Despite the snowstorm in the Northeast, spring is making its appearance in many parts of the country. Soon we will be rolling down the car windows, blasting our tunes and blowing out the cobwebs. This week’s Timely Tunes playlist is perfect for that first warm drive of the season.
Hint: while it’s *okay* to listen to Timely Tunes playlists on shuffle, do yourself a favor and try listening in order. They are each carefully crafted to provide a purposeful listening experience, start to finish.
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PWR BTTM “Answer My Text” (From “Pageant”)
New York queercore punks PWR BTTM’s previous single, “Big Beautiful Day” was a propulsive blast of noisy ear candy and one of the best, catchiest songs yet in this young year. “Answer My Text” is every bit as irresistible, showcasing the duo’s winking humor, as it details first world heartbreak via unreciprocated digital correspondence. The first time I got to the song’s chorus, I was immediately reminded of “Teenage Dirtbag”, a snotty antecedent from my high school years. Not surprisingly, that track is included on PWR BTTM’s Spotify playlist of influences for this album.
The Afghan Whigs “Demon in Profile” (From “In Spades”)
The Afghan Whigs were always a weird outlier in the world of Sub Pop Records and the grunge takeover. For one, they originated in Cincinnati, not the Pacific Northwest; also Greg Dulli’s preferred form of psychological torment mining was libidinous in a way that Cobain, Staley, and Vedder were certainly not. If their reformation in 2011 and output since then have proven anything further, it’s that their singular sound has also aged very well. “Demon in Profile” is another stellar example of why this is one of the few bands that could ever bridge the gap between The Replacements’ knack for drunkenly stumbling down the steps into a pop hook and The Temptations’ psychedelic soul.
Frank Ocean “Chanel”
It was a long four years between “channel ORANGE” and last year’s “blonde” for Ocean’s alternately devoted, impatient, and badgering fans. How was any artist to rise to the expectations of a fanbase with the attention span of a disappearing Snapchat? “blonde” ended up being a critical and commercial success; a meticulous, candid work of art. A couple of weeks ago, Calvin Harris, Ocean, and Migos released the summery, gorgeous “Slide”, which should be the song of the summer, if it has legs, and now we get this surprise solo single, “Chanel”. It would have been a standout track on “blonde”, and it makes me wonder, greedily, what other treasures he has in store for us.
The Necks “Blue Mountain” (From “Unfold”)
You’ll need to sit down for this one. Over the course of thirty years, Australian improv trio The Necks have released nineteen albums of exploratory experimental music inspired by jazz, Krautrock, and minimalist composers. “Blue Mountain”, one of four lengthy tracks on their latest record, is twenty one minutes of meditative piano, organ, wind chimes, and rolling drums that methodically evolves into an extended climax of quasi-Godspeed You! Black Emperor tension and release.
TIMELY TUNES, VOL. 39
1. Pinegrove “Then Again”
2. PWR BTTM “Answer My Text”
3. Weezer “You Gave Your Love to Me Softly”
4. The Replacements “Unsatisfied”
5. The Afghan Whigs “Demon in Profile”
6. The Temptations “You Make Your Own Heaven and Hell Right Here On Earth”
7. Eddie Hazel “Frantic Moment”
8. William Bell “I Forgot To Be Your Lover”
9. Frank Ocean “Chanel”
10. Prince “If I Was Your Girlfriend”
11. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan “Mera Piya Ghar Aaya”
12. Laetitia Sadier “The Opposite of Spectator”
13. The Necks “Blue Mountain”
14. Philip Jeck “Pilot/Dark Blue Night”
15. George Harrison “Dream Scene”