Playlists Make a Comeback: Thanks, Spotify


Due to a combination of an awesome friend giving me a Pandora One subscription for Christmas, breaking my iPod (rip Rufio), and being generally lethargic about finding new music, I fell into a bit of a playlist rutt. Now, Pandora One is out, and Spotify is in. No, not Spotify Pro- I am far to cheap for that, and I relaly am not all that bothered by a few commercials. You just try to sway my shopping habits! Go ahead!

With little more ado, the mmmixtape 2.0 inaugural playlist. This is what’s been rocking my mornings lately.

Ida Maria – Oh My God

Essentially a panic anthem.  Don’t read too much into that.

 

Cults – You Know What I Mean

Dreamy, sad, and urgent all at once.

 

Death Cab For Cutie – This Charming Man
(Smiths Cover)

I actually thought this was a lot better cover before I realized how badly they butchered the lyrics.  I do that all the time though so I guess I should give them a pass.

 

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Gold Lion

Never a bad choice.

 

Wild Nothing – Summer Holiday

 

Cut Copy – Lights and Music

 

Discovery – Swing Tree

Love this superband, made up of the keyboardist from Vampire Weekend and the vocalist from Ra Ra Riot.  See below.

 

Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You

 

Tokyo Police Club – Breakneck Speed

One of the best ‘surprises’ I’ve ever seen in concert – as in, were way better than I anticipated.

 

George Harrison – What is Life

Just because.

 

Mumm-ra – She’s Got You High

 

Stars – Take Me To The Riot

 

The Moody Blues – Lovely to See You

 

Kid Cudi – The Pursuit of Happiness

Yes, I know this is old, and I don’t care at all.

 

Discovery – Swing Tree

Guaranteed to make you smile.

 

Two Door Cinema Club – Undercover Martyn

I need to see this band again ASAP.

 

Okkervil River – Lost Coastlines

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Mumm-Ra


 

 

Happy Friday!

Work Sucks


Nobody likes going to work.  This is a fact, and anybody that says otherwise is a damn liar.

I walk to work, which is an unending joy in our nation’s capital.  Something seems to happen here where we completely skip over the lovely season of spring, and go straight from snowmageddon and snOMG  to the hellacious fires of a summer heat wave that has no business being this far north.

However, the best part about walking to work is the music.  I sometimes wake up thinking about what I am going to listen to on the walk to work, and no I am not proud of that.  The music I listen to on the way to work is carefully calibrated to set up my mood for the day.  And the most important song in determining the mood of the day is the one that hits your ears right before you walk into work.

You might think that it’s always best to start the day with an optimistic tune or two, brighten up your outlook, but you’d be wrong.  Sometimes you need to work up a righteous head of anger to get through the day.  Sometimes you just want to wallow in the wretchedness of your life.  For instance, lately I have been having an extended what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-with-my-life moment.  So I drown my sorrows every morning with iced grande skim lattes with two extra shots of espresso, cigarettes, and music that tries to help me not hate the world.

In the Mouth a Desert – Pavement

Look, I know, I know, Michael doesn’t like Pavement, and I already used this song, and blah blah blah.  I don’t care.  It’s the perfect song for the morning.  The opening chords are just like fucking dawn, ok?  This is my all-time favorite song to listen to right before I walk into work.  I know exactly where to press play on this baby so that it ends right when I get to my desk.

Dream – Alice Smith

Sometimes I like to listen to songs that describe what I’m going to do all day (ha).

If You Want Blood – AC/DC

For days when you need to kick ass at work.

Help I’m Alive – Metric

Sometimes I want a song that describes my exact state of mind all day.  Also this song makes me think of Portal for some reason, which makes me happy.

Postcard to Nina – Jens Lekman

Sometimes I want a song so beautiful that it lulls me into forgetting I’m actually going to work.  AKA trance walking.

Sleepyhead – Passion Pit

For when you’re hungover (duh).

Hey – The Pixies

For when you are pissed off, or when you want to pretend to be Kim Deal.

Rock Bottom Riser – Smog

The saddest song.  This will make me want to cry basically all day.  To be used sparingly.  Also an amazingly beautiful video.

Your Woman – White Town

Only acceptable on Fridays

With Arms Outstretched – Rilo Kiley

This song is for when you actually do want to be happy and peppy all day.  One of the more upbeat sounding songs I know.

The Sweetlife Festival 2011 Sampler


What is the best way to start the summer?  A music festival.  May 1st, the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, will be hosting the Sweetlife Festival.  The venue isn’t bad for being in Maryland.  We all remember the Freefest.  The weather will be great, unless it rains.

