The Goldilocks Playlist – Week 9 of @Spotify Discover Weekly

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Well, hot damn! Did Spotify get it right or what? Week 9 nails it on so many fronts. It’s got great tunes almost across the board, plenty of variety and both old and new stuff I have never heard. There are five classic funk and soul tracks from the seventies, four great bands that are new to me, some loopy French pop and wild orchestral psychedelic folk from Korea. Let’s call this week the Goldilocks Playlist. It is just right.

Let’s get right to it.

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The list kicks off huge with Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg in one of the greatest French pop duets, “Bonnie and Clyde” from 1968. Heavy guitars, crazy hiccuping backup vocals and the simmering vocal interplay between the two leads highlight this gem. The lyrics are based on a poem written by Bonnie Parker weeks before she and Clyde Barrow were gunned down.

Former indie rocker (Six Finger Satellite) John MacLean began dabbling in electronic music and joined former bandmate James Murphy on DFA records and began releasing records as The Juan MacLean. “Running Back to You comes from his 2014 release In a Dream. The slow electronic boogie features Nancy Whang on lead vocals.

New Jersey’s Family Portrait hail from the same circle as Real Estate, Beach Fossils and others. They trade in the same lo-fi garage pop and “Otherside” is a swell track from their 2011 eponymous debut.

Are there any bad Buzzcocks songs? At least not on their original 70s/80s records. The Buzzcocks delivered that manic pop thrill with just about every tune. “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays” was their first single of 1979 and you can find it on the bulletproof Singles Going Steady compilation.

The first Steely Dan album, 1972’s Can’t Buy a Thrill, is a minor masterpiece from a band that was just getting started. Lead singer Donald Fagen had stage fright and the band enlisted David Palmer to handle live performances. Palmer would be gone shortly after they recorded the album, but he left us the incredible “Dirty Work,” his only released studio performance.

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Patto’s “The Man” showed up in an earlier Discover Weekly. This slow blues burner comes from the band’s debut album. Perhaps the most notable thing about Patto is drummer John Halsey showed up as Barry Womble in Neal Innes’ Beatles parody The Rutles.

The Moby Grape made one brilliant album in 1967 and were heralded as the next big thing. Superstardom proved elusive but they hung around for four more albums before calling it quits. Their third album, Moby Grape ’69, features a few standout tracks including the country rock crawler “I Am Not Willing.”

Since we’re talking country rock let’s turn to the band that arguably started it all. The Flying Burrito Brothers. Their 1969 debut, The Gilded Palace of Sin, went all in on country rock, from the Nudie suits on the cover to the killer tunes on both sides. “Christine’s Tune (Devil in Disguise)” is a scorcher that leads off side one.

Black Sabbath was known for their bone-crushing proto-metal and 1970s Paranoid was one ot their heaviest and loudest record. “Planet Caravan” was the one ultra-mellow exception with Ozzy’s processed vocals oozing out over producer Tom Allom’s piano and Tony Iommi’s jazzy guitar riffs.

Philly Soul pioneers Gamble and Huff first big hit was The Soul Survivors’ infectious 1967 smash, “Expressway to Your Heart.” Knowing they were on to a good thing, the band stuck with the formula and followed up with lesser hit, “Explosion in Your Soul.”

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Let us now praise Curtis Mayfield! Superfly is one of the finest soundtracks ever, plus it stands on its own as a classic album. Here we’ve got the title track in all its funky blaxploitation glory. It was Mayfield’s third studio album and it outgrossed the 1972 film. If you’ve never heard it, listen now!

One man band Abner Jay billed himself as “last working Southern black minstrel.” He traveled the South in a mobile home playing wherever folks would listen. “I’m So Depressed” comes from a posthumous collection and opens with some off-color jokes before he breaks into his wild outsider folk blues.

1972 found Stevie Wonder at the peak of his musical powers and Talking Book was a tour de force across the board. “Maybe Your Baby” is a slow churning funk workout defined by Stevie’s bubbling moog bass and Ray Parker Jr.’s (Ghostbusters) stinging guitar leads. Hot!

