Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Mixtape

No particular theme for this one. A few obscure bands, a couple not-so-obscure bands, and mostly older songs that you might've missed. Enjoy.

Caribou - Jamelia

Electric President - Safe and Sound

Tindersticks - Black Smoke

Jason Anderson - July 4, 2004 (live)

Letting Up Despite Great Faults - In Steps

Queen Sea Big Shark - Love Is Pop

Radical Face - Welcome Home, Son

Animal Collective - For Reverend Green

Cut Copy - Bright Neon Payphone

Edit: Got a DMCA takedown notice for this one, so no downloads. Awesome.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mixtape for a restless night

Something about these warm, quiet nights in the spring makes me incredibly restless. As I lie in my bed and feel the warm breeze from my open window, I have fantastic visions of myself dashing out into the moonlight and running and running until I become one with the night. Or maybe it's the espresso I had earlier. That stuff's strong. Regardless, here's a mixtape for your restless night.

Metronomy - Heartbreaker

Hot Chip - One Life Stand

YACHT - Psychic City (Classixx Remix)

MSTRKRFT - Easy Love

LCD Soundsystem - Us V Them (Live on KCRW)

Radiohead - Talk Show Host

Regina Spektor - Genius Next Door

Okkervil River - Starry Stairs

School of Seven Bells - My Cabal

Jens Lekman - Sipping On The Sweet Nectar

Tegan and Sara - Someday

Whole mixtape.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Songs named after the band

So lots of albums have a title track, and generally the stakes are a little higher for that song. You expect it to either be the best song in the album, or to carry some special significance in the album's message. And then, lots of bands have an eponymous album. It's often their first record, and they name it after themselves maybe to help get their name recognized more. We often expect the eponymous album to define the band's sound or style in a way.

But a song named after the band is exceedingly rare. There's something weirdly deliberate and recursive about an eponymous song, much more so than an album, so to me it's fascinating to find them. You're almost guaranteed to learn something about how the band sees itself. Many of them are anthems/mission statements, as you would expect, but many are not.

Wilco - Wilco (The Song).

Do you dabble in depression?
Is someone twisting a knife in your back?
...This is a man with arms open wide
A sonic shoulder for you to cry on
Wilco will love you, baby

A very accurate, and of course tongue-in-cheek, picture of Wilco. It's good to know they don't take themselves too seriously.

Belle and Sebastian - Belle and Sebastian. The band gets its name from a pretty old French novel of the same name. I don't read a word of French, but as far as I can tell, the characters in this song are modern versions of those from the novel, full of the band's usual adolescent unease and set to a catchy shuffle.

Okkervil River - Okkervil River Song. Gorgeous, folksy, and pretty much exactly what you'd expect this song to be about.

Built to Spill - Built to Spill. A great, grungy mission statement for a very under-appreciated band.

The Arcade Fire - The Great Arcade Fire. From a demo tape they recorded in their early days. Hilariously, it is quite literally about an arcade on fire.

The Rolling Stones - Like a Rolling Stone. I seriously can't believe it took them until 1995 to do this.

Flake Music - The Shins. Before they were called the Shins, they were Flake Music. Not their greatest song, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Sigur Rós - Sigur Rós. I have no idea what the hell this is.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Feist makes your song better

So earlier I was thinking about how Feist seems to have become a franchise of sorts. This elusive, genie-like woman will come into the studio with your band and make one, just one, of your songs better. The only band I know of that has gotten her to make TWO of their songs better is the Kings of Convenience. Nor, as you'll see in this mixtape, is she limited to the breathy romantic indie pop you typically expect from her. Here are my favorite Feist collaborations.

Wilco - You and I
Feist and Ben Gibbard - Train Song
Gonzales - Shameless Eyes
Kings of Convenience - Know-How
Feist and the Constantines - Islands in the Stream (Dolly Parton cover)
Rubies - I Feel Electric (TieDye Remix)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Mixtape

A few newish songs and a few older ones you might have missed. Cuts from Yeasayer's and Joanna Newsom's upcoming releases, Beach House's recent album, Yoko Ono's not-so-recent album, and one very cool punk band from China who recently toured with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Islands - Disarming the Car Bomb
Beach House - Walk in the Park
Queen Sea Big Shark - Hard Heart
Joanna Newsom - Good Intentions Paving Company
Yoko Ono - The Sun is Down
Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out (Hot Chip Remix)
Yeasayer - O.N.E.
Anya Marina - Satellite Heart

Edit: So we got a DMCA takedown notice from some record label, particular to this post. Awesome.

Friday, January 22, 2010


The New Pornographers have a new album called Together coming out on May 4! It will, as usual, include A.C. Newman, Dan Bejar, Neko Case, and that cute keyboardist chick. But get this: according to Pitchfork it will also feature contributions from Zach Condon (Beirut), Annie Clark (St. Vincent), and Will Sheff (Okkervil River). Dayum.

Impressive, but hopefully it doesn't end up being something like the Wilco song that featured Feist... playing a garden weasel. I don't know what the hell a garden weasel is, but I do know, from this song, that the noise that comes out of a garden weasel sounds nothing like the noise that comes out of Feist's mouth.

New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
New Pornographers - The Bleeding Heart Show
New Pornographers - Dreams (live Fleetwood Mac cover)

Owen Pallett's Heartland

Owen Pallett, extraordinary one-man band and occasional contributor to the Arcade Fire, finally released his long-awaited Heartland this month. It's a work as impressive as it is ambitious. Where his previous album He Poos Clouds was pointedly minimal, Heartland is its opposite in being unabashedly vast--he uses a full orchestra in every damn song.

Heartland's sound is lush and complex, filled with woodwinds, horns, and strings complemented by a tasteful host of experimental electronic sounds, but it never gets excessively epic. Pallett's own voice is much less prominent than it was in his previous work, often distant and ephemeral behind the rich orchestral sound. He seems content to let the music do most of the speaking, and it works.

Give it a listen. It will break your heart. You won't be disappointed.

Owen Pallett - Lewis Takes Action
Owen Pallett - Tryst With Mephistopheles

By the way, he has officially dropped his old moniker, Final Fantasy, and will be going by his real name from now on, so update your tags.