Playlist of the month : Songs about months of the year

As it’s the first month of the year, I thought that playlist of the month could be based on the calendar, so I’ve chosen my favourite song from each month of the year. Let me know what you think in the comments!

1. The Wave Pictures – January & December

One of the best songs by one of my most loved bands, the only tough choice here was whether to include it under January or December. Only The Wave Pictures could imbue a line like “What I want to know is when this pub closes” with such bittersweet beauty.

2. Mulatu Astatke – Yekatit (February)

As this is a piece of instrumental Ethiopian jazz, I have only the word of the parentheses that it is indeed about February. But a fine track it is in any case.

3. Jody Stecher & Kate Breslin – March Winds Gonna Blow MYyBlues Away

I was tempted to include March of the Pigs by Nine Inch Nails here, but it seemed rather against the spirit of the topic. So I went with this lovely Carter Family cover instead.

4. Aphex Twin – Avril 14th

A tough call this one, as April Come She Will by Simon and Garfunkel would have also been an excellent choice. However, Aphex Twin’s Avril 14th is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever recorded, and was played at my wedding, so had to be the pick.

5. Lagwagon – May 16th (acoustic)

Back to my pop-punk roots with this one, but as I’m now an old fart I thought I’d go for the acoustic version of Fat Wreck Chords favourite Lagwagon’s best song.

6. Cadallaca – June N July

Cadallaca are one of my little secrets. A side project of Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker, they only released one album, but it is close to perfect. This is one of the highlights.

7. Sufjan Stevens – Fourth of July

One of the best songs from one of my favourite albums of 2015, another easy choice. July 4th is up there with February 14th and December 25th as one of the dates with most songs written about it.

8. Beirut – August Holland

Beirut are another of my favourite bands, so always pleased to have the opportunity to include them on any list.

9. Frazey Ford – September Fields

This was a tough choice, as I also love Robert Wyatt’s version of September Song, but I already wrote about that, so I’ve chosen this gorgeous track from the former member of The Be Good Tanyas.

10. Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe – October 2nd

October seems to be the month with the fewest songs written about it, so I was pleased to discover this dark, droning number from Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe of Brian Jonestown Massacre.

11. The National – Mr November

I also love November Has Come by Gorillaz, as it features possibly my favourite rapper, MF Doom. However, watching The National perform Mr. November at the Green Man festival is one of my all time live music highlights, so it had to be the pick.

12. Laura Veirs – Through December

And the list ends with possibly the best song on it. Laura Veirs is one of my favourite singers of all time, and one of the best lyricists I know. If you’re not familiar with her work, then Through December is as good a place as any to start

Advertisements

Playlist of the month – Songs about dancing

I wrote about my daughter’s (and my) love of dancing earlier in the week, and that’s inspired my favourite playlist of the month yet, songs about dancing. As usual, the full playlist can be found below, and I’ve written a little about ten of my favourite songs from the list:

Los Campesinos – You! Me! Dancing!

I love this song for many reasons. It was one of the highlights of the last Glastonbury I went to (which I just had to google to figure out was in 2007. My memory isn’t what it once was), but I was also listening to it a lot back in 2009 when I first met my wife, so I always associate it with the rush of new love. It’s that kind of song in any case, giddy, delirious and deserving of every one of those exclamation marks in the title

Black Kids – I’m Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You

One of the joys of putting together this playlist is finding songs you either haven’t listened to for ages, or had forgotten about entirely. The lengthily titled “I’m Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You” was all over the radio in 2008, to the point where it got a little annoying. Black Kids released debut album ‘Partie Traumatic’ the same year, and have pretty much disappeared from view since, not splitting up, but not releasing anything new either. Hearing this song for the first time in 7 years reminds me of just how joyous it is.

The Pipettes – Pull Shapes

Speaking of forgotten bands, I had forgotten completely about The Pipettes until a friend mentioned them on Facebook whilst I was looking for suggestions for this playlist. They were a strange kind of manufactured indie girl group with choreographed outfits and dance routines. People grew tired of the image pretty quickly, but some of the songs stand up well, particularly ‘Pull Shapes’. I especially like the bit where the music cuts out as they sing “What do you do when the music stops?” Cheesy, I know, but I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.

The Sleepy Jackson – Good Dancers

The first Sleepy Jackson album Lovers is one of my favourites of all time. I fell in love with it from the first bars of this, the first song on the album. So I’ll crowbar in a mention of them whenever I can, even if I’m not entirely sure this song is really about dancing.

