19 June 2008

Anatomy of a Mix: Amplify!

A little bit of techno, a smidgen of hip-hop and lots and lots of guitars. Here are some tracks that ask - simply by being - to be turned up.

Wolf Parade - Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts | Now we'll say it's in God's hands / But God doesn't always have the best goddamn plans, does he?

This song was selected by Josh Radnor (who plays Ted on "How I Met Your Mother") for his "iTunes Celebrity Playlist," with the following description: "This song makes me want to drink eight pints of beer and punch someone in the face. In a good way." I could be down for that - though not on the receiving end of the punch, thanks.

Then I'd give this particular Josh R. a high five cause he's got pretty rockin' musical taste. We'd then pass out (well, I know I would after eight pints), slumped in adjacent corners while Spencer Krug howled and "la la la la la la'd" his way through this sloppy, loud, and amazing song from Apologies to Queen Mary. Upon gaining consciousness, I'd then ask him about the status of the Ninja Report.

The National - Mistaken For Strangers | Make up something to believe in your heart of hearts / So you have something to wear on your sleeve of sleeves

This song, from The National's latest release while not especially loud, grumpy, or overtly "angsty," deserves to be played loud... in the headphones of your soul. The lead singer's voice is something to write home about - cool, clear, and controlled without being contrived - it feels like it would echo perfectly out over the streets of New York City at 2am. The rapid guitar and immaculate drums just give this song more to love.

Beck - E-Pro | See me comin' to town with my soul / Straight down out of the world with my fingers / Holding onto the devil I know / All my troubles'll hang on your trigger

My version of this is not DRM free, so you'll just have to be satisfied with the youtube video (which is a total trip, by the way), and then hopefully pick up this amazingly funky and loud track for yourself. This song vaguely reminds me of "Minus" from Odelay.

To sum up my feelings about this track, if there was an army of zombie ninjas to fight Shaun of the Dead-style, I think I'd choose this song for my heroic, irreverent anthem.

Danger Mouse - Encore | Who you goin' find doper than him with no pen / Just draw off inspiration / Soon you goin' see you can't replace him / With cheap imitations for these generations

Take the best band of all time and (arguably), the best rapper alive (according to Ryan Adams, Jay-Z should be the first artist to play on the moon), put them in the hands of a DJ genius, and this is what you've got.

Danger Mouse (one half of Gnarls Barkley) took Jay-Z's a capella Black Album, magically mashed it with the Beatles' White Album. This particular track takes Jay-Z's "Encore" (obviously) and pairs it with "Glass Onion" and "Savoy Truffle." The raw, looped guitar placed alongside Jay-Z's ├╝ber-masculine vocals and lyrics makes for a track that deserves going up to eleven.

The Pixies - Where Is My Mind | With your feet in the air / And your head on the ground / Try this trick and spin it

This track from Boston-based band, The Pixies, was done way back in 1988 - but it's held up remarkably well over time. The general renewed interest in it undoubtedly has to do with its use at the end of the deranged, all-too-often misunderstood, and entirely awesome movie, Fight Club. In terms of titles, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better song to fit the theme of the movie.

The nearly-dissonant guitar and vocals of this song have a tendency to enter your ears and clang around inside for a while, so don't be surprised if you happen to find yourself echoing the ending "ooooooh ooooo"s to yourself while washing dishes.

Deep Dish - Flashdance [Radio Mix] | He didn't mean to catch my eye / Well he's lucky he just walked on by / If he ever met a girl like me / Are you kidding? / Well I'd tell him that I'd rather die

Deep Dish, the Iranian-American DJ duo, came to the US way back when and started making music - and what music they make! Songs by these guys have a tendency to slip themselves onto multiple playlists during my summers with their good vibes and sweet sound.

But this guitar-driven house track (is it house? I get all the electronic sub-genres confused), is motivational for those of us with two X chromosomes. With firm but super-feminine vocals from fellow-Iranian Anousheh Khalili, both the song and video are something of a metaphorical kick to the groin...

That is to say, this one is for the laaaadies...


Eryn said...

two things.....well three really.

town can't stop watching "how i met your mother" (i blame you :-) and can't get over how much ted resembles my boss....hmmm weird.

that beck video is amazing....i bet johnny depp would dig it!

i am in the process of stalking "Deep Dish" on itunes as we speak....I think it's a sign that I started the itune preview of "Flashdance" right in sync with the youtube video you linked to!

Eryn said...

ok i just bought the album......it's your fault barnsey

Alec said...

I'm glad Town saw the light. Now if only you would come over to greener pastures. Suit up!

And I think you'll really like George is On... it's a great summer album. (I really love the remix of "Dreams" even though Stevie Nicks makes me roll my eyes back so far I can see my frontal cortex.) The album's perfetto both for chilling OR dancin'... aka spazzy-white-girl-dance-offs.

Eryn said...

can we have a spazzy white girl dance off?

and you would be proud to know that i know where "suit up" comes from!

Alec said...

We can definitely have a spazzy white girl dance off... be prepared to lose to the best! And by that, I mean the worst.