Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Q#101 - April - May 2015



Please note that the zip file has a password: Q101
Download mix from: http://www.mediafire.com/download/rn9negvfvun7wuh/Q#101.zip


Q’s Compilations
Volume #101 April – May 2015

I guess this is the first “normal” mix since September, as I’ve had my Death By Audio mix, best of 2014 and then #100’s favourite songs of all time. That means there has been a bit of a backlog, songs I have wanted to use for months, and others that have fallen by the wayside. I went to Austin in May for Levitation (fka Austin Psych Fest) and had a great time, obviously I had to visit the Daniel Johnston mural that is on the front cover of this mix. I also won all my fantasy football (aka soccer to the great unwashed) which makes me ridiculously happy. Maybe, just maybe, I can enjoy this summer.

01) Pop Zeus & Wyatt Blair - I've Never Been More Alive: My Death By Audio mix of #Q98 opened with Pop Zeus’ Dead in the Water, Mikey Hodges tragically died shortly after I uploaded that mix after being hit by a car. Mikey was one of the first musicians in NYC I plucked up the courage to talk to and he was an incredibly nice guy, it’s such a shame I can barely articulate. Another nice guy is Wyatt Blair and the pair were beginning to record songs together, this is sadly the only finished song we’ll hear.

02) Mercury Girls - Golden (demo): Sometimes bands wear their influences on their sleeves and it just does not matter one iota. That’s certainly the case for the C86-infused Mercury Girls, who feature two members of the band Literature (guitarist Kevin Attics & drummer Chris Schackerman). Mercury Girls only have two demos uploaded at the time of writing, but I caught their second ever show recently and they played a great set, I am eagerly waiting more.

03) Mikal Cronin - Turn Around: Although he has been mostly known as a touring guitarist in Ty Segall’s band, Mikal Cronin has now released three utterly delectable garage-rock records, that might just be better than Ty anyway. His third record, helpfully titled MCIII, just came out on Merge Records. I caught his recent show at Bowery Ballroom which I reviewed here: http://freewilliamsburg.com/live-review-mikal-cronin-played-bowery-ballroom/

04) Twerps - Back to You: Australia’s Twerps released their second album, Range Anxiety, recently and it is a rather lovely collection of jangle-pop tunes that the Aussies (and neighbouring Kiwis) seem to excel at. I caught the band live and reviewed here: http://freewilliamsburg.com/live-review-twerps-and-ultimate-painting-played-rough-trade/ “Somebody out there is doin’ better than me”

05) Courtney Barnett - Nobody Really Cares if you Don't Go to the Party: Speaking of Aussies, here is another one! Courtney Barnett has had a somewhat meteoric rise this year which saw her sell out three nights at the Bowery. Her album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit, is filled with rockers and singer-songwriter ballads, filing somewhere between The Lemonheads and The Breeders. Yet another artist I had the pleasure of seeing and reviewing: http://freewilliamsburg.com/live-review-courtney-barnett-played-bowery-ballroom/

06) The Proper Ornaments - Now I Understand: Slumberland records had a bit of a fire sale recently, with some releases so cheap I just bought many on a whim, one of which was The Proper Ornaments’ record, Wooden Head, which is a lovely jangly and catchy release.

07) Gateway Drugs - Fridays are for Suckers: Gateway Drugs rolled in from the west coast supporting my hometown boys, Swervedriver, recently and I enjoyed their neo-psych, which sometimes hit hard, and other times had some bubblegum pop going on. This song is one of the latter examples.

08) Swervedriver – Autodidact: As mentioned above, I saw Oxford legends Swervedriver recently, who just released their first album since 1997! I Wasn’t Born to Lose You proves that not all reunions are just cash cows, sometimes bands get together and still release great music! Here’s my show review from their Music Hall of Williamsburg performance: http://freewilliamsburg.com/live-review-swervedriver-played-music-hall-of-williamsburg/ “you make me lose my head, dream of what might be”

09) Screaming Females – Triumph: Screaming Females released their latest album, Rose Mountain, in February on the ever reliable Don Giovanni records. The record is a bit more streamlined, I’m hesitant to say radio friendly because it’s still full of chunky riffs like this song and Marissa Paternoster’s fantastic guitar solos.

