London Calling Playlist: August

What we’re playing in the office this month…

Our August playlist is up and running and full of inspiring gigs, heartfelt jazz, classic albums and Mercury Prize-nominated masterpieces. The list comes from interviews we’ve held on both and, Spanish festivals and East London pub gigs, soundtracks from blockbuster exhibitions, new releases and unearthed gems. If you have anything you think we’d like to hear (our tastes are varied, so don’t be shy!) then please get in touch and let us know. Sharing is caring.

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free – Nina Simone

We paid a visit to the Tate Modern’s latest blockbuster exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power and were absolutely bowled over. Not only one of the best exhibitions of 2017, but one of the best we’ve ever seen. The Tate pulled together a playlist of music from the era to accompany the exhibition, and this iconic tune from Nina Simone is a particular highlight.

Bitter Winter – ALASKALASKA

Will went down to the Sebright Arms in Stoke Newington one Wednesday evening to see this band, recently signed to Marathon, and was completely won over by their mix of indie grooves, sultry vocals and jazzier elements from the piano, drums and tenor sax. Ones to watch for the future, that’s for sure.

Lost Kingdoms – Nubya Garcia

The sax flourishes on the last track lead us nicely onto Nubya Garcia. We spoke to the South London saxophonist ahead of her sell-out August date at Ronnie Scott’s, and thought it only fitting to include the opener from her debut EP of solo material Nubya’s 5ive. It’s easy to hear why she’s one of the most in-demand musicians in London right now, and we can’t wait to see her perform live.

Soleil Soleil – Ahmed Fakroun

Ahmed Fakroun, pioneer of modern Libyan music, may not be a household name over here but luckily for us, our new Culture Calling Editorial Assistant Gunseli introduced her to the office airwaves. Now it’s our turn to spread the word, as the multi-instrumentalist from Benghazi – who fuses traditional Libyan instruments with a more Western pop sensibility – introduces a Talking Heads-style funk element to this track.

Yes I’m Changing – Tame Impala

Culture Calling spoke to actor Oliver Johnstone about his role in Nina Raines’ award-winning play Tribes, which played at Sheffield Theatres last month. Amongst other things, we spoke about music and he confessed to being in love with Tame Impala’s 2016 album Currents. No shame there – we are too, and this groovy slow-burner is one of the album’s many highlights.

(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano – Sampha

Speaking of long musical relationships, our New Business Manager Simon is similarly besotted with Sampha. His release earlier this year, Process, is never far from Simon’s stereo and it appears he’s not alone – the album was nominated for the 2017 Mercury Music Prize. This beautiful piano ballad demonstrates why he’s up there with the front-runners for the gong.

Quiet Fire – Mammal Hands

If it’s powerful, emotive music you’re after, look no further than Mammal Hands. Will caught their closing Sunday set at this year’s Ealing Jazz Festival and felt the earth move. Ridiculously evocative, the soaring saxophone and glistening piano on this track – the opener to their most recent album Floa – will melt even the hardest heart.

Season 2 Episode 3 – Glass Animals

To avoid any accusations of favouritism, we’ve included another Mercury Prize nominee here. The Oxford quartet Glass Animals’ sophomore album, How to Be a Human Being, is a catchy, 8-bit indie record with thumping percussion and ear-pleasing melodies and guitar riffs. This track is the third single from the album.

You Never Knew – Haim

Another of Simon’s favourites, the LA trio released their second album Something to Tell You in late July, and this track sees the Haim sisters channelling Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac. If you ever get the chance to see them perform live, take it. Their gigs are a lot rockier than their more polished studio sound, and it certainly won Will over one Glastonbury a few years back.

Shoot the Runner (Live at King Power Stadium) – Kasabian

In terms of festival performances, there aren’t many mightier rock bands than Leicester’s Kasabian. Carolina saw them headline at this year’s Benicàssim festival in Valencia, and can attest to that. This track comes from a live recording at the King Power Stadium in the band’s hometown – a second disc on the Deluxe Edition of newest album For Crying Out Loud.