Summer Fridays 3.2: Hazy, Hot and Humid

Whoo it’s hot, huh? And barely June. Despite my hopes at not having to make any of this year’s covers myself, here we are with a patented B.Pearis Type-Over-Photo school of design. (The font, if you’re curious is a Peter Saville original, created for the 1981 – Factus 8 – 1982 compilation EP.) I actually kind of like this one, though.  The photo is from the Library of Congress’ Flickr. It was taken at a square dance in Oklahoma around 1939. No one in this photograph was dancing to The Drums, The B-52’s or Air Miami, but if I was to go back in time with a boom box and play this mix for them, I feel pretty positive they’d be frightened. Fear would turn to anger and I’d get beat up or worse. But maybe doing so would somehow end up in stopping Hitler. Which would make it all worth it. That is the power of music, folks.

But I digress. Here’s mix #2 which I think turned out pretty well and is about half-and-half new/old. At one point this one had two French language tracks, but now it has none. Probably because of the whole time travel incident, the USA never had to storm Normandy and somehow those musicians were never born or never became musicians. Looks like I’ve got some paradox-fixing to do.


  1. Django Django – WOR
  2. The Slits – I Heard it Through the Grapevine
  3. Young Friends – Riverside Kids
  4. The B-52’s – 52 Girls
  5. The Drums – Forever and Ever Amen
  6. Air Miami – Word Cup Fever
  7. Lulu – I’ll Come Running
  8. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Bright Lit Blue Skies
  9. Darwin Deez – Bad Day
  10. Foals – Total Life Forever
  11. New Order – The Village
  12. Beach Fossils – The Horse
  13. Sea Lions – Good Feelings
  14. The Aislers Set – The Way to Market Station
  15. The Housemartins – Sheep
  16. Here We Go Magic – Casual
  17. The Soundcarriers – Last Broadcast
  18. The Radio Dept. – This Time Around
  19. LiLiPUT – Die Matrosen

It should go without saying at this point that this is an actual mix, the songs segue together despite being separate tracks. So no shuffling, ok? I switched to Mediafire for this one — does it download quicker/easier? Liner notes after the jump.

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Soft Return

 Growing up in the late '70s/ early '80s, I spent a lot of time in the car with my parents and the only radio station we could ever agree on was WRON in my hometown of Lewisburg, WV. The FM station was easy listening (way more horrible than the Lite FMs of today) and it's AM version which played the hits. And at the time, the hits were all pretty mellow. Barry Gibb was writing for everyone, the Doobie Brothers were huge, "You Light Up My Life" was unavoidable, and the Little River Band was the WV-approved version of Steely Dan. 

Despite the path my musical taste has taken since, I still have a soft spot for soft rock. (Yes, I own England Dan & John Ford Coley's Nights Are Forever on vinyl.) And I like it when current bands manage to appropriate the better aspects of that time (strong melody and musicianship) into something a little less cheesy. Or even bands that embrace the cheese without irony. I've got three current examples, which is what magazines call a trend piece:

Silverseas One of the best is Nashville's Silver Seas, the brainchild of Jason Dehming. The band take their sweet time making music, the upcoming Chateau Revenge is only the band's third album in their 10-year career, and their first since changing their name from The Bees in 2006. (If you haven't heard High Society, it's great.) Four years is a long time for a record, but one listen to Chateau Revenge and clearly it's worth the wait. The arrangements on this album are f-ing gorgeous, thick with harmonies and strings. A bit more rock  – in an ELO kind of way — than their last but no less tuneful. A perfect summer record.

MP3: The Silver Seas – The Best Things in Life 

Chateau Revenge is out physically July 6 but you can buy it digitally right now from their website.

ArielpinkThen there's LA eccentric Ariel Pink, who has been making weirdo low-fi bedroom versions of soft rock and '80s cheese since 2004. (Lowfi '80s cheese is basically the chillwave blueprint.) Now signed to 4AD, his forthcoming album Before Today (June 8) goes even further towards yachtrock legitimacy, if not sonic fidelity, thanks to co-producer Rik Pekkonen, an industry veteran who has worked on records by Seals & Crofts, Bread and Kenny Loggins. Mind you, it still sounds like you're listening to a cassette — it just doesn't sound like it was recorded on one. The songs remain crazy catchy, and no less weird.

MP3: Ariel Pink + Haunted Graffiti – Round and Round

Grovesnor  And finally we have Rob Smoughton who records under the name Grovesnor and who, if you are a regular follower of this blog might remember his song "Drive Your Car" from a Summer Fridays mix two years ago. More recently you might recognize him as Hot Chip's live drummer/pinch hitter. After a string of intermittent singles over the last few years, Grovesnor just dropped his debut album titled, appropriately enough, Soft Return, and it's nearly impossible to listen to it without conjuring images of Steely Dan, Rupert Holmes, the Doobie Brothers, etc. But listen further and there's a lot more going on here, the production is really nuanced and clever, especially rhythmically. (There's a lot of subtle hip hop / jungle / techno touches going on.)  Anyone who's seen Hot Chip play in the last year know how versatile Smoughton is and it's clear he really loves this stuff. Soft Return sounds like a midnight drive through a a rainy neon city as filmed through a Vaseline smeared lens.

MP3: Grovesnor – Taxi From the Airport

The Grovesnor album will be out on CD in the U.S. next week but you can get it in digital from Emusic, iTunes and othe digital stores.