I picked up the song “How or Why” from Jennifer Castle after hearing it for the first time via the Said the Gramophone year-end best-of list in 2014. It’s already a year later, that venerable and eclectic blog has just posted its latest year-end best-of list, and in and around the bracing mix of obscurities and pop smashes I will no doubt find a few more gems that float the Fingertips boat, as it were. Not everyone’s idea of eclectic listening is the same, to be sure; I don’t usually love all 100 songs on the list but I do love being given the opportunity to hear them. And most of all I love the care and attention given both to music and ideas there; if I were more whimsical and/or poetic, more of my posts would read like more of Said the Gramophone’s.
But I digress. We have come to the last EPS mix of 2015, which means that the artist list will re-set again next month and you will in 2016 begin to hear some of the same artists you may have heard either in 2014 or 2015 (or, in the case of particular favorites, both). And still there are plenty of as-yet unheard bands and musicians, both current and of past eras, who will show up on playlists here in the new year. Because that’s what I do. As for this particular mix, first of all, how on earth was that Marvin Gaye song unreleased? And if I must listen to 16-year-olds, give me 16-year-old Rachel Sweet in 1978, please. And yes, Genesis made some excellent music back in the day, extending at least all the way to 1981’s Abacab, which in retrospect straddled an admirable line between the complex, proggy stuff of their youth and the top-40 fodder they were getting ready to make. “No Reply At All”—featuring the Earth, Wind & Fire horns, no less—flummoxed older fans and yet with the benefit of years seems an almost unprecedented blend of the catchy (it reached the top 30 in the U.S.) and the intricate; the bass line alone is worth the price of admission.
Full playlist below the widget.
“How or Why” – Jennifer Castle (Pink City, 2014)
“Gone With the Wind is My Love” – Rita & the Tiaras (single, 1967)
“New Killer Star” – David Bowie (Reality, 2003)
“Everything’s Coming Our Way” – Santana (Santana III, 1971)
“White Knuckles” – Boh Doran (Boh Doran EP, 2015)
“No Reply At All” – Genesis (Abacab, 1981)
“Barracuda” – Miho Hatori (Ecdysis, 2005)
“In My Command” – Crowded House (Together Alone, 1993)
“Keep Your Head to the Sky” – Earth, Wind & Fire (Head to the Sky, 1973)
“Casablanca Nights” – Johan Agebjörn (Casablanca Nights, 2011)
“Via Con Me” – Paolo Conte (Paris Milonga, 1981)
“Who Does Lisa Like?” – Rachel Sweet (Fool Around, 1978)
“Milk of Human Kindness” – Procol Harum (A Salty Dog, 1969)
“Raising the Skate” – Speedy Ortiz (Foil Deer, 2015)
“Tell Me To My Face” – Dan Fogelberg & Tim Weisberg (Twin Sons of Different Mothers, 1978)
“Carried” – Ebba Forsberg (Been There, 1998)
“This Love Starved Heart of Mine (It’s Killing Me) – Marvin Gaye (unreleased single, 1965; available via Love Starved Heart compilation, 1994)
“When Things Go Wrong” – Robin Lane & the Chartbusters (Robin Lane & The Chartbuster, 1980)
“Black Heart Today” – Amy Ray (Stag, 2001)
“Sweet Soul Dream” – World Party (Goodbye Jumbo, 1990)