Monthly Archives: May 2009

Feature: SiA Summer Mix #1 (Remix Edition)

Photo by Denny Vanderburg

Photo by Denny Vanderburg

Well, it’s finally here! Summer!

And that means that we kick off SiA first ever Summer Mix series!

This week is dedicated to dance remixes, in order to start your summer off on the right foot.

That’s your dancing foot, fool!

Have a great week guys! Feedback is certainly welcome! Also, it requires iTunes….but who doesn’t have that anyway.

SiA Summer Mix #1 (Remix Edition)

Tracklist

“F**k It” by Revolucian
“Snoop Dogg Vs. The Cure” by Hollertronix (bootleg)
“Love Stoned (Kaskade Remix)” by Justin Timberlake
“Four To The Floor (Thin White Duke Mix)” by Starsailor
“Fire Fire Fire (DFA Loving Hands Mix)” by Dappled Cities
“Dare (Soulwax Mix)” by Gorillaz
“Let It Will Be (Paper Faces Mix)” by Madonna
“I Can’t Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head (feat Ulterior Motive)” by Kylie Minogue
“Ghettochip Malfunction (Hell Yes)” by Beck
“Slipping Away (Axwell Vocal Mix)” by Moby
“With Every Heartbeat (Voodoo and Serano Remix)” by Robyn
“Paper Planes (DFA Remix)” by M.I.A

-Chase

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Review: Grizzly Bear “Veckatimest”

Well, music blogs and review sites were set on fire yesterday.

No, I didn’t do it.

Grizzly Bear did it.

The release of their third proper LP, Veckatimest, finally came upon us. We were teased with a barely audible leak of the album in mid-March, which set up promise for what sounded like a fantastic record. Well, send that crap to your recycling bin (don’t act like you didn’t “get it off a friend” aka download it yourself!) You’ll need to erase anything you decided about the album, and listen to it properly. Because Grizzly Bear just put themselves in the running for Album of the Year, along with Animal Collective and Dan Deacon.

Those familiar with Grizzly Bear will find the band evolving from where their 2006 album, Yellow House, left off. For all the new Grizzly Bear listeners out there: Welcome! You’ve picked a great album to start on! Veckatimest (yeah, I don’t know how to properly pronounce it either) is Grizzly Bear’s most upbeat album to date. But, fans of the band’s more melancholic atmosphere shouldn’t be scared off at the sound of that. Grizzly Bear have the wonderful ability to create albums that feel like a trip through the woods. A vision quest of meticulously-crafted “chamber pop.” Well, Veckatimest still takes you on that journey, but now it occasionally has some sunny spots along the way!

These “sunny spots” (the blissful “Two Weeks,” “Cheerleader,” “While You Wait For The Others”) are scattered throughout the album with expert pacing. Like I said, Grizzly Bear are very meticulous when it comes to crafting their songs. And yes, I mean song-crafting, not just song-writing. Every song on Veckatimest is filled with acute instrumentation, orchestrated swells and wonderfully brooding atmosphere. This really becomes obvious when the album serves up the one-two punch that is “All We Ask” and “Fine For Now.”

Veckatimest truly is a great record. It’s atmosphere is perfectly sustained throughout. And the musical highs and lows are pulled off with ease. My only issue with the album lies within the second-to-last track “I Live With You.” Not to say that it is a bad song, not by a long shot. I just feel like it’s in the wrong place. My first listen, I had no issue with it, but having gone through record several times, I really feel like it belongs elsewhere. As it stands, it wedged in between the album’s final high (“While You Wait For The Others”) and it’s most beautiful low (“Foreground”). I really feel like putting these two side by side would render the listener utterly be-smitten. So now, my mind anxiously wanders during “I Live With You,” awaiting the album’s angelic close.

So, if you have yet to traverse through Veckatimest, I’m more than happy to send you own your way now. If you’re just getting back from it, I’ll ask you to just sit tight for a second. Let me finish typing this up, I’ll grab my headphones and we’ll take that trip together.

Good luck getting “Two Weeks” out of your head this summer….or year….or lifetime.

-Chase

Death Knelly – “Dancing Feet”

Death Knelly is at it again.  Children, hide your parents.

Chris

Feature: SiA’s Summer Mix Announcement

‘Tis the season for booze, bikinis and bashes!

No, it’s not the Democratic National Convention. It’s Summer!

We here at SiA want to help you make the best out of your summer.

So, we’re offering you two things:

1.) Advice: “Live Every Week Like It’s Shark Week”

2.) Every week we’ll be providing you with a 1 hour mix, built with summer in mind!

The mixes will be varied from dance, rock and “feel good hits of the summer,” plus mixes from guests like Rad Shades.

Next week, we’ll kick things off with an all remix playlist.

Check back next Friday for the inaugural mix!