“Home” is the closing track from the third and final LCD Soundsystem album, 2010’s This Is Happening. The slowly percolating and lyrically introspective track is a great way for James Murphy to say goodbye.

Fly Golden Eagle’s “Tangible Intangible” from their second album, the double deluxe 26 track Quartz, is all slinky psychedelic with high lonesome vocals. These guys are from Nashville and brand new to me. They’ve got my attention and I want to hear more.

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Courtney Barnett broke big in the wake of “Avant Gardener” and even bigger with this year’s Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit. “History Eraser” comes from last year’s The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas. Not only does it name check The Triffids, it captures everything that makes her great, from her sprawling stories to her shambling folk-rock and her wonderful singing drawl.

Drummer Buddy Miles played with Hendrix on Band of Gypsys, was a founding member of The Electric Flag and had a solid solo career. His 1970 album, Them Changes, had a hit with the title cut, but also featured a stellar funky jazzy version of Neil Young’s “Down By the River.” Yes!

The Moody Blues seem to have been erased somewhat from classic rock history, but they deserve better. They cranked out a clutch of solid, if somewhat lightweight, prog-rock albums and scored a handful of big hits. “Ride My Seesaw” is one of their harder rocking cuts from 1968’s In Search of a Lost Chord.

All I’ve got to say is more electric jug! If anything screams 13th Floor Elevators it’s that burbling, gurgling sound punctuating their wild garage rock and Roky Erickson’s manic yelps and howls. “You’re Gonna Miss Me” from their 1966 debut, The Psychedelic Sounds of The 13th Floor Elevators, is an essential song for any real music fan.

“Is This What You Wanted” is song one, side one from Leonard Cohen’s 4th album, 1974’s New Skin For The Old Ceremony. The song is a one-sided dialogue between the singer and a lover who may or may not be there. The puzzling lyrics add more layers to this haunting song.

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“Love and Mercy” was the lead single from Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s eponymous 1988 solo debut. It had been years since Brian had released music and he was warmly welcomed back. Initially. his then round-the-clock therapist was credited as songwriter, but that has been removed on reissues. The song is classic Brian WIlson with gorgeous harmonies in spiritual cry for love and mercy.

Shin Joong Hyun was a South Korean musician and producer who found a college student, Kim Jung Mi, in 1973 and transformed her into a psychedelic folk singer. “Haenim” from her stunning debut LP Now is a lush orchestral dreamscape with her delicate vocals leading the way. Wow!

“96 Tears” is a true one hit wonder. You’ve heard the farfisa organ driving one of the catchiest garage rock singles of the mid-sixties. ? and the Mysterians burst onto the scene in 1966 and went straight to the top. There was nowhere to go but down and they never achieved similar success. That one song cemented their place in rock’n’roll history.

“Night Drive” is this week’s earworm. I want to hear it on repeat. Released in 2013 on PDA, the second album from Part Time, it is a wonderful New Order/M83 knock off that is captures the essence of both of those bands and stands on its own. Love it!

The seductive jazzy funk of The Lafayette Afro Rock Band has been sampled countless times. Nothing quite like going straight to the source and hearing “Darkest Light” from 1975. They never got the recognition they deserved, so check out the 1999 compilation Darkest Light – THe Best of the Lafayette Afro Rock Band. Superb!

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The Talking Heads reached their pinnacle with 1980’s Brian Eno produced Remain In Light. Their jittery new wave combined with funk and layers of percussion made for a paranoid, polyrhythmic masterpiece. “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)” opens the album superbly with David Byrne’s ranting and preaching vocals.

The Slits 1979 cover of the Whitfield/Strong classic, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” only gets better as the years pass. Ari Up’s incredible vocals and Viv Albertine’s skeletal guitar are anchored by Budgie’s drums. Dennis Bovell produced. So so good!

