November 2007 Mix for Aaron, with advanced liner notes

I’m being lame and I’m posting a mix, which I am making specifically for Aaron in Cali, but fuck, it’s here for the looking. As anyone who has gotten a mix from me recently, it always has annotations. Now these are electronic annotations!

So, I’ve been listening to Jens Lekman’s newest (after having seen a rousing show at First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia with my beloved Claire), new Beirut, which continues to grow on me, new Radiohead (which is really not as bad as most would want it to be and features some truly top Radio-esque toons), the Darjeeling Limited Soundtrack, the new Black Lips, and I’ve also been going to gym with a handful of old Nick Cave songs on my shuffle.

1.Jens Lekman— A Postcard to Nina

Claire and I decided Jens Lekman is adorable but probably would be really creepy to date. He’s be like, “Dana, I love you” after two dates. “I wrote a song for you, actually I wrote an album, But here is the first one”:

“Dana, you were smoking a cigarette. And you work on books in publishing/I want to drift from the cold, cold night/a night not entirely unlike a night in Sweden/where it is very cold/and I want to go to your apartment/where you would cook me kale/while you smoke a cigarette. Dana why do you smoke cigarettes when you also eat kale? But I don’t care/I love you/and your books.”

That’s kind of a summary of the song that Claire and I sang in the rain on our way to her apartment from the show, kind of drunk after two Baileys, as we too were escaping the cold cold night not unlike the nights in Sweden.
*My friend Josh has a good blog and he posted a much more succinct, shorter review of the show he saw in Williamsburg.

Oh, I didn’t say anything about the song. It’s about being in Berlin and having to pretend you are engaged to your lesbian friend while having dinner with her dad. Classic too much information Jens.

2.Beirut—Forks and Knives
I think this is about going home for Thanksgiving. “Like an ancient day and I’m on trial.” Zach’s got a rough time, being, you know, a boy genius musician and all. It must be tough going home for Thanksgiving, back to New Mexico, and sitting with a table of “homesick fully grown children.” It’s about how hard it is to leave the nest. I think. It’s grand sounding, nonetheless.

3. The Kinks—Strangers
Darjeeling Limited features—and I credit this knowledge to my roommate, Maggie—three songs from the Kinks, all off the 1970 album Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One. This is my favorite of the three songs. “ Strangers of this world/we are not two/ we are one.” That’s really beautiful!

Darjeeling Limited is the first soundtrack from a Wes Anderson film NOT done by Mark Mothersbaugh, which turns a lot of fans off. The soundtrack, instead, as noted in The Playlist blog who “broke” the soundtrack before anyone else had heard it , relies “heavily on the music composed by filmmaker Satyajit Ray himself, Ravi Shankar, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Ustad Vilayat Khan.”

I’m ok with that. I used to host “world music nights” with my friend/roommate Allison where she’d put on her special “world music sweater” and we’d dance the night away (after several vodka tonics) to Ravi Shankar and Nusfrat Ali Khan. Ah memories. Totally went off the subject there. Just get the fucking soundtrack. My bud Tyler, who I saw the film with, hooked me up with this cd.

4. Devendra Banhart: Seahorse
“I’m high and I’m happy and I’m free.” It’s impossible to not like a song that starts with those as the first lyrics. Ok, if you’re not “a fucking hippie” as I tend to lean towards at time (note all the kale and Ravi Shankar references above), perhaps not. Then maybe you’ll like the little ode to Van Morrison with the jazzy piano thing he throws in there?
Or maybe you’ll just be able to wrap yourself up in this song (and this album).

Scenario; you just took a few valiums and have a hot toddy next to you and you think, “wow, I wanna be a little seahorse too!” And then maybe you’ll see “the little green man” that Banhart wants to sleep with, as the choir chimes in and then the electric guitar bangs out. Banhart then goes into this 70’s rock moment as the guitar continues ala Zeplin. Uh, your third Valium just kicked in, that hot toddy is done and you’re thinking this is good. I get this. I’m swimming with that seahorse. “I’m scared of ever being born again if it’s in this form again.” You were just a bit jolted. So you lit a joint because Devendra is going places you can’t seem to reach. “I wanna see the bright night sky…I wanna see you come back as the light…” Ah, seven minutes into it and you’re totally on that plane with Devendra.

