Tag Archives: Here We Go Magic

How do I do this again?

I’m baaaaaaaack.

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!

The Early-Summer-Promising-Singles-List/Collection-Thing

(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.

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And so we’ve reached the end…

Well here we are again, at that wonderful time of year that has us all family oriented and warm and reminiscent. As I sit here in my bed with quilts up to my ears and a warm cup of cocoa on my side table, I can’t help but feel optimistic for the coming days. This year was both trying and rewarding for me, through the microcosm of this blog and in my personal life. One of the most trying tasks I’ve undertaken thus far was narrowing down by “best of” list for this year. The sheer volume of music that I’ve been exposed to has made this hard enough, but then there’s the fact that most of it, amazingly, was brilliant.

In any case, I won’t bore you with the details of scouring my iTunes library and re-visiting albums from earlier in the year. Instead I’ll just commence with the list! Happy holidays!

10. Rewild – Amazing Baby

To be honest, I feel a bit bad putting this album last. It really was, in my opinion, a great record. The production was flawless with its intricate string arrangements and layered synths. I found something new and interesting after each listen. My only real problem with this album was not with its execution, but with its scope. I feel that since there’s been a sort of neo-psychedelic revival, these guys needed to really reach and “push the envelope” of their sound. This isn’t to say that the album is uninteresting, I believe it is quite the contrary. However, I couldn’t help but feel like there were missed musical opportunities.

Roverfrenz – Amazing Baby

9. Two Suns – Bat For Lashes

If I lived in a fairy commune with a unicorn overlord, I think Natasha Khan would be, like, the queen. She just oozes this creative self-assurance and transcendental understanding and that definitely informs her music. It leaves nothing to be desired, exploring all sonic possibility and weaving vast dreamscapes to lose yourself in. Two Suns is a much more cohesive effort than Fur and Gold, although it lacks the kind of tongue-in-cheek humor that made songs like What’s A Girl To Do? soar (remember that verse in the chorus: “When your dreams are on/A train to train wreck town”?). Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful, ethereal listen.

Siren Song – Bat For Lashes

8. True Romance – Golden Silvers

From the minute I laid eyes upon the swirly intricate purple and gold album artwork of True Romance, I knew it was going to be one of my favorites for this year. I mean, how could anyone in their right mind resist Golden Silvers’ witty mix of nostalgic doo-wop and 80’s pop? True Romance was my go-to song this summer, and for good reason. Golden Silvers are fun and smart, two things everything (people, music, cake etc.) should aspire to be.

Arrows of Eros – Golden Silvers

7. Fever Ray – Fever Ray

This album, Karin Andersson’s (you know, the female half of The Knife) crazy side-project, was one of the best musical WTF moments of the year. When I chanced upon the music video for When I Grow Up earlier this year, I was utterly confused. “What is this?” I wondered, totally bewildered by what I had just seen, “Is this electronica, or pop?” I questioned, “Why is that girl dancing over a pool?” I still don’t really know the answers to those questions, but there’s no denying that Fever Ray is different, lively, and crazily danceable at some points. With its quirky sampling, cryptic lyrics, and creepy undertones Fever Ray is sure to be an album you need to revisit.

Triangle Walks – Fever Ray

6. Logos – Atlas Sound

Shelia is just, just one of those songs that grabs hold of your imagination and won’t let go. You find yourself singing it absent-mindedly to yourself and making it your internal life-soundtrack when traversing snowy streets. In a lot of ways, Logos, as a cohesive effort is the same. It’s pop music, but not quite. It’s dreamy and airy and childish all at the same time. At some moments though, My Halo for example, it’s dark and brooding. However, it never leaves you in that scary place for too long. I may be a bit biased since I kind of love anything Bradford Cox lays his hands on, but there’s something undeniably endearing about his brand of screwed up transcendentally melodic pseudo-pop.

Shelia – Atlas Sound

5. Album – Girls

I was fortunate enough to be tipped off about this crazy San Francisco duo by Gerlin, and seriously, thank you Gerlin because this album is like, wow. On a theater trip in London earlier this year, Lust For Life became our theme song, blaring as loud as we could possibly make it from our home-made cup speakers. Album is pretty much the crowning jewel on the lo-fi crown for this year, epitomizing that carefree, slightly-crappy but lovable sound that seems to be coming exclusively from California recently.

Laura – Girls

4. Merriweather Post Pavillion – Animal Collective

Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m not about to prostrate myself before a shrine to Noah Lennox and sacrifice a baby with Brother Sport playing in the background. No sir, not that crazy yet. What I will say is this album was, categorically, awesome. It’s like synthy, loopable gold flowing all through your head and making you wanna dance like a lunatic. It’s also amazing from start to finish. No half-assed attempts or fillers here. It’s just 54 minutes and 42 seconds of masterfully crafted electronic bliss. If your friends are anything like mine, you will have had constant arguments about which song is best, but in the end it really doesn’t make a different because they’re all so fucking amazing.

But for the record guys (you know who you are), My Girls = WIN

My Girls – Animal Collective

3. Bitte Orca – Dirty Projectors

I will express my love for this album in the form of haiku:

Dirty Projectors,
Solange Knowles covered your tune?
Massive respect dudes.