10) Multicult – Jaws: I saw this Baltimore band at the unfortunately soon to be closed Brooklyn Night Bazaar, and their unabashed 90s grunge sound went down so well I picked up both of their records at the merch table.  

11) Unwound - New Energy: Everyone finds out about bands they love long after they’ve disbanded and it seems like Unwound is another one of those bands for me. Reissue specialists The Numero Group have been doing a great job repackaging their discography in lavish vinyl box sets and I’ve been devouring them. “desperate kicks, faster still, what about the future of what it is?”

12) The Marbles - Fire and Smoke: I heard this tune at a Highland Park tasting event, The Marbles were a “lost” band from the early CBGBs scene. That guitar solo is absolutely from that time and you wonder why they didn’t blow up like Television. “I’ve been watching bombs exploding, between you and me”

13) Föllakzoid - Electric: Regular readers/listeners will know I’m a huge fan of the Chilean psych rock scene down in Santiago, and Follakzoid are one of the big hitters. They just released their third album (imaginatively titled III), which is a little more trance-influenced than the more krautrock-led previous album, and it’s great to see the band leaning in different directions. Just let yourself fall into the groove with this one. The band just played my favourite show of the year so far by some distance and I’ll be amazed if anyone beats it!

14) Lower Dens – Brains: I’m probably a bit late to the party on this band but I picked up Nootropics on vinyl in a sale and like it a lot. I actually played half the album at the wrong speed and it still sounded good. I think they have a new one out now which I’ll have to check out.

15) Sufjan Stevens - The Only Thing: I recently went to see Sufjan Stevens at the recently renovated Kings Theatre, which was incredibly exciting for me because it was the first time in my life I could walk to and from a concert! It’s a stunning venue and they have done an amazing job on it, the venue upstaged the event itself. Carrie and Lowell sees Sufjan go back to his folk roots and it’s a nice return to form. “Should I tear my eyes out now, before I see too much? Should I tear my arms out now, I wanna feel your touch”

16) Notations - A New Day: Chicago’s The Notations are just another in a long line of brilliant-but-forgotten smoother soul groups from the 60s and 70s. There’s not really much else I can say about this, I just love it.

17) Syl Johnson - I Can Take Care of Business: Taken from Syl’s debut album, Dresses Too Short, released in 1969, why he wasn’t as huge and long-lasting as someone like Al Green I’m just not sure. Syl has that perfect blend of optimism and heartache in his voice.

18) Jacobites - Only Children Sleeping: This might be one of the saddest songs I’ve heard, and I guess that’s why I plumped for it as I’m always drawn to sad songs, and this one is strangely prescient. Nikki Sudden formed Jacobites alongside his solo career after Swell Maps broke up. He died from a heart attack performing at The Knitting Factory in 2006. 

19) Viet Cong – Death: This was/is first song to really blow me away in 2015, and I was delighted to catch them at the Mercury Lounge earlier in the year (and of course, they played this song, I reviewed the show here: http://freewilliamsburg.com/live-review-viet-cong-played-mercury-lounge/). The whole 12 minutes is just an aural workout, those glistening guitars, the sounds-like-but-isn’t-odd-timing, the pained vocals, it’s all rather marvellous. Everything about this song just rips out my heart, chews it up, and puts it back in. Staggering.

And there you have it! It’s officially summer now, which at least here means outdoor shows, outdoor films, outdoor drinking, all while it’s too hot!

Until next time

Peace and love - Q 

Monday, 23 March 2015

Q#100 - February - March 2015



Please note that the zip file has a password: Q100
Download mix from: https://www.mediafire.com/?csk4s0ue4luemxt

Q’s Compilations
Volume #100 February – March 2015

Well this is number 100… the first in this series was September 2002, and the first 50-or-so mixes were monthly rather than once every two months! Not quite sure how I managed to keep that up so long, but here we are. I guess I wanted to do something commemorative for it, and this is basically a collection of my very favourite songs, things that make me tick and get to the very essence of my passion for music. Of course, no amount of tinkering could actually make me happy with the end result because you worry about things left off, but as a snapshot, this is probably as good as I could have done.

