The weekly playlist, a new feature on Far Out, wraps up the previous seven days across the website and brings them all together into one handy place. Whether this is a thirst for new music or an old favourite with a landmark celebration, here is the one-stop-shop for all your music needs.
The last seven days have been relatively low key ones in music history in comparison to recent weeks, but there’s still been several momentous occasions and noteworthy things worth celebrating. One album that turned 20 over the past week is Gorillaz’s eponymous debut effort, a project that saw Damon Albarn prove that he could do something entirely outside of the realms of Blur and make it work. To celebrate Gorillaz turning 20, we looked at the argument for the band being Albarn’s best invention.
It’s impossible to ignore the zeitgeist appeal of Blur. Few bands have managed to pull off what they managed at the peak of their powers, effortlessly toying with the commercial values of pop stardom alongside an arthouse approach. If you grew up as an adolescent in the 1990s, then likely there’s only one answer when it comes to Blur or Gorillaz — an answer that often excludes our furry primate friends. However, speaking as a fan that grew up and fell in love with music when Albarn had moved on to ventures new, it’s a more complex area, one with Gorillaz soundtracking the following generation in a similar way that Blur dominated the Britpop era.
Gorillaz have continued to embrace that music taste isn’t a binary thing, and it’s a complex beast that can change depending on the mood, weather, or a million other factors. Blur can be a wonderful tonic when you’re in the right frame of mood to listen to their cocksure sound. Conversely, Gorillaz have a sound for every mood or emotion, which not only makes them Albarn’s most outstanding achievement but the quintessential modern band, who refuse to be pigeon-holed or pinned down.
Elsewhere, a track that came of age this week is Blondie’s emphatic debut single, ‘X-Offender’, which somehow turned 45. Blondie may have been conceived in the bathroom toilet of punk’s grim scene, but, in truth, they were always destined to transcend into the pop charts and reach for the stars. Their debut single ‘X Offender’ proved that the band might be NYC through and through, but they were set for global reach as it traversed genre lines and dropped the first stone in the pond, starting ripples that would become the new wave.
A debut single is often a very treacherous thing to release. Will you read the room correctly, will the huge volume of work that has got you to this point count for anything in the end? Though Blondie’s debut, ‘X Offender,’ may not reach beyond the top ten of Blondie’s greatest songs, it did what every debut single should do—offer up a crystalline image of what’s next.
Far Out also celebrated an underappreciated icon of music in Carol Kaye, who just turned 86. Although largely unknown by the public, within the confines of the industry, Carol Kaye has become known as one of rock music’s most prolific session musicians. Kaye has amassed an unbelievable track record, one that includes credits on songs from The Beach Boys to Ike and Tina Turner to Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention.
On a more sombre note, this past weekend marked 21 years since we lost a bonafide British icon in Ian Dury. Ian Dury was never one for being a part of any establishment. Or even establishment-adjacent, come to think of it. The singer was an unstoppable force when he and his band, The Blockheads, burst onto the scene in the late seventies. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Dury wasn’t a bright young thing full of spark and idealistic intent; he was a mid-30s former art school student who had a microphone and a lot of pent-up frustration — but boy, did it all come together perfectly. To commemorate his life well-lived, we revisited his episode on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
In other news, Far Out were pleased to welcome Liverpool band Courting, who are gearing up to release their debut EP, Grand National. If the pounding title track is anything to go by, then the new material will be a thrilling, pummeling listen. The first offering explains why, if you haven’t already, you need to put Courting right to the top of your radar. The blend of wit, anger and thudding energy that grabs you by the collar is irresistible. If you thought Courting were the latest run of the mill post-punk outfit from the seemingly never-ending conveyer belt, then you couldn’t be more wrong.
There’s an innate explosive nature to Courting, but that’s not all they have, and they’ve carefully curated their debut EP to showcase the multiple sides to their personality, work that proves that they are not one-trick ponies. The four-track EP features the recently released title track and previously released jangly single, ‘Popshop’, but the second half of the record is an entirely different ballgame with Courting expressing a side that nobody has previously heard from the tantalising group.
The Far Out Weekly Playlist:
- For Those I Love – ‘I Have A Love’
- Fleetwood Mac – ‘Dreams’
- Gorillaz debut – ‘Rock The House’
- Dianna Ross – ‘I’m Coming Out’
- Easy E – ‘No More?’s’
- Kendrick Lamar – ‘Black Panther’ (Soundtrack)
- Ian Dury – ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’
- Led Zeppelin – ‘The Song Remains The Same’
- Prince – ‘TICTACTOE’
- Courting – ‘Grand National’
- Elvis Costello – ‘Less Than Zero’
- Sam Cooke – ‘Summertime’ (w/Carol Kaye)
- Aretha Franklin – ‘Think’
- Elton John – ‘Tiny Dancer’
- Blondie – ‘X Offender’