The Bonus List: Monday 6th Feb


Introducing the new weekly Bonus List – the extension of our weekly A List that is posted every Sunday – which is another chance to showcase some of the other songs we’re still really liking right now.

As with the A List, these tracks are listed in order of preference. It’s the closest blogging gets to the charts. As with the A List, there is a four week limit for the tracks, so if it has been on the A List for a couple of weeks then it can only stay here for two. Some songs will also come straight into the Bonus List, from either the This Week Playlist or from our Tracks of the Day selections.

These 10 tracks have all features previously on the site and are all – as far as we’re concerned – really very good.

11. Dan Croll – Away From Today

A slightly disorientating indie pop track that could easily have been take from Bombay Bicycle Club’s back catalogue. It plays with the senses a little, never quite settling.

12. Stage Van H – Orange Beach – Marko Melo Remix

Orange Beach has a top-line that constantly teases you; dangling melodies and noises but withdrawing then before you get too comfortable and drawing your ears and imagination back to its dynamic underbelly.

13. The XX – Dangerous 

A tremendous statement of intent to kick off new album I See You.

14. Jaakko Aukusti – What If All Else Fails? 

What if All Else Fails? has all the icy and bare elements of any great Northern European glacial landscape.

15. Tall Tall Trees – Freedays 

Sounds like a product of vast and hazy country landscapes, and would comfortably sound at home alongside records by Fleet Foxes and Jonathan Wilson.

16.The XX – Performance 

A heart-dropping, mournful and gripping track that finds The XX back on familiar ground. Romy’s vocals are – as usual – emotional in a way so few other singers can manage.

17. FREAK – Cake

Loud, thrashy and suitably angry, FREAK hails from Chelmsford,  has bags of talent and kicks off 2017 with a bang.

18. Harlea – You Don’t Get It 

There’s a confidence in Harlea’s emotions – no vulnerability here, it’s part sassy but absolutely certain (YOU don’t get it) – but also a confidence in the song-writing. Nothing is too complicated, nothing is messy; it’s exactly as it should be.

19. Skott – Glitter & Gloss 

Glitter & Gloss is a little bit like eating a chocolate bar that you’ve taken from a communal fridge; it’s sweet and satisfying, but there’s a lurking sense of guilt and troubles to come.

20. Allan Rayman, Jessie Reyez – Repeat  

His voice is extraordinary; it elevates what is a slightly off-kilter r’n’b meets indie pop track into something very compelling.

This week: 6 new tracks to tickle your ears


This is a little later than I intended, but today was my first day back at work (not as horrendous as I thought it would be) and then my new puppy (Max the Yorkiepoo) decided I wasn’t allowed to blog until I’d played with him. A lot. He’s adorable, so its all good.

Anyway, here are six new tracks to tickle your ears. These are songs I’ve only listened to a couple of times but liked a lot; this playlist acts as my main listening guide for the week and hopefully they’ll appear on Sunday’s A List 

Let me know what you think of the tracks and/or if there’s something you think I’ve missed. Astralpenguinsmusic@gmail.com.

 1. The XX – Dangerous 

The XX released their third album I See You on Friday, and Dangerous is the opening track. It’s a tremendous statement of intent; ‘I won’t shy away’ they sing, ‘I’m going to pretend that I’m not scared’. It could easily be the band discussing their own shift in style; here is a brave and rather brilliant track – horns and all – that verges on a dance track. I’m slightly blown away by their ambition, execution and all-round brilliance.

2. The Black Madonna – He Is The Voice I Hear 

The Black Madonna became the DJ to see in 2016. She brought the party like no other; her eclectic picks were more than matched by her superb dancing and extensive knowledge of all dance music ever. But as this (brilliant!) Resident Advisor film shows, life on the road can take its toll. So when I first heard He Is The Voice I Hear, I wondered if this was her ode to the journey she took last year; a weird and wacky ride that takes in strings, disco-beats that could easily come from a Moroder track and a jazzy piano part. This sounds like creativity meets exhaustion; the kind of song that can only be written/produced in the small hours when there’s no one else to relate. It sounds to me like a lullaby for insomniacs. I could be entirely wrong, but I’m refusing to read anything else about it because, well, I like my explanation and I’m sticking to it.

3. Dan Croll – Away From Today 

Every Friday I get an email from Communion telling me what they think is awesome. I have waited patiently. And finally, here is a track I rather enjoy. Away From Today is a slightly disorientating indie pop track that could easily have been take from Bombay Bicycle Club’s back catalogue. It plays with the senses a little, never quite settling. But for the ridiculously abrupt ending, I rather like this.

4. FREAK – Cake 

Loud, thrashy and suitably angry, FREAK came onto my radar in the second half of 2016. Hailing from Chelmsford, this young man has bags of talent and he kicks off 2017 with a bang: Cake sticks to his – very solid – formula. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to see him live in the next few months.

5. The Paper Kites – Breathing Fighting Love 

The Paper Kites released their last album – twelve four – all the way back in 2015. The album’s concept was to write in the early hours of the morning (hence the name) and it produced – in parts – a creeping and slightly disconcerting edge to their work; in particular I was a big fan of album opener Electric Indigo. Now they’re back with two track that evidently didn’t make the cut for twelve four. Breathing Fighting Love is a very solid track that reminds me of some of the darker Fleetwood Mac tracks.

6. Bonobo – No Reason 

We finish with a superb piece of electronic music. Back in December 2015 I became slightly obsessed with a track by Rufus called Innerbloom; so much so that it was one of my three most listened to tracks in 2016 (according to Spotify). No Reason is from a very similar mould; mournful vocals are matched by elegant electronic touches; it’s a claustrophobic listen that leaves you wanting to curl up in a blanket and hide away from the world.