October 13, 2010


After a lengthy hiatus, Mid-Week Mixes are back. The rest was needed.

Now that it is back, a couple of things to look out for.
(1) The list may be posted on any day in a given week. Not just Wednesday.
(2) We've added Mark Perkins as a regular contributor to the mix posts. Mark listens to a pretty large swath of music. And he comments so much (specifically on music posts) -- why not give him a slot.


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


Song: "I Can Feel It, But I Can't See It"
Artist: My Bloody Valentine

I was going to go with a noisier MBV selection, but then I realized that I really liked some of their earlier "quieter" songs just as well. I'm pretty sure every single song they write is about sex, you just can't hear the vocals in the Loveless songs. And I am okay with that.

Song: "While You Wait for the Others"
Artist: Grizzly Bear

I grew up trying to not listen to the live Jimi Hendrix videos my dad often played. I was too busy listening to oldies, or B-96 (yes, judging by those call letters, you can assume that it was pop Top 40s crap tailor made for school dances), then Bush and The Presidents on Q101.

Eventually, though, I took a liking to a particular guitar tone, that slide guitar sound from Led Zeppelin's "In My Time of Dying." Not long after, I ventured to Best Buy to pick up the White Stripes, as I was really gunning for "Fell in Love with a Girl."

I bought the wrong album. It changed my ears. I started listening to the crackling metal of guitar.

I listened to some other stuff between then and now, but lately I've more clearly come to terms with the "tones of 2010" for me. It's the Walkmen, the Flaming Lips, Dungen, accordion, fuzz, farfisa, "Sister Ray," and Grizzly Bear, among others.

So take a listen to the jangly and shimmering crunch of "While You Wait for the Others," which consistently forces me to a) play air guitar, b) think about music invading my stomach/guts and c) hit repeat.

See also: KCRW performance and strange acoustic version.

Song: "The Desert"
Artist: Verbena

In a recent dig through my iTunes I re-discovered this group. Gritty and aggressive, they always reminded me of Nirvana a bit.

Song: "Jonah"
Artist: Fiveng

One could almost mistake this for Animal Collective -- not just the sound, but also the Super 8 aesthetic of this clip, the official music video.

Song: "Blue Blood Blues"
Artist: The Dead Weather

I don't even think I like this band that much. Their image, a lot of their songs, their general attitude, etc. seem a bit over the top and, since I'm well past my infatuation stage with Jack White, I'm not really buying all the shit they're selling. However, they hit a motherfucking home run with this track, in my opinion. It starts their second album and, apart from torn feelings about the pitch shifting effect on Jack White's vocals and the envelope filter on the little ascending guitar line after the three part harmony of "Come home. . .", it's goddamn flawless. The riffs, the grooves, the production, the atmosphere - everything is just on point. It's simply a masterpiece of a gritty, old fashioned rock opener, and makes the part of me deep inside that savors feedback, fuzz tones, ratty spring reverb, overdriven hammond organs feel rul good.

Song: "Runaround Sue"
Artist: Dion and the Belmonts

Song: "I am trying to break your heart"
Artist: Wilco

I listened to this song over and over again while I drank whisky on the roof of the funeral home.

Song: "I Want to be Well"
Artist: Sufjan Stevens

Of course I would post Sufjan. I am a huge fan of both albums he's released this year. I'm seeing him next week, so I'm listening to Age of Adz constantly. This track in particular includes elements from just about everything Sufjan's ever done.

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Blogger Chase said...

I love the weeks when I get to put the mixes together for one specific reason: I get to spread out my listening to the submissions.

TONY: I love this Grizzly Bear video. I'd be satisfied watching it sans music...not to mention how much better it is with the music.

ECON: I'm still not a big fan of Animal Collective. I do see the similarities, though, between this group and AC. This song was great. Thanks for the share. I definitely plan to explore this group some more.

MARK: I like parts of this song. Not enough to turn me on to Sufjan...but I know there are a couple of other songs on his new album I dig.

October 13, 2010 at 9:33 AM 
Blogger Tony said...

