Spotify Discover Weekly: a review

Spotify launched Discover Weekly at the end of July, making Mondays a little less terrible with specially curated playlists and keeping its customers out of the clutches of Apple Music. I wasn’t initially convinced that the service would be of any use to me…like most people, I just Shazam all the alt-rock I hear at Starbucks and call that music discovery. Plus, I listen to a pretty eclectic selection, from Elliott Smith (for contemplative strolls) to the gangsta rap I play at predrinks and parties for a smidgen of cool. In short, how could it make any sense of it all?! Would it suggest experimental Latvian hip hop or white noise? The Longpigs or JoJo? Oh, and it had divided opinion online…

I was surprised, then, that my first Discover Weekly experience induced an existential crisis of French New Wave proportions. I was bombarded with bands I hadn’t encountered in ages and desperately wanted to explore further: Mercury Rev, Sonic Youth, a few Scottish bands from the 80s like The Vaselines and Josef K, Les Savy Fav. There was an element of rediscovery, too, with big Velvet Underground and Stones tracks, and a couple of songs that I hadn’t heard since the days when I exclusively wore 500% polyester clothes from Camden, like Whitechapel by S.C.U.M.

This week offered some strong suggestions, too. FIDLAR’s skate punk vibes made for an exciting new discovery; The Fall’s extremely off-kilter cover of Lost In Music by Sister Sledge (complete with garbled Franglais intro) made me giggle; I stopped and paid more attention to stirring folk of The Staves. Minimal Britpop revivalists Superfood made a decidedly Blur-shaped impression and I starred about twenty songs by The Modern Lovers, a 70s/80s pre-punk band from the US I’d only heard of in passing.

Overall, however, this week’s playlist didn’t totally deliver. Sure, the big rocky choruses and guitar music from snivelling indie upstarts of the previous playlist remained intact, but it wasn’t as disquietingly Orwellian as I would have liked. An ancient Killers single took me back to vomit-flavoured houseparties circa 2008. The most ubiquitous Stone Roses, Smiths and Pulp B-sides jostled for attention, just in case I’d been in a coma for my entire life. And what to make of The Liquidator, much-loved reggae instrumental and, erm, UK football coverage staple. Inexplicably, there were no less than three ska/reggae songs in this week’s playlist, as jarring as peach and aubergine emojis permeating polite conversation. As I only listen to Bob Marley’s Greatest Hits once every ten years or so, I may well have had my account hacked by the Jamaican Julian Assange.

Spotify might not be able to cook me pancakes on a Sunday morning, but its playlists often touch on the music I really, really like (think “38 year old’s severely weathered iPod classic”). Nevertheless, a human touch will always trump top secret algorithms. That, and a little less reggae.

Spotify, will you take a walk on the wild side?

July/August

Hey there – happy summer!! Disclaimer: the following video is an example of a video which is both happy and summery and totally non-subjective.


Admittedly I didn’t quite meet my blog deadline this month *boo*. I also missed Truck Festival *boo* due to my current internship (marketing, all very fun). But, as one of my top-used words here is “fun” (Wordle word clouds I salute you) I did manage to pop along to Underage with Artrocker.tv. My review is being edited now, but in the meantime do take a look here for my Highs and Lows of the festival. We had time to chat to Akala, Ellie Goulding and Daisy Dares You, who liked my (excuse for an) outfit! We also spotted Darwin Deez and Tahita from NYPC backstage (whilst popping to the posh loos). My favourite act of the day were probably Chiddy Bang, though I advise you to read the full review when its out!

We caught the tail end of this too – an illegal set from Isleworth’s finest, The Ruskins:


Here is my favouyrite picture from the immense (as in great, not GREAT BIG as she is not) Cathryn Innocent:

I’ve just been on my 2nd journalism course, which was great and really got me thinking about the presentation of my blog and interviews, not to mention the law and various bias which media outlets can hold. Just to reiterate, I am completely independent despite any media affiliations and the thoughts expressed here and on my Twitter account are all my own musings and annoyances 🙂

…that said, I love the BBC. Stood outside the Tardis as part of said course, which may count as a religious epiphany. Nowhere near the Blue Peter garden but that’s fine, I don’t need to regress any further *sucks thumb*. I digress – I had an amazing time on my course and found a few amazing twitterers and bloggers who I’ll link to it due course. As always, you can reach me at hannah@hannahjdavies.com if you want to collaborate.

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Thursday night gem The Real Hustle: Celebrity Scammers has filled the Question Time-shaped gap in my TV schedule. However, I think we’ve all seen Matt Willis – formerly of Busted fame – pull that “I just shat myself” face long before he joined Alex, Paul and Jess on one of their most daring scams yet. Lest I ruin the episode for those who are now two weeks behind, it was a corker. The Real Hustle has always relied on comedy and shock value in equal measure, but the introduction of z-listers like Matt and Strictly lothario Brendan Cole has added a new dimension of cringe to this BBC3 staple! I don’t want to be cynical but Busted do have a new album out, reportedly hitting the shelves next year. Long live the long con..and shameless self-promotion!

Year 2004?: Loveable hasbeen Matt added to the already popular show

Play that List

Besides listening to “I’m Coming Out” every day, if you care to know what is in my playlist then take a look on Spotify…you didn’t actually think I’d link you there, when I have Kajagoogoo, Cyndi Lauper, DMX, Danny Swain, Tea Leaf Green, Simple Minds, Ashley Tisdale and Badly Drawn Boy in the same playlist??? More likelihood of finding a blood diamond down the back of a supermodel’s sofa. Oh, wait…

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Having a chat about politics with AkalaA quick chat with Ellie Goulding

The Paper Edition

This is where my famous green typing ends for a while, and you get to sample The ‘Zine. It is a magical thing when you can use paper and a pen in a cross-promotional marketing strategy inspired by THE APOCOLYPSE OF PRINT. Here we go:

The Mona Cheryl by Hannah J 'Leonardo' Davies

*Have you got any thoughts on this month’s paper-licious issue, written on pretty ancient paper my mother used whilst at university I might add? Email me: hannah@hannahjdavies.com with your thoughts. A letters page might happen, y’know.

PS: Click here to watch something which touched my heart this Valentines. Vice Magazine’s VBS bring you, yes you, a Rule Britannia special six-part ‘Swansea Love Story’, focusing on addicts such as Lee Dennis, who graphically recounts his drug abuse and how he contracted Hep C in prison, as he rifles through his possessions in an Iceland bag casually. Desperate fights to get clean in a city which, according to its older inhabitants hasn’t changed…its the people who have. All in all, such deprivation, tales of sexual abuse and familial collapse are handled with class by director Leo Leigh sooo go watch. Plus, CNN thought it was noteworthy.

Listening to: JAM. I hope Liorah Tchiprout, the author of this pretty amazing playlist for use with Spotify, won’t mind me sharing it with you x x

End of my girl crush.

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