June 23, 2008

Muxtape No. 11: You Better Memorize This Face

Vulcan Death Grip
[ART: C. Jones] And here we are up to Muxtape No. 11, which -- if we say so ourselves -- benefits greatly from a recent spree of ripping CDs to the new laptop. It's been far too long since we had listened to the entirety of the Owls and American Football records, both just exemplary from end to end. You can sit back and listen to the Muxtape at this link, and our musings regarding same are below.
1. Superchunk -- "Seed Toss" -- Tossing Seeds: Singles 89-91
(This is arguably the best Superchunk song, although we do entertain arguments in favor of "Makeout Bench" and "On The Mouth," which of course was not found on the album of that name but on the single for "Mower." Fuzz bass. Stand-offish Mac. Now that we think about it, "On The Mouth" is such a barn burner here's an MP3 of it. Right click and save as: Superchunk -- "On The Mouth" -- Incidental Music; buy Incidental Music from Newbury Comics here.)

2. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead -- "Relative Ways" -- Source Tags & Codes
(This record was an atom bomb when it came out. Is there a line that looms larger in the Trail Of Dead pantheon than "It's OK, I'm a saint, I forgave your mistake?" Maybe. This record still holds up, although listening back to it we are struck with how loud the majority of it is. With all the discussion of listeners getting fatigued from listening to records mastered so loudly, it makes us wonder if that is why Source Tags & Codes fell out of favor with us for a couple years.)

3. Flin Flon -- "Rimouski" -- Chicoutimi
(Bass bass bass bass, bass bass bass bass, bass bass bass bass, bass bass bass bass. While we'd like to leave it at that, it is hard not to acknowledge the dizzying panning of the guitar at the very end. Sorry to detract from your spotlight, bass.)

4. Robert Fripp & David Byrne -- "Under Heavy Manners" -- God Save The King
(More bass and guitar, but different. A blog posted this a few years back, and it never fails to blow us away when we hear it. Byrne's performance in particular, commencing with the demented clarion call "Trumpets! I can hear trumpets!," is a delight to aurally behold.)

5. Bridges And Powerlines -- "The Maine" -- Ghost Types
(The tempo and stabby guitar at the beginning of this track somehow make this transition work. We've said it before, but we'll note again that the singer for this outfit has a voice that really reminds us of Robert Pollard. This one's got a big chorus and that sneaks up on you. With headphones on an acoustic guitar emerges in the left channel, and the drum production makes us think -- weirdly, of course -- of "Out Of Touch" by Hall & Oates. But then again, as a child of the golden age of MTV (truly, this actually had a golden age, we know it is hard to believe), Hall & Oates are frequently on our mind.)

6. Owls -- "Everyone Is My Friend" -- Owls
(Victor Villareal schools all guitarists on Owls' only long-player released five years or so ago. So much nuance, so much texture, so much melody. One album where the awesome song titles are actually matched by the quality of the songs. The set also features some of the best Kinsella lyrics. To whit: "I've been inventing you, and I continue inventing you.")

7. Night Of The Brain -- "The Theme" -- Wear This World Out
(The indie rock act of Super Collider's Cristian Vogel. This track is from an album that came out a little over a year ago, when we wrote "'The Theme' is very strong, a dreamy tune driven by a thumping bass line and draped with various computer-crafted textures.)

8. Lilys -- "Colorful Acts" -- The Lilys
(The Lilys was released in the UK and largely correlates with the U.S. release Precollections. That said, mixes are different and there are a couple different tracks, including this one. Nice drum production here. The hi-hat and an acoustic guitar are perfectly layered. Some surprisingly funky bass licks in part here. There's no overt hook in "Colorful Acts," but the whole thing works because, well, it's Heasley.)

9. All About Chad -- "I Can't Sleep" -- Something Pretty Beautiful compilation
(Here's a hook. We took to this track instantly when All About Chad's Down In Front was issued on Big Pop in the mid-'90s, but only when You Shall Know Our Discography posted this compilation did we realize that it had seen earlier release. Nothing too fancy, just good indie pop. We like when he sings "and I count the voices in my head, the sirens in the street...".)

10. American Football -- "Never Meant" -- American Football
(An excellent record we had forgotten about a bit. Tons of guitar. We're not sure if the words "honest" or "honestly" is in this song, but the words are repeated throughout the record and continually reinforce the earnest-and-sad-indie-boy tone throughout. We love the drums on this too, particularly the warm decay of the toms after the little opening pile-up. And when that very high clean guitar lick comes in at what must be the chorus, it is transformative. Goosebumps. Genius.)

11. Bonnie "Prince" Billy -- "Untitled" -- The Letting Go
(The final track to this set, which we finally purchased in a fit of post-"Old Joy" pro-Oldham sentiment. We probably react to this song most strongly because it reminds us most of the great Oldham records from the mid-'90s we love so much. Also, this sounds like The Dirty Three at first. And then there is the untidy but affecting staggered pairing of the vocal and guide vocal. There is a lot going on in this track, but it is still probably at least 50% silence.)

12. E.L.O. -- "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" -- Greatest Hits Vol. 2
(And somehow this sums it all up. A great Jeff Lynne ballad. This record was one of the three primary cassettes that were ever-present in the family car as we grew up, and all the frequent drives to get allergy shots from our pediatrician run together into one long memory of ELO, Don McLean and Frank Sinatra. We also recall one of our brothers changing the word "head" to "butt" at one point. Oh, the comedy of young boys.)


Tyler said...

Nice one! I too have ELO cassette memories -- my parents for some reason had El Dorado on a tape that never once left our old VW van. "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" is def. my favorite ELO tune. And nice to see American Football here -- that's my wife's favorite album in the world, I think. As a result I may have heard it a few times too many, but it does nail some kinda archetype that no one else has done as well since.

Matt Stevens said...

Very cool - Mr Blue Sky myself but great to see fripp in there cool