01) Rush - Bastille Day (live): In an ideal world I’d just throw on 2112, but real estate is limited to 80-minutes on these mixes and time constraints do play a major part. This version is taken from the third disc of Different Stages: Live, recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1978 (my Dad was actually at this show). While it’s not Geddy’s strongest vocal, there’s something about the performance and the amps seem turned up a notch from previous years. Is there a better way to open a gig than with this riff?

02) The Posies - Definite Door: Frosting on the Beater is quite possibly the best power-pop album ever made, and that’s a bold statement, but almost every song is hit after hit (not commercially speaking!). I first heard this song on a mix a friend made for me, which really just goes to show the worth of doing these things. I can only hope I’ve introduced one band to someone who went on the love them as much as I love The Posies. Thanks Andy. “Better cross your heart, make it people proof”

03) TV On the Radio - The Wrong Way: I remember reading about Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes from a magazine called Plan B (I bought it because Stephin Merrit was on the front cover), and the description was such that I just had to hear it. TV On the Radio were probably the first band of the new millennium that I got incredibly excited about… and they opened the door to a passion for new music in general. I became a fan just before the record came out but somehow missed them in Oxford by about a week. I actually spoke to Kyp Malone in New York shortly after I moved here and he thanked me for not being at that show as they almost broke up as a result of it, he said it was that bad! I doubt that, I’d have still wanted to be there!

04) The Flirtations - Nothing But a Heartache: The question of “what is my favourite song of all time?” has had an easy answer for the last few years, it’s this one. It’s just absolutely perfect, from the lead and vocal harmonies, the horns and don’t forget the incredible bass! They never bettered this song, or even really came close, but that’s ok when you give something this fantastic to the world.

05) Otis Redding - Security: Thinking of an Otis song to use was one of the hardest tasks for this mix. In the end I went with the classic Security, it swings and Otis’ vocals have that clear emotion that few could rival. Overall, I prefer the intensity of the live material, with In Person at the Whisky a must for any home in my opinion, but one of my most treasured possessions is my Definitive Otis Redding 4-CD box set.

06) Big Star - September Gurls: I’d probably put this forward as the most beautiful sounding song of all time, those guitars alone make my bleary-eyed every time I hear them, I’m struggling to even write about this because I just want to put this on repeat. In fact, stop doing what you’re doing and buy Radio City, assuming you’ve been leading an empty existence to this point and down have it already. That wooo-ooohhh at 2:20 kills me every time. “I loved you, well, never mind, I've been crying all the time”

07) Nada Surf - Always Love: I tend to think or Del Amitri and Rush as my default favourite/most important band but that order should probably go to Nada Surf. They were the first band I felt like I had discovered on my own, hearing Popular in the UK when it came out, where it wasn’t the hit it was in the US, going out and buying the record with what little money I had as a teenager and just pouring all over it. They’ve always felt like my band more than any other. I also think Matthew Caws is a criminally underrated lyricist. “To make a mountain of your life, Is just a choice, But I never learned enough, To listen to the voice that told me, Always love, Hate will get you every time, Always love. Don't wait til the finish line”

08) XTC - The Mayor of Simpleton: As an Oxford boy it’s hard to admit that anything from Swindon is of worth to humanity. However, XTC have contributed some of the finest pop-rock songs, this song appeals to my pathetic, hopelessly romantic side. “Well I don't know how to tell the weight of the sun, And of mathematics well I want none, And I may be the Mayor of Simpleton, But I know one thing, And that's I love you.”

09) REM - Fall On Me: The first song I ever liked was Man on the Moon, you could say I was a bit of a latecomer to music, I’d have been 10 I think when that song came out, but I put that down to pop-music in the 80s being a bit naff. REM are probably the only band I find it hard to be objective about, I just love everything (apart from Around the Sun, which is really a damp squib). If I had to pick a favourite album it may well be Life’s Rich Pageant, and this song just has all the ingredients that made them a fantastic band.  

10) Radiohead - Let Down: Oxford’s greatest export, the one-two punch they delivered with The Bends and OK Computer is surely up there with the best. I remember the weeks leading up to the release of OK Computer there was such incredible excitement, it seemed like an event that certainly no-one has come close to since (at least not locally). Picking Let Down for this mix probably just shows how much of a miserably bugger I am, but I do often find the saddest songs to be the most beautiful.  “Let down and hanging around. Crushed like a bug in the ground”

11) Red House Painters - Summer Dress: My first exposure to Mark Kozelek was hearing Have You Forgotten on the Vanilla Sky soundtrack, and I might have put that version on if I had the time, but I swiftly picked up the 2-cd Retrospective that 4-AD put out, it actually took a few listens for it to get under my skin, but now I’m firmly one of those ugly dude obsessives that Koz writes about so often!

