The Pet Shop Boys are one of those bands I haven’t paid enough attention to in my life, but I almost always like what I hear from them, and it’s pleasing to find (via this guest mix from Rodney Cromwell) that they’ve still been putting out great tunes as recently as 2016. Love the lyrics in this tale of the early 90s pop scene, but love the housy pianos, fitting perfectly with the era described in the song, even more.
I love pretty much everything Bjork does, but even I have to admit that Biophilia wasn’t her absolute strongest album (musically at least, conceptually it was an interesting and innovative as ever). I’ve only recently discovered its’ remix album Bastards, which is fascinating in a way that few remix albums are.
Remixes range from glitch master Alva Noto to experimental hip-hop band Death Grips, but my particular favourite is the version of Crystalline (already Biophilia’s best song) by the Syrian former wedding singer Omar Souleyman. I wasn’t previously familiar with his music, but both riffs and voice are powerfully addictive and make for a surprisingly superb match with Bjork’s electronic ballad.
Today’s track of the day is another from the ‘Our First 100 Days’ project, and manages to be one of the most powerful anti-Trump songs on that album without really mentioning the man directly. A piano backed, country-soul ballad, it takes on in very direct, heartfelt fashion the renewed fear of nuclear armageddon that exists under the current president.
Our First 100 Days is a charity project set up to support causes and organisations who are under threat from the policies of the Trump presidency. A new track will be posted every day of the first 100 days of the presidency, and a donation of $30 or more will allow you to subscribe to the whole series.
Bands featured so far include everyone from Jason Molina to A Place to Bury Strangers. Some tracks attack Trump directly, some obliquely, some are not obviously political at all, but the quality is almost uniformly high. My personal favourite to date (they’re about halfway through the project), is Vampire E.R. by Joan of Arc, a band I’ll admit to knowing little about. It’s a kind of post-apocalyptic fable, almost spoken word with a kind of dark post-rock vibe, and the mood somehow fits perfectly with the project.
Ok, so Polish house music is a little out of my usual comfort zone, but I love this tune (which was highlighted in Bandcamp’s recent feature on Polish electro) It’s definitely from the Jamie-XX end of the house spectrum not the background music in a terrible city centre bar on a Friday night end, and well worth a listen even if house is not usually your thing.