Justice – D.A.N.C.E.

I’ll always be fond of Justice after a fantastic night watching them DJ at Manchester’s Warehouse Project. D.A.N.C.E. is of their most fun songs, and also inspired a lovely acoustic cover by Get Cape Wear Cape Fly

Daft Punk – Lose Yourself To Dance

Whilst Get Lucky was the world dominating hit (the sound of the summer as Limmy might say), this is my favourite Pharrell featuring Daft Punk, a wonderful slinky slow burner that makes me want to, well, lose myself to dance.

Dee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart

There are many, many, many pop songs about dancing, a few of which make this playlist, many more of which don’t. But the one which more than any other makes me actual want to dance is this one. It may be partly because I was ten years old and just starting to get into music when it came out, but mainly it’s because both song and video are pure distilled fun.

Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

I don’t normally pay much mind to novelty songs in these lists, but this is a fine exception for two reasons. One, the video never fails to make me smile. Two, it was referenced in Futurama. Good enough for me.

The Magnetic Fields – Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing

Most of the songs on this playlist are, appropriately enough, songs you can dance to. This is not one of those songs, but like so many of the others on The Magnetic Fields epic ’69 Love Songs’ album it is beautiful, romantic and has fantastic lyrics “Be we in Paris or in Lancing” being my particular favourite.

Joy Division – Transmission

Saving the best for last this month. Some of the songs on this list are fun, some are romantic, but only Joy Division could fill a song about dancing with such a sense of foreboding and dread. It’s appropriate that a man famous for his own manic dance should appear on this list. Oh, to have seen them live and danced to their music myself.

Any great songs about dancing I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.

Playlist of the Month – Songs about fathers and fatherhood

Themed playlists are nothing new. The Guardian does them. 6Music does them. But as I’m always compiling themed playlists in my head I thought we’d start doing them too. At least I’ll make use of them that way.So, let’s introduce our new playlist of the month feature.

Each month we’ll post a Spotify playlist, which might be themed around a particular topic, country, artist or genre, and write a little about the tracks we’ve chosen. Given the subject matter of this blog, we thought songs about fathers and fatherhood would be appropriate for the first month.

Loudon Wainwright – Daughter

Loudon Wainwright perhaps writes more songs about family than anyone else, but this is my favourite, a sweet little number about his daughter Martha.

Martha Wainwright – Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole

And this is his daughter’s response, not quite as complimentary, written in response to her father’s habit of writing songs about his family rather than talking to them directly.

Ben Folds – Still Fighting It

A real tearjerker this one, about his son reaching adolescence. If you’re a father and can watch the video without getting a little teary, you’re harder hearted than I.

Thanks to Aaron Yavelberg at Sleeping on the Edge for this recommendation

Colin Meloy – Wonder

From the lead singer of one of my favourite bands, The Decemberists, a song about the sheer strangeness of bringing a new life into the world.

Thanks to Joel Bernard, author and illustrator of the soon to be released ‘Claire and the Beast’ for the heads up

David Bowie – Kooks

From the perspective of parents rather than just the father, but I think it counts. Also includes the great lyric “Don’t pick fights with the bullies or the cads ‘Cause I’m not much cop at punching other people’s Dads”

The Temptations – Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone

An absolute classic, but the Papa in question doesn’t come out of it too well. There are lots of positive songs about fatherhood, not so many about fathers it seems.

Horace Silver – Song For My Father

An instrumental, so we only have his word for it that it’s about his father, but a great piece of music either way

Cat Stevens – Father and Son

Remains a great song despite Boyzone attempting to destroy it with their cover version in the 1990s.

Thanks to Dadosaurus Rex for the tip

Eminem – 97 Bonnie and Clyde

As always, Eminem has an unorthodox take on parenthood. This particular tale has Eminem trying to hide from his daughter the fact that he’s just murdered her mother. Perhaps not one to play in front of the kids. Tori Amos once covered this, and I recommend you listen to her version at least once, straddling the line between deeply disturbing and very silly.

Johnny Cash – A Boy Named Sue

To end on a light note, the tale of a morally dubious parenting tactic, giving your child a ridiculous name so they get in lots of fights and toughen themselves up. Not recommended in real life, but it would explain some of the baby names I’ve heard.

Thanks to Richie aka. St. Louis Dad for this recommendation

Any good ones we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!

Dad Post of the Week