Discover: Eli’s Playlist, Feb.6-13

By Eli Shively, Music Director

I never use my Spotify Discover Weekly, and yes, it’s definitely a pride thing. As someone who spent the majority of their formative years poring over Wikipedia articles and exploring the darkest corners of YouTube in order to find music (sort of like the 21st-century answer to good old-fashioned crate digging, if you think about it) using a personally curated playlist in order to find good stuff I haven’t heard of seemed like the poser’s way out. A shortcut. A cheat code to music nerd-dom. ‘No way,’ I always think to myself whenever I’m bored with my current listening rotation and tempted to dive in, ‘you’re better than that.’

However, since I’ve been putting off doing one of these ever since our brilliant Rock Lobster team came up with this equally as brilliant idea about a year or so ago, I’m taking a much-needed break from my “one album review a week” routine and writing about what Spotify’s algorithm thinks I should listen to instead. To my surprise, I came away from the experience quite humbled and with a boatload of new music to explore. That algorithm sure knows what it’s doing. Here are the ten tracks that impressed me the most.

 

Gøggs – “She Got Harder”

This takes me back to being 16, blasting Pissed Jeans and No Age in my 2003 Honda Accord on the drive home from school like the misunderstood adolescent boy I was. It’s fast, crunchy, loud, kind of sounds like The Hives, and keeps the BPM locked into peak headbanging tempo. What’s not to love?

 

Surf Curse – “Christine F”

Okay, I’ve technically heard this song a bunch of times before and am still listening to it on (at least) a twice-daily basis, but dang, isn’t Surf Curse incredible? This track is proof that it only takes a few simple things to win my heart: Starting a two-piece garage rock band, naming said band “Surf ___,” and writing a few catchy lines about being a depressed introvert. That’s literally it. Free 10/10 reviews for life.

 

Joy Again – “Another Song About Ghosts”

“I’ve got nothing to lose / Except my physical form, which I barely use” is officially one of my favorite lyrics of all time now. I said it on the Internet, so everyone reading this has to hold me to it. I have a feeling I’m going to have a special relationship with this song in the future and I’m very excited for that to happen. The way it deals with a topic that’s been especially anxiety-inducing to me throughout my life — death, dying, ghosts, being alive, etc. — in such a carefree and self-assured way mesmerized me. Joy Again did something special with this one.

 

Leapling – “Don’t Move Too Fast”

This is a pretty typical, straightforward indie rock tune — the only reason I felt like it was worth talking about was the fact that there seems to be a phaser effect on the drum track, which is pretty nuts. It actually becomes kind of distracting as the song goes on, now that I think about it. Just a little “whoosh” noise every time the drummer hits the snare. What a weird idea.

 

Sea Ghost – “Blood”

The way this song uses synth, keyboard, and even mallet percussion sounds to support its excellent power chord groove is pretty incredible. A good balance of dreaminess and urgency is what made it stand out.

 

Enemies – “Play Fire”

I’m a sucker for noodly, atmospheric rock to begin with, but add 3/4 time to the mix and there’s pretty much no way I’ll want to listen to another song for days on end. Definitely will coming back to listen to the rest of this record at some point.

 

The Luyas – “Self-Unemployed”

The fact that this song exists and was released in the year of our lord twenty-seventeen is all the proof we need that the guy from the Dirty Projectors was definitely wrong about all indie rock being bad nowadays. I can picture him listening to this song and slowly becoming very embarrassed and upset with himself, realizing (as everyone who’s ever said something similar will hopefully eventually realize) that he just wasn’t looking in the right places. It’s a nice thought. Seriously though, what sounds are these? What notes are those? What instrument is that? What dimension was this written in?

 

Ka – “Conflicted”

I’ve been listening to a lot of Liquid Swords lately, so this track being included was probably a direct result of that as well as a pleasant departure from the standard “indie rock” fare making up the majority of the playlist. Not only is the record it’s off of called Honor Killed The Samurai, there’s also an obviously Wu-Tang inspired Japanese movie sample at the beginning. Nice. Aesthetic aside, Ka really goes in here. The beat’s very minimal but he douses it with enough developed and vivid imagery so that the song as a whole doesn’t feel watery or weak. It’s no GZA, but it’s a solid alternative for fans looking for something new.

