#1 Here So Rain - Black Submarine
From the remnents of The Verve, Nick McCabe and Simon Jones formed The Black Ships, now known as Black Submarine. I heard this single last year and loved it: from Amelia Tucker's refreshing vocal delivery to the warehouse crack of the snare. The reason its made it on this playlist is from 4:40 onward: the album instrumental extension, which I'd not before heard. A tense string redux of Nick McCabe's guitar work followed by a huge reprise that gets more and more warped, its fist pumpingly good for fans of 90s psychedelic.
#2 Ballad Of The Mighty I - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Cinematic. Bold. Anthemic. With vocal echo replies, its soaring string chorus (with its hint of I Would Walk 500 Miles... which once heard cannot be unheard), and a post-punk dance groove, it sounds overworldly and from the future with its obtuse key changing chord progression. Let alone the phenominal guitar work from guest guitar player Johnny Marr (of Smiths fame) which takes Mighty I to a whole other level in the post-chorus'. Such a bold choice for a single.
#3 Tied Up In Nottz - Sleaford Mods
I heard the name for a third time, and I had to look them up and see what kind of 5th generation Mod was here. I let out a sigh of relief as fresh, palette cleansing beats and poetry poured out of my speakers and I was in heaven. Imagine Ewan McGregor's Trainspotting speech on "Choose Life", but now add 10 tonnes more of working class attitude and sepia/greyscale beats. Stunning.
#4 Donkey - Sleaford Mods
Its like falling in a warm blanket of truth: it sounds like tranquility whilst the words demolition high rise buildings of societal fallacys and lies. Donkey indeed.
#5 Zombie - The Cranberries
My friend Tony from Corolla (check them out here: www.facebook.com/corollamusic5) turned me onto this song and I instantly fell in love. No Let It Linger here, this is a political anthem that rouses the soul. The distortion gives it weight, and Dolores O'Riordan's voice sounds so desperate as it breaks on the line before the chorus "they are crying".
#6 Ridiculous Thoughts - The Cranberries
So I went on a Cranberries binge. The intro takes this track into legendary status: Dolores' angelic soaring notes over the guitar arpeggios sets up the dirgey groove that is to follow. This may take a couple of listens to get under your skin as the chorus comes in unexpectedly: once you know it you'll wonder why you ever doubted this song.
#7 Black Sun - Death Cab For Cutie
The brand new single: I got into Death Cab For Cutie last year after finally realising they weren't a depressing Emo band. Their debut album Transatalantism blew me away, and "Brothers On A Hotel Bed" from the second album has easily entered my top 100 favourite songs of all time. The new single? Subdued and in limbo: its great to hear a piece of music that just allows you in rather than tries to beat you over the head with how good it is. The keyboard sound is reminiscent of BOAHB and also of "A Simple Game Of Genius" by Noel Gallagher: whilst the chorus uses negative space to draw you even further into the songs spiral.
#8 Everything You've Done Wrong - Sloan
Apparently the drums for this song were recorded in the middle of a field with a single SM57 microphone: amazing tone! This song instantly made me think that Innocent by Stereophonics totally ripped this off many years later (on the great record Keep Calm and Carry On). Sloan are a power pop band from Canada, but I would argue this album One Chord To Another should be essential listening for any mod, Britpop or 90s music fan. Its garage pop: up there with the Bluetones. Watch out for the flattened 2nd at the end jazz fans.
#9 Alcoholic - Original - Starsailor **MIXTAPE HIGHLIGHT BEST TRACK!**
"Don't you know you've got your Daddy's eyes?/Daddy was an alcoholic" - pure emotion, this piano anthem from Starsailor is a lesson in melody and songwriting. This is honestly the best song I have heard all year so far: I started off as a lyric writer, and this song just nails it. This has to be the highlight of January's Mixtape.
#10 Funny Little Frog - Belle and Sebastian
I had to check the dates... no, this came out much longer after Up On The Downside by Ocean Colour Scene, but of course both rip off this spanish tune however: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX5tIi81y58. Funny Little Frog is an earworm will itch you all day to listen again and again: and the bass fill at 1:10 is rewind heaven, you won't beleive what you've just heard (it happens again 2:08 FYI!). It seems so far removed from Fox In The Snow, and its arrangemnet choices and focus shifting from horns to snare fill to bass to backing vocals is genius to listen to.
#11 Feel The Pain - The Real People
Underrated, practically unheard of outside of their time and place, this band are the reason Oasis were successful, and unfortunatley they remained in the shadows. Feel The Pain delays satisfaction till the later third, with its much since copied "Don't Go Away" reprise. Know your roots: learn about The Real People.
See you in the next one, don't be late!