Year of the Rooster: Årets album og låter 2017

Mitt lyttemønster preges i stor og økende grad av enkeltlåter framfor konsentrerte dypdykk ned i enkeltalbum. Noe skyldes et relativt stort musikalsk konsum hver dag og uke, som ikke gir altfor store rom for grundig fordypning over tid, et luksusproblem som også sier noe om det enorme berget av god musikk som kontinuerlig kommer ut (mest middelmådig, men hvem har vel tid til å bry seg om denslags). Det er derfor kanskje litt bråkjekt å si det, men 2017 har ikke vært preget av dette ene opplagte albumet – det som virkelig har klistret seg fast til den digitale eller fysiske platespilleren i uke etter uke, men snarerer denne jevne strømmen som legger seg til det evig voksende lasset som venter på å bli hørt i den kontekstuelle helheten de fortjener.

Her er lista over albumene og låtene jeg har gledet meg mest over i år, så langt, og jeg tror alle følger med over til 2018 uten å miste altfor mye glans.

Årets album 2017

Kendrick Lamar: Damn
(Top Dawg/Interscope)


– … fordi Hot DAMN. Så bra at han like gjerne ga den ut både framlengs og baklengs. Kunne gitt den ut sidelengs for min del.

Mount Eerie: A Crow Looked At Me
(P.W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd.)


… fordi dette er den av årets plater jeg har hørt mest på som jeg har hørt minst på – og som jeg egentlig ikke vil høre på. Ikke fordi den er dårlig, på langt nær, men fordi det gjør vondt og det er tungt å gå inn i entreen sammen med Phil Elverum denne gangen. Han åpner døra for oss inn til sitt hjem og hjerte, dunkelt belyst er det, leier oss liksom inn, inn i et hus fylt av minner og lukter og savn og sorg etter kona, og han viser oss dette med alt av menneskelig styrke og svakhet som det er mulig å stable på plass i en skjelven favn. Jeg er glad for at han gjorde det. Og lei meg for at han måtte det.

Power Trip: Nightmare Logic
(Southern Lord)

… fordi ingen tar skade av en porsjon mettal for å røske opp litt i ny og ne. Jeg har alltid likt Southern Lord og hatt sans for deres mørke og seige doom-ting, men dette er pur party fra start til slutt, det vil si snaue halvtimen. Jeg har så vidt begynt å olje en litt rusten kjærligheten for vintage thrash, og denne har bare trigget interessen ytterligere. Nightmare Logic har noen av de feteste riffene du vil høre i år, og det i selskap med særs mange sterke metall-utgivelser (Pallbearer, Bell Witch, Converge, Chelsea Wolfe, Wolves in the Throne Room, Elder, Converge…) står denne igjen som årets favoritt – og årets tøffeste råkkeskive.

Tyler the Creator: Flower Boy
(Columbia)


… fordi selv om Tyler the Creator har med seg et fett stjernelag på gjestelisten, inkludert Frank Ocean, Kali Uchis, A$ap Rocky, Jaden Smith, “vår egen” Anna of the North og mange andre, er dette først og fremst blomsterguttens eget mesterverk. På sitt fjerde soloalbum fortsetter Tyler the Creator å tøye musikalske grenser og brette ut sjela si på et vis som er sterkt imponerende.

Rhiannon Giddens: Freedom Highway
(Nonesuch)

… fordi Americana-genren aldri har stått sterkere, med en lang rekke artister, nye og gamle, som alle har levert noen av årets beste og mest relevante plater, som Jason Isbell, John Moreland, Zephaniah Ohora, Rodney Crowell, Hurray For the Riff Raff, Angaleena Presley og en lang rekke andre. Rhiannon Giddens stikker seg likevel ut litt ekstra som en kraftfull og klar stemme i et betent politisk klima. Vandrende langs den sølete frihetsveien har frontfiguren fra Carolina Chocolate Drops laget en plate som med røtter dypt ned i bakken og langt tilbake i tid belyser Amerika av i dag.

