This week it’s Strictly Festivals Editor In Chief David Hayter’s turn to provide The Strictly Playlist. Remember, if you want to hear the playlist, you can either listen to the onsite player, click the individual youtube links (the song titles) or hear the playlist on Spotify by clicking this link:
1. “Goodbye” – Best Coast
“My Highs Are High, My Lows Are Low, And I Don’t Which Way To Go”; there’s a charming childishness to Best Coast’s music, and “Goodbye” is one of their finest slices of defeatist apathy.
“Goodbye” is frustration; it’s throwing your hands up and giving up. Unable to leave the house, unable to watch tv, unable to even form an opinion or articulate your most basic emotional wants. You find yourself rendered functionless by love and not even weed can help (I know a Best Coast song where weed isn’t the answer). At heart “Goodbye” is a sweet love song, but it’s really an ode to stunted emotional ambiguity.
2. “Roland” – Interpol
Who said Interpol can’t party? Okay so “Roland” is hardly a barrel of laughs, but it is an explosion of pent up herky-jerky energy, and it feels so good. There’s a certain joy that can only be derived from shuffling across the dance floor with spastic aplomb and shouting “My Best Friends A Butcher, He Has Sixteen Knives”.
3. “Vietnam” – Crystal Castles
There’s something intoxicating about those chopped up, warped lyrics and that dead eyed stare and you can feel it, if not see it on “Vietnam”. Crystal Castles toy with your expectations, ratcheting up the tension, slowly amping up the vocals, only to drop you into a twinkling subdued electrocityscape. This is Crystal Castles at their considered artistic best, marrying menace and emotion to placeless retro-futuristic grooves.
4. “Trials Of The Past” – SBTRKT
Post-Dub Step with heart breaking resonance, no don’t worry, it’s not the minimal mopery of James Blake, but it is just as affecting. SBTRKT has managed to walk the line between artistic chic, cutting edge club grooves and big accessible hooks. “Trails Of The Past” is the rarest of offerings, sorrow that’s sexy as hell. A tale of death, ghosts and memory, highlighted by the piercing couplet: “Go With The Flow Without Knowing Where I Want To Be, So I Got Myself Into Crazy Situations – A Loyal Soldiers Who Acts, But Never Asks”.
5. “No Widows” – The Antlers
There is a rich ice brilliance to The Antlers “No Widows”. While it’s full of subtle drum beasts, shimmer reverb, and chiming keys, it feels spacious. You hear notes and melodies long since finished floating and echoing in the wide open landscape The Antlers have created. The track shifts from icy distance and cold despair to the warmth of hope and acceptance, with just the subtlest rariations in tone.
6. “F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E” – Pulp
It was so tough to pick just one Pulp song, but after seeing them live twice this summer I had to pick “F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E”. Everyone planning on seeing Pulp should get to know this track, as it’s the centrepeice moment where Jarvis takes centre stage and showcases his coy sexual charisma before unleashing one of the biggest pure pop hooks in Pulp’s back catalogue.
7. “You Know What I Mean” – Cults
It wouldn’t be a 2011 festival line up with a glorious slice of 60s Girl Pop reinvention. Cults’ fit the bill at Reading and Leeds by brilliant juxtaposing sugar sweet tones and shy mawkishness with sinister undertones and determined resolution.
“You Know What I Mean” is spacious and crisp and that chorus simply explodes into life and should provide a magically moment on the FR Stage.
8. “Three Decades” – The Horrors
Droning in a sea of reverb never sounded so good. Buried beneath the smoke clouds of fuzzed out noise and the ghostly sweeping long notes lies one of Faris Badwan’s most addictive hooks. “Three Decades” is an adrenaline rush wrapped in a reflective shroud, perfect for both quiet appreciation and viscerally rocking out.
9. “Undertow” – Warpaint
Warpaint are almost single handedly flying the flag for women in rock at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festivals, and while they may appear a solitary voice, female rock couldn’t ask for a better representative. “Undertow” is alluring and ridiculously sexy, drawing the listener in with it’s seductive hooks, you find yourself slave to Warpaint’s undertow and one of the most addictive basslines imaginable.
10. “Trying Your Luck” – The Strokes
My favourite song by my favourite band; I fell in love with The Strokes when I was a teenager and this is the track that permanently etched its way into my heart. That diving guitar line was born to break hearts, and Julian stumble across a rare moment of tender defeatist reflection, as he shrugs his shoulders, takes one final big deep breath, before throwing in his lot with a girl who might not be perfect, but might just do.
11. “Conversation 16” – The National
From romanceless acceptance to abject misery, it’s one thing to dive headlong into a relationship, it’s another to keep it together, and “Conversation 16” finds tracks protagonist living in a bad movie. Perpetuating a rotten relationship to simply keep up appearances, tormenting his lover with his every flaw, and struggling to do the right thing.
“Conversation 16” is the sensation of knowing you’re a miserable, horrible, useless lover but being pathetically unable to change; the type of guy who stifles his own desires, out of a bizarre sense of selfishness. “Conversation 16” is the realization that the biggest roadblock between happiness and you, is your own stubborn self-sabotaging psyche.
12. “No Epiphany” – Fucked Up
Had to end on a bit of Fucked Up, and “No Epiphany” is a great concluding song, big bouncy chords, glorious looping noise, and the boldly definitive cry of “NO EPIPHANY”. Mixing the subtle tones of post-punk and noise-rock with punk’s blunt clarity, Fucked Up are a mus