Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Latest &/or Greatest: Wolf Parade - Call It a Ritual & The Control - Black Madonna

Here is my first crack at telling you about the new tracks on the mix. These write ups will be short and the songs are attached for you...

Wolf Parade - Call It a Ritual
Since the day I bought Apologies To The Queen Mary, I have been waiting for new material from Wolf Parade - not because I was disappointed, but because the album was that damn good. I knew there was potential for so much more and sure enough... I was right. "Call It a Ritual" delivers exactly what you would expect from Wolf Parade - dramatic drums (and piano) keeping a marching beat, various instruments stepping in and out of the song, one of those 2 wonderfully awkward voices telling you a dark tale that makes you contemplate whether this is reality or a dream. But there is something else, something that is hard to place. There is a definite maturity that shines through, though the production seems to be, if anything, more subdue than before. It seems as if this song actually sounds darker, like it came out at night under cover and now hides in the shadows. Then when opportune - it snaps, injects you and all you are left to do is wait...

The Control - Black Madonna
It only seems fitting that this song be paired with "Call It a Ritual." I will write a more detailed love note to this band soon in their own blog as they grow. For right now, all you need to do is listen to this song and imagine 4 guys and a girl on stage with a iMac, keyboards, a guitar, a conga and more wires than you can imagine. Oh yeah, and though it isn't there in the recording - a harp. I promise when I saw them, there was a harp, masterfully played. The steady beat starts the song at a quick pace that pulls the listener in, placing them in a trance. Layer by layer that beat is built upon. During this layering, Micah Mckee's ghostly smooth voice chimes in: "You only have to say two words/for me to understand you." If at this moment you aren't hooked, just wait till the chorus explodes with congas layered on top of everything else as he wails "So here's your Black Madonna/Here's the keeper of your children." At the end, after it has graceful deconstructed itself, the song leaves one with a desire for more. And imagine that is without seeing them live, which I promise is where the real magic lies.

Wolf Parade - Call It a Ritual

The Control - Black Madonna


Friday, May 2, 2008

Latest &/or Greatest Mix: The Rules

Hipster's love mix tapes, um mix cds, um playlists...

While I love putting on a great album and listening to music in the controlled environment that an artist put out as a total package, there is really is something great about putting those songs into your own controlled package. The parameters have changed over time that controlled said mixes - first there was tape (2 sides limited length), next CDs (limited time) and now the age of I Tunes and the I Pod(unlimited). This evolution has created a strange freedom and, at the same time, a complex problem. To this hipster, the point of a mix is to hear certain songs, in an order, and at some regularity. A few months ago, however, I figured out I had fallen into the digital trap, found a new song, dumped it on my latest and greatest mix without editing it. One day though I realized, there was no order and even more disturbing, the mix had reached an insane length of 200+ songs, meaning I was either selecting particular songs off the playlist, or just putting it on random (which I admit, has its value). This was the moment that I decided to create some rules for my mix.

Now I have many mixes, just as any other hipster does, but I will focus on the "Latest &/or Greatest" mix. Here are the rules:
1. Must fit on a CD - since I hate radio where I live, and my car is not mp3 compatible it just makes since. Plus it is good to impose limits on yourself.
2. Must contain no more 7 "greatest" tracks. - Let's be honest, I want to listen to what is new and hip, but sometimes you need an old favorite to keep things familiar. These tracks consist of any songs from an album I own that is older than a year old.
3. The remainder must be made of the "latest" - The latest include tracks off cds I have yet to get or off an album I own that is less than a year old.
4. No more than 2 tracks from one artist

I update this mix at most once a week, at the least once a month (very, very rare).

My basic goal is share what the "Latest &/or Greatest" mix consists of at any time and do a write up of why I am adding a track to the mix.

Fine, I will give it to you. You've got the rules, so here's the current mix:

1. Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
2. How I Became the Bomb - Killing Machines
3. Vampire Weekend - Walcott (Insane Mix #2)
4. MGMT - Kids
5. Handsome Furs - Cannot Get Started
6. Wolf Parade - Call It A Ritual (+)
7. The Control - Black Madonna (+)
8. Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #2 (Laika) (*)
9. Antenna Inn - Ernest Brognine
10. Hallelujah the Hills - Wave Backwards to Massachusetts (*)
11. These United States - First Sight
12. Rogue Wave - Lake Michigan
13. John Michael - Every Night of the Year
14. Lightspeed Champion - Dry Lips
15. Bishop Allen - Like Castanets
16. Shout Out Louds - Tonight I Have To Leave It
17. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away (*)
18. The Strokes - New York City Cops (*)
19. The Meligrove Band - Everyone's A Winner (*)
20. John Michael - Not Much to Say
21. Antenna Inn - Stockholm Syndrome

So obviously, or maybe not so obviously, the * above stands for "Greatest." The + is the most recently added tracks (which there are two) which I will start off the addition blogs with this weekend.

Hopefully you kids like this, if not, oh well they're my mixes anyway.