We're still three weeks away from the official start of the summer, but with temperatures in the '80s and Memorial Day Weekend upon us… close enough. So here's the first of a season's worth of mixes, made just for you. Having a little extra time for this one I redid it multiple times, tweaking here and there, and am pretty happy with what's now before you. Hope you like it. Cover art for this first mix of 2010 is by frequent contributor Kate Bryant and is the first to features a fold-able insert with track listing. If you'd like to contribute art to a mix, please do get in touch. No one wants me designing anything.
As always, the songs segue into one another, so no shuffle please! Here's the link:
DOWNLOAD SUMMER FRIDAYS 3.1
And the tracklist:
- The Crayon Fields – Voice of Paradise
- Club 8 – Dancing with the Mentally Ill
- David Snell – International Flight
- The Cyrkle – Red Rubber Ball
- Allo Darlin – The Polaroid Song
- The New Pornographers – Silver Jenny Dollar
- Sambassadeur – Days
- The Embassy – Time's Tight
- Kelley Stoltz – Pincecone
- Art Musems – Sculpture Gardens
- The Particles – Apricot's Dream
- Eternal Summers – Able To
- Air Waves – Knockout
- Veronica Falls – Beachy Head
- The What Four – I'm Gonna Destroy That Boy
- The Monochrome Set – Eine Symphonie Des Grauens
- Biff Bang Pow – Someone Stole My Wheels
- The Depreciation Guild – Crucify You
- Jack Nitzche – The Lonely Surfer
- Comet Gain – I Never Happened
- Avi Buffalo – Truth Sets In
- Burt Bacharach – Something Big
Liner notes for the curious are after the jump.
The Crayon Fields – Voice of Paradise
With mixes, for the first song I'm always looking for a cool intro that sounds like a the beginning of something and should give you a hint towards what to expect. "Voice of Paradise" does just that. It's also a lovely track in its own right, the sort of sparkling pop that is Summer Fridays bread and butter. I especially dig the choral mellotron in the bridge. The album this is from, All the Pleasures of the World, was one of my favorites of last year.
Club 8 – Dancing with the Mentally Ill
Johan Angergård isn't just the president of Labrador Records, he's also in about half of the bands on their roster. Let's see, there's The Legends, Pallers, Acid House Kings and the one we have here, Club 8 which is his colaboration with Caroline Komsedt. Where their previous LPs have been more loungey, The People's Record has more than a little Afrobeat going on which I'm not entirely sold on. (I'm coming around, though.) But this song's a real corker, easily the best on the album and hopefully a future single.
David Snell – International Flight
I don't know a whole lot about composer and harp virtuoso David Snell but I've loved this groovy instrumental ever since I heard it on one of those Sound Gallery compilations from the mid-'90s. It's the grooviest harp-based music you're ever going to hear. Sorry, Joanna Newsome, not that you've ever tried to be groovy.
The Cyrkle – Red Rubber Ball
The spelling of the band might lead you to believe this is going to be some sort of ten-minute hippie jam but would I ever do that to you? No, The Cyrkle were a short-lived band from the mid'60s and this was their sole hit, written by Paul Simon and Bruce Woodley of the Seekers (who also recorded it). It is the happiest sounding, bitterest song you'll hear on this mix.
Allo Darlin – The Polaroid Song
It's kind of hard to take ukelele-based pop seriously, given than its most famous practicers are Don Ho, Tiny Tim and, uh, Dent May. But damn if Allo Darlin don't charm the pants off you. They were one of NYC Popfest 2010's big hits, energetic and fun and never too saccharine, like a sprightly Camera Obscura. Elizabeth Morris is just a natural performer — and great songwriter — and the band's debut LP, is out in two weeks on Fortuna Pop. Seek it out, it's wonderful.
The New Pornographers – Silver Jenny Dollar
There is no such thing as a bad New Pornographers album. Even if you don't like the whole thing, there's gonna be at least one or two killer tracks. (When they get around to releasing a best-of it's going to rival Singles Going Steady.) One of the standouts from Together, is this horn-filled gem from Dan Bejar is the album's poppiest moment.
Sambassadeur – Days
More Swedish pop on the Labrador label, this time not featuring Johan Angergård. Their third album, European, recovers nicely from 2008's misstep into synthpop territory with what they do best: acoustic-y effervescence. This is picnic music.
