I don’t know about you, but music is keeping me sane during these surreal times. I’m rediscovering former classics and unearthing new treasures in equal measure.
The long-term game plan of the UK government to extract us from the stay-at-home pandemic response also means gigs are not on the agenda in the immediate future, so, we’ll have to settle for personal playlists. Here are 20 tracks, in no particular order, that I’ve rinsed since we began isolating…
- ‘Dead Weight’ — PVRIS
I find PVRIS’ sugar-sprinkled female vocals and punchy riffs infectious. Their signature sound is easy to listen to, so I’ve been hooked on this hit since it dropped, all the way back when lockdown wasn’t even a threat. Sigh.
- ‘Doe Deer’ — Crystal Castles
Chaotic, dramatic and ferocious, this 1:37 cry for help has eerily intrigued me since its birth in 2010. It’s so short that I end up playing it repeatedly. The wildly distorted track almost aurally proffers a metaphor for the current pandemonium.
- ‘Ideology Is Theft’ — Saosin
I’ve been a huge fan of Saosin’s post-hardcore, alt rock magic since my early teenage years. Embellished with Anthony Green’s piercing vocals, this thought-provoking offering is harsh and heavy, with some softer elements.
- ‘Doorman’ — slowthai ft. Mura Masa
If this tune doesn’t make you want to go out, I don’t know what does. The wholesome, carefree attitude of slowthai makes his music really addictive — almost as much as the substances he raps about in this belter.
- ‘Is Everybody Going Crazy?’ — Nothing But Thieves
Good question — is everybody going crazy yet? The release date of this bass-driven single coincided with the unravelling events pre-lockdown. Enchantingly high-pitched vocals and an uber-catchy chorus provide a pop-esque sheen.
- ‘Lost in Paris’ — Tom Misch ft. GoldLink
Soulful, plucked strings open this funky, upbeat record. Let it be the soundtrack to your Friday night drinks in the garden, sun beating down. I guarantee that this groovy collaboration is an instant mood-lifter.
- ‘We Ain’t Feeling Time’ — FKJ
If smooth saxophone sounds are your jam, get ready to lose yourself in the subtle instrumentals from FKJ. A friend recommended the full album to me and I’ve been swaying along to this swoon-worthy piece since.
- ‘Identity Theft’ — The Chats
There’s nothing quite like some textbook punk to help relieve those feelings of stress and frustration. When I’m a bit miffed at the world, I’ll press play on The Chats’ plucky hell-raiser and, voila, spirits raised.
- ‘Once in a Lifetime’ — Talking Heads
About a week into managing life from my dining room, I was reintroduced to the Talking Heads back catalogue. The tinkling guitars and drums in this quintessential rock record transport you to a bygone era.
- ‘BACK OF MY MIND’ — While She Sleeps
I don’t just restrict metal to gym sessions or angsty moods — I find While She Sleeps’ provocative, hammering guitar riffs, lung-busting vocals and sharp drum beats spur me on regardless. These lyrics beg some inner questions, too.
- ‘Creator’ — Santigold ft. Freq Nasty, Switch
It might be a sign of age, but there’ll be some people out there that also first heard this on an old VO5 advert. But forget must-buy hair-sculpting products, Santigold’s fearlessness is projected in this powerful, nothing-shy-of-a-banger record.
- ‘Fatboy Slim’ — The Snuts
I picture myself in a massive festival crowd of flamboyantly-clapping hands when I hear this. The Snuts have adapted the traditional indie anthem template and nailed it, so prepare to have ‘Fatboy Slim’ lodged in your head for days.
- ‘Woman’ — Andreya Triana
I have Bonobo to thank for having knowledge of this lady. The energy of the girls-rule-the-world-style lyrics are ideally matched to the thumping backing beat and token guitar strums. Uptempo and feisty? Check.
- ‘La Ciudad’ — ODESZA
While I’m not incredibly well-versed in all things ODESZA, this track has been on loop during lockdown for sure. The marriage of electronics and the vivace drums will get your blood pumping before you know it.
- ‘Proud Of You’ — Kojey Radical
Now having to wait, allegedly, until December to see Kojey live is still a bit of a sore point. For that reason, it was a big bonus that this dropped during lockdown. It’s a song about revered respect and admiration.
- ‘Polaroid’ — The Pale White
There’s ‘rinsed’ and then there’s how many times I’ve given ‘Polaroid’ a spin in the past few weeks. It might be embarrassing to admit exact numbers, so take it from me, it’s an indie-rock ballad you’ll be stuck to like glue.
- ‘Thinking of Tomorrow’ — ROLLA
I had the pleasure of interviewing ROLLA via email recently and, wow, what hard-working and talented lads. This raucous record is reminiscent of a cultivated Oasis, which makes me really giddy to hear more from them!
- ‘Rooster’ — Alice In Chains
Gentle, rippling phaser effects on the slow, languishing opening chords allow your ears to get into the groove of this grunge heavyweight. Get ready for an explosive chorus and the desire for the song to never end.
- ‘Dreams’ — Chinatown Slalom
Attempting to accurately pigeonhole Chinatown Slalom into one genre is part of the fun. Spoiler: you can’t. Their experimental electronica-meets-indie is inspired. I’m desperate to see them live after repeatedly dancing to this beauty.
- ‘Household Shame’ — Kid Kapichi
Last but — I can’t stress this enough — not least, here’s Kid Kapichi. It’s hard to describe my excitement for this ballsy new offering. It’s got me envisaging myself roaring out the chorus while riotously standing on a table post-lockdown.