New York post-punk, French crooners, and ’60s cinema scores: A playlist by The Astral Plane Parade

It’s been a couple of weeks now since we first premiered The Astral Plane Parade’s new EP Strutting Through The Stars, and even after this amount of time, not a spec of the EP’s magic has worn off. It’s still early in the year, but Hugo Costin has already delivered four of our favourite 2019 tracks.

So, we asked Costin to share with us a playlist of some of his favourite tracks. Time to pour yourself a drink and kick back, this playlist is a thing of beauty.

With tracks from François Hardy, Patti Smith, and Brian Eno, this playlist from The Astral Plane Parade is an absolute thing of beauty.

Georges Delerue – Theme De Camille

This is the theme tune to Brigitte Bardot’s character in one of my favourite films ever, Contempt. This music immediately evokes the unfulfilled yearning, isolation and beauty of her character, as well as the tough but serene Italian coastline. This piece conjures the colours of the film, bringing a magnitude of beauty and dread with it. It can be a tragedy that we don’t really understand each other, I would like to try harder.

Nina Simone – Consummation

It sounds like a hymn but instead of to God, it’s to a lover. You can tell by lines like “for thousands of years my soul has roamed the earth in search of you” that this love is metaphysical, enormous and experienced. It’s amazing to hear such depth in music and with an arrangement that matches the subject matter perfectly. The ascending structure coupled with Nina’s unrivalled vocal ability provides a level of musicianship that I think is otherworldly. Plus the cover art to Silk and Soul is so beautiful and iconic, it captures the mood of the album perfectly.

Francoise Hardy – Voila

How can you not melt at that first ‘Voila’? The lightness of Francoise’s voice along with the trembling strings take me to another place. I think it’s really impressive when someone can write a song about heartbreak but it makes the listener happy. Also really well sampled on Dirty Beaches’ Lord Knows Best!

Jacques Brel – Ne Me Quitte Pas

I randomly clicked on a Youtube video of Jacques Brel’s face and was totally blown away. It was a video of him singing Ne Me Quitte Pas directly to the camera with an English translation of the lyrics subtitled below. This video and another video of Céline talking about his writing with tears streaming down his face is a level of passion that I strive for in my work. “I will give you pearls of rain come from countries where it never rains” and the repeated pleading of “don’t leave me” always leave me flawed. Nina Simone does an amazing cover of this too! Brel also said something in an interview that I’d really like to share: “as I didn’t choose to live, then at least I should make it beautiful and useful.”

Patti Smith – Piss Factory

I love the visuals that Patti Smith conjures up with her lyrics. The hard-boiled world of the piss factory and its workers is so vivid in this track and I’m super into the almost stream of consciousness delivery over the piano. It’s as if you’re sitting in a greasy diner and she’s telling you all about her day while someone plays along in the dark corner. It’s how I’ve felt working in places like the one she describes and holding onto a dream being all that gets you through it. ‘I’ve got something to hide called desire.’

The Lounge Lizards – Bob the Bob

By the multi-talented genius, John Lurie. I first saw him playing the Saxophone in Jim Jarmusch’s film Permanent Vacation and loved his style in a sharp suit mysteriously walking around New York. When I found Lounge Lizards I was so excited. I love the woozy nature of this track. You’ve got to watch Fishing With John if you haven’t already. “Why am I here?

Suicide – Surrender

At eighteen for some reason the tale of a factory worker killing his family then himself appealed to my sensibilities and listening to the final minutes of screams at the end of Frankie Teardrop made me feel heaps Alt. This song is on the brighter side of Suicide’s discography (which, at the risk of my edginess, I like a lot more). It reminds me of a beautiful girl who showed it to me for the first time and we dance in a neon 50’s America that never existed.

Brian Eno – Here Come the Warm Jets

I’m really into multiple guitar compositions at the moment and really want to make some myself. I think alongside this, Glenn Branca’s Lesson no.1 for Guitar is a giant standout (I wanted to include it too but alas Spotify has not embraced it). I think there are some really cool possibilities when treating guitars like an orchestra instead of the 1-2 guitars in a band dynamic. Brian Eno’s breadth of style and experimentation is something I respect very much.

