Summer Fridays 2.12


So this is, I think, going to be the penultimate Summer Fridays mix for 2009. I know it's sad. Only one more. But on the bright side… still one more! A lot more new stuff this week, including such states as Florida, California, Indiana and Brooklyn. I'm pretty sure Brooklyn is a state, I live here. This week's cover is courtesy SB reader (and graphic designer/illustrator) Olivia Todd who delivered some swell mixed media. That's three excellent covers in a row. Here's where I would normally beg for submissions for art, but I've got the last one covered, thanks. Aren't you sad you didn't write in? Also, you know the drill: this is an actual mix, the songs segue together, so putting this on shuffle would be a bad thing.


1.   Billy Nicholls – Would You Believe?
2.   Car-Sick Cars – Zhong Man Hai
3.   Moose – Don't Bring Me Down
4.   Holiday Shores – Bradley Bear
5.   Love Tractor – Venice
6.   The Bats – Never Said Goodbye
7.   The Fresh & Onlys – Grey Eyed Girl
8.   Miracle Legion – All for the Best
9.   Robyn Hitchcock – I Watch the Cars
10. Surfer Blood – Floating Vibes
11. Sugarplastic – Talk Back
12. The Zombies – These Friends of Mine
13. Brown Recluse – Night Train
14. The Jazz Butcher – Rain
15. The Babies – Meet Me in the City
16. Sic Alps – L.Mansion
17. Fire – My Father's Name Was Dad
18. Blue Jungle – Here We Go Again
19. Marmoset – Strawbery Shortcakes
20. The Postmarks – No One Said This Would Be Easy

Have a great weekend! "Liner Notes" after the jump.

1.  Billy Nicholls – Would You Believe?

Grandiose 1968 single from 20-year-old Andrew Loog Oldham prodigy Billy Nicholls that covers a lot of ground in it's two-and-a-half minute running time. You may notice the distinctive pipes of Small Faces' Steve Marriot's singing backup. The album to which this was the title track is a lost classic.

2.  Car-Sick Cars – Zhong Man Hai

In place of the usual French pop track on these mixes is some indie rock straight from Beijing. They're kind of China's answer to Sonic Youth, which sort of makes them the Chinese Blumfeld. A visiting friend who now lives in Beijing played this for me last night and I redid the mix (which I'd already uploaded) to accommodate it, I liked it so much (and the song it replaced wasn't working). Apologies to Car-Sick Cars and their fans: this song is actually over six minutes long, but I cut it down to just over two. Listen to the original and you'll understand why.
3.  Moose – Don't Bring Me Down
One of the many sterling tracks from Moose's debut LP, …XYZ. Before this, the band were most definitely in the gauzy shoegaze realm, and whether it was producer Mitch Easter's influence or the band just wanted to brighten things up, but their now "Cocteau Twins go country" sound was a shock to most people when they heard it. Certainly their record company who dropped the band almost immediately upon ...XYZ's release and deleted the album from it's catalog. It's been out of print since 1992 (and fetched crazy prices on Ebay) but just got reissued on Cherry Red. Highly recommended.

Holiday Shores – Bradley Bear
Florida used to be synonymous with crappy music, be it Luther Campbell hip hop, icky nu-metal, or the spawn of The Mickey Mouse Club. But there's two bands on this mix that show a different side to the state. Holiday Shores are from Tallahassee and kind of have that same vibe as Real Estate, Beach Fossils with maybe a little more focus on melody. If you live in NYC, they're playing this weekend. If not, seek out their debut, Columbus'd the Whim.

5.  Love Tractor – Venice

One of Athens, Georgia's lesser known bands of the '80s who didn't quite get the national exposure they probably deserved, partly due to being a mostly instrumental band for a good chunk of their career. (Parly due to label woes too.) This is from their 1989 album Themes from Venus by which time they'd fully embraced singing and become less weird. There's saxophone on this but it's still real good. I'm kind of shocked to now see that nearly everything they ever did is now available via Emusic

6.  The Bats – Never Said Goodbye

The Bats 1990 album The Law of Things is the perfect place to start with these New Zealanders. It's got all the elements: the harmonies, Kay Woodward's snaky guitar lines that dance around the basslines, and Robert Scott's amazing songs. I always have trouble picking one song to represent the band, but this does it pretty well.

7.  The Fresh & Onlys – Grey Eyed Girl

Title track from the SF band's second album of 2009 which is out in a week or two on Woodsist. It should be evident to readers of this blog that I'm a big fan, so I won't go on and on, but I really like the lead guitar on this one. Look for album #3 early next year. And look for them on tour with Thee Oh Sees in October.