Garland Jeffreys was poised to be the next big thing in 1977. His album Ghost Writer got huge buzz, “Wild in the Streets” was a tough catchy single of teen anger, and then…..crickets. It’s a shame because the song is a classic and the album is just as good.

ESG is short for emerald, sapphire, and gold. They played minimalist funk with only drums, bass and vocals. “You’re No Good” is the lead song from their 1981 self-titled debut EP. Highly recommended.

What a great playlist! It started with the crazy Brigitte Bardot/Serge Gainsbourg duet and ended with the slamming ESG track. Plus there were two brilliant covers from The Slits and Buddy Miles. My only quibble, there were THREE repeats. Leonard Cohen, Thirteenth Floor Elevators and Patto. Spotify, I promise you won’t run out of songs. The only problem is now that everything is just right the three bears will come home.

I debated a couple of months ago about who would would win my monthly subscription fee, Spotify or Apple Music. Just a couple of days ago, i cancelled my subscription to Apple Music. Spotify has been winning my heart just a little more every week.

As always I wonder what Monday morning has in store.

 

Discover and Rediscover – Week 3 of Spotify Weekly

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Three weeks in and I am still impressed with my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify. Each week has expanded upon the previous, delving deeper into my musical history and digging up even more unique artists and forgotten favorites. This week is another compelling mix of old, new, hits, misses and never-weres. While previous weeks had a certain flow from popular to obscure or grouped songs together loosely along decades or genres, this week leapfrogs around with delightful unpredictability. The only theme seems to be an overwhelming number of songs form 1967. While a few segues are jarring and there are a few clunkers, this week might be the best yet.

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Opening the set is “Multi-Family Garage Sale (Bargain-Bin Mix)” from the wonderful and almost forgotten Land of the Loops. This was in heavy rotation on my Sony DiscMan way back when. What a joy to hear the cut-and-paste magic of this track from 1996’s Bundle of Joy.

Jumping back almost 30 years we get Neil Young’s stellar Buffalo Springfield Again opener “Mr. Soul,” a classic song from a classic album. So much talent (and ego) crammed into one group. It’s no wonder they imploded.

Then we get what might be the biggest clunker from three weeks of curated music. Daniel Lanois is a brilliant producer, but “The Maker” from 2008’s Acadie is a perfect example of music for people who don’t like music, but don’t want anyone to know.

However, we get right back on track with Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats with the dark garage stomp of “I’ll Cut You Down” from 2011’s Blood Lust. Never heard ’em before, but sign me up for more.

From Animal Collective’s 2004 album, Sung Tongs, it’s “Leaf House,” the mesmerising opening track. They got better with later releases, but this track shows their early promise and brilliance.

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Hard to believe it’s been almost 30 years since we first heard The Pixies, but ‘Caribou” from their debut, Come On Pilgrim, is still a gripping introduction to one of the finest bands of their time.

While their brand new release is promising, Wilco seemed to lose the plot a long way back, but “Handshake Drugs” from 2004’s A Ghost is Born is one of my favorites from Tweedy and company.

Wow! Finally a little bit of classic 70s instrumental soul funk with Billy Preston and “Outa Space.” Spotify delivered on my wish for a broader, more diverse selection. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

I missed out on most of Van Morrison’s 80s output and when I hear songs from that era I am amazed at how damn good he has remained for a half century. “Cleaning WIndows” from 1982’s Beautiful Visions is a keeper.

It’s easy to remember The Lovin’ Spoonful as a mid-sixties hit factory that churned out a handful of Top 40 songs, but “Darling Be Home Soon” is largely forgotten. This lush production with strings, horns and a delicate John Sebastian vocal was featured on the soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola’s You’re A Big Boy Now in 1966.

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Parquet Courts made their name with Pavement influenced rock, but they are much more than imitators. “Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth” from 2014’s Content Nausea is a slow burner until the final cathartic explosion of screaming and guitars. The epic 30 second fadeout is a great touch.

