1. Slow Club – “Willow Tree” (Hotel Room Recording)
A wonderful cover of a song that gives me the shivers. Slow Club released a studio-dubbed version of Chad VanGaalen’s song as well, but this acoustic one sounds more like dying in love.
2. Yeasayer – “Madder Red”
A penchant for empty landscapes filled with native choirs keeps my ear to the ground for Yeasayer. Their latest, Odd Blood was a true treat of odd, and Madder Red especially. The video for this song will leave you unresolved, and unless you like to see Kristen Bell crying I would stay away.
3. Lower Dens – “I Get Nervous”
There’s just enough umph in this Lower Dens’ slow burner to leave an impression as well as an off-kilter vibe floating in the air well after it’s done.
4. Chief – “Night & Day”
Beards and sparkle fly high with harmonies on a song suitable for a fast drive away from heartache and the heartbreakers. These guys are something to keep your ears on. Their 1st full length: Modern Rituals was released just this past August, and it will fill your long hair and flower dresses with the proper sway and swing. It’s really something. Find it here.
5. Fever Ray – “Mercy Street” (Peter Gabriel Cover)
I keep hearing Gabriel’s voice somewhere in the back of this track. Is it that lowered drone in the back? Karin Elisabeth Dreijer Andersson (aka Fever Ray) of The Knife always spooks me somehow. And it’s always an eerie or a profound feeling. Sometimes both. Her voice is just perfect for this cover, the only thing better would be a full-on collaboration. “Dear God…”
6. Let’s Wrestle – “Music is My Girlfriend”
May or may not relate to this song. I won’t divulge. But if it’s true, I’ve been cheating on everyone. Simple spirit, lovely sentiment. It hops and runs.
7. The Shins – “Goodbye Girl” (Squeeze Cover)
The Shins are back! Or at least James Mercer is. His cut for Levi’s Pioneer 2010 Sessions harkens to a classic Shins sound but with a definite twist. Almost like he’d do just fine solo. And I don’t know how I’d feel about that. But “Goodbye Girl” is pleasant enough to serve it’s purpose. Maybe the 80’s weren’t all that bad.
8. Tabi Bonney – “Nuthin But A Hero”
I was ready to bail from this one at the 1 minute mark. That was until the sharp string flavors came into play. It puts the rest of the stutter and numbers in a kind of bearable perspective. There’s a Kings of Convenience vibe in there somewhere, and I like that very much.
9. Rose Elinor Dougall – “Carry On”
Rose Elinor Dougall has been doing just fine since her departure from the English candy-coated Pipettes two years ago. And honestly they’re worse off without her. Partly because Dougall is so abSOlutely adorable. She sings her “wurries” and her “fiyas” and her “desiyas” with a pouty lips that don’t quite close after she finishes the words. I think there’s a marriage proposal in here somewhere, but I can’t quite bring myself to claim such a creature. Her debut full-length Without Why was just released 8/30/10 in the UK.
10. Dead Man’s Bones – “Pa Pa Power”
Actor Ryan Gossling and friend Zach Shields team up with Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir to form Dead Man’s Bones. They take their influence from Disney haunted mansions, doo-wop and 60’s girl groups. I can’t quite get a vocab word to stretch enough to describe this one. Except it really might be a Zombie’s attempt at a therapy session. His attempt to FEEL something. “Pa Pa Power” is the exacting example of some elaborate instrumentation and proper use of a children’s choir. For Pete’s sake, they don’t have to sound good, they just have to sound like children! There’s loveliness enough in that!
11. Grum – “Through the Night”
Right, Ok, the song is ridiculous. But I’ve seen the video for this, and it changes EVERYthing. After you see it, “Through the Night” becomes an entirely different hairy sexy montage animal. You’ll smile and stroke your invisible mustache and make svelte spin turns with your Barretta that turn into high kicks and closed-eye rhythmic snapping escapades. I have a real mustache, so it’s ok for me to do all of that. It’s not embarrassing. It’s not.
12. Warpaint – “Set Your Arms Down” (Demo)
The mostly gal group responsible for "Billie Holiday" on their too short Exquisite Corpse, has a new full-length titled The Fool coming out on October 16th. It’s full of entirely new material from a reinvented band. I hear it’s “rocky, danceable stuff” that is “on edge and evil”. This song isn’t too presentable to that fact, but it’s a demo and a beautiful one at that. The vocals are pushed way back, and the rain-drop guitar leads by divine right. It’s quite nice, and I hope they don’t change it too much. Sometimes the same old thing is exactly what’s right for the moment.
13. Bombay Bicycle Club – “Rinse Me Down”
We’re almost done, and I hope the mix isn’t getting too long for you, but I couldn’t resist adding a song from Bombay Bicycle Club’s fantastic acoustic album Flaws. “Rinse Me Down” kicks off the album so it’s a great place to start with it’s high-time cued harmonies and free-roaming guitar tendencies. The song is only the first of many wonderful ones; the whole album IS GREAT; 9.58/10. Even if you’re glued to your Glee and Gaga, England’s quivered boys will thaw your frozen rainbows and make them shine.
14. Lights On – “John and Anne”
Just a classic from the San Diego subterranean dwellers.
15. Christian Rich – “Hello Virgin”
Zoning-Carnal-Thrusting-Mental-Moaning-Soaring-Breathy goodness. And the video is supposed to represent the world’s symbolic impact on a person’s sexuality. How about that?
16. Summer Camp – “Round the Moon”
We’ve discussed the UK Summer Camp before, and since then Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley have kept up their long ago dreams with the new LP: Young. If it’s all a kind of stereo sound kind of celebration, then “Round the Moon” is even more of retro party. It’s the perfect romantic evening you had while you wore your favorite blue jeans and met that cute other at the one party. Warmsley’s voice is sharp and aluminum while Sankey’s keeps it silver, using the proverbial night/tight/light scheme. And that’s fine, this kind of music doesn’t need to be complicated. You’ve had a PM that you’ll never forget, and you just need to write it down before you fall asleep.
Hope you have a great Labor Day!