Apr. 2013 Playlist
Rather than write a song by song commentary this month, I thought I’d try talking about the songs as a collection.
In the first part of the month, all I wanted to listen to was a bunch of songs soaked in reverb…both Panda Bear and Atlas Sound use reverb more or less as a constant aesthetic choice, and, despite its title, the Magnet Fields Distortion album seems to be as much an exploration of reverb as anything else.
The Wavves track which opens the mix is a carryover from last month. The whole album is excellent, but this seems to be one of the standout tracks. The chorus oddly reminds me of Nevermind era Nirvana. The songs introduction seemed like a great way to start this mix…a prelude if you will.
I’m still making up my mind about the new James Blake album. I had very high expectations, and I’m not sure if they have been met. But Blake’s first album also took a lot of time to grow on me (for months I hated him) so we’ll see. However, “To The Last” seemed pretty brilliant from from the start.
Paws entire Cokefloat! album is amazing. I don’t really know anything about this band, but I discovered them when Greg Katz (of LA Font) put out a mix last month and I’ve been listening to the whole thing non-stop since then.
At night I’ve been listening to my ipod on shuffle. I’m about 1500 songs into the 5000 or so that are on there. Both the Wilco and PJ Harvey tracks came up during the course of this month and stood out to me. The Wilco is one I’m very familiar with…I was just reminded that it’s a really good early Wilco track. But PJ Harvey’s “The Piano” is a song I never really paid much attention to until now. I guess I’m still considering it.
Everyone has been talking about the new, highly anticipated, Daft Punk album. I got in a big Twitter argument with my friend Casey about this new first single. He thinks it’s a less interesting rehash of things Daft Punk did on their Discovery album. I think he’s just plain wrong. It’s a little hard to judge how the whole album is going to be based on this first single, but I have high hopes. While Daft Punk has put out a lot of great songs over the years, I’ve yet to find an album of theirs that I could listen to contently from beginning to end. I hope that this new album will do it. Also, just like I predicted last month that Rhye’s Woman was going to be a huge summer hit, I think the new Daft Punk will be the other thing everyone is listening to…by the pool (everyone will save the Rhye album for later at night after the sun sets).
The Monks are still good. That is all.
La Femme’s “It’s Time To Wake Up” and letherette’s “Hard Martha” are both tracks that I discovered through KCRW. The La Femme track pretty much sounds just like Stereolab, although somehow more French. I don’t know anything about letherette but I’m pretty into the sound world they’re creating here. It’s not really anything new and groundbreaking, but it’s really good.
I discovered Extra Life this month thanks to Caleb Burhans (who was recently out in LA from NY to play Ty Braxton’s Central Market with the LA Phil as well as joining me on the Bach Double Concerto with Wild Up). Extra Life is the perfect combination of metal and medieval music. “Black Hoodie” is a pretty good example of this (although other tracks of theirs are way heavier). Lyrically it’s full of goth imagery (like black hoodies and dying), musically it’s full of a pretty “pop” chord progression, melismas, and instrumental interludes alternating between violin and sax. This is probably the thing I’ve listened to the most this month.
The last track on this months mix is an epic 20 minute instrumental from Thurston Moore’s Psychic Hearts album. This is probably a carry over from having seen Chelsea Light Moving last month. Just listen to it while you fall asleep.
1. Wavves - “Sail To The Sun”
2. The Magnetic Fields - “I’ll Dream Alone”
3. James Blake - “To The Last”
4. Paws - “Catherine 1956”
5. Panda Bear - “Ponytail”
6. Wilco - “ELT”
7. Daft Punk - “Get Lucky”
8. The Monks - “I Can’t Get Over You”
9. Atlas Sound - “Kid Klimax”
10. letherette - “Hard Martha”
11. La Femme - “It’s Time To Wake Up - 2023”
12. PJ Harvey - “The Piano”
13. Extra Life - “Black Hoodie”
14. Thurson Moore - “Elegy For All The Dead Rock Stars”
Here’s The Muffs Playing a Pixies song live at the Satellite.
Mar. 2013 Playlist
Here’s my mix for Mar. 2013, this month with commentary
1. Waxahatchee - Be Good
Waxahatchee kind of dominates this month because I just discovered them, they just put out a new album, and I was able to see them live opening for Chelsea Light Moving. I wish the verse to this song was just a little longer, because it’s amazingly catchy.
2. Patience & Prudence - A Smile And A Ribbon
I discovered this song during one of the later episodes of this season of Bunheads. Thanks Amy Sherman-Palladino for continuing to help me discover amazing new things.
3. Veruca Salt - Awesome
See number 10.
4. Waxahatchee - Coast To Coast
This could have been a Pavement song.