What makes this album “Smokey Rolls Down…” so worthy of mention is that even if you aren’t as hippie or freak folk or whatever the average Banhart fan might be called, it’s still a musical treat for general music fan, as it is full of a dozen or more musical references/genre moments thrown in (Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison’s Moondance, doo wop, to name a few). Truly a modern masterpiece, in my humble little green man digging opinion.
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“I like little green men.”

5. Black Lips—Cold Hands
Rockabilly zeeeeeeeee! Check out that that hot guitar! These dudes are from Atlanta. They are awesome and keep the style of lo-fi punk/garage/absurd drunk dudes fucking around spirit alive.

6. Brian Jonestown Massacre—She’s Gone
All that hippie neo psych Banhart stuff made me go back to old favs Brian Jonestown Massacre. I get lost in this swirl of this song, which is off their album Methadone. This was made around the same time the Verve were really good and it sounds like a messy American Verve song, really. Yeah, Shoegaze.

7. Jesus and Mary Chain—Cracking Up
This is not so much a classic J&MC track, but one closer to spotty later career in the 90’s. But that thumping bass and the doomy lyrics, oh how it brings me back to 1999! Also, once I sent my friend Tom a text message, “I’m kinds drunk listening to the bassline of Cracking Up over and over again.” He wrote back, “You are in my picture of heaven.”

8. Jimi Hendrix—Daytripper
Jimi. Hendrix. Rocked. So did the Beatles. It’s really not cliche to like them. My parents did and so did yours and everyone else’s who are babyboomers. Oh god, sometimes my dad does a scary dance to Hendrix when I put it on at his house. It’s really scary. Full of strange violent movements. The commune folks must have been freaked back in the day. But I still like Hendrix. Especially when covering the shit out of a Beatles tune.

9. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds—From Her to Eternity
“She lives in room Twen-tee Niiiiiiiinah!!!!” I’ve been using earlier Bad Seeds albums to help me start running again at the gym and really they work very well. The violent piano is so, well, Neubautan and really good to get your legs up on that treadmill.

10. Dizzy—Siouxsie and the Banshees
This was in the recent film Notes From a Scandal, in the scene where Cate Blancett’s character reminisces about her Goth youth (whilst seducing the 12 year old boy). Been listening to it since I saw the movie. One of the few Siouxsie songs that was neglected in the period of my life where I REALLY REALLY REALLY liked Siouxsie and the Banshees.

11. Tommib Help Buss—Squarepusher
Everybody needs a little lovely ambient sometimes. This keeps coming up on my ipod shuffle and I smile a little bit when it does.

12. Everything You Touch Becomes a Crutch—Smog
Early Smog. Every time I listen to this the lyrics crush me. “Maybe I should have just left all this in a locker box in Boston”

13. Everybody Knows—Rufus Wainwright (covering Leonard Cohen)
Nobody sounds as sexy/sleazy covering Cohen as Rufus. And in the movie this is from (I Am Your Man), he is wearing a sparkly tight shirt when he sings it. And remember this was the big song in Pump Up the Volume? Best movie ever. Also, it has one of the best lyrics ever “Everybody knows that you live forever/when you have done a line or two.” An ironic masterpiece.

14. Sia—Breathe Me
This was that heartbreaking song at the end of the last episdoe of Six Feet Under (RIP!). It’s kinda cheesy, but Sia is really cool and artsy and British and weird. Plus, it’s a beautiful, so so sad song, even if it is arguably smaltz.

15. Air–People in the City
Recently I saw Black Moth Super Rainbow live. It was pretty cool because it was in a backyard in Sunset Park and it was in late summer, but I kept thinking, why isn’t this very interesting? I realized it’s because it was like Air, but without the capes and the Frenchness. Weirdo Pink Floyd shit with high quality synthesizers, well, that shtick needs capes and French men to make it really work as a whole. Air did this best with 10,000HZ Legend, which I heard for the first time in years when it was playing at a vintage store in Philly. Claire and I agreed this was highly underrated album. Perhaps their best. So I went and dug it out of my hard drive. I remember seeing them live in 2001 at the Electric Factory with my friend Matt. I was flying, yo. I wish more French people wore capes.

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Very serious about analog synths. And the wearing of capes.

16. The 6ths– Just Like a Movie Star (w-Domninique A)
My favorite Stephen Merritt side project.

17. John Cale and Brian Eno– Lay My Love Down
The album Wrong Way Up is sometimes bad and sometimes good and a few songs are very good. Spotty for Cale and Eno, but the collaboration itself is monumental. IT’S JOHN CALE AND BRIAN ENO! Nonsensical Cale lyrics abound.

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