12) Tim Buckley - Song to the Siren (Live - Monkees TV Show): This song, and this version in particular, might be the most significant of my life, it captured a certain time so perfectly and painfully. A love that seemed unobtainable. I haven’t listened to it in a while and now it just makes me feel sad. I really should have also found the time to fit Jeff Buckley on this mix as well… “Did I dream you dreamed about me?Were you hare when I was fox? Now my foolish boat is leaning, Broken lovelorn on your rocks”

13) Del Amitri - Nothing Ever Happens: My love of Del Amitri is completely unapologetic, and they are probably the least cool band to have ever existed. They were my first absolute and complete obsession. I’m still slightly amazed I got to interview Justin Currie last year: http://freewilliamsburg.com/interview-justin-currie/ and I’ll just copy and paste something I wrote from that piece: “There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Justin Currie’s ability to write moving lyrics for the lonely, heartbroken, misanthropic and disenfranchised; sprinkled with just enough hope for us all to carry on.” This song also features the greatest lyric ever written “Computer terminals report some gains in the values of copper and tin, While American businessmen snap up Van Goghs for the price of a hospital wing”

14) The Flaming Lips - Do You Realise?: I think this song captures mortality better than any other, with an unbridled realism and beauty. The Oklahomans also put on some of the best shows I have ever seen as well, but their studio output doesn’t really get the credit it deserves IMO.

15) Guided By Voices - Glad Girls: Bob Pollard is one of the most prolific artists around, to the point where he has released a lot of average material, but when Guided By Voices get it right, and they frequently do, the results are spectacular. This song shouldn’t really seem that special, but it never fails to get my pulse racing and want to jump around. While it probably isn’t a shared opinion, if I really had to pick a favourite GBV album it probably is Isolation Drills.  

16) The Church - The Unguarded Moment: In a 35-year career, have these Aussies ever released a bad album? I’m not sure (I can’t claim to have all 17), but they also lay claim to this song, which I first heard on the Children of Nuggets boxset, and I think as a result, I do prefer this single-edit as opposed to the album version.

17) Porcupine Tree – Synesthesia: I very, very rarely listen to PT these days, whose run from Up the Downstair until In Absentia (6 albums between 1993-2002) is amongst my most loved of any band. This version is from the original 1993 release, with electronic drums, which I much prefer. The album got a re-issue a few years ago with real drums but it just doesn’t work for me.

18) Ann Peebles - Trouble, Heartache & Sadness: As I was making this mix I was starting to realise how little soul I had on here, which is definitely a mistake… fortunately after a bit of fine-tuning I managed to squeeze on this lovely Ann Peebles tune. Straight from the Heart is my favourite soul record, despite the annoying trait to fade out every single song before the 3-minute mark. I never understood why Quentin Tarantino never used this in a film. “Heartache, stop knockin' at my window, I don't wanna hear what you have to say, You can go down your list of trouble, And be on your merry way”

19) Max Richter - On the Nature of Daylight: I’ll end this mix with a couple of classical pieces, the first is by Max Richter, which is fairly well known and has been used in at least a couple of movies (Stranger than Fiction and Shutter Island spring to mind), but The Blue Notebooks is a lovely collection as it is.

20) Arvo Pärt - Spiegel Im Spiegel: You might need to turn the volume up a little on this one, but I couldn’t not include my favourite piece of music of all time, and it seemed like the right thing to end with. There are many versions of this piece but by far and away the best are on Alina. I can barely get through this without feeling overwhelmed, it’s just the very best of the best. Spiegel Im Spiegel means Mirror in the Mirror in German, and the music is in the tintinnabular style, that Part basically created.

This mix probably describes me as a person better than I can with words. I love every track dearly, and I hope at least one person discovers a new favourite, or at least makes them think about a song they love to the very core of their being. Sometimes it feels like the only thing we have.

