Mural of Stevie Wonder in Detroit. Stevie Neavling

When I get round to putting down a few more Recent Decents, I often feel the need to come up with three tracks that compliment each other or represent a theme. I usually spend more time trying to think of that than actually writing.

In the end, I almost always give up and every now and then there’s a theme that I didn’t even realise.

However, this week the theme is simple, and it’s Stevie Wonder.

Why? Because Stevie Wonder.

These are just 3 tracks that have been in heavy rotation in my ears for the last few months and…


Lauryn Hill. By Città di Parma — https://www.flickr.com/photos/comuneparma/42095515965/

Each month, every pleasing sound I hear ends up on that month’s “Recent Decents” playlist and the selection here is a good example of the typical sounds that make the cut each month.

Classic jangly guitars, R&B deep cuts, and gateway hip-hop all regularly make their way onto my monthly playlists.

The playlists tend to top out around the 100 mark so it can be difficult choosing just a few each month to put forward but hopefully, these tracks will make their way onto your playlists too.

1. Wild Nothing, “Our Composition Book”, 2010

This is unashamedly jangly indie-angst alt-pop. …


MF DOOM/King Geedorah. Flickr@Kmeron.

These 3 tracks come straight out of the queue for the recycling centre on a typical Saturday morning. With bags of garden waste piled up to my neck around me in the car, I’ve got a guest DJ spot to a very receptive crowd of one.

These are the tracks I’m spinning for myself.

Obviously though, with the window cracked in the hope that someone else will hear and we’ll share that nod of knowing approval that music heads do.

1. King Geedorah, “I Wonder”, 2013

There’s no bigger thrill than discovering a new artist. Stumbling across this 2013 hip hop album, Take Me To…


The most expensive record ever sold inside a silver and diamond encrusted box, Wikicommons.

The two most expensive records in history were both sold at auction in 2015. One of those albums was the first-ever copy (serial number: 0000001) of the legendary 1968 album, The White Album by the Beatles. A touchstone of Western culture, the album was released half a century previous and has influenced modern music the world over.

However, the most expensive of the two albums, at a cost of $2 million (more than double the cost of The White Album), has only ever been heard by a handful of people and is now rumoured to be owned by the United…


“A Basket of Roses”, used as the artwork for New Order’s Power Corruption & Lies, nationalgallery.org.uk.

Best served through headphones, these 3 tracks all create their own space in time.

The first track, “Go!”, is from an ambitious album telling the story of the Space Race through guitars, drums and archive audio.

A few times a week, I drag my creaking legs on a 5 or 6-mile run and this song makes me fly. Outside of my head, all the unwanting public can see is my huffing and wheezing but inside, I’m blasting my way to the moon sat beside the Apollo 11 crew.

Typically, there’s not much of my day that’s not accompanied by some…


Made Kuti, Spin.com

In every hope that we’re turning some sort of corner (or at least peeping around it) in 2021, only 1 of these 3 Recent Decent tracks focuses on the impending doom of our civilisation.

The other 2 are simple, easy-going heartbreakers.

Amongst all the madness, it feels like we might need a member of the Kuti family to unite behind. …


Jackson Sisters — Jackson Sisters (Discogs.com)

The stories of 4 albums that all faded into obscurity as quickly as they were released, before going on to be hailed retrospectively as lost classics of their time.

Jackson Sister — Jackson Sisters (1976)


Free Your Mind by Amnesty. Source: Amnestyfunk on Bandcamp

This edition of Recent Decents slipped right out of my fingers. Having only just discovered the first track, “Can I Help You?” by Amnesty, in the last week, I instantly knew it would be straight into this mix.

Despite being a fan of the longer slow-build tracks, rightly or wrongly, I tend to judge a new song from the first couple of notes. “Can I Help You?” was one of those that gripped me straight away. It starts with a drifty guitar and a few brass notes but pretty soon it’s a heavy, heavy beat that hooks you in.

At…


Soft Cell’s Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret album, containing “Tainted Love”. Source: Classic Pop Magazine

In 1981, Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” was about to set new records and provide the soundtrack of the decade. The song is a genre-defining track which is the pinnacle of the electro-pop sound of the ’80s. It is instantly recognisable from the first second due to its unmissable heavy synth beat.

It would top the charts the world over, setting new records on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet, even before its release, it would see the birth of an underground movement and the death of an icon.

A top-selling failure

In 1964, whilst releasing family-friendly doo-wop records with The Four Preps, Ed…


Sleaford Mods. Source: New Noise Magazine.

As with the rest of the world, there is a lot happening right now in the UK.

Despite 4 elections in a decade, we’ve been through 10 difficult years of Conservative rule who started the decade with bleak austerity before branching out into divisive Brexit politics, then ending it with a record-breaking poor showing against the pandemic.

It's hard to pick out the positives from this. But there are a few and Sleaford Mods are one.

They are a visceral shove back against 10 years of punch-down politics and working-class oppression.

Musically, they are hard to describe and best understood…

Oliver Norris

Music discovery, connections and history.

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