Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Q#97 - August to September 2014

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q97
Download mix from: https://www.mediafire.com/?hhc19wsztb61eyb

Q’s Compilations
Volume #97 August – September 2014

Well hello, everybody. Summer is coming to an end, although September seems hotter than most of the summer combined… anyway, enough about the weather. It’s a case of good news / bad news at the moment. The bad news, and it is rather terrible, is that my favourite music venue, Death By Audio, is closing at the end of November, I can’t even accurately portray how much I like that place… as for the good news, well, I did get to interview my favourite musician of all time and someone whose music changed my life, Del Amitri singer Justin Currie (http://freewilliamsburg.com/interview-justin-currie/). So that was cool… anyway, this mix is the usual mishmash of things I’ve been listening to and seeing live lately.

01) Tsunamis – Homework: Cast your minds back to Q#89 and my fantastic Chilean mix (if I do say so myself) and you may remember Tsunami’s incredible song, Rosita Queen. Well, the good news is that after a few years absence, the band are getting back together! This is basically just an intro song that I’ve edited because it’s the next track that I wanted to include…

02) Tsunamis - Eterno Retorno: These two tracks appear on 2012’s EP Crac!, which is a bit more polished than their other records, but the songs are still wonderful. This popped up on a shuffle the other day (not a feature I usually use but it’s nice to mix things up from time to time) and it always jumps out at me when I listen to the band.

03) Black Wine – Komrades: This track opens the band’s latest record, Yell Boss, which was released in August. I went to the record release show at Death By Audio which also included labelmates, Brick Mower. The new record (released on Don Giovanni records) hits a little harder than their previous record.

04) Hectors Pets - School Days: I was surprised that I hadn’t used anything from Pets’ debut album, Pet-o-feelia, which was released at the end of May. I’ve been watching the Pets live with some regularity over the last couple of years and was wondering if they’d be able to capture the essence of their live shows on record, thankfully they have.

05) Monotonix - Late Night: I saw guitarist Yonantan Gat play at Death By Audio a while ago and after some digging around found he was in an Israeli band called Monotonix. During the last few days of Kim’s Record Store (RIP) I picked up a stack of vinyl and CDs, including a couple by Monotonix. This track appears on their record, Not Yet, and has a really chunky guitar sound, like Swervedriver in overdrive. 

06) Peace Creep - Interstellar Alimony: San Francisco’s Peace Creep put out a self-titled EP this year on Alternative Tentacles and it is an unashamed in-your-face SST-influenced rocker.

07) Beverly - All the Things: You may remember the fantastic Honey Do demo from a couple of mixes ago, well now the band have released their first album proper (Careers), another purchase from Kim’s (RIP, yes I will say that each time). This tune has a lovely uplifting arpeggio and now I’m typing this I realise I probably don’t use enough of those…

08) Anna Calvi - I'm the Man That Will Find You: Covers albums and EPs are nice enough but one always hopes they’re just stepping stones before new original material. Having said that, Calvi’s covers EP, Strange Weather, features a nice mix of modern and classic material. This particular tune is originally by madcap Kiwi, Conan Mockasin. “Listen to your heart,When feels right from the start.
Your empty kind of strange, Yours is for the past. Listen to your head, When you're drowning every day”

09) Gemma Ray - Shake Baby Shake: I can’t remember how I heard this song… I think I was just browsing through show listings and finding tunes by unfamiliar names, but I could be wrong. Anyway, on first listen this tune seemed a bit standard but then I found it was in my head with some regularity, so I’m putting it on the mix. I saw Gemma live a few weeks ago and she didn’t play this, which was a shame and the other material didn’t seem as interesting, but I like how this builds and the strings rising to a crescendo.

10) Matt Kivel – Underwater: Ok so Matt Kivel has now appeared on the last three mixes, call me unoriginal, but they are three different releases. This tune appears on his just-released 2nd full-length album, Days of Being Wild.

11) Tim Woulfe - Naked Waves: Speaking of Matt Kivel, you may remember the last mix featured a song by him called Palomar, that featured on a split EP with this man, Tim Woulfe. The lo-fi production is endearing rather than distracting and Woulfe has one of those voices that on first listen sounds basic but further listens reveal an earnest depth. “And I want my songs to remind me of how I felt.”

12) R.E.M. - Get Up (acoustic): This is an oldie but this year REM officially released both of the VH1 unplugged sessions. It’s quite amazing to think that this song was released as a single in September 1989… twenty-five years ago. As Stipe sings in this song, Where Does Time Go?!

13) Tom Clark - New Toothbrush on Your Sink: Tom Clark hosts The Treehouse at 2A on Sundays (25 Avenue A, corner of East 2nd), I went a few weeks and enjoyed his set of Byrds-esque originals. And you never know who is going to turn up at the sessions, Lenny Kaye got up and played a short set when I went. Sorry for the abrupt start, it’s how the song came down. “You had something else in mind, I guess you thought was better”

14) T.V. Smith – Lies: I picked up the hard-to-find album Channel 5 from Kim’s (RIP) recently, it had been on my radar for a while after watching a documentary about him and how it seemed like the underappreciated ugly-duckling in his discography. It’s a lovely little album with some real pop sensibility that I guess fans just weren’t into at the time. Just listen to that guitar at 3:20, gorgeous.

15) St. Vincent - Birth in Reverse: I bought the St Vincent album with a Best Buy voucher a few months ago and have to say, I wasn’t buying into the hype at all, it seemed very disappointing. However, I went to see her in Prospect Park last month and she really won me over, a great performer, singer and guitarist. I certainly enjoy the album a lot more, just goes to show the power of live music.

16) Total Slacker – Satisfied: NYC’s Total Slacker had been playing most of the songs on Slip Away for the last couple of years (it was released in February) and again there was a question of whether or not the band’s fiery live performances could be captured on record, and again the answer was yes! The band have since parted ways with guitarist David Tassy which was a shame as I thought he was fairly integral to their live appeal.

17) David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights – Dropper: I recently saw The Clean live in Brooklyn (review: http://freewilliamsburg.com/kiwi-legends-the-clean-played-rough-trade/) and also managed to score a copy of David Kilhour’s latest solo album End Times Undone, which is a fine mix of jangle-pop and Neil Young-esque guitar wigouts, of which this is a fine example.