What music do they have in store?  Lets find out.

Modern Man

D.C.’s own, Modern Man.  You can download some of their songs from their website.  ‘The Almost’ is a decent tune.   Judgment is still out since they are relatively new to the scene.

U.S. Royalty

Another D.C. homegrown, formed in 2008 and recently released their debut album ‘Mirrors’ at the beginning of 2011.  They will be good.  Check them out below and other videos on the YouTube, if you like what you hear,  you can buy their album in digital form for $8.

Walk the Moon

Walk the Moon from Cincinnati, Ohio.  I have been listening to their album about once a day since I started writing this post.  (I bought it off of Bandcamp.  If you don’t know about Bandcamp, it is great, only takes away15% from the artist as opposed to iTunes who takes like 200%.)  ‘Anna Sun’ is the feature here however  the rest of the album is equally good.  The sound is fresh and upbeat with the perfect infusion of pop, great spring and summer music.  I would have too much seasonal depression to appreciate it in the winter.

Theophilus London

Theophilus hit the scene in 2008 with the release of his mixtape ‘Jam!’ and followed it up with ‘Charming Mixtape’ in 2009.  You can stay up to date with this upcoming artist at his blog.  Previously unreleased track, ‘Century Girl’ (check it out below) was just posted to his blog last week.  It is worth a listen or two.  Anybody who claims Prince as one of their influences is going to be big.

Ra Ra Riot

Talk about the best use of a violin and cello in an indie rock/baroque pop group, Ra Ra Riot from Syracuse, New York.  It is great stuff.  A band I heard of in the past, but didn’t really listen to them until writing this piece.  The song you will probably recognize by them is ‘You can tell’, another equally as good is below.

I look forward to seeing Alexandra Lawn playing the cello standing up and you should too.

Cold War Kids

Lead singer Nathan Willett certainly has a unique sound.  It is definitely indie rock but with a little bit of a blues feeling.  Wikipedia tells me they are sometimes labeled as a Christian band.  For the nonreligious, whenever one hears of a band that gets labeled Christian, you feel like they are trying to pull one on you and then people make a stink.  I say you be the judge.  Whatever your thoughts, they have great lyrics and a great sound and will be great at SweetLife.

Crystal Castles

Known for their energetic live shows, they will most certainly not disappoint at Merriweather.  Hailing from Canada, you know they are unique and creative.  Last year they released a cover of  Platinum Blonde’s ‘Not In Love’ featuring Robert Smith of The Cure.  Check it out below in a Soundtrack Redux.

Lupe Fiasco

Mr. Fiasco is talent.  You know ‘Superstar’ live will be worth the price of admission.

Girl Talk

If you missed them at the 9:30 Club back in February, you get a second chance.

The Strokes

We will probably hear some tracks off their newly release album ‘Angels’ but I certainly wouldn’t mind some old school Strokes.

Concert Question


I’ve been meaning to post something interesting about best-of-the-year lists, but instead: should I go see The Avett Brothers at DAR Constitution Hall for $44? They are supposed to be wonderful live, but god I hate that venue.

Happy New Year!!!!1!!1!!!1!!!1!


I don’t understand the horses and dogs but who cares.  We wish you all the best in 2011.

 

 

Soundtrack Redux


A soundtrack redux is a video where someone takes a film clip and adds a song they think fits the movie, or they find film clips that they think fit a song.

Regardless, when they are well done, it is pretty cool.  Here are some good ones I have stumbled upon.

Best Coast: Sun Was High (So Was I)

This is great on many levels.  I like the Mustang.  The user that uploaded this video also has some other neato ones.

Neon Indian: 6669 (I don’t know if you know)

Haven’t mentioned Neon Indian on this blog yet.  Dark City is a cool movie too.

Vega: No Reasons

First, this track is awesome.  Does it sound familiar?  A similar project to Neon Indian (same guys).  No Reasons is set to the great 80’s movie ‘Thrashin’ by the ButterTeam.  They do very creative things with music.  I am a big fan.  This video by them is also worth checking out.

Phoenix: Lisztomania

I have to mention the brat pack mashup.  The original was taken down due to copyright issues however has been reposted (the video above).   Since then, trendy hipsters with video cameras have turned it into a bit of an internet meme.  The first was the Brooklyn mashup followed by many others from San Fran, Winnipeg,Versailles.

If you find some, post in the comments below.