There's a spot in my heart for music like Verbena's (Nirvana, Local H, etc.). This track reminds me a bit of The Toadies, of whom I'm officially the #1 fan.

If you asked me if I liked Animal Collective, I would answer "no," but sometimes I say yes. I liked Fiveng.

Evan, I have major hangups with this Dead Weather song. Can't overlook them. ... like bad Rage Against the Machine. Yeah, I said it.

Mark, can you explain the appeal/genius of Sufjan? I just don't get it (yet?).

October 13, 2010 at 11:48 AM 
Blogger Daniel Silliman said...

I'm glad this is back. I always enjoy it.

Mark: I found Age of Adz kind of disappointing -- maybe I'm stuck in the "do your old stuff" phase of being a fan, but I thought what he was doing with the states albums was fantastic and really interesting and this seemed .... less so.

Thoughts on why I'm wrong about this?

October 13, 2010 at 12:37 PM 
Blogger Tony said...


Verbena = Silverchair!

October 13, 2010 at 3:35 PM 
Blogger JHitts said...

I listened to some of the new album on iTunes and it reminds me more of what Kevin Barnes would sound like if he attempted to sound like Sufjan Stevens. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

October 13, 2010 at 4:33 PM 
Blogger Chase said...

JACK: That's exactly what I was thinking earlier this afternoon. Like a very tame version of Barnes-infiltrated Sufjan.

October 13, 2010 at 4:39 PM 
Blogger Tony said...

Agreed on the Barnes connection.

October 13, 2010 at 5:07 PM 
Blogger M. Perkins said...

Disagreed on Barnes, though I guess I can see the connection. Of Montreal is, to me anyway, something like Big League Chew. It's kind of fun and enjoyable for about ten minutes. When you're twelve.

I'm too excited about Tony and Silliman's questions to write a quick response, but I'm working on one. I have a few thoughts written down from last week when I was trying to put Adz in some context, and I spent a little too long today listening to Sufjan's previous stuff and scribbling down thoughts when I should have been studying. So I'll try to make that into something coherent and get back to you fairly soon.

This is a really good mix, though. I like everything here. I never thought of the Walkmen and Grizzly Bear as connected, but now that Tony's connected them, that jingly, shimmering guitar does seem undeniably similar. The transition b/t Grizzly Bear and Verbena is sweet. The Dead Weather song does kind of sound like Rage Against the Machine, though I don't about bad rage. The transition between Dead Weather and Dion is hilarious.

October 13, 2010 at 6:35 PM 
Blogger Chase said...

MARK: Understandable if you don't like the sound of Of Montreal. But the sounds across their discography sound so different that I'm not sure you can really sweep them under the '12-year-olds' rug.

I think you should listen to an album like Cherry Peel before writing them off.

Not all their music sounds like Skeletal Lamping or Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer which are more electronic and modern poppy.

They've definitely evolved.

Admittedly, I like their older stuff better -- but I'm also a fan of their bouncy new albums.

October 13, 2010 at 6:55 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Evan. Also known as Boo. Also known as Cornelius James Frankfurter. Also known as the Alabaster Distaster.

Anyways, I forgot to post that the lyrics in the Dead Weather track are fucking abysmal. Jack White has gotten worse and worse at writing lyrics over time and it makes me a sad panda. In terms of the sound : Bad RATM? I've never really listened to them, but that seems like it's probably a legitimate criticism.
Firstly, I don't like that live version, below is the studio version, where I think the production shines and the overall arrangement fares better.

LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wg8DMqFuip8

I've heard and like the Grizzly Bear track. It doesn't blow me away, but it's definitely good, and I like the gently overdriven hollow-body guitar tone with the reverb on it. It's a good sound, although Paul Maroon (of the Walkmen) still does it best, in my eyes.

October 14, 2010 at 5:15 PM 
Blogger Tony said...

Evan: As usual, you've put a nice label on that guitar sound I was trying to describe. Agreed that the Walkmen do it best. Last night I think I stumbled into the same sound on the new Wolf Parade album, although somewhat masked amid other instruments, on "Pobody's Nerfect."

October 15, 2010 at 9:51 AM 

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