For today’s Song of the Day, I have to give a shout out to Spotify’s “Tastebreakers” playlist, which is a part of Spotify’s new “Wrapped” experience. The Spotify Wrapped playlist is a personally compiled selection based on a user’s top tracks and artists. If you head to the Wrapped site, you can see your own Top 100.
Tastebreakers is an additional playlist intended to introduce users to new genres and artists based on their preferences. I took my first look at what Spotify had selected for me, and immediately fell in love with this track by GoGo Penguin.
Garden Dog Barbecue
“Garden Dog Barbecue” is the second track on GoGo Penguin’s second album, “v2.0”. Apparently, this album was named the Mercury Prize Album of the Year in 2014 when it released. Just from listening to “Garden Dog Barbecue”, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The only thing that surprised me was that I’d never even heard of them before today.
“Garden Dog Barbecue” starts off with a stilted, seemingly jerky and off-tempo piano intro. I thought about changing the song during these first ten seconds, I’ll admit. Luckily, the song took off with a flurry of accompanying keys, which segued into a pattern that built up to a solid groove. The drums and bass kicked in with a rhythm and melody that was at times challenging to follow.
About halfway through, “Garden Dog Barbecue” launches into a jazzy, up-tempo piano solo. I couldn’t tell whether it was pure improvisation or meticulously composed. But that seems to be part of the beauty of what GoGo Penguin has to offer.
The song builds up toward the end into the same funky groove that was introduced early on. Both times, it is accompanied by a slow, synth crescendo that does a lot of work in building the tension and energy.
I love the fusion of rock, acoustic-electronic, and jazz that GoGo Penguin brings to “Garden Dog Barbecue”. Once they lock into their groove, this song really takes off.
Since I only just discovered them, I decided to do some research on GoGo Penguin. They’re a Manchester-based trio comprised of pianist Chris Illingworth, bassist Nick Blacka and drummer Rob Turner.
“Their music has been described as acoustic-electronica but they draw equally on rock, jazz and minimalism, game soundtracks and glitchy-electronica to create their unique music”.
This description immediately makes me want to listen to everything that GoGo Penguin has to offer. I’ve listened to some instrumentalist groups in the past, but none of them had the same unique influences. And really, there’s only so much Ratatat that one person can listen to before yearning for something new.
Give the song above a listen. If you can push through the first thirty seconds, you’ll thank yourself later. And it only gets better with each replay.