The 1st Quarter Double-take

UPDATE: I got a cease & desist order from Blogger. According to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA),  my mix was copyright infringement. So all of the links have been taken down. I guess I'm flattered that they found my blog? Anyway, e-mail me, I suppose, if you are interested in the mix. Am I allowed to say that? I won't e-mail you the link. We can just talk about the songs...

Although Carles and his commenters seem to think 2010 has been the "worst first quarter of a decade ever for relevant music," I've been thoroughly enjoying most of what I've heard that's been released so far this year. Fluxblog already made a 1st quarter mix, and it is excellent so check that one out. But while I enjoyed almost everything on that playlist, I couldn't help but feeling that Mr. Perpetua left some really good stuff out.

The reason for the "double-take" moniker is this: I didn't want to put songs on my mix that were already on the Flux mix. Other times I couldn't decide what my favorite song from a recent album was. So instead of make difficult choices, or put in a less-excellent song just because Matty got to it first, I decided to put two songs from each album, which I like because it gives you a little bit better sense of what these bands are all about. Ever listened to a mix and really liked a song, and then got their album and were really disappointed? Well, have no fear - the Double-take has you covered.

One other thing I noticed that's important - this mix is 1.5 hours long. Whoops! Can't fit that on a CD. So I guess this is an internet/iPod/computer-only mix. Sorry to all the Luddites out there without standard current technology :(

Download after the jump.

Click the image to download.

LCD Soundsystem
"This is Happening"

1. Dance Yrself Clean - One of my favorite experiences is when you queue up a brand-new mp3, put on your headphones, and then are blown away immediately. This didn't happen with the new LCDS album. The sparse lil' beat that starts this song off is barely there. And then, at 3:06, it blows you away! Other favorite experience - having really low hopes for an album (especially given the crap-tastic first single from this record) and then being pleasantly surprised. If I had one word to describe this album, it would be "FUN!" P.S. - hopefully you're reading this before the song gets to that 3:06 point - turn the volume down or you're in for a surprise. The song starts out quiet.

2. Can Change - I think FUN is the theme of the year so far - you'll notice that almost all of the songs on this mix are dance-able. This song is a straight shimmery dance-floor disco song. I don't usually care too much about the lyrics in LCD's songs but these ones are interesting. "I can change/ if it helps you fall in love."

"Odd Blood"

3. Ambling Alp - "Odd Blood" is perhaps my surprise favorite album of the year. I'd never heard of Yeasayer until I saw that their Seattle show was sold out - and once I checked out their stuff I was hooked. I love this song and listen to it over and over and over - I think the lyrics are so... inspirational, too? "You must/ stick up for yourself son/ Never mind what anybody else done."

4. O.N.E. - This one is the "hit." When I started listening to this music it reminded me of the first time I ever listened to Mates of State - a completely innovative, unique sound unlike anything else I'd listened to before, and so instantly enjoyable and (like Mates of State) pretty positive!

Erykah Badu
"New Amerykah Part II: Return of the Ankh"

5. Gone Baby, Don't Be Long - I don't listen to R&B much. I don't own any of Badu's previous albums. Chalk this up to excellent viral marketing - when her "OMG ERYKAH BADU NUDE" Window Seat video got so much press, it encouraged me to do exactly what it was supposed to - listen to the album. And wow. From the first five seconds of this song, you hear how funky and unique Badu's music is. Her voice takes some getting used to, but this song just gets you groovin' so effortlessly. I love the percussion. I love everything about this song.

6. Umm Hmm - [mp3] At first I thought this was a Michael Jackson sample, but it turns out it's some random 80s R&B group called "Ndugu & the Chocolate Jam Co." Either way, this song is so good. 

Toro y Moi
"Causers of This"

7. Low Shoulder - Toro y Moi - stupid, stupid band name and stupid album title. So pretentious. But - it's a good thing that this music is freaking genius. Have you heard of chillwave yet? I think Neon Indian is good, and I can stand Washed Out / Small Black and some other bands a little bit. But I think TyM is the best example of what this genre is all about.

8. Minors - If you've gotten this far in the mix yet, you've realized something interesting about the majority of the songs on here - pop music has certainly become cool again. We all know that "indie rock" died when Death Cab for Cutie did, but I don't think it's become clear until the rise of chillwave exactly what the next aesthetic was going to be. I thought that after all of the keyboards and dance beats made their way into indie rock in the mid-2000s the backlash was going to be toward metal or grunge or something, but instead of rebelling, indie music decided to take it to a whole 'nother level - to disco. But the cool thing is that it's a millenial take on dance music - it's chill and you can't necessarily really even dance to it; it just kind of is a weird nostalgia for an era we never experienced, in a way. It's been happening on the down low for a few years, but mark my words - in the first half of 2010 you will see this aesthetic get more and more popular until it's all there is.

Hot Chip
"One Life Stand"

9. Thieves in the Night - Here's an example - how could a band like Hot Chip ever be popular? Listen to the first 30 seconds of this song - straight drum n' bass beat. This is straight "electronica/techno," even though that genre doesn't really exist anymore. How could Hot Chip be "cool?" I know that five years ago I would balk at anything approaching this music, but now I love it, love it. I never liked Hot Chip until this album. This song is one of my favorite songs in a long, long time. How is that possible?

