Summer Fridays 2.9

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Number nine in our summer series was an attempt not to sound kitchen sink-y, with a definite point of view: light, airy, fun. Hopefully I pulled that off. For the cover art this week, my friend Kirstie Shanley let me use (and crop) this photo of Chicago's Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby. The original photo is here. Hope you enjoy this one, which features three songs you could call "hip hop." I'm only slightly out of my element here. Have a good weekend…and no shuffling!

DOWNLOAD SUMMER FRIDAYS 2.9

Here's the tracklist:

1. Jon Astley – Jane's Getting Serious
2. The Big Pink – Dominos
3. De La Soul – A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays"
4. General Public – Where's the Line?
5. Almond Marzipan – Summer Love
6. Princeton – Calypso Gold
7. Javelin – Tell Me, What Will It Be?
8. Steely Dan – Peg
9. Tahiti 80 – Heartbeat
10. JJ – Things Will Never Be The Same Again
11. Estelle – 1980
12. The Baja Marimba Band – Flyin' High
13. Stereolab – Captain Easychord
14. Saint Etienne – Goodnight Jack
15. The Experimental Pop Band – Dead Sea
16. Spearmint – A Week Away
17. Speech Debelle -Spinnin' 

"Liner notes" after the jump.




1. Jon Astley – Jane's Getting Serious
A producer first and foremost (and most famously on The Who's "Who Are You?"), Jon Astley put out two quirky pop albums in the late '80s and this is from his debut, Everyone Loves the Pilot (Except the Crew). It's maybe better known as the background music for that Heinz ketchup commercial that starred Matt LeBlanc. 

2. The Big Pink – Dominos
I don't know a whole lot about this London duo, but I do like this song which to me sounds like it coulda come out in 1991. That drumbeat just reaks of that year and I almost followed this song with Chapterhouse's "Pearl" just for the comparison, but that wasn't really the direction I wanted to go on this mix. Instead… 


3. De La Soul – A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays"

…this gem from De La Soul's disappointing second album, De La Soul is Dead where they somewhat tried to shed their hippy/happy image by cursing a lot and making a generally darker record. But this is the song people remember off this album. I think Q-Tip just brings sunshine to the party.
 


4. General Public – Where's the Line?

People make fun of Ranking Roger's striped afro he had on the first General Public album, and it is very, very '80s in its synthy, bouncy pop, but this is before bad, late-'80s production took the wind out of record's sails. General Public were a real band, and the songs are just rediculously catchy. I love, love, love the first GP album and this is one of the great non-singles from the album and with in the first 10 seconds you get one of Dave Wakeling's signature hiccup groans. Totally awesome.
  
  

5. Almond Marzipan – Summer Love
This is from that great, impossible to find compilation of '60s/'70s baroque pop, Tea & Symphony, and I don't know a damn thing about Almond Marzipan. (If you do a search, this blog is one of the top results.) But it's a cool song
  


6. Princeton – Calypso Gold

These three good looking young lads from L.A. are the kind of band I tend to hate upon seeing their press photos and bio, but their songs are pretty charming and hard to resist. This is from thier debut, Cocoon of Love, which is out next month.
 

7. Javelin – Tell Me, What Will It Be?

Hodge-podge pop that kind of reminds me of the more laid back moments from that first Go Team album. And like them, I wonder how they're going to play it live.
  


8. Steely Dan – Peg

Oh shit! I just brought out the big guns here. I think when you're in your 20s, you think you're too cool for Steely Dan. But then you hit 30 and realize they're cooler than you'll ever be…ever. But everybody loves, "Peg," right? Wouldn't it be awesome if you could get Michael McDonald's backup vocals isolated and turned into a mellotron loop?
 


9. Tahiti 80 – Heartbeat

In my mind I had high hopes that this song would segue seamlessly with the Dan, beats matching perfectly. And maybe I coulda jimmy'd it till it did, but I made this mix at 3AM last night so it didn't quite work out that way. Once again I have failed. But in spirit, this track from these Frenchies' 2000 album flows quite nicely.
  


10. JJ – Things Will Never Be The Same Again

Mysterious Swedes making dreamy pop is nothing new and these Tough Alliance-affiliated folks have indeed made a lovely record. I love that lead keyboard sound that manages to sound like pizzicatto strings and steel drum at the same time.
 


11. Estelle – 1980

Five years before she teamed up with Kanye for "American Boy" she released this utterly charming debut single, a bio of her life up to that point. BBC 6Music used to play this all the time, and then-DJ Andrew Collins in particular loved this track and it became ingrained in my brain. The lyrics still make me smile.
  


12. The Baja Marimba Band – Flyin' High

A musical cohorts of Martin Denny and Herb Alpert, Julias Wechter fronted the BMB and made the sort of breezy instrumentals I associate with Blake Edwards movies. As awesome as the marimbas are in the song, it's that trombone that makes it groove.
 


13. Stereolab – Captain Easychord

Even on so-so Stereolab records there's at least one great song, and "Captain Easychord" is it for 2001's Sound Dust. Actually it's more like two songs, but both are good. I thought about just using the first half of the song here, but in the end I couldn't cut the baby in two.

14. Saint Etienne – Goodnight Jack
This is from 1998's In Good Humor, the album Saint Etienne made with Swedish producer Torr Johanssen who did the first two Cardigans albums. It was a real shock at the time, hearing real instruments instead of synths and samples, but I think it holds up as one of their best albums.
  


15. The Experimental Pop Band – Dead Sea

Davey Woodward was in Brilliant Corners and then formed EPB in the mid-'90s and this is the closing track from their great debut album, Discgrotesque. I think it's thier best song, too.
  


16. Spearmint – A Week Away

A friend told me that Spearmint were namechecked in that indie romcom 500 Days of Summer which sounds contrived to me, as they were the kind of obscure twee disco band that nobody knows about and I don't think I'd believe it coming out of Joseph Gordon Levit or Zooey Dechannel's mouth. Spearmint were always a little too overtly indiepop for me to listen to a whole record, but they did have some great songs…this was one of them.
  


17. Speech Debelle – Spinnin'

She's up for the Mercury Prize this year, and kind of like that first Estelle record, there's a lot of great elements here and the production is idiosyncratic without calling attention to itself, and Speech has great flow. The sentiment of the chorus is a little banal, but the overall vibe wins out.

One Comment

  1. I was just googling the lyrics to "Peg" the other day, and it turns out that it's "I like your pin shot", not "I like your picture", who knew?

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