Transform Your Playlist: From Love's End Credits to Anthems of Fury

Your monthly dose of music recommendations.

Transform Your Playlist: From Love's End Credits to Anthems of Fury
Circe. Credit: Zak Watson

Here's your monthly dose of music recommendations from DiS HQ to drag, drop, download and/or rush out to your local record shop to procure.

This edition features some more gnarly punk-rock snarls (seemed like lots of you loved Mannequin Pussy in the last email!), a tie-dyed album of the month, and a modern take on The Cure's melancholic majesty. Plus some podcast picks and a few great articles to bookmark to read later.

Two things before we begin.

  1. TL;DR? All tracks featured in this email are on Drowned in Sound's Favourites playlist on Spotify featuring new additions from Little Simz (almost a shoutout to Drowned in Sound in there!), Tierra Whack, St Vincent, HEALTH (covering Deftones?!), Efterklang featuring Beirut, and lots more.
  2. As this monthly music recommendations format is still new (the first edition is here if you missed it), your feedback is very much welcomed in the comments or over on the DiS forum. Trying to keep it snappy to either skim over if you're busy or read it all in 10 mins with a cuppa.
This is your outpost online to talk with fellow fans about music of any genre or era. Whether you want to discuss the best bands from South Sudan or Southampton, this is the place for you. There are no real rules or restrictions, just be nice to each other.


I have always loved the way that The Cure's best songs bring to the surface sensations that you need to take a big step back from to make sense of what's really going on. Sometimes it's a familiar emotion that Robert Smith & co suspend in amber for you to gawp at it from every angle. Other times it's some discomfort you can't usually put your finger on.

I live for songs that create space for you to make sense of a feeling. As much as I chase the rush of finding a piece of music that hits like an illusion that defies gravity, it's the songs that tap into a universal longing or a collective thrill that really do it for me. Alongside brilliant social commentary, astounding virtuosity and pioneering ingenuity; what I truly love is finding those songs that bring into vivid focus those experiences that are too big to truly process. Sometimes it's the glimmers we barely perceive and those eternal feelings we drift into when we dream... a song turns a corner and blam!

Which brings me skidding on my knees to our track of the month...

'Blue Love' by Circe is pleasure wrapped in a blanket of pain. It distils that capsized confusion when a relationship ends.

I could leave these words, there. Hopefully that's succinct and has caught the stray butterfly thought that I've been chasing since hearing this song.

However, I can't help myself... At 4am the other night, I wrote in my Notes app:

'Blue Love' is a song that oscillates from overwhelmed to numb as the synths skitter around you. It does what David Lynch does to you, where you think you've grasped that you're the detective having an out of body experience... only to glance at your reflection and you realise it's your face on the missing person poster. And then you wake up.
'Blue Love' will definitely shake you awake. It goes hard with a wall of shoegaze guitars right from the off and it just keeps spinning and spinning, as if your heart is a hotdog rolling around in the remnants of a smashed-up disco ball.

Blue Love's foreground is a raw open wound wrapped in glittery bandages, with a lead vocal that leans right in to that place behind your ear where they used to gently kiss. Whilst the public face of the song suspends your clown smile from picture hooks, it is causing havoc in the shadows. The bass kicks your heart until it's a blown speaker, distorted and billowing with Fever Ray/Knife-like BVs in that down-tuned, elongated, haunted, Donnie Darko's rabbit voice (see also: The 1975's 'Somebody Else'). It's the sort of voice that you use to mock yourself when you’re alone... or maybe that's just me.

Then there's the synthetic strings. Fellow anxious sorts might know what I mean when I say the slightly-pixelated violins have the confused lightness of that vertigo spiral you get during a panic attack – somehow ascending faster than you're falling.

For a song that wears its emotions like an X-ray, it's this cinematic backdrop that with each listen reveals itself to be the real star (long dead, radiating, winking at you in the dark), with that world-wobbling feeling I've rarely felt outside of Disintegration. I say 'felt', because this is a sensory song to feel as much as hear. A track that deals with the end credits of a relationship, whilst still clinging to the memory of someone who is now ghosting you.

It's that moment when your whole world is glistening as it's turning to sand.

It's the early evening or dawn blue you find when you've been sat alone and it's now dark, and you've been languishing here for far longer than you care to admit. IYKYK.

'Blue Love' is three and a half minutes of pale flashes of joy anchored in a heaviness that thwacks you when you taste them on your lips or weeks later when you find their lost sock.

It's a deceptively triumphant song, that's secretly grieving for a future that's imploding in your imagination and you don't know how to begin again...