10. I Feel Better - This song wins the Video of the Year award. Though I guess you either think the video is genius or is insane. This whole album is incredible, though - at least the first five songs are, after that it's a bit spotty. I couldn't decide whether I like this song better than the title track, but wanting to share the video pushed me over the edge.

Vampire Weekend

11. Giving Up the Gun - Doesn't Vampire Weekend seem completely played out by now? It feels like this album leaked/streamed legally on Vampy's website a year ago. But it didn't come out proper until January. I think having that music video with Jonas Bro and other mainstreamers, and debuting at No. 1 didn't help them keep their street cred (if they ever had anyway). But don't pretend like you weren't playing this whole record on repeat for the entire month of January.

12. White Sky - I think the fact of Mr. Koenig's falsetto makes me pick this song over "Run" or "California English" or one of the other great songs on the record. And he really can sing those notes; I was impressed. I think it's easy to hate on Vampy but these songs are so damn catchy. Straight pop music, well produced, slightly tongue-in-cheek lyrics... I don't know. This record puts me in a good mood. Sometimes that's all you want, right?

Beach House
"Teen Dream" 

13. Walk in the Park - [mp3] - I'll admit, I didn't really know much about Beach House until I heard the "buzz." Beach House is usually mentioned alongside other chillwave acts, but I don't think they're really chillwave. The vocals aren't all washed out, and it's not really a retro aesthetic; the music sounds very modern. It reminds me of shoegaze except if a shoegaze band replaced their guitars with keyboards. I dub this genre "keygaze." What other keygaze bands are out there? It is relaxing like chillwave, though, and it reminds me of the kinda song you wanna listen to while you... walk in the park, basically, just chill out and don't do much. It's a song about not worrying too much about stuff. "In a matter of time, it would slip from my mind/ In and out of my life, you would slip from my mind."

14. Silver Soul - I have no idea what this song's about but again I just love the texture of it. That lil' sample at the beginning helps. What is that, a bubbling brook? Maybe this is chillwave, not keygaze. I "chill so hard" when I listen to this record.

Joanna Newsom
"Have One On Me" 

15. Good Intentions Paving Company - This is the obvious standout track from Newsom's fantastic triple (!) record Have One On Me. To tell you the truth, this album is so long and dense that I still haven't made my way through it completely. It's two hours long. Another full disclosure admission - I used to hate Joanna Newsom. Her stupid voice, mixed with her PhD-level vocabulary, her 9-minute songs, about weird things that make no sense, etc. Like so many incredible bands, though, working backwards helped. Listen to this song, and then the next one, then get this record, and work in reverse. Hopefully by that point you'll be able to get past her voice (it's less ridiculous on this record than her past ones) and you can start listening to her lyrics, and you will "get" it. This song has my favorite part of any song released so far this year - the lil' banjo part in the buildup at 1:32, to these fantastic lyrics: "And I regret/ How I said to you, honey/ just open your heart/ When I've got trouble even opening a honey jar." Wait, no, it's the second lil' acoustic build up part, just before these lyrics: "But I fell for you, honey, as easy as falling asleep." These lyrics are so simple but so freaking... legit, I don't know how to describe it. The density in that simplicity is such an amazing feat, especially coming from someone who can write incredible dense, incredibly complex lyrics - like these ones, from a past album's song, "This Side of the Blue," which makes a bit more sense, I suppose, if you've studied Structuralism: "And the signifieds butt heads with the signifiers/ and we all fall down slack-jawed to marvel at words/  While across the sky sheet the impossible birds/ in a steady, illiterate movement homewards." 

16. Ribbon Bows - This is much more "classic" Joanna Newsom. The previous song doesn't really give you a sense of what most of her music is like. She's a harpist. If you like this song you might like the rest of her stuff.

"No. 3"

17. Let Go - jj is a Swedish band - and I don't know a lot about Sweden, but if this record is any indication, it is dark, snowy, and beautiful. This stuff reminds me of Sigur Ros for some reason, though it's completely different - it's just so atmospheric, textured, slow, dreamy...

18. And Now - Doesn't this song sound like a continuation of the previous one? If you didn't know better, you might think that it's just a two-part song. All of the songs share a very similar (though excellent) sound - I think it only works because "No. 3" is only 27 minutes long; there isn't enough time to get bored or anything.

Honorable Mentions
These albums came out this year but I didn't get enough time to check them out fully.

The National - "High Violet"
[mp3] "Bloodbuzz Ohio"
I really liked "Boxer" but it was never a "favorite." So far I've been liking this record but it didn't "hit" me or whatever. Gotta give it a few more listens.

Damien Jurado - "St. Bartlett"
[mp3] "Arkansas"
I always liked Damien Jurado but this record sounds off for some reason... I gotta give him a chance because he's a local guy (he even has a song called "Beacon Hill") but that can only go so far.

Ratatat - "LP4"
[mp3] "Party With Children"
Criticism of Ratatat's new record is that it sounds just like their last record. I liked their last record so that's fine with me.

Local Natives - "Gorilla Manor"
[mp3] "Party With Children"
I went to college with some of these guys. Had class with the lead singer, Ryan. They were called Cavil at Rest then, and frankly I like their Cavil at Rest stuff a lil' better than Local Natives. But I haven't listened through this new record much yet, maybe I'll like it too?

What do you think of the new music that's come out so far in 2010? Did I miss anything super good? Let me know your recommendations.

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