18) Elephant Stone - Wayward Stone: I saw Elephant Stone recently at the Mercury Lounge, having missed out on seeing them last year due to conflicts in schedule. This track is more of a nod to their previous records with that lovely jangley sound, but most of the Three Poisons taps into a sound a bit more like 90s Britpop (but is, thankfully, a bit better than most of that turgid movement (save a few highlights)). Always looking back on tomorrow but never thinking of you.

19) Wand - Flying Golem: I missed Ty Segal this time around in NYC (actually for the second time around…) but I did manage to catch Wand (who are one of his openers on this tour) at Death By Audio and you can immediately hear why he has taken them on tour with him.

20) Dinner – Girl: Anders Rhedin is from Denmark but currently lives in LA and has just signed to NYC-based record label, Capture Tracks. This has a wonderful, lo-fi electro-goth sound to it. Fans of John Maus will no doubt get into this. They played at Baby’s All Right this month but I didn’t end up going, hopefully there will be another chance in the future.

21) Del Amitri – Hadrian’s Wall: It’s been quite the year for Del Amitri fans, Justin Currie has released his third solo album and Del Amitri played some reunion shows (their first in 12 years), to cap things off, they just put up a couple of new tracks on their soundcloud page. This song has some great orchestration with sweeping strings, not something the band used too often.

22) Patter Matthew Bauer - You Are the Chapel: A former member of The Walkmen (who broke up), Peter Matthew Bauer has produced a rather spiffing solo record called Liberation! It almost seems like a shame to take a song out of context with the record which has a great flow to it.

And there we have it, I hope you enjoy something on this, as always. I have some ideas for the next one (I might do a Death By Audio – RIP mix) but it could just end up being the standard mix of whatever I’ve seen live or listened to lately. The two pictures are animals that look like me. On the front a Harpy Eagle and flipside is the red-lipped batfish

Until next time

Peace and love - Q 

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q97
Download mix from: https://www.mediafire.com/?hhc19wsztb61eyb

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Q#96 - June - July 2014

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q96
Download mix from: https://www.mediafire.com/?7d4a8bjn7xv4eq5

Q’s Compilations
Volume #96 June – July 2014

Busy times, it was my birthday on the 13th of June (for the second year running the only thing I got was a card in the post from my grandparents, I’m just too popular!) and I managed to go back home for a couple of weeks. I also went to Berlin for a few days for a change of scenery and of course, the world cup has been on (well done Germany!). I’d made this mix before I went away but am only just getting to the notes now. Hope everyone is enjoying summer.

01) Flower - Beauty Pt II: NYC band Flower have always rather criminally flown under the radar and were only active between 1986 to 1990. However, they played for only the second time since then (I think) at Cake Shop (on my birthday no less). You can download Concrete Sky from their bandcamp page and pay what you want (or nothing): http://flowernyc.bandcamp.com/releases

02) Moss Icon - What They Lack: Another slight blast from the past, I saw Moss Icon two years ago with Bitch Magnet (another very rare live experience) and they played a fine set. The reason for their inclusion here is that I found their complete discography on triple vinyl for $10 at a record fair. Quite the bargain.

03) Marriage + Cancer - Shut Eye: Here we are in the present, formerly known as Nucular Animals (I hope the spelling mistake was deliberate!). The band are from Portland, Oregon, but don’t seem to fit in with the typically sunnier or bubblegum garage rock that comes from the west coast and all the better for it. This is from their debut release, the Demonstrations Tour Tape, which they had unfortunately ran out of when I saw them in New York.

04) Exocomet - Mercy Tongue: Another band who have changed their name (though for the life of me I can’t remember or find what they used to be called), I saw them play at Death By Audio in March and really enjoyed their dark, surf-like rhythms. You can listen to their self-titled record here: http://exocomet.bandcamp.com/album/exocomet

05) VBA - Time to be Nowhere: VBA are another relatively new band, I caught them at Cake Shop in April along with Protomartyr and Spray Paint. They’re certainly a striking live band, with drummer/vocalist Vince Nudo (who is also in Priestess) driving everything forward with some force.

06) Geronimo - Aging Sound: Chicago band Geronimo have just released new album Cheap Trick on Exploding in Sound records. I caught them at Shea Stadium recently supporting Purling Hiss and was impressed enough to pick up the record. “Rock is a young man’s game, and an old man’s curse”

07) It Hugs Back - Sa Sa Sa Sails: I used a track from this Kent-based band on a mix probably about 5 years ago or more but then they fell off my radar (the song was from a 4ad sampler I seem to recall). I saw their last album, Recommended Record at a record fair for $3 so picked it up and was impressed with the blend of pop sensibilities but also some kraut and prog influence. The band are currently recording their fourth album.

08) Wyatt Blair - Ba Ba Ba (Life's a Bitch): Wyatt Blair seems to be one of the nice guys, and just as importantly, seems to be one of those people who can’t write a bad song. Whether it comes to solo recordings such as this, or drumming for Mr Elevator and the Brain Hotel or filling in various roles in other bands (as well as running his own record label), there’s definitely a hallmark of quality throughout. This bubblegum pop tune is from his Banana Cream Dream record (http://wyattblair.bandcamp.com/releases).

09) Marvin Berry & the New Soun - Waitin': Yes, spot the great Back to the Future reference. Another band on Don Giovanni records, I saw the band at Brooklyn Night Bazaar and immediately picked up the record, Bootleg, which is a complete and unashamed jangle-fest.

10) Twin Peaks – Flavour: I caught Twin Peaks last year in November at Baby’s All Right but they are about to release their second album, Wild Onion, in August. Flavour (I just can’t bear to type the American spelling) is possibly the band’s best song I’ve heard yet.

11) Guided By Voices - Cool Planet: I simply can’t write anything about GBV that hasn’t been said before. This is the title track from their latest album and I managed to catch a full-on, 50-song set at the Bowery Ballroom recently.

12) Screaming Females - It All Means Nothing (Live): Screaming Females are quite possibly the best live band around right now and I have seen them three times this year, so it’s a great thing that their latest release is Live at the Hideout. Recorded by Steve Albini, it does a pretty good job of capturing their live sound.