Until next time, probably not another 100, but who knows…
Peace and love - Q 

Monday, 19 January 2015

Q#99 - December 2014 - January 2015


Please note that the zip file has a password: Q99
Download mix from: http://www.mediafire.com/download/71c3r1saivzczch/Q99.zip

Q’s Compilations
Volume #99 December 2014 – January 2015

2014 was a pretty shitty year by just about any measure of which I can think. New York lost its best music venue (Death By Audio) amongst others, not to mention various record shops, restaurants, dive bars, etc. The year ended with the tragic death of Mikey Hodges aka Pop Zeus, who opened the previous mix I made. Mikey was I think the first musician I plucked up the courage to talk to after moving to New York and he was excited and appreciative to see me at shows (I saw the band a bunch of times). I didn’t know him well, but enough to know he was a genuinely sweet human being. 2015 just can’t be as miserable… I hope!

Mercifully, however, there was still enough good music to pull me through the year. I feel like melody came back in 2014, trebly guitars and finely crafted tunes were on my radar again.

01) Curtis Harding - Next Time: My favourite record of the year was Curtis’ debut, Soul Power. I nominated it for Free Williamsburg’s album of the year list and wrote the following: “The seemingly impossible was made possible this year: a contemporary artist creates a classic soul record without sounding derivative. Whilst listening to most soul music of the last couple of decades you would think “this is the Marvin song… there’s Otis… obviously Curtis Mayfield here…”, etc. Soul Power has a confident swagger and pushes all the right buttons, from the reflective “Next Time” to the foot-stomping “Keep On Shining,” aficionados will love how Harding can straddle both smoother and gritty soul whilst also not being afraid to rock things up, handing out an understated vocal masterclass throughout.”

02) Tweens - Bored in the City: My second favourite album of the year was Tweens’ self-titled debut, with a brash attitude but infectious power-pop hooks. Bored in the City opens the record which doesn’t let up from start to finish.

03) Half Japanese - In Its Pull: Comeback kings of the year go to Half Japanese with their Overjoyed album, their first in 13 years. Jad and David Fair formed Half Japanese in 1975. There’s something about that chugging bass and out of tune distorted guitar that just sounds perfect.

04) Ty Segall - It's Over: Did Ty Segall really only release one album in 2014? Ignoring the fact that Manipulator is more of a double album anyway, it usually seems like the man never stops. While Manipulator doesn’t shift from his garage-rock template, it does seem a bit more focused than other releases and may be his best work to date.

05) Goat – Goatslaves: Swedish psyche-rockers Goat released Commune in September, and continues the good work laid down by 2012’s World Music, albeit with a slightly more reined in production. The band excel as a live unit especially and I was lucky to catch them in the summer, don’t miss them if they play near you.

06) La Hell Gang - Inside My Fall: Chilean psychedelic music has flourished in the last decade or so (see my Chilean special mix of Q#89), and La Hell Gang finally followed up 2009’s Just What Is Real with Thru Me Again, signing to the Brooklyn-based Mexican Summer label in the US.

07) Peter Matthew Bauer - Latin American Ficciones: Former Walkmen Peter Matthew Bauer released one of the best albums in the truest sense in 2014 with Liberation! Another Mexican Summer artist, the record really works as a whole and is one of those albums you just want to actually sit down and listen to without doing anything else. I also interviewed Peter for Free Williamsburg. “A bad dream is so good”

08) Withered Hand – Horseshoe: Another record that deserves attention from start-to-finish is New Gods, with pop-hooks and plenty of folk-tinged sadness. Sometimes you just need perfectly constructed songs and Dan Wilson knows just how to knock them up. “I've been drinking, when I drink it's like I just cannot see, that you were waiting up for me”

09) Matt Kivel – Insignificance: Speaking of singer-songwriters, Matt Kivel followed up 2013’s sombre acoustic Double Exposure with the more electric, but still sombre Days of Being Wild. Listening to both records back-to-back shows them to be great compliments to the other.