Now we are on a roll. The Brian Jonestown Massacre delivers with “Straight Up and Down.” (If you haven’t seen Dig!, the documentary following the parallel careers of TBJM and The Dandy Warhols, stop what you’re doing, seriously.) Anton Newcombe’s musical trainwreck delivers on every album and this song from 1996 is genius. There is an even better 11 minute version out there kicking around as well.

Jim James, the beautiful voice from My Morning Jacket, offers up “Know ‘Til Now,” the lead single from his 2013 solo album. Channeling an old sixties soul vibe, he veers far away from the roots rock of his band.

Then we segue perfectly into the classic white boy soul rave-up “I’m a Man’ from Steve Winwood and The Spencer Davis Group. Hard to believe Winwood was still a teenager  when he tracked this 1967 masterpiece.

The Strawberry Alarm Clock’s “Incense and Peppermints” is frozen in the acid-laced amber of 1967. What started as a B-side became their defining legacy. It’s a one hit wonder that captures the hippy zeitgeist at its absolutely goofiest.

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“I Looked Away” leads off the classic Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs from Derek and the Dominos. 45 years on this 1970 album stills kills it with great songs by arguably one of the finest bands ever assembled.

Arthur Russell, who defies easy definition and leaped from style to style gives us the quietly beautiful “Close My Eyes’ from 2008’s posthumous compilation of unreleased material, Love is Overtaking Me. Folk, classical, disco, jazz, Mr. Russell could do it all.

“Ride Me High” is a delightful, understated 1976 cut from JJ Cale’s 4th album, “Troubador.” Drawing on blues, rockabilly and a bit of country, Cale makes every track sound easy, but under the hood his songs are wildly inventive.

Devo could do no wrong for their first four albums and their commercial peak was 1980’s Freedom of Choice. “Girl U Want” treads the fine line between their early herky-jerky guitar driven songs with their increasing use of synthesizers.

Smith is a band I knew from the inner sleeves of old ABC/Dunhill LPs, but I never knew their 1969 Top 10 cover of Burt Bacharach’s, “Baby It’s You from the A Band Called Smith album. This one’s a scorcher with a kick ass lead vocal from Gayle McCormick.

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“Itchycoo Park” from 1967 is one of the biggest Small Faces’ hits with the unforgettable psychedelic guitar flanging. This was a blockbuster single in the UK and the lead cut off their second album, There Are But Four Small Faces, in the US.

From 1967’s Surrealistic Pillow by The Jefferson Airplane, the acoustic “Embryonic Journey” is a showcase of guitarist Jorma Kaukonen’s talents and a single listen is all you need to confirm his status as one of the great players of the late 60s and beyond.

Galaxie 500 only released 3 studio albums but their legacy and influence have endured since their 1991 breakup. “Strange” from 1989’s On FIre captures their essence perfectly with Dean Wareham’s fractured, vulnerable lead vocals and the band’s dreamy guitar pop. Wonderful.

Slint largely devised the template for post-rock over the course of two albums. All rising guitar tension and no catharsis, “Good Morning Captain” is the masterful closing track from 1991’s Spiderland (and showed up a few years later on the soundtrack to Kids).

From the first notes of fuzzed out guitar The Count Five’s (yes, they wore Dracula capes on stage) “Psychotic Reaction” is one of the great garage classics from 1966.

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The Damned’s “Neat Neat Neat,” is their second single and the opening track on debut album, Damned Damned Damned. From Barney Bubbles’ (RIP) cover art to the 12 songs within, you can’t do better than this classic example of 1977 British punk.

Cass McCombs’ songs always take repeated listens for the music to take hold and carry the listener away. 2007’s “That’s That” from Dropping the Writ is no exception. Each listen draws you in and slowly reveals its quiet magic.

Then, we’ve got Supertramp’s “Bloody Well Right” from 1974’s Crime of the Century. This was likely the first song many heard from this oft-maligned band. I might not have included it on the playlist, but the list will completely change by Monday. Onward!

