Monday, 27 July 2015

Q#102 - June - July 2015

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Q’s Compilations
Volume #102 June – July 2015

Summer in New York, it seemed to take a little longer getting here than usual, but now we’re battling torrid heat and humidity whilst trying to pretend we were looking forward to this a few months ago. It’s easier to keep in shape here because of the perpetual sweating. Anyway, here are some tunes!

01) The Bears - None of the Above: I heard of The Bears years ago through the lesser-known band The Psychodots, which is ¾ of The Bears (Rob Fetters, Bob Nyswonger and Chris Arduser. The Bears are the better known group by virtue of Adrian Belew’s presence. They put together XTC-esque jangly indie-pop with an arty angle. It’s hard to find their stuff but I stumbled on a second-hand vinyl copy of their debut album for $3 and could hardly contain my excitement. “Top ten well dressed men, Every hair in place, Author, skier, millionaire. Epitome of taste. Always willing, lways hot, All these things I am not”

02) Gold Bears - Yeah, Tonight: Atlanta’s Gold Bears released Dalliance on Slumberland Records in June 2014 and it’s a punchy break-up record with a sunny sound. The production runs a little in the red but it fits the songs, which barely stay on the tracks at times. “I guess you’re just a mistress, anyway”

03) Bedhead – Haywire: Reissue kings The Numero Group are best known for unearthing lost soul gems but every once in a while they dip into guitar-based indie rock and hardcore, Bedhead got a fantastic boxset treatment in 2014 and as with everything the label puts together, it’s compiled with a lot of love. The Dallas, Texas band were one of the first slowcore bands to come to prominence along with the likes of Codeine and Red House Painters. This song is from the band’s 1994 debut album, What Fun Life Was. “I can't talk about things i don't understand so i leave it here in empty hands and i leave off the ink so i don't have to think or sink that low ever again.

04) Slavve - In Your Dreams: By way of Florida, Brooklyn-based two-piece Slavve make brash, downtuned rock tunes. I caught them play a free set at Rough Trade in August last year so I was a little surprised to find I hadn’t used this track before.

05) Girl Band - De Bom Bom: This 4-piece from Dublin are one of the more inventive rock bands of recent years, I missed them when they played in NYC earlier in the year but made up for that last month at the Northside Festival when they opened for Viet Cong. If anything they come across better as a live act.

06) Microwaves – Goonraker: Pittsburgh’s Microwaves have been crafting “sub-mainstream” music for the best part of 15 years, and I’m possibly doing them a disservice but putting one of their more concise tunes on a mix. I saw the band for the first time in January this year at Saint Vitus and they’re a mesmerising and complex trio.

07) SQÜRL - Pink Dust: I saw SQÜRL supporting Follakzoid ( in May and there were more than a few curious faces in the crowd who seemingly only turned up to see Jim Jarmusch (who fronts the band). They have a Codeine / Low slowcore sound and while I went in blind not knowing anything about them, I definitely came out a fan.

08) Sun Kil Moon - AliSpinks2: Universal Themes is Mark Kozelek’s most “don’t-give-a-fuck” album in his discography, and I don’t mean that in a bad way, he is just doing whatever he wants. The record is a little all over the map in terms of production and style, with Kozelek stream-of-consciousness lyrics amped up to 11. This song is probably the most concise on the album and I think is his closest to showing his love of Modest Mouse (aside from his acoustic covers album), he even sounds a bit like Isaac Brock a little. “But I'm a songwriter, I write songs in my car until the day I die
I write songs that make people laugh, cry, happy And songs that make grown man shit their pants like little fucking babies”

09) Aka - Do What You Like: On a bit of a whim, I picked up a compilation called Those Shocking Shaking Days, which chronicles the psych/prog/kraut music scene from the underground Indonesian scene in the 70s. Emperor Suharto censored and cracked down on music at the time, so all of these acts were rebelling and putting themselves at risk for their art. I can’t wait to find the time and delve into the history of this period to know more as the music is great.