The Embassy – Time's Tight
And we stay in Sweden for one more song, this from that country's mid-'00s Balearic revival. (See also Studio and The Tough Alliance). The Embassy played Popfest on Sunday, headlining an all day affair that I'm a bit ashamed to say I ducked out of early — I was popped out. (And wanted to watch the Lost finale if truth be told.) I do hope they played "Time's Tight" and hope someone played live cowbell on it.
Kelley Stoltz – Pinecone
It's been two years since Stoltz's last album, Circular Sounds, but he contributed this track to a great compilation called In a Cloud: New Sounds from San Francisco. To me it sounds like laying on your back and looking at clouds.
Art Musems – Sculpture Gardens
Another Bay Area band, Art Museums are somewhere between the melodicism of Flying Nun's best and the satirical scene reporting of Television Personalities. Which I think you get in "Sculpture Gardens." Their album on Woodsist, Rough Frame, is quite good and hopefully someone will get them to the East Coast soon.
The Particles – Apricot's Dream
Know almost nothing about this Australian postpunk band. This is the only song of theirs I've ever heard, and it's on a great compilations of likeminded Aussie bands called Can't Stop It that was released by the good folks at Chapter Music.
Eternal Summers – Able To
I really don't do this on purpose, but we stay in Virgina for Roanoke's awesome Eternal Summers. I grew up about 90 minutes outside of Roanoke and spent much time at the record stores there, the closest decent ones to me. (Actually, The Record Exchange was pretty great.) But there was never much of a scene. So glad to hear that's changed. This is from their self-titled 10" EP that is highly recommended.
Air Waves – Knock Out
While the sound is familiar, somewhere between Galaxie 500 and Neil Young, there's something special in Nicole Schneit songwriting and delivery, simple but hypnotic. Look for Air Waves' new album on Underwater Peoples sometime this year, and go see them play the Sound Bites Lunchtime Series at the Seaport on June 2.
Veronica Falls – Beachy Head
Second single from one of the UK's most promising bands. I think they'll be big if they can manage to not break up. (See members' previous bands The Royal We and Sexy Kids for examples of longevity issues.) Not sure when this is actually coming out but it can be obtained on a Rough Trade Shops indiepop compilation as we speak.
The What For – I'm Gonna Destroy That Boy
This is from the amazing One Kiss Can Lead to Another compilation of obscure girl groups singles which I think is absolutely essential. I've plucked from it before but there's no shortage of awesome songs. These ladies played their own instruments and are a little more forward thinking than some of the other songs on this compilation.
The Monochrome Set – Eine Symphonie Des Grauens
I really don't think the Monochrome Set get the attention they deserve. I love their first three albums and especially their early singles like this one, which cribs its title from FW Murnau's classic 1922 vampire flick. "I’m soft and slightly stinking/ My arms are small and shrinking/ My lips kiss dirt, oh, let’s flirt" — it's the ultimate undead love song. Just don't tell Stephenie Meyer.
Biff Bang Pow – Someone Stole My Wheels
Alan McGee who created Creation Records also fronted Biff Bang Pow for a good portion of the '80s. They were never a great band but they did have some ace singles, none greater than this one from 1986.
The Depreciation Guild – Crucify You
Back to 2010 with some new-style shoegaze from a couple of guys who are also in Pains of Being Pure at Heart, though the Depreciation Guild existed before that they were in that band. Singer Kurt Feldman is a musicologist who knows his UK indie inside and out, so no surprise he totally nails the sound of 1992 — with a bit of an 8-bit update.
Jack Nitzche – The Lonely Surfer
It never fails that at least one of the songs on every Summer Fridays mix either mentions summer or the beach or surfing. It's intentional, it's just the times. This most excelent instrumental is from Phil Spector cohort Jack Nitzche, from the album of the same name that unfortunately doesn't offer anything else as spectacular as this.
Comet Gain – I Never Happened
New single from indiepop cult band Comet Gain who remain terrific despite general public indifference. The masses loss is our gain, as this wistful track proves.
Avi Buffalo – Truth Sets In
This band are still in high school but yet main man Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg is wise beyond his years, lyrically, and is an indie guitar hero from the Doug Marstch mold. Go see 'em before his voice drops an octave.
Burt Bacharach – Something Big
I save the slightly cheesy songs for the end of mixes, so you can just shut it off and still enjoy the rest. But clearly if you're shutting of Burt Bacharach there's something wrong with you. This is Mellow at its finest, with expert use of trobone and sax. It's actually the theme song to a Dean Martin Western from 1971, though this is a different recording. Grab a coctail, sit in your most comfortable chair (or a hammock if you're near one of those) and dig the breezy vibe. See you next week.