Brockhampton: Saturation II
(Question Everything)


… fordi dette Texas/Los Angeles baserte hiphop-kollektivet (unnskyld, boybandet) er årets suverene nykommer, som i år like gjerne fullførte hele sin Saturation-trilogi. Anført av ekstremt kreative Kevin Abstract preges Brockhampton av et vitalt musikalsk overskudd som går på tvers av genre og der alle involverte løfter hverandre opp og fram.

Jane Weaver: Modern Kosmology
(Fire)


… fordi Jane Weaver på sitt sjette album har funnet den perfekte kombinasjonen av deilige krautbeats, rastløs psykedelia og flørtende electronica. Modern Kosmology er som tittelen indikerer en speisa trip ut i kosmos, men det er en plate som heller aldri mister bakkekontakten. Jane Weaver synger med sval og sober stemme, litt sånn Nico-drømmeaktig, og som en sirene lokker hun oss inn i sitt Wicker Man’ske eventyrrike som vi aldri har lyst til å komme ut av.

Peter Perrett: How the West Was Won
(Domino)

…fordi denne tidligere tidligere frontmannen i The Only Ones (de med “Another Girl, Another Planet” og en drøss andre klassikere) har levd flere liv enn de fleste av oss, kommet ut av rennesteinen på mirakuløst vis og minner om at egenskapene som låtskriver ikke har blitt borte på veien. Snarere tvert i mot. Peter Perrett (65) skriver med hjertet bankende utenpå skjorta. Lakonisk og hjertevarm, mørk og morsom lirer han ut av seg smått briljante låter med et blikk og en penn skarpere og mer presis enn de fleste kan drømme om å nærme seg. Hjerteskjærende bra.

Gun Outfit: Out of Range
(Paradise Of Bachelors)


… fordi jeg er en sucker for slackers. Det har kommet mye fint i denne gata i år, Kevin Morby, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile og Michael Nau kunne alle vært med her. Men jeg går for denne. Gun Outfit hangler avgårde sånn akkurat passe vindskeivt og fint, men på finurlig vis får de det til å henge sammen. Liker du den slentrende vokalstilen til David Berman (Silver Jews) og de skakke melodilinjene til Pavement koplet med den rastløse energien til The Feelies er dette akkurat den dosen med Cosmic American Indie du trenger i år.

Curtis Harding: Face Your Fear
(Anti-)


… fordi Curtis Harding har en av disse uimotståelige varme soul-stemmene, og han forvalter arven etter de store (Marvin, Curtis et al) bedre enn de fleste – uten egentlig å bryte ny grunn. Han imponerte med debuten Soul Power i 2014, og fortsetter den fine stilen med Face Your Fear. Jeg hadde ikke tenkt at denne skulle havnet på Topp 20, dette er ikke en plate som nødvendigvis avdekker nye hemmeligheter for hver gjennomhøring, men den sitter veldig godt på øret til de fleste sammenhenger og har hengt med gjennom hele året. Og alle trenger vi en god dose soul i hverdagen.

***

Valerie June: The Order of Time
(Caroline)

Posse: Horse Blanket
(Self-released)

The Feelies: In Between
(Bar/None)

Couch Slut: Contempt
(Gilead Media)

Anouar Brahem: Blue Maqams
(ECM)

Ruby Rushton: Trudi’s Songbook: Volume One & Two
(22a)

Kaleema: Nómada
(Tropical Twista)

Trio Da Kali & Kronos Quartet: Ladilikan
(World Circuit)

Dean Hurley: Anthology Resource Vol. 1: △△
(Sacred Bones)

Zara McFarlane: Arise
(Brownswood Recordings)