10) Springtime Carnivore - Other Side of the Boundary: I first saw Springtime Carnivore opening for La Sera (Greta Morgan was also in the live band for La Sera at the time) and I remember her playing this song which completely floored me. The self-titled record didn’t come out until the end of the year but was worth the wait. For full disclosure, this song in particular is not representative of the record, which features lush pop tunes more akin to Phil Spector-produced arrangements, but there’s something about this song that really got me. “I’m the answer to your strange equation, that you haven’t figured out yet. You may never solve it”

11) Beck - Heart is a Drum: I dig Beck, and like many, fell in love with Sea Change from 2002, he finally released another record of that ilk with Morning Phase. The record might not hit those heady heights, but if it doesn’t, it comes pretty close, it’s just an immaculately crafted and lovely record. “Everyone, if they drown from the undertow. Need to find someone to show me how to play it slow. And just let it go”

12) Steve Gunn - Milly's Garden: Way Out Weather seems like a bit of a breakthrough record for Steve Gunn, who has been quietly releasing top notch folk records since 2007. Way Out Weather is more band-oriented and Steve seems more comfortable as a vocalist, the record should make its way onto many best-of 2014 list, if they’ve managed to hear it at least.

13) Sharon Van Etten - You Know Me Well: Fellow Ditmas Park resident Sharon Van Etten followed up 2012’s much-loved Tramp with Are We There and it seems like she can do little wrong. There were some great lyrical records this year, but I think the actual line of 2014 must come from Every Time the Sun Comes Up (which I used on Q#96) with the fantastic “I washed your dishses but I shit in your bathroom”, the rest of the record is just as good. “We're as empty as a brick house that we
Built without the sides”

14) La Sera - Fall In Place: Vivian Girls broke up in February of 2014, which was a shame (though they hadn’t released a record in three years), but if it means bass-player and seemingly all-round superhuman Katy Goodman gets to do more La Sera records then that’s fine with me. I’m a sucker for Peter Buck-esque guitar arpeggios and Fall In Place must be the best example in a long time. Hour of the Dawn was truly one of my favourite records of the year.

15) Fear of Men – Luna: The UK only represent three entries in this mix, which is a shame, but I guess we didn’t really do so well this year musically. Although having said that, it’s probably been the case for a while. Regardless, Brighton’s Fear Of Men really did release an album worthy of any best-of list with Loom.

16) Allo Darlin' - Kings and Queens: I had no idea who Allo Darlin’ were until they popped up as a “suggested page” on Facebook, so I guess those things do work from time to time! I heard a couple of songs and noticed they were playing Glasslands (RIP) that week, so I went along and they were great, I also bought their three records. It’s usually a good sign when you turn up to a gig and you see people from The Big Takeover there. Sure, this is probably a bit twee for some, but if you like twee, this is the band for you.

17) Doug Gillard - Parade On: I suspect the most under-appreciated record of the year is Doug Gillard’s Parade On album, which is chock-full of power-pop melodies that shows exactly why he ends up in so many great bands (Guided By Voices, Nada Surf, etc).

18) Black Wine – Rime: I’m lining up three bands on the Don Giovanni record label in a row now, it wouldn’t be a best-of-the-year list without their representation. First up is New Jersey’s Black Wine, who release Yell Boss in August, a little more aggressive than their previous records, this is almost Fugazi-like in places.

19) Brick Mower - Shitty Parade: One of the best album titles of the year has to be Teenage Graceland, which sees Brick Mower go a bit more gritty and lo-fi than previous album My Hateable Face. “And I had the greatest summer, so I’m told”

20) Priests - Right Wing: Bodies and Control and Money and Power was unfairly left off many a year-end-list due to it being an EP, their live set at Death By Audio in November was one of the best of the year as well. I’ll be seeing the band again in February for Screaming Females’ record release show at the Knitting Factory.

21) Roomrunner - Ms. DNA: Ideal Cities was my favourite album of 2013 and the band kept their momentum going with their Separate EP, which is a bit more melody-driven than the record, but with the same bone-crunching riffs.

22) King Tuff - Eddie's Song: I can’t help but think of Thin Lizzy when I hear this song, but I mean that in the best way. Black Moon Spell is another fine album in the King Tuff cannon, I’m not sure the guy can write a band song. I usually end mixes on downer songs (I’m sure that says something about me) but this seemed like the perfect closing track.

And there you have it! There are some notable absentees, mostly for time constraints, Sun Kil Moon’s Benji being the most obvious casualty, yes it is a better record than most that made this mix, but I just couldn’t place a track from it, nothing seemed to fit.