Christmas Music


So, I know Target usually tops the list for annoying commercials, with the exception of the Lost- themed ones that played during the series finale – those were pure genius.  Target has recently launched a series of Christmas commercials that feature some pretty good music, including a few bands we at mmMix have featured before.

The first time I found out about this was because of a particularly catchy tune on a commercial and a tagline that said “Get this song free at Target.com/Christmas.”  I had to check this out, one because I like free music and two because I liked the song.

Target apparently commissioned a series of original Christmas songs, some of which are being featured in commercials, and some of which are only available for download on their website.  In addition to this track from Crystal Antlers, a band which I am going to have to investigate further, standout tracks include Guster’s Tiny Tree Christmas and Bishop Allen’s You’ll Never Find my Christmas. I would suspect that Michael would like to check out Electronic Santa from Blazer Force, which has one of the more amusing commercials.

mmMix favs Best Coast and Coconut Records also contributed tracks (here and here), which are great.  The Best Coast track is particularly interesting because it features Wavves, a boy meets girl collaboration that has been a long time coming.

This Christmas music is a long way away from fa la la, and definitely worth checking out.  We love to highlight free downloads whenever possible, so head on over to Target, avoid all of the overpriced chairs that they never deliver even though they keep telling you the chair is on its way, and listen to some sweet Christmas tunes.

ROME is EPIC


As a close friend of mine puts it, “Rome is EPIC”.  I think that is a great way to describe the 7th track off of Phoenix’s most recent album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

Phoenix has put together some commentary videos for tracks off of the album where various members comment on the story behind certain parts and the track in general.  In the commentary for Rome, they comment on insight as well as influence of certain sections.

Whole Wide World by Wreckless Eric

La Ritournelle by Sebastien Tellier

La Dolce Vita

Rome, live in Paris

 

Kanye Watch


Although I enjoy the guy, I try not to pay that much attention to Kanye West. He’s got plenty of other people following him around that do a much better job at that. He is also pretty ok at publicizing himself.

However, Kanye has done something even crazier and more notable than usual that deserves comment.  Watch:

Jezebel has a great breakdown of Runaway, so click over there if you don’t want to watch the 35 minute video but want to read a frame by frame analysis.  But you should watch it.  A veritable treasure trove of crazy Kanye imagery awaits you, along with some pretty solid music.

First of all, everyone keeps referring to Runaway as a movie, or a megavideo, but I don’t think that’s what this is.  I would say that what this really represents is a video mixtape.  I like the juxtaposition of using a higher tech medium and so very much production value on one of hip hop’s oldest, most venerable, and most budget-friendly institutions.  It seems very simple but cutting edge, like why didn’t anyone think of this before, which is perfect for Mr. West.  The vid includes clips of nine songs off of Kanye’s upcoming album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, including Devil in a New Dress, Power, All the Lights, Lost in the World, and the title track, which Ye performed at the VMAs this year.  I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the deep dark meaning of the video, but I will say that I think the phoenix represents Ye’s own creative spirit, which leaves the sex scene up for some creative interpretation.

Awesome:

– I thought it was cool that the car crash in the beginning supposedly mirrors the car crash in Through the Wire, which has long been a favorite Kanye track of mine.

– It must be said that Selina Ebanks looks about as perfect as anyone could look dressed in a few feathers.  Seriously, she’s almost naked throughout, and she’s hot.

– The track Lost in the World includes vocals from mMix fav Bon Iver.  It’s a little auto-tuney, kinda Imogen Heap-ish, and I was initially not a fan, but it definitely grew on me.

– Deers are cute.

Weird:

– I have no explanation for the parade scene with the huge float of Michael Jackson’s head.  Yes, there is literally a scene with a lit-up float of Michael Jackson’s head.  You gotta see it to believe it.

– It’s mostly nonverbal, but what dialogue there is could be best described as painful.  Sample:

“Your girlfriend is very beautiful.  Did you know she is a bird?”

“No, I never noticed that.”

– I was worried the deers were going to get burned by the huge ball of fire that Ye crashed his car into.

Watch the video whenever you have a spare minute or 35. If nothing else, it’s a good preview of the new album, which I can safely say is miles and miles better than 808s and Heartbreak. Not only am I glad to have some awesome new music tickling my ears, but I am glad to see Kanye bouncing back from some professional and personal setbacks.  It kinda just confirms to me that he’s as legitimate as we all thought when The College Dropout came out.  No matter how many starlets he humiliates or how much pornography he tries to pass off as an album cover, it seems we are stuck with Ye, and I’m pretty happy about that.