 

American Wolf – “Our Weight”

Oh my god, I am positive I’ve never been so instantly and deeply drawn into a song by an opening snare drum roll in my life. I want to bathe in that snare roll. I want to pry the sixteenth notes apart and crawl inside of it and like, take a nice little nap inside of it or something. The rest of the song is pretty good, but if you just want to keep pausing the song at the eight-second mark and hitting the back button (which is what I did for a good minute or so after hearing that glorious, glorious snare roll for the first time) I wouldn’t blame you one bit for doing so. Whoever produced the drums on this record should be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

 

The Weakerthans – “(manifest)”

Being a white college-aged male involved in punk rock circles, I get hit with my fair share of Weakerthans hype on a day to day basis from around the web. It kind of annoyed me for a while to the point where I gave them “band I keep saying I’ll get around to checking out but know deep down I never will” status, so yes, this was my FIRST WEAKERTHANS SONG — and to tell you the truth, I was very impressed. Nothing too unexpected, just fantastic lyrics with a distinctly anthemic vibe to the whole instrumental scope of the thing. Next time I’m craving On The Impossible Past I think I’ll try this instead.

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Discover: Jon’s Playlist, October 3-10

By Jon Fuchs, Reviews Editor

I used to hate Spotify. The constant backlash of it from my favorite artists and its limited selection of underground, DIY artists always turned me off from using the service, so the first time I ever did one of these was torturous, with Spotify recommending me one awful acoustic coffee shop track after another. I told myself I would never use it again.

Then my hard drive crashed from having too much music on it.

Now I am an avid Spotify user, using it to get into all sorts of bands and listening to every new record that comes out because I now finally have the access to it. Since I now use it daily, I was confident that my Discover Weekly playlist was going to give me plenty of great tunes, and boy was I right.

1. Alex Cameron – “The Comeback”

This track starts off strong, with calming synths that sounds straight out of a 90s computer game and a melody that sounds like a beachy LCD Soundsystem song. It’s not exactly my cup of tea, but it’s very fun and theatrical, and I’d definitely recommend it to others.

2. Half Waif – “Turn Me Around”

I knew about Half Waif’s work in the past, but never gave it a good chance in the past, so I was excited to listen this song. I thought it was great, with its pleasant, spot-on vocal harmonies and its delicate yet in-your-face beat. Half Waif is someone I’m definitely checking out in the future.

3. Gents – “Bonny”

Gents is a duo from Denmark, which makes a lot of sense from the very beginning of the track because the singer’s accent is really thick. It reminded me a lot of the newest Porches album with the track’s synthetic drumbeats and the very thick synths, with a slick bass line and a familiar vocal delivery following it. The chorus isn’t my favorite thing in the world, since the mixing at that part isn’t the best, but it’s still really fun.

4. Iglooghost – “Gold Coat (feat. Cuushe)”

I remember this track ending up on the last Discover the Lobster, with Cailynn calling it repetitive and dubstep-like, which wasn’t her thing. For me, this is exactly what I needed, as it was the best track on this entire playlist. I absolutely loved the insane atmosphere of the track, it brought me into another world and the sampling and production were genius. I’ve been a fan of Iglooghost’s work in the past, so really there’s no surprise that I loved it as much as I did.

5. Raury – “NEVERALONE”

I’ve given Raury a lot of chances in the past and each time he’s done nothing for me. I think he’s talented, but I’d just rather listen to someone else. “NEVERALONE” is a good example of this, as it sounded pretty good as a track but still felt really bland and easily forgettable.

6. Swan Lingo – “Luv is Tru”

The guitar that introduces this song sound a lot like the twang Mac DeMarco is known for. It suddenly meets the vocals, which are hard to hear but sound really good with the guitar and make for a really nice pair. It’s very calming and makes for a pleasant track.

7. Ana Wise – “Decrease My Waist, Increase My Wage”

I knew about Anna Wise because of her several fantastic contributions on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, so I was looking forward to hearing this track. It’s very catchy and poppy, but lacks a certain punch that I heard in her TPAB features. Nevertheless, she’s still someone I’ll check out in the future.

