We’re having a heatwave here in Seattle. And I’m not complaining. All of this hot, thick air sets a mind to simmering and opens ears to healthy doses of musical dirt and funk. And those perfect late evenings, with their cool breeze and afterglow of heat, lend themselves to the pleasures of the softer side of pop and experimentation. I filled this mix up with tastes of the music I encountered over the past quarter, and it all says SUMMER to me. Enjoy!
- Apocalypse | Moon King
Secret Life | 2015
I never did like the Smashing Pumpkins, except for “1979”, which I’m sure makes me something like the opposite of a Pumpkins fan. So, I suppose it’s the exuberance, not so much the Billy Corganing, of “Apocalypse” that has me ear-to-ear grinning and flat out sprinting along when this tune comes on during a midday run.
- Day of the Rope | Spray Paint
Punters On a Barge | 2015
Here we have some arty drum machine rock-a-punk that doesn’t sound corny. Really.
- Did I Tell You Last Night? | Cheena
Cheena – Single | 2015
OK, I technically first encountered “Did I Tell You Last Night?” in Q1, but I was on my female music mission then, and Pharmakon’s membership in the band wasn’t quite enough to qualify. Cheena is some sort of Sacred Bones supergroup that picks up where The Men left off on the tour of 1970s references, leaving Big Star behind for the likes of New York Dolls and Hawkwind.
- WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON | SHEER MAG
II 7″ | 2015
And the 70s love fest continues with SHEER MAG. Yes, the yelling is necessary. Self-described as, “a cross between power pop and almost hair band arena rock,” SHEER MAG seems bent on making it big. The audacity of calling their punched up and hooky guitar pop punk reminds me of when Blink-182 et al. raised the punk flag in the 90s top 40 radio world. I might have a negative knee jerk reaction to this sort of genre engineering, but I trust SHEER MAG’s sincerity and can’t deny that their execution is quite good.
- Cha Cha | D.R.A.M.
#1 Epic EP | 2015
Read this Noisey article to understand what intrigues me about D.R.A.M. I’m not exactly averse to party music, but my propensity to put on airs when it comes to intellectualizing music makes it difficult to defend myself when I get into something fun like this. This article does a good job of reconciling this quandary for me.
- Damn That Valley | U.S. Girls
Damn That Valley – Single | 2015
I’m guessing U.S. Girls has a few Joe Meek productions in her record collection. See: The Sharades – “Dumb Head.”
- Free | Dam-Funk
STFU – EP | 2015
Sweltering funk to further thicken that hot 4pm air. If you need a little nudge to finally surrender to the fact that you are sweating through your clothes in all the wrong places and so is everyone else, Dam-Funk has just what the summer ordered.
- Hot Mess | Shamir
Ratchet | 2015
See the YouTube slow jam sensation “Gimme Pizza” and my 45-33 mix series to better understand why this song really works for me.
- Cowboy Guilt | TORRES
Sprinter | 2015
I wasn’t quite ready for the 90s resurgence when Waxahatchee brought it to the table a couple years ago, but TORRES’s “Cowboy Guilt” has me softening to the whole sound.
- Not Real | Stealing Sheep
Not Real | 2015
For maximum enjoyment, I recommend playing “Not Real” at a moderate volume from your car stereo while playing beach volleyball, lounging in a hammock just out of the sun, or taking part in any number of other quintessential summer recreational activities.
- Everyone’s Nobody | Surface to Air Missive
Why, yes, I do like Todd Rundgren.
- Pariah Conscience | of Montreal
Polyvinyl 4-Track Singles Series Vol. 2 | 2015
For Christmas, Margaret signed me up the second volume of Polyvinyl’s 4-track series. Lots of great stuff so far this year. Among my favorites is of Montreal’s “Pariah Conscience.” It’s refreshing to hear Kevin Barnes shed the various disco bells and whistles that have been adorning his music for the past decade or so.
- Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty | Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Multi-Love | 2015
“Multi-Love” the song is a strong contender for single of the year, in my book. And Multi-Love the album happens to deliver plenty of additional goodness, like “Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty” here.
- The Rhythm Changes | Kamasi Washington
The Epic | 2015
Welcome to the Brainfeeder jazz section of the mix. I really haven’t even begun to unpack and understand all of the glory of The Epic, or even TPAB, for that matter. It’s clear that LA is experiencing some sort of renaissance and that they just might be convincing the world of popular culture that complexity, tradition, and social purpose increase value and meaning in music and that the listener can actually handle it.
- Them Changes | Thundercat
The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam | 2015
Change. It’s not just a political campaign slogan anymore. It might actually be occurring. SCOTUS has decided the country is ready for marriage equality (about time). Battle flags are being taken down. And, if I may be so bold, I think we’re on the verge of turning the tide of police brutality. Thundercat’s mini album works in nice juxtaposition to Washington’s 3-hour opus. They each nurture intellectual and emotional reflection in this time of both mourning the failures of humankind and celebrating our demonstrated potential to become much greater.
- Salina Stars | Colleen
Captain of None | 2015
Colleen’s Captain of None album has a peculiar subtlety that sets a curious tone for night walks through the city.
- The Boy and the Snake Dance | Charles Cohen
Brother I Prove You Wrong | 2015
I know, 13 minutes is a long time, especially after you’ve come this far in the mix. Thanks for sticking with me. As I understand it, Charles Cohen is basically the premier (only?) Bachla Music Easil virtuoso. He’s been building pieces with the instrument since the early 70s and continues to create relevant work today.
- Exuma’s Reincarnation | Exuma
Reincarnation | 1972
I picked this album up while on my Washington state road trip with Margaret in April. Exuma is world music, which is a loaded statement. I share “Exuma’s Reincarnation” rather than their take on McCartney’s “Monkberry Moon Delight” primarily because of that awesome spoken word beginning.