13) The Men - Get What You Give: Some things seem to be guaranteed in recent years, global population rises, I still look like a mangled harpy eagle and The Men release a great album. Tomorrow’s Hits sees the band tread into commercial rock territory, but they do it so well.

14) Doug Gillard - Ready for Death: Gillard’s CV is littered with a who’s who of indie rock credibility and is currently a member of one of my favourite bands, Nada Surf. The recently released Parade On sees Gillard take centre stage with a collection of pop gems that deserve to a wide audience. “I’ve seen enough of this world to know there probably is no god, no place for souls to go, but I’m ready for death”

15) Sharon Van Etten - Every Time the Sun Comes Up: Fellow Ditmas Park resident Sharon Van Etten has just released Are We There, which sees her carry on the excellent work of 2012’s breakthrough record, Tramp. Early reviews suggested that the record was a happy one, but I certainly wouldn’t call it an upbeat record! It is however, another delightfully rounded record and should make many an end of year list. “I washed your dishses but I shit in your bathroom”

16) Springtime Carnivore - Two Scars: I recently went to La Sera’s record release show in Brooklyn for new album, Hour of the Dawn. Greta Morgan plays in La Sera but her own project, Springtime Carnivore, opened the show and I was wowed by her songs and souful, yet delicate vocal. Two Scars has a beautiful, wistful, timeless quality. “Who's gonna love you the best?
Who will meet you in the wild? Tell you apart from the rest Let you be, let you be as you are

17) Beck – Unforgiven: My favourite Beck album is 2002’s Sea Change, so I was particularly excited to hear that latest album, Blue Moon, would be in that vein. I saw him play a pretty intimate acoustic set at Le Poisson Rouge earlier in the year as well and he is always a great live performer. “Down on the street, Just let the engine run, 'Til there's nothing left, Except the damage done”

18) Matt Kivel – Palomar: You know you’re onto something when you use the same artist on consecutive compilations. I saw Matt Kivel in April and pre-ordered his split-vinyl with Tim Woulfe, the record arrived last month and it’s another lovely addition to his discography, which has actually just grown again with Days of Being Wild, which was released on the 8th of July on Woodsist.

19) Wee - Try Me (45 Version): Numero struck gold again when they released Wee’s You Can Fly On My Aeroplane, which is a delightful, synth-washed soul extravaganza. There are moments where it doesn’t quite come together but when everything clicks, like this song, it’s hard to find better.

20) La Hell Gang - Sweet Dear: Chilean band La Hell Gang were featured on my Chilean mix (Q#89) but I’m excited that they have signed to Brooklyn based label Mexican Summer (here’s a little thing I wrote: http://freewilliamsburg.com/chilean-band-la-hell-gang-sign-to-mexican-summer/). I’m hoping that means there are plans to bring them over here for a few shows.

21) +/- - There Goes My Love: +/- played the same show as Flower at Cake Shop on my birthday, both bands feature James Baluyut. Jumping the Tracks is the band’s first album in 6 years and this tune jumped out at me during the show, I’m a sucker for odd time signatures and this 7/4 rhythm is one of those that is great to pay attention to.

22) Trementina - Makes Me Think: To close the mix we’re heading back to Chile, I can’t actually remember how I stumbled on this band, I was probably just trying to find yet more Chilean bands on various search engines. The My Bloody Valentine influence is pretty obvious here. The band are due to release their debut album in August so stay tuned.

And there you have it, plenty of recent releases again which I hope people appreciate. I don’t know what’s coming up really, now that the World Cup has finished I have to go weeks without watching any football!

Until next time

Peace and love - Q 

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q96
Download mix from: https://www.mediafire.com/?7d4a8bjn7xv4eq5

Monday, 19 May 2014

Q#95 - April - May 2014

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q95
Download mix from: https://www.mediafire.com/?lst75k0l1s10xex

Q’s Compilations
Volume #95 April – May 2014

Greetings! I hope everyone is well, especially now that we’re starting to get the odd nice day of weather. This compilation features quite a few different nationalities and I hope there is something for everyone to like.

01) The Rollers - Knockin' at the Wrong Door: I just picked up a stash of releases from the Numero label after they put up a pop-up shop a few weekends ago. This song opens the Eccentric Soul: The Outskirts Of Deep City compilation, which as usual has some incredible material.

02) Curtis Harding - Keep on Shining: Finally a contemporary artist who gets old school soul without necessarily sounding derivative. Curtis has just released his debut album, Soul Power, on the ubiquitous Burger Records. He’s playing a couple of shows in NYC in June and I am looking forward to catching at least one of them.

03) King Khan & the Shrines - Bite My Tongue: I had earmarked this song for the last couple of compilations but couldn’t quite squeeze it on, which isn’t a bad thing because it slots perfectly into this mix. I saw King Khan & the Shrines back at the end of October and it was one of those gigs where I didn’t know much of the material but was blown away. If you get the chance to see them live then do so. A great combination of soul, big band, R&B and rock.

04) Screaming Females - Rotten Apples: Screaming Females are another excellent band from the DIY scene in New Brunswick, New Jersey and are signed to Don Giovanni records. Marissa Paternoster is a brilliant guitarist, not to mention refreshing in a time where guitar solos seem to be unfashionable. There are many bands that are fantastic live, and then there are a small handful of bands at the very top of the game, Screaming Females are one of those.

05) Beverly - Honey Do (demo): A record-store-day purchase was the Non-Violent Femmes­ compilation on Kanine Records. I saw Beverly play recently opening for Fear of Men and enjoyed their sludgey sound, the band includes Frankie Rose although she was not present in the live lineup.

06) Withered Hand - Black Tambournine: Dan Wilson’s New Gods is sure to end up on many a best-of 2014 list, the record flirts between catchy pop songs like this one and more sombre folk moments.

07) Nueva Costa – Amanece: Yet another wonderful artist from Chile, El Gran EspĂ­ritu is the first full-length from Nueva Costa and is on the utterly incredible Blow Your Mind record label. This song has a hypnotic bassline.

08) Boogarins – Erre: Another South American band, this time we look to Brazil and Boogarins’ 60s inspired psyche rock. Signed to Other Music in the US, I saw an instore performance at the record shop of the same name and duly bought the album, As Plantas Que Curam.  

