(RCRD LBL) Well sir, we've written up a number of festival mixtapes this summer. I can't lie, I'm almost out of festival mixtape juice. However, last week was the Godfather of all summer festivals -- the big daddy, the M80, the haymaker, the velvet mud, el gran peligro, the thilla in Manila -- the Reading Festival over in the UK. In honor of Reading weekend, RCRD LBL released a remix-heavy, ultra-indie compilation which showcases some of their favorite Reading 2011 bands.
So, once more, just before Labor Day, let's wrap up the season with a final free festival mixtape to keep Summer alive as long as possible:
RCRD LBL made the right choice by choosing one of the best written songs and one of the few non-remixes herein to lead off this compilation. The band is Yuck; the song is "Suicide Policeman." I know I've written about how much I like Yuck before, and I know I've written about this song specifically, but it deserves another word or two. I am usually (okay, always) prejudiced against any band that wears flannel, fuzzes out their guitar tones, and then includes words like "suicide" in their song titles, but this band cannot be denied. Their songwriting is outstanding. Their arrangements/mixes are somewhat no-fi but somewhat crisp (like Bright Eyes' brand of DIY), and yet they also manage to seamlessly incorporate horns. This is a feat. They are a great band. And is it just me, or does the dude from Yuck sort of remind you of Buzzo? A+
I hate chillwave. I hate it with everything in my soul. It may be my distaste for anything retro; it may be my musical education; it may be the fact that I don't like people who don't surf but romanticize surfing. I put them in the same category as people who don't do heroin but romanticize plugging. Surfing is a horrible, torturous addiction and a waste of time. They have no idea. Okay, I'm kidding, but I really do dislike chillwave. That being said, I can dig "Boyfriend" -- the Best Coast track on this mix. It's not over-the-top with the reverb, and rather than droning fuzz, there is a very cool Teenage Fanclub guitar line that ties it together. I'm a tough audience, and they won me over with this one. Well done, Best Coast.
There's also a Foster The People remix here. What more, in August, can I say about Foster The People? If you've been to ANY festival this summer, you have seen them play, and you have formed your own opinions. That being said, words are my job, so here are some more: I first wrote about what became their second single, "Helena Beat," in February. Like everyone else who wrote about this band, and like everyone who saw them tear down SXSW, I predicted they'd have the pop hit of the summer. What I didn't predict was that the hit, as it were, would be the then-unheard "Pumped Up Kicks." "Kicks" is an odd dance pop hit. Musically, it is terribly similar to "Helena Beat," but lyrically, it is about a school shooting massacre. It's like a fun version of "Jeremy", if that's possible. And it happened to really hit the mainstream around the same time of the biggest school shooting massacre in modern history. It's eerie. It's very eerie. And yet it's so catchy that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has remixed it. I even remixed it. The "Pumped Up Kicks" remix on this one is by Grouplove, who I wrote about a couple weeks ago: It's one of the better ones.
One band I haven't written about this summer is EXITMUSIC. I wasn't too familiar with them before hearing the Antlers remix of their track "The Hours" on this comp. And I must say, given that the band is named after a Radiohead song and the song is named after Antony Genn's band, finding any information on them via Google search is nearly impossible. I did, however, find the original version of "The Hours" online, and though the Antlers remix here is pretty awesome, I have to say I like the original even more. It's just dreamy and shoegazey enough, and the melody shines through a bit better. How melodic is it? Dare I invoke the name of the Jesus & Mary Chain?
"Whirring" from The Joy Formidable appears here as well. This is an excellent song, and this is a band that I feel is finally stepping into its due position. With all due respect, they've nearly always been better than the bands they've opened for. Shirley Manson and Dave Grohl dig them. Do you need any more convincing?
Finally, I should mention that a remix of "Home" by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros closes this one out. I live in Los Angeles. We all love this troupe. We all love this song. We can't be swayed in that. And Jade, we are very proud of you.
Standout Tracks: "Home," "Whirring," "The Hours"
For Fans Of: The Joy Formidable, Grouplove, Foster the People, Yuck, and sliding across the world's largest mudpond...