Lewis and his Blog February 2013 Mix
I loved this February. Here in Connecticut, it seemed as though it snowed every weekend and that everybody generally expected a little less out of everyone else. It was a relatively relaxing contrast to the mania of January, and this was mirrored to some degree in the music that was released this month. Below, you can stream and read about my latest Monthly Mix, the rest of which you can find HERE. Thanks for listening, and enjoy!
1. Foxygen - “San Francisco”
A band like this comes around every couple years, but I still can’t help but love Foxygen’s shamelessly revivalist take on psychedelic pop. Lots of bands through the years have made careers off of sounding like The Zombies, but few do so with such accuracy, or while having as much fun as this duo clearly does. Edging out the Dylan-aping “No Destruction” for the best song on their new LP, “San Francisco” is a touchingly playful homage to the band’s hometown. The vintage keyboard sounds warmly familiar, and you won’t be able to get those female backing vocals out of your head. We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic is out now on Jagjaguwar.
2. My Bloody Valentine - “New You”
I remember the first time I played mbv, the long awaited new album from My Bloody Valentine. Specifically, I remember feeling a tremendous sigh of relief when the opening guitar chords of “She Found Now” rang out, evoking to a perfect tee the dense aesthetic of their landmark LP Loveless. Yet the single moment of mbv that sticks with me the most is the entirety of “New You” — the lone song on which the band tips the scales from pop and shoegaze towards the former side. My Bloody Valentine were unique when Loveless was released; nobody else sounded like they did. Now, though, plenty of acts have imitated their sound. With the catchy, breezy sway of “New You,” My Bloody Valentine remind the world that aesthetic prescience wasn’t all they had in them. They are, first and foremost, a pop band; tracks like this indicate that. Buy mbv online HERE.
3. The Postal Service - “A Tattered Line Of String”
So it turns out that this is indeed a ‘new’ recording. Like Desaparecidos, who also broke up about ten years ago and reunited recently, it doesn’t seem like The Postal Service have changed all that much in the interim. One thing is notable: “A Tattered Line of String” isn’t quite as sad as anything on Give Up, but with a melody as good as that which Ben Gibbard sings, it’s hard not to embrace his improved happiness. This song will appear on the forthcoming Give Up reissue, which will be out April 9th on Sub Pop.
4. Atoms For Peace - “Ingenue”
In light of the relative disappointment that was The King of Limbs, is Thom Yorke’s new project Atoms For Peace better because it’s not Radiohead, or does it just seem that way? These are the kind of annoying questions that I have to worry about. You don’t, though! Just enjoy this cut from AMOK, which is out now on XL Recordings. By the way, the band just released a video for this track which playfully echoes the now-iconic clip for The King Of Limbs’ “Lotus Flower.” “Ingenue” definitely favors aesthetics over pop sensibility, but it’s still hard to deny the catchiness of that synth hook.
5. Giraffage - “All That Matters”
Needs, the latest tape to drop from San Francisco producer Giraffage, is definitely one of the most notable hazy, sample-based pop albums of this early year. As Gorilla Vs. Bear points out in their premiere stream of the new album, the highlight is definitely “All That Matters,” which features an unmistakable sample of Ready For The World’s “Love You Down,” which Giraffage masterfully twists into something fragile and intimate. Download the tape for whatever you wish to pay via Giraffage’s bandcamp page. Needs is out now via Alpha Pup.
6. Kitty - “☠DEAD❤ISLAND☠”
Consider me a convert. Kitty (née Pryde) released a new EP called D.A.I.S.Y. Rage earlier in the year and I’ve actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Kitty seems remarkably self-aware and also refreshingly unwilling to play into her audience’s expectations. From a lyrical standpoint, tracks like “☠DEAD❤ISLAND☠” are a lot less cutesy and juvenile than her previous material, and her rhyming capabilities seem to have improved a lot too. British producer WATER serves as a foil to Kitty’s aimlessness, driving the track forward with a propulsive beat. Download D.A.I.S.Y. Rage from Kitty’s bandcamp page.
7. LVL UP - “Graveyard”
Can Purchase NY be considered local to a Connecticut kid? If so, my favorite local band has delivered a terrific single with “Graveyard,” which will appear on their forthcoming (and perfectly named) Extra Worlds 7”. “Graveyard” is faster, more urgent, and ultimately better than anything they’ve done up to this point, with the exception of maybe one track from their 2011 SPACE BROTHERS LP. It’s 2013 and indie rock is great! Preorder Extra Worlds from Double Double Whammy and you could win a test press copy!The 7” drops April 6th.
8. Julia Brown - “Library”
Julia Brown formed out of the ashes of the explosive punk band Teen Suicide, who broke up last year. The new group is decidedly less abrasive, but the lo-fi aesthetic that they employ on their debut album To Be Close To You is similarly harsh. Lead single “Library” is the album’s best song, and perhaps the lone moment when the band manages to craft a pop melody so brilliant that it completely transcends the limitations of the production. I’ve been humming this melancholic gem for close to a month now, and it doesn’t stand any chance of going away soon. To Be Close To You is out know on Julia Brown’s bandcamp.