09) Goat - Let it Bleed (live): I was really disappointed to miss Goat when they played in New York last year, but can thankfully make up for it as they are playing again next month. I’ve taken from their live album (recorded at London’s Electric Ballroom) which sees the Swedish band in utterly inspired form.

10) Miss Garrison - Whisky Boy: Let’s head back to Chile again now, and not surprisingly, Santiago, Miss Garrison formed in 2008 and have two records to their name. This track is taken from their latest, deAaB. I saw them at the Paperbox this month and they are superb, and there’s something even more impressive with drummers who can sing, as Francisca Straube does in Miss Garrison. This song, and the album, certainly has a Radiohead influence to it.

11) Nothing – Dig: There’s a lot to talk that doesn’t involve the music when it comes to Nothing, frontman Domenic Palermo spent time in prison for a stabbing incident while in previous band Horror Show among other things. But it’s really the music that matters and Nothing’s album Guilty of Everything is an impressive and intense dose of dark shoegazing rock. Dig is probably the standout track but definitely check out the record if you like what you hear.

12) His Electro Blue Voice - Sea Bug: It’s time to head to Italy now (Como, to be precise) for His Electro Blue Voice, whose debut album, Ruthless Sperm was released on Sub Pop last year and is a wind tunnel of a time. Singer/guitarist Francisca Straube makes Bob Mould sound like a teddy bear.

13) Solids - Off White: I wrote about Solids here (http://mysocialist.com/blog/2014/03/12/sxsw-artist-to-watch-solids/) and caught their set at Mercury Lounge in March. For a two-piece they make an impressive racket. Hailing from Montreal (who have quietly been churning out some great bands in the last few years), Solids should appeal to those who like their guitars scuzzy and grungy.

14) Unwound - Stuck in the Middle of Nowhere Again: Sometimes you hear a band from years gone by and wonder how you never heard them first time around, Unwound are one of those bands. Part of a major re-issue project courtesy of Numero, the Olympia (Washington) 90s band have barely been off my record player this month. This track appears on the first Unwound boxset, Kid is Gone.

15) Adam Franklin & Bolts of Melody - I Used to Live for Music: Time to go home to Oxford. Adam Franklin is of course best known for Swervedriver, but he seems to be one of those people who will release good music no matter what the project. Black Horses was released last year and I managed to pick the vinyl up for a bargain $5 recently. Musically this project is much more melodic than Swervedriver.

16) HOUNDSds - Conduct1: HOUNDSds is essentially a solo venture of Patrick McIntyre, who writes and records all the music himself. This track really reminds me of The Church (no bad thing at all). You can download the music at a “name your price” on bandcamp: http://houndsds.bandcamp.com/

17) Fear of Men - Green Sea: Loom will be another album sure to threaten the end of year lists, I’ve used the band previously, of course, but Loom is their debut full length and really fulfils the promise they’ve had up to now. I saw the band three times last month and they always put on a great show as well, they come from Brighton, England.

18) Matt Kivel – Tetro: I saw LA-based singer/songwriter Matt Kivel at Glasslands last month and he really impressed, this track opens his last album Double Exposure which I bought at the show. He already has a new album out soon on Woodsist called Days of Being Wild.

19) The Besnard Lakes - People of the Sticks: The second band from Montreal on this mix, I loved 2010’s The Roaring Lakes but then the band went off my radar a little bit until I noticed latest album (released in 2013) Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO in a $5 bargain bin, it maybe doesn’t have the depth of the previous album but it is a nice addition and definitely rewards multiple listens.

20) Josefus - Crazy Man: Yet another Numero purchase, and another departure from their usual soul re-issues, I bought this on a whim based on the sticker which promised a lost masterpiece of 70s hard rock, it isn’t quite that good but it certainly deserves more than obscurity.

21) Beach Day - Am I the Only One: I saw Beach Day last month and instantly fell for their sunny 60s girl group pop, this is my favourite track on Trip Trap Attack and probably would have been a huge hit if they’d have arrived before Best Coast. Listen really carefully to those harsh My Bloody Valentine-ish sounds that live just below the surface of the song.

22) Lou Ragland - What Should I Do: Lou Ragland has lived quite the life, far too much to detail here, I’ll just copy and paste the first  sentence from Numero’s website: O’Jays road manager, Don King prison chauffeur, window washer, house painter, Ink Spot, Domino, engineer, label owner, guitorgan technician, and one-time steward of a coveted Jet Magazine delivery route, Lou Ragland is Cleveland’s Eastside success story. Ragland possesses a classic deep soul voice and this song is pretty poignant.

I’m hoping to fit in a visit back home towards the end of June, and it’s also the World Cup and the start of the summer concerts, busy times!

Until next time
Peace and love - Q 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Q#94 - February - March 2014

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q94
Download mix from: https://www.mediafire.com/?2nncdnpdcbbbfr2

Q’s Compilations
Volume #94 February – March 2014

It’s the middle of March and it’s still freezing, this winter is getting everyone down. Anyway, let’s move on, it’ll be spring soon or maybe we’ll just skip straight to summer… February was still cool, I went home to the UK for a couple of weeks to see Del Amitri’s first shows in over a decade, also hit Barcelona for a few days for a change of scenery. This is the first “proper” compilation of the year and features the usual mix of things that probably should have been on the previous mix, new stuff and old stuff that I’d wanted to use for a while. Hope everyone likes what they hear!

01) La Sera - Losing to the Dark: Vivian Girls recently played their last ever shows (my review), but bassist Katy Goodman rolls on with her third La Sera album, Hour of the Dawn, which will be out on the 13th of May. This is the first track from the album and certainly bodes well! “How about you write another song, About how fun you are to drink with at the bar”

02) Tweens - Be Mean (demo): Tweens’ debut album is out on the 8th of April and promises to be a cracker! I saw the band last year and loved their set so promptly ordered their demos CD-R, also really looking forward to their set at Death By Audio on the 3rd of April. This demo is a bit more ragged than the final result but there is a lot of charm. “Loving you is such a bore, there must be something wrong with me”

03) Slonk Donkerson - The Edifice: I’d seen the name around a bit last year but finally got to see Slonk Donkerson in January and loved what I heard. A classic power trio with shades of Husker Du and even a bit of Moving Pictures/Signals-era Rush in some of their songs. This track is from their second album, imaginatively titled II.

