I promised myself I wouldn’t introduce another playlist by going on about how terrifying and absurd the world is right now but, seriously my dudes, it is fucked. Luckily the resistance is already underway, and while that’s no reason to sit back and take it easy on the politics front, it does make me (and hopefully you, although ultimately this playlist is quite a selfish endeavour) feel less guilty about how much incredible music 2017 has to offer already. This week, Guwop drops his first tracks of 2017, Alicia Keys celebrates her birthday, and Father John Misty announces his new album just in time to counter the world’ ongoing Trumprexit mess.
Thundercat – ‘Show You The Way (Feat. Kenny Loggins & Michael McDonald)
It’s pretty safe to say that, even in whatever twisted alternate timeline,= we’re living in right now, no-one saw a Thundercat, Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald collaboration coming. Yes, that’s Kenny Loggins as in the Kenny Loggins that wrote “Danger Zone’ and yes that’s Michael McDonald as the former Doobie Brother / ex-Steely Dan singer and no, you’re not dreaming, this song is excellent.
Father John Misty – ‘Pure Comedy’
As ever, it’s basically impossible to tell how sincere Father John Misty is being with his new single ‘Pure Comedy,’ but it’s safe to assume his seemingly total disdain for the human race and religion and ideology is pretty serious. If this is anything to go by his new album is going to turn that beautiful big band scorn on the world of politics and not a minute too soon.
Angel Olsen – ‘Pops’
Sticking with slightly-morose but undeniably genius singer-songwriters, spectral folk rock queen Angel Olsen dropped her self-directed video for MY WOMAN cut ‘Pops’ this week. One of the most haunting, sombre tracks from the album, the video is a simple all be it equally moving affair, focused on Angel as she travels through bleak, wintery countryside. When she cracks the camera a sly smile at the end of this video I die.
Gucci Mane – ‘3 For Free’
It’s been about a month since The Return of East Atlanta Santa so obviously Gucci Mane has dropped a new EP and announced a new album. You need all three of these tracks in your life so I’m just gonna stick the whole EP in this playlist. You can’t stop the ‘Wop.
Major Lazer – ‘Run Up (Feat PARTYNEXTDOOR & Nicki Minaj)’
Major Lazer played a big role in unleashing the dancehall / ‘tropical house’ phenomena so it only makes sense that it would eventually come back to bite them in the ass. Think ‘Cold Water’ but without Bieber and with a Nicki Minaj verse.
Alicia Keys – ‘That’s What’s Up’
It was Alicia Keys’ birthday this week. This track samples Kanye. It’s obviously fire. There is hope in the world. That’s what’s up.
Swet Shop Boys – ‘Zayn Mailk’
Cashmere was one of the most slept-on hip hop albums of 2016. With humour, wit and, most importantly, bars Riz MC (aka Riz Ahmed star of Star Wars, the OA & Four Lions) and Heems tackled the challenges of being South Asian in a terrorist obsessed society over 11 tracks and every single one is a banger. ‘Zayn Malik’ is a masterclass in what you missed if you haven’t copped this album already.
Arcade Fire – ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ Live At Earls Court
Things don’t get much more stirring than Arcade Fire belting out tracks from Funeral in front of tens of thousands of people. We could use an anthem like this right now.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – ‘Sleep Drifter’
On the other side of things, if you’re in need of some escapism, no-one transports you to psychedelic wonderland quite like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and few of their tracks do it as well as ‘Sleep Drifter’.
ANHONI – ‘Paradise’
ANOHNI is one of the most astute political voices in music right now so any new music from her can only be a good thing. ‘Paradise’ is her call to arms for women around the world, enlisting their help to “alter our species’ desperate course.”
Follow Mike Vinti on Twitter