Thursday, December 30, 2010

Swim, Soak, and Sigh Part 3

Let's keep it rolling - It's day three and tracks 1 through 5 are up. Track 1 is always critical in a mixtape as it really has a lot riding on whether people will stay interested or not. The next few tracks have to keep that momentum and really hook people in. See what you think.

This song got my attention from the first buzz of noise that quickly overlaps with guitar and bells. I couldn't and can't stop listening to it. This is as close to an anthem as I'll probably come to this year. I can think of no better way to express my way of asking myself and others to take risks and try things than to say "Swim until you can't see land. Are you a man or a bag of sand?" Are you going to sink? Eventually we all will sink and pass on, but right now, do we chose to sink now or to swim? This one I can listen to on repeat and I am so embarrassed to say I didn't catch these guys in concert in Gainesville because I didn't want to make the drive on my own. My musical resolution this year is to quit making excuses for missing shows I know will be great and get out there. It's time to quit letting my self feel like a bag of sand and find my long swimming stride again.

I love this kind of lo-fi indie rock that plods along with interesting instruments like xylophones and glockenspiels mixed with guitars and odd percussion. This band has had quite a run - a year ago they were playing subway platforms in NYC and now they are on a European tour. I even heard this song was on some TV shows as well which is no surprise as corporate america continues to mine indie music to make their products seem cooler. I like the idea that the joke is on them as these bands fuel their vans with big cash from these deals but I'm not sure if it always works out perfectly for the band either. If you can get heard and get an audience and get people to the show and over to bandcamp to download your album then I guess it's all worth it. Why does this matter? Because I'd never heard of this band before coming across them on another blog and here they are #2 song on the mixtape.

I'm a sucker for a good electronic beat and world music mix and this song really nails it. To me there is a mix of Asian and Indian flavors in this song and it manages to pull of its 3 plus minutes of beats without getting tired or boring. This is basically instrumental music as even the voice samples are stripped down to just another layer of music but it just continues to drive on and keep you interested until the end. I have a hard time finding electronic music that I can listen to over and over (which is a definite mixtape criteria) but this one never drags.

This song has some of the best singalong harmonies I've heard this year. Just try and not harmonize with this song in the car. You know those songs that you try to kind of make the sound along with the words before you really know what they are saying the first couple of times you listen to it? It's okay, you can admit it to me. I'm not judging. I singalong in my car and people can feel free to make fun of me in traffic and go back to hating their lives immediately after. This is another of the tracks on this list that feels very timeless to me and helps renew my faith in new music. I get so tired of people that whine about never hearing any good new music that miss out on amazing pieces like this. Go ahead singalong, I won't tell anybody..."We'll still be best friends when it all turns to dust."

There's a funny shuffle to this song that refuses to let this just turn into a suicidal dirge. One of my favorite dj's commented "This has to be the most upbeat song about suicide that I've ever heard." I have to agree. It's almost got this comic feel that you just know that he's not gonna really go through with it. Anybody this happy about tossing themselves into a river is more likely to make a turn into the Tavern before they make it to their final destination. After a couple of pints I'm sure Mr. Earle will forget all about his plan to "let the dirty water cover me over". This guy has an interesting take on what is the fine line between alt-country, old country, and rock which is very appealing. I am still kicking myself for missing this show at Crowbar this year and reiterate my plan to catch more shows that I know will be great in the new year.

So that's it. The whole thing. Three days of marathon, type as fast as I can, research, 14 webpages open, lunchbreak hour, blog writing. I hope you like the mix and now if you click on the first track, you should be able to let them all play through the fancy yahoo player that will pop up on your computer. That should let you play them in order as I intended. Let me know what you think and hopefully next year I'll get to add a little more music writing to my Friday Forecast and Maker Monday regular posts. Thanks for all the support this year and please leave a comment if you want, I love those!

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