The penultimate song is The Jam’s “That’s Entertainment,” one of the most powerful moments from a band that delivered dozens of powerful moments across five years and six albums. Ending side one of 1980’s Sound Affects, the song counters a bright acoustic attack with an ironic look at the difficult lives of the British working class.

Closing out the set is Widespread Panic’s cover of JJ Cale’s “Travelin’ Light.” I prefer the original and the whole laid back jam band vibe doesn’t really cut it. However, if I hadn’t seen the band name first, it might have been different. Widespread Panic caused me to, um, panic.

One thing I love about these playlists is right in the title, Discover. Each week I’ve discovered something new and remarkable. This week is no exception. Two new artists and a handful of songs I’ve never heard by artists I know well. It’s also a chance to rediscover things I’ve forgotten. I still hope it stretches far beyond the mostly rock diet it has served up. In the Apple Music vs Spotify war, Spotify is clearly winning with two great hours of music picked for me every week. Again, I can’t wait until Monday.

Welcome to the Machine – Week 2 of Spotify’s Discover Weekly

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Welcome to the machine! A computer is making mixtapes just for me and they are better than just about any mortal mix. Yep, it’s week two of Spotify’s Discover Weekly and they just get me, like really get me.

Week one was damn good. Maybe a little heavy on the sixties and seventies, but it was two hours well spent. This week it’s back to the future with a mix that’s centered in the nineties, but stretches from the late sixties all the way up to this year. Of course the playlist dips its toes in the seventies, eighties and oughties (yeah, I just wrote that, sorry).

What I like is my curated mix is eminently listenable from start to finish. Just like last week the sequencing is random, but in a can’t-wait-to-hear-the-next-song way. Jumping from decade to decade and style to style, it’s unpredictable and surprising at times. I guess they’ve got three years of listening data and know exactly what I like.

Well, let’s get to the music.

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First up is The Olivia Tremor Control’s “Define a Transparent Dream” from their debut masterpiece, Dust at Cubist Castle. With its touches of the Beatles and their own psychedelic magic, OTC sets the tone for much of what’s to come later in the mix. Next, TV on the Radio goes a cappella with their 2003 cover of The Pixies’ “Mr. Greives.” Then we head way back for “Is This What You Wanted,” the opening cut from Leonard Cohen’s 1974 New Skin for the Old Ceremony. Then there are a couple of decent 70s rockers, Thin Lizzy’s “Running Back” from Jailbreak and “Funk #49” from The James Gang’s second album.

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Right when I was getting a little bored, Avey Tare of Animal Collective comes through with the murky and mystical “Laughing Hieroglyphic” from his debut solo record, Down There. The mind-bending continues with Austin’s Holy Wave and “Do You Feel It” from 2014. Next up it sounds like a cracked T-Rex or maybe Devendra Banhart, but it’s David Vandervelde from his first album (as The Moonstation House Band). Capping off this rewarding group of songs is the stone 1966 classic “You’re Gonna Miss Me” with its unforgettable electric jug and killer harmonica from The Thirteenth Floor Elevators. Can we possibly go up from here?

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Let’s say we go sideways right into Blake Mills with the power pop punch of “Hey Lover” from 2010. Then, boom, it’s Joe Jackson from his “angry young man” years kicking ass with “I’m the Man” from his 1979 record of the same name. Courtney Barnett doesn’t let up with “History Eraser” from last year’s Double EP. Sonic Youth might have done better songs, but were never cooler than “Dirty Boots” from 1990’s Goo.

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Love’s “Alone Again Or” is a wonderful song and it has been covered by bands like UFO and The Damned, but Calexico’s 2004 version is magical. They capture the original and make it their own simultaneously. The Kink’s cheeseball, but still awesome “Celluloid Heroes” is next. Originally a B-side to “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays,” The Buzzcock’s “Why Can’t I Touch It?” is a minor masterpiece. “Just Like Honey” will always be The Jesus and Mary Chain’s defining song, all pop bliss buried under mountains of feedback and sneer.

