Brooklyn trio Nude Beach have a rare talent for borrowing sounds and ideas from various high points in rock history without coming off like copycats. Part of the reason is that they tend to collage bits from different styles and periods within one single song — part of it’s the quality of material that they’re drawing from, and part of it’s just a gift for writing undeniable hooks. While they’re getting ready for the release of their third LP 77 and an accompanying fall tour, the band took a break to make EW a playlist of songs that inspired the album. Covering everything from modern jangle revivalists to classic country to psychedelic folk, it’s proof that when it comes to making records, the band’s working with top-shelf ingredients.
Tag: EW Playlists (11-20 of 53)
Over the past two decades, punk has shed most of its pricklier and more interesting qualities on its journey from the cultural fringe to the heart of the mainstream. But Bay Area quartet Deerhoof, who celebrate their 20th anniversary this year, have taken upon themselves the task of keeping punk weird, even when it seemed like they were going at it alone.
On Nov. 4, the band will release their 13th album, La Isla Bonita. Recorded in guitarist Ed Rodriguez’s basement, the album finds Deerhoof as gleefully noisy as ever but with a more refined pop edge, as you can hear on the lead single “Exit Only” (which was recorded in one take). Like their other works, the record draws from a crazy broad range of influences, and for this playlist entitled “Palpitations, Eruptions, Rhythmania,” guitarist John Dieterich shares a few.
Plenty of bands right now are tapping into the ’90s for inspiration, but few can provoke a full-on Clinton-era flashback like Brooklyn’s Field Guides. The first single off their upcoming debut LP Boo, Forever (out Nov. 11 on Muir Woods) not only nails the jumpy, jangle-heavy sound that about a million twee-pop bands took up in the wake of the influential C86 compilation, its title’s oblique reference to a mainstream-compatible alternative rock star perfectly nails the combination of snark and sublimated fame worship that indie rockers at the time were all about.
Along with sharing their new song with EW, they’ve also made us a playlist that shows off their ambitious and eclectic listening habits.
Musician and Milwaukee, Wisconsin native Grace Weber has operated out of New York for several years now, first attending school at New York University before settling into Brooklyn. Her soul-infused sound comes from a life of performing, including time in a children’s gospel choir in her adolescence, but the influence of her new home has made a clear impact on her work.
Weber’s first album Hope & Heart debuted the artist high on the singer/songwriter and heatseeker Billboard charts in 2011, and the musician is currently preparing for her sophomore release, The Refinery, to arrive on Oct. 7. Weber has given fans a peek at what’s to come with the album’s first single, “Perfect Stranger.”
Before The Refinery arrives, Weber will perform on Sept. 8 for HELLO Harlem, a charity supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. In keeping with the New York roots Weber has planted, she created a playlist for EW full of artists who capture the highs and lows of the city she now calls home.
TOPS, a four-piece band from Montreal made up of equal parts guys and gals, has released the video for “Way To Be Loved,” off their sophomore LP, Picture You Staring (out today).
Picture You Staring is an intimate affair — in the way it was made as much as the way it feels. Written, recorded, and produced over the course of 12 isolated months in Arbutus Records’ Montreal studio, it has a sound that’s simple, nuanced, and deeply personal. It’s as easy to get lost in your own thoughts as in theirs — or are they one and the same?
When asked about the video, the band says, “The video was inspired by the party scene in Midnight Cowboy and the movie Nowhere by Gregg Araki. We dolled up our place, provided refreshments and tunes. Our friends came with bells on and did their thing, it felt like a low-budget swingers wedding. Message: Be who you are and love one another.”
Big Data, a.k.a. Alan Wilkis, spends a lot of time thinking about heavy stuff, like the erosion of our privacy and how companies and the government exploit it. That admittedly paranoid worldview permeates pretty much everything he makes—including his song “Dangerous” and its hysterically gory video.
On the other hand, he’s also a pretty hardcore pop guy, and his sensibilities are accessible enough to land “Dangerous” at the top of the alternative rock charts. That side comes through loud and clear on the playlist that he put together for EW. Acts like Jungle and William Onyeabor that he chose aren’t exactly household names, but there’s an approachable, playful quality in pretty much all of his picks. The other major theme is that the tracks combine traditional instruments with electronics, a hybrid aesthetic that he himself works in. All in all it reflects his ability to challenge listeners in a way that they’ll actually enjoy.
