Monday, July 27, 2009

Things I never knew...

-Kelly Reichardt directed a video for Big Dipper:

-Sofia Coppola directed a video for the Flaming Lips:

Things I knew...

-Both directors and both songs are awesome!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

nothing says summer like slow-burning art music. first up we have the great austin, tx five piece, the american analog set. when they’re on, the band’s slow, precise songcraft hits a sweet spot somewhere between fellow texans bedhead and obvious influence spacemen 3. “know by heart” is probably their finest album, but lately i’ve been digging “the wait,” off 1998’s “the golden band”:

[mp3] the american analog set—“the wait”

dirty three are an australian group that make instrumental rock as vast as the queensland sky. key to the group’s sound is the violin of frequent nick cave collaborator warren ellis. on “i really should’ve gone out last night,” ellis plucks his violin to devastating effect, multitracking that noise over other layers of his own playing. guitarist mick turner and drummer jim white are hardly slouches themselves, and play with a sense of economy that, paradoxically, makes the best work of the three sound spacious and huge. their 2001 disc “whatever you love, you are” is highly recommended.

[mp3] dirty three—“i really should’ve gone out last night”

Saturday, July 18, 2009

You Heard The Pop Mix In Your Ears
September 2002

Neu! – Isi
The Shins – Know Your Onion!
The English Beat – Two Swords
The Wipers – Mystery
Catherine Wheel – I Want To Touch You
The Leaving Trains – Light Rain
Husker Du – Flexible Flyer
R.E.M. – Imitation Of Life
Dean Schlabowske – Gary Gilmore’s Eyes
The Sonics – Have Love Will Travel
The Hollies – Postcard
Chuck Berry – Havana Moon
The Spongetones – Return The Boy
The Saints – Save Me

The The – Infected
Ministry – Flashback
Idlewild – You Held The World In Your Arms
Sonic Youth – Rain On Tin
Chapterhouse – There’s Still Life
The Replacements – Johnny’s Gonna Die
Heatmiser – Low-Flying Jets
Medicine – Defective
The Pop Group – She Is Beyond Good And Evil
Bauhaus – Dancing
Minor Threat – Good Guys (Don’t Wear White)

I don’t want to get too sentimental, but I used to really enjoy making pop mixes. (I could call them mix tapes, but who ever put anything but pop songs on a mix tape?) Rob Sheffield jostled a few memories loose for me in his book Love is a Mix Tape, so I thought it would be fun to look back at one of my own. You Heard the Pop Mix in Your Ears was made sophomore year of high school, back when I was doing this sort of thing pretty incessantly. The name follows my pattern (stolen from my sister) of taking a song from the mix and replacing a noun from the title with “pop mix,” and making other necessary adjustments. I could just as easily have called it Light Rain, as it was made while the weather was turning bad and school was starting up. I remember listening to it in my mom’s car a lot, and don’t think it was anything but cloudy that whole time. The songs themselves are generally somber, with intermittent sunshine.

Some things I notice looking at the tracklist:
--I’m usually more creative than starting a mix with the first song from an album, but the instrumental “Isi” is a pretty ideal opener, promising all sorts of great things to come with its lush beauty.
--“Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” is a cover of The Adverts’ classic from The Executioner’s Last Songs Americana-spectacular album, with some of the ladies from Freakwater on backing vocals I believe, and it makes a good case that punk songs can often be recast as country songs with minimal rearrangement, especially when they’re about American icons.
--The Shins and Idlewild were two of the few new bands I really liked at the time, because they helped me understand what it might have been like to be a new music listener in the 80s.
--Elliott Smith was easily Heatmiser’s greater songwriter, but Neil Gust’s “Low-Flying Jets” is the most thrilling song on Mic City Sons.

I don't care to reminisce too much. So what is the point of this post, you ask? I’ve made my first-ever digital mix tape! I’d call it my summer mix if the weather wasn’t as depressing today as it was back in September 2002. There are some summery songs on here, but let’s just call it Laughing With An Ear Of Pop.

[1] The Chills – Satin Doll
[2] Liz Phair – Fuck And Run
[3] Duke Ellington – In A Sentimental Mood
[4] St. Vincent – Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood
[5] Bloc Party – One More Chance
[6] Michael Jackson – Leave Me Alone
[7] Jimmy Jones – Good Timin’
[8] Heavenly – Wish Me Gone
[9] The Sleepover Disaster – Funnel Cloud
[10] God Help The Girl – God Help The Girl
[11] The Everly Brothers – Take A Message To Mary
[12] Camera Obscura – You Told A Lie
[13] The Temptations – It’s Growing
[14] Atlas Sound – Maybe Logic
[15] Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto – The Girl From Ipanema
[16] The Damned – Melody Lee
[17] Patrick Wolf – Damaris
[18] Moby – Mistake
[19] Lord Cut-Glass – Even Jesus Couldn’t Love You
[20] The Four Tops – Walk Away Renee
[21] Art Brut – Summer Job
[22] Ramones – Howling At The Moon (Sha-La-La)

Download here.

Note: I hope this is the proper way to disseminate a digital mix tape. I’ve seen them all over the blogs, but never downloaded one myself. Also, these songs would fit handily on a 90-minute cassette, if you feel so inclined.

Monday, July 06, 2009

the week of june 23-29 saw millions of americans rush to their favorite brick and mortar record store to ensure that dinosaur jr's new album "farm" debuted at number 29, the band's highest chart position...ever!*

the new record, dinosaur's first on indie jagjaguwar and second since the 2005 reunion of original members j mascis, lou barlow and murph, is great, if not quite the equal of 07's blistering "beyond". that makes this dinosaur super-fan happy enough, but the distortion-laden bonus disc with four extra tracks puts it over the top. dinosaur have always recorded mean covers, and their version of elyse's forgotten (and neil young-featuring!) psych gem "houses" is no exception. yet it's zombies cover "whenever you're ready" that blows the roof of the sucker, sounding like the best work of a trio of plaintive gremlins:

[mp3] dinosaur jr--"whenever you're ready"

the bonus disc also features a pair of mascis-penned instrumentals. "show" is a weird song that makes no sense (in a bad way, for once). "creepies" is something a little more special, the pummeling and melodic work of a homespun virtuoso:

[mp3] dinosaur jr--"creepies"

this sentence is 86% factually accurate

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Gay Beast (whose famed guitarist I. Rotto is no stranger to WMCN) are at the Turf Club tomorrow night (10 pm, $6). Their new album Second Wave has been getting some press, nowhere more noticeably than a website called Queerty, which spotlights the disc ahead of new ones by Passion Pit and Deerhunter. Yay!

No Age are playing a (poorly advertised) show at the 501 Club on Wednesday (9 pm), with opening act Gay Witch Abortion, who are less beastly than Gay Beast but altogether Witchier. The show is a tie-in with something called the Bicycle Film Festival, and you should go because the 501 Club never has a cover charge.