This week our Viva Radio playlist began and ended with covers, one a ’90s icon’s take on an unassailable proto-indie classic, the other a relatively unknown performer’s interpretation of a polarizing lo-fi indie up and comer. Pairings seemed to be the unintended theme of the mix, because sandwiched between these two worthy renditions you’ll find come-back two tracks from ’90s indie-rock darlings, two songs from Sweden’s Sincerely Yours, and a trio of cuts from various parts of the UK. Click through for downloads from our last Viva Radio playlist, and be sure to check back and listen to the show itself — we update every week.
1. Beck – “Sunday Morning”
This is the first entry in Beck’s ongoing Record Club series, where he and a group of individuals perform and record a song within the span of a day. Not a bad take on the classic, especially if you like when Beck performs in his lower-key Sea Change style, but in the pantheon of VU covers Big Star’s “Femme Fatale” still reigns supreme.
[Download Now] via Earmilk
2. Air France feat. Roos – “GBG Belongs To Us”
Supposedly this is part two of a love letter in three parts dedicated to Gothenburg, but even out of context (and sequence) this track is another Balearic disco treat that should appeal to anyone who dug the No Way Down EP, but is sick of hearing “Collapsing At Your Doorstep” played ad nauseam while shopping at Uniqlo.
[Download Now] via The Lemur Blog
3. Polvo – “Beggar’s Bowl”
If “Beggar’s Bowl” is any indication, newly reformed North Carolina quartet Polvo are poised to pull off an uncommonly strong reunion album at a time when math-rock has sort of fallen off the radar. Alternately blunt and intricate, the song is anchored by a spidery guitar figure that drifts in and out of the mix, while the occasional vocals lend some variety without detracting from the instrumental acrobatics which are the song’s real focus.
[Download Now] via Stereogum
4. Spiral Stairs – “Maltese Terrier”
It’s been awhile since anyone’s heard from Scott Kannberg, but now, five years later, he has returned with solo album in tow. Billed to the Spiral Stairs moniker he sported during his days in Pavement, the first leak from the album is not quite as poppy as Kannberg’s work with his former band (no “ooh ooh ooh’s” here) but you would be hard pressed to claim it’s a major departure from the classic Spiral Stairs sound.
[Download Now] via Stereogum
5. jj – “From Africa To Málaga”
jj, the latest addition to Sweden’s Sincerely Yours (which means they’re labelmates with Air France) is another solid addition to the label’s growing stable of blissful dance-pop artists.
[Download Now] via Gorilla vs. Bear
6. Bloc Party – “One More Chance”
Bloc Party delve even deeper into dance-friendly fare, incorporating a house-styled piano riff and 4/4 beat during the verse while rocking out in a more traditionally Bloc Party style during the chorus.
[Download Now] via Broken Silence
7. Alasdair Roberts – “Hazel Forks”
“Hazel Forks” is quietly monumental, a folk song that is perfectly comfortable wandering off on tangential electric guitar solos or instrumental passages before returning to Roberts’ nonchalant vocals.
[Download Now] via The Yellow Stereo
8. Future Of The Left – “The Hope That House Built”
Existential lyrics with snotty call and response vocals and a chorus which invites you to “come join our hopeless cause,” Future Of The Left’s “The Hope That House Built” is as bitter and caustic as Steve Albini, stomping along menacingly without losing its biting sense of humor.
[Download Now] via Pop Tarts Suck Toasted
9. His Clancyness – “So Bored”
His Clancyness’ respectful cover of “So Bored” cuts Nathan Williams a break in this post-Primavera meltdown anti-Wavves world. His take is still lo-fi but the tempo is slowed and the melody is brought to the forefront, reminding us that Wavves, while perhaps over-hyped, still did have a good tune or two.
[Download Now] via Pitchfork