This mix is for anyone who mighta-shoulda been a kid in the 60s. Just sayin’ it kind of gets old school in terms of sound on this one.
1. Homeboy Sandman – “The Plot Thickens.” Stones Throw Records is streaming better artists than Interscope on Soundcloud, because if given a choice of listening to Homeboy Sandman (Hip Hop) sing out of tune exactly four notes a handful of times over the course of this track, which leads me to believe it’s a very intentional choice, then so be it. Better than auto tuning it. Also in my Soundcloud stream is Mateo (R&B)’s “After Dark” on Interscope, which just so happens to unintentionally follow Homeboy Sandman’s track, and what I hear in “After Dark” is a lot of ’80s power ballad-y wrongness. And it’s made extra saccharine with early to mid-90s boy band lyricism. You know, I don’t even hate power ballads or common pop arrangements, but this doesn’t appeal.
As for “The Plot Thickens,” it’s sample-laden and paired with much better lyrics. Favorite rhymes are a tie between “I tell a lost broad take your coat off, but keep your clothes on…” vs “I’m in the field trying to give you something you can feel/ You know something tactile…” Bonus points for the way he nonchalantly name checks Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” in there.
2. Valerie June – “I Want To Be On Your Mind.” You can stream her whole album via NPR’s First Listen here. Her album “Pushing Against Stone” is out Aug 13th.
3. Myron & E – “If I Gave You My Love.” These two are perhaps my favorite new artists on Stones Thrown Records right now. Quite frankly you don’t hear a lot of that kind sound anymore unless it’s on an oldies station or you’re in the mood for a special playlist building marathon made up of old school Soul and R&B.
4. La Luz – “Call Me in the Day.” La Luz have material on Burger Records, which is a label that is quite the treasure trove of lo-fi, garage-y, psychedelic things. You can check out more of this Seattle-based group’s music here too. It bears mentioning that quirky people seem to be pretty excited about this band. Make of them what you will.
5. Lonesome Shack – “White Lightening.” What did I say about Burger Records? Times that by a factor of 10 for this track, but take out the psychedelia and replace it with gritty, bluesy rock. If you like it, you can find more of their music here.
6. Blouse – “No Shelter.” Captured Tracks has quite a few artists I like from Widowspeak to Medicine to Wild Nothing (who play with Local Natives at the Diamond Ballroom in OKC on Oct. 7th), but Blouse is fairly new to me. Their second album, Imperium, is scheduled to be released Sept. 17th. You can flit around Captured Tracks’ Soundcloud to hear other songs from their new album too.
7. Of Montreal – “fugitive air.” I have to say that Of Montreal caught my ear with “Penelope,” from “Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies: A Variety of Whimsical Verse” (2001), because it was so messed up and lyrically all over the place, but in a completely naughty and gleeful way, which is pretty much how the rest of the album plays out. If you like The Beatles, you probably will adore Of Montreal. Unless you don’t want a ridiculously long playlist of wackiness as there is a 17 min song on that one that’s a classy piano number that morphs into some Gershwin-like jazzy piano music and just sort of wanders all over the place, but tis still good in short bursts. Even if it is a glorious 17 minutes. Honestly, NMF2 did not occur at the best point in time for me, but of the all the ones I regret missing, I was kind of sorry to not attend that one since Of Montreal played the main stage that year (2009). Anyway, they’ve got a new album, “lousy with sylivanbriar,” coming out on Polyvinyl Records on October 8th. “fugitive air” is more evolved and streamlined compared some of their earlier songs, but still inline with some of their more recent output.
9. Smoking Trees – “See.” Burger Records is offering their 2012 album “Acetates” as a cassette right now. I really like the twist at the end of this song. If you happen to agree, then you should read this review of “Acetates” as it sums up the album nicely, or long story short: they have Of Montreal like tendencies.