The Playlist: Hookworms

Stevie Mackenzie-Smith

The Leeds-based band Hookworms curate our latest offering of The Playlist, with five must-listen tracks for now.

Where cathartic head-banging and psyche-swaying is concerned, Hookworms’s 2013 debut Pearl Mystic is an enduring favourite album of ours. It’s one of those records that carries you like a crowd-surf, and it’s just as good to surrender yourself to in the wee hours as it is on a Friday afternoon when you need a soundtrack to carry you through those pre-weekend loose ends.

Hookworms have garnered a reputation for putting on intensely energetic live shows. Their takeover of Salford’s Islington Mill back in May for the two-day mini-festival called “Lost Weekend” already elicits a wistful pang of nostalgia from those who attended. November sees the release of The Hum, Hookworms’ second album, another tour taking in stops at Liverpool and Sheffield, as well as a homecoming gig at Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Ahead of the release we picked the brains of Hookworms bassist MB and asked him to share his Top 5 tracks.

This is a playlist that gives a respectful nod to the pop-music tradition, something we might not have expected from Hookworms. But don’t knock it, pop music is as good for the soul as chicken soup and wild swimming. This playlist spans disco floor-fillers, chart hits and tracks to play at maximum volume.

George McCrae – Rock You Baby (Disco Version)

This is a strange track. Considering it was taken as straight up disco at the time (I first heard it watching one of those Top Of The Pops 2 flashback shows with my Dad), it’s actually kind of messed up. Almost hypnotic in its repetition. I’m a big fan of the cheap organ and drum machine sounds on this. Above all else it’s just sexy as hell.

Tove Lo – Stay High (Feat. Hippie Sabotage) [Habits Remix]

This is a new addition to my pre-show playlist. Jonny (Hookies guitarist) played it for me, and a few days later it happened to be playing at Liverpool Airport at 5am when we were on our way to Poland. I’ve been obsessed ever since. I’m a big fan of really minimal lyrics and short phrases being repeated over and over again. I wish all current pop music was like this.

Kraftwerk – The Telephone Call

Taken from what is probably my least favourite Kraftwerk album, but maybe the most straight-up pop song they ever did. I think I read that it’s the only song that Karl Bartos ever sang lead on. The Kling Klang remasters of Techno Pop and Computer World are just so crisp and hard hitting, I don’t think the quality of sound in electronic music has ever surpassed those. I’d have stuck Computer Love in here, but fuck Coldplay trying to ruin my favourite band.

Throbbing Gristle – Hot on the Heels of Love

Again, one of the poppiest numbers this band recorded, and the only straight-up dance track on what is an otherwise exceptional but crazy record. I like playing this at venues; it’s great hearing it loud over a proper sound system. It’s songs like this on which you can hear Throbbing Gristle’s influence on more recent stuff, like the band Factory Floor.

Soft Cell – Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go (12” Mix)

Obviously the single edit of this Gloria Jones cover is a straight up hit, but the 12” extended mix where it slowly blends into a cover of the Supremes classic really gets me. I guess the idea of twisting a medley of two 60’s soul tracks into a synthpop floor filler doesn’t sound out of the ordinary nowadays, but I imagine it was dead exciting back in 1981, there hadn’t been a lot of that going on by that point. Love how sparse and minimal the production is.

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