What Music We’re Listenin’ To – April 2017

Music is pretty great. A soundtrack for living. Without it, life would be a lot quieter. But with an excess of new, old, popular and obscure aural delights available to the average internet-connected listener, it sometimes becomes exhausting and downright overwhelming to track down some new quality playlist fodder. So while some might be more than happy listening to ‘Hotline Bling’ by Drake (or whatever 2015 staple you might prefer) on endless repeat for the rest of forever, we at Purple Camera have some alternative suggestions based on what we’ve been plugged into over the past month. The full playlist is on Spotify, and if you enjoyed it be sure to come back next April for a similar set of musical miscellany.


ASHLEY ROBAK (@ashpurplecamera)

Black Rain CREEPER
Eternity, In Your Arms, 2017

‘Black Rain”s pre-chorus “We’re so forgettable and miserable” seems like something written by a critic who didn’t quite ‘get’ Creeper’s appeal. While no doubt seen as some no-hoping MCR-clones by lazy journos, Southampton horror punks Creeper have proven themselves over the past few years to be so much more. Debut album Eternity, In Your Arms is a thrilling collision of Born To Run-Springsteen with Nick Cave’s gothic sleaze and early AFI’s hardcore gallop. Note that mid-middle eight bass slide – a thing of supreme beauty.


Single, 2017

Since my interview with the band late last year, Reading alt rockers The Amazons have been moving from strength to strength. Having unleashed the chorus-less big ol’ riff of a tune ‘Little Something’ in November, new single ‘Black Magic’ is the best thing the band have released thus far. Blending a 60s pop intro with the stonking Queens of The Stone Age-duelling riffs at its centre yet again show The Amazons as something more than the indie pop band everyone expected when they first appeared. Their long-awaited seemingly self-titled first album comes out at the end of May and from then on the skies the limit.


Prom Song PILE
Dripping, 2012

‘Alt Rock Guitar Solo’ is generally a bit of an oxymoron. Alt rock, at its conception, being a genre standing against the excesses of hair metal, their flamboyant half-song fret-noodling being one of the main offenders. Admittedly there are some great alt rock guitar solos (‘Scentless Apprentice’ anyone?) but they rarely last for more than a couple of bars. Enter Boston indie rockers Pile. Concluding ‘Prom Song”s hazy Modest Mouse waltz is a monster of the medium. Totaling a minute and a half, reverb-soaked harmonics co-mingle with harsh stuttering post-punk chords, there is a reason their fans hand-make t-shirts reading “Prom Song Solo :)”.


These Are Not the Days of Our Lives YR POETRY
One Night Alive EP, 2017

A song about growing old and the bitter disappointment of what passes for “quality contemporary music”. Yr Poetry features Alexei Berrow and Junior Elvis Washington Laidley of Birmingham’s Johnny Foreigner ‘fame’ and this venture packs all the fidgety punch of their full-time vocation. ‘These Are Not the Days of Our Lives” namechecks McBusted, 5 Seconds of Summer, Bring Me The Horizon and other inexplicable modern rock club staples twinned with referential acid-tongued attacks – my personal favourite being: “They play Bring Me into Slipknot/Feel my S-P-I-R-I-T drop.”


Talk of Violence, 2016

Taking cues from the angular post-hardcore likes of Refused, Fugazi and At The Drive-In, South East London’s Petrol Girls released their debut album last year to the delighted ears of all the punks paying attention. ‘Touch Me Again’, Talk of Violence‘s centrepiece, sears with choppy razor-edged riffage and pure unremitting rage; the closing coda of “Touch me again/And I’ll fucking kill you” rivals the finale of ‘Killing In The Name’ for perpetual increasing, radio-unfriendly bile-letting.


JACOB L WILLIAMS (@jacoblwilliams)

Prisencolinensinainciusol ADRIANO CELENTANO
Super Best, 1992

Growing up in Italy, comedian Adriano Celentano spent his youth trying to imitate the American accent on the popular music he listened to, despite not speaking English. This meant that he in a sense sang songs as a series of sounds that roughly fit. In 1973 he took these sounds and wrote them down into lyrics of pure gibberish that results in sounding American. The resulting song ‘Prisencolinenensinainciusol’ is a wonderful, yet catchy satire on communication, language and music.


Dance With Somebody MANDO DIAO
Give Me Fire, 2009

A 2009 single, this is a song that when I recently heard it, I felt as if I already knew. Despite the fact that I most definitely had not heard it before! It is a song that encapsulates the indie genre of the mid-late 2000’s and does little more. With a simple guitar riff and an upbeat, catchy chorus it is a song with no real depth but one that is catchy anyway.


Girl Power SHAMPOO
Girl Power, 1996

Released in 1996, mere months before the Spice Girls would embrace this songs title, ‘Girl Power’ is a cheesy, pop rock anthem that is utterly loveable in a trashy sort of way. With high pitched vocals and lyrics that are a mix of the absurd, the satirical and the nonsensical it is a song that works in spite of itself. If you take this song and it’s message seriously it is lacking but if you embrace it as a bit of fun it’s oddly enjoyable.


