May 25, 2008

Muxtape No. 7: Talked Myself To Sleep

Malevich_Landscape_With_Yellow_House-DETAIL[IMAGE: Kasimir Malevich "Landscape With Yellow House," courtesy Wikimedia Commons] We're back on the allergy medicine this week, so we are sort of floating in space, which we think this mix suggests. Which begs the question: why we didn't include anything from Spiritualized's Ladies And Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space? Alas, hindsight is 20/20. Here is the link to our weekly Muxtape.
1. Frightened Rabbit -- "The Twist (Demo)"
(A kool kat out there in musicland sent us a bunch of demos that Frightened Rabbit had recorded for the excellent set The Midnight Organ Fight, which was released in April. Or was supposed to be issued in April, the date was pushed back, but we're fairly certain the record is finally out now. The band plays Great Scott in Boston Monday night, which normally would be an ideal time for us, but sadly the show conflicts with a visit from Clicky Clicky Mom, so we are going to pass as much as it pains us. We've already heard rumors of the band's return to town for another date, so we'll just have to redouble our efforts then. Anyway, about the demo: we love the little piano twitter laid over the thrumming rhythm.)

2. Mantissa -- "Modesto" -- Building A Working Model
(We wanted to include this jam here because there is a chord change in the chorus similar to one in the Frightened Rabbit tune. Also it is an under-rated track from an under-rated album made by one of the most recognizable singers in indie rock. Chicagoland indie rock fans may recall Brian McGrath's rasp from the excellent and similarly under-known trio Wendyfix. "Modesto" is not one of the "hits" from Working Model, but placed in a new context it is a surprisingly vital indie rock number.)

3. The Halo Benders -- "Bomb Shelter Part 1" -- Don't Tell Me Now
(Time was we thought this pairing of Beat Happening's Calvin Johnson and Built To Spill's Doug Martsch was too much of a clash. But Don't Tell Me Now collects so many irresistible tracks we've come back to it regularly over the last decade. As an added bonus, in the second chorus that woman with the heavenly voice from, ummm, Heavenly chimes in.)

4. The Royal We -- "All The Rage" -- Single
(Delicious single released last September from a Glaswegian septet whose story we think goes a little like this: band forms, agrees to break up after releasing a record, band garners fans with single and charisma, band releases record and breaks up, true to their word. This number has sass, pep and hand-claps to spare, and there is actually an entertaining video for it to which you can watch here).

5. Haywood -- "Come On Tell The Truth" -- We Are Amateurs, You And I
(One of the many fine moments recorded by Haywood Mach II on its first posthumous release. We remember one of the guys deeming this track as having the "classic Haywood" composition and vibe, and perhaps that's true. Although we don't hear any of the cute half-smiles in the lyric here that Mr. Pauly often uses to shade the emotion of a song. So in a sense this song is an unflinching hard stare at a disappointing situation. Which fits, considering the song's quiet demand for an answer.)

6. Swearing At Motorists -- "Being In Love"
(If memory serves, at one point Swearing At Motorists' Dave Doughman moved to Berlin, Germany and started recording songs in the Weinmeisterstrasse Ubahnhof rail station after it shut down for the night. And we have to believe that this track is a result of one such recording session (although the track wasn't on Exile On Gipsatrasse -- link), what with the amazing reverb and ambient noise. A fairly harrowing take on being consumed by love, but beautiful as well. Well, we just actually did the research and apparently the track is a cover of a song by Songs:Ohia and was issued on a comp. Who knew?)

7. Hurl -- "Dual Showman" -- "Madison Earful" single
(Devastating slowcore. Noisy bookends. Seems to recast the emotions of the Swearing At Motorists track as bold, quasi-Suprematist slashes of melody. Single released on My Pal God, one of the few labels that makes its vinyl singles from the '90s available digitally.)

8. Bottomless Pit -- "Human Out Of Me" -- Hammer Of The Gods
(The pop-and-lock layers of guitar and bass in "Dual Showman" suggested this number to us. Except there is an ease to the rhythm that injects substantially more levity into the proceedings. Bottomless Pit tours this summer and is about to released an EP titled Congress. The extended player will contain the tracks "Red Pen," "Fish Eyes," "Pitch" and "Angry Swan." It is available for pre-order now, will be issued digitally by Comedy Minus One June 1, and will be available on vinyl (with CD included) July 16 directly from the band. If you pre-order prior to June 1 you get the vinyl and CD and shipping for $9.50 total. More info here.)

9. Bloc Party -- "Like Eating Glass" -- Silent Alarm
(This one's a rocker, and we figured we needed to throw a rocker in right here.)

10. Slicker -- "FrustRache" -- The Latest
(Exquisite minimal electronic jam from the son of the guy who made all your favorite '80s movies. One of those records we first heard on the hi-fi at a record store (the erstwhile Harvard Square location of Other Music) and purchased on the spot. The Latest captured the zeitgeist of the times as far as electronic music goes, although we've never claimed to have more than a cursory mastery of what's going on in the scene. Recommended if you like Bruno Pronsato and vice versa.)

11. Benge -- "Eve's Escape Valve" -- Meme Tunes
(More minimal, yet more lush and with more melody. A good allergy medicine anthem. Again something in the rhythm and chimes suggested the next song to us.)

12. Althea And Donna -- "Uptown Top Ranking"
(A sunshiney pop reggae gem apparently cut by two teenage girls in the late '70s. The pair was the youngest duo to ever reach the top of the British pop charts, which they did in 1978. There seems to be a fair amount of disagreement about whether the one woman's name is spelled with an "i" or an "e," although this very informative Wikipedia entry claims that the dual spellings were a mistake that somehow didn't stop the record from charting.)

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