Niche pickings: five of the best playlist deep dives

<span>Photograph: Anthony Barboza/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

Numero Group

This record label’s reissues and compilations are justly celebrated, and unsurprisingly its playlists are also brilliant. Notable efforts include an exhaustive, pomade-laden rockabilly primer, Let’s Go Wild!, featuring Eddie Cochran and the Jiants, plus one dedicated to the soul producer Dale Warren, who created masterpieces with the likes of Isaac Hayes and Patti LaBelle.

Liz Fraser: Beyond the Cocteau Twins

Liz Fraser’s Cocteau Twins output is rightly venerated but this playlist of deep cuts from her back catalogue of collaborations and side projects is equally lush. You want haunting ethereal pop vocals with production by Massive Attack and Yann Tiersen? Good: there are loads here.

Malick Sidibe: The Eye of Modern Mali

Compiled by African music expert Rita Ray, this playlist accompanied a 2017 Somerset House exhibition by the late photographer. It is a breezy trip through modern Malian music from Ali Farka Touré to Super Mama Djombo.

Early Philly Soul (1966-69)

Hyper-specific playlists are the best playlists. This, by xeroxboy, is essentially made up of the Delfonics, the Intruders and Jerry Butler, and in an hour’s worth of music shows how, in three years, one city modernised pop with expansive, soulful songwriting.

The Americans

Anyone who has spent recent weeks catching up with the overlooked 80s-set TV drama The Americans will have noticed that the music is astonishing, as this playlist shows. I defy anyone to look at Fleetwood Mac or Ultravox the same way after hearing them soundtrack storylines about spy parenting or nuclear destruction.