Nick Thorburn — a.k.a. Nick Diamonds — has more than flirted with a variety of sounds: from the electro pop, feedback-laced jams of Unicorns to the dusty attic strains of his solo efforts to doom-wop Man Man/Modest Mouse collab Mister Heavenly to Islands, perhaps his most prolific effort. Tuesday (September 17), Islands releases its fifth studio album, Ski Mask, and in celebration of the slick release, Thorburn has put together a playlist for Hive titled “Major Songs by Minor Artists and Minor Songs by Major Artists.” Check out his description for the tracklist below and then listen at will — after nabbing Islands’ new record, that is.
There is at times an interweaving thread running through this collection of songs. For example, Cocteau Twins “Cherry Coloured Funk” bleeds into “Kangaroo” by This Mortail Coil, who happened to be frequent collaborators of Cocteau Twins. “Kangaroo” is a cover of a Big Star song, led by Alex Chilton, who sings “Bangkok.” Alex Chilton produced the Cramps, who were CBGB alumni alongside Television and Suicide, both who follow in the tracklist. Am I boring you yet? I don’t care! Brian Eno produced the first set of recordings (never officially released) from Television, so he’s next. Robert Wyatt, founding member of Soft Machine was a frequent collaborator of Brian Eno so he’s pulling up the rear.
In addition to the so-called “5 degrees of separation” all of this music seems to possess, the lion’s share of them are what I call Major Songs by Minor Artists and Minor Songs by Major Artists. Maybe these aren’t the songs the artist is known for, or maybe these songs are the defining centerpiece that covers the breadth of their unheralded and under-appreciated career. All that really matters is that I dig all of these songs and maybe you will too.
Ski Mask is out now on Nick Thorburn’s own Manqué Music label.