Howe Gelb & Lonna Kelly: Further Standards
(Fire)

gelb.jpg

~ ~ ~ bobbling below ~ ~ ~
//JAY Z: 4:44//Susanne Sundfør: Music For People In Trouble//Fleet Foxes: Crack-Up//Thundercat: Drunk//Grizzly Bear: Painted Ruins//Michael Nau: Some Twist//This is the Kit: Moonlight Freeze//The Dream Syndicate: How Did I Find Myself Here//Sannhet: So Numb//Gas: Narkopop//Thurston Moore: Rock N Roll Consciousness//The War on Drugs: A Deeper Understanding//Slowdive: s/t//Protomartyr: Relatives in Descent//Laura Marling: Semper Femina//Aimee Mann: Mental Illness//Waxahatchee: Out in the Storm//Big Thief: Capacity//Joan Shelley: s/t//Aldous Harding: Party//Father John Misty: Pure Comedy//Tara Jane O’Neil: s/t//Rodney Crowell: Close Ties//Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: The Nashville Sound//Hurray for the Riff Raff: The Navigator//Angaleena Presley: Wrangled//Erlend Ropstad: Alt som har hendt//Phoebe Bridgers: Stranger in the Alps//Matttis Kleppen: Bassgitar//Spoon: Hot Thoughts//Zephania Ohora: This Highway//Tønes: Sesong 4//Esmerine: Mechanics of Dominion//King Krule: The Ooz//

Topp 100 Låter

Hele spillelista hører du her

Father John Misty: Pure Comedy

JAY-Z: The Story of O.J.

Kendrick Lamar: HUMBLE.

Shabazz Palaces: Shine a Light (feat. Thaddillac)

Grizzly Bear: Four Cypresses

Drake: Passionfruit

Ezra Furman: Driving Down to L.A.

