Sunday, June 10, 2012
Done With May
Another month comes to an end as we're just about at the midpoint of 2012. Though the Random Ramblings posting pace may have slowed down a bit thanks to a crazy work schedule, in the very least, I've done my best at keeping up with my Monthly Favorites Mixtapes. I will admit, even though we're barely 10 days into this month, I'm already fairly excited to put together the June Mixtape if only because I get to revisit what might very well be the front-runner for my album of the year pick (spoiler: I'm referring to Japandroids' seriously awesome, Celebration Rock.) But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's dive in and turn up the songs that made listening to music worthwhile in May.
May 2012 Mixtape
1. Beach House, "Lazuli": I'm convinced that Beach House has hypnotic powers. Said power lies in Victoria Legrand's intoxicating voice. The band's latest, Bloom, is another great collection of hazy dream-pop that doesn't need to reinvent the wheel, but rather plays to the Beach House's strengths.
2. Exitmusic, "White Noise": It's safe to say that Exitmusic is one of my recent obsessions. And it's no coincidence that they're following Beach House on this mixtape since I often use them and Wye Oak as reference points when describing Exitmusic. The difference is that touch of dark intensity that singer, Aleksa Palladino brings to this Brooklyn dream-pop act. Before I get long-winded here, let me just put it this way: everyone should give a listen to Exitmusic's mesmerizing debut full-lenght, Passage.
3. HEALTH, "Tears": Full disclosure #1- I don't play video games. Full disclosure #2- I discovered this band because Trent Reznor Tweeted about how much he loved their 2009 single, "Die Slow." These LA noise-punks definitely emphasized the noise part. But lately, they've been moving towards a more dreamy direction and in all honesty, it's a sound that works very well for them. Oh and this song appears as part of the soundtrack Max Payne 3 (composed by HEALTH) which according to commercial it appears in, is a video game. Good to know.
4. AVOXBLUE, "Footfall": One of my current favorite local/Boston artists. A Place Without Time is on constant rotation on BriPod and this song is the one mostly on repeat. Jimmy Rossi Jr. (also of psych/shoegazers, The December Sound) goes into hazy synthpop mode here on his solo project. Check out AVOXBLUE's latest EP on Bandcamp (http://avoxblue.bandcamp.com/). This track originally appeared here on Love, Boston.
5. Saint Etienne, "DJ": When pop music is done right, it can sound perfect. Saint Etienne are pretty much well-trained experts at this. Their latest album, Words And Music by Saint Etienne is a love-letter to the power of music and how it can impact our lives. To me, "DJ" describes an ideal moment that one can only dream about - falling in love (or making out) to that perfect song.
6. Light Asylum, "Hour Fortress": I first read about Light Asylum on Pitchfork (big surprise there.) What stuck out was that the Brooklyn duo was getting tagged with the words "goth" and "industrial." Naturally, I was intrigued. Singer, Shannon Funchess is blessed with Alison Moyet-like pipes and the intimidating stance of Grace Jones. Their self-titled debut mixes indie electro with EBM to fantastic results. Hell, I've even played this track during my industrial sets.
7. Santigold, "Fame": It's been a long wait for new music from Santigold. Her first album since trading in the "o" for an "i", Master Of My Make-Believe couldn't have come at a better time since M.I.A. lost some of her footing. Santi White blends genres so effortlessly that it can be easy to miss out on the New Wave meets hip hop meets dancehall influences that seep into her music.
8. 2:54, "Sugar": A pair of British sisters named after a very specific moment in a Melvins song I don't know ("A History of Bad Men" - I just Googled it.) That fact alone makes this band infinitely cool. But when you add to it the fact that they mix fuzzy shoegaze guitars with vocals not too far removed from Rid Of Me-era PJ Harvey and you end up with something pretty awesome. I first heard 2:54 last year and immediately (albeit drunkenly) ordered their 10" Scarlet EP on EBay. I still don't regret that drunken decision. "Sugar" has got a groove and a bassline that can't be ignored easily making it a standout on their self-titled debut.
9. Evans The Death, "I'm So Unclean": I honestly didn't think I liked this band as much as I did. Jumpy, energetic indie pop does win me over sometimes. Granted, their Slumberland Records debut is a quick listen, clocking in at barely over 30 minutes and "I'm So Unclean" is an addictive earworm of a song. Listening to it now, I'm once again surprised by its final 20-seconds of underlying feedback-soaked guitars. That might explain why it garners nonstop listens.