But seriously, this album deserves some major kudos. Not only is this Dirty Projector’s most accessible album to date, it might just be their flat out best. Longstreth’s guitar acrobatics along with his girl’s warbling, ghetto-songbird-esque vocals leave you with cool tunes that are as suited to your local indie club as they are to a chilled our party at your friend’s house.

Useful Chamber – Dirty Projectors

2. Here We Go Magic  – Here We Go Magic

I think that this was the album that I anticipated most this year. From the minute I heard Fangela, I was hooked. The crazy soundscapes that Luke Temple manages, almost single-handedly, to create are all-encompassing and deeply engrossing. The lo-fi edge of the record almost serves a foil to the intricacy of the melodies and arrangements, while simultaneously giving the record a homey, accessible feel; like the record was a demo from a ridiculously talented friend working out of his basement. I absolutely LOVE this record, and know that I will be immersing myself in its wonderful melodies for years to come.

Tunnelvision – Here We Go Magic

1. Fits – White Denim

Call it bias, call it lack of musical taste, but I am totally committed to spreading the gospel of Fits. Not only do you get 24 tracks for $10 on the extended American release, but basically every song is this amazing, in-your-face psychedelic rock explosion that will leave you breathless and energized. In a scene where a lot of music is over thought and overproduced, White Denim are wonderful glowing monsters ready to shake things up and present something awesome.

Regina Holding Hands – White Denim

Most Promising EPs (in no particular order):

1. Mystery – BLK JKS

2. Rainwater Cassette Exchange – Deerhunter

3. Life of Leisure – Washed Out

Have a kick-ass new year everybody!

Mid-August Melancholy

This is my least favorite time of year. The time when, as a high school student, you start to feel the little freedom and autonomy you so enjoyed over the summer vacation slowly start to slip away and fade in the foreboding shadow of the impending school year. Assignments that you carelessly avoided during June and July finally rear their ugly heads, smirking vindictively as if to say, “You procrastinated, so now I’m going to make your life hell you lazy doucheface.” Instead of going outside to enjoy the amazing weather, you sit in your sepulchral room reading enigmatic French texts on the nature of cruelty and reteaching yourself how to solve logarithmic functions, all the while cursing your misfortune. And for what? Just so you can sit through another 9 months of pointless and life draining classes and maybe get good grades, and then maybe get into a posh university which might help you achieve vocational goals which could allow you to have a “good” life… whatever that means.

Grr.

Ok, well perhaps I exaggerated a little, but still, I am hella stressed out and the fact that college admissions, my IB scores, and SAT/ACT scores will be determined in the next few months is not helping matters. Which is where the delusion comes in. Yep, you heard me right, I am totally denying the fact that this semester is as important as it is. In fact I’m still pretending I’ve got weeks of glorious summer left to do stupid crap. Aiding me in my endeavors is this collection of summery songs. I hope you like them, and please, please pray for me. I need it.

Tonight’s Today – Jack Peñate
This song was on serious repeat when I first heard it. I’m not too familiar with this guy’s earlier work, so I can’t really vouch for the whole “musical transformation” thing I’ve been reading everywhere. All I know is that this song is amazingly awesome, and kind of like Chumbawamba’s “I Get Knocked Down” for the enlightened set in its energy and anthemic quality… minus the chavishness though.

Drugs in My Body – Thieves Like Us

A really fun song. Perfect soundtrack for a night of adolescent debauchery.

Good Dancers – The Sleepy Jackson
Before Luke Steele transformed into the psychedelic shaman we all love and know from Empire of the Sun, he was a member of The Sleepy Jackson. I love the dreamy warm feeling of this song; it’s rich and layered and absolutely delicious. Download NOW!

Cascade – Deluka
Sounds like Magistrates with a female vocalist, which is pointedly amazing.

So Insane – Discovery
When I heard that the singer from Ra Ra Riot and the drummer from Vampire Weekend were forming a group I was mega psyched. I wasn’t disappointed. With lyrics like “when I saw you at the discothèque/send my vibe out to you” how could you not love it?

Dressed to Digress – Boy Crisis
Continuing in the vein of songs with cheesily good lyrics is this little gem. Someone I can’t remember said that Boy Crisis is what you do when you get an Art degree at Wesleyan and your life lacks direction. I don’t know about all that, but I was sold when I heard the line “My guess is that you might bless/me with your holy water just like you were a pope baby.” Yeah, I know.

Terminally Chill – Neon Indian
The title is self-explanatory. Subdued and funky.

In A Dream – Skybox
My friend and I were singing this song all summer. It’s very MGMT-esque, but not in a bad way. I also like the weird little hiccup/yodel thing the lead singer does in the chorus. It’s fun!

Animal – Miike Snow
I don’t really understand this song, but it makes me smile.

Daylight – Matt and Kim
Possibly the most upbeat and summery song ever written. You can’t listen to it without smiling/dancing.

Vacationing People – Foreign Born
Person to Person is an amazing album to listen to, especially during this time of year. The layered vocals are particularly lovely.

Fangela – Here We Go Magic
I don’t think I’d ever been more excited for a debut that when I was waiting for the Here We Go Magic album to come out. It’s truly a masterpiece. This song might be a little subdued for a summer playlist, but I absolutely love it. Luke Temple has the voice of an angel.

Happy listening, and revel in the saticfaction that in all likelyhood your situation is infitely better than mine.