This is the last Summer Friday of August but we've still got a few week of mixes to go. I run them through the actual end of summer, so there's three more after this. Cover art this week by Robyn Lee who has the enviable job of working for Serious Eats where, among other things, is editor of A Hamburger Today. (They really need to try the Commodore's burger which is the best in Williamsburg.) She also has her own site, The Girl Who Ate Everything which is also worth checking out. (Robyn used to have a good music blog too which I wish she still did! I'm one to talk.) It's also worth mentioning that it is ROBYN'S BIRTHDAY TODAY. I wish this blog was a Sixth Street Indian Restaurant 'cause if it was, lights would be flashing with weird disco music blaring. HAPPPPPPYYYYYYBIIIIIRRRRTHDAY!!!
Musically-speaking, this week's mix is strictly a white jeans affair. It all stemmed from news about this Orange Juice box set that's coming out on Domino, and then I was all "ooh I should put on some Style Council and Haircut One Hundred and Eggstone and Magic Bullets" and here we are. Light the tiki torches, pour yourself a cocktail… and beware of the blob!
Here's the tracklist:
- Seinking Ships – Digging His Own Hole (ft Miki Berenyi)
- The Wolfgang Press – Heaven's Gate
- Eggstone – Tarasamalata
- Kings of Convenience – Gold for the Price of Silver
- Belleruche – Clockwatching
- Club 8 – Isn't That Great?
- Magic Bullets – Millions of People Running Around
- Orange Juice – Flesh of My Flesh
- Dominant Legs – About My Girls
- The Style Council – Have You Ever Had it Blue?
- Frankie & the Heartstrings -Ungrateful
- The Beat – Sole Salvation
- The Beets – God
- Beck – Tropicalia
- Top Sound – A Matter of Precision
- Haircut One Hundred – Lemon Firebrigade
- The Five Blobs – The Blob
While wearing white jeans past labor day is now considered acceptable, listening to this mix on shuffle would be a faux pas. Liner notes after the jump.
Seinking Ships – Digging His Own Hole (ft Miki Berenyi)
The real appeal of this Seinking Ships record — a collaboration between modern baroque pop maestro Eric Matthews and instrumentalist Christopher Seink — is that they got onetime Lush singer/guitarist Miki Berenyi out of retirement to sing lead on three tracks. This is the best one in my opinion, a perfect marriage of dreampop and orchestral majesty. Let's hope this isn't the last we hear of Berenyi.
The Wolfgang Press – Heaven's Gate
Labelmates with Lush, The Wolfgang Press were the longest running band on 4AD and maybe my favorites along with Pale Saints. They started off as the darkest band on the label, almost industrial, and by 1991's Queer had turned into a rather amazing pop band. Influenced by the Native Tounges hip hop movement, Queer was loaded with samples and general a lot of fun without sacrificing any of the menace intrinsic to their sound. (Michael Allen is one of the all-time great growlers.) If you dig this, seek the UK version of the album as the American version had all the samples removed.
Eggstone – Tarasamalata
Now we're fully into the theme of this week's mix with Sweden's much-missed Eggstone who were the other band in the '90s making this sort of jazzy pop. Pretty sure this track was produced by Tore Johansson who did the Cardigans albums around the same time. Not sure what this has to do with the delicious cod roe dip of the title, but the strings are groovy.
Kings of Convenience – Gold for the Price of Silver
Almost from the start, Kings of Convenience displayed an allegiance with dance music. Right after releasing their acoustic debut, Quiet is the New Loud, they released Versus which was more than your average remix album. In addition to some killer reworkings of Quiet's tracks, it also featured a few original collaborations, including this one with Erot. I actually think Versos might be my favorite of all their records. Erland Oye has since spent as much time with his fantastic dance music band The Whitest Boy Alive as with KoC. Glad we have the quiet and the thumpin' sides, frankly.
Belleruche – Clockwatching
This London band is set to release their third album, 270 Stories, in October. Belleruche have made much of a splash in America (or maybe elsewhere?), maybe because they are flying the late '90s flag a bit. There's more than a little Moloko in their sound which is what immedately drew me in. "Clockwatching" is 270 Stories first single and you should check out the video too.
Club 8 – Isn't That Great?