5. The Muffs - Agony
I’ve been on a Muffs kick lately because I saw them this month for the first time in about 12 years (last time was in Tempe at “The Bash on Ash”….does that place still exist). They played a great collection of songs throughout their career, plus a cover of The Pixies “Manta Ray”. I wish they would put out a new album.
6. Escondido - Black Roses
This song has been on pretty heavy KCRW rotation and kept coming on while I was driving to work. It sounds exactly like Mazzy Star. Also, apparently David Lynch really likes it.
7. She & Him - Never Wanted Your Love
First single off their new album. Can’t wait for the rest.
8. Atoms for Peach - Unless
I’m still deciding how I feel about this album. It’s growing on me. But I’ve liked this track from the first time I heard it.
9. Grass Widow - Goldilocks Zone
This band also opened for Chelsea Light Moving and probably would have been amazing except that the sound for their set was horrible…way too much bass drum and not enough guitar.
10. Ingenue - Open
Ingenue opened for The Muffs. They play mid-90’s girl rock in the best way possible. They sound remarkably similar to Veruca Salt (which is how I ended up listening to Veruca Salt this month too), mostly because of the way they do their vocal harmonies. They did a great Hole cover in their set too. Their drummer is really cute too.
11. Chelsea Light Moving - heavenmetal
New Thurson Moore!!! Sounds just like early Thurston Moore solo stuff (Psychic Hearts era) which is pretty much my favorite Thurston Moore stuff. I think this is the only track off of their new album that they didn’t play live when I saw them.
12. XTC - Then She Appeared
Remembered this song after watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls. More credit to Amy Sherman-Palladino.
13. The Virgins - Prima Materia
I don’t know much about this band, but this track kinda sounds like Elvis Costello trying to sound like Television.
14. Wavves - Afraid Of Heights
The whole new Wavves album is really good; this just happens to be my favorite track. It’s kind of like a really depressing Best Coast song.
15. Cotton Mather - Camp Hill Rail Operator
Never heard this band before this month, but heard a story about them a long time ago on NPR and meant to look them up. I was reminded of this because of the whole Veronica Mars Kickstarter thing (hooray!!!)…apparently Cotton Mather (which, for the record, is one of the worst band names ever) funded the reissue of their Kon Tiki album through Kickstarter. This track, which opens the album, is the best song Guided By Voices never wrote.
16. Rhye - Open
This album is about 4 months ahead of its time. It’s an amazing summer album.
17. Waxahatchee - Grass Stain
The third track from this band this month. I’ve kind of been trying to keep a rule of only having one track per band on these mixes, but these three tracks are all so different and all so good it seemed worth making an exception.
18. Rilo Kiley - Let Me Back In
Something something nostalgia.
Here’s the whole thing in a Spotify playlist. Enjoy.
Winter 2013 Mix + Maya Deren
I’m stealing this idea from Andrew Tholl.
Typically I break up the workday with a complicated salad and a 1/2-hour walk. This is a representative sample of the music that pumped through my headphones nearly every day this winter on my post-lunch walks up South Street or down to Washington Ave:
We’ve got a bazaar-like cross-section of avant-soul, Nueva Cancion, perverted singer/songwriters, civic-minded singer/songwriters, 00s mathy metallic hardcore, 50s modernism, 10s cloud-rap, and a Nirvana B-Side. Not sure what the common thread might be but in any case, here are a few words about each selection:
1. Cody Chesnutt - “Boylife in America” (2000): The chorus of this song is too real except for the parts about religion and a brand new Cadillac.
2. Mercedes Sosa - “La Solitaria” (1966): La Negra’s voice reduces me to tears every goddamn time on this one.
3. Tim Buckley - “Morning Glory” (1968): It’s a poignant song but am I the only one who finds his intro hilarious? Why did no one in the audience laugh?
4. Botch - “Framce” (2002): A ferocious live rendition of a song from their swan song An Anthology of Dead Ends EP. The uncontrollable feedback toward the end makes this version so much more satisfying than the studio recording.
5. The Blue Nile - “Tinseltown in the Rain” (1984): The Scots do melancholy sophisto-pop like no other people. Also, remember when chorused-out fretless bass was profoundly uncool?
6. Kendrick Lamar - “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” (2012): My favorite contemporary mainstream rapper, if only because his big single last year (“Swimming Pools”) was a paean to sobriety. How much longer before Trap hi-hats are played-out? New Jack Swing had a 4-year lifespan, right?
7. Georgia Anne Muldrow - “Because” (2006): Askew, futuristic, organic alien R&B via Prefuse73 production. Please teleport me to whichever planet produces basslines this tasty.
