Summer Fridays 2.11

Summerfridays_2.11_sm

We may be running out of Summer (not that the thermometer is currently any indication) but I'm not running out of songs. That said, I'm pretty sure this mix features the least new music of any of this season's sets, but I've tried to put in a little of every decade. A lot of Scandinavia on this one too, that would be lily-white without them anyway. That said, I think this one is really strong in that if you like the first song, you're gonna like the whole thing. 

Cover art is by my friend Kelly who recently left NYC to go to grad school for landscape architecture at UVA. The cover is based on "a project from landscape summer school. it's the summer solstice sunrise over some mexican heather grass in charlottesville." It's one of the best Summer Fridays covers yet, I think. If you think you can do better,  I'm gonna do these mixes through the end of Summer proper, so get in touch. In the meantime, I'll remind you that these songs segue together so no shuffle!

DOWNLOAD SUMMER FRIDAYS 2.1

Here's the tracklist:

1. The Pernice Brothers – Working Girls
2. The Mary Onettes – Puzzles
3. Jens Lekman – Maple Leaves
4. Ride – Making Judy Smile
5. The Woodentops – Travelling Man
6. The Wannadies – Friends
7. Cast – Alright
8. The Byrds – So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star
9. The Grapes of Wrath – Do You Want to Tell Me?
10. The The – Slow Emotion Replay
11. Sondre Lerche – I Cannot Let You Go
12. Prefab Sprout – Appetite
13. The Left Banke – I've Got Something on My Mind
14. Pale Saints – Colours and Shapes
15. New Pornographers – Laws Have Changed
16. Superheroes – What's Going On?
17. The Stone Roses – What the World is Waiting For
18. Eggstone – Waiting for the Bell

 Liner notes after the jump.



1. The Pernice Brothers – Working Girls

My initial idea was to put something from Joe Pernice's new soundtrack to his novel, It Feels So Good When I Stop, maybe his cover of "Chevy Van," but it was too light, too acoustic to work in the Summer Fridays context. After trying a dozen worthy Pernice Brothers songs, I settled on the opening track of 2001's World Won't End because it sounds like an opening track, a perfect way to start this mix. And I've always loved the morose humor of the line "Contemplating suicide or a graduate degree."
  


2. The Mary Onettes – Puzzles

Like almost every band on Labrador, The Mary Onettes seem forever stuck in an '80s groove but yet do it so well you don't really care. For their second album, Islands (due in November), the main development is the hiring of a string section which makes their songs all the more sweeping and dramatic, and you could imagine "Puzzles" being used in a John Hughes movie (probably Some Kind of Wonderful) if they had only existed then. 
  


3. Jens Lekman – Maple Leaves

Few Swedish musicians sing in their native tongue, yet most seem to have a command of the English language better than most from UK or North America. This was always one of my favorite Jens Lekman songs because it plays on the language barrier in a clever/funny way, plus it shows off his use of expert use of samples (in this case The Mamas & the Papas' "Do You Wanna Dance"). Also, it references The Fall.
  


4. Ride – Making Judy Smile

One of Andy Bell's more concise pop moments from Ride's best album, Going Blank Again. Awesome bassline, awesome harmonies, awesome guitar solo… why aren't they still together? Why does Bell settle for playing bass in Oasis? One of the reunions I would genuinely look forward to seeing, and whom still are probably capable of another good album.
  


5. The Woodentops – Travelling Man

From one of my all-time favorite '80s albums, Giant. The breakneck speed, the clatter of the production, and most of all the melodies. Truly a lost classic that I listen to probably once a month. Trying to pick a song off it was more about one that fit with everything else than the best song from the album. I think I did ok.
  


6. The Wannadies – Friends

Criminally underrated Swedish band that shoulda been at least huge on commercial alternative radio, but they barely released records here, despite "You & Me Song"'s starring appearance on the Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet soundtrack. This is from 1996's Bagsy Me, maybe their best album, but you can't really go wrong with any of them.

7. Cast – Alright
This was John Power's band after Lee Mavers kicked him out of The La's. Not anything too deep lyrically, but… the hooks are undeniable. As a pop single, "Alright" is absolutely airtight and joyous. Much of the post-Oasis Britpop scene feels hollow now, but Cast's debut, All Change, holds up well.
  