04) Arlis - I Can't Take It: I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to buy Numero’s It’s Pop compilation (especially after loving their later released Buttons mix of a similar theme), but a gift card for Bullmose record shop around Christmas time sorted that out. When there are so many good tracks on another comp it’s hard to pick one or two for my own mix but this one wormed itself into my brain and here we are. “I’ve seen your picture somewhere and it’s bugging me to no end”

05) Imaginary Boys – Gift: Quite often I’ll browse the calendar on My Social List and check out a bunch of bands I haven’t heard of before, one of those bands was Imaginary Boys who had just released their debut EP, Limerence, which I ordered pretty swiftly.

06) Minor Alps - I Don't Know What To Do With My Hands: Matthew Caws (Nada Surf) and Julianna Hatfield should need little introduction and they combined for what must be one of the most natural sounding side-projects of all time in Minor Alps. The album sounds exactly as you would expect, expertly crafted indie-pop tunes. “The couch is an island, a desert oasis, the room is a spaceship, and you're an undiscovered planet”

07) Girls Names - Hypnotic Regression: I saw Belfast’s Girls Names’ first ever US show at the Cameo Gallery in March last year and really enjoyed their set, so it was rude not to buy their album, The New Life, when Slumberland Records had a major sale a couple of months ago. Upon further listens, it may just be the most under-appreciated record of 2013.

08) Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band - The Blast Room: A new band from TV On the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe. I picked up their self-titled EP recently from Other Music and to be fair if someone told you it was TVotR they’d probably believe you. That’s hardly a bad thing though, since they are probably the best band since the turn of the millennium.

09) Mr Dream - Work Faster: There’s a bit of a Talking Heads vibe here in places but otherwise Mr Dream offer a slightly twisted post-punk romp here. I first heard Mr Dream on a compilation from GODMODE records (they issued Yvette’s stunning album, see next track…). They’re in the process of putting together a record so I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

10) Yvette - Tempered Glass: I liked Yvette’s 2013 album, Process, last year, but then I saw them live and in particular, bought the album on vinyl, it blew my mind (recorded at Silent Barn, Brooklyn). What a revelation! If you can get it, stump up the cash. It’s hard to describe their music; dark, intense, lots of effects and layers… just listen!

11) Warpaint - Love is to Die: The band took their time releasing their second album (self-titled) with almost four years passing since The Fool. It’s definitely a continuation of what they had previously put together, dreamy vocals and a tight rhythm section, they could put out 10 records like this and I’d be quite happy. The first listen to the album was a little disappointing, but the melodies started seeping in after a couple of goes.

12) Bennio Qwerty - Smooth Operator: I recently profiled Bennio Qwerty in a recent Artist to Watch post, and am really looking forward to seeing them live supporting Tweens in April. This one is definitely for fans of Dischord Records. The band have two EPs to their name so far, and this track is from Picture Of.

13) Mogwai - Heard About You Last Night: Mogwai do what they do, and they always do it excellently! Latest album, Rave Tapes, has a few quirks with the addition of synth bass and some more keyboards than normal.

14) Weekend - The One You Want: I didn’t really want to use Weekend again so soon but I bought their Red EP recently and it’s great and I felt like this track fit the vibe of the compilation at this stage. You can’t really fight such things!

15) Cheatahs - Cut the Grass: Their self-titled debut album came out in February and delivers on the promise of the two EPs. It’s unashamedly Swervedriver-esque, which is cool by me. I recently saw them at Baby’s All Right and they have even more oomph in on stage.

16) Kitchens of Distinction - I Wish It Would Snow: Certainly one surprise comeback (albeit only in the studio, no live dates planned) was Kitchens of Distinction, one of the most underrated bands of the last few decades. Folly was released last year and I made sure to pick up a copy when I was back in the UK last month, the record is a bit more subdued than their past endeavours and at times misses that beautiful guitar sound that made them so great, but it’s a lovely little album, and as I said, unexpected! I hope they continue.

17) The Summits – Sleepwalking: Time for a brief soul and funk interlude (courtesy of Numero), something that has been a bit lacking on the mixes recently. This one is from the Eccentric Soul: A RBG Production, on which 4 tracks by The Summits appear. Great bass, vocal harmonies, they should have been huge.

18) Flyte Tyme - It's the Things That You Do: One of the best compilations released in a long time is Numero’s 2-CD Purple Snow, which is an incredible collection of soul/sunk from Minneapolis. As well as an infectious bass and keyboard line, you’re treated to a ripping guitar solo. Enjoy. If you don’t, I’m not sure blood pumps around your heart.

19) Walter Lewis & The Blue Stars - I Have Love At Home: Here’s another track from Purple Snow, a chilled out jam which manages to blend smoother soul with grit and heartache.

20) Sun Kil Moon - Ben's My Friend: New album, Benji, has been rightly gobbling up a lot of media praise, which is a little odd for longtime fans because it isn’t exactly different from what Mark Kozelek has been doing up to this point. The songs on Benji are strong, though. The album itself is a bit of a massacre, I’ve never heard so many people dying in the lyrics to songs before, must be a record! No deaths on this song though, which brings the album, and compilation, to a close. I’m not sure anyone else can sing about buying $350 lampshades and eating crabcakes and make it sound so compelling, however. “She said I seemed distracted and asked what was going on with me, I said I can't explain it it's a middle age thing, She said okay and ate her eggs Benedict, And I looked at the walls cluttered with sports bar shit”

And there you have it. Please let me know if you enjoyed anything on the mix!!!

Until next time

Peace and love - Q 

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q94
Download mix from: https://www.mediafire.com/?2nncdnpdcbbbfr2

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Q#93 – December 2013 - January 2014

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q93
Download mix from:  https://www.mediafire.com/?11q6w4tn3ub58wo

Q’s Compilations
Volume #93 December 2013 / January 2014

Happy new year! As usual, this mix is a roundup of my favourite music of the previous year (unless I already used a track or couldn’t fit on due to time constraints blah blah, etc, etc). 2013 was a really great year for music, both recorded and live (I went to 154 shows in 2013!), and I started writing for My Social List which is definitely a highlight!

