Monday, February 27, 2012

File Under: Miscellaneous

So far I've been keeping up with my one New Year's Resolution which was to be post more on my Random Ramblings blog. Granted, this means that I've been slacking a bit when it comes to my other blog, Haikus By Brian L. But in all honesty, you can't force inspiration when it comes to Haikus. For instance, I have a post-it note on my dresser reminding me to write a Haiku about my love/hate relationship with Radiohead, which, to be honest, lately, has been just hate. Point being, this note is about 3 months old. But again, I've been good at consistently writing entries and making mixtapes for this here blog.

My aim is to do at least one entry a week (which will include a mixtape, of sorts.) My worry, however, is that I'll run out of themes for said mixtapes. So I've come to the conclusion that there needs to be some recurring mixtape themes. Since we're coming to the end of February, next week's Random Ramblings & Mixtapes entry will be a Best Of February Mixtape culling together the songs I've played and overplayed (including Sleigh Bells, A Place To Bury Strangers, School Of Seven Bells, etc.)  Full disclosure: it will likely also include January songs since I only came up with this idea today and ideally, I'll be doing Monthly Best Of Mixtapes from here on out. Other recurring themes may or may not include: Anticipation 2012 (I've already done two volumes but being an obsessive music listener, I'm always looking forward to new music on the horizon), As Heard On TV (mainly because I've recently heard The Joy Formidable's "Austere" in a video game commercial), and Cover songs (because really, who doesn't enjoy cover songs.)

OK, now that I've got the rambling out of the way, it's time for the mixtape. This week, a couple of friends at work pretty much came out and told me that musically, I have the reputation of hating everything. Then they both altered that claim by stating that I usually hate things that aren't noise pop or gothy. This is only partially true. Yes, I do show a lot of favoritism towards noisy and/or darker music but I swear I like bands that don't fall into either category. So the following mixtape is for them.

File Under: Miscellaneous
Check out this mixtape on Spotify: File Under: Miscellaneous [Random Ramblings & Mixtapes]
This mix is made up of artists that don't fall under goth, industrial, shoegaze, post-punk, noise-pop, or electropop. 

1. Jónsi, "Gathering Stories": Not everything I listen to is noisy. As a matter of fact, there's that rare occasion where something I like is downright pretty. Oddly, I'm not a Sigur Ros fan, but I love Jónsi's solo output.

2. Alcoholic Faith Mission, "My Eyes To See": Good thing I actually gave this band a fair chance because based on their band name alone, it could have gone either way. Had someone told me that they were a Christian Nü-Metal band I would've believed it. Luckily, they're not. Instead, they're a Danish indie rock band that some have compared to Arcade Fire - a comparison I find a bit too lofty for any band since, honestly, I haven't heard anyone that sounds like Arcade Fire. I'd say Alcoholic Faith Mission reminds me more of The Kissaway Trail and a bit of Polyphonic Spree.

3. The Magnetic Fields, "Andrew In Drag": The Magnetic Fields have tried their hand at just about everything be it noise-pop (2008's Distortion), synthpop (1992's The House Of Tomorrow) and even folk (2010's Realism)  Their latest offering, Love At The Bottom Of The Sea promises a return to synths that they had abandoned over their last few albums. But whatever their musical arrangements are, I'll always love Stephin Merrit's songwriting. And on this song, he's playful, whimsical, and well, funny ("I'm like a little wiener dog for Andrew in drag.")

4. Big Deal, "Chair": A boy/girl duo from the UK. Both play guitar - one acoustic, one plugged in. Both sing. It's a bit folky but with a touch of distortion giving their songs a layer of scuzz. It took a little while but their album, Lights Out definitely grew on me. Also, this video of the duo covering The Jesus And Mary Chain's "Sometimes Always" won me over even though they mess up the lyrics a little.

5. Brendan Benson, "Bad For Me": Even before he became a Raconteur, I liked Brendan Benson's music. This is a new one available as a free download from our friends at RCRD LBL. Download it here. "Bad For Me" is as heartbreaking as a ballad can get without turning into Coldplay (or Gotye) wussiness. Yeah, I said it!
[Alternate Spotify song selection: "Garbage Day"]

6. Jack White, "Love Interruption": Excuse my language, but Jack White is just the coolest motherfucker. He can pretty much do no wrong. See: The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, that album he produced for Loretta Lynn, The Dead Weather. He's so good that even a collaboration with the Insane Clown Posse is forgivable. Anyway, his first solo single, wouldn't have been out of place on Get Behind Me Satan. Oh and it's really good, if that needs to be said.

7. Band Of Skulls, "Bruises": I love this band. Just dirty rock n' roll with big drums, big guitars, and big choruses. A little White Stripes, a little Zeppelin, and a whole lotta awesome. If I was to put it in math terms: Band Of Skulls > The Black Keys.

8. Delta Spirit, "Tear It Up": Yeah, this band definitely has a folky vibe about them, but their latest, self-titled album is straightforward indie rock done right.
[Alternate Spotify song selection: "California"]

9. Tribes, "We Were Children": I want to call this band Britpop, but there's a bit of glam thrown in there. Also the singer reminds me of Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeroes but minus the patchouli/hippie stench.

10. Gorillaz featuring Andre 3000 and James Murphy, "DoYaThing": Is it possible for anyone to not like Gorillaz? Yes, I did have something against Damon Albarn back in his Blur days but that was solely because he was dating Justine Frischmann of Elastica and well...I loved her, too. But for real, this song is as great as anyone would expect based solely on who is involved. Needless to say, Andre 3000 steals the show.
[Alternate Spotify song selection: "Doncamatic (feat. Daley)"]

11. M.I.A., "Bad Girls": Admittedly, I'm not the biggest hip hop fan but I am partial to rapping when it comes from someone with a British accent (see: Dizzee Rascal, The Streets.) I'm not sure where that lands M.I.A. but her first two albums were pretty unfuckwithable. This new song makes up for how underwhelming her last one was.

12. Mayer Hawthorne, "Hooked": Mayer Hawthorne makes music that is impossible not to like. As snarky as I can be, even I have to give in and like him. He makes me think that I got soul...then I realize I'm kind of gothy.

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