RATHER THAN HAVE a pile of playlists lying around, we’ve decided to make The Juju Jukebox a single running Spotify playlist that you can subscribe to. It’s an eclectic mix of tracks from any recent releases I find to be of a high calibre in their respective fields. Each week or two I’ll give information on what’s been added that week along with my usual mix of anecdotes, diatribes, bad jokes and plain nonsense. The playlist will update at any time. I’ll try and keep the number of tracks around the 50 mark so it doesn’t get out of control. The songs are in no particular order but the latest additions will always be at the top.
The list currently consists of some of the music I’ve already talked about here over the year along with a few things I came across this week. They include two tracks from Todd Rundgren’s Global (see my upcoming thing on that). In addition there’s some alternative rock from the Rush-like Royal Thunder, and trippy psychedelic rock from White Hills, both American bands from Atlanta, Georgia and New York City respectively.
If roots is more your bag, there’s ‘Blue Bucket Of Gold’ from Sufjan Stevens’ fine return to form, Carrie & Lowell. More historic-sounding is the fabulous Pokey LaFarge and his authentic recipe of bluegrass and trad jazz. I chose ‘Underground’, but you could take your pick from his analogue-wave-ingrained frisbee, Something In The Water.
So what’s the criteria for songs added? Surely it can’t just be stuff some guy personally likes and throws in there, can it? No. Quality work is recognisable to me whether I would choose to consume it or not. But there’s so much music coming out that I certainly don’t have time to listen to all of it, or even wade through complete albums most of the time. If nothing in the first three songs turns my head, I then think: “Is this act capable of quality stuff even if I haven’t heard evidence of it yet?” That’s pretty obvious by song four. If the answer is yes, I proceed to listen. If it’s no, I move on. In this day and age, the strongest material must be near the front. Or at least something impressive must happen on a performance or production level by song four even if the songs themselves aren’t up to snuff.
Where I can come unstuck is if I hear a lot of mediocre stuff and then one good one. I can be fooled into thinking it’s great just because it’s such a welcome relief, when in reality it could be pretty ordinary. A cursory listen the next day usually sets me straight. One or two of these could end up on the playlist but probably won’t be there very long. I think there’s a couple there already. Still, after this decision-making malarkey, there’s still room to move for taste, so just because I think something is averagely good, it might be the one that spins your wheels. The idea is to point you in the right general direction. Ultimately, hopefully all the songs chosen are in that top 5 percent of their particular field. That way if you want to purchase, it might help your music dollars to continue to be spent sensibly, and cause your expensive speakers to sculpt even more beautiful air patterns around your room.
If you want to follow, hit play and it’ll open up in your Spotify where you can then hit the follow button. PETER KEARNS