You may remember I put "Dancing with the Mentally Ill" on the first mix of the summer. At the time, it was the only song I really loved off Club 8's new album, The People's Record, but I have come back to this album a lot over the summer to the point where I pretty much am enamored of the whole thing. I like it when that happens.
Magic Bullets – Millions of People Running Around
Like garage rock, this sort of danceable indiepop never seems to go away. There's always a few bands doing it, though most of them don't have any umph behind them. Not so with Magic Bullets who have great tunes, solid musicianship and production that has just enough balls. Do grab their new album. Plus singer Phillip Benson is the best onstage dancer I've seen since Cats on Fire's Mattias Bjorkas.
Orange Juice – Flesh of My Flesh
I think Magic Bullets are probably familiar with this song. It's one of my favorites in OJ's catalog.This is on Rip It Up but the 7" version, which is what you're hearing here, is far superior in my opinion. Tighter, funkier, cheesy keyboards replaced by chimes, just better all-around. It also opens with one of Edwyn Collins' best-ever putdowns: "Here's a penny for your thoughts/Incidentally, you can keep the change." All of Orange Juice's Polydor catalog has been out of print for over ten years, but the whole kit and kaboodle is coming out — plus loads of stuff never before released — on a box set via Domino Records in November.
Dominant Legs – About My Girls
I can take or leave a lot of what is being lumped in the chillwave bucket but Lefse Records tends to put out better stuff than most. San Francisco's Dominant Legs, whose debut EP just came out this week on the label, sound like a real band as opposed to something someone dreamed up in Garage Band. And you can actually imagine it being played live. I also like this duo because while there's definitely an '80s thing going on, it's not Other People's Nostalgia. Songs are as good as the vibe.
The Style Council – Have You Ever Had it Blue?
Paul Weller broke up the Jam at the height of their popularity to form The Style Council who mixed a decidedly cosmopolitan bourgie image with fiercely left-wing politics. Plus some really swinging music, at least they succumbed to '80s-itis and the decade drew to a close. But they released a string of amazing singles, including this one from 1986 which rewrites Our Favorite Shop's "Everything to Lose"'s Tory-bashing into a more romantic heartbreak. And come on, it just sounds great. Also, the video is very simple but perfection.
Frankie & the Heartstrings -Ungrateful
Third single from Sunderland hopefuls Frankie & the Heartstrings who are definitely in the Orange Juice/Smiths/Pulp school of UK guitar pop. (Maybe a smidge of Dexy's too.) Guitarist Pete Gofton spent part of the '90s in the under-appreciated Kenickie. (Who is also a nice guy, I met him this year at a Love is All show in NYC, fwiw.) A little bird told me that the Heartstrings will be in NYC for CMJ. Frankie too.
The Beat – Sole Salvation
A formative band of my youth. The best bands in the Two Tone scene didn't actually stick with ska very long, and each Beat album did it's own thing. The band's breezy final album, Special Beat Service, was a product of the time but thanks to Bob Sargeant's organic production it still sounds great today. This song shoulda been a single.
The Beets – God
Whoa, the Beats go mid-fi. You can hear the vocals and there's, like, production on this even. This sounds great I think, the perfect mix of shambly fun and giving a shit. It's the A-side of the band's new, much-delayed single on Captured Tracks. JB from Crystal Stilts (who has been a fill-in drummer from time to time for them) plays some lead here. More like this, please, fellas.
Beck – Tropicalia
Mutations was probably not the album fans of "Devil's Haircut" and "Where It's At" wanted, but it's maybe my favorite Beck album. Most of it is pastoral '70s-ish folk, but this one…well, the name says it all.
Top Sound – A Matter of Precision
Sweden just does this sound better than anyone these days. Effortless. If you miss all the departed bands on this mix, do know that Top Sound are carrying the torch. (Along with Magic Bullets, Cats on Fire and a few others.)
Haircut One Hundred – Lemon Firebrigade
"Favorite Shirts" graced the second-ever Summer Fridays mix, which is the greatest ever Haircut 100 song. I couldn't do "Love Plus One" even though I love it, so I thought we'd pull out a deep cut from Pelican West. Bongos, woodblock, horns, what's not to love?
The Five Blobs – The Blob
Robyn's cover art was the inspiration for this song's inclusion. The theme song to the film of the same name, which is a really great movie despite it's about a bunch of slow-moving grape jelly. Steve McQueen! Also this song was written by Burt Bacharach and features about seventeen key changes.