June 18, 2008

Muxtape No. 10: The Same Records, The Same Shoes

Here is the long-promised explication to the most recent Muxtape, which we posted over the weekend. You can listen to it right here. And in fact we highly recommend that you do.
1. Elvis Costello and The Attractions -- "Welcome To The Working Week" -- My Aim Is True
(The most obvious mix starter ever? Ah, but it took us until Wednesday to post this, so it is likely you've already been welcomed to the working work by someone else. Short, sweet, hooks, social criticism. Why is this song never covered? It's dynamite. And it's got some great "oohs" in it).

2. Embrace -- "Building" -- Embrace
(The original emo band -- unless Rites Of Spring or Faith formed first? No matter. Embrace was Ian Mackaye's project between Minor Threat and Fugazi. This is one of the act's better tracks, although "Last Song" is probably their defining statement. Mackaye's singing in the first two verses is, well, a little wimpy, although we suppose the whole point was about being direct in dealing with emotional material. Anyway, things gradually build -- no pun intended -- and eventually we're treated to the Mackaye howl we've all come to know and love.)

3. Loomis -- "Conquistador" -- You're No Tiger, Meow, Meow, Meow
(Amazing post-hardcore track from midwestern act that reformed late last year for one reunion show. This number opened the band's 1996 set, and is an incredibly satisfying rocker in that "bad things happen to me" or "I am ill-equipped to thrive in contemporary society" sort of vein. "Conquistador" has a vocal melody that is never far from our memory.)

4. Bettie Serveert -- "Kid's Alright" -- Palomine
(Such a delicious guitar riff opens this one. We love the high bending pull that signals things are coming around again, and we were particularly thrilled when we figured out the tuning for this as a relatively new guitar player. Highlight from an amazing record whose execution seemed effortless. Palomine is the last rock record to have really amazing dynamic range, which is a weird thing for us to note when we consider the album, what with all the remarkable tracks it contains. This veteran act still soldiers on, but we're always most inspired by the electric sunshine on this set.)

5. Fields -- "Isabel" -- 7 From The Village
(Now London-based Fields is about to return to playing live at the end of this month with a new lineup. The quintet -- which may or may not be a quintet any longer -- led by Nick Peill released this remarkable EP in 2006, and we wrote about it recently here as part of our guest blogging stint over at Keep Hope Inside. This is one of the hotter numbers from the set, and we are eager to hear what the act's new record will sound like, despite not being that into some demos we hear earlier this year.)

6. Gastr Del Sol -- "Eight Corners" -- Unsorted
(This song should be the whole Muxtape. No, no, we should just go to Half.com and buy all the Gastr Del Sol records we don't have. Anyway, this song name-checks Western Avenue, and many other avenues. Given Gastr's Chicago orientation, we don't imagine the Western Avenue that is a couple blocks from where we are typing, but even so our ears perk up every time this number shuffles on. After the brief lyrical introduction this turns into a hypnotic, spare piano exercise that draws you further and further down the rabbit hole. And then suddenly, woodwinds and electronic bleeps. Astonishing.)

7. Dosh -- "The Magic Stick" -- Wolves And Wishes
(Here we are at the center of the concept we were most interested in exploring with this Muxtape: that the new Dosh record -- which is excellent and which we fear we'll never find the time to review -- rests somewhere along a heretofore unimagined axis between Gastr Del Sol and Caribou. Doesn't this Dosh track seem of a piece with the Gastr number? We think so. Dosh is Martin Dosh, sometime sideman to Andrew Bird and an accomplished multi-instrumentalist in his own right. Dosh has released a number of records, but prior to hearing a track from the new record on WMBR some weeks back we'd never heard of him. We need to "get out more," musically.)

8. Caribou -- "Eli" -- Andorra
(Not sure if this song sells the whole axis idea we posit above, but it is one of our favorites from Andorra. The guitar lick it rides in on really sounds like the beginning of The Notwist's song "Neon Golden." Speaking of, The Notwist record came out Tuesday, and we hope to get out of the office at lunch tomorrow to score it at Newbury Comics.)

9. Creeping Weeds -- "Long Way Down" -- Creeping Weeds EP
(An odd Southern California '70s rock vibe permeates the verse of this very nice rocker from this Philadelphia-based act discovered via Jon Solomon's roundly excellent This Is Local Support podcast. Creeping Weeds also have a full-length called We Are All Part Of A Dream You're Having out; this EP was from 2004, if we recall correctly. We think the west coast psych/respectable Eagles feel makes it a nice pairing with the Caribou track.)

10. Archer Prewitt -- "Final Season" -- White Sky
(Mr. Prewitt never executes the way we'd like him to. This is primarily because his gentlemanly pop doesn't have much edge to it. But darn it if the songs don't stick in our head all the time. We just recently re-ripped In The Sun to our hard drive and listened through it for the first time in years. We bought the disc along with Wilco's Being There on a business trip to Kansas City 11 years ago and whiled away many, many autumn hours in a downtown office building listening to those discs. Strangely happy memories, perhaps because this is strangely happy music.)

11. Johnny Foreigner -- "Absolute Balance" -- Waited Up Til It Was Light
(We had to include this track, which we singled out in our review of the record last weekend. When singer Alexei Berrow starts shouting in the middle distance at the end of the track it gives us goose bumps. Johnny Foreigner trades almost exclusively in anthems, and few of them get more anthemic than this. Five solid minutes of joy.)

12. Diagram -- "Remember The Days" -- History Of The White Flag EP
(We thought we'd round out the mix by extending the ethereal joy of the Johnny Foreigner track with even more shoegazing electronic brilliance. Diagram broke up a couple years back, and we did this blog item in February where we caught up on what music the various members are making now. Which reminds us -- we think another similar and very good Philly act Relay is opening the Frightened Rabbit/Oxford Collapse show here in Cambridge, Mass. July 1. That's a hell of a bill).


Sebastian said...

Always nice to see a Loomis song show up.

Bryan Hamill - Executive Editor said...

did you really just dust off Embrace.
nice work.

Evil Speakers