Wednesday, June 22, 2011

13 Looks like a B

So far, this has been the year where my goth tendencies have been making a sort of comeback. For instance, I recently became obsessed with the band Puerto Rico Flowers solely because Pitchfork compared them to Bauhaus, The Cure, and Depeche Mode. Total no-brainer. But there are times when I just need pop music. That and I just finished Rob Sheffield's Talking To Girls About Duran Duran so I've got pop music and mixtapes in the brain.

Oh and just to clear it up right away: the second use of "cool" in the mixtape's name is meant as a verb.

** I swear, it's just a weird coincidence that this mix is 13 songs long just like the last one I posted here a couple of months ago (Black Eyeliner Goes With Everything) But since we're on the subject of 13, when I was younger and played sports (little league then volleyball when I was in high, really!) I always wore the number 13. Part of the reason was that it's supposedly "bad luck." But the other reason was because I thought it looked like a "B" as in "Brian" as in my first name. Yeah, it was genius, I know. Anyway, onto the tracklist and this time out, notes! Hooray! **

Cool Pop (To Cool People)
1. Miles Kane, "Rearrange": The non Arctic Monkey half of The Last Shadow Puppets. I believe he was also the singer in The Rascals. I'll admit, I'm not familiar with them. But this one off of Miles' latest album, Coulour Of The Trap reminds me of Edwyn Collins' "A Girl Like You"...and that's a good thing.

2. The Wombats, "1996":  I will always have love for The Wombats. "Let's Dance To Joy Division" found its way onto nearly every mix I made for someone. Their latest is produced by Butch Walker and it's damn good and damn poppy. This one has that kind of chorus that is destined to get stuck in your head.

3. The Cars, "Sad Song": I recently saw The Cars. Not like the time I saw The New Cars which had Todd Rundgren playing the part of Ric Ocasek, this was the actual Cars (minus the dearly departed, Benjamin Orr.) It was like having the soundtrack to my childhood come to life. This is one off their new album, Move Like This, and honestly, it's got all the things that makes Cars songs so great: those wheezing keyboards, handclaps, and an instantly catchy chorus.

4. Mirrors, "Into The Heart": Another band that's pretty much a no-brainer for me to like. It's straightforward synthpop with emphasis on pop. Sort of like OMD if they were fronted by the singer of White Lies.

5. Patrick Wolf, "The City": I try my best to stay away from sax solos. I blame Kenny G for that. Mostly it just sounds cheesy and it's one step closer to being soft rock. Shudder at that thought for a second. This is the very reason that I'm still not sure if I like Destroyer's Kaputt. Anyway, "The City" has a sax solo but it's very forgivable because the song is just so insanely catchy- it practically starts with the chorus plus it has fingersnaps AND handclaps.

6. Oh Land, "We Turn It Up": I saw Oh Land when she opened for OMD. I didn't want to like her but I was completely won over in just 3 songs. It's bubbly dance pop, plain and simple. This one is my favorite mainly because I never remember the title, but I remember the melody of the chorus. That's part of the mission of pop music right there!

7. CSS, "Hits Me Like A Rock": New CSS...shhh, don't tell anyone. But for serious, I saw CSS last month when they co-headlined a show with Sleigh Bells. And yes, it's a well-known fact that I have undying love for Sleigh Bells, but on this night, CSS owned them. All their new songs sounded great and their skinny keyboardist was rocking both a keytar and an L7 t-shirt. Instant crush. Anyway, this is an early contender for the Jam of the Summer. And add to it some guest vocals from Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie and this song is damn near perfect.

8. Friendly Fires, "Hurting": I've always said that in an alternate universe Robyn would be as big of a star as Lady GaGa. Well, in that same alternate universe, Friendly Fires would be as big as Phoenix. Hell, they're already better...that's right I said it. How this song isn't on pop radio is beyond me.

9. Kids Of 88, "Downtown": I admit, I really don't know much of anything about Kids Of 88. Hell, they could be a boy band. All I know is that this song has got lots of swagger and I kind of love it. Man, I'm going to be pissed when I find out they're a boy band.

10. White Sea, "Ladykiller": No, not a Cee Lo Green cover. But perhaps something better. White Sea is Morgan Kibby whose breathy sighs were featured on M83's awesome Saturdays = Youth. Here she gets a chance to flex her vocal chords while showing an unabashed 80's pop influence.

11. Charli XCX, "Jungle (Phaeleh Remix)": Another artist to throw in the "I know nothing about them"-File. I heard her latest single, "Stay Away" for the first time and had to scour the internet to find it. "Stay Away" plays to my love of dark synthpop tipping its hat to T'Pau's "Heart and Soul." "Jungle," however, lives up to its title touching on both jungle (obvi) and rave. It's that kind of song that can become huge overseas but remain somewhat under the radar on these shores.

12. Katy B, "Broken Record": Another UK pop star dabbling in jungle, techno, rave...all of the above and more, really. The chorus of this song is awesome. And I kind of love how Katy sounds like she's singing "Like a broken rip-chord." Then the song ends with the sound of crackling vinyl.

13. Lady GaGa, "Schei├če": Last but most definitely not least. You can't mention pop music without mentioning its current reigning queen diva. And yes, I really do love Born This Way. This one is my favorite, if only for the opening line-- "I can't speak German, but I can if you like."

I actually forgot to post this other mixtape I made on 8tracks. This one is fairly self-explanatory but still pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

I Am A DJ, I Am What I (Over)-Play
1. Warpaint, "Bees"   
2. School Of Seven Bells, "Windstorm"
3. The Radio Dept., "This Time Around"
4. The Raveonettes, "Recharge & Revolt"
5. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, "Belong"
6. Cold Cave, "The Great Pan Is Dead"
7. The Joy Formidable, "I Don't Want to See You Like This"
8. The Vaccines, "Blow It Up"
9. Zola Jesus, "Poor Animal"
10. Robyn, "Dancing On My Own"
11. The Divine Comedy, "At The Indie Disco"

Listen. "Like." Enjoy.