It’s that time again! This go round we’ve added some of our other contributors to help out with our mixtape and we’ve got a wide array of tunes to share with our readers. Blast this mixtape as you drive home for Thanksgiving or, better yet, AT Thanksgiving. You know you want to tune out that weird Uncle that asks you about your love life!
Thanks to Joshua Matthews, Whitney & Chris, Culture Czar, Artallo and Adam for sharing five great songs a piece.
Some of our writers were nice enough to even add a few words about each song they chose.
I went with three 2013 songs and two older songs this month.
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – “Stranger Than Kindness”: Surprisingly, Nick Cave recently announced another US tour in the summer of 2014 after completing one in the spring of 2013. Great news for what is often a deprived American fanbase. I’m super psyched and have been listening to all of his incredibly deep catalog. This is off of his 1986 album, “Your Funeral…My Trial.”
Anna Calvi – “Eliza”: This is off of Calvi’s 2013 sophomore effort “One Breath.” She gets a lot of comparisons to PJ Harvey because of her voice and stellar guitar playing, but she’s definitely got her own thing going. Nick Cave took her out on tour in Europe when her first record came out and Brian Eno also sings her praises. She seems to be a European phenomenon so far as I literally know no one that listens to her.
Wovehand – “Dirty Blue”: The other older song from me this month (from 2006…sooo old!) Wovenhand is the project of David Eugene Edwards of Denver, CO. Though he’s American, all of his success is in Europe. He plays to half empty, tiny bars in America and packs out theaters and concert halls in Europe. Maybe I just need to move.
TV on the Radio – “Mercy.” A 2013 single from Brooklyn’s finest. TVOTR has expressed reluctance in going into the studio for a full length any time soon, but has said they’ll get together periodically and release a song or two or three. This is the fruit of that mindset and it is mighty fine. I just hope they keep touring.
M.I.A. – “Bad Girls” This is technically a 2012 song, but it came out as a digital single and now it’s appeared on her late 2013 release “Matangi.” Forget the Super Bowl nonsense, she puts out hard hitting dance music that makes you think as much as it makes you want to shake your ass.
My list is based on “big sounds”, so obviously a few Jon Brion-produced tracks. Also, some new songs from the Saint Heron compilation, its curator Solange & that powerful wall of sound from the British supergroup The Last Shadow Puppets that all fit the mold nicely.
CHVRCHES “Science/Visions” – It took me a while to admit that this band was more than just a guilty pleasure, more than just a poppy version of Purity Ring, and more than the one song Sirius XMU played nearly every hour. What’s exciting about the album as a whole is the juxtaposition of that poppy sound–courtesy of Lauren Mayberry’s sweet vocals–with the darkness of the lyrics behind those melodies [The very bouncy “Gun” has this chorus: “You’d better run, you’d better run and/Hide, hide, I have burned your bridges/I will be a gun, and it’s you I’ll come for”]. Buried deep in the tracklist of their debut album “The Bones of What You Believe” at track 9 (past singles “The Mother We Share”, “We Sink”, “Gun”, and “Recover”), “Science/Visions” is decidedly darker in tone musically than the rest of the album. An arpeggiated synth beat pulls you into the song, and the haunting echoing pre-chorus “I (I) hear (hear) your (your) breathing/I (I) feel (feel) you (you) leaving” keeps you there waiting for the climax.
Failure “Heliotropic” – Since my fanboy post about the band reunion, Failure have very strongly hinted at doing a tour and even making new music. I said before that “Fantastic Planet” very rarely leaves my car CD wallet anyway, but this past week, it’s barely left the CD player at all. Rounding out the back end of the album, where singles “The Nurse Who Loved Me” and “Stuck on You” hang out, at track 16 (!!!) “Heliotropic” screams with feedback then pounds away with a heavy and heavily distorted bass riff coupled with a furious barrage of tom runs that drive the song while the guitar slowly builds from ambient “space noise” to octave runs dripping with chorus and delay.
Miike Snow “Silvia” – What do Madonna, Britney Spears, Kelis, and Kylie Minogue have in common? Besides massive pop exposure and success, they all worked with the music producers Bloodshy & Avant who comprise 2/3 of Miike Snow (yeah, it turns out that’s not the guy’s name: the Swedish group is Christian Karlsson, Pontus Winnberg, and American Andrew Wyatt). When they aren’t winning awards for “Toxic”, they’re making beautiful, catchy, and emotional electropop. Get ready to shed a tear while you dance to this tale of unrequited love: “And your voice cries out for the coup de grace/when the lights go out, will there be a trace?/I don’t know Silvia/That I loved Silvia”.
