Last week, I dropped by my brother's flat. He and his roommate were getting ready while I waited with a mix of impatience and excitement for an afternoon of Dungeons & Dragons in Zurich.
Suddenly, an unbelievable noise escaped the mate's room. A burst of rapid blasts, shattering mountains and piercing the earth's core. I was stunned, yet the sound felt incredibly familiar.
It turned out to be Strange Days (1999) by the US noise-rock outfit HEALTH. This revelation slightly aggravated me. In 2019, I curated another song off their record Vol. 4 Slaves of Fear called Feel Nothing. However, I never kept track after that.
It's not been the first time that I missed great artists because of my own negligence. But that story is for another time.
There's just one important lesson: I should also regularly follow up on the artists and see what they have been up to since I've curated one of their tracks.
But now, let's turn our attention towards today's selection. It's hard to find a common thing among the five songs. At a glance, they're simply too different: Dragging goth, euphoric pop, glooming electronic, sweet soul, psychedelic rock. Yet, below the surface, the tracks all feature a smoothness.
Blue eyeshade, a frayed mullet, those are the dead giveaways that Angel Olsen travels back in time. The US artist's latest EP, Aisles, features five covers of iconic 80s hits. One of them: Man Without Hats' Safety Dance. You know, the song with that ultra-weird music video.
Olson states: "I felt that it could be reinterpreted to be about this time of quarantine and the fear of being around anyone or having too much fun."
Angel Olson replaces the song's upbeat nature with a downwards spiralling feeling of helplessness. Her interpretation of Safety Dance is a dark, almost goth-like mass that drags itself in slow motion through the velvet curtain of patchouli and dry ice.
Garden City Movement and Lola Marsh, both based in Tel Aviv, collaborated to bring us an exciting pop song. Summer Night is the perfect fusion of both band's particular sounds.
And if you're cold and naked
Let's find the wind of the summer night
Garden City Movement delivers the thrilling foundation with their signature electro-pop. Always grooving, and with a nod to the 80s. Lola Marsh meanwhile adds a romantic flavour, primarily through the unique voice of Yael Shoshana Cohen.
Summer Night is an invitation to dance. Soon, the song will be way more popular as it was chosen as part of the soundtrack for FIFA 22.
"It's a song about a difficult, ambiguous relationship. The feeling of being in love with a person who unconsciously drags you down and how you try to find a way out of these unhealthy patterns."
Those are the words of Danish producer trentemøller, describing the meaning behind his latest single, In The Gloaming. At the same time, the song announces the coming of a new record, Memoria.
You draw me in,
You pull me down.
In The Gloaming is a sinister anthem full of echoing synthesizers, waves of melancholic guitars, and towering drums. Above this intriguing soundscape floats the haunting voice of Lisbet Fritze.
Tricks On My Mind is the debut of Sweet Crisis, founded back in 2015 in Cambridge. And wow, this record is otherwordly good. Influenced by classic rock and soul music of the 70s, Sweet Crisis demonstrate that there are still great rock bands out there.
Today, Love Me Like Sugar is the ambassador for Tricks On My Mind. Of course, the song has a lot of vintage vibes. It's a huge sound, full-on soul, tender and smooth, dripping into the ears like honey.
The guitar roams freely, searching for perfection without constraints. The strings are vibrating in anticipation, while the brass section reincarnates the golden era of music. I'm in love.
High energy rock and Beatles harmonies – that's the verdict of Swiss Public Radio's Rock Special on Mount Angeles, the latest record by Zurich-based band Pablo Infernal. Unfortunately, it's already the perfect summary – there's nothing more I could possibly add.
Ancient Aliens, one of the songs on the record, is the ideal representation. The track starts with a groovy, slightly psychedelic vibe. Mary Jane dances on mushrooms. But more and more, Ancient Aliens transforms into a louder, heavier rock hymn à la Led Zeppelin.
It's the playful nature of Pablo Infernal that makes Ancient Aliens a memorable song. With frivolous ease, the quartet shakes different styles of rock into one explosive cocktail.