9. Baby Grand - “Una”
I wanted to shed some light on this Connecticut group because I fear that they have been gratuitously overlooked even within the local community. Baby Grand (which comprises some members of Cold Snap, whom I’m seeing tonight in New Haven) is a hard-to-pin-down rock band with a lyrical focus that is only matched in intensity by their atmospheric heft. I like to think of them as a more melodic, more accessible version of Self Defense Family, whose frontman Patrick Kindlon sounds like a less melodically capable version of this band’s frontman. Their latest and best EP, Victoria, was unceremoniously released earlier this year, and it deserves way more credit than it’s getting. Listen to “Una” or just download all three songs for free at their bandcamp page to see what I’m talking about.
10. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - “Higgs Boson Blues”
Aging singer/songwriters seem to be doing pretty well overall in the two thousand-teens, but Nick Cave might be besting all of them. He released a terrific album in 2010 with Grinderman, but the new LP from his old band The Bad Seeds is even better. “Higgs Boson Blues” is the massive, 7 and a half minute centerpiece of the new record, entitled Push The Sky Away. Look out for Cave name dropping Hannah Montana, moaning over a choir’s backing vocals, and generally expressing himself exactly like the scary, depressed, manic old man that he is. It’s perfect. Purchase Push The Sky Away from Cave’s website.
Thanks for listening to this month’s mix. Happy March!
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 2/15/13
Thanks to everyone who tuned in and the people who made requests during my radio show last night on WNHU. Check out the full playlist below, and stream the available tracks via Spotify through the embedded link at the bottom. Tune in again next Friday from 6 to 8 PM for another live broadcast.
- 1. The Thermals - “I Might Need You To Kill”
- 2. David Bowie - “A New Career In A New Town”
- 3. Broken Social Scene - “Fire Eye’d Boy”
- 4. By Surprise - “Criteria”
- 5. My Heart To Joy - “Giving My Hands Away”
- 6. Sondre Lerche - “Modern Nature” (Requested by anonymous)
- 7. LVL UP - “Graveyard”
- 8. Elvis Costello - “No Dancing”
- 9. Cymbals Eat Guitars - “…And The Hazy Sea”
- 10. Yo La Tengo - “Paddle Forward”
- 11. My Bloody Valentine - “Who Sees You”
- 12. Ducktails - “Sedan Magic”
- 13. Foxygen - “Shuggie”
- 14. Serge Gainsbourg - “Ballade De Melody Nelson”
- 15. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - “Push the Sky Away”
- 16. Cat Power - “Metal Heart”
- 17. Beat Happening - “I Love You” (Requested by dbldblwhmmy)
- 18. LVL UP - “Nightshade”
- 19. Infinity Crush - “Sleeping In On A Snow Day (In 2011)”
- 20. Julia Brown - “Virginia”
- 21. Teen suicide - “Falling In Love”
- 22. Perfume Genius - “Normal Song”
- 23. Giraffage - “All That Matters”
- 24. Elvis Depressedly - “Cry Babies”
- 25. The Tallest Man On Earth - “Wind and Walls”
- 26. The Decemberists - “Odalisque”
- 27. The Comsat Angels - “Independence Day”
- 28. Crystal Castles - “Suffocation”
- 29. Destroyer - “Downtown”
- 30. LCD Soundsystem - “Great Release”
Stream via Spotify:
I made a mix for today. Fourteen songs for February 14th. Stream it at the embedded link below or download the whole thing HERE. It’s all properly tagged and ordered and everything. I made it for both my heartbroken followers and my happily coupled followers, but mostly for the heartbroken ones.
- 1. Jens Lekman - “I Know What Love Isn’t”
- 2. Julia Brown - “Library”
- 3. Bright Eyes - “Loose Leaves”
- 4. Morrissey - “I Am Hated For Loving”
- 5. Midi & The Modern Dance - “Where Do You Think I Belong?”
- 6. My Bloody Valentine - “New You”
- 7. Teen Suicide - “Falling In Love”
- 8. Sky Ferreira - “Everything Is Embarrassing”
- 9. Dirty Projectors - “Impregnable Question”
- 10. Bob Dylan - “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”
- 11. Christopher Owens - “Everywhere You Knew”
- 12. Chet Baker - “It’s Always You”
- 13. Cat Power - “Color and the Kids”
- 14. Waxahatchee - “I Think I Love You”
Anonymous asked: Thoughts on Shoegaze?
I don’t know if I can summarize my thoughts on an entire genre of music very well, but I guess I’ll try. I like shoegaze. It’s a pretty broad-fitting term, but I really like a lot of the aesthetics that bands labeled as ‘shoegaze’ create. I think what shoegaze does/has done in a general sense is push the boundaries of how dense music can be, but I think that the best shoegaze records (My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and Have a Nice Life’s Deathconsciousness come to mind immediately) still retain a sense of dynamics. They’re heavy and sonically assaulting, but there are also some really tender and relatively quiet moments as well. I like that balance. On some days, “Sometimes” is my favorite My Bloody Valentine song.