Hurray For the Riff Raff: Pa’lante

Harry Styles: Sign of the Times

Thundercat feat. Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins: Show You the Way

~~~Bubbling below~~~
Frank Ocean: Chanel
Cende: What I Want
Ariel Pink: Another Weekend
Fleet Foxes: -Naiads, Cassadies
Girl Ray: Stupid Things
Posse: Keep Me Awake
Washed Out: Get Lost
Kevin Morby: City Music
Phoebe Bridgers: Funeral
The Dream Syndicate: How Did I Find Myself Here

Kendrick Lamar: The Heart Part 4
Faux Ferocious: Me and Johnny
Peter Perrett: Living in My Head
This is the Kit: Bullet Proof
Michael Nau: Big Wind No Sail
Future feat. Kendrick Lamar: Mask Off (Remix)
Valerie June: The Front Door
Zephaniah O’Hora: High Class City Girl From the Country
King Krule: Dum Surfer
Thurston Moore: Turn On

The Feelies: Turn Back Time
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: If We Were Vampires
QTY: Michael
Laura Marling: Soothing
Sudan Archives: Come Meh Way
Linda Vidala, KingSkurkOne, OnklP, Kamelen: Bængshot (Remix)
Vic Mensa: Say I Didn’t
Bedouine: One of These Days
Beach Fossils: Down the Line
Gun Outfit: Strange Insistence

Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Bieber: Despacito (Remix)
J A Y E L E C T R O N I C A: Letter to Falon
Andrew Combs: Rose Colored Blues
Big Sean: Bounce Back
Sampha: (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano
Michael Nau: Big Wind No Sail
The War On Drugs: Thinking of a Place
Manchester Orchestra: The Alien
Miley Cyrus: Malibu
Steven Wilson w/ Ninet Tayeb: Pariah

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: Tezeta
Gold Star: Come With Me
Kamasi Washington: Truth
Real Estate: Darling
Afghan Whigs: Arabian Heights
Otis Taylor: Walk on Water
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: French Press
Curtis Harding: On and On
Karen Elson: Distant Shores
Mount Eerie: Real Death

Big Thief: Mary
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Rattlesnake
Floating Points: Silurian Blue
Jay Som: The Bus Song
Lizzo: Water Me
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile: Over Everything
Rodney Crowell: It Ain’t Over Yet
Erlend Ropstad: Det Store Blå
David Ramirez: Twins
Tara Jane O’Neil: Flutter

Milk Music: Crying Wand
Mashrou’Leila: Roman
Mary Epworth: Me Swimming
Kacy & Clayton: Just Like a Summer Cloud
Bing & Ruth: The How of It Sped
Protomartyr: My Children
Saba Abraha: Wicked Ways
Ought: These 3 Things
Pinegrove: Intrepid
Woods: Spring Is in the Air

Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton: Fatal Gift
Selena Gomez: Bad Liar
Vince Staples: BagBak
Algiers: The Underside of Power
Kevin Morby: Baltimore (Sky at Night)
Leikeli47: 2nd Fiddle
Brockhampton: SWEET
Charlotte Gainsbourg: Ring-a-Ring O’ Roses
St. Vincent: New York
Lilly Hiatt: The Night David Bowie Died

Slowdive: Sugar For the Pill
Everything Is Recorded feat. SYD, Sampha: Show Love
Kaleema: Sierra Leona
Colter Wall: Kate McCannon
Tønes: Våkna ny
Jeb Loy Nichols: Come See Me
Sam Gellaitry: Jungle Waters
Julien Baker: Appointments
Sufjan Stevens: Tony Harding (in D Major)
Lambert: In the Dust of Our Days

Reklamer

Year of the Rooster: Retroåret 2017

Fortiden blir lengre for hvert år. I 2017 har det kommet så mange flotte reutgivelser og samlinger at man nesten ikke trenger å høre på ny musikk. Vel, bare nesten da. Vi har feiret at Bob Seger og Yoko Ono, for å ta to vidt forskjellige artister som eksempel, har kommet på plass i de digitale platehyllene, men aller viktigst var selvsagt at hele katalogen til ECM nå endelig er tilgjengelig i sin fulle bredde. Kvalitetsgarantister som Numero, Strut og Light in the Attic, og vår hjemlige Runde 2, bidrar til å pumpe ut gull fra arkivene, og eldre utgivelser blir til stadighet støvpusset og nylansert. Dette er mine fem favoritter fra retroåret 2017:

Hüsker Dü: Savage Young Dü
(Numero)


Numero er alltid en kvalitetsgaratist, og markerer sitt katalognummer 200 med praktboksen Savage Young Dü der de dokumenterer den tidlige fasen til Hüsker Dü. Her får du 69 låter, derav 47 tidligere uutgitte, som følger Minnesota-trioen fra den spede begynnelsen i 1979 og fram til de signet med SST i 1983. Dette er en viktig og fullverdig dokumentasjon av et band som utviklet seg fra ubehøvlet punkrock til et av de aller mest sentrale bandene i framveksten av den amerikanske undergrunnsscenen. Savage Young Dü høres digitalt, men nytes også i fysisk format i kraft av en massiv og godt illustrert bok.

Lal & Mike Waterson: Bright Phoebus
(Domino)


Nydelig remastering og reutgivelse av et særs vanskelig tilgjengelig album, opprinnelig utgitt i 1972. I tillegg til the Watersons ble innspillingen gjestet av nær sagt halve den britiske folk-scenen på 70-tallet: Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Mattacks, Tim Hart og Maddy Prior er alle med her, på en plate som jevnlig og rettmessig beskrives som ‘a folk-noir masterpiece’.

Neil Young: Hitchhiker
(Reprise)


