Indeed my friends I have returned, and as a graduate no less! Feel free to applaud if the compulsion takes you. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels not to be a high school student any more. You know that part in the “Shawshank Redemption” when Andy Dufresne climbs through the 500 yards of crap to escape the prison and then at the end he comes out of the tube and it’s all like rainy and jubilant and he just kind of lays there relishing in the freedom? That’s kind of like what is feels like, only a tad less dramatic and sans copious amounts of human waste. Anyway, since I am now as free and untethered as the majestic eagle I can focus on what undoubtedly you’ve all been waiting for (right?). That’s right, the early-summer-promising-singles-collection-thing! Although I haven’t been as active on the bloggy-wog as perhaps is appropriate, I have been listening and compiling and thinking about things to say once we had met again. So, without further fanfare or pointless pre-amblage here it is!
(a better name for this would be much appreciated)
1. Land of Feeling – Here We Go Magic
It may be summer, but just think of this song as easing yourself in to the icy cold musical pool. Since Here We Go Magic’s self-titled debut last year, a lot has changed. Luke Temple has got himself a band and gone, dare I say it? Krauty! Although Temple’s dreamy vocals are still there for us to drink in and enjoy, the hiccupy 8-track roughness has been abandoned in favor of tight synth lines and structured melodies. So if you like getting in touch with your inner German via Kraftwerk and Neu! and you dig sweet upbeat (but not neurotic) summer tunes then this might be just the thing for you. Guten Apetit!
2. Solitude is Bliss – Tame Impala
OK, so we’re in the pool. We’re floating around, you know, chilling on one of those inflatable beds, sipping a cocktail with a little umbrella in it. Now we are in the proper state of chillness to listen to the next track. To say that I have been obsessing over Tame Impala’s recent release InnerSpeaker would be like saying the BP oil disaster was a bit of an accident. I can’t really explain why I like this album so much, it might be the psychedelic influences tempered with electronic sensibilities, it might be the fact that the album was mixed by Dave Fridmann hell, it might be the fact that the lead singer sounds creepily similar to John Lennon. In any case this song is sweetly fun with just enough melancholy to prevent cavities. Also, the music video is AWESOME! I’m not in to animal cruelty, but when he punches that dog I was just like, “HECKyeah!”
3. Havin’ My Baby – Think About Life
We’re warming up now! We’re out of the pool (the pool thing ends here I promise). This song is riotously fun. From the first snippets of the sampled vocals and that twinkling keyboard chord that won’t let up I feel the need to, in the parlance of our times, shake what my mother has given me. While indulging in this song’s frenetic energy any red-blooded kid should need to dance and clap and just be happy that they aren’t dead. This is legit.
4. Stay Close – Delorean
I’ve been a fan of these guys ever since the Ayrton Senna EP they dropped summer of last year. Although I can’t say that the album as a whole was as satisfying as the EP, this song is just too damn uplifting to ignore. Although I can’t really understand what the lead singer is saying most of the time, the music compensates (and then some) for all that which was lost in translation. These Barcelonese (and yes I had to google what you call multiple people from Barcelona) have got the whole synthpop thing DOWN and I am just like, loving it.
5. Real Life – Tanlines
Kind of in the same synthpop vein as Delorean, but a bit more ethnic and funky. It’s funny because the lyrics are like what you would tell a shrink; like all of these deep human issues: lack of meaning in life, feelings of isolation and latent spirituality. But it’s set to this calypso beat so the seriousness of the issues is overshadowed by the fun synth line. I can’t wait to walk into a club and hear all of the kids flailing around drunk screaming “It was a past life thing.” Funny right?
6. Helplessly Young – Oh No Ono
“I don’t know what to say/She reminds me of the future” OMG I WAS THINKING THAT TOO!!1! I love it when songs inadvertently (or advertently… you tell me) describe their members. Oh No Ono, although absent of “shes”, definitely have FUTURE written all over them. This song is so AWESOME. The singer’s vocal style is similar to that of his fellow Scandinavian Karin Andersson (I promise I am not being racist), so it’s kinda like happy Fever Ray. Epiphany pop at its best people. NOM.
7. Gay Human Bones – Harlem
And now for something completely different. Ya’ll know about my love of garage rock à la White Denim or perhaps even early White Stripes stuff. Harlem is in that same tradition, only way less calculated. When I listen to this song I just have this mental image of the Fonz or Elvis walking through a junkyard and just doing that double pointy thing at random junkyard workers and like disused carburetors. Take that as you will.
So enjoy! I just realized that my list contains a disconcerting amount of electronica and/or pseudo electronica, but honestly these songs work best in this summer-y context. In other news, I am going to LANDAN next week so I am thinking about doing a bit of a travel diary sort of thing. You guys game? Give me your opinions!
By the way, I’ve missed you.