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn’s Joey Bada$$ is only 19 years old, but he’s got a passion for old-school hip-hop—the kind you normally only find among fans who were buying rap tapes before he was even born.
Over the course of several increasingly popular mixtapes, he’s carved out a style rooted in what’s frequently referred to as the golden era of hip-hop, when a broad coalition of mostly East Coast acts like Gang Starr and A Tribe Called Quest were making seminal, boom-bap-heavy music that went a long way toward getting the genre taken seriously outside of the hip-hop community.
Right now, Joey’s prepping for the release of his debut solo album, B4.Da.$$. He took time out from his European tour to send EW a playlist of tracks that he has in heavy rotation right now. In true budding rap mogul style, about half the selections feature either him or a member of his Pro Era crew. That said, the left-field inclusion of Kiesza’s throwback club-pop burner “Hideaway”–and the hint that the two of them have a collaboration in the works–has us particularly excited.
Mikky Ekko, who you may know as Rihanna’s co-star in her mega-hit “Stay,” will release his debut album later this fall (side note/friendly PSA: it’s almost fall). The first single, “Smile” debuted earlier this month and bodes well for the upcoming collection: powerful vocals, delicate finishes, catchy, anthemic choruses.
The Louisiana native, who currently lives in Nashville, has been gaining major momentum, spending last summer touring with Jessie Ware, opening for Justin Timberlake in London in October and is currently working on highly-anticipated projects with artists like Zedd, Gwen Stefani, and Rihanna.
EW reached out to Ekko, asking him to put together a playlist for an occasion of his choosing. What did we get? “10 Tracks to Vibe Out Your Tuesday Night Pizza Party.” Fun, specific, and nuanced (in nature as well as naming), complete with commentary on each selection.
In one of the best and most talked-about sequences in Richard Linklater’s instant classic film Boyhood, Ethan Hawke gives Ellar Coltrane a homemade compilation he calls The Black Album. It consists of solo tracks from each of the four Beatles, sequenced in a way that captures the magic the band were able to make when they were still a cohesive unit. “Basically, I’ve put the band back together for you,” Hawke wrote in the liner notes.
It’s such a good idea that EW decided to steal it. There are countless bands who have broken up and never circled back around to a cash-grab reunion, and we’ve begun with one of my absolute favorites: The Clash. The group didn’t officially stick a fork in it until 1986, but the bloom was well off the rose by the time drummer Topper Headon left the group just prior to the release of 1982’s Combat Rock. The relationship between co-leads Mick Jones and Joe Strummer were hopelessly strained by the end, and by the time the group released the disastrous Cut the Crap in 1985, Jones was already deep into his second life as the frontman for Big Audio Dynamite.
Like the Beatles before them, the members of the Clash did make up and collaborate on an individual basis after they broke up, but they never got the band back together (and once Strummer suddenly passed away in 2002, that door was officially closed for good). Still, here are 19 tracks (the same number that appeared on the watershed London Calling) from the post-Clash lives of the core four that re-capture the spirit of what made them sonically and philosophically revolutionary. READ FULL STORY
In a pop landscape that’s becoming increasingly dominated by synthesizers, Chicago has emerged as a bastion of good old-fashioned guitar rock. Underage quintet the Orwells are currently at the movement’s forefront, but right behind them are another young group from the Windy City: Twin Peaks. Earlier this year they toured with the Orwells, and recently they played the Pitchfork Music Festival.
The momentum Twin Peaks have been accumulating is about to get a big boost with the release of their second album, Wild Onion (out August 5 on Grand Jury), which is packed with sugary-sweet, jangly hooks and an endearing sort of reckless post-adolescent attitude. (Front man Cadien Lake James played Pitchfork in a wheelchair due to a shenanigans-related injury.)
EW reached out to the band members and asked them to put together a playlist, and bassist/singer Jack Dolan delivered one imaginatively titled “Jack’s Catchy Jams,” complete with commentary on each selection.
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