Monthly Playlist: February 2021

We’re back on our usual monthly business, with some tracks we’ve been listening to recently and words to accompany them. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot else to do, is there.

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Nick – Guitar

Ashnikko – Slumber Party (feat. Princess Nokia)

I remember hearing about Ashnikko ages ago and since then she’s been hovering around my list of artists to listen to and now it seems she’s kinda massive so it was about time I listened to her. Her new mixtape is exactly the kind of neon-stroke-pastel pop/hip-hop that I dig so I’m gonna have to explore her discography. The production is super sugary, the lyrics are witty and fun (perfectly suitable for your conservative grandparents), and my word isn’t it just catchy AF.

SOPHIE – BIPP

Rest in power one of the most talented and forward thinking producers of our time. One of the most iconic instances of an electronic producer whose music you can recognise immediately whether it was her solo work or her work with artists like Arca, Kim Petras or Charli XCX, her eclectic electric touch will be missed. I’ve gone with a classic in the form of Bipp which was for me, and many others, the first track I ever heard.

Chthonic – Legacy of the Seediq

There is a riff in this song that is a solid 9/10 riff and it would have been a 10/10 riff if they’d put a hecking ‘blegh’ at the beginning, but they didn’t and I’ve become so accustomed to doing it myself that I often forget there wasn’t one in the first place. Brilliant song from a brilliant album.

Rachika Nayar – The Trembling of Glass

Music, it seems, has no limits to how it can vary, Rachika Nayar being yet another artist that composes and manipulates sound in such a way that I’ve never heard before. Comparisons to other artists are truly futile in this case, but it’s the sound of an endless, glistening cave of jewels blanketed by a calming sea, or like drowning in a bathtub full of popping candy and crack, I don’t know.

Vjuga – Rotten: Godforsaken

These are a Russian band that I just discovered on Bandcamp because their album cover looks like something Katatonia would release. Doesn’t sound much like Katatonia really, in fact it doesn’t really sound like any band. There’s a really unique balance of grungy shoegaze elements and blackened doom elements that work wonderfully together. Very good, very cool, very beautiful, I like it.

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Richard – Bass

Oneohtrix Point Never – Sleep Dealer

Finally spending some long overdue time checking out OPN, specifically his landmark album Replica. It’s equal parts uncomfortably glitchy and soothingly ambient, which makes for a wonderfully unsettling vibe that really seeps deep into your brain in a way I am more than happy to accommodate.

Harvestman – Levitation

Harvestman is Steve Von Till from Neurosis’ drone/folk/psych project, and it’s a sound that suits him and his fatherly voice down to the ground. This track is built on a thrumming wash of distant heavy guitars that filter through such a dense prism of atmosphere and effects that it all comes together somewhere between Jesu and Nadja.

Periphery – Ragnarok

Since Luke joined the band as a third member who likes Periphery, I feel I can finally be open about how much I enjoy their first two albums in particular – moreso than pretty much any other djent I know. Spencer Sotelo’s vocals get smeared in all corners of the internet, but if you can listen to this song and honestly tell me you don’t think he’s insanely talented then I’m afraid you and I are done professionally. Stellar stuff.

The Knife – Neverland

The Silent Shout album has been on constant rotation in my car on the weekly trips to the shops and it’s made the whole ordeal a much more palatable one. ‘Neverland’ is an unrepentant banger, filled with Karin Dreijer’s (aka Fever Ray) genderfluid playfulness with vocal pitch-shifting and all-round unique stylings.

Substance – Countdown

Substance’s 2019 EP of Berlin techno Rise and Shine is a straight powerhouse of clattering rhythms, minimalist progressions and a dark, industrial audio aesthetic. Can I swap “Working From Home” with “Vibing From Berghain”, please?

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Luke – Drums

Strapping Young Lad – All Hail the New Flesh

When I got into SYL I clearly missed out on getting the City album. This has recently been remedied and holy moly is it another powerhouse of a Devvy album! This song in particular demonstrates incredible talent and musicianship with Gene Hoglan absolutely killing on the drums as per…. This is an absolute belter of a song and the chorus is just so fun to sing along to.

Vola – Straight Lines

This song was released on YouTube an hour before I’m writing this, but I love this band and this song continues to fuel that even though I haven’t completely taken it all in yet. The gaps between the verse vocal lines create such tension while the underlying groove keeps persisting and it just draws me in wanting more. And then the chorus is beautiful with lovely harmonies. It pleases my heart

Humanity’s Last Breath – Dehumanize

It slaps, need I say more? This is their last teaser before the album release in a week and boy oh boy do they have my interest. This isn’t beautiful like VOLA, it is just filth. Lovely groovy filth. I need to headbang to this in a field of sweaty men. What’s the tempo? Oh it slowed again? SIIIIIIIICK

Devin Townsend – Borderlands

I have a good life, and this is a great song. I’ve recently been listening to this a lot more in a lot more detail and really appreciating the nuanced layers of orchestration that make this so incredible. Devin has an amazing ability to create soundscapes which capture the mind and this is a wonderful demonstration of that.

Liquid Tension Experiment – The Passage Of Time

They’re back! And they have not changed. This song sounds just like the prog rock/metal shreddy goodness that we’ve come to know and love. To me the song does sound a lot like the stuff they’ve done in the past, but I suppose when you’ve not released anything in a long time you have to reassure the existing audience that you’re still exactly who they remember you to be, and this absolutely does that. There’s the classic Rudess keyboards, Portnoy Drums, Petrucci guitars and Levin Bass that interweave with solos and rich chord progressions in such a musical way.

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