01) Purling Hiss – Lolita: A latecomer to the mix (though this album, Water on Mars, was released in March), I saw Purling Hiss at Brooklyn Bazaar in December and their fuzzed up Crazy-Horse-esque guitar wigouts blew my mind.

02) Roomrunner – Weird: Ideal Cities is my favourite album of 2013, I shouldn’t really need to say any more than that (I also used Bait Car on Q#91).

03) Crocodiles – I Like it in the Dark: One of the surprises of the year for me, Crocodiles have upped their game with recent release Crimes of Passion, and this song is a wonderful atheist-call-to-arms anthem. “there’s no shining heaven, there are no fires of hell but those of our creation. When I’m crawling away from hell, storm the gates of heaven and be your own god”

04) Anna Calvi – Eliza: Clearly Anna was not going to suffer second album syndrome with the release of One Breath, which is a great follow-up to her exquisite debut album. “So priceless and godless I wait, To leave this soul behind, Untangle the jangle of bells, They ring my fear through the night”

05) Deerhunter – Back to the Middle: I finally got to see Deerhunter this year (which was my favourite show of the year - http://someothersuckersparade.blogspot.com/2013/12/my-favourite-shows-of-2013-and-my-list.html). They played an incredible setlist but didn’t skimp on the new stuff either, Monomania is their attempt at a glam rock record. “Back in the middle, Everyone knows your name now, It's all accidental, Your love is such a sick, sick game”

06) Sisu – Electronic: Another act I can’t really say anything new about, having featured in Q#92, #90 and #88. Light Eyes made my albums of 2013 and it’s no surprise to see them on this mix. Electronic is a moody, slower track than some of the other ones I’ve used previously.

07) bEEdEEgEE – Like Rain Man: Brian DeGraw is a member of Gang Gang Dance, and released his first solo album under the moniker of bEEdEEgEE, I saw him do a set at Union Pool in the summer and it was mesmerising.

08) Follakzoid – Trees: The best thing of 2013 in a music sense was my discovery of Chilean psychedelic bands (see Q#89), and Follakzoid’s album, II, was my second favourite release of the year.

09) The Holydrug Couple – Follow Your Way: Where Follakzoid are, The Holydrug Couple are not often far behind, I saw the two bands at the Mercury Lounge in February for one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. They come from different sides of the psyche spectrum and complement each other perfectly.

10) Blood Orange – You’re Not Good Enough: Dev Hynes has had a topsy turvy year, his second Blood Orange album, Cupid Deluxe won rave reviews though sadly his apartment building just burned down with all his possessions. Tough break!

11) John Grant – GMF: Although this record was released earlier in the year I didn’t get round to appreciating it until almost the very end. I saw him play an incredible show at the Music Hall Williamsburg in December and he gave one of the best vocal performances I’ve ever heard. The album, Pale Green Ghosts, is a lyrical masterpiece, bitingly sarcastic yet open and vulnerable. GMF is a sort-of counterpoint to all those moments of self-doubt and hatred. “You could probably say I'm difficult, I probably talk too much. I over analyze and overthink things.
Yes, it's a nasty crutch. I'm usually only waiting for you to stop talking, So that I can.”

12) Justin Currie – Every Song’s the Same: Hero worship is something I try to shy away from, but Del Amitri’s influence on my formative years is substantial, Justin released his third solo album, Lower Reaches this year, recorded in Nashville it has a slightly more country flavour than his previous work and it took a few listens for things to seep in. However, his sense of melody and songwriting prowess meant it didn’t take all that long.

13) The Men – I Saw Her Face: Another record that made my best of 2013 list, New Moon is a fantastic record and this is probably the most obvious example of the Neil Young influence on it, you could plonk this record onto Zuma and I doubt anyone would notice!

14) Wymond Miles – Anniversary Song: A man who seemingly can’t write a bad song, Wymo is best known for his work as the guitarist in Fresh and Onlys, but his solo work is even better IMO. Cut Yourself Free is his second album, following on from the resplendent Under the Pale Moon.

15) Weekend – Scream Queen: You should be familiar with, Jinx as I used Oubliette on the last mix, but it really is one of the best records of the year so it had to feature again. “You fell in love with a fragrance in a magazine. A scream queen, pleading at the door to a dream”

16) Veronica Falls – Teenage: Another band that said “fuck you” to the idea of second album syndrome, Waiting for Something to Happen is a massive step up from their charming self-titled debut, with a punchier sound and more confident performance, it was hard to pick a track to use. “Driving late at night I’ll let you listen to the music you like. Then I’ll drop you home”

17) Mikal Cronin – Shout it Out: Another double whammy in that Mikal Cronin made both my lists for best albums and shows of 2013 with his Bowery show that also featured Roomrunner and Shannon and the Clams. It is hard to pick a highlight from II because it is consistently strong. “I'm pretty good of making things out of the scene, and turning problems back to me

18) Liquor Store – Midnight Walker: I saw Liquor Store live 4 times in 2013 and their second album, In the Garden is a fun romp of unashamed classic rock, this tune features some ripping guitar work to boot.

19) Fuck Buttons – Brain Freeze: I featured Stalker on Q#91 and Slow Focus sees Fuck Buttons in fine form after a few years of little activity. After seeing them live I noted that “when our robot overlords take over they will march to this”, and I can’t think of a better way to describe this song.

I have of course missed many great bands/songs/albums in this “best of” mix, many will crop up in the next volume. Brain mush dictates that these notes can’t be any longer…

Until next time

Peace and love - Q 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Q#92 – October - November 2013

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q92

Q’s Compilations
Volume #92 – October – November 2013

October and November are odd times in the US, the “fall” (it’s still Autumn…) is beautifu, the sun is out and the skies are blue but there is a chill in the air, my kind of weather. Halloween is a big thing and thanksgiving is too close to christmas to know what to do with either. New York recently had the CMJ Music Marathon and I’ve been enjoying writing content for My Social List, here’s some stuff I’ve been listening to lately:

01) King Tuff – Anthem: King Tuff’s self-titled release was one of the best albums of last year, and his debut album from 2008, Was Dead, was re-issued in the summer. This tune opens his eponymous album and having seen him live twice this year I thought it was time I used another track.

