60 Songs, 30 Days: Day 05 – A song that reminds you of someone

Seeing as the writers of aDeadKid have some complimentary tastes in music, both of us are taking a shot at the popular Tumblr survey “30 Songs in 30 Days” list.  So get ready for a shitload of name-dropping and youtube clips as Brian and Matt proudly give you their 60 Songs in 30 Days…

Day 05 – A song that reminds you of someone

Matt: I am going to admit straight away that I’m going to bitch out on this one. Let’s be honest, this one is meant for ex-girlfriends, and I don’t really want to go there. I don’t have any songs that remind me of friends, so I can’t use them either. I could probably come up with a song or two that I could associate with a specific event, but that obviously isn’t the point. So I am going to use my dad.

I remember being a young chap and going through my dad’s massive record collection all the time. We would sit in the living room with piles of records spread out in front of us, and I would tell him which to play based on how much I liked the album art. The song I chose that reminds me of Old Man Kroll was on one of my favorite album covers. “Teach Your Children” on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s Deja Vu must have been played a million times. I loved the old time-y picture on the front and the way the cover was made to look like leather. To this day, whenever I pull out my copy of that record, it reminds me of those times.

Then my parents got divorced.

Brian:  Matt’s absolutely right that this one is supposed to be for reminiscing about Exes.  After all, aren’t all online surveys made by high school kids a means to share their deepest, darkest secrets?  Anyway, I’m going to take the bait and talk about [someone] in an abstract enough way that you won’t know who I’m talking about anyway.

The Magnetic Fields’ “Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side,” is an ode to those wonderful gals (and guys) who will accept any suitors’  advances so long as they can supply something the gal/guy values — be it superficial (concert tickets, shopping sprees), psychological (compliments and unending adoration), or social (local celeb friends, or the bouncer that always gets you in).  In this case, it’s a man’s beat-up convertible that sustains his love’s attention.

My favorite line is when Stephin Meritt sings, “…well, we’ve got secrets too; one — I only keep this heap for you.”  I suspect that the heap he’s talking about isn’t just the car — the self-proclaimed “ugliest guy on the lower east side,” acknowledges that he is still holding the torch for an otherwise vain/aloof partner who tolerates their adoration in exchange for gifts.

Music Video: Sun Glitters – “Too Much to Lose”

I don’t know how many of you checked out Sun Glitters’ 2011 album Everything Could Be Fine, but you should have. It’s a wonderful piece of work, filled with mellow tunes and wispy vocals. It may contain a good amount of chillwave aspects, but the focus remains on the electronic production, providing a mix of beat and post-dubstep influences. I promise you won’t be disappointed. At any rate, a video was just released for the track “Too Much to Lose,” and it’s not too bad. I do think the song is much better than the video, but then again, I still kind of want to marry the girl they filmed for this. [via XLR8R]

Music Video: Grimes – “Vanessa”

It seems Montreal will never stop pumping out indie talent, and one of the latest artists getting buzz from the city is Grimes. Although a full-length entitled Halfaxa was released last year, it looks like her recent split with d-Eon, Darkbloom, is getting a bit more press. Relying heavily on various layers of spaced-out vocals and brooding electronic melodies, Grimes creates dark music while still harboring pop sensibilities.

Above is the video for “Vanessa,” a track from the Darkbloom split. It’s weird, so it fits the music, but my only concern lies in whether or not Grimes was serious about the dance moves she unleashes in this production. Let’s hope not.

Music Video: Gold Panda – “Marriage (Star Slinger Remix)”

Gold Panda’s Lucky Shiner is a solid album, and one of my favorite tracks on the release is the track “Marriage.” Apparently beatsmith Star Slinger was also into the song, so he decided to remix it. No offense to Gold Panda, but this remix is far better than the original, which is saying a lot, since the original was damn good to begin with. While the original was based on a 4/4 beat and built into climax, Star Slinger’s edit starts off strong and never slows, using the standard ingredients tossed into many releases by those in the beat scene. Yet this mix actually turns out to contain more glisten than the original.

As if the amazing remix wasn’t enough already, visual artists How Do I Computer put a fantastic video together for the track. Definitely check this out.

Gold Panda – Marriage (Star Slinger Remix) OFFICIAL from How Do I Computer on Vimeo.

Album Review: Matthew Dear – Black City

It’s remarkable, and not coincidental, that both modern music’s most sincerely analog and most ruthless binary outputs escaped from of the same town. Motown’s multi-track walls of sound (and the soul therein) quickly relented to a deliberate, ruthless 4/4 404. Both sounds are now universally celebrated, while the town itself remains a gimmie punchline.

This is where Matthew Dear grew up. Matthew Dear; Ghostly International label upstarter, he of many monikers, and of remix royalty, has a new self-titled record called Black City.

It is dark. From the production, to the lyrics, to the album art, it is dark. Dark, in most circles, means bad. It connotes violence, gloom, the unknown, and moral decay. But also know that “dark”, as in dark bars, dark corners, and darkened windows, are just as likely to be agents of visceral (vice?) pleasure as they are menace.

This album shifts and seethes. It is unsettled, uneven, but a trip worth taking. It’s rife with warped and distended vocal cuts and samples — mostly Dear himself — double-tracking a low register and high register to haunting, disparate effect.

Despite applying his birth name to this LP as opposed to his many pseudonyms (False, Audion, Jabberjaw), the album does not seem to mine Dear’s personal experience for lyrical content — at least not directly. It has narrative qualities but, save for the beautiful sunrise closing track “Gem,” our Black City tour guide pretty much keeps the guise of a cold-blooded kraut rocker or a club posturer for most of the midnight ride.

It’s especially evident in “You Put a Smell on Me” going all Biggie Smalls on us, talking game about big black cars and little red nightgowns. Dear oozes lines backed by hiccuping blips and organ. This moody, funky, plodding swagger actually succeeds earlier in the album with mid-tempo standout, “Slowdance”. In what sounds like a club track whose vocals, rhythm, and kit are slowed to a sexy trudge, Dear’s lines are slack, rhythmic, and effortlessly laid over a thick slice of distended synth and drum snare fill.

The centerpiece of the album is the title-referencing “Little People (Black City)” which is not so much a song as three movements – all a nod to D-town techno past. It starts as a fairly typical, albeit catchy, club track — not anthemic enough to be a dance floor standout, but it wasn’t intended to be one. A sole, tinny cowbell settles in, echoing over atmospherics and synthetic strings as Dear deftly transitions (as DJ/Producers are prone) to looped vocal clatter as the track segues into a second song section. With a vaguely tribal vocal pattern refrain, Dear’s content here is, as with most disco/techno, embellishment. As the repetition of “Love me like a clown” falls into an abyss — a blackhole of noise swallowing the track — what appears on the other side is a ghostly disco vocal chorus with echo-canyon funk guitar that deftly slips into a hypnotic mix.

So what does it all mean? What prompts a musician with a wealth of A.K.A.’s to use his birth name when releasing a new album? It infers, accurately or not, that this album is a reflection themselves. Is that statement sincere? Ask Robert Allen Zimmerman. Is it affectation? Reggie Kenneth Dwight might know. Is it branding? Stefani Germanotta has a thought.

But what is here, if it’s not directly personal, are some motifs — acknowledgments of humanity — that sit obscured behind technology (in this case a drum sequencer). There’s monkeyness here, and tribalness … brooding and braggadocio … reality and drugs … bacchanalian nights and modern living. It’s a swath of murky content with a warm human core that rhythm always provides.

Black City drops on 8/17 and you can get some free MP3 at his site here.