E09 | 16 March 2018

Pale Waves | Lorde & Run the Jewels (pictured) | Mouse on Mars | Palm | Dermot Kennedy

With South by Southwest festival dominating the music world this week, there is somewhat of a spotlight on Austin, though good old Philly also gets a couple of nods.

And, less than a week after the Mancs beat my beloved Liverpool at Old Trafford I’ve even been big enough to include a band from the ‘dark side’ of Northwest England… but only cos Mourinho’s lot had the good manners to get mullered by Sevilla in mid-week. I wonder if their fans were all driving around shout ‘2-1’ last night, eh?

Your five choices for this week:


1. The ‘Charm Offensive’ – Pale Waves: ‘Heavenly’

About the Artist:
They’re a band, started by two lasses, who look like the Cure but sound like a mix of The Aces and Bananarama. These lot are the Mancs but don’t hold that against them.

About the Track:
Pale Waves are currently making big waves (pun very much intended) at SXSW and why not? I can’t think of a more festival-friendly track than ‘Heavenly’. I first heard it a few weeks ago and liked it a lot really quickly but worried that it wouldn’t endure, as is often the way with a lot of music that has these 80s synth-pop leanings. But, buoyed by the endorsement of a bunch of kombucha-drinking, flip-flop-wearing, Texas-based hipsters, I’m going with it as this week’s Charm Offensive.


2. The ‘Military Coup’ – Lorde feat. Run the Jewels: ‘Supercut (El-P Remix)’

About the Artist:
So, not being a fan of Lorde, I hadn’t heard the original version of this this song. However, I am very much an RTJ fan and it is their producer El-P who delivers this. The two artists are on tour with each other as we speak – hence this remix being released. On paper, it shouldn’t work but, on the evidence of this track… well, bugger me.

About the Track:
Believe it or not, there are certain standards I try to keep to on this collection and there are three things I try to avoid where possible –

  1. Immensely popular artists,
  2. Covers, copies and remixes unless VERY different to the original, and
  3. Anything over a month or two old.

I admit, I’m sailing pretty close to the proverbial wind here – especially on Points 1 and 2 – but I’ll justify… on point 1, this is such an unusual pairing I don’t think you could realistically say this is going to be Radio 1 fodder. And on Point 2, for the purposes of research, I listened back to the original – in essence an up-tempo, dance track; nothing like this opaque, sinister reimagining.

The pulsing synth-line and dissonant decorative elements bear all the hallmarks of the … Jewels’ at their best and when Killer Mike’s rap comes in, it adds the usual vitriol and aggression. Finally, listen carefully two-and-a-half minutes in and you’ll hear a middle-eastern influenced strings-line in the background. Awesome.


3. The ‘Peaceful Protest’ – Mouse on Mars: ‘Foul Mouth’

About the Artist:
Production duo, Mouse on Mars are verterans of the German electronic scene. Here, they partner with Philadelphia rapper Amanda Blank and Beirut frontman Zach Condon.

About the Track:
MoM are the masters of vocal manipulation. Here, they sample, splice and synth-esize the voices of their contributors into a shimmering, visceral constellation before your very ears. In actual fact, Condon never actually sings a complete note or utters a whole word on Foul Mouth, leaving Blank to give us the words that more than earn the track it’s name. Often my Peaceful Protest choice could, I guess, be accused of bordering on the boring either because it’s a slow-burn or simply ambient. And ‘Foul Mouth’ is definitely both of those things but, whether it’s because of the percussion that kicks in half-way through or the flow of Blank there’s an undeniable energy and momentum to this track, which I love.


4. ‘Guerilla Warfare’ – Palm: ‘Pearly’

About the Artist:
Another Philly product, Palm are an art-rock quartet; none of whom are trained on their instruments. Sounds promising, right?

About the Track:
That lack of training actually seems to work to Palm’s advantage, in as much as you’re left wondering whether Pearly is the work of accomplished mad geniuses or a mess, which – given that it’s probably the latter, is no bad thing. For me, all the random time signatures and stop-startedness works, not least of all because it reminds me of some of the early 90s post-hardcore bands like Shudder to Think, Capn Jazz and even American Football that I loved so much as a teenager. And yet, that chorus is really catchy (trust me – it takes a few listens to identify it, but it is!). Oh, and is it me or does that guitar sound like a steel drum?!?


5. The ‘Quiet Riot’ – Dermot Kennedy: ‘Moments Passed’

About the Artist:
This is a lad from Dublin who’s been causing a bit of a stir through generating more than 75 million track streams on Spotify with very little in the way of radio support. Surely that’s about to change…

About the Track:
Definitely one worth listening to loud on headphones, this track squeezes a lot into what could have been another average Ed Sheeran-soundalike acoustic track, from the trap beats to the Bon Iver vocoder vocal manipulations. And yet, at its core it remains an impassioned rallying call for lost love, nowhere better embodied than in Kennedy’s rasping refrain of “I loved you / Does that mean nothing to you now?” in the chorus. He’s another one that the buzz is building around at SXSW so I don’t expect him to be a secret for much longer.


The Outro:
And so we reach a cease-fire for this week. Click here to listen to the 45 RPM Spotify Playlist in full.

If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), feel free to engage in dialogue with me @45rpmPodcasts on Twitter.

The silence is broken again next week when I’ll return with five more selections for your consideration. Until then, thank you and go in peace.


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