Thursday, July 26, 2012

Backtrack to June

So the bad news is that I'm a bit late on posting this Monthly Favorites Mixtape especially considering that next week we're set to turn the calendar page to August. However, the good news is that the lateness is due to the fact that I've had a sudden surge of inspiration which, of course, came in the form of all things music, both old (1992 Mixtape) and very new (Tuesday Streams- Melody's Echo Chamber and Grassfight.) Well, let's get to it and backtrack our way through some of the songs that were on repeat through the month of June.



June 2012 Mixtape
1. Japandroids, "The Nights Of Wine And Roses": This Vancouver fuzz punk duo's second proper album, Celebration Rock lives up to its name. It's the kind of record that's overflowing with instant shout-alongs. This is the first track off the album and it begins with the sound of actual fireworks because what's more celebratory than fireworks?! Sure, like most Japandroids songs, it's packed with "whoa-whoas" but like the band's best songs, it also manages to capture that undying youthful energy in one simple line - "We yell like hell to the heavens!"

2. A Place To Bury Strangers, "Alone": This trio backs up their reputation as NY's Loudest Band, but in 2012, they might also be the most prolific. Earlier this year, they put out the excellent Onwards To The Wall EP then later followed it up with a split 7" with fellow shoegazers, Ceremony (not the LA hardcore band.) With the release of Worship they manage to fine-tune things as thundering basslines share equal space with the ear-splitting guitar squalls. The album's first track, "Alone," brings a little post-punk and goth into the mix.

3. Crocodiles, "Electric Death Song": This band has steadily gotten better with each album they've put out taking the best elements of noise-pop and psych rock. Their latest, Endless Flowers, continues Crocodiles' improvement. I want to hate this band solely because singer, Brandon Welchez is married to Dee Dee of  Dum Dum Girls. But with songs as infectious as "Electric Death Song" it makes my hatred almost impossible.

4. DIIV, "How Long Will Have You Known": Another band that I didn't want to like. Mainly because they were originally named Dive, which is also the name of (among others) a Belgian industrial band headed up by Dirk Ivens (The Klinik, Blok 57, Absolute Body Control.) I warmed up to them once they changed the spelling of their name, but honestly, it was because they acknowledged Ivens as to the reasoning for the switch. Still, I wasn't completely won over until I saw them live as their fluttering dream-pop blossomed into a cloudy haze of guitar fuzz."How Long..." is one of the sunnier moments on their great debut album, Oshin.

5. Young Galaxy, "Youth Is Wasted On The Young":  I sometimes easily fall in love for songs that I can identify with. Usually, that happens when a lyric just grabs me in a perfect, indescribable manner (see: most Japandroids songs, most NIN and The Cure.) This song is actually the b-side to these Canadian indie rockers' most recent 7", "Shoreless Kid" and while it's the very Johnny Marr-like guitar line that makes it instantaneous ear candy it's really that line "I wouldn't mind dying at all, if it weren't for the songs I'd miss" that aims right for the heart.

6. Alpines, "Empire": A mysterious UK duo I know very little of. Dark pop music that could have fit in during the 4AD label's heyday. It's singer, Catherine Pockson's towering voice reminiscent of both Kate Bush and more recently, Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes) that gives "Empire" some dramatic weight. Oh and good thing this wasn't a Queensryche cover, not that I dislike Queensryche but rather because "Empire" wasn't their best song. It should go without saying that Alpines' "Empire" > Queensryche's "Empire."

7. Charli XCX, "You're The One": A 19-year old UK pop singer who also happens to be taking her cues from Kate Bush. She released two prior singles last year, the awesome "Stay Away" and the even more awesome, "Nuclear Seasons." "You're The One" continues what should be a meteoric rise while also mining in the same goth-pop terrain as Zola Jesus but with more emphasis on the "pop" not just the "goth."

8. Icona Pop, "I Love It": It's no secret that I'm a sucker for a good dance pop song. Well, this Swedish duo may not have just succeeded in making an excellent dance pop single, but it's a surefire contender for the jam of the summer. I'd almost make the claim that this is the best pop song since Robyn's "Dancing On My Own." Time will tell. Also scoring awesome points is the fact that "I Love It" was penned by Charli XCX.

9. The Hives, "Wait A Minute": Since I'm making outrageous claims, here's another one: Lex Hives is better than the last 3 Strokes albums combined. And yes, that one I mean. These Swedish garage rockers are still partying like it's 2000 and instead of sounding dated, they sound like they haven't missed a beat - still bratty, still snotty, and still as overconfident and as rocking as they ever were.

So there it is. Turn up the volume and become immersed.

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