Man blir aldri ferdig med Neil Young. I hvert fall vi som er ekstra glad i den midtre 70-tallskatalogen hans. Hitchhiker har ligget på lager i hans legendariske arkiver altfor lenge, selv om mange av låtene herfra har sivet ut i årenes løp. Sammen med produsent David Briggs gjennomført Young såkalte ‘full moon sessions’ i årene 1975-77, og det er fra en slik kveld disse opptakene stammer fra. Nærmere bestemt 11. august 1976. Sammen med etablerte klassikere som “Pocahontas” og “Powderfinger” dukker også uutgitte “Hawaii” og “Give Me Strength” opp på en skive som bærer med seg den endeløse solnedgangen fra California på 1970-tallet slik bare Neil Young klarer å fange den.

U-Men: s/t
(Sub Pop)


Jeg har så vidt nevnt U-Men her inne tidligere, og nå har jammen meg Sub Pop skrapet sammen hist og hint fra dette oversette bandet fra Seattles pre-grunge periode. Mark Arm (Mudhoney) har skrevet liner notes, og han beskriver dem egentlig bedre enn noen andre: The U-Men are one of the best bands I’ve ever seen. They were hypnotic, frenetic, powerful and compelling. It was impossible to resist getting sucked into their weird, darkly absurd world. They effortlessly blended The Sonics, Link Wray, Pere Ubu, and Captain Beefheart. Their shows were loose-limbed, drunken dance parties and no two shows were alike. The U-Men were avant garage explorers and, most importantly, they fucking rocked.

VA: Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes
(Ostinato)


Det kommer tonnevis med samleskiver fra hele globusen i løpet av et år, enten det er psykedelisk rock fra Ghana eller strupesang fra Tibet som blir dokumentert. Så mye fet musikk fra alle verdenshjørner og tidsepoker, så liten tid til å sette seg inn i alt. Denne får lov til å representere musikk som ofte blir ignorert, i hvert fall med vestlige øyne. Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes er ikke bare en musikalsk skattekiste, som omfavner funk, Afrobeat, reggae, folk og mer, men også en kulturell dokumentasjon over et land som var – og sikkert er – langt mer enn borgerkrig og flyktninger. Vakker musikk, trist bakteppe.

…best of the rest…
The Replacements: For Sale: Live At Maxwell’s 1986
Drivin ’N’ Cryin’: Mystery Road (Expanded edition)
Buffalo Tom: Let Me Come Over: 25th Anniversary Edition
Throbbing Gristle: 20 Jazz Funk Greats (Remastered)
Fingers Inc.: Another Side
Acetone: 1992-2001
VA: Wayfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares
Jackie Shane: Any Other Way
Mulatu Astatke: Mulatu of Ethiopia

Retroåret i spillelister

Vil du grave litt mer ned i musikk fra fortiden, nær og fjern, så har jeg plukket ut noen anbefalte spillelister på TIDAL laget i 2017, som inkluderer både strømlinjeformet country, punk, psykedelisk soul og frihetsjazz for å nevne noe. Bør være litt for enhver smak, i hvert fall for den som er nysgjerrig på musikk. God fornøyelse!

Murder Ballads: Stories of Misery & Mayhem

Murder ballads have a history that goes back to pre-modern times, with many originating in England and Scotland and written down, printed and sold on broadsheets already in the 17th century as true crime novels of their time. These dark and often grotesque stories have endured during the centuries in their purest form or mutating into something slightly different as they found new life on the other side of the Atlantic with the European settlers. A classic example would be the Appalachian murder ballad “The Knoxville Girl”, which can be derived under various names back to English ballads from the 1500s. But murder is also a frequent topic in American ballads, as Library of Congress states: “Many murder ballads were composed in America, especially after famous murder cases. An example is «Pearl Bryant,» a fictionalized account of the murder of Pearl Bryan in Kentucky in 1896.” This playlist is a collection of some of the most famous Murder Ballads, including “Tom Dooley”, “Stagger Lee” and “In the Pines”, as well as some more recent examples of the genre. [Ill: «Anguish», Albrecht Schenck, public domain]

Rumba on the River: Congolese Classics

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) harbors one of the most varied and vibrant music scenes in Africa, particularly centered on the capital of Kinshasa. Formerly known as Belgian Congo and Zaire, DRC started to develop a pan-Congolese musical identity after World War II with Latin tinged Rumba as the main craze. The formation of the popular and highly influential Le Grand Kallé et l’African Jazz (African Jazz) in the early 1950s turned out to be an important event in terms of shaping a unique musical identity as well as giving voice to a rising national self-confidence. African jazz also introduced African music to Europe, and their «Indépendance Cha Cha» (1960) is commonly considered as one of the first Pan-African hit songs. Congolese rumba (or Soukous) is still an important and integrated part of Congolese music, alongside added inspiration from funk, psychedelia and later hip-hop and electronica. Follow the musical development from colonial to modern times and gives you a glimpse into a highly exciting and energetic music scene.

