This year saw Californian-born, Glasgow-based singer/songwriter, A. Wesley Chung (The Great Albatross, Boris Smile) introduce his debut solo album, Neon Coast, to the world – a meditation on his growing up on the west coast of the United States.
“Thematically, it’s a meditation on my home state,” says Chung. “While sonically it’s a straight up road trip album, like a mixtape from a friend. From the start I wanted to make this perfectly-imperfect album that focused more on getting the vibe right than the parts or performance (a main reason we recorded most of it live).”
Chung’s next road trip with his band will be all the way to Dorset, where they’re set to play this year’s End Of The Road Festival. Check out his top 10 playlist for the journey down south.
1. Phoebe Bridgers – ‘Motion Sickness’
“Great melody and vibe, lovely warmth and rhythm throughout, perfect for a journey.”
2. Lady Wray – ‘It’s Been A Long Time’
“Pure soul, love it! This song brings together the busy groove that I love about Motown artists like Stevie Wonder and Jackson 5 and her vocals are phenomenal. Such a completely pleasing track.”
3. Blitzen Trapper – ‘Furr’
“Dylan-esque tune with a light and breezy character that follows a strangely beautiful narrative. I love the way the lyrical story unfolds and the deeper messages beneath that creep up once you’ve appreciated the whimsical context of the tale.”
4. Iron & Wine & Ben Bridewell – ‘This Must be The Place’
“I really appreciate when a cover can make you fall in love with a song all over again. This is the case with Iron & Wine & Ben Bridewell’s cover of ‘This Must Be The Place’ (the incredible Talking Heads tune). Though with the change from minor to major key and the folky arrangement of plucking guitars, lite drums and accordion and pedal steel dipping in and out, I find myself drawn to this version more often when in the car.”
5. Big Thief – ‘Masterpiece’
“Big Thief are one of my favourite bands of recent years. ‘Masterpiece’ was the first song I heard from them and immediately fell in love. There is so much passion and emotion conveyed in this song through the vocals and satisfying arrangement. The song stays controlled throughout, while always feeling like it could lose control at any moment. Such an incredible tune.”
6. A.A. Bondy – ‘Surfer King’
“I’m a real big fan of A.A. Bondy’s work. ‘Surfer King’ really highlights what I love about his music; dark, subtle grooves with beautifully opaque lyricism. I have a lot of memories listening to his music while driving down the coast of California and his songs remind me of home.”
7. LAKE – ‘Remote Control Cars’
“LAKE is one of my favourite bands of all time. ‘Remote Control Cars’ is easily one of their best tunes. I love the harmonies, the lazy ease of the vocals, the groove of the arrangement and that horn section. This song is a masterclass in lo-fi bedroom pop and the warmth and sincerity of it stays with you.”
8. Ben Kweller – ‘Old Hat’
“Ben Kweller’s music has always been country inspired and I love that he goes full country on ‘Old Hat’. It is one of his most delicate and subtle tunes; warm, mid-tempo and beautiful.”
9. Sufjan Stevens – ‘Ring Them Bells’
“A cover of Bob Dylan done extremely well. I love Sufjan’s take on Dylan and the arrangements for this track are immense, lush and full of surprises. At its core, it still holds on to the folk/Americana while twisting and turning through noodling guitar and flurries of chamber pop.”
10. Rilo Kiley – ‘More Adventurous’
“Maybe one of the first tracks that made me fall in love with pedal steel. I love Jenny Lewis’s bold voice and this song is made for vast landscape and wide open road. Love this tune!”
En route to play End Of The Road Festival on 1st of September, Chung will also be playing The Old England in Bristol (31st Aug), The Empire Bar in London (2nd Sept) and a secret show in Manchester (3rd Sept).
Neon Coast is out now and available to stream via Spotify, Apple Music, bandcamp, etc.
You can listen to all Ask the DJ playlists on the FMS Magazine Spotify CHANNEL.
Find A. Wesley Chung’s playlist below and HERE.