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So I am not supposed to like Phish on principle for a lot of reasons, but when I found myself grooving on “Wolfman’s Brother,” I went to the track listing. Who is this? Phish! Damn it. Yeah, this is why Spotify gets me. They find a great song from a band I don’t like.

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Then we’ve got Jason Lytle’s Grandaddy and his loopy lo-fi A.M. 180,” followed by the swirling beauty of Tame Impala’s “Enders Toi” from 2012 and Dinosaur Jr. with the Guitar Hero and Rock Band classic “Feel the Pain.” My Morning Jacket’s 2008 “Evil Urges” with its light funk and falsetto has aged well. So has Built To Spill’s 1999 guitar drenched Keep It LIke a Secret and lead track “The Plan.”

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Again we go sideways and back in time to 1982 and The English Beat’s “I Confess” from their third and last album, Special Beat Service. Next is a live version of “Ride a White Swan,” the first hit from T. Rex going all the way back to 1970. Digging even further back to 1968 it’s the crazy I-never-heard-this gem of this week’s mix and Jacque Dutronc’s 1968 French psychedelic nugget, “Hippie Hippie Hourrah” (covered in 2005 by Black Lips). Alabama Shakes surprised me with this year’s “Future People.” Nicely done.

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Closing out the set it’s REM’s always delightful “Harborcoat” from 1984’s Reckoning, Robert Palmer’s early hit “Sneaking Sally Through the Alley” and Jeff Beck’s 1968 rocking version of the folk classic “Morning Dew” with a young Rod Stewart on searing lead vocals.

I keep hoping for a little more electronic, industrial, soul and hip-hop but it’s only been two weeks. I am impressed at how well they understand my tastes and my fascination with random juxtaposition of songs and styles. Last week I mentioned how I am using my 90 day trial period to test drive Apple Music, but Spotify captured my attention this past week. They haven’t won the war for my money, but they are winning the battle for my time. What do you think of Discover Weekly? Who’s winning the streaming music war? I would love to know what you think.

Spotify’s Discover Weekly – Music Picked Just For Me

“It’s like having your best friend make you a personalized mixtape every single week.” – Spotify

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Spotify definitely isn’t taking a wait-and-see attitude with Apple Music. They punched back at Apple’s curated playlists this week with Discover Weekly, a unique two hour playlist of tunes crafted specifically for each user based on listening history and that of similar listeners. Updated every Monday, this “mixtape of fresh music” is a fascinating look at how a machine takes user data and predicts what I will like.

I couldn’t wait to see what my playlist had in store for me for several reasons.

First of all, I am more than a music fan. I long ago sprinted past music music nerd and rocketed beyond straight into music obsessive territory. As a kid the local record store was my favorite hangout. When other kids collected baseball cards, I spent my money on Beatles and Rolling Stones records. I was a DJ for years at various college stations. My library is somewhere around 1500 vinyl albums, 600 singles, 3000 CDs, 400 cassettes and about 8 months worth of digitized music. Yep, I have more music than I can ever really consume.

Second, I’ve made dozens and dozens of mixtapes over the years and the idea of someone (or a machine) I don’t know creating a playlist for me is interesting and a challenge. Rarely listening to the same thing twice, I jump from decade to decade, genre to genre pretty quickly. Rooted in classic rock, soul, funk, punk and new wave, my tastes run from classic country and blues through hip-hop, post-punk into lo-fi, indie, electronic, ambient and beyond. They’ve got two hours and thirty songs to make an impact.

Third, I am still debating between Spotify and Apple Music. Who will win my monthly fee? I am a longtime Spotify user and Apple Music will have to work damn hard to win me over. I’ve all but abandoned most physical formats so my final pick needs to give me everything, make it convenient and surprise me with great music and features.

So let’s get to the music!