John Cooper Clarke – I Wanna be Yours

I first saw John Cooper Clarke in the movie Control performing Evidently Chicken Town and was so enthralled, I had to find out who this guy was. This version of his poem, I Wanna Be Yours, put to a disco beat is such a jam. We need at least a ten-minute version of it though. “This is a romantic number.”

Duster – Gold Dust

My friend Will showed me this in his room on NYD and it perfectly captured the thin melancholy, excitement and hope for the future in my life at that moment.

Piero Piccioni – Camille 2000 (End Titles)

I was drawn in by the cover art of two people making love in front of the Eiffel Tower. I’ve never seen the film that this soundtrack is from. I’m not sure if I want to see it, because when I listen to this, I have this amazing vision of a 70’s Italian Sci-Fi and I don’t want to be let down by the reality. It’s such a chic soundtrack and the arrangements are really inspiring to me.

Duke Ellington – Melancholia

A lilting and incredible composition by The Duke himself. The musicianship, depth of feeling and restraint in his compositions leave me in awe, always.

Mina – Se Telefonando

The chorus of this song is magnificent. I can’t speak Italian and I love feeling the emotion of her voice without knowing the meaning of the words.

Tania Libertad – Anda Mareado

It’s such a skill to be able to write a song that is really happy but doesn’t come off like a sunscreen commercial. I think Tania Libertad does an amazing job of channelling true happiness without any of the pageantry that often accompanies its expression.

Richard Hell – Blank Generation

I’m really fascinated by the artistic scene of NY in the 70’s. I love the way it’s shown to be a giant explosion of creativity, hip hop, punk, new wave, no wave, graffiti, Warhol, it all seems so exciting. I found out about Richard Hell from an amazing documentary called Blank City. Everyone should track that doc down and be inspired.

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Cities in Dust

Such a powerful track! It takes a real talent to make a danceable song about Pompeii. It’s great to hear a really full and idiosyncratic arrangement that supports the voice of the singer. Along with the cover artwork of a fossilised dog and the video clip of volcanoes and dancing skeletons, this track is so harrowing but fun. I love it when artists can channel disparate elements into a whole.

Lou Reed – Street Hassle

I think this song is best enjoyed alongside its Warhol film clip. The painfully intimate close-ups of kissing, the tragic stars and Lou Reed’s iconic Coca-Cola drinking. The ambiguity of the characters and events in the vignettes. The characters’ will for tenderness and the harshness of the environments in which they live. The intensely detailed lyrics. ‘Love has gone away, took the rings off my fingers.’ It’s all so moving. I think Lou’s mostly deadpan delivery adds to the emotion somehow. This song made me want to explore more orchestral arrangements in my work and to me, it’s a real masterpiece.

Michael Hurley – Penguins

A beautiful instrumental. I first heard Michael Hurley’s work through Cat Power covering Werewolf. I love his cover art and the darkness that drifts throughout his deceptively childlike works.

Nilüfer Yanya – Heavyweight Champion of the Year

I really love this track. It holds you in suspense until the very last few bars. Nilüfer’s vocal delivery and guitar playing is so idiosyncratic and full of emotion, I honestly can’t think of anything else that sounds like this, it’s so unique. I really can’t wait to hear more work from her it makes me so excited. Her Juan’s Basement session is amazing too!

Marching Church – Dark End of the Street

This breathy cover of James Carr’s amazing track about forbidden love puts me in a somnambulistic trance. Elias’ delivery makes it feel like he’s speaking directly to the song’s subject on the morning after one of their affairs, pleading “just walk on by” and knowing that it won’t happen. It’s almost uncomfortably intimate in parts and I really like that. It’s so emotionally unguarded which I think is rare, even in music. I always admire when an artist can cover a song and make it their own. I thought with its nocturnal nature, this would be a good way to end the playlist. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tracks!

The Astral Plane Parade’s new EP Strutting Through The Stars is available now. Listen here.