Turn Back Tuesday

Every Tuesday, I’ll highlight a track that was released before the advent of Tumblr. Each track is chosen both for its influence and worthiness for additional exposure.

Death In Vegas - Girls

Putting together a soundtrack for a film is a much more difficult job than it looks at first blush. Some may go the traditional route of licensing popular songs that the audience is already familiar with, the emotions they already have attached to the music easily transferred to the screen. There’s also the more difficult route of making up all the music from scratch, but the inherent advantage here is that the music will always be associated with the film because it served as the audience’s point of entry. One of my favorite soundtracks since the turn of the century was for Lost In Translation; it combined popular songs, original pieces, and many lesser-known tracks into a perfect package with the film.

Death In Vegas’ “Girls” stands out to me because it sound like literally nothing else off the album it belongs to, Scorpion Rising. While most of the album is harsh and aggressive, “Girls” floats along on airy vocals and introspective guitars. “Girls” builds so slowly and effortlessly that before the listener knows it, it’s already exploding like a supernova at the end. “Girls” is such a perfect fit for a film like Lost In Translation and remains affecting today. Enjoy.

Tuuwa - We Are

The great KEATS COLLECTIVE is back at it again with Future Funk Friday Vol. 3a wonderful 12 track mix of sampled funk, soul, and R&B. The track that grabbed me first was Tuuwa’s “We Are”, which eschews vocals in favor of a beats and horn approach. As much as I love old funk and soul vocal samples, I think it’s harder to make a quality track without using them, and that’s exactly what Tuuwa does here. You can get the whole compilation over on Bandcamp, pay-as-you-want style; enjoy.

Slowdance - Where Will You Be?

When someone says something resembles a “Jackson Pollock painting”, it’s typically said in a rather derisive manner; that something is being unfairly presented as “art”. The same could be said about musical genres as well; calling a band “shoegaze” can sometimes be an insult. Looking at the cover art of Slowdance’s new self-titled album, it all clicked into place; what one person sees and hears is ultimately up to them, but just because one person can’t see or hear it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Album opener “Where Will You Be?” has a lot going on, and to take it at face value would be foolish. There are so many influences poured into “Where Will You Be?”; give it time and let it permeate the recesses of your mind. Grab Slowdance on Bandcamp, and as always, enjoy.

All Behind - See You

Coming to us from Winnipeg, Manitoba is this delightful little jam from All Behind. “See You” has a lot of textures that take repeated listens to truly appreciate. There is a hint of a harder, darker side under the light atmospherics of “See You”, suggesting that the dream may not be as happy as it may seemed at first. Released as a single with “Same”, check out “See You” here and then check out more on SoundCloud. As always, enjoy.

Turn Back Tuesday

Every Tuesday, I’ll highlight a track that was released before the advent of Tumblr. Each track is chosen both for its influence and worthiness for additional exposure.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - For Kate I Wait

I think taking a lo-fi approach to music can be a double-edged sword in today’s environment. Using such an approach can earn an artist brownie points with a certain subset of fans, but there needs to be a solid correlation between the song’s message and its sound. Some artists may use lo-fi as a way to “cover up” parts of a track they could never quite work out. Lo-fi techniques are best used in an soul-baring sense; the music should reflect earnestness, not inexperience.

Ariel Pink has become an indie darling over the past ten years, but there was a time where he was just a wet-behind-the-ears kid with a lot of emotion and little money. Even though The Doldrums, Ariel Pink’s first well-known release, was released in 2004, it was recorded on tape back in 1999. “For Kate I Wait”, today’s featured track, has a lot going on, but the lo-fi approach makes it relatively unclear what it all is. However, I feel like it is a good expression of the love-lorn mind of a young person; messy, earnest, but overall powerful. Today’s Ariel Pink sounds little like “For Kate I Wait”, and that’s fine; an artist must evolve as the years go on. However, it serves as a potent reminder of feel good lost. Enjoy.

Anjou - Specimen Question

Formed from the ashes of Labradford comes Anjou and their stunning new self-titled album. Listening through for the first time, it was readily apparent how much skill was behind the production; Anjou is a debut album in name only. Featured here is “Specimen Question”, a wonderful rumination of a track that twists and turns in just the right places. Anjou is currently out via Kranky; give it a listen when you get a chance and as always, enjoy.

Turn Back Tuesday

Every Tuesday, I’ll highlight a track that was released before the advent of Tumblr. Each track is chosen both for its influence and worthiness for additional exposure.

Laraaji - The Dance No. 3

I recently had an argument with a friend about a song that he didn’t particularly like. I asked him what he didn’t like about it; he claimed it was too repetitive, that it did the same thing over and over. While I personally wasn’t a fan of the song either, I believe he missed the point of the song; it wasn’t repetitive because it lacked creativity, but because it was aiming to be hypnotic for the listener. Figuring out what an artist is trying to do is the first step in understanding art.

This argument made me think of this week’s track, Laraaji’s “The Dance No. 3”. A listener could easily say they don’t the track because it’s “repetitive”; however, such an position doesn’t really acknowledge what  Laraaji is aiming for here. With immaculate production from Brian Eno, “The Dance No. 3” transports the listener into a different mindset, one of introspection and study. Laraaji makes music that you can either think to or zone out to, and both modes help us become better human beings if done correctly. Take a listen to “The Dance No. 3” here and then choose your own adventure.

tendencies - そこにそれがある

Here’s a novel idea; start a record label, but only include artists under the age of eighteen. That’s the starting point for the SOMICO record label, consisting of artists from all over the world that share a similar age and an affinity for creation. Their first compilation, SOMICO vol. 1is a heady mix of the current music scene, including tracks from electronic All-Stars such as SVNDAZE, Dreamghost, and Moonkay. However, the track that grabbed me the most was “そこにそれがある” by tendencies. I love tracks that challenge the listener to figure out where samples are from and what they’re saying, and “そこにそれがある” does exactly that. Check out the whole compilation on Bandcamp, and as always, enjoy.

ODESZA - It’s Only (feat. Zyra)

Man, have I been waiting for this one. ODESZA was responsible for one of the very best albums of 2012, and yesterday, they dropped their followup, In Return. The biggest change over the past few years for the band has been a move away from sampled vocals and toward highlighting several outstanding vocalists. “It’s Only” features the fantastic voice of Zyra, and what makes the song stay with the listener is how effectively the title is sung; it hits the perfect balance of intimacy and vastness. Pick up In Return as soon as you get a chance, and as always, enjoy.

Turn Back Tuesday

Every Tuesday, I’ll highlight a track that was released before the advent of Tumblr. Each track is chosen both for its influence and worthiness for additional exposure.

Yo La Tengo - Autumn Sweater

I love songs that tell a story, but not all story songs are made the same. Any song can explain a situation; the best ones make the listener do the work. Subtlety is sometimes the best policy. Some tracks are deliberately obtuse, challenging the listener to figure out the past, present, and future. It’s this characteristic that has made Yo La Tengo’s “Autumn Sweater” an enduring classic.

"We could slip away/wouldn’t that be better?" Ira Kaplan repeats throughout "Autumn Sweater", and it gets the listener to thinking: can’t this attitude be applied in any situation? The allure of avoiding a potential contentious situation is ever-present in "Autumn Sweater", while acknowledging that such a decision has its downfalls. Placed against a decidedly lo-fi background, "Autumn Sweater" eats at the listener in the best way.