…Unless Round is Funny: Summer Fridays 4.15

Labor Day weekend, folks. Party it up, you’ve earned it. Here in New York, we’ve recently weathered earthquakes and minor hurricanes and other inconveniences. So fire up the grill, put a cold beverage in your hand and turn up the mildly twee indie pop jams on this week’s mix. Cover art photo was taken by Kate Bryant at the Friends With You inflatable sculpture park which is at the upper end of the Highline park.

While Labor Day is seen as the end of summer, Summer Fridays mixes will continue to the Autumn Equinox… so you get two more after this. Enjoy!


1.  Zumpano! – The Party Rages On
2.  Allo Darlin’ – Darren
3.  Future Bible Heroes – Hopeless
4.  Ski Lodge – I Would Die to Be
5.  Murder Mystery – Problems
6.  XTC – Day In Day Out
7.  Peggy Sue – Song & Dance
8.  Devon Williams – All My Living Goes to You
9.  Papas Fritas – My Revolution
10. Radiation City – The Color of Industry
11. The Liminanas – (I’ve Got) Trouble in Mind
12. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Hide and Seek
13. Music Machine – The People in Me
14. The Fresh & Onlys – I Would Not Know the Devil
15. Pale Saints – Fell from the Sun
16. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Keep Me Waiting
17. Grandaddy – Chartsengrafs
18. Destroyer – Savage Night at the Opera

I’m not even going to write it this week, but you know what I’m talking about. Liner notes after the jump.
1. Zumpano! – The Party Rages On
Before the New Pornographers took over, Carl Newman fronted Vancouver’s Zumpano! who put out two records with Sub Pop in ’90s. This is from 1995’s Look What the Rookie did. Both are out of print and likely to stay that way if Newman has his way — he considers them “a part of my past. I feel like it was a learning process” — so don’t feel to0 bad about downloading them from some less than legal means. They both good, but Newman has a point…he definitely got better.

2. Allo Darlin’ – Darren
New single from Allo Darlin’ is a tribute to Darren Hayman who fronted the much-loved Hefner in the late ’90s/early ’00s. The b-side is a cover of “The Wu-Tang Clan” which was by Hayman’s post-Hefner band, The French.

3. Future Bible Heroes – Hopeless
The second half of the ’90s were an especially creative period for Stephin Merritt. In addition to cranking out records as Magnetic Fields, he also made albums as The 6ths (with a cavalcade of superstar indie guest vocalists), The Gothic Archies and what we have here, Future Bible Heroes. This was (is?) a project with Chris Ewen of Figures on a Beach and it was more of an ’80s John Hughes type vibe and a little more polished than his other stuff. Mag-Field mainstay Claudia Gonson takes lead vocals on this one.

4. Ski Lodge – I Would Die to Be
This a new-ish band from here in Brooklyn whose debut EP is due out in a couple weeks on Dovecote records. There’s a Beach Fossils approach to the arrangement of this song, but melodically it’s more from the Smiths lineage of indiepop. Really good don’t you think?

5. Murder Mystery – Problems
This song made me think of Future Bible Heroes, which is why that band is on this week’s mix. Murder Mystery have been around since the mid-’00s and were always more twangy indie rock, but have reinvented themselves as a synthpop band… and, amazingly, they’re all the better for it. Can’t wait to hear the new album (which I think they’re finishing up as we speak).

6. XTC – Day In Day Out
When it comes to XTC, I am a Team Colin man. He may have only got (or come up with, if Andy Partridge is to be believed) a couple songs per record…but they were usually the best songs. This is from 1979’s Drums and Wires, which is probably my favorite XTC album. I always thought somebody should sample the bassline on the intro.

7. Peggy Sue – Song & Dance
Yay, new Peggy Sue! Everything about them is just a little askew: the rhythms, the harmonies, the guitars. In a wonderful way, of course. The new album is Acrobats and was produced by John Parish of PJ Harvey fame. Less acousticy this time out.

8. Devon Williams – All My Living Goes to You
Devon Williams is a veteran on the indiepop scene. He used to front Osker in the late ’90s and then was a member of Lavender Diamond who a lot of people got excited about maybe five years ago. This is from his new solo album, out momentarily on Slumberland. Epic pop on a budget?

9. Papas Fritas – My Revolution
Much-missed twee charmers, I was lucky to have seen Papas Fritas a handful of times back in the day, including a very memorable Other Music in-store. This is from their first album. Tony Goddess wrote and sang most of the band’s songs, but this one is from supertall bassist Keith Gendel. Some of the best ba-bah-dahs ever.

10. Radiation City – The Color of Industry
Somebody on Twitter told me to check out Radiation City, that I’d like them, and I do. But they also told me they sound like the Cardigans which I get where they’re coming from but don’t really hear. Maybe just little bit on this one. The horns are nice.

11. The Liminanas – (I’ve Got) Trouble in Mind
This is the a-side to this French ensemble’s new single which was only available at the merch table of their recent tour. It may be my favorite song they’ve done yet, and was certainly a highlight of their live shows.

12. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Hide and Seek
DiG! was the best and worst thing to happen to Anton Newcombe. The must-see documentary brought loads of attention to The Brian Jonestown Massacre but mainly from people wanting to see him self-destruct on stage. The BJM tend toward long pointless jams these days but they were capable of some pretty great psych-pop. Much of which can be heard on their new singles collection.

13. Music Machine – The People in Me
The Music Machine were a paisley-ish garage band from L.A. who lasted four years in the late ’60s. This is from a MOJO compilation CD, I think. MOJO CDs used to be great…what happened? I digress. Very Strawberry Alarm Clock, thanks in big part to that farfisa organ.

14. The Fresh & Onlys – I Would Not Know the Devil
The Fresh & Onlys have slowed down to a trickle of releases lately, meaning this single is only the third thing the band have released in 2011.

15. Pale Saints – Fell from the Sun
The Pale Saints only lasted two real albums but they are amongst the best, most overlooked, of the early ’90s. I highly recommend you get both 1990’s The Comforts of Madness (which this is from) and 1992’s In Ribbons. Saw them open for Ride at DC’s old 9:30 Club…what a show.

16. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Keep Me Waiting
Resurrecting ’90s indie rock in new enough ways that you’re not playing spot-the-reference like you are with (eminently likeable) Yuck, Cymbals Eat Guitars are set to release their second album, Lenses Alien (not to be confused with Alien Lanes), in a couple weeks. It’s pretty damn good as you can hear on this track. One of the pre-order packages comes with a custom-built fuzz pedal!

17. Grandaddy – Chartsengrafs
I love Grandaddy, saw them more than a few times in the early ’00s. Still remember their guitarist who smiled through every show. The Software Slump just got reissued with a bonus disc’s worth of b-sides and demos.

18. Destroyer – Savage Night at the Opera
I’m pretty sure Destroyer’s Kaputt is still the album to beat in my Best of 2011 race. Somebody might do it, but Dan Bejar currently has the throne. And when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die!

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