Welcome to our second installment of SongSmith, in which we pair the most memorable tracks and albums from the last three months with the hotels we think they’d sound awesome in. This time we’ve got an 80s-style anthem for an Asian skyscraper, indie punk for a New York pad, and plenty more for your listening pleasure…
TRACK Aurora Shields – Only You Can Make Me Blue
Released: 7 May
Check in to Club Suite 80 at Hong Kong’s Hotel Icon, get the party started in its bay-facing lounge and proceed to fling your Jennifer Grey-style crimped hair to this white-hot Aurora Shields jam. The skyline – sporting neon Hitachi, Epson and Panasonic signs – looms large through the suite’s floor-to-ceiling windows, and should give you a seemingly green-screened backdrop to your 80s music video in the making.
STAY Hotel Icon, Hong Kong
ALBUM DJ Koze – Knock Knock
Released: 4 May
Never one to tread water inside the confines of house music, DJ Koze has plundered folk, disco and hip-hop for his laid-back latest, the collab-heavy Knock Knock. You’ll find Roisin Murphy, Mano Le Tough and Bon Iver among the contributors, but the most successful guest is Gladys Knight, whose tender vocals are sampled for single ‘Pick Up’, adding stinging gravitas to the woozy Studio 54-via-the-Balearics vibe.
STAY Villa Orchid, Ibiza
TRACK Eleanor Friedberger – Make Me a Song
Released: 3 April
As breezy as a summer dress against a clear blue sky, Make Me a Song reaches for indie-pop perfection and damn near nails it. In need of a lift? Fling open the balcony doors onto here-to-the-horizon views at Cape Town’s clifftop Ellerman House and sing along with Friedberger on her emphatic chorus.
STAY Ellerman House, Cape Town
ALBUM Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!
Released: 18 May
These days Texas is its own bastion of cool, but the allure of New York was still too much for Denton County’s four-piece indie outfit, Parquet Courts. Their intelligent brand of CBGB-style post-punk is three parts Talking Heads, two parts The Fall, one part goofball rock. We recommend the Bowery in the East Village as your suitably sharp backdrop. There, the hotel’s locally-loved restaurant, Gemma, features parquet floors (close enough).
STAY The Bowery, New York
TRACK Maribou State – Turnmills
Released: 6 June
This love letter to London’s (sadly defunct) dance-music institution Turnmills is Maribou State’s most starry-eyed effort to date. Stay at the bold, imaginative Zetter (around the corner from where this famous nightspot once stood), tune into Maribou State, and feel the nostalgia grow for the capital’s clubbing heyday.
STAY The Zetter, London
ALBUM Beach House – 7
Released: 11 May
The deliciously floaty Beach House returned this year with an album that added both a harder edge and a Gallic flavour to the band’s Californian dream pop (though they’re actually from Baltimore). Bring a little bit of LA cool to the English Channel by blasting Victoria Legrand’s soaring vocals from the crenellated cliff-carved towers of Brittany’s gorgeous Castelbrac.
STAY Castelbrac, Brittany
ALBUM Skee Mask – Compro
Released: 15 May
Dance music’s endless recycling prompted the unlikely resurgence of breakbeat earlier this year, and yet the latest album from that scene’s poster boy, Munich’s Skee Mask, draws as much from ambient and techno as it does fractured forms. Still, drum patterns are as intricate here as a Moroccan mosaic, which is why we’d choose to hear it in the tiled palatial grounds of La Mamounia. The album is complex, mesmerising – even eerie – making it the perfect companion piece to meandering through the medina, too.
STAY La Mamounia, Marrakech
TRACK Laura Jean – Girls on the TV
Released: 22 May
Its subject matter might be a little downbeat, but the latest single from Melbourne-based synth-popper Laura Jean has the breezy, low-slung feel of a long-haul holiday. The bursts of pink azaleas and bird-of-paradise plants at Lux Le Morne in Mauritius would make for the ideal accompaniment.
STAY Lux Le Morne, Mauritius
Featured image is of the Curtain hotel, East London