10) Ex Hex – Waterfall: Mary Timony has been doing the power-trio thing for the last few years, first with Sleater Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein in Wild Flag and now with Ex Hex. Their debut album, Rips, is a fun-filled rocker where every song sounds like it should be released as a single. I saw the band live in June and they sounded great, with all the cliché rock high kicks and poses to match. Catch them if you can.

11) Mac McCaughan - Only Do: Superchunk frontman and Merge Records found Mac McCaughan released his first solo album this year (ignoring his other “solo” venture, Portastatic) with the early 80s post-punk-tinged Non-Believers. I caught Mac’s show in New York recently:

12) The Holydrug Couple – Dreamy: It has been another good year for Chilean psych rock, with perhaps the two flagship bands from Santiago, Follakzoid and The Holydrug Couple, releasing new albums. With Moonlust, The Holydrug Couple have incorporated synths and even gone more poppy at times but they’ve done so in a natural sounding way. I saw the band at Austin Psych Fest they were easily one of the highlights of the weekend. The title of this song is all you need to know about how it sounds.

13) Luna – Chinatown: There are countless bands who simply pass you by for a variety of reasons, and thankfully you get a second chance with some of them. After a decade in hiatus, Luna reformed this year and recently played a free show in New York for the Northside Festival. After seeing people genuinely excited about the prospect of seeing them, I went to see what the fuss was about more than anything, the group put on a fantastic show in the oppressive humidity and I certainly consider myself a fan now. This tune is from possibly the band’s most acclaimed album, Penthouse. “In the tiny tiny hours, ‘tween the evening and the day, We have placed our final bets, We have come out to play, Fancy drinks a lucky toasts, I like this time the most”

14) Lambchop - You Masculine You: I was given a Lambchop album by a friend probably 10 years ago, to be frank I never really listened to it all that much, but when I saw Nixon on sale on vinyl I thought it was worth a punt to see if I just hadn’t given them a fair shot, turns out I hadn’t. Nixon has a richness to it that is hard to put into words, and this tune has a soul shuffle that is hard to not get swept along with.

15) Rush - Losing It: I suspect I may well have used this song on one of the early Q-comps, but who is keeping track… the reason for its inclusion here is that Rush are on what is quite probably their last ever tour and they have trotted out this rarity on a few occasions, two of which I had the pleasure of seeing, in New Jersey and New York. The Madison Square Garden show may just be the best concert I have ever been to, and if the band do call it a day, at least they’re going out on a real high. The reason it had never been performed before this tour is due to Ben Mink’s electric violin performance, he performed with the band in Toronto and Vancouver while Jonathan Dinklage (brother of Game of Thrones’ Peter) performed with them in NJ and NY. From 1982’s Signals, the song also features some of Neil Peart’s best lyrics. “Some are born to move the world, To live their fantasies. But most of us just dream about, The things we'd like to be. Sadder still to watch it die, Than never to have known it. For you, the blind who once could see, The bell tolls for thee...”

16) A Winged Victory for the Sullen - Atomos VII: I had the pleasure of seeing AWVftS again a few months ago (reviewed here - at Le Poisson Rouge. I had seen them last year and they were great, but the performance seemed to be on another level this time around.

17) Girls Names - Zero Triptych: I caught Girls Names’ first ever US show in 2012 in support of their surprisingly overlooked record The New Life. The Belfast band were due to play in New York again earlier in the year but had to postpone due to illness, and are due to release their third album, Arms Around a Vision, in October. This track was a 12” single that will not make the new album so I made sure I snapped it up on import, it’s a bit of an epic, clocking in at over 10 minutes, but showcases what the band does well.

And there you have it, I feel as though this mix is a little disjointed, but those can be satisfying too. Hopefully things will be a bit more calm by the time the next mix is released…

Until next time

Peace and love - Q 

Please note that the zip file has a password: Q102
Download mix from:

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