8. The Byrds – So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star

In under two minutes, the Byrds lay out fame as cynically, correctly, and melodically as possible. Great song, and the lyrics still hold true today.
  


9. The Grapes of Wrath – Do You Want to Tell Me?

Maybe a footnote today, but these Canadians were college radio mainstays in the late '80s/ early '90s. This was the first single to their 1989 album, Now and Again, and I don't think it's dated a bit.
  


10. The The – Slow Emotion Replay

Maybe the last record to feature Johnny Marr sounding like Johnny Marr. The ex-Smith actually spent more time as guitarist in The The than working with Morrissey, though I think that's really only calendar-wise. (The Smiths rival the Beatles for most music out in a short period of time.) Anyway, this is one of The The's best singles from 1992s excellent Dusk. Matt Johnson, make a new record, won't you?
  


11. Sondre Lerche – I Cannot Let You Go

The only other "new" song on this mix, from Lerche's forthcoming album Heartbeat Radio which is out next month. The inspiration for "I Cannot Let You Go" is clearly Prefab Sprout… dig those female backing vocals. If you doubt me, just wait for the next song on this mix…
  


12. Prefab Sprout – Appetite

…which is from Prefab Sprout's 1984 classic Steve McQueen, whose songs shine through the overly-synthy Thomas Dolby production. I used to think this song was about a new mother talking to her baby, but apparently it's a warning against material gain. I like my interpretation better.
  


13. The Left Banke – I've Got Something on My Mind

The harpsichord is so good on this, it's sustained to separate songs: this and Jens Lekman's "Black Cab" which lifts it hook, line, and sinker but makes something new and great from it. Of course, The Left Banke's original is just about perfect on it's own.
  


14. Pale Saints – Colours and Shapes

Maybe the best 4AD band of the 1990 – 1992 period, melding the dreaminess of the label's original roster (Cocteau Twins, Dif Juz) with the noisier new signings (Pixies, Throwing Muses). This track, with it's "Boys Don't Cry" ascending chord progression, is an obscurity that was originally only available as a Japanese import called Mrs. Dolphin that I paid nearly $30 for in 1993. Now you can get it via Emusic. So much for completism. 
  


15. New Pornographers – Laws Have Changed

Recently named the #201 track of the 00s by Pitchfork, I found it kind of hard to single out a track from 2003's Electric Version. That album is near-perfect if you ask me.
  


16. Superheroes – What's Going On?

Superheroes opened for Junior Senior at Mercury Lounge back in 2003 and I knew nothing about them going in, but I listen to their records more than JS now. Frontman Thomas Troelsen dumped three bottles of water on himself within three songs and I remember thinking "I hope he doesn't electrocute himself." He didn't, though he gave up Superheroes for the dance pop group Private who Perez Hilton likes a lot. This band is better.
  


17. The Stone Roses – What the World is Waiting For

I am dumbfounded that The Stone Roses' near-perfect debut album is 20 years old. This song is maybe just slightly younger than that, the b-side of Madchester classic "Elephant Stone" but this is the better track, maybe the Roses best-ever? (OK, "Waterfall" is amazing.) The album is getting the Anniversary treatment, remastered by producer John Leckie who has given the CD back it's bottom end (originally mastered from the vinyl version which can't handle all that bass) without giving it any of the current compression/clipping that is prevalent in most music made today. Which is to say it still sounds awesome. If you don't own it (the reissue comes with all the b-sides and subsequent singles), your collection isn't complete.
  


18. Eggstone – Waiting for the Bell

Fey Swedes who were never going to set the world on fire, but they made some really fine records. I like this one the chiming yet dirty guitar sound (this was produced by Torr Johanssen, who did the early Cardigans albums, and Franz Ferdinand's first), as well as the extended outro which could personally go on for 20 minutes just as it is and I'd be just fine with that. BUT IT DOESN'T. 

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the mixes Bill. I've been following all summer long. Hard to beleive that the Stone Roses debut was 20 years ago! Around the same time, my brother gave me Prefab Sprout's "Two Wheels Good", which I think is the US-titled version of "Steve McQueen".

  2. Bill Going Blank Again is also my favorite Ride record. I still rememember cranking that relentless build in Ox4 at 3:00 in the morning to keep awake in an overnight jock shift in schoool. One of my more sublime memories from U92.

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