Tuesday, October 23, 2012

September Backtracks

September seems like a distant memory these days. Luckily, the songs that make up this Monthly Backtracks Mixtape are worth revisiting. Dreampop and noise pop seem to be the sounds that flood my headphones most of the time but what this playlist shows is that occasionally, unabashed sappy pop songs and anthemic indie rock find their way to me, too...oh and let's never forget, a good cover will always win me over.


September 2012 Mixtape
1. The xx, "Sunset": Often times, I describe The xx as a band that makes "makeout music." But really they're a bit more than that. Their second album, Coexist, is as seductive as its predecessor -- hushed voices, slithering basslines, and beats that invite the listener in as much as it pushes them away. On "Sunset," the UK trio pulls a bit of misdirection with a rhythm that hints at a sweaty dancefloor only to pull back to reveal empty spaces proving that not all silences have to be awkward.

2. Stars, "The Theory Of Relativity": What Stars may lack in subtlety they make up for with charm. They're the types that would want to hold hands and cuddle. "The Theory Of Relativity" is the opening track on their latest album, The North, and on it, they take a convincing turn towards slick dance pop.

3. Melody's Echo Chamber, "Endless Shore": On the French indie group's self-titled debut, Melody's Echo Chamber live up to their name straddling the line between swirling psych pop and dreamy shoegaze. The single, "Endless Shore" serves as a good starting point to the band and to Melody Prochet's siren song-like voice.

4. Buke & Gase, "Blue Monday": Brooklyn-based duo, Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez have an experimental approach to their music, using hybrid instruments they've made themselves such as a retooled six-string baritone ukelele ("buke") and a combination guitar-bass ("gase") both of which gives them their band name. And as dusty and rough as they're able to sound, Buke & Gase successfully take on this New Order classic scrubbing away the glitz and unafraid to leave their own scuff marks.

5. TOY, "Lose My Way": This English band's debut album was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. As a matter of fact, their first single, "Left Myself Behind" had made it onto our first Monthly Backtracks Mixtapes back before I thought of that cool name. Thankfully, TOY's album didn't disappoint as the young band found the perfect midpoint between the hypnotic Krautrock influence that made The Horrors' Skying my favorite album of last year, and the drugged-out haze of recent Spiritualized. "Lose My Way" is TOY at their most yearning and their most accessible. And how can I possibly resist a lyric like "I never thought I'd lose my way over you"? It's simple and gorgeous and the reason I've listened to this song on repeat for at least four days straight.

6. Ringo Deathstarr, "Do You Wanna?": David Lee Roth once explained that one of the reasons that Van Halen's "Jump" became such a huge song was because it's a verb. Well, for me, I have a soft spot for song titles that ask a question. Ringo Deathstarr's latest album, Mauve looks to set the band apart while bringing together some of the best parts of the past with driving guitars, distortion, and catchy songs being the backbone. Oh and to answer their question, "Do You Wanna?" my answer is a resounding "Yes, I do!"

7. The Raveonettes, "Sinking With The Sun": This Danish duo didn't have to work too hard to win me over. They already had me at their cool, Buddy Holly/Ronettes-referencing band name. I distinctly remember hearing their debut EP, 2002's Whip It On for the first time. From that point on, I've been hooked. Their sixth album, Observator is another notch on their stylish belts and "Sinking With The Sun" is another in a long line of noise-pop gems I've come to expect from The Raveonettes.

8. Dum Dum Girls, "Season In Hell": Putting aside the fact that I have a huge crush on Dee Dee, the Dum Dum Girls are a band that has gotten better with each release. The End Of Daze EP continues their great strides sounding sharper without being too polished. 

9. Corin Tucker Band, "Neskowin": I won't lie - I still long for a Sleater-Kinney reunion. And while Wild Flag is awesome, let's not forget about the powerhouse voice of Corin Tucker. Kill My Blues, the Corin Tucker Band's sophomore release turns up the volume and feels more like the Corin we know and love. But it's when she hits those rising vocal notes on "Neskowin" where things start to feel just right.

So there you have it. Just in time to help wind down October. As always, listen loud and become immersed.

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