Today’s playlist of the week, the Ultimate Independent Playlist! is curated by Mike Five, one of the hosts of the New Music Saturday cross-Atlantic podcast. The show features independent music, particularly rock bands; if you’ve not heard it, do check it out! Mike is also a guitarist in the hard rock blues band 1 in Five, who are releasing an album this year, and he edits Headlights and White Lines, an online zine about independent music and art. This zine hosts Brighton’s Off The Record Music festival as well. I think it’s fair to say that when Mike isn’t actually making music himself, he is run off his feet supporting other indie artists.
I happen to know a little of this playlist’s history. Having curated it for a while, Mike made it collaborative and invited other indie artists to add to it, to pick up a broader range of music. Then Mike carried on curating as the suggestions rolled in, to make sure it flowed well and wasn’t dominated by any one artist.
Cue that ripping sound vinyl makes when a record stops abruptly! At this point, someone apparently got a bit uppity that their tracks weren’t all kept and wiped the entire playlist clean. (Either that or a prankster got hold of the link). In any case, Mike quickly rebuilt the list with a little help from his friends; and, of course, it is no longer collaborative. (My contribution was a bunch of songs from East Midlands artists.)
Rock is the backbone
Genre-wise, the list starts with a strong collection of rock and indie/alternative guitar bands. As it goes on, the variety increases. Other genres start to appear amongst the increasingly diverse guitar-based tracks. Electronica, synthpop, industrial, country, prog, ‘early’ style Southern blues, pop, funk, jazz, neoclassical piano; even chiptune and bossa nova get a look in. I wouldn’t recommend this list to someone who doesn’t enjoy listening to rock, because it forms the backbone of the list. This won’t be the ultimate independent playlist for everyone’s taste. But this is a great, quality list for anyone who does enjoy rock, and it will last you all day.
My one criticism, if I was going to be picky, would be that there could be more female artists represented on the list. It’s not that women are absent, and I haven’t tried to crunch the numbers. However, it’s rare for a band to be all-female, even if it’s fronted by a woman, whereas all-male bands are fairly typical. So, this list is probably fairly heavily skewed towards male performers, without that being in any way intentional.
Duration: 7h 27min, 114 songs
Rating: 15, NSFW. A few tracks are labelled ‘explicit’; some explicit content that has got through unlabelled is also occasionally on this list. Also occasional forays into darker or heavier territory.
(NB Spotify has a filter for ‘explicit’ songs, which can be set up via accessing your account on a smartphone or iPad. This does not filter out explicit content unless the track has been flagged as such, however).
Ideal for: Driving or active physical work, such as gardening, DIY, painting, etc.