Andrew Eldritch is Moving Back to Leeds THE MOUNTAIN GOATS
Single, 2017

A metaphorical journey about Sisters of Mercy singer Andrew Eldritch returning to his hometown after years on tour and finding it hasn’t changed much at all. It is a slow, melancholic and beautiful song with it’s repetitive, throbbing bass line giving it a real mood of nostalgia and deep rooted sadness.


If I Were a Carpenter Compilation, 1994

A version of the classic Carpenters song, Shonen Knife provide one of those rare covers that actually surpasses the original (in my opinion of course). Just as catchy and sing-a-longable as the Carpenters, it adds an extra punch by increasing the tempo and replacing Karen Carpenter’s dulcet tone with a more nasally, but equally effective vocal.


ROSS TOPHAM (@rosstopham)

South Drive WSTR
SKRWD EP, 2015

Right from the beginning, four-piece Liverpool pop punkers WSTR hook you with their effortlessly vigorous sound. ‘South Drive’ digs deep into the teenage angst we all felt and probably still feel somewhere, desperate to break out and move onto more exciting things, and it’s this energy that makes this song such a thrill to listen to.


Brighter, 2015

Sometimes I can be an absolute sucker for songs that are simply uplifting with zero bullshit. As much as suffering breeds creativity, sometimes you just need to hear something that focuses on the light at the end of the tunnel instead. ‘Brighter’ is a pretty simple track as these things go, but it’s an easy one to let put you in a brighter mood.


There’s a Bigger Picture Here, 2015

Sudden Suspension waste no time into launching into a kinetic tirade of emotive lyrics and head-banging instrumentals that carry the song all the way to its conclusion. ‘As Good as It Gets’ is powerful in all the right ways, fuelled by an intense, youthful energy that contrasts well with the raw, earnest melancholy of its words.


One October Song NICO STAI
Park Los Angeles, 2006

Thanks to NBC’s Chuck for forever associating this song with a very specific moment of television heartbreak. But this hauntingly powerful and emotive track stands on its own, the raw, earnest vocals of Stai blending perfectly with the soft strings of his guitar. Sometimes less is more and ‘One October Song’ is one of these times.


Last Young Renegade ALL TIME LOW
Single, 2017

It’s hard to deny All Time Low’s influence on pop punk and the huge place they occupied in my teenage musical tastes, but it’s been a long while since I’ve really, properly listened to them. But with its captivating energy and strong overall sound, ‘Last Young Renegade’ makes me feel sixteen again, but actually in a good way for once.


JORDAN COCHRANE (@youreatwiter)

Empty Threat CHVRCHES
Every Open Eye, 2015

This upbeat pop-electronic track from the Scottish synthpop band is a cheerful treat that is perfect for the start of the summer playlist. Their new album should be out at some point later in the year, hopefully this should tide you over until then as well as raise your expectations through the roof.


Uncool As Me (Feat. Joey Fatone) BLOODHOUND GANG
Hard-Off, 2015

The Bloodhound Gang haven’t changed much in their almost 30 year history, but this track, which may be their final single ever, seems to hint at a sense of hidden pain beneath all the dick jokes. Sonically this sounds like 1980’s new wave, even containing references to movies and dance of that era.


High Ticket Attractions THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS
Whiteout Conditions, 2017

One of the most consistent bands of recent memory, The New Pornographers have recently released their new album Whiteout Conditions. After recommending ‘This is the World of the Theatre’ last month I also wanted to draw attention to their other single ‘High Ticket Attractions’. It’s a little faster, a little heavier and will make you want to dance like crazy.


I Am The Movie, 2003

Now the band is officially dead we can look back on the discography of Motion City Soundtrack and decide on their highlights. Mine is, for sure, ‘The Future Freaks Me Out’. It’s a terrific slice of power punk that is one of the highlights of that early 2000’s era. Bring on the reunion tour.


Paranoia MAX FROST
Intoxication, 2015

‘Paranoia’ is one of the tracks that catapulted Max Frost from a struggling Soundclouder to a record deal with Atlantic records. Putting Max in a box is a bit of a challenge, I think he sounds a bit like the Stone Roses, but he’s been compared to pretty much everything. This inability to put him in a box speaks volumes for the uniqueness of his sound.

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Ashley Robak

Ashley Robak should really try harder. He has a BSc in Film Production, several articles on Taste on Cinema (http://www.tasteofcinema.com/author/ashleyr/) and occasionally contributes to On Record Magazine. When not writing about film, he attempts to make his own with Purple Camera Media (http://vimeo.com/purplecamera).

Latest posts by Ashley Robak (see all)

Ashley Robak

Ashley Robak should really try harder. He has a BSc in Film Production, several articles on Taste on Cinema (http://www.tasteofcinema.com/author/ashleyr/) and occasionally contributes to On Record Magazine. When not writing about film, he attempts to make his own with Purple Camera Media (http://vimeo.com/purplecamera).

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