Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 4/19/13
Thanks for tuning in last night, to those of you who did. I gave away a free Low CD and talked about Iceage a lot. I hope you liked it.
- 1. James Blake - “Overgrown”
- 2. Devendra Banhart - “Mi Negrita”
- 3. Local Natives - “Who Knows, Who Cares”
- 4. Chelsea Light Moving - “Heavenmetal”
- 5. The Front Bottoms - “Twin Size Mattress”
- 6. Great Caesar - “Generations”
- 7. The Thermals - “Faces Stay With Me”
- 8. Somebody’s Basement - “November, 2000 and 12!”
- 9. Telekinesis - “Empathetic People”
- 10. White Lung - “Those Girls”
- 11. Iceage - “Morals”
- 12. Daft Punk - “Get Lucky” (Radio Edit) (feat. Pharrell)
- 13. Silver Jews - “Dallas”
- 14. I Kill Giants - “Collector”
- 15. The Stone Roses - “Made Of Stone”
- 16. Kurt Vile - “Was All Talk”
- 17. Low - “Amethyst”
- 18. Hann Cassady - “Evergreen”
- 19. Bob Dylan - “Sara”
- 20. Sondre Lerche - “Stupid Memory”
- 21. Pure X - “Someone Else”
- 22. The Microphones - “My Roots Are Strong And Deep”
- 23. Titus Andronicus - “Arms Against Atrophy”
- 24. Elvis Depressedly - “Weird Honey”
- 25. Silver Jews - “Death of an Heir of Sorrows”
- 26. 10,000 Blades - “Airstream, 1972”
- 27. David Bello and his God-Given Right - “La La La”
Stream via Spotify:
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 1/27/12
I have been absolutely exhausted this entire week, and I think that last night’s Left of the Dial radio playlist reflected that, at least towards the second half. Thanks to the people who called in and placed requests, and thanks to everybody who tuned in on that bizarre, foggy night in New Haven, Connecticut.
- 1. Rites of Spring - "Deeper Than Inside"
- 2. Refused - "Liberation Frequency"
- 3. Nana Grizol - "Tambourine-N-Thyme"
- 4. Conor Oberst - "Sausalito"
- 5. Laura Stevenson and the Cans - "The Healthy One"
- 6. Craig Finn - "No Future"
- 7. Low - "Dinosaur Act"
- 8. Paul Baribeau - "When You Go Back To College"
- 9. Cursive - "The Recluse"
- 10. Codeine - "D"
- 11. Belle and Sebastian - "Electronic Renaissance"
- 12. The Postal Service - "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight"
- 13. Balam Acab - "Welcome"
- 14. James Blake - "Why Don’t You Call Me?"
- 15. Perfume Genius - “Dark Parts”
- 16. Boards of Canada - "Dayvan Cowboy"
- 17. Grouper - "Come Softly"
- 18. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - "The Dead Flag Blues"
- 19. Desertshore - "Diana"
- 20. peaer - "blood"
- 21. The Microphones - "Headless Horseman"
- 22. Perfume Genius - "Hood"
- 23. Co-Pilots - “Rooms Are Empty Things”
- 24. Sufjan Stevens - "Romulus"
- 25. Weekend - "Coma Summer" (Requested by Jill)
Also, this is somewhat unrelated, but last night while I was doing my show, I was thinking about how I’m kind of getting bored with the music that I’ve been listening to for a long time, or how it sometimes makes me upset to listen to because of the people and events that I associate it with. I’m sort of entertaining the idea of just taking everything that I’ve listened to already in my itunes library and putting it on an external hard drive and just getting it off my computer. This will give me the freedom to explore all of the new music that I have in my overstuffed downloads folder too. Does anyone have any thoughts about this?
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 12/9/11
Thanks to everyone who tuned in to my radio show Left of the Dial online or on WNHU last night and listened to me broadcast. Special thanks to Jon Scranton from Babytown Frolics for calling in while delivering pizzas from Pizza Hut. I really appreciate it when people call in, even if it’s just to let me know that they’re listening.
