Editor’s Picks: The November Soundtrack
With deadlines popping up left, right and centre, us music editors thought it would be productive to let you know what we’ve been listening to this month and what gigs we’re excited for in December…
For the majority of November, it has unfortunately still been socially unacceptable to listen to Christmas music, so to distract myself from the urge to play Elton John’s ‘Step Into Christmas’ and John Lennon’s ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ on repeat, I’ve been enjoying all the new music releases this month has had to offer.
Although it was released on Halloween, so technically October, I’ve been listening to Gorillaz ft. Little Simz’s track ‘Garage Palace’ a lot this month. Anyone who knows me at all will know I adore Gorillaz, and when I went to their Demon Dayz festival back in June, they performed this track for the first time. It was potentially the most energetic three minutes of their entire performance, and I absolutely loved it, and have been waiting patiently ever since for its release. Its rave-like beat combined with Little Simz’s unrelenting verse and ominous undertones showcases just how diverse and creative Gorillaz are in their music.
November is a month renowned for innumerable deadlines, but fortunately mine were all over within the first half of the month. The day after my last deadline, the world was blessed with a new EP from Tennis, We Can Die Happy, and it’s perhaps the most endearing, heart-warming, and simply lovely music I’ve heard all year. To make life even better, Tame Impala released the B-Sides and Remixes of Currents, featuring my newest favourite Tame Impala track ‘Taxi’s Here’, and an incredible remix of ‘Let It Happen’ by Soulwax.
Besides sinking into the musical bliss of Tennis and Tame Impala, and playing Gorillaz on repeat, I’ve been listening to Bicep’s Glue EP (featuring super-chill new track ‘DLR’), Dillon’s enthralling third album Kind, and the disjointed synths and beats of Bath’s new album Romaplasm. My listening’s been pretty varied this month, but it’s definitely helped to break up these gloomy, stressful past few weeks.
Tracklist: Gorillaz ft. Little Simz – ‘Garage Palace’; Tennis – ‘Diamond Rings’; Tame Impala – ‘Taxi’s Here’; Bicep – ‘DLR’.
December gig recommendation: The Cribs residency at Brudenell Social Club on the 18th, 19th and 20th.
November’s a lil bitch. Deadlines have swung out from of nowhere, it’s too cold to leave the house and the sudden proliferation of mulled wine across Leeds has me in a perpetually dazed state. Thankfully, Sampa the Great revived me from this essay/spiced bev induced delirium with her new album Birds and the BEE9. Opening track ‘Healing’ does exactly what it says on the tin, washing away any negativity with its meditative pulses.
After accidently leaving my iPod behind at home in London and finding myself facing a 6 hour Megabus slog, I made the practical decision to begin the free Spotify Premium trial I’ve been rationing for years. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and 6 hours of the endless M1 became a beautiful soundtrack of Dounia, Yellow Days, Bonzai (s/o to Jemima’s Making Music Herstory Vol II) and Tom Misch.
Misch’s new track ‘Movie’ is the perfect song to melt into with a glass of wine and a flickering candle across the room, which I guiltily did one too many nights this month instead of finishing stressays in the library. Although, speaking of libraries, Trudy and the Romance played The Library’s Lending Room on the 15th. Their new EP, Junkyard Jazz, is the perfect soundtrack for stumbling down the potholed streets of Hyde Park under 5pm sunsets, and I’ve had their slowly-growing discography on loop for pretty much the entirety of November.
Sweet refuge from deadlines also came from Wolf Alice, who played an absolutely phenomenal gig at O2. The introspection and honesty of their lyrics has always felt like a comfort blanket in lonely hours, and belting them out with a bunch of strangers who had all felt the same way felt really moving. ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ has become a deeply personal fave.
Tracklist: Sampa the Great – ‘Healing’; Tom Misch – ‘Movie’; Dounia – ‘Shyne’; Trudy and the Romance – ‘Is There A Place I Can Go’; Wolf Alice – ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’
December gig recommendation: Benjamin Clementine at O2 Academy on the 3rd, or Or:la’s set at Headrow House on the 1st
I don’t know whether it’s the rain or the 4pm sunsets, but November always has me reaching for my darker playlists, and the past few months have really delivered as far as heavy music goes. Marilyn Manson’s Heaven Upside Down might not have had the best reception, but I’ve still had it on repeat a fair amount, mostly because ‘Threats Of Romance’ is the perfect mix of jazz and grit to get me out of bed no matter what.
Of course, November also means deadlines, and with essay stress constantly on my back I had to find a song motivational enough to pull me through. It turns out Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’ doesn’t work forever, so I ended up listening to “Survivor’ by Distorted Sky instead, which dropped back in April but is so good (and appropriate) it deserves an honorary mention for word count season.
All that stress means November is a pretty huge month for self-care too, which for me means indulging in one too many classic emo records along with my lush bath bombs and overly-expensive candles. Thankfully this month I managed to avoid regressing into my 14 year old self completely, as I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME (featuring Dallon Weekes of Panic! At The Disco and Brobecks fame) released ‘Choke’. It has all the sultry gothic imagery of a 2007 classic with none of the cringe factor, so I don’t have to worry about odd stares in the library from people wondering why I’m still listening to AFI.
With that said, my playlists haven’t been all doom and gloom this month, since I’ve finally let a little festive cheer into my Spotify premium. I haven’t gone full-on Christmas yet, but the amount of jazz I’ve been listening to has started increasing exponentially, and it doesn’t get much better than Julie London. She can do no wrong in my eyes, but there really is no beating her rendition of ‘Show Me The Way To Go Home’, which is so timeless I’m pretty sure I’ll be listening to it 20 years from now.
Tracklist: Marilyn Manson – Threats Of Romance; Distorted Sky – Survivor; I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME – Choke; Julie London – Show Me The Way To Go Home
December gig recommendation: Queen at First Direct Arena on the 6th
In the cold, murky depths of November I was lucky enough to review and photograph the indie champions that are Wolf Alice. The entire set was incredible from start to finish, but recent single ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’ definitely brought the crowd together the most. With the hype surrounding their second album Visions of a Life, it’s easy to forget about the masterpiece that was their debut, featuring some mellow, under-rated tunes such as ‘Lisbon’ and ‘Silk’.
Since the gig, my life recently has pretty much involved working through a never-ending continuum of deadlines (tragic, I know). ‘Carbonated’ by Mount Kimbie is on my study playlist; it’s a really great track if you need to some music that will help you focus but won’t distract you with singalong lyrics. The words literally just revolve around egg sandwiches and mayo- which is kinda weird and reminds me of Glass Animals’ wacky lyrics, but it serves a purpose for studying!
I haven’t quite whipped out the Christmas albums yet, but I can assure you that ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ by Chris Rea will be blasted at full volume as I skim down the A1 in a week’s time to return to home comforts for the rest of 2017.
Tracklist: Wolf Alice – ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’; Mount Kimbie – ‘Carbonated’; Chris Rea – ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ in anticipation
December gig recommendation: Liam Gallagher at First Direct Arena, Sunday 3rd December
[Feature Image: Queen during the ‘Radio Gaga’ video, obvs]