8. Nirvana - “Oh, The Guilt” (1992): Nirvana’s 1/2 of a split single with the Jesus Lizard. It’s a 3-way tie between this one, “Aneurysm,” and “Negative Creep” as my preferred K. Cobain composition. I reckon my vocal cords would look like barbacoa after 1 take of that chorus.
9. Mykki Blanco - “Wavvy” (2012): Pure charisma, great flow, ‘tude to spare. I prefer “Kingpinning” but it wasn’t on Spotify. I hope Mykki becomes the first gender-flexible rap superstar.
10. Momus - “Coming In A Girl’s Mouth” (1998): I’m new to the Momus universe but it’s been a treat digging through his massive back catalog. I relate to the man’s neuroses, his literary obsessions, and his sexual preoccupations. This song is too real, too gross, too hilarious. The line about John the Baptist is over-the-top genius. This guy’s into Serge Gainsbourg, right?
11. Nat Baldwin - “The Same Thing” (2011): Such a fragile piece whose slow-burning ember would extinguish if Nat didn’t just nail that vocal. One of the highlights of my living room show-hosting days was when Nat visited in ‘06 with Deertick and Sam Buck Rosen. I remember talking his ear off about this girl he used to date: “Yeah, man, you should go for it. She just LOVES tall Jewish-looking guys.”
12. Ruth Crawford Seeger - Suite for Wind Quintet (1952): In honor of Women’s History Month, perhaps my favorite “classical” composer, male or female. To hell with prefixes! This piece is nauseating and lovely, which, if you know me, is my kinda combo. The harmony is scrumptious throughout, but particularly in the second movement.
13. Hella - “Cafeteria Bananas” (2002): This one brings me back! When I was 15, I saw these guys play a game-changing set with Ex Models to 7 people at J.C. Dobbs (formerly the Pontiac Grille). During that time, most left-of-center rockers played the 21+ Khyber, now a bourgeoisy soul-food bar. Anyway, Spencer Seim is a criminally underrated guitarist. Big fan of the yawp one of the guys lets out during the breakdown at 3:07.
14. Spaceghostpurrp - “Osiris of the East” (2012): What a stanky, smelly, sweaty, greasy, disgusting beat. Listening to ‘Purrp, you’d think Miami’s landscape would consist of much more than a sprawling, tacky Art Deco mess with pockets of terrifying ghetto amidst gator- and hick-filled swampland. I’ll rap over this if someone PayPals me $20.
15. Meridian Brothers - “Soy el Pinchadiscos del Amor” (2012): Colombia’s answer to the 13th Floor Elevators and the Sun City Girls, perhaps? I love throwing this on first thing in the morning. I’m not much of a dancer but I’d probably throw some ‘bows if I ever heard this at a party.
I’ve also been watching Maya Deren’s “At Land” a lot this winter:
Feb. 2013 Playlist
Here’s my mix for Feb 2013
1. Buke and Gase - Houdini Crush
2. The Spinto Band - Amy + Jen
3. XTC - Pink Thing
4. S.E. Rogie - Do Me Justice
5. Tom Waits - Take It With Me
6. The Muffs - Saying Goodbye
7. The Ramones - Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World
8. Fool’s Gold - The Dive
9. Lisa Loeb - The 90’s
10. Stereolab - Parsec
11. Shudder To Think - Own Me
12. Jenny O - Dope Van Gogh
13. The Smiths - I Know It’s Over
14. No Age - Glitter
15. Phantom Planet - Demon Daughters
16. Jim James - A New Life
17. My Bloody Valentine - No More Sorry
sun ra business card
Jan. 2013 Playlist
Last year I was going to try and post a new playlist every month of the stuff I was listening to. I failed. After one month.
I’m going to try again.
Here’s my mix for January of 2013.
1. Angel Olsen - The Waiting
2. Low - Try To Sleep
3. Lykke Li - Get Some
4. Death Cab for Cutie - President of What?
5. Wye Oak - Doubt
6. Yo La Tengo - Big Day Coming
7. Temple of the Dog - Hunger Strike
8. Liz Phair - 6ft.1
9. His Name is Alive - I Thought I Saw
10. Billy Bragg - A New England
11. Justin Timberlake - Suit and Tie
12. Ex Cops - Separator
13. PJ Harvey - Meet Ze Monstra
14. Jessie Ware - If You’re Never Gonna Move
15. Sparks - Angst In My Pants
16. David Bowie - Where Are We Now?
And here’s the whole thing in a nice Spotify playlist:
Getting classical in the echoplex tonight! Come check out Victoire, Wild Up! and Lucky Dragon tonight! (at Echoplex)
Here’s Mark Swed’s LA Times review of wild Up’s Monday Evening Concert debut from earlier this week.