Until next time, and here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful 2015.

Peace and love - Q 

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q99
Download mix from: http://www.mediafire.com/download/71c3r1saivzczch/Q99.zip

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Q#98 - October - November 2014



Please note that the zip file has a password: Q98
Download mix from: http://www.mediafire.com/download/y41mha16l969nd6/Q98.zip


Q’s Compilations
Volume #98 October – November 2014

My favourite concert space and DIY venue, Death By Audio, closed on the 22nd of November. My words on that can be found here (http://freewilliamsburg.com/death-by-audio-is-closed-a-tribute-plus-video-footage-of-its-final-shows/). This mix consists of bands I saw at the venue and may go some way of showing why it was the best damn music venue, that booked the best bands, had the best sound, the best staff, and will be missed greatly.

01) Pop Zeus - Dead in the Water: Mikey Hodges produces perfect power-pop and this song is probably his best. New York’s music scene is certainly weaker since he moved to the West Coast. Pick up debut album and the Tell Me So EP on his bandcamp page: http://popzeus.bandcamp.com/  

02) Hector's Pets - New Job: I’m not sure if there’s a band I saw more times at DBA than Hector’s Pets (two of the band were also in Pop Zeus’ band), so it wouldn’t be appropriate at all to leave them out. The band’s debut, Pet-O-Feelia is a garage-rock triumph.

03) Bennio Qwerty - Pipe Dreams: One of the joys of going to DBA was not needing to do your homework and trust that Edan had put together a good bill, the openers were just as likely to be as good as the headliners. The band are one of my favourites in Brooklyn and I have DBA to thank for that.

04) Brick Mower - Never Said Easy: I’ve used Brick Mower a bunch of times and they were another band I’d never heard of until they rocked up to the stage at DBA (opening for California X and Nuclear Santa Claust). This track is from their latest release, 2014’s Teenage Graceland.

05) Meatbodies – Tremmors: It should be no surprise that Meatbodies’ Chad Ubovich has spent time in both Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin’s bands. That should really be all I need to say! They delivered possibly the set of this year’s CMJ (save possibly Slowdive’s unlikely reunion).

06) Pinkwash - So Long: Philadelphia’s Pinkwash consist of Ashley Arnwine (current drummer in Bleeding Rainbow) and Joey Doubek formerly of Hume, together they make an almighty racket and while two-piece bands seem to be in right now, I can’t think of anyone who does it better.

07) Metz – Rats: Canada’s Metz played their first ever New York Show at DBA (as did so many others) and also appear on the 2012 Live at DBA Flexi Book, so it was fitting that they would play one of the last ever shows at the venue, which also ended up being one of the best I ever saw. The band’s debut album was one of the best records of 2012 (Headache appears on Q#87).

08) Roomrunner - Super Vague: Possibly the hottest, stickiest show I have ever been to was Roomrunner and Speedy Ortiz at DBA, it was another one of those nights the power went out, but technical difficulties aside, Roomrunner are one of the best live bands around and they powered through their set.

09) Thee Oh Sees - Carrion Crawler (live at DBA): This was recorded by NYC Taper in June (http://www.nyctaper.com/2014/06/thee-oh-sees-june-15-2014-death-by-audio-flacmp3streaming/), a show that I attended featuring their new-look three piece setup. I could have used a studio track but I think this live recording captures their live sound pretty well, warts and all.

10) Ty Segall – Manipulator: I think if you asked most people to name one act synonymous with DBA then Ty Segall would be the one most would say (who didn’t live or work there, at least). This is the title-track from his latest studio album (at the time of writing, he’ll probably release another 3 albums in the next hour). I took the picture on the cover for this mix at his last appearance at the venue.

11) JEFF the Brotherhood - U Got the Look: JEFF are another band that instantly rolls off the tongue when thinking about DBA along with Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees, and they played the final night (as well as the previous month). I want to say they played this song but their set was such a blur I can’t remember! This track appears on Heavy Days.

12) Screaming Females - A New Kid: I saw Screaming Females 5 times in 2014 and was glad to finally see them at DBA before it closed, Marissa also did my favourite DBA mural (the one with the freaky sausage dogs). This track appears on Castle Talk and is always a live favourite, but then again, Screamales are probably the best live band around right now so they’re all favourites!