My Bloody Valentine “In Another Way” – ICYMI, MBV released their first album of new material in over 20 years earlier this year, and then totally trolled the US by announcing a “tour” that was six dates on the west coast and in Texas. They later tacked on some dates to make sure and hit NYC, but still didn’t come within driving distance of Birmingham. So it goes. Anyway, this is my favorite track from the simply titled “mbv”, an album that makes the 20 year gap seem to be completely nonexistent: every track (well, except “Nothing Is” that’s just a heavy looping riff, and “Wonder 2” with the weird filter drumming sample thing…and what happened to “Wonder 1” anyway?). (Not on Spotify, but we tried y’all!)
Wild Nothing “The Blue Dress” – If you were at Iron City when Wild Nothing opened for Local Natives, I was the guy jumping around going crazy when they launched into the opening riff for this song. Not to be confused with “Blue Dress” by Depeche Mode (which is INCREDIBLE, by the way), this song continues the tradition of catchy single note guitar riffs that Wild Nothing has perfected (see “Shadow”, “Midnight Song”, and “Nocturne”). Even more forlorn lyrics: “Falling through your songs/my desires come undone/Though I looked for you all night/The words were never heard/When I dreamt of you so sweet/In the garden of my touch/Drowning into sheets/Imaginary love”.
I decided to go in cold and find some new music. I started with Related Artists of Titus Andronicus, because that’s the kind of thing I would do.
First up, a home run. PAWS out of Glasgow from their 2012 epically-named album Cokefloat.
Paws – Sore Tummy
After some Inceptioning through Related Artists, I end up on Milwaukee’s Jaill. Described as jangly, and I think accurately so. Would love to see these guys live. Based on past experience they probably played Bottletree last week.
Jaill – Beggar Sincere
And then I end up down under with Royal Headache, which sounds like Husker Du. I’m totally OK with that. Also, the lead singer’s name is Shogun.
Royal Headache – Psychotic Episode
After this I went down what could best be described as a Husker Du-shaped noise hole. I re-emerge with the tamer, but nice and fuzzy California X, from Massachusetts, of course.
California X – Mummy
We need to calm down. Take us home, Sonny & The Sunsets. Sonny made 100 fictional bands for an art project. This is a good palate cleanser.
Sonny & The Sunsets – path of orbit
A. R. Tallo::
Brenda and the Big Dudes – It’s Nice to Be with People :: I found this song while listening to a DJ set from the great Awesome Tapes from Africa and I cannot stop listening to it. Its a fun track to incorporate into a party mix or a DJ set, if one is so inclined. If you are interested in international music (specifically African) or just like music at all you need to check out awesometapes.com. This song is also perfect for Holiday gatherings because it really IS nice to be with people.
The Who – Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand :: I love The Who. Especially the record “The Who Sell Out”. This song is super catchy and it will just get stuck in your head in the most fun way. I think it’s about a girl that Pete knew who was extremely “friendly” with the boys but no one really knows.
White Fence – Mr. Adams/Who Feels Right? (Live in San Francisco) :: White Fence is part of the current movement of 1960s sounding psych/garage rock bands and they recently released a live show on vinyl, cassette, and CD on Castle Face Records, the imprint run by John from Thee Oh Sees. I fell in love with WF from the recorded version of “Who Feels Right?” and this is just an onslaught of rock and roll music in your face. Tim Presley’s whiney vocals and crunchy guitar, and that British invasion style drumming make you want to shimmy and shake all night long.
White Denim – A Place to Start :: White Denim (different band with “white” in their name) just released their new album “Corisicana Lemonade”. This is a band that should be way bigger then they are. I loved their last two albums and this one is quickly becoming another favorite of mine. They will be in Birmingham at Bottletree next year and you don’t want to miss it. They could blow up soon.
The Beach Boys – You’re Welcome :: I just love this song and this is one of my favorite bands of all time. This one is a B side to the brilliant “Heroes and Villains” single from 1967. It’s also a perfect way to end this mixtape. You’re welcome.