Here’s the full playlist from last night’s show, with links to each song. Next Friday I won’t be broadcasting because I’m going to be seeing WHY? with Serengeti in Hartford. Tickets are still available for that show, and anyone from around Connecticut who is a fan of the group should try to make it out. The show is part of a special unplugged sit down tour where the band will be debuting new songs and allowing audience members to ask questions. This particular date was rescheduled recently from an earlier date after singer/rapper Yoni Wolf broke his hand in September. More information about the show can be found HERE.
- 1. The Hold Steady - "Positive Jam"
- 2. Hüsker Dü - "Chartered Trips"
- 3. Trash Talk - "Gimme Death"
- 4. Cursive - "Art Is Hard"
- 5. Cymbals Eat Guitars - "Definite Darkness"
- 6. Desaparecidos - ”$$$$”
- 7. Street Smart Cyclist - "Hoods Up!"
- 8. Ovlov - "The City"
- 9. Spider Bags - “Blood For You”
- 10. The Rural Alberta Advantage - "Barnes’ Yard"
- 11. !!! - "Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass"
- 12. James Blake - "Love What Happened Here"
- 13. Wild Beasts - "Albatross"
- 14. SBTRKT - "Sanctuary" (feat. Jessie Ware and Sampha)
- 15. Nicolas Jaar - "I Got A"
- 16. Sharon Van Etten - "Mike McDermott"
- 17. Perfume Genius - "All Waters"
- 18. Blue Sky Black Death - "To The Ends Of The Earth"
- 19. This Will Destroy You - "Killed The Lord, Left For The New World"
- 20. Deafheaven - "Unrequited"
- 21. La Dispute - "King Park"
- 22. Deer Leap - "Coffee and Keys"
- 23. Thurston Moore - "Benediction"
- 24. WHY? - "Eskimo Snow"
- 25. Desertshore - "Mercy"
- 26. Tom Waits - "Kiss Me"
- 27. Oneohtrix Point Never - “Andro”
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 10/14/11
Sorry for posting this a day late. Yesterday I went up to Providence for Brown University’s homecoming and hung out with Mary. I left early and got back late, so I wasn’t able to do any posting yesterday. I had a great time though, so it was worth it. Anyway, here’s the full playlist from Friday’s Left of the Dial radio broadcast on WNHU. Click the song titles to listen to them. Thanks for listening to my show to everyone who did! Tune in next Friday for another live broadcast!
- 1. Neutral Milk Hotel - "Gardenhead / Leave Me Alone"
- 2. A Tribe Called Quest - "Excursions"
- 3. Washed Out - "Eyes Be Closed"
- 4. James Blake - “Once We All Agree”
- 5. Youth Lagoon - "Afternoon"
- 6. House of Wolves - "Follow Me"
- 7. Perfume Genius - "Mr Peterson"
- 8. The Middle East - "Black Death 1349"
- 9. Modest Mouse - "Gravity Rides Everything" (Requested by Blueshadedays)
- 10. Real Estate - “Green Aisles”
- 11. Beach Fossils - "Out In The Way" (feat. Wild Nothing)
- 12. YRRS - "YRRS"
- 13. By Surprise - "Terra Cotta Army"
- 14. iwishididntexistrightnow - “Twinkle Twinkle Death Star”
- 15. Man Man - "Dark Arts"
- 16. Man Man - "Rabbit Habits"
- 17. Man Man - "Banana Ghost"
- 18. Radiohead - "Lotus Flower"
- 19. The Rapture - “How Deep Is Your Love?”
- 20. Astronautalis - "Midday Moon"
- 21. WHY? - "Ferriswheel"
- 22. The Cranberries - "Dreams"
- 23. Destroyer - "Savage Night At The Opera"
- 24. Have A Nice Life - "Waiting For Black Metal Records To Come In The Mail"
- 25. Elliott Smith - "Somebody That I Used To Know"
- 26. The Antlers - "Nothing Matters When We’re Dancing" (The Magnetic Fields cover) (feat. Sharon Van Etten)
tylerjamespalmer asked: "Enough Thunder" is a track in James Blake's live show. Im assuming he meant the tracks coming out in October. I remember hearing he was going to do a EP toward the end of 2011.
I just heard about this too. In the live set, “Enough Thunder” is a piano-led, gospel-style ballad, right? It will be interesting to see what ends up getting released.