This first week’s playlist is actually pretty strong. Heavy on sixties and seventies rock with a few tracks from the eighties thrown in, the list misses about 70% of what I like and listen to on a regular basis. Every song is at least three decades old and most of what I’ve been streaming lately has been relatively new. However, the list is pretty solid and a rewarding listen with a mix of hits, obvious album tracks, wonderful surprises and a few things I’ve never heard. While a real mixtape has some flow and a sense of theme or narrative, this mix is wonderfully random and enjoyable.

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Opening nicely with former Byrd Gene Clark’s “Strength of Strings” from 1974’s underrated and masterful No Other, the playlist rambles and stumbles through obvious choices from Nick Lowe, John Cale and Neil Young before the first surprise. Scott Walker’s (of Walker Brothers fame) baroque pop treasure “30 Century Man” from 1969’s Scott 3.

Spotify Discover Weekly Playlist

As if to apologize for getting somewhat obscure, the list reverts to the hits and “So You Want To Be a Rock ‘N’ Roll Star,” one of the Byrd’s last Top 40 hits. Then it meanders (in a good way) through The Rutles, Talking Heads, Todd Rundgren and Traffic before landing on the always stunning “Hallogallo,” the lead song from Neu!’s 1972 debut.

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Then there is a real surprise. Up until now I’ve been familiar with everything. Twelve tracks in, they knock me out with a delightfully obscure choice. Not only do I not know the song or the group, the track is great. From the late 60s Canterbury scene, psychedelic band Arzachel kills it with the sprawling instrumental “Queen St. Gang.” I dig into their biography and discover it was Steve Hillage of Gong fame and players who went on to become Egg of Canterbury prog-rock notoriety.

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The middle of the playlist gets progressively odder and more interesting. Can’s “Moonshake,” Pink Floyd’s “Fearless” with its appropriation of a Liverpool choir singing Rogers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” Roxy Music’s “Both Ends Burning,” “Cowboy Movie” from David Crosby’s mind blowing If Only I Could Remember My Name and Little Feat’s “Trouble” all lead into two “wow, I’ve never heard this” tracks.

Spotify Discover Weekly Playlist

Patto’s “The Man” is a heavy jazz-rock track from their 1970 debut album. My favorite trivia bit about this band is drummer John Halsey portrayed drummer Barrington Womble in The Rutles.

Then, we’ve got Manfred Mann Chapter 3, the little known missing link between Manfred Mann and Manfred Mann’s Earth band. Another heavy jazz-rock number, “One Way Glass” has a deep throbbing beat and kick ass horn section. This one is definitely a keeper.

Spotify Discover Weekly Playlist

After a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Yuung song we get Mick Ronson’s “Only After Dark,” “Lorelei” from the Tom Tom Club, Spirit’s kick ass “Fresh Garbage,” Beach Boy Dennis Wilson’s “River Song,”  and XTC’s alter ego The Dukes of Stratosphear’s rollicking “25 O’Clock.”

Spotify Discover Weekly Playlist

The 4th “never heard it” is Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera’s 801 project “TNK (Tomorrow Never Knows)” from 1976’s 801 Live. This is one of my sacred Beatles songs. I’ve heard several covers (The Chameleons, Danielle Dax, The Mission, and Phil Collins) and this one is particularly special. Brian Eno sings and Manzanera’s guitar playing is spectacular.

Spotify Discover Weekly Playlist

The playlist comes toward the end and swings back to the more recognizable. There is Klaatu’s ” Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” (later covered by The Carpenters), CSN’s “Dark Star,” ELO’s “Boy Blue” and the final stomper, “No Quarter,” from Led Zeppelin.

There it is, two hours of music that Spotify picked just for me. Overall, I was very impressed and enjoyed the playlist from start to finish. It definitely focused on a very narrow sliver of the music I like. However, good choices, fun surprises and enough music I’ve never heard before captured and kept my attention. I can’t wait to see what they serve up this coming Monday.

What do you think of Discover Weekly? I’d love to hear your thoughts.