Photographed: Judee Sill. © Michael Ochs Archives.
BEAUTIFUL THINGS PLAYLIST
WEEK JULY 11TH - 15TH
CONNAN MOCKASIN - 'FAKING JAZZ TOGETHER'
Forever Dolphin Love was the first album released under the guise of ‘Connan Mockasin’, who went on to become a household name in Aotearoa’s indie sphere. The title track is our strange introduction to the album; the slightly out-of-tune guitar riffs sound like achingly sad sobs, and high pitched vocals with plenty of pre-delay create a creepy undertone. However, these haunting passages always manage to break out into a blissful dream, as if you have outrun the piercing dark trees in the woods and found a peaceful meadow. It’s the duality of beauty and eeriness that makes this song special.
You can find Forever Dolphin Love on the Flying Nun Record Shop here.
HAROLD BUDD - 'THE SERPANT (IN QUICKSILVER)'
I Know This Much Is True is an HBO miniseries that flew completely under my radar - but I always remember hearing that Harold Budd’s music made up the soundtrack. One of the most gorgeous picks of the lot is ‘The Serpant (In Quicksilver)’, taken from his 1981 album with the same name. Featuring brief piano passages played over thoughtful, warm electronic layers; it is a drifting, heavenly piece, one of many that Budd left with us before his passing in late 2020.
You can find I Know This Much Is True (Music From The HBO Series) on the Flying Nun Record Shop here.
KHRUANGBIN - 'WHITE GLOVES'
Khruangbin have become one of the world’s favourites with their easy-going, usually vocal-less tunes that draw from dub, psychedelic and Anatolian elements. They have come a long way since their first album, The Universe Smiles Upon You, which features ‘White Gloves’, a soothing ballad which features all three musicians playing almost soloistically - but in no way does this disrupt the effortlessly sweet and smooth nature of the track. It just proves that even back in the early days, Khruangbin were already masters of their craft.
You can find The Universe Smiles Upon You on the Flying Nun Record Shop here.
JUDEE SILL - 'THE LAMB RAN AWAY WITH THE CROWN'
American songwriter Judee Sill’s debut self titled album is just the tip of the iceberg that is Sill’s songwriting chops - but it is an essential listen nevertheless. The Lamb Ran Away With The Crown features her trademark guitar sound and her heavy-but-sweet accented alto tone, duetting with horns and woodwinds that escalate into a gentle climax. The time signatures flips seamlessly, amongst a cyclical song structure and the poetry is a whimsical story you can paint in your head as you sing along.
You can find the album Judee Sill on the Flying Nun Record Shop here.
KENDRICK LAMAR - 'FOR SALE? - INTERLUDE'
I find myself coming back to this moment in Kendrick Lamar’s discography a lot - it is undeniably a masterpiece. The album features two interludes, ‘For Free’ and ‘For Sale’ - the latter is one of my favourite moments on the album. The melodies sung and played have a sense of powerful nostalgia; it is truly a part of the album that you can just close your eyes and drift away upon the sounds, allowing them to inform your journey.
You can find the album To Pimp A Butterfly on the Flying Nun Record Shop here.
ASHA PUTHLI - 'SPACE TALK'
Thanks to Mr Bongo, Asha Puthli’s essentials got a lovely vinyl pressing this year - and it has some fantastic cuts. One of my favourites is a classic - ‘Space Talk’, from her 1976 album The Devil Is Loose. The band does not hold back here - from the groovy initial bassline that carries as a throughline in the song, to the keyboard solo shreds, the perpetual bongos and the snappy backing vocalists. Asha’s vocals lay on top as if she’s simply sunbathing; not lazy, but utterly endearing. It is the perfect balance.
You can find the album Asha Puthli - The Essential on the Flying Nun Record Shop here.
AGAINST ALL LOGIC - 'SOME KIND OF GAME'
Nicolas Jaar’s alias, Against All Logic, had not been released much before 2019. However, once that year came, he dropped one of the most impressive collections of work across five years. Considering that some of these tracks were written in 2012, the fact that they still stand up in clubs to this day is a real testament to their timelessness. ‘Some Kind Of Game’ is a piano-driven hit, with deeply satisfying bass drops and clever implementations of classic 808 sounds.
You can find the album Against All Logic (2012-2017) on the Flying Nun Record Shop here.
CAN - 'VITAMIN C'
German band CAN certainly knows how to compose an experimental, whimsical banger, so to speak, teetering between an uncomfortable edge and an undeniable catchiness and bliss. ‘Vitamin C’, from their album Ege Bamyasi is a perfect example of this - it’s a clever song that is tense yet completely danceable. It is a gift that keeps on giving, from the fluttering drums to the spidery organ.
You can find the album Ege Bamyasi on the Flying Nun Record Shop here.
ARTHUR RUSSELL - 'THAT’S US/WILD COMBINATION'
The classic Arthur compilation, Calling Out Of Context, has received a reissue, featuring the full scope of his songwriting genius. ‘That’s Us/Wild Combination’ may be one of his most well known tracks - and for good reason; his sloppy, delayed vocals and the drums keeping a persistent groove, and the refrain is instantly recognisable.
You can find the album Calling Out Of Context on the Flying Nun Record Shop here.
LANA DEL RAY FEAT. WEYES BLOOD & ZELLA DAY - 'FOR FREE'
This song sees a dreamy collaboration between Lana Del Ray, Zella Day and Weyes Blood, taken from Lana Del Rey’s album Chemtrails Over The Country Club. Their voices shine on each verse, but perfectly support the other in an array of sparkling harmonies. It is a simple ballad, but a welcome coming together of three essential voices in indie pop and folk.
You can find the album Chemtrails Over The Country Club on the Flying Nun Record Shop here.
YOU CAN FIND THE PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY, HERE: