New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Artist-curated playlists may be all the rage, but one of the finest ones out there could well be SpinCycle on Spotify handpicked and tended by British singer-songwriter Ben Watt, formerly half of alt-pop UK duo Everything
But The Girl and a long-respected DJ.
Begun in 2014, initially to accompany Watt's award-winning renaissance as a solo singer-songwriter, the regularly-updated mixtape now stands at almost 500 songs. Packed with multi-genre gems - new, old and obscure - it has quietly attracted a following of almost 5,000 dedicated listeners.
'I just wanted to create the perfect shuffle playlist,' he says, 'one where you never wanted to skip a track. I genuinely love everything on there. It's what I listen to all the time and totally reflects my taste. I am in my fifties now. I have listened to music passionately since the early seventies when I was a kid with a transistor radio, a jazz musician for a father and four older siblings with divergent record collections. When I was young I could hear Roland Kirk, Roy Harper and Roberta Flack
all coming out of different rooms at the same time.'
As a musician, Watt first appeared in 1981 on London indie label Cherry Red as a young nineteen-year-old experimental songwriter-singer-guitarist. His breakthrough 5-track EP Summer into Winter in 1982 featured alt-folk icon Robert Wyatt. Within a year he had formed Everything
But The Girl with singer-songwriter Tracey Thorn, but after sixteen years and nine million records sold as the duo, he turned to the underground electronic music scene for new inspiration.
'My time as a deep house DJ in the 2000s played to my love of crate-digging and the pleasure of the unexpected find, but it was very narrow and genre-specific,' Watt goes on. 'With my return to singer-songwriting and SpinCycle I guess I have gone back to the wider and more exotic influences of my youth.'
Recent choice additions to Watt's infinite mixtape - which currently has ten tracks added every couple of weeks - include new and vintage cuts by Cate Le Bon, Khalid, Television and Dion. They join delicious already-curated obscurities by Brazilian folk-rocker Terry Winter, Hawaiian slack-key guitarist Ledward Kaapana, country crooner Sammi Smith and many more.
Ben Watt's SpinCycle can be found at bit.ly/sp1ncycle
(Watt's most recent solo album, Fever Dream, featuring Bernard Butler, Hiss Golden Messenger and Marissa Nadler was released in 2016. It followed 2014's award-winning comeback, Hendra. He is currently writing material for a new album slated for the second half of 2018.)