Video: Bon Iver & James Blake - “Fall Creek Boys Choir” (Audio only)
If you follow even a few music blogs, chances are that your dash is probably already swamped with posts about the new Bon Iver & James Blake collaboration “Fall Creek Boys Choir”. The track was released via youtube earlier today, and everybody seems to be scrambling to have to first word on it.
I’ve given the track a few listens, and I’m still giving it time to digest, but my initial impression is that it sounds like a track off of Blake’s self-titled debut LP in terms of production style and arrangement. Like most of the tracks on that album, the focus here is less on melody and song structure, and more on sound and atmosphere. Justin Vernon’s auto-tuned and multi-tracked lead vocals are pleasantly and unusually soulful, and that heavy, distant sounding snare drum that appears in the background gives the track surprising weight. This is a good headphones listen.
According to the the video’s description, “Fall Creek Boys Choir” will be released digitally on August 29th. The description also seems to suggest that some extension of this collaboration — perhaps an album or an EP — will be released in October under the name Enough Thunder. We’ll have to wait until then to see what these two have in store for listeners.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 7/8/11
I just realized that I never got around to posting the playlist to last week’s Left of the Dial radio broadcast on WNHU. Here it is below, complete with a youtube link to each song (when youtube links could be found). Don’t forget that another Left of the Dial broadcast is coming your way LIVE starting at 6 PM tonight. I’ll be spinning tunes I’ve been listening to a lot this past week and talking about them. I’ll post more information about that later in the day.
- 1. Dan Deacon - "Paddling Ghost"
- 2. Anamanaguchi - "Blackout City"
- 3. of Montreal - "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse"
- 4. The Octopus Project - "Truck"
- 5. Diarrhea Planet - “Power Moves”
- 6. Vacation - “Big Scary Dudes”
- 7. Surfer Blood - "Hey Sandy" (Polaris cover)
- 8. Bit Shifter - "The World Has Turned And Left Me Here" (Weezer cover)
- 9. Free Energy - "Something In Common"
- 10. Washed Out - “Echoes”
- 11. James Blake - “I Never Learnt To Share”
- 12. WU LYF - "Such a Sad Puppy Dog"
- 13. R.E.M. - "Radio Free Europe" (Original Hib-Tone single)
- 14. The Mountain Goats - "Estate Sale Sign"
- 15. The White Stripes - "The Big Three Killed My Baby"
- 16. Glue - “The Moose”
- 17. Chalk Talk - "Misquamicut Has Bigger Waves Though"
- 18. Wye Oak - "Holy Holy"
- 19. Football, etc. - “Sudden Death”
- 20. By Surprise - “Invisible Ink”
- 21. Jack Tomascak - “Schillervision”
- 22. Nana Grizol - "Tambourine-N-Thyme"
- 23. Sinforiano Diaz - “06331”
- 24. Wilco - "Ashes of American Flags"
- 25. Perfume Genius - “Perry”
- 26. iwishididntexistrightnow - “Down The Road”
- 27. The Antlers - “When You Sleep” (My Bloody Valentine cover)
- 28. Have a Nice Life - "Earthmover"
- 29. WU LYF - "Heavy Pop" (Concrete Gold 12” version)
Song of the Day Number 159
James Blake - “Lindisfarne” (Single Version)
Even though I still haven’t totally warmed up to British songwriter/producer James Blake's self-titled debut LP, I have found it to be quite fitting for certain moods and I’m definitely impressed by his talent. While the album is certainly easiest to appreciate as a whole, one of my favorite moments on it is the two part “Lindisfarne” suite in the middle. Consequently, I was happy and surprised to learn earlier in the month that Blake was issuing a single version of “Lindisfarne” on June 20th. The single version combines “Lindisfarne I” and “Lindisfarne II” into one ~4 minute track, making it more concise and more able to stand on its own outside of the context of the album. Unfortunately, much of what I enjoyed about the two part suite is lost in the single version. The solemn expansiveness of “Lindisfarne I” is largely abandoned on the single in favor of the acoustic guitar heavy sound “Lindisfarne I,” and something just feels off about the final product. Unfortunately, I think this one is lost on me.
Blake also made a video for this single version, which can be found HERE.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 5/20/11
I had so much fun during last nights Left of the Dial radio show on WNHU! I played a lot of music from bands who are playing B.O.M.B. Fest in Hartford next weekend, along with some old (and not so old) favorites of mine. The full playlist is below, complete with youtube links to each song (when available). Remember to tune in next Friday, where I’ll be getting everyone psyched up for B.O.M.B. Fest the next day!