02) Hector's Pets - Station Wagon: Regulars on the New York gig circuit for the last couple of years, Pets are one of the most solid live bands you can see and are an infectious act. They’re currently recording their debut album which should be great, especially if they can capture their live sound, this track is more of a demo but you’ll be humming ohhh la la la ohhh la la la before you know it.

03) Obits - It's Sick: I saw Obits at their record release show at the Bell House (which I reviewed here: http://mysocialist.com/blog/2013/09/24/live-review-obits-at-the-bell-house/) in support of new record Beds & Bugs. It’s a fine record and this is probably my favourite from it.

04) Nu Sensae – Swim: I saw Nu Sensae at the Northside Festival in June and enjoyed their ferocious set at Shea Stadium, but it wasn’t until I picked up their record, Sundowning, that I found a better appreciation for them and managed to tease apart the songs.

05) Joanna Gruesome – Sugarcrush: This Welsh band offers a ray of sunshine for the UK music scene, they were one of the best acts to play the recent CMJ Music Marathon in New York in October and their record, Weird Sister, is sure to make many a best-of list for the year. The album has been released on Slumberland Records in the US.

06) Blouse – Imperium: I was also at Blouse’s record release show in support of new album, Imperium, my review can be found here: http://mysocialist.com/blog/2013/09/03/blouse-live-review-glasslands-08302013/. The new album is more guitar-driven compared to the synth-heavy self-titled debut, but the change of direction sounds natural rather than forced.

07) Best Coast - I Don't Know How: After the fairly disappointing second album, The Only Place, which featured a much cleaner sound, new EP Fade Away is a real return to form. Sure, it’s more of a return to the blueprint of their wonderful first album than anything else, but I still think that Boyfriend is one of the best pop tunes of recent times, so I really want them to do well. Let’s hope the upward trajectory continues.

08) TEEN - Big Talk: This tune is a leftover from the sessions that spawned their last ep, Carolina. I love the big synth sound and eagerly await more!

09) Chromatics – Cherry: I saw Chromatics at Terminal 5 in September, almost exactly a year since I saw them at the New Museum last year (which was in my top 5 shows of the year) and they were once again fantastic. This track appears on the recent label sampler from Italians Do It Better called After Dark 2.

10) Weekend – Oubliette: Jinx is one of the finest albums of the year and while it has been available in the US for a few months, it finally just got a worldwide release. Not exactly the easiest band to find on google (and their debut album was called sports, just try finding Weekend Sports!), as with most things people consider to be dark and eerie, I hear a beautiful record.

11) Okkervil River - Down Down the Deep River: One of the most consistently great bands of the last decade, Okkervil River deliver another rewarding record in the shape of The Silver Gymnasium, which is a concept album based in New Hampshire in 1986. I haven’t dissected the lyrics enough find myself in that world but the music is of their usual high calibre.

12) Justin Currie - I Hate Myself for Loving You: New record, Lower Reaches, took me a little longer to get into than Justin’s two other solo records, it might be the more country influence (it was recorded in Nashville) or it might just be that my expectations for the man who sparked my love of music are just too high. Regardless, I ended up really liking the record in the end anyway. And to make things even better, Del Amitri are touring in the UK for the first time in 10 years starting in January next year. I’ve already booked tickets for a couple of shows, now I just need to figure out getting there!

13) Fly Ashtray - To Sir with Ignelss: Described recently as “one of New York’s best kept secrets of the last 30 years”, this track was co-written with R. Stevie Moore and appears on Reports. I managed to catch a rare set by the band at Cake Shop a couple of weeks ago.

14) Sisu - Cut Me Off: Keen listeners will remember Sandra Vu’s band Sisu from Q#90 and Q#88, since then debut album Blood Tears has dropped and I heartily recommend it. They played my favourite set of the recent CMJ Music Marathon and Vu has really grown into the role of band leader.

15) Journalism – Denim Jesus: A recent discovery, I saw Journalism supporting Guantanamo Baywatch at Cake Shop and was an instant convert. There isn’t a whole lot out there to listen to at the moment so do enjoy this. I love their sound and just wait for the solo… My post about them on My Social List has turned out to be my most popular as well so take a look if you want: http://mysocialist.com/blog/2013/11/05/artist-to-watch-journalism/

16) Young Adults – Decay: Boston-based band Young Adults excel on this noisey/shoegazey/post-punky tune, I wanted to see the band recently but their show conflicted with another so I hope it isn’t too long until their gigging again. For more information see their bandcamp page http://youngadultsma.bandcamp.com/

17) Lil Daggers - After the Flood: One of my favourite recent discoveries, this track opens their superbly titled EP, No Pizza No Peace, and is a perfect dose of atmospheric psych-rock. This track even caused me to miss my subway stop late at night one time as its swirling production  dulled my senses (ok it could have been the beer). I had to fade this song a little earlier than I’d have liked due to time constraints.

18) Mark Kozelek and Desertshore - You Are Not My Blood: Kozelek has been pretty active this year, with a covers album, 3 live albums and 2 collaboration albums. This track is the closest thing to early Red House Painters he has released since even before Red House Painters broke up.

19) Chelsea Wolfe - We Hit a Wall: Latest album, Pain is Beauty, is a real success of different sounds and styles. This brooding piece is my favourite.

20) Zola Jesus - Fall Back: New album, Versions, is a collection of re-arranged song for strings courtesy of JG Thirwell. The new versions are brighter and bring the vocals to the fore, which is a good contrast to the electronic and dense original songs.

This is one of the most gratifying mixes I’ve made in a while so I hope you enjoyed it. The next mix will be a roundup of my favourite releases so I suppose I’d better get my thinking cap on for that. See you in 2014!

Until next time
Peace and love - Q

Friday, 27 September 2013

Q#91 – August - September 2013

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q91
Download mix from: http://www.mediafire.com/?5wheblt4s9j1ysr

Q’s Compilations
Volume #91 – August – September 2013

Summer is finally starting to wind down as October rapidly approaches, I love all the events that happens but the heat and humidity are rapidly making it my least favourite season! Despite having the mix done well in advance I’m struggling to get his out the door by the end of my (self-imposed) deadline, the majority of this mix features bands I’ve seen live recently with a few scattered new discoveries.

