TM Staff Spins - March 2022
Whether it's a new release, a rediscovered classic or the latest reissue, Townsend Music Staff Spins asks half a dozen of our music-loving employees to recommend a record stuck on their stereo right now.
George Douglas: Account Manager
The Lemonheads – It's A Shame About Ray (30th Anniversary Edition)
The Lemonheads are the soundtrack to my earliest memories of... anything. They’re playing in a room decorated with a Kurt Cobain poster where I only half remember living and from the tape deck in my mum’s first car whilst I’m sat staring up at the back of her seat. Despite a level of personal nostalgia that makes every track feel like an old radio hit, this week I have been properly appreciating the complexity of It's A Shame About Ray, newly reissued for its 30th Anniversary, paying as much attention to the lyrics as the riffs and melodies.
I've had thirty years to better understand the context of Evan Dando's substance abuse, foreshadowed on ‘My Drug Buddy’ and the title track. Concise and deceivingly upbeat songs like ‘Rudderless’ and ‘The Turnpike Down’ are a poignant nod to his penchant for self-destruction and the bittersweet ‘Confetti’, about his parents’ divorce, encapsulates the album's brand of cheerful sadness. I’d argue that the sentiment of ‘Bit Part’ is more realistically romantic than anything The Beatles sang about holding hands and I might even confess to liking pop-punk if it sounded more like ‘Alison’s Starting to Happen’.
In a week where I’ve endured the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sudden passing of my favourite singer Mark Lanegan, this album's swift, sharp pop thrill has raised a smile. I can’t think of many better albums for half an hour’s nostalgic break from reality, and Lemonheads fans may be happy to know that the controversial Simon & Garfunkel cover track appears here just as it should: on a second disc of B-sides, sessions and demos pressed to vinyl for the first time!
P Barney Barnes: Head Of Digital
Robert McNaughton, Steven A. Jones, and Ken Hale – Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
I'm not really one for the Music From The Motion Picture style soundtrack records, much preferring to get lost in instrumental scores and musical cues than listening to a bunch of classic singles in a new sleeve. But, as New Orleans horror soundtrack label Waxwork Records always do such an amazing job of assembling and remastering soundtracks from the original tapes, and John McNaughton's Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer is one of more all-time favourite films, I took the plunge on this recently-released 180g coloured vinyl edition that mixes incidental music with commercial tracks from the cult classic. Suffice to say, I was glad I did: the comic relief of a quick blast of poodle-haired rockers Enuff Z'nuff feels wholly transgressive when it's spliced between desolate synth soundscapes and reams of menacing dialogue from the film (including the entire television-on-head death scene). And - spoiler alert - the pièce de résistance is that every time you place side-B on the platter, you get to reenact a key scene from the film and stick your spindle right through that no-good Otis's eye.
James Smith: Account Manager
Jamie T – Panic Prevention (15th Anniversary Edition)
My favourite release of the year has to be the long-awaited fifteen-year anniversary edition of Jamie T's Panic Prevention, pressed on lovely White Marble Vinyl for the occasion. Since its initial release back in 2007, the Mercury Prize-nominated album has been a personal favourite of mine, effortlessly combining a cocktail of genres from indie-rock to rap, ska to hip-hop and even some reggae for good measure, layered with Jamie's unique vocal deliverance that simply couldn't be replicated by anyone else.
Recorded and produced by Jamie in his garden shed, the album oozes with a real D.I.Y attitude. With catchy beats and abrasive lyrics covering dark topics of modern-day living and quintessential British themes, this is a vital record to a generation coming of age at the back-end of the 2000s.
Laura Barrett: Junior Account Manager
Beach House – Once Twice Melody
I’ve been spinning the new album from Beach House quite a lot recently. They are masters of creating dreamy shoegaze music, and Once Twice Melody is just another perfect example of this. The new album has a cinematic feel to it with the surreal lyrics, paired with the dreamy ethereal sounds. If you’re looking for the perfect night-time driving soundtrack, look no further guys and gals.
One of my favourite tracks off the album is 'New Romance', the euphoric synth paired with the bittersweet lyrics just make it a complete magical masterpiece. The 2LP drops on 8th April so we're streaming the album until then!
Ben James: D2C New Business Manager
Nilüfer Yanya – Painless
The year is whizzing by already, and there have been some great songs that I’ve been getting into such as ’Talk Down’ by Dijon, 'All That You Want ‘ from Ibibio Sound Machine and Bess Atwell’s ‘How Do You Leave’.
But after hearing the infectious urgency of ’Stablise’ from Nilüfer Yanya, and the follow-up single ‘Midnight Sun', I’m most looking forward to spinning her new record Painless today. She’s coming on leaps and bounds!
Lucas Barr: Business Development Manager
Do Nothing – The EPs
I’ve been a fan of Do Nothing ever since I heard 'Gangs' back in 2019 - as soon as the drums kicked in I was hooked to the track. Quickly followed by 'LeBron James', I was fully looking forward to their first EP Zero Dollar Bill. Lead singer Chris Bailey’s delivery throughout the EP is deadpan but full of character that keeps you coming back for more. The EP, like any good EP, was simply too short!
The band, whilst somewhat stifled by the pandemic, benefited from time to work on new music and with that came the second EP and its title track ‘Glueland’. The opening lyric “There’s something weird going on out there man” was poignant as we all viewed a world passing us by from inside our homes; the EP also landed with a dystopian artwork that felt fitting for the times. Glueland feels like a more finessed body of work that whets the appetite for what the debut album will bring. In the meantime, we can enjoy The EPs with all 10 tracks on Ivory White Vinyl. That’s what I’ve been spinning, maybe you should too.