That Hard Shell Finish: Summer Fridays 3.4

We're still a few days from it actually being Summer but that is good, as we've got a whole season to look forward to: the oppressive heat and humidity, the crushing disappointment of everything Hollywood has to offer except for Inception, and gallons and gallons more oil into the Gulf. Good times!

On the plus side, this week's cover was done by famed street artist King of the Streets, who is probably the hottest name this side of Mr. Brainwash. As you may remember he's a staunch environmentalist (and suffers crippling agoraphobia), so all graffiti takes place via MS Paint. You can visit that turtle down at the South Street Seaport if you like. Musically, after a couple weeks of dancier fare, the guitars return for Summer Fridays 3.4. Please enjoy: 



  1. The Jameses – Rat People
  2. Blur – Fool's Day
  3. Charlotte Gainsbourg – Trick Pony
  4. La De Das – How is the Air Up There?
  5. The Soft Pack – Pull Out
  6. The Megaphonic Thrift – Talks Like a Weed King
  7. Women – Narrow with the Hall
  8. Jacques Dutronc – Mini, Mini, Mini
  9. Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Gentleman
  10. The Turtles – You Showed Me
  11. Woods – Blood Dries Darker
  12. Love – A House is Not a Motel
  13. The Coral – Butterfly House
  14. The Morning Benders – All Day Daylight
  15. Film School – Waited
  16. Asteroid #4 – Let it Go
  17. Swervedriver – Birds
  18. Bear Quartet – His Spine

Disclaimer: all the songs are actually mixed together, despite being separate tracks so, say it with me, no shuffling! Liner notes after the jump.

The Jameses – Rat People
As I wrote just the other day, this song's got almost a Spacemen 3 type riff — thick with keyboards, guitars and reverb — but with a distinct joyous party vibe. Hope we get more from these Floridians sooner than later.

Blur – Fool's Day
This was released as a single for Record Store Day, the first new song from Blur in seven years and easily their best, Blur-iest since "Coffee and TV." If they just want to release sporadic singles every six months or so, that's fine by me. Especially if they're as good as this.

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Trick Pony
This is about as badass as Charlotte Gainsbourg gets, great '60s-ish garage number from her mostly excellent album IRM, which was mostly written by Beck. It's better than any of his recent albums. Maybe they could just form a band?  

La De Das – How is the Air Up There?
One of the all-time great kiss-off songs that's been covered by a zillion bands, including The Bangles. The original is by The Changin' Times but I think this is the classic version, by New Zealand band La De Das. The corner of your lip goes up, Billy Idol style, just listening to this one.

The Soft Pack – Pull Out
Cheeky advocation of California succession, courtesy The Soft Pack. From their debut, that I think delivered on the promise of the Muslims' EP. This is probably the snottiest song on the album and feels like a truck with no breaks heading for the cliff. Pull out!

The Megaphonic Thrift – Talks Like a Weed King
Shoegaze, Norwegian-style. The Megaphonic Thrift don't mess with the formula laid down by Swervedriver in the early '90s, jazzing it up a bit with some male-female vocals. Sometimes you just want a fresh-baked version of the classic dish.

Women – Narrow with the Hall
There is a super catchy '60s style pop song hidden under the layers of reverb and noise Women like to put on their recordings. They don't really sound like this live, so not sure why they bury the good stuff as they do here. Still, I like this song which is from their new album, Public Strain, which is out in September.

Jacques Dutronc – Mini, Mini, Mini
Monsieur Dutronc makes his yearly Summer Fridays appearance this week. I don't have a lot to say about this other than it just oozes cool. You can watch a weird video/scopitone for it here. He's married to Francois Hardy. Just some trivia there.

Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Gentleman
Surely the only time anyone's ever segued from Jacques Dutronc into Eddy Current. The mighty Eddy Current, here showing their tender side. It's not all pile driving all the time. ECSR are currently on tour in the U.S. supporting their awesome new album, Rush to Relax. You should rush to go see them. Relax later.

The Turtles – You Showed Me
I felt a need, given KoTS' groundbreaking cover art, to include The Turtles on this mix and I think this actually flows really well out of Eddy Current. This song was sampled for a between-song skit on De La Soul's Three Feet High and Rising, which the Turtles sued over. It resulted in a huge settlement and set a precedent for the way samples were credited and paid for. Paul's Boutique woulda never happened if it had come out after this lawsuit. None of this diminishes this being a super groovy song.

Woods – Blood Dries Darker
I think I like Woods new album, At Echo Lake, more than the the last one even if there's nothing quite as good as "To Clean" on it. But this song comes pretty close. The album, overall, is catchier and less to prone to extended hippie jamming. I'm all for solos, they just need to go somewhere.

Love – A House is Not a Motel
That said, there is some hippie jamming at the end of "A House is Not a Motel," but love were first generation flower children so I'll cut Arthur Lee some slack. Actually, the last minute of this song, kicking in after an extended drum fill, is all acid hippie jamming and maybe the best part of the song. So I take back what I said. Jam all you want, hippies! Just do it with gusto.

The Coral – Butterfly House
The fingerprints of Love are all over this new song from The Coral which is the title track from their new album, Butterfly House. I'd sort of given up on these Liverpudlians but damn this song sounds great. Produced by John Leckie, knob twiddler on some of my favorite albums of all time (This Nation's Saving Grace, The Stone Roses, A Storm in Heaven, The Bends), which bodes well for it.

The Morning Benders – All Day Daylight
With production by Chris Taylor, The Morning Benders' some are trying to position these guys as the friendly version of Grizzly Bear which I don't think they are. They're a straight-up pop band, closer to the Shins than anything Williamsburg, which is fine, they're good at it. We all can't be efete hipsters. But Taylor's production keeps thing interesting without masking what they do. But this one's just a straight-up, big obvious pop song waiting for a convertible to play it in.

Film School – Waited
I was disappointed with Film School's last album which to these ears was overly murky and lacking in hooks. Not so with their forthcoming Fission which is maybe the best thing they've ever done. There are still the moody basslines and effects-heavy guitars, but the songs great this time out, and the production feels modern. Also, bassist Lorelei Plotczy shares lead vocals on many of the tracks, including this one, which is welcome.

Asteroid #4 – Let it Go
Lot of 12-string guitars on this mix. Philadelphia's Asteroid #4 remind me a lot of Ride during those first couple EPs when the Byrds influence was as strong as My Bloody Valentines. The drums sound great here, big and boomy, which is as important as those ringing Vox and Rickenbackers. 

Swervedriver – The Birds
I mentioned Swervedriver before in reference to the Megaphonic Thrift but this is Swervedriver who'd moved on a bit from just being in love with Dinosaur Jr. From their 1995 album Ejector Seat Reservation, this one just soars. One of my favorites. Lightning strikes angels wings not once but twice.

Bear Quartet – His Spine
Long-running Swedish band who are barely known in the U.S. but have made some absolutely amazing album, none more so than 1997's masterpiece Moby Dick. "His Spine" is just gorgeous, especially in the expansive, string drenched chorus. Swoon. 


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