8.  Miracle Legion – All for the Best

One of the great unheard bands of the '80s and early '90s, Boston's Miracle Legion are as revered as R.E.M. in some camps, though that's probably some sort of elitism at play there, but seriously they were great and it's one of the biggest shames in the world that their entire catalogue is out-of-print. "The Backyard" is their classic single, but I've always dug this one from 1987's Surprise Surprise Surprise. Marc Mulcahy's solo work is great too. (His most recent, In Pursuit of Your Happiness, made my Best of 2005 list.) There's an all-star tribute/benefit for Mulcahy coming out soon and Thom Yorke covers this track.

9.  Robyn Hitchcock – I Watch the Cars

From Robyn's solo debut Black Snake Diamond Role and this is some paranoid OCD shit here. Two versions of this song are on the CD release of the album. The other is weirdly funky and cool in it's own way, but this adrenalized take suits the lyrics best.

10. Surfer Blood – Floating Vibes

The other Florida band on this mix. Went to see them knowing almost nothing going in and left kind of blown away, wishing I'd seen them earlier in the week when they still had more shows in town to play. I've seen some Beach Boys comparisons but that's just pure laziness. Pixies, maybe, but really more post-Pixies indie rock… mid-'90s style when bands could really play but just disliked fancy production. Keep an eye out for these guys. 

11. The Sugarplastic – Talk Back

I've always liked L.A.'s Sugarplastic, who remind me of what the Turtles might have sounded like if they'd been an indie band in the '90s. They would always make it onto mix tapes because their songs are short and you could always find a good one that fit the end of a tape. This has some George Harrison style slide guitar and soloing on it. Nice little underrated band.

12. The Zombies – These Friends of Mine

We've entered the baroque portion of the mix with one of my favorite songs from the Zombies' Odessy & Oracle, an album that has gone from undiscovered to relatively omnipresent in the last ten years. MOJO has certainly done it's job with this one. Fans have finally convinced Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent that it's great record too, though I'm not sure they actually think so, as up until the Odessy & Oracle anniversary show, the favored horrible Argent (the band) songs instead of perfect pop gems like this one. This song is perfect for engagement/wedding parties, btw.

13. Brown Recluse – Night Train

It's hard not to think of The Zombies when you listen to Philly's Brown Recluse (especially when you put their song directly after a Zombies track like I've done here) but, like The Sneetches before them, they take the influences and make it their own, with great songs and spot-on production. This is from a new EP out soon on Slumberland, but their debut mini-LP from a couple years ago is worth picking up too.


14. The Jazz Butcher – Rain

I learned to play guitar listening to Jazz Butcher albums, one of the first artists I really glommed onto when I went to college. I like nearly all his stuff, even when he went totally Spacemen 3 for about five years, but my favorites come from his mid-'80s period when virtuoso Max Eider was on lead guitar, who contributes some awesome backwards guitar on this one that is clearly indebted to the Velvet Underground.

15. The Babies – Meet Me in the City

If you troll the Hype Machine or for the current most-blogged tracks, you've probably already heard this one from this offshoot of Woods and Vivian Girls. Well, here it is again. It doesn't seem like that much at first, but it grows on you and, to be honest, I think I like this better than anything on the new Vivian Girls album. There's an X vibe to this, no?

16. Sic Alps – L.Mansion

Oh happy day, new Sic Alps. On Slumberland no less, home of Matt Hartmann's old band, Henry's Dress. (Memo to self: Henry's Dress would be good for a mix.) This is the first Sic Alps recording to feature recently-aquired drummer Ty Segall who is awesome in his own right. Between the two, you'd think there'd be a thick layer of sludge to be smeared all over this single, but it's easily the cleanest thing Sic Alps have ever done and, dare I say it, is a little Spoon-esque. But no less good for it. Fuzz lovers don't fear: recent live reports say they're keeping the sonics good and dirty.

17. Fire – My Father's Name Was Dad

One of the great lost teen angst songs, from 1967, though you might not know it from the dumb/brilliant title. After this, their debut single, the band shot themselves in the foot (perhaps further) by making a concept album about a magic shoemaker. No lie. 

18. Blue Jungle – Here We Go Again

Kind of L.A.'s Vivian Girls, but more gothy. I dig it. The band can't seem to hold a steady line-up but singer Blu Blu seems to be handling the reins — and cracking the whip — with Mark E. Smith authority. They're finally going to tour beyond the West Coast in October… maybe they'll play near you. If you want to hear more, download freebies here.

19. Marmoset - Strawbery Shortcakes

The band that put Indie in Indianapolis and have kept it there since 1995. Singer/bassist Jorma Whittaker is a musical sponge who will talk your ear off about anything from Al Green to early Creation Records, yet his interpretation of pop music as heard in Marmoset is skewed and distinct and consistently cool. This is from their new album, Tea Tornado, that has at least three songs about fruit. This is one of them.

20. The Postmarks – No One Said This Would Be Easy

This one's got a Nancy & Lee or Scott Walker vibe to it, what with the sweeping strings and castanets. The latter provide the perfect ending to this mix, I think. 

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