13) Tweens – Forever: I was surprised to see I had only used Be Mean from the band’s demos CD, I guess I had been saving tracks up for the best-of-the-year mix because their debut is one of my absolute favourites.

14) Parquet Courts - Stoned and Starving: Before I saw Parquet Courts play at DBA they said “we learned how to be a band here”, and they played a blinding set of favourites, as if it were a show that they wanted to remember for the rest of their lives, let alone the audience. This is of course from their flagship LP, Light Up Gold.

15) Vaadat Charigim – Odisea: Another great thing about DBA was its philosophy of giving touring bands a platform. Israeli band Vaadat Charagim (which a friend tells me means Committee of the Nonbelievers in Hebrew, what a great name) wear their shoegazing influences firmly on their sleeve, but execute it with incredible panache.

16) Dick Diver - Calendar Days: Australian band Dick Diver’s 2013 album Calendar Days is a wonderful jangle-indie-pop record. The band’s name was taken from a character in the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel Tender Is the Night. The group say “On one level it’s pretentious, but it’s also pretty gross,” says Edwards. “So it’s a pretty honest representation of the band.”

17) Woods - Shining (live at DBA): This is another recording courtesy of NYC Taper (http://www.nyctaper.com/2014/11/woods-november-6-2014-death-by-audio-flacmp3streaming/), the track originally appears on the band’s latest record, With Light and With Love.

18) Vivian Girls - I Head You Say: As well as saying goodbye to DBA this year, we also said goodbye to Vivian Girls, who played two farewell shows in Brooklyn this January, with their penultimate show being at DBA, where they had played so many times. This appears on 2011’s Share the Joy, which turned out to be their final record.

19) Priests – Doctor: Washington DC’s Priests signed to Don Giovanni this year and released the fantastic EP Bodies and Control and Money and Power having previously released a couple of tapes on the Sister Polygon label.

20) Numerators - Finally Sees: A staple of the New York DIY scene and somewhat of a DBA houseband, Numerators include drummer Burgers Rana, who worked the door at DBA. The band’s bio states “we believe in pizza, the log lady, & rock n roll.”, and that’s maybe all the description you need! For more, see http://thenumerators.bandcamp.com/

21) Protomartyr - Scum, Rise!: Detroit’s finest get compared to The Fall quite a lot, but I think that is doing them a huge disservice, despite often being just as intoxicated, the band manage to keep their shit together for a start! Protomartyr probably played DBA more than any other out-of-town band and were clearly a favourite. Under Color of Official Right is sure to make many a best-of-2014 list.

22) L.A. Witch - Get Lost: Sludgey guitars? Reverb-soaked vocals? The tried and tested formula rarely fails to excite and L.A. Witch are no exception. They recently played during the CMJ Music Marathon (and while more of an anti-CMJ venue, it’s still going to be hard to swallow to think that the venue won’t be there for next year).

23) A Place to Bury Strangers - I Lost You: No other band is so entrenched into the Death By Audio dynamic than A Place to Bury Strangers, Oliver Ackerman is co-founder of the venue and also builder of the effects pedals of the same name. They played numerous times at the venue, including the final night, which was also Oliver’s birthday. This track appears on Onwards to the Wall.

24) Diarrhea Planet – Separations: While their studio output doesn’t come close to the sheer spectacle of their live show, there was something about this song that just made me want to put it on, sometimes you don’t need a reason. From their second album, I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams.

26) Mac DeMarco - Only You: I’m closing this mix with the first headliner I ever saw at DBA, I had wondered just what I had let myself in for as they played to a packed crowd dripping with sweat, the power cut out and everything seemed to go wrong. This masked what was generally a perfectly ran space, and in spite of the mishaps, something made me want to go back, and then I kept going back. While Mac’s star continues to rise, I can’t help but feel his schtick is becoming a little more hit-and-miss with his ubiquitousness. However, every time I hear a song like this I’m reminded of his talents.

Obviously this mix is brilliant, and in many mays it isn’t my mix, if you ever went to DBA in any capacity, it’s yours.

Until next time

Peace and love - Q

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q98
Download mix from: http://www.mediafire.com/download/y41mha16l969nd6/Q98.zip

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
FIXING TWO SCARS “

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