Country Got Soul

It came out of the south. Centered in the ‘Country-Soul triangle’ of Memphis, Nashville and Muscle Shoals in the 1960s, Country Soul was the merging of country and soul music, bridging two genres sharing so much of the same genealogy. The styles were largely segregated at the time, exacerbated by racial identifications of their respective fanbases, but drew from the same musical lineage of gospel, rhythm & blues and folk. The irresistible and triumphant mixture of country and soul worked in favor of both styles and transcended the ‘musical color line’. This playlist guides you through some classics from the Country Soul triangle and beyond.

Surfin’ the Gutter: L.A. Punk Classics

Los Angeles and its surrounding areas are crucial for the birth and development of US punk music. A social movement of Regan-era misfits grew out of the vast and affluent suburbs of Orange County, California, and spawned the birth of hardcore punk in the late 1970s (Santa Ana’s, The Middle Class, Hermosa Beach’ Black Flag, and others). The Los Angeles punk scene is also closely associated with the birth of the melodic and super catchy pop-punk scene (Bad Religion, Descendents, NOFX), and Southern California is thus to a large extent responsible for the alternative rock explosion of the 1980s and 1990s. Enjoy this selection of vintage SoCal punk classics, including FEAR, The Germs, The Dickies and loads more.

Soft Rainbow Summer: Sunshine Pop

The soft, sweet sounds of Sunshine Pop (or Soft Pop) naturally arose in 1960s Southern California, drawing on several vibes of the era, including folk, psychedelia and easy listening. Characteristics include lush vocals, light arrangements and an overall sunny vibe. Groups like The Beach Boys, The Mamas & the Papas, The Turtles, The Association and the 5th Dimension are commonly considered important influences and popular archetypes of a style more than often populated with lesser-known acts. Sunshine Pop has amassed quite a cult following over the years, highly regarded and saved from obscurity by notorious album collectors from all over the world. Let the sunshine in! (Cover picture: Summer Nomads, Life Magazine August 14, 1970).

Electric Samurais: Japan Inside/Out

Japan boasts an extremely eclectic and wide-ranging music scene with prime artists on every level of the musical scope and beyond. This playlist is by no means an attempt to capture the entire national music identity of Japan, but is merely a glimpse into some of the most exciting, experimental and ethereal music coming out of Japan from the 1960s and onwards. Dig into this collection of gems from naive pop art to pure noise bliss.

Psychedelic Africa: Rainbows Over Sahara

Afro rock, psychedelia and raw funk played an important role in the music scene of many African countries from the 1970s and forward. Zamrock came out of Zambia to characterize a scene that was equally inspired by Jimi Hendrix and James Brown (including bands like Witch, Ngozi Family, Amanaz). Nigeria has a long and rich history, not to mention other West African countries like Benin and Togo, and of course among the Tuareg people of Niger and Mali. This musical journey takes you through some of the many highlights from the psychedelic sounds of Africa.

United Forces: Metal Punx

Metal heads and Punk kids used to squat on separate sides on disgruntled youth. But during the 1980s, the two camps found common ground through numerous crossover acts. This playlist highlights some bands and albums that helped unite metal and punk, tearing down subcultures’ dividing lines and paving way for new directions in hard rock in the years to come. Kicking it off with S.O.D’s «United Forces» as the perfect embodiment, and also including D.R.I, Black Flag, Metal Church and tons more.

Touch & Go: 30 Years of Discomfort

Touch & Go is among the most important independent record labels in alternative rock, not only for being home to 1980s pioneers like Butthole Surfers and Big Black, but also for providing a crucial nationwide network of underground culture. Touch & Go started out in 1979 as a music fanzine based in Lansing, Michigan, before turning into a record label that soon relocated to Chicago. Touch & Go soon enough broadened their hardcore punk roots (Negative Approach, The Meatmen) and expanded into unknown sonic terrain with seminal acts like Scratch Acid, Killdozer, Slint and Urge Overkill, and into the 2000s with bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on the Radio. Corey Rusk has been in charge of Touch & Go since the early 1980s, and still maintains the label, while now basically handling back catalog. Join in to a trip in the archives and some highlights from a catalog packed with gems, presented more or less in chronological order.

Black Gold of the Sun: Psychedelic Soul Explosion

