee, you say 50 shades of grey…or something.
10. Ugly – Code Orange: Ever since I can remember people have been proclaiming the heavy music is in terminal decline and yet it keeps on producing new bands that are original, exciting and inventive. Code Orange for that description to a T, if heavy is your bag they deserve your time.
11. Zero Fucks Given – The Picturebooks: I love it when you give a band you’ve never heard of a listen and they don’t disappoint. This popped up on my Spotify ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist, the title drew me in and the song – a scuzzy, twangy, shout-along – showcases a band with real swagger.
12. Cheaters Never Change – Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors: The latest artist to be championed by Ginger Wildheart and therefore find himself a ready made set of eager fans. In truth his country-lite / pop-rock sound is reminiscent of Brendon Benson and it’s all very listenable if not especially memorable. He’s at his best, as here, on the slower laments than the more uptempo numbers.
13. Poetry – Ray Davies: Ray Davies is a genius, his forthcoming album is his twist on Americana, and if this cut is anything to go by, it could be well worth a listen.
14. Haunted House – Ryan Adams: There are shades of Springsteen in this track from Adams’ latest album, and that’s no bad thing. A strong number from a talented songwriter.
15. Hug You Like a Mountain- Eliza Carthy: A highlight from my album of the month. Find out why I love it so here.
16. More Fool Me – Chris Wood: More folky goodness from Chris Wood, with a song lamenting the modern musicians lot, sung with character and wit as ever.
17. Paying My Way – Dropkick Murphys: The Dropkicks are one of those bands that you can always rely upon, never straying to far from the blueprint but without rehashing the same song over and over. Keep it up lads.
18. No Known Drink or Drug – Japandroids: I have been known to listen to a band purely because I liked their name (Dananananaykroyd I’m looking at you.) Japandroids name isn’t as good, but there music’s better, so that’s something at least.
19. Fire Up – The Wildhearts: I’m generally not a fan of bonus tracks on albums but the Spotify versions of The Wildhearts albums seem to have a whole load of b-sides lumped on the end of them. This is a very good thing.
20. God Damn – Avenged Sevenfold: For some reason I fell out of love with metal somewhere around the mid-noughties for a few years. And thus I’ve always looked down my nose at Avenged Sevenfold without ever actually listening to them. It turns out it’s best to judge a band after you hear them. Who knew? Anyway last year’s album The Stage is really rather good and this is one of the more immediate tracks from it.
21. Lullaby- Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes: One of the best albums I’ve heard this year and this track from it is surprisingly catchy and tender. Still rocks though.
22. Down the Pub – Beans on Toast: A lovely little ditty paying homage to the humble public house. What’s not to like?