It’s Friday, which means it’s time for Spark’s music expert and iconic L.A. radio DJ Nic Harcourt to weigh in on what new music he’s got on repeat at the moment.
Anderson East: Madelyn
I wish I could tell you that I’ve made the most of my endless pandemic days, but that would be a lie. I did begin to learn Spanish, so far not so good. I did begin to do pilates, that’s ongoing, sort of. How about you? Did you learn how to bake bread or make ceramics perhaps? Maybe you created a podcast with your best friend to talk about all the weird shit you’re into; or quite possibly a Tik Tok account to post videos of your kids losing their minds after months of Zoom lessons, or even your dog trying to stay upright in the shoes you bought him online at 1am one morning because why not; figuring out how to stay afloat financially, explaining to your parents for the umpteenth time why you can’t visit with them (you could kill them) and managing your relationships with the people you share a home with (you really want to stay with your partner and not fuck up your children any more than you already have) has cumulatively fried your brain.
Alabama native Anderson East has certainly made the most of his quarantine year. He created a YouTube series, the Isolation Collective Sessions, where he and his bandmates (on split-screen videos) would perform various tracks from his 2018 album Encore, which produced the Grammy-nominated single, “All On My Mind”. He also had new music to write and record, and spent much of his time diving into all the human conditions that have long inspired his work. “Madelyn” is the first release from his forthcoming fifth album Maybe We Never Die, due out August 20. With a sexy vintage-soul-groove, Madelyn’s lyrics hint at the need for comfort in these difficult days: “I’ve had enough, cant make sense of this world we living in, it keeps speeding up, I’m playing sides in this game nobody wins”. Reflecting recently about where he found himself (as a result of all that time spent indoors) East recently told American Songwriter “Now, I’m more reflective and I’m beginning to realize what being a human being really means, It’s a nice reset.” Checkout “Madelyn” on this week’s playlist and/or take a look at the mood matching video that accompanies the song.
For fans of: Durand Jones & The Indications, Lake Street Dive, Leon Bridges
Paul McCartney: Find My Way (feat. Beck)
Paul McCartney is without doubt one of the greatest and most prolific songwriters who ever lived. His work with The Beatles speaks for itself, and his output from 1970 onwards (which includes seven studio albums with Wings and a further eighteen solo releases), has given us “ arworms” like “Band On The Run”, “Another Day”, “The Back Seat Of My Car”, “Say Say Say”, “Listen To What The Man Said”, “With A Little Luck”, “Coming Up”, “Juniors Farm”, Silly Love Songs”, “Bluebird”, “Venus and Mars/Rock Show”, “Jet”, “Live and Let Die”, and “Maybe I’m Amazed”, just to name fourteen of the approximately 400 songs he’s written since The Beatles. His most recent studio album McCartney III, released at the tail end of 2020, saw him return to the more acoustic based songs of his highly acclaimed 1970 debut McCartney and it’s 1980 companion McCartney II. As with it’s predecessors III features McCartney on all instruments and was recorded at home during the pandemic quarantine. The album gave him his first UK number one since 1989 and debuted on the US Billboard album charts at number two. Hailed upon its release last year as “vital and comfortable taking new chances” (Rolling Stone ) and “cheery, resilient, forever looking forward” (The New Yorker); one might think Macca might be happy with that, and no doubt he’s been busy writing and demoing new material for his next album and dying to get back out on the road; however before that we can look forward to an album of remixes and covers of the material on III.
McCartney III Imagined due on April 16 includes collaborations with and contributions from cool kids like St. Vincent, Josh Homme, Phoebe Bridgers, Damon Albarn, Anderson.Paak and the ultimate musical chameleon Beck, who has taken the song “Find My Way” and turned it into a cool n’ funky dance track. In a statement accompanying the release Beck said “I remember hanging out with Paul and his wife Nancy several years ago, and Nancy mentioned that she wanted to go out dancing before calling it a night. We ended up at some club in West Hollywood and I remember noticing that Paul and Nancy were tearing it up — really enjoying themselves more than anyone else on the dance floor. Last year, when he asked me to remix this track,” he continued, “I remembered that night and wanted to try to recapture that amazing spirit I felt while watching him on the dance floor, sort of my little tribute to Paul in his groove.”
For fans of: Paul McCartney and his A list group of musical friends 😉