PLAYLIST: Penelope Isles’ Bangers ’n’ Mash-Ups

The scuzzy Brightoners serve up eleven of their sweetest kitchen jams.
PLAYLIST: Penelope Isles’ Bangers ’n’ Mash-Ups

The scuzzy Brightoners serve up eleven of their sweetest kitchen jams.

Words: Mike LeSuer

photo by Abbey Raymonde

July 05, 2019

There’s a certain art to building a decent soundtrack to any culinary endeavor—much like shopping on an empty stomach, you don’t want to cook dinner while overstimulating yourself with aggressive rap or hardcore or fast-paced electronic sounds, while anything too slow or minimalist will hamper the potential for the creative spark needed to consummate the perfect dish. 

This is why your kitchen needs Penelope Isles: a U.K. foursome who never quite got over Smith Westerns’ and Real Estate’s respective self-titleds. The fuzzy, lo-fi guitar sounds on Until the Tide Crêpes (er, Creeps) In recreate the homey warmth of a preheating oven (and, at times, the high-pitched harmonies of beeping appliances), while Jack and Lily Wolters’ soothing vocals recall the conversational tranquility of an engaging AM radio program. Their sound feels like the natural evolution of an early ’10s bedroom pop group like High Pop relocated instead to the cookery.

Yet the Isles, humble as they are, have nominated eleven of their peers and forebears to the role of kitchen-rock pioneers. Below, the group—the guitarist/vocalist Wolters, plus Jack “J Sow” Sowton on drums and Becky Redford on bass—have compiled a playlist for you to make the most of your daily kitchen experience—from breakfast sesame seed bagel to midnight sesame seed bagel.

Until the Tide Creeps In is out July 12 on Bella Union. You can pre-order it here.

1. Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek, “Angels”

Jack: Start the day right: sesame seed bagel, lightly toasted, with too much butter. Cuppa tea and some Adrianne Lenker. #imlovingangelsinstead

2. The Magic Numbers, “Mornings Eleven”

J Sow: This song and the entire rest of the album has been looping in my kitchen since it came out in 2005, so it definitely felt right to include the band—who we are so lucky to be able to call our mates—The Magic Numbers in this playlist. I think this song should accompany a full roast dinner with all the trimmings, because it reminds me of being at home with the fam eating roasties. #passthegravy

3. Good Morning, “Warned You”

J Sow: A lazy, chilled, floaty tune that is a very good accompaniment to a stonking hangover. A few times, I have put this on the speaker, having just dragged myself out of bed to put the kettle on and make a good greasy fry up in an attempt to make myself feel human again. All of this while wearing only my pants. The song is a nice non-abrasive soundtrack to my morning headache. #yourballishangingout

4. Al Green, “Let’s Stay Together”

Lily: This song probably holds precious memories for most people, including us. We managed to get over one hundred people to sing it at full volume whilst in the queue for a rave at Wilderness Festival 2018. Perfect for a summer’s evening BBQ. Burgers are sizzling, veggie skewers are grilled to perfection, already prepared the couscous salad, and every condiment possible on the table…even applesauce!? (Plus there’s Viennetta for puds!) #youcantbuyhappinessbutyoucanbbq

5. NEU!, “Hero” 

Max: Cooking is apparently all about timing, and there’s nothing better timing-wise than a solid motorik beat. Also, it’s relatively shouty, and so am I when I’m cooking. It’s the ideal soundtrack to a traditional German schnitzel, which is also quite fast and slappy like “Hero.” #heroicschnitzel

6. Roberto Roena, “Que Se Sepa”

Becky: A smoking hot American-style cheese toastie filled with various sliced cheeses and the bread smothered in butter. Serve with any condiment of choice, or eat plain Jane. #ELJEFE

7. Hal, “Play the Hits”

Jack: One of many songs played throughout the house and into the kitchen on Mum’s six-CD multi-stereo system. Mum would always have the stereo set on random mode, playing a constant blend of great tunes. The kitchen was the heart of the house. #pennyskitchen

8. Sex on Toast, “Oh, Loretta!”

Lily: This one had to make the cut…

9. Deerhunter, “T.H.M.”

Jack & Lily: P. B. C….a.k.a. P. B. CHEE, a delicacy in our lives. If you know us, you’ll know this is the Wolter dish. 

  1. Buttery pasta (preferably shells or bows) 
  2. Crispy bacon, chopped up and mixed in. 
  3. Cheese… Don’t hold back. 
  4. Extra butter. 


10. Devo, “Gut Feeling / (Slap Your Mammy)”

Lily: It’s Friday night. Bank Holiday weekend. You’ve hung up your coat, taken off your hideous tie, popped your wife’s apron on (ya know…the one with the fluffy rim), and placed your iPod on the dock…100 percent batt, get in there. No more Susan from marketing for three blissful days. The five chords begin and the kitchen starts to get hot and spicy. Not only are you and the Mrs. getting bladdered with Carol and Mark from down the street tonight, but you are making them your legendary flamin’ chili con carne. This one’s on you buddy. Crack open a cold one and enjoy the sesh to come. #manwithapan

11. Rozi Plain, “Marshes”

Jack: End the day right. sesame seed bagel, lightly toasted, with too much butter. Cuppa tea and Rozi Plain. #Midnightfeast