Usually when I make these mixes, I'm either making the artwork the night before they're supposed to go up or waiting on whichever friend I've conned into doing the artwork for me. Either way, the actual mix is done. Not so this time. My friend Greg sent this to me last week and I built the mix around it. Pretty killer art, I think, clever, and not only screams Summer Fridays but also Sound Bites' food-and-music modus operandi. Definitely one of my favorite covers ever and a call for future mix cover designers to step up their game. This one's definitely on the dancey side, perfect for your next BBQ disco.
- Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – So In Love
- LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change
- WhoMadeWho – Keep Me in My Plane
- Big Audio Dynamite – Hollywood Blvd
- Can – I'm So Green
- Field Music – Let's Write a Book
- The Hundred in the Hands – Sleepwalking
- Soft Moon – Breathe the Fire
- Grace Jones – She's Lost Control
- Heaven 17 – (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang
- Grovesnor – Taxi from the Airport
- No Kids – I Want to Be Around
- CFCF – Half Dreaming
- Edwyn Collins – 20 Years Too Late
- Orchester Werner Mueller – Bodybuilding
And here's where I remind you about no shuffling. The songs are mixed together, despite being separate tracks, blah blah blah. Liner notes after the jump.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – So In Love
OMD were one of the best synthpop bands of the '80s, in no small part to keeping an acoustic rhythm section driving things when other bands let sequencers do everything. From their best album, Crush, this was a pretty big hit in America (#27 on the Hot 100) and was my first introduction to the band. It might still be my favorite song of theirs. The classic line-up has reformed and will be releasing a new album in September.
LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change
James Murphy doesn't even try to hide his influences — this is Eurythmics' "Love is a Stranger" with some major Gary Numan going on — but that has never stopped LCD from being great in their own right. You might be sick of this song already… but it sounds sooo good.
WhoMadeWho – Keep Me in My Plane
There's a definite DFA vibe with this Danish trio who are maybe that country's version of LCD. I've decided Denmark has to be the hippest country in the world, an entire nation of Williamsburg. Whether that's good or bad I don't know, but I've never seen a badly dressed Dane. Or even an average dressed one. They are cool. They are weird. Definitely applies to Who Made Who, who are also a super-fun live band who're playing Mercury Lounge on June 28 and you really shouldn't miss it.
Big Audio Dynamite – Hollywood Blvd
I love the original lineup of BAD, when Don Letts was in the band, and I'm pretty sure No. 10 Upping St is their best album. Joe Strummer co-produced and cowrote a lot of the album. Though not this song, which is a Jones/Letts number, and is basically a tabloid account of an imaginary party populated with some of famed hedonistic scenesters of the last 20 years. This is a rare, early version of the song with some samples from My Favorite Year that are no longer on current versions of the album. "If I were truly plastered, could I do this?"
Can – I'm So Green
It is an understatement that Can were crazy ahead of their time and you can hear their influence in so much music of the last 30 years. I think it's unfair to call them Krautrock as they had such a loosey-goosey vibe to their grooves. This is the origin of stoner dancerock and still sounds amazing. Clearly.
Field Music – Let's Write a Book
You can hear Can's influence on this song from Field Music's new album, Measure. In the rhythms, not so much the melody or vocal arrangements which are pure Brewis Brothers. This is their new single, hoping their will be remixes.
The Hundred in the Hands – Sleepwalking
And we've entered the dark section of the mix with this track from THITH's new EP, This Desert, which is pretty good especially if you dig School of Seven Bells or were a fan of Curve back in the '90s. This duo are a little sleeker than that, but they make quite a lovely swirl all their own.
Soft Moon – Breathe the Fire
Don't know much about this band whose single is out now on Captured Tracks, a label that has been on fire recently what with Wild Nothing and Beach Fossils and Wetdog. Soft Moon skew more to that classic C/T sound (meaning last year), gothy and affected, but this has a great propulsive groove (and whispered vocals) that would be perfect for the soundtrack of Neuromancer if they ever made a movie out of that.
Grace Jones – She's Lost Control
Will this, a dub reggae cover of Joy Division, kill the mix for some? No way, it's AWESOME. (Though I did do an edit to shorten it slightly.) Produced by Island Records domo Chris Blackwell, fueled by dub pioneers Sly & Robbie, this was the B-side to her single "Private Life" and was recorded during the Warm Leatherette sessions during that period between being Queen of Gay Disco and her Film Career. By the way, if you've never heard her cover of The Normal's JG Ballard-inspired "Warm Leatherette"…seek it out.
Heaven 17 – (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang
Martin Ware and Craig Marsh left The Human League because they felt the band was getting too pop, they started Heaven 17 (a Clockwork Orange reference you may know) as a high-concept avant pop 'corporation" that rivaled ZZT for having the best, most arch, packaging. Like a lot of this stuff, it eventually devolved into MOR chart fodder but they started brilliantly with this, their first single. The bassline is insane, almost — but not quite — out of control bass-off stuff, but what a killer track.
Grovesnor – Taxi from the Airport
Part of the new Soft Rock Revolution this is Grovesnor's second appearance on a Summer Fridays mix. This song feels like New York at 2AM, lens fogged up and neon halos. It kind of sounds like Joe Jackson's "Stepping Out" as well.
No Kids – I Want to Be Around
Thanks to my friend Toby at Finest Kiss for turning me onto this, another project from Canadian pop svengali Nick Krgovich who gave us the lovely orch pop that was Gigi's Maintenant earlier this year. This is more soft rock sexy funk, with a killer horn section, perfect gettin' it on music for the cardigan set.
CFCF – Half Dreaming
Michael Silver's full-length debut is an impressive disc of instrumental, yet highly melodic dance music without even a trace of "glo-fi." (Though there's definitely some Balearic in there.) You may find yourself singing overtop of this effervescent track.
Edwyn Collins – 20 Years Too Late
From 2001's Doctor Syntax, the last solo album the former Orange Juice singer completed before suffering a stroke in 2005. I think he had (has) a career producing dance acts, as this tune proves. The groove is seriously badass — the slighty fuzzy bass, the Chic rhythm guitar — and makes up for any Scottish rapping the song may contain. Edwyn's new album (his second post-stroke) is in the can and am hoping it shows a little of this fire.
Orchester Werner Mueller – Bodybuilding
"He's an idiot." I have no idea what is going on in this song, which I have on this weird/cool German lounge music compilation called The In-Kraut. I have a lot of weird compilations like this: French new wave, German disco, junkshop glam, sunshine pop, forgotten post punk, tribute albums, etc. They come in handy more often than you might think. EDIT: My friend Teva reminds me that this track was sampled by late '90s "big beat" outfit Bentley Rhythm Ace on their single "Bentleys Gonna Sort You Out!" I knew this song sounded familiar.