- 1. Low - “Sandinista” (Daytrotter Session Version)
- 2. Broken Social Scene - "Meet Me In the Basement"
- 3. Anamanaguchi - "Dawn Metropolis"
- 4. Dan Deacon - "Red F"
- 5. Man Man - "Dark Arts"
- 6. Beck - "Peaches and Cream"
- 7. The Postal Service - "Recycled Air"
- 8. Best Coast - "Bratty B"
- 9. Real Estate - "Fake Blues"
- 10. High Pop - “Concrete Surfer”
- 11. The Guru - “Aloha Hawaii”
- 12. James Blake - “Lindisfarne” (Single Version)
- 13. LCD Soundsystem - "Home"
- 14. Dirty Beaches - "True Blue"
- 15. The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - “To Miss Catherine (A Birthday Gift. Sorry I Can’t Do Better, But Still…)” (Live in New Haven 3.4.11 Bootleg)
- 16. My Heart to Joy - “Can You Feel It, Captain Compost?!”
- 17. Midi & The Modern Dance - “Out the Room Pt. 2”
- 18. Bon Iver - "Holocene"
- 19. Bright Eyes - "Arienette"
- 20. Man Man - "Black Mission Goggles"
- 21. Tom Waits - "The Heart of Saturday Night"
- 22. R.E.M. - "Hyena"
- 23. Sebadoh - “Give Up”
- 24. Cap’n Jazz - "Little League"
- 25. The Antlers - “Putting The Dog To Sleep”
- 26. Primal Scream - "Damaged"
- 27. Big Star - "Watch the Sunrise"
I hope you enjoyed the show!
- get sad
- put on James Blake’s s/t album
- sadness turns bittersweet
James Blake | James Blake | R&S Records | 2011
For nearly two years James Blake has been slowly bubbling under a sea of hype, one that appears to be reaching a head with the release of his debut album, as well as Blake’s inclusion in the BBC’s Sound of 2011. Described by critics itching to pigeon-hole as ‘post-dubstep’, the singer-producer’s debut builds on the three critically praised EPs released last year, The Bells Sketch, CMYK and Klavierwerke. However, James Blake moves away from the dance floor to a more pop-influenced sound, and is more in tune with classic soul, contemporary R&B and electro pop than anything found on Hyperdub.
Opening track ‘Unluck’ is a good summation of Blake’s music. Starting with simple piano chords the producer introduces deep-bass, sparse beats and cut-up static, the piano morphing into hazy synths underneath the singer’s soulful voice. The combination of pop with a sub-bass rumble is an effective trick Blake employs throughout his debut, and at times his production is incredibly impressive. One highlight, ‘Wilhelms Scream’, places the singer’s soulful croon over a dismantled dubstep beat and atmospheric reverb. The beat builds steadily before shifting into a slow dirge of muddy vocals and watery synths, all melting in a swell of sub-bass, re-building to a climax of static and dispersing into a distant thump.
However, although primarily a producer, it’s Blake’s deployment of his own manipulated vocals that separates him from his peers. In some ways, James Blake feels similar to Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak - Kanye’s vocal manipulation created a tension between lifeless mechanical processing and the highly emotive sound of autotune, combined with his distressed, embarrassingly open lyrics. Blake’s songs are equally as personal, a trait that works well with his often cold and moody production. The artist clearly has concerns – on ‘I Never Learnt to Share’ he repeats that “my brother and my sister don’t speak to me / but I don’t blame them”, hinting at some turbulence in his life – but at times he chooses to hide behind his effects. For example, the heavy use of autotune on ‘Lindesfarne I’ finds the singer’s lyrics inaudible, leading to a conflict between the closeness of his voice and the decision to wrap them in echo. Perhaps he doesn’t want us to hear everything.
