Dear Loyal Reader: How’s your summer been? I hope you sipped your share of cold beers on a patio somewhere and enjoyed the sunny sunshine.
As for moi, I spent three months working on a documentary series up in northeastern B.C., while left very little time for me to blather away on the ol’ blog. Apologies for taking FOREVER to update The Bonus Track… but I hope to make up for the absence with this (hopefully) entertaining post about my soundtrack to summer ’10.
And of course, be sure to let me know what songs you couldn’t stop playing!
“Lover of Mine”, Beach House
Shimmering and ethereal, this song got its hooks in me after the first listen. Seems tailor-made for a long, aimless walk with someone you think is cute.
“Tightrope”, Janelle Monae (featuring Big Boi)
The funkiest jam of the summer, hands down. Never discount the power of some well-placed hand claps, a wicked bass line and a petite little lady singing her ass off. I highly recommend the video as well, mainly for Ms. Monae’s excellent pompadour hairdo and James Brown-esque dance moves.
Yeasayer: purveyors of twitchy, white dude dance rock.
Just try putting this on and not dancing around spastically around your apartment. Ok, maybe you have more self-control than I do.
“Ready to Start”, Arcade Fire
Grand, expansive rock music is Arcade Fire’s calling card. But with each new album, they manage to tweak their sound just enough to keep things interesting (in this case, subtle electronic textures), without straying too far from their essence.
From the ringing guitar pattern in the intro (I’m willing to bet that’s a Rickenbacker!) to the anthemic chorus, these guys once again prove how damn masterful they are.
“Leave House”, Caribou
Dan Snaith is a savvy enough guy to know that more cowbell is always a good production choice.
“Celestica”, Crystal Castles
The Toronto duo are known for their abrasive, dance-punk tunes. But on this track, Alice Glass flirts with an uncharacteristic sweetness in her vocals without sacrificing the group’s noir-ish club sound.
“Rill Rill”, Sleigh Bells
With its wobbly, warped melody, “Rill Rill” sounds like a tape that was left outside in the sun in 1973 and discovered in a pile of junk decades later. Fun stuff.
“Anyone’s Ghost”, The National
I didn’t like The National the first time I heard them. I was over the whole pissy, stentorian-voiced indie frontman (Paul Banks of Interpol, Tom Smith of Editors, et al.) and I figured these guys were just more of the same. But their latest, High Violent, convinced me otherwise.
Like the rest of the album, “Anyone’s Ghost” is wonderfully atmospheric. And Matty Berninger has an undeniable presence as a singer – a sort of cavalier coolness.
“Radio Daze”, The Roots (feat. Blu, P.O.R.N., Dice Raw)
Is there any better drummer in popular music right now? I don’t think so.
Questlove – will you teach me your ways? That’s a standing invitation, dude.
“How I Got Over”, The Roots
“Moves”, The New Pornographers
“Infinity Guitars”, Sleigh Bells
“Norway”, Beach House
“Rococo”, Arcade Fire
“Baptism”, Crystal Castles
“Alejandro”, Lady Gaga
Sometimes I have the musical taste of a 12-year-old girl.
Yes, the intro is pure schlock (I practically pee myself every time Gaga starts in with the phony Euro accent), but the lady can write the pop hooks for days and is a natural-born entertainer. Respect the Gaga.
(P.S. If you too spent your childhood lip synching to True Blue in the basement, there’s a good chance you have this on your iPod.)
“Diamond Eyes”, Deftones
Sometimes I have the musical taste of a 12-year-old boy.
To be honest, I hadn’t given Deftones much though since my high school days. But this single pulled me back into their crushing hard rock riffs.
If the name rings a bell, that’s because the Sacramento band was unfairly lumped in with the other rap-metal hooligans of the late 90’s. But aside from the drop D tuning, these guys had little in common with those a-holes. Frontman Chino Moreno – a professed Cure fan – was far more interested in writing pretty, tuneful melodies rather than weak, frat boy rhyming (I’m looking at you Fred Durst!)
Anyway, the “time will see us re-align” chorus on this new single was in my head for days and I’ve been starved for heavy music… so “Diamond Eyes” did the trick for me.