Labor Day weekend is the romantic end of Summer, even if it doesn't official end until the 21st. But, psychically, this is it. Let's do it up. (These mixes will continue for two more weeks, I'm going till the Vernal Equinox.) Even if you don't have a job, this is for you. A perfectly good strawberry shortcake bardied for the artwork this week. I hope you appreciate it. They're hands down my favorite junky frozen treat.
- Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood – Summer Wine
- High Places – The Longest Shadows
- (The) Tony Castles – Black Girls in Dresses
- America – Ventura Highway
- Junip – Always
- Rainy Day – I'll Keep it with Mine
- The Fresh & Onlys – August in My Mind
- The Bees – Listening Man
- The Silver Seas – What if it Isn't Out There?
- Minature Tigers – Gold Skull
- MYSTERY TRACK
- Pete & the Pirates – Selina
- Big Star – September Gurls
- Cosmic Rough Riders – Sometime
- Connan Mockasin – Megumi The Milkyway Above
- Astrud Gilberto – Beginnings
Have a great long weekend. No shuffling. Liner notes after the jump.
Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood – Summer Wine
Everybody loves "Some Velvet Morning" and it is awesome but it also sounds like your parents fighting over the radio in the car. "Summer Wine," however, is a Nancy & Lee track that works in harmony and still has all that cool atmosphere. As for the titular drink…strawberries, cherries…sounds like Boone's Farm or Mad Dog. You can do better.
High Places – The Longest Shadows
This duo recently relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles but I don't begrudge them the move. High Places Vs. Mankind is a lovely record, dreamy and meandering but always with great arrangements and melody. This one is sort of a somnambulistic cross between The Arcade Fire's "Haiti" and Blondie's "Call Me." Float on.
(The) Tony Castles – Black Girls in Dresses
I keep missing this band live. They've played on about ten bills I've gone to, either first or after I've had to go elsewhere. After getting my hands on their debut EP I really want to see them. This song is gorgeous, like an afternoon nap where you wake at the magic hour. A little Prefab Sprouty? Yes I think so.
America – Ventura Highway
When I listen to the great new album from The Coral, I mainly hear The Byrds and Love, but my friend Chris pointed out that there's a strong influence from America, suggesting this track in particular as evidence. Listen to The Coral's "1000 Years" (either on SF3.11 or on YouTube) and then this and it's hard to deny. He also said, "You should put it on the Summer Fridays for Memorial Day Weekend" and here it is. I've never really given the band much credit (I kind of hate "Horse With No Name" and always think "Sister Golden Hair" is going to be a George Harrison song) but after listening to 1972's Homecoming, I might need to reappraise.
Junip – Always
When José González isn't making delicately-plucked acoustic solo albums he plays delicately plucked acoustic guitar in this band. Junip have been in hibernation for five years but are set to release their debut album later this month. If you like his solo stuff but wish there were, like, drums and stuff…this is for you.
Rainy Day – I'll Keep it with Mine
Rainy Day was a one-off project from the best and brightest of the L.A.'s mid-'80s "Paisley Underground" scene that was in love with the Byrds, Velvet Underground and other psychedelic touchstones. Spearheaded by David Roback of Rain Parade, Rainy Day featured that band's Kendra Smith, plus Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles, Michael Quercio of The Three O'Clock and others. It's an album of laid back, minimal covers and the intent seems to be having fun doing them more than bring their own spin to them. This version of "I'll Keep it with Mine" is pretty much exactly like Nico's version but Hoff's voice gives it its own spin. It's a great record, a cult classic that has been out of print for at least 20 years. I picked up a vinyl version a few years ago and it gets played pretty regularly. Why has no one reissued this?
The Fresh & Onlys – August in My Mind
I shoulda put this on a mix last month, but it's really got more of a September feel. Lazy. Spaghetti Western-y. It's the title track from their EP on Captured Tracks that came out in the Spring. Their first album for In the Red, Play it Strange, is their first venture into mid-fi territory and will be out next month.
The Bees – Listening Man
While we wait for the new Bees album to come out (October 11) let's remember how great 2007's Octopus was. Vintage modern. I really wish I owned this one on vinyl. The video to this single is hilarious.
The Silver Seas – What if it Isn't Out There?
Another track from The Silver Seas' Chateau Revenge! which has been kind of ignored what with the current obsession with slowed down '80s music covered in reverb. This is the sound of super talented people playing their instruments, recorded with great mikes and great care yet doesn't suck. The harmonies on this — come on! And when the strings come in…swoon.
Minature Tigers – Gold Skull
I don't know much about this band apart from they recently moved from Phoenix, AZ to Brooklyn. It's more than a little Of Montreal, but the songs are good. And with Kevin Barnes going more and more widescreen R&B, there's an opening in the market.
It's been three years since this Midwestern band put out an album and their new one, due in November, is worth the wait. That's all the hints I'll give. You might not have ever heard of them, even. But if you dig this song, go back and get their last album.
Pete & the Pirates – Selina
One of my favorite new groups of the last few years, Pete & the Pirates are busy at work on their new album. In the meantime they offer up an EP's worth of fresh demos to tide us over. Free! I saw nearly every show they played at CMJ last year. So good.
Big Star – September Gurls
The classic Big Star track, the blueprint for The Posies, Gigolo Aunts, Teenage Fanclub and countless other jingle jangle '90s bands. And still sounds amazing. One of my all time favorite guitar solos. Simple but perfect.
Cosmic Rough Riders – Sometime
If you like Big Star and The La's and Teenage Fanclub, you'd do well to seek out Cosmic Rough Riders' 2001 album Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine. Between the album title and the bands I just compared them to, you know what this is going to sound like. The lyrics are kind of douchey — dude wants to have his cake and eat it too — but the hooks are undeniable.
Connan Mockasin – Megumi The Milkyway Above
Please Don't Turn Me Into a Snat has to be one of my favorite album titles of the year. It comes courtesy of this New Zealand artist/band who makes folky/psychedelic/genuinely weird music that is nonetheless winning. The music is nearly as good as it's name.
Astrud Gilberto – Beginnings
I am running out of songs from Espresso Espresso to put on mixes. This came out when the whole lounge music revival was happening and I remember reading a review of it that Gail O'Hara wrote in Time Out NY. I went almost immediately to Other Music and bought it. I still play it A WHOLE LOT.