As we know all too well, as lovable and quaint as St Andrews is, there come moments where not even the sight of the never-ending North Sea can alleviate the feeling that we’re being held hostage within the town’s three streets.
Here’s a thought: imagine if you were stranded on the sands of St Andrews..?
Taking inspiration from BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, every week our resident writers will deliver their choice of five albums and one track, to be their one and only soundtrack, if they were ever forever stranded on the beaches of St Andrews…
This week’s St Andrews Sands features a mix of chillwave, heavy bass, neo-soul and post-hardcore rock, with a bit of trap thrown in for good measure.
1. Selfish Machines, Pierce The Veil
Selfish Machines is the second studio-recorded album from the San Diego post-hardcore band. The album’s title, as described by lead vocalist Vic Fuentes, was chosen because “We are all in one way or another selfish machines. In no way is this a negative thing, it’s human nature. We all have natural tendencies to want, love, and take. It’s about that ‘evil’ thing inside of us that is really not evil at all, it’s just there and always will be inside all of us.” Exploring the themes of lust, love, hate, anger, and grief, Pierce The Veil blends musicality with intensely personal songwriting to create a memorable album filled with rule-breaking standout songs. Some of the highlights include “The New National Anthem”, the obsessive love track “Bulletproof Love”, and “The Sky Under The Sea”, a frenzied rock anthem which references the album title.
2. Maxwell, Maxwell MTV Unplugged (Live)
Neo-soul pioneer Maxwell’s 1997 performance at MTV Unplugged came after his first major success with his single “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)”. The seven-song EP of his live set is one of the most genuinely heartfelt and musically impressive releases I’ve ever heard, and it gives the listener a true understanding of Maxwell’s phenomenal talent. Covering Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer”, as well as his classic cover of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work”, Maxwell’s smooth voice and soaring falsetto will send chills down your spine. One of the best songs off this EP is the live version of “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)”. With its loose riffing and soulful arrangement, you’ll quickly find yourself preferring the live version to the studio album track.
3. Zeds Dead, Adrenaline EP
This bass-heavy EP from the Canadian duo is a classic for any Zeds Dead’s fan’s collection. Filled with earth-shaking basslines, this four-track EP lets the pair give their listeners a feel for the unique dub-filled sound of their music. With many shows around the world, these songs are recognized by most EDM fans, and will make any Zeds Dead lover go wild.
4. Toro y Moi, Freaking Out EP
Chaz Bundick, pioneer of the chillwave genre, goes for funky, R&B tinged grooves on this Toro y Moi EP, resulting in four hazy disco-esque songs that scream of hot summer nights. Unlike their preceeding albums, Toro y Moi ditches scuzzy guitars and sun-warped-cassette-tape indie rock sound to instead go for full-fledged dancefloor tracks. Case in point: on “Saturday Love”, Bundick samples the dance classic “My Feeling”, by Junior Jack. Though there are only four songs on this EP, they all impress as chilled-out disco-funk jams.
5. Blood Orange, Cupid Deluxe,
Devonté Hynes’ second contribution as Blood Orange is a modern masterpiece. Cupid Deluxe blends 80s-synth-pop with moody funk and soul-touching lyrics, choosing to be emotional and different in a sea of forgettable pop albums. Cupid Deluxe is heralded as “one of the most refined, subtly queer albums in recent history, an ambiguous, androgynous collection of songs about self-doubt, confusion, disillusion, desperation, and, ultimately, empowerment”, and is a future classic of an album. Every song is fantastic and the album never skips a beat, but the tracks that will hook you are “Chamakay”, “Time Will Tell”, and “You’re Not Good Enough”. Take a listen and thank me later.
Major Lazer, Original Don (Flosstradamus Remix)
One of the best trap songs to date.
Words: Staley Sharples