01) Roomrunner - Bait Car: If there is a better record released this year than Ideal Cities then I’ll be very happy. The promo sticker on the album simply states Yes we’ve heard Nirvana, try harder. They have of course, featured previously on this series but Ideal Cities is their debut full length and this track also opens the record. If your ears survive the opening exchanges and piercing effects then well done. I’ve seen the band 3 times and something incredible happens every time.

02) California X - Pond Rot: California X have that sludgy desert-rock tone that seems to have been cruelly left behind by many bands. Despite the name, the band hail from Amherst in Massachusetts, and are on the Don Giovanni record label (more from then later).

03) Fuzz - Loose Sutres: Ty Segall is a man of many talents and an output that threatens to surpass Robert Pollard in terms frequency. With Fuzz, Segall takes his seat at the drumkit but it makes him no less a frontman as he is the vocalist. I saw Fuzz play a free outdoor show at Redhook Park in the summer and they were incredible. Catch them if you can, their debut album is out now. Their sound can be perfectly described with their name.

04) Primitive Hearts – Harmony: The west coast seems to be serving up a countless number of garage rock acts right now and Primitive Hearts are a fine compliment to the movement, if this doesn’t get your head nodding then you just don’t like rock and roll.

05) Brick Mower - Back to Haunt Me: I saw Brick Mower at Death By Audio back in February and was wowed by their set, to the point where (admittedly, I was probably drunk) I paid double for their CDs, insisting they didn’t need to break change from my $20, regardless, it was money well spent. Fans of Superchunk (who I seem destined to not see live!) should gobble this up. This track appears on their 2013 album My Hateable Face, via Don Giovanni records, both label and band are from New Jersey.

06) TV On the Radio – Mercy: My love for TVotR runs deep, and it is always a joy to hear a new song by one of your favourite bands (they are, for me, still the best band of this millennium), Mercy is perhaps the most straight forward rock song they have released since Wolf Like Me, and by all accounts came together very quickly. Let’s hope there is more around the corner and who knows, maybe an album!  

07) Bad Cop - Light On: This is the title-track from their recently released EP, which is a more controlled record compared to their debut album, Harvest the Beast, I had convinced myself I had already used a track from that but I guess I haven’t! I’ll rectify that soon I’m sure. Anyway, Light On has a swagger to it that I hope you’ll enjoy.

08) Bass Drum of Death - Shattered Me: I saw BDoD supporting Unknown Mortal Orchestra at the seaport in the summer and while I enjoyed UMO’s set, the night belonged to them. From Oxford (Mississippi, not England), John Barrett writes and records everything, while the touring band is now a 4-piece. They may be set for a sudden burst in popularity as the track, Crawling After You appears on Grand Thest Auto V.

09) Evans the Death - Telling Lies: This song has been my earworm since first hearing it on a free compilation of Slumberland Records acts, I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do. This appears on their self-titled debut released last year, while they are preparing for a follow-up release.

10) Gos Gos – Vacation: Another free outdoor concert, this time down at Coney Island was headlined by the Go Gos, I had initially went to see Tom Tom Club who were due to support, unfortunately it rained terribly all night and they could not play. I was starting to wonder if the whole night was worth it, but what the hell I was drenched by now anyway, thankfully after opening with this song the mood was transformed and the rain stopped shortly after.

11) Lost Boy? – Chew: I love the DIY venues in New York, one of which is Shea Stadium, who not only put on great acts but also record every artist that play and are free to listen to. I haven’t seen Lost Boy? yet but this was recorded from a set they played there.

12) They Might Be Giants - You're On Fire: This sort of comment may become boring, but I saw They Might be Giants play a free outdoor show at Prospect Park in August. There really are few things more wonderful than seeing a Brooklyn band playing a huge show in their own backyard. This track opens their latest album, Nanobots, which is a fine addition to their discography.  

13) Bad Girlfriend – Feelings: This song is a bit more dreampop than their previous efforts, which had a garage rock feel, but the change feels good. I keep missing them live so I hope I get to rectify that soon.

14) Mikal Cronin – Change: Another of my favourite records released so far this year is II, which is staggeringly consistent. This is one of the more rocking tunes on the album, on which Cronin plays almost every instrument. He played an incredible set at the Bowery Ballroom, his 12-string guitar ended up with about 3 strings by the end of the night. “Faith is just a lover I don’t know, love is just an answer I don’t know”

15) The Holydrug Couple - Long Rain: One of the centrepieces of my Chilean mix, I just felt moved to use another Holydrug Couple track. This particular song has gone through a few iterations in their discography so far, and I don’t have my computer with me to check which version this is as I type these notes at the last second, sorry!

16) Sharon Van Etten - Don't Do It: Sharon Van Etten is the artists I have listened to the most in the last 3 months (according to my last.fm stats at least, but I do not doubt it), her album, Tramp, was one of the finest of 2012 and she played an enchanting set at Googamooga this year in Prospect Park, after which I picked up her debut album, Because I was in Love and Epic, on which this song appears. This song seems fairly obviously about a friend with suicidal intentions, but I think the lyrics reflect a broad scope that leaves the listener with the chance to interpret them as they wish.

17) Future Bible Heroes - Living, Loving, Partygoing: Future Bible Heroes made a somewhat unexpected return this year with their third album, Partygoing. I usually lean towards the Stephin Merrit sang tunes on any of his project, but this Claudia Gonson-led tune is the centrepiece of the album.

18) Daniel Lopatin and Tim Hecker – Vaccination: Two of my favourite ambient/electronic artists collaborating on a record is enough to make one weak at the knees, albeit obviously in a sombre, reflective way. This song has a haunting quality to it, like your trapped in a graveyard waiting for rescue.

19) Fuck Buttons – Stalker: After a period of absence, Fuck Buttons finally return with perhaps their most focused and impressive album to date in Slow Focus, which they self-produced. I had conspired to miss seeing them live a few times whilst back in the UK so I’m looking forward to covering their show at Le Poisson Rouge in October.

I hope that was enjoyable! Also, check out my articles on www.mysociallist.com. October is looking like a hectic month with various gigs lined up.

Until next time
Peace and love - Q