-Chase

Silent Mixtape #2: “Firefly Fables”

Summer06partone 041Photo by Chris Piercy, summer of 2006

I know, I know…it’s time for “summery” and “happy” music.  This mix isn’t trying to shut the propane off at your drunken barbecue or anything, but even during these blissful months of hot dogs, water gun fights, and sweaty one night stands, you still need the occasional come-down.

  1. Califone “Vampiring Again” from Quicksand/Cradlesnakes (2003)
  2. Mojave 3 “Mercy” from Ask Me Tomorrow (1995)
  3. Bark Psychosis “A Street Scene” from Hex (1994)
  4. Rachel’s “Moscow is in the Telephone” from Systems/Layers (2003)
  5. Grouper “Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping” from Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill (2008)
  6. Bedhead “Crushing” from WhatFunLifeWas (1994)
  7. Arthur Russell “A Little Lost” from Another Thought (1994)
  8. Charles Mingus “Profile of Jackie” from Pithecanthropus Erectus (1956)

Chris

Shit Vids: Garth Brooks “Standing Outside the Fire”

When Jezy nominated this video as a “Shit Vids” candidate my first thought was: “Does he hate the mentally challenged?”

I should come clear and admit that the first cassette tape I ever owned was Garth Brooks’ Ropin’ the Wind.  To a kid who lived in the country surrounded by pet cows who would regularly bump into our giant satellite dish, rendering it impossible to see “Thundercats” through the static, the album was a godsend.  Why I never became a professional bull rider is still a question I wrestle with every morning as I put the first dip of Skoal in my lip.

Anyway, this video is retarded.  It’s one of those condescending pop culture moments, like I Am Sam, “Life Goes On“, or Sean Hannity’s career, that attempts to show us that mentally challenged people can do anything.  Instead of being a heartwarming inspiration, these things usually just end up being exploitative.  And, or, they gravely misuse Beatles songs.

So, in this video we have a bucolic kid with Downs Syndrome who wants to try out for his high school’s regular track and field event rather than the Special Olympics version.  Mom like this idea.  Dad and coach no like this idea.  Think idea bad idea.

His mother is a constant encouraging force, even going so far as to let the boy nearly run over some high school chicks in her car (0:29).  And you thought Student Drivers were a terrorizing presence on the road!  What the father says at 1:08 is called “foreshadowing”.  Inexplicably, at 1:58, Garth decides this is a Metallica video, complete with fire and The Hetfield Evil Eye.  Or did the kid literally torch his school by running so damn fast?  Make sure you keep watching because at 2:30 comes one of the most dramatic moments in CMT history.  It might also be called “child abuse”.

Chris

Review: Graham Coxon “The Spinning Top”

Just to get this out of the way, I’m a huge Blur fan.

If you were to ask me, “Chase, who do you think was the greatest UK band of the 90’s?” I would respond, “Blur, hands down.” So, when Blur’s lead guitarist, Graham Coxon, left the group after the stellar alternative freak out album 13, I had abandoned all hope. I took out my frustration on Graham for a few years, cursing his name for taking the band I loved away from me. It wasn’t until 2004’s Happiness In Magazines that I put aside my childish feud and embraced Coxon’s solo work. His solo albums are well-executed blend of folk and Blur-esque garage rock. Which showcases that Blur is as much Damon Albarn as it is Coxon.

But this isn’t about Blur, this is about Coxon’s latest album, the devastatingly beautiful The Spinning Top.

Coxon has stated that The Spinning Top is a concept album that follows a man from birth to death over the album’s 70+ minutes. Coxon does an astonishing job of bringing this man to life. Each song is a progression into a different time in the protagonist’s life. While the lyrics may not clearly display this, the music sure as hell does.

The album starts out on an extremely folk heavy note. “Look Into The Light,” “This House,” and “In The Morning” capture the wonder of being a child brought into a world. This is accomplished by expertly crafted guitar folk that harkens back to Nick Drake. The middle portion of the album mixes the folk in with more garage rock tracks, that sound like possible outtakes from the aforementioned Blur’s 13. This is where the album can get a little long in the tooth. Occasionally, I feel like I’m sitting out a man’s mid-life crisis. A musically forced Parklife, which can cause me to get a little restless.

However, the deep cuts of the album are by far the most interesting. “Tripping Over” is a powerful track that causes me to envision the protagonist passing on. This track is an engrossing number, that leads into the album’s closer “November.” And for maybe the only time in my life, I get to write that the album’s closer actually feels like a close. These two tracks really do draw you into the end of a person’s life. A sonic voyage across the River Styx that is something that I’ve never experienced in an album before.

Graham Coxon. Mission Accomplished.

The Spinning Top is definitely one of the most important albums of 2009. And, it’s certainly the most important album of Graham Coxon’s career. It is a powerful record that is brilliantly crafted, heartfelt, and I dare say…gorgeous. It may be a chore to sit through all the 15 tracks, but the payoff is unlike any other.

Graham, I welcome you with open arms. And it now looks like rest of Blur is here to join in on the group hug.

-Chase