Friday, August 10, 2012

Hot Butter Jam

I'm nothing if not a trend-follower.
And so, I present my summer mix tape: the Hot Butter Jam!

Mika - Lollipop
Overplayed, you say? Well then Mika shouldn't have made it so god damn catchy.
Children dancing under a fire hydrant's spray having the kind of fun that we, as adults, can't (or aren't allowed to) have any more...until Mika comes flying out, playing the piano and leading the cast of Stomp in one of those stompy foot displays that are so obnoxious on the subway when you're trying to read.
What says summer more clearly (and loudly) than that?

David Bowie - Pablo Picasso
This man can do anything he wants, and that includes tearing this plodding Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers song a fiery new asshole with a huge, razor-sharp guitar lick. This song finds you flying over a shimmering desert, propelled solely by Bowie's voice and that god damn guitar riff.

Mickey Avalon - California Crack Cocaine
Okay, yes, the song is about drugs, BUT it's full of summery references and that chorus is so fucking catchy that it'll have you humming or, hopefully, singing the words at work, then having to explain them to your boss, then having him listen to it, then singing it HIMSELF!!! MAKE NEW FRIENDS!!!

Discovery - I Want You Back
You ever think there's something creepy about the original? About a little boy singing about all these big boy feelings? We'll these guys did and this is an excellent cover, so you'll just have to deal with it.
Pump this with the Turbo Bass® ON....actually, never mind, because this beat is MADE of Turbo Base®.

Flight of the Conchords - Foux Du Fafa
So breezy and ridiculous. And, come on, we've all faked a French accent to get some "summer lovin"*, haven't we?
No. We have not.

Gorillaz - 19/2000 (Soulchild remix)
One summer, I took a train from Orlando to Miami to visit Phil. I burned myself a mix CD that perfectly encapsulated the event: the anticipation of all the madness we were about to get up to, the joy of being with one of my best friends for days on end, and the cherished memories of when the trip, sadly, inevitably, had ended. This song was track number one. It takes the rubbery, dubby feel of the original and shines some sun on it, making it sparkle. Permission to shake your ass is granted, so long as you get the cool shoe shine.

Barry Adamson - Something Wicked This Way Comes
Laid back. Laid aaaaall the way back into Supreme Mellowness.
Also sporting a Hawaiian shirt and wearing sunglasses LONG after sunset.

The Bird & The Bee - So You Say

Beck - Girl/Timebomb
You want an essay on why Beck is on here twice? I'll write you one, you know I will.
But, for now, an explanation: of my five favorite bands, none of them does summer music like Beck. Nine Inch Nails comes close with "March of the Fuckheads", but this isn't horseshoes, folks. I put these two tracks on here back to back because I could not decide which one worked better. On one hand, you have the tried and true "Girl", which is probably the best summer jam on here; it has the high energy acoustic guitar strumming, it has the soaring chorus, those hand claps and it's just made for listening to while driving along a coastline in a convertible. On the other hand, there's "Timebomb". It's also high energy, but more stark, a little dangerous, and not as well known as the former. Plus, it has the word "ziggurat" in it, and nothing is more summery than a ziggurat. Honestly, I would have been perfectly happy with just adding "Girl" to this here summer mix...but I'm lying. I wouldn't have been.
Let me put it another way: What did you have for lunch, fellow Bite The Musicians?
A Hot Beck Summer Jam Sandwich, hold the complaining.

Bush - Glycerine
That one of my first in Florida, all I did was watch MTV. In the evenings, it was The Maxx and The Head and The State and Liquid Television, and, during the day, the MTV Beach House. God damn how I hated all those people. Not because they were having fun and I wasn't, but because I knew, even back then, that they were worthless and pointless and on fucking TV. They played this song at least once every hour. I'm sure some folks at my high school lost their virginity to this...but I was not one of them.

Green Day - When I Come Around
Same summer...same MTV Beach House...same hour.
Hey, anyone remember The Grind? That show where you'd just watch idiots dry hump each other in MTV's pseudo-industrial studio?
Wow was that stupid.

Mali Music - Le Mogon
I'm going to shoot a video for this. It's going to consist of a family of sloths (arranged by height, the baby in the back) walking through the sun-dappled jungles of Costa Rica and bobbing their heads to the beat.
My Kickstarter launches soon.

Erasure - Chains of Love
Childhood summer of forever; this song: all day, every day. Endless Summer.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Walkabout
The images contained within this song are very summery.
Every time I hear it, I delight in picturing the band just wandering through a desert; some of them barefoot (Flea is definitely barefoot), some wearing sandals.

Ol' Dirty Bastard - Last Call
But the summer isn't just about cars and the beach and cook outs and sex with girls, no! It's about getting crunk (which is "drunk", but