8. Tidus – “Blame Me”

I really, really dug this track. This guy’s voice sounds like a cross between The Weeknd and Pinky from Pinky and the Brain, and, for some strange reason, I’m really into it. The instrumentals are super spacey and the lyrics about his life are really interesting.

9. Mannequin Pussy – “Romantic”

This song starts off with loud, slamming guitars, feeling like a Nothing track. Then suddenly, everything quiets down and introduces the singer with a really pleasant melody, then goes back into insanity with plenty of screaming and loudness for everyone. It’s really beautiful. Listen to this when you’re really angry, it’ll take it all out for you.

10. Machinedrum – “Do It 4 U”

You can only really describe this song in one word: “Banger.” It begins like your average rave-EDM track, with the typical epic synth intro and drum buildup, but surprises you with a drop reminiscent of a cross between TNGHT and anyone on PC Music.

Discover: Carter’s Playlist, Feb 1-7

By Carter Hickman, Contributor

According to Spotify’s Year in Music feature, I listened to 5,273 different songs via Spotify for 59,000 minutes in 2015, and 3,623 different tracks for 41,000 minutes in 2014, which together corresponds to 8,896 different songs in 1,650 hours, or 69 days.

I even have time logged in Spotify dating back to 2012 (check out my Freshman: spring-summer 2012 playlist. It’s not as embarrassing as I expected). From these stats, I can conclude that Spotify knows me very well, so I’d be pretty surprised/disappointed if my Discover Weekly playlists didn’t kick ass every week.

This week in particular stood out. From the first song (Jimi Hendrix’s “May This Be Love”) to the last (Ages and Ages’ “Light Goes Out”), each song caught my attention and reminded me of genres I’ve been listening to a lot lately, but always slightly different.

For instance, I’ve been playing a lot of fun, upbeat indie pop like Oberhofer, Little Comets, and Hippo Campus lately, and so the third song on my playlist was “Tropicoller Lease” by Sun Club. This song is carried by fun, dancy riffs similar to the bands previously noted, but the vocals are what really separates this band from other indie poppers. The vocals in this song are very unique, dramatic, distant and all over the place. I recommend it to everyone, regardless of taste.

Another favorite of mine from this week’s playlist is Diet Cig’s “Harvard”, which I’m pretty sure was derived from my recent Sports, Hinds, and Adult Mom obsessions. Diet Cig’s “Harvard” meshes punk rock (including the lyrics, such as “Fuck your ivy league sweater”) and garage pop, which is characterized by Alex Luciano’s sweet, melodic voice. From this song, I started checking out Diet Cig more in depth, and with every passing song I liked them more and more.

These songs are great, but my favorite song on this playlist goes to another feel-good, upbeat, indie pop tune, “Tickle” by Eyes Lips Eyes. The main riff that carries the intro and chorus is unbelievably catchy, so catchy that it’s been stuck in my head since I heard it for the first time. The lyrics are simple and sweet, and the guitar tone is as well. Overall, this track is just a great feel-good song that can be enjoyed by anyone.

Other notable appearances on the playlist goes to “Now, Now” by St. Vincent, “Making Breakfast” by Twin Peaks, and “The Summer Ends” by American Football.

There were some disappointments in this playlist though. Azizi Gibson’s “Crown Violet” is a terribly basic, uninteresting rap song containing shallow lyrics (I think I’ve been listening to too much A$AP Ferg).

In the opposite end of the genre spectrum, “Cinco De Mayo Shit Show” by Marietta is a showcase of overdone emo; whiny, overly dramatic, and uninventive. These two songs are the only two I would not listen to again.

Spotify has created an incredible recipe for weekly goodness, and for that I applaud them. I even found my favorite band, The Districts, from Discover Weekly. Music streaming sites have come and gone quite frequently within the last decade, but I think that Spotify is different, and is here to stay for quite a long time.

In addition to pleasing their customers, Discover Weekly is helping small artists out a lot. Not just music nerds know about bands with less than 100,000 streams on Spotify anymore.

The general majority can appreciate small bands, which is great support for the DIY scene, and now it’s easier than ever before to maintain a career as a musician, whether it’s local or global. Music streaming has its downs, but it also has its ups.