House Arrest: A Spotify Mixtape

2017 July 8
by John

To utilize our totally banging playlist content, go to Spotify, register, and download the free software that allows you to listen to practically any music you like for zero money. We’ve spoken about Spotify more than once, and we’re behind anything that makes music free and isn’t illegal.

Since PULP 08/09 ground to a halt, I’ve been at something of a loss as to how to spend my time – on an unrelated note, university has also broken out for the year and I’m now sat around, waiting to start my first “proper” year at university, without a job or anything to do, except look out of my window to a vast expanse of grassy nothingness.

So with that in mind, I created a mixtape for the benefit of our marauding readership (which, at this point of the year, consists of three members of staff and the people who keep being accidentally brought here on their never-ending quest for horrifying, unforgiveable porn) – however, this is the twenty-first century, so rather than fire up the tape deck or the CD burner, you’ll be pleased to know that the only real effort I put into this is staring you in the face (good liner notes are essential for any compilation regardless of the form it takes). Plus, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to write articles now that my contact with the outside world is limited to setting tripwires for the local children under cover of darkness.

So, allow me to present for your listening pleasure, House Arrest (Spotify link), a playlist for those as generally listless and unemployable as I am. It is mostly what I have been enjoying lately. Maybe you will enjoy it too. Here is the tracklisting, with needlessly long explanations.

Future of the Left – Arming Eritrea (from Travels With Myself & Another)

future-of-the-left-travels-with-myself-and-anotherIf I ever do get around to a Best Albums of 2009 piece, which I almost assuredly will not, colour me amazed if this album is not sitting pretty on top of the list by the time we’re pulling party poppers at new years’. Future of the Left are the best band to come out of Cardiff in a long, long time – their debut album was good, but they’ve really hit their stride with this one. This is the opening track, and it’s a belter.

Madvillain – Strange Ways (from Madvillainy)

I first heard this one on “Everyone”, a Manchester skate DVD that Dan Cintra put out (you can get it in Note for a fiver – even if you’re not into skateboarding, it is a unique look at Manchester, including some scenes shot outside our own John Dalton building; if you are into skateboarding, you probably have it already). I loved the film, and I also loved the soundtrack – it was diverse and refreshing, and this was a highlight.

The Smiths – Cemetry Gates (from The Sound of The Smiths)

Everyone has their own favourite Smiths songs, and this is up there for me – although it always seems to be neglected when people discuss their favourites. Possibly because it’s not as obviously flashy in the guitar department, possibly because it’s a song about a cemetery, who knows. Anyway, I certainly like it.

The Bad Plus – Lithium (from For All I Care)

for-all-i-careThe Bad Plus only recently popped onto my radar – I engaged in a mix CD swap with Ally Craig recently, and in exchange for an ill-advised and poorly-drawn CD full of naff pop punk and stuff he already knew, I received a disc full of stuff I’d never heard. I’d say I got the best of that exchange, and so would he. This was one of the tracks, and I immediately loved it. I love Nirvana a hell of a lot, and – having gone to a secondary school that had a suspiciously high number of atrocious Nirvana cover bands  – I appreciate that a Nirvana cover is not something that is easily done well. This, on the other hand, is brilliant – it’s unique, but doesn’t stray too far from the magic of the original. Lovely stuff.

The Black Keys – Strange Times (from Attack & Release)

I have a rich history of discovering bands through video games – mostly from the Tony Hawk series, starting with Busdriver’s Imaginary Places from Tony Hawk’s 2. This has happened a lot more since I began dabbling with Guitar Hero and Rock Band (as my real guitars gathered dust in the corner while I ebbed away the hours seeking approval from a digital crowd). The latest addition was The Black Keys’ Strange Times, which I discovered from Grand Theft Auto 4’s radio stations. I’ve liked the Keys for a long time but had neglected them until I heard this, and it re-awakened my love for bluesy punk-rock duets that are totally better than the White Stripes.

Bon Iver – Brackett, WI (from Dark Was The Night)

Plenty of people ignored Bon Iver because of the hype he gathered from the Pitchfork brigade. They were right to be cautious, as any gift horse from the Pitchfork stable must have its mouth very closely examined. However, their scepticism is misplaced – Bon Iver is brilliant, and if he continues to release material as good as this, he could be the next Elliott Smith. Or, if he doesn’t stab himself in the chest, the next Bob Dylan, without the annoying voice. I’m not hyping him up too much, but basically he’s better than Bob Dylan. Also, the compilation from which this song was taken – magnifique. Some big names on there, from Ben Gibbard to Feist, and it’s a dynamite collection.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Radio Nowhere (from Magic)

I was recently bitten by the Boss bug and wrote about him at length, but if you still haven’t reconciled with The Boss and forgiven him for that extremely iffy set of music videos, now’s your chance.

Piglet – Little Bubble, Where Are You Going? (from Lava Land)

I limited myself to one instrumental track on this compilation as I’m aware that not everyone is appreciative of that kind of music, but I feel Piglet are the right band to represent modern instrumental rock music (you could deem them as “math rock” if the term hadn’t already been sullied forever by one great big pretentious circle jerk a few years back, surrounded by the artsy, throbbing, oozing dicks of every music blogger in America). They’ve only released one EP, Lava Land, but it’s sufficiently brilliant that they never have to release anything else – which is just as well, because it would seem they released this and then fell off the face of the earth.

Acoustic Ladyland – Paris (from Skinny Grin)

Punk jazz is not something that gets many people enthused, not least of all because it’s a relatively niche genre. That said, Acoustic Ladyland – who achieved a great deal of praise for the album from which this song was taken – are probably the finest (and maybe only) exponents of punk jazz in the world. Their songs are not traditional jazz, or traditional punk – they are somewhere in the vast chasm between the two, raised up on a modest pedestal to signify their dominance over a sparsely populated genre. Hooray for Acoustic Ladyland.

Yourcodenameis:milo – All Roads To Fault (from All Roads To Fault)

Yourcodenameis:milo were that rarest of things – a genuinely inventive and exciting new band that had mainstream backing from a major label. Their music was unpredictable, refreshing, and – especially on their debut album – had this incredible production that made their material immediately recognizable. Yourcodenameis:milo were a breath of fresh air and I immensely enjoyed both their live performances and records.

Sadly, in a world where Jarcrew are gone and forgotten, yet Hundred Reasons continue to squeeze out records and tours (albeit on an ever-decreasing scale; I hear the next album is being sold exclusively at car boot sales), creativity counts for nothing – Milo were bounced from Polydor to Virgin in a desperate attempt to find them the audience they deserved, it never came, and after their second album bombed, they packed it in. To add insult to injury, the lead singer joined The Automatic. If that isn’t a sad indictment on the state of British music, tell me what is.

Anyway, if you had an ear to the ground in this country around 2004, you probably heard this at some point – it was their biggest hit, and still one of my favourite songs that has ever been released as a single. Probably because it is the most unlikely candidate for a single release that I have ever heard – and yet, it works. It works perfectly. And nobody cared. For shame.

John Tucker