While Blake’s honesty and openness is refreshing, James Blake is far from flawless. There’s plenty of ground for him to improve as a songwriter – closing track ‘Measurements’ brilliantly layers his voice into a gospel choir, but cries that “you’re not on your own” fall dangerously close to soft-rock sentimentalism. Elsewhere, ventures into pop come with mixed success. The lead single, a cover of a Feist’s ‘Limit to Your Love’, is the most overtly pop track on the record, but after the opening piano passage drifts into silence we are indulged with a heavy drop of “wobble dubstep” deep-bass, rumbling underneath a two-step beat. The effect comes over as gimmicky, especially when watching the single’s video. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see it achieve some crossover success, Blake would do well to steer clear of such a bandwagon, because James Blake displays far more promising possibilities for the artist.
James Blake will be released on 7th February on R&S Records.
- Jack O’Halloran
Check out Jack O’Halloran’s spot-on review of the new James Blake LP above via Nightbus. Great call on the Kanye comparison! I never thought to make that connection. Also, check out my review of this record here, in which I make some similar points.
Song of the Day Number Forty Eight
Stream James Blake’s “I Mind”, off his recently-reviewed and soon-to-be-released debut LP, above.
What do you think of this track? Have you heard the album? Is it a possible early frontrunner for 2011 album of the year?
James Blake - James Blake (2011)
Electronic, Art Pop, Soul
British electronic upstart James Blake has been gaining blog notoriety lately for his unique blend of soul, electronic music, and pop. His debut LP, the plaintively titled James Blake, will be released February 7th, 2011, but I got the leak a while ago. There don’t seem to be any valid links up anymore, but I’ll try to upload one of my own tonight so you guys can grab it here.
James Blake features a fairly uniform selection of instrumental and percussive soundmakers on its eleven tracks, each one featuring some combination of dense piano keystrokes, plaintive synthesizers, and both live and electronic drumbeats. Barring the longing solo piano on the ballad “Give Me My Month”, nothing seems to stay in one place on this record instrumentally. Minimalistic beats seem to appear out of nowhere, such as on the second track “Wilhelms Scream”, only to disappear seconds later into nothingness. This ever-changing combination of instrumental flourishes disorients the listener, forging an inescapable aural tempest inside one’s headphones. In this minimalist cacophony that is James Blake, only one thing remains constant. Just as the amazing album art may suggest, Blake’s own voice, sonically jarring yet startlingly familiar, is found at the very center of the storm.
The twenty one year old James Blake sings with a fully realized voice that sounds like it comes from someone far beyond his years. At times his voice echoes Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, whose affinity for minimal yet harrowingly beautiful songwriting is clearly an influence on James Blake. Vernon’s own song “Woods” from 2008’s Blood Bank EP uses a lot of the same sounds and vocal effects that Blake flirts with on record, from the artistically vocoded and auto-tuned vocals to the overall atmosphere, marked by cold electronics. On tracks like “Lindesfarne I”, Blake almost seems to strive for exactly what “Woods” achieved brilliantly, but such tracks lack the sweeping melody and gorgeous harmonies of that wonderful song. While Blake doesn’t possess Vernon’s sweeping falsetto that makes songs like “Skinny Love” so great, his voice has more depth to it. The strength of his voice, which is often multi-tracked, auto-tuned, edited, chopped and screwed (see: “I Never Learnt to Share”), carries all of the songs on James Blake, and while the instrumental production touches that Blake adds are usually nice, they rarely do more than simply support his soulful voice, which conveys his unusual and refreshing sense of melody.
James Blake the artist is still very young, and needs time to develop his style further. While this record has a very mature sound for someone of his age, his songwriting especially needs improvement. It would seem initially that Blake can do everything; his singing is amazing, his piano playing tasteful, and his production fresh-sounding and icy. However, there is a reason why his cover of Feist's “Limit To Your Love” is the best song on this album. The unique flavors he adds to that song make it far superior to the tired sounding original, but at least on this LP, Blake himself never writes a truly brilliant original track. Rather, James Blake is, for the most part, a series of fascinating and refreshing sonic experiments that rarely develop into great songs. Regardless, James Blake is definitely an artist to watch in the coming year.
James Blake (2011)
- 1. Unluck
- 2. Wilhelms Scream
- 3. I Never Learnt To Share
- 4. Lindesfarne I
- 5. Lindesfarne II
- 6. Limit To Your Love
- 7. Give Me My Month
- 8. To Care (Like You)
- 9. Why Don’t You Call Me
- 10. I Mind
- 11. Measurements
Best tracks: I Never Learnt To Share, Limit To Your Love, I Mind