In the latter part of the 1960s, many soul and R&B artists started to embrace the psychedelic rock sounds of the time, leading to a new and exciting hybrid dubbed Psychedelic Soul. The style turned out to be an inventive and influential musical trend especially for the subsequent birth of funk and disco, which eventually replaced it in mass popularity. Join in for a ride back to the heyday of psychedelic soul and artists like The Temptations, Curtis Mayfield, Shuggie Otis, Sly & the Family Stone, and many others.

Jazz Is Freedom

Jazz is all about freedom from musical boundaries, exploring the unknown and looking ahead. This daring attitude resonates well with the avant-garde jazz pioneers in the 1960s, and on this playlist we pay tribute to just some freedom fighters – from Ornette Coleman and Pharoah Sanders to torchbearers in the modern day.

Wild Rodeo Ride: Cowpunk Classics

Cowpunk was term being used in the 1980s to describe bands that married traditional country and untamed rockabilly energy with a punk attitude. Los Angeles was a particular hotbed of cowpunk, and the scene is a precursor to the alt.country wave of the 1990s and what is being called Americana since turn of the century. This playlist gives you a taste of some cowpunk classics, including true pioneers and artists based more in the outskirts of the style.

Countrypolitan: Country Pop

With its blend of string-laden pop, sweet vocal harmonies and sensible country tunes, Countrypolitan followed the Nashville Sound as a hugely popular style throughout the late 1960s and 70s. Here are some radio friendly chartbusters alongside other favorites from the era.

The Nashville Sound

When the honky tonk of the early 1950s turned into rockabilly, the country roads led to a more prop friendly format known as the Nashville Sound. Studio producers Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley helped develop this style, replacing hillbilly instruments with strings and background choruses in an effort to reach the more adult oriented and commercially broader Nashville market. While honky tonk lyrics often dealt with working class issues like alcoholism, failed marriages and adultery, the Nashville Sound offered a more escapist approach both in tone and prose. Enjoy some of the era’s prime material, featuring timeless songs from the likes of Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline and many more. The Nashville Sound would later become known as Countrypolitan, distinguished from the Nashville Sound by even more lush arrangements and softer sounds.

Jazz Got Soul

Soul Jazz developed in the 1950s and is characterized by its mix of jazz, soul, blues, gospel and rhythm & blues, and closely associated with the hard bop style. We’ve picked out some groovy and soulful favorites that fit into this rather open category, including Cannonball Adderley, Lee Morgan, Jimmy Smith and other masters of soulful jazz.

More Sad and Slow Hits

In the early 1990s some bands started to turn inwards, imploding rather than exploding, in direct contrast to the prevailing indie/rock and post-grunge hegemony at the time. Terms like ‘slowcore’ and ‘sadcore’ were used to describe such artists that played really slow or really sad music. Or quite often both. Slowcore is not defined by one clear identity, but relates to hushed shoegaze, bleak singers / songwriters and experimental post-rock outfits that all found a common affinity in doing it slow. Press play and be patient.

Memphis Got Soul!

When President Barack Obama paid tribute to Memphis soul in 2013, he called the sound of Soundsville, U.S.A. “A music that, at its core, is about the pain of being alone, the power of human connection and the importance of treating each other right. After all, this is the music that asked us to try a little tenderness. It’s the music that put ‘Mr. Big Stuff’ in his place,” referring to Jean Knight and Otis Redding. Memphis soul grew out of Southern soul in the 1960s, immortalized on labels like Stax, Hi and Goldwax. Commonly described as more sultry and stylish than its origins in Southern soul, Memphis soul was a defining direction until disco changed the scene in the later parts of the ’70s. This is a collection of (mostly) vintage gems from a wonderful period in the history of music.

Intricate Guitars Inventive Rhythms

Math Rock is a term first used in the latter part of the 1980s and 1990s to describe a wave of inventive, new bands more than willing to stretch the limits with rhythmic structures and time signatures. Artists like Bastro, Shellac, Hella and Don Caballero are prime examples on bands shirking complexity in favor of simplicity and angularity in favor of the straight ahead sounds. Math Rock is no strict genre, more likely to be rejected by the ones involved, and is related to post-hardcore and emo as to jazz, prog and punk. The common denominator is their willingness to experiment, their openness for the adventurous and their courageous attitude toward the unknown. We cherish all of these with handpicked delights from just some of the names tied to the sound of intricate guitars and inventive rhythms.