"You found the end of us, and you're still scared of us"

For all the pain this maximalist anthem tries to dodge, I can't stop listening to it. On. Repeat. Again. And. Again. And again.

Pssst! If you've not already heard it, Circe's EP Drawing Wings from The Light was one of my favourite releases of 2023 and is 100% worth a listen.


The Last Resort by Holiday Sidewinder is a tie-dyed, timeline cleanse for your mind. A collection of songs that float down to us from candy-floss clouds, unwrapping themselves with peach-bellini synths, as guitars arise making your shoulders shimmy and your body glide to melodies imbibed in the swinging 70s and the power-pop of the 80s.

If our track of the month is low-lit grieving, then our album of the month is a cavalcade of bright lights and so much fun that you'll definitely feel it the morning after.

At times The Last Resort is as if Phoenix and Robyn have formed a supergroup. On a yacht. With a discothèque below deck. And what a butt-shaking, Lionel Richie-blaring, cake up the walls riot is going on. All! Night! Long!

Hang on a minute... on the tropical-jam 'Cliffhanger' actual Kim Wilde joins the conga-line.

Stand out track 'Ripe' sounds like the song of the endless summer. A chimin' feast that shakes its hair from side to side to the grinning and grinding bass, and - wait! - are those some bongos I hear?!

I've been trying to write the sort of conclusion to this rambling that's a pull quote Holiday can stick on the poster and the best I've got is: It's Talking Heads doing hand stands whilst eating knickerbocker glories. Or: It's murmurations of parrots swarming in the perfect peach sunrise as the next round of mimosas arrives.

You'll find this joyous album on your platform of choice right now, right here, and when you've finished throwing shapes to it, please write a far better poster quote than my fuzzy attempts.

Before we continue... If you're enjoying these newsletters, please consider upgrading to support us for as little as £1 a month (here's a 20% off code if you fancy it). Our first members-only piece is coming soon.

Can't afford to support us? Totally get it. Please take 10 seconds to share this set of recommendations with that one music-loving friend who might appreciate it.


Lauren Mayberry going solo feels like one of those moments where you check yourself - because Lauren does most of the interviews and dominates the stage - that she’s in a trio, rather than CHVRCHES being her solo project.

And let's get into it as oh-my oh-wow, this third solo track is extraordinary with all the pogo-stick fun of Trevor Horn in his pop pomp laced with some of the smirk’n’grrr of Le Tigre and the matte-bass bounce of 'My Sharona' plus a side-order of hypercolor textures that remind me of one of my favourite acts, The Blow (maker of some of the most perfect monologue bedroom-pop you’ll ever hear, on Bandcamp here).

'Change Shapes' is the sort of big jangling anthem that makes you wish Top of the Pops / CD:UK / Radio 1 road show was still going, so that a half-interested boyband crowd could at first politely nod along before gradually becoming rapt by the delicious melodic plumes, then whipped by the crick-crack drum machine into a frenzy of limbs.

To be honest, I can't deconstruct this as I'm too busying doing the robot and bouncing around like a hyperactive teen. Maybe that's just me? Report back after you've stuck it on at full volume and bopped around your living room. 


Whilst we’re in a world of synths, here's some that sneer.

Kim Gordon's new record (The Collective, out now on Matador) sits in the - ahem - sonic sweet spot where someone’s playing brutal beats in the next room and a passing car is blasting My Bloody Valentine.

All the best moments of the album sound like sticking your head into the steam that pours out of volcano before it erupts into an intense tapestry. (If you’re into this record, I really recommend Joe from Icarus Line’s solo material that has a similarly distorted thud, howling monologues and grinding-guitars - maybe start here)

Learn more about The Collective in this great cover feature for Loud And Quiet

Kim Gordon: “I don’t see myself as a musician. I never conventionally learned how to play music, I just fell into it” - Loud And Quiet
Kim Gordon is as addicted to her phone as the rest of us, in search of comfort in technology in a modern age of panic


Your boss / mum / kids-in-the-back-of-the-car probably won’t appreciate this proper shouty song about flag-shaggers that references Prince Andrew.

Disclaimer out of the way, if this isn’t the most fun rant about broken Britain you’ve heard in a while, then you’ve probably got bigger things to worry about... like your property empire and changes to the non-dom tax.

In short, Lambrini Girls make Idles sound like Coldplay and 'God's Country' is a raucous af rush to stick on your playlist between McLusky and Refused. 

Not up to speed with one of the most exciting punk bands around rn? Give this piece on Vocal Girls a read:

“I don’t think there’s any point in being a punk band and releasing a political song that’s a pile of shit,” Phoebe Lunny, vocalist and guitarist of punk duo Lambrini Girls, says firmly. She’s reflecting on their latest single, ‘God’s Country’, which takes thrashing aim at the pretty bleak state of affairs in the UK right now. “Just saying ‘don’t trust your government, let’s have a fucking beer, waheeeey’ – it trivialises it,” she continues. “I wanted [‘God’s Country’] to actually be attuned to the current political landscape.”
Lambrini Girls interview — VOCAL GIRLS
To mark the release of their new single ‘God’s Country’ , VOCAL GIRLS chat to the Lambrini Girls about using their platform and responsible activism.
  1. A damn fine piece about arts funding and the changes needed to champion arts & culture for the future.
"When access to culture is downgraded, the arts are sidelined in schools and civic spaces are neglected, we all lose out." The creative industries are worth £125bn to the UK's economy, improve our quality of life & mental health, stimulate towns & regions, are a major employer, build creative confidence, and fundamentally underpin how the UK is perceived overseas.
Arts funding has collapsed under 14 years of Tory rule. Here are three ways Labour can fix it | Charlotte Higgins
When access to culture is downgraded, the arts are sidelined in schools and civic spaces are neglected, we all lose out, says the Guardian’s chief culture writer Charlotte Higgins
  1. Liz Aubrey speaks to Arab Strap
The Quietus | Features | A Quietus Interview | No Fucks Left To Give? Arab Strap Interviewed
“The internet is literally Thatcher’s Dream: an entire society of strangers out there working for themselves.” Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton are back and – despite their protestations, says Elizabeth Aubrey – they patently care now more than ever
  1. Tom Vek on James Blake's Vault
Last week, he announced that he was participating in the launch of Vault, an artist-to-fan streaming platform based around musicians sharing unreleased tracks for $5 a month. “It’s music direct from me to you, where no one can gatekeep what I release to you, or delay my releases,” he said. “And it’s got a chat section for everyone to discuss the music.” It’s a model familiar to Patreon and even OnlyFans – but while it may work for podcasters and other episodic content creators, I believe it’s not the best route for musicians, and ultimately bad for fans, too.
James Blake’s music subscription model is a fantasy that disadvantages fans and musicians
With unrealistic costs, the inability to share music and the pressure of consumer expectations, the producer’s collaboration with Vault doesn’t add up, writes Tom Vek

I also shared a few thoughts about this Vault project on LinkedIn here. I might expand on them soon.


  1. 101 Part Time Jobs, who have interviewed the great and the good from Self Esteem to, erm, me, recently celebrated a big anniversary and spoke to Kerrang! about it. This is a far better introduction to Giles' fantastic pod than my pithy sentences.
“I had my teeth knocked out seven times”: Your favourite bands…
From sleeping in call centres to crying in soft plays to arguing with old women in Ben & Jerry’s, these are some of the more memorable and surreal part-time jobs of IDLES, High Vis, Militarie Gun and more…
  1. Who Trolled Amber, isn't about music but it is about the internet, bots and culture. It's an illuminating and at times absolutely terrifying investigation into how the web and public opinion is being manipulated.
Who Trolled Amber? - Tortoise
New Series Who Trolled Amber? What comes to mind when you think of Amber Heard? Liar? Survivor? Narcissist? Millions of us watched the celebrity trial of the century, Depp v Heard, in 2022. Amber Heard lost and Johnny Depp was vindicated. But what if Amber was actually the victim of an organised trolling campaign? What …
  1. The Gatekeepers isn't about music either. It is about the internet too, social media to be more precise, but that's the sort of podcasts I love when I take a break from the tunes and doom of the news. This one however does feature an amazing soundtrack by DiS-favourite of yore Jeremy Walmsley.
BBC Radio 4 - The Gatekeepers, Introducing The Gatekeepers
The founders of social media conquered the world... and they’re not finished yet.
  1. Loud And Quiet’s Midnight Chats is back and this one is about music! Artist interviews with L&Qs journalistic rigour alongside a few nose laughs. The first episode of the new series is with Weyes Blood.  And the archive is well worth dipping into.
Midnight Chats Archives - Loud And Quiet
We jam econo

There were about 20 or more things I was going to ramble on about, but after a brief mental health break the last week or so (not just listening to Circe on repeat!), expect a flurry of newsletters and currently 80%-written essays in the coming days. Also got this month's guest commission that I can't wait to share.

If you missed it, here's the first edition of our music recommendations newsletter:

Is Grunge back to save music, again?
Music recommendations, a playlist and some thoughts on grunge.

And here's our Spotify playlist (I know, I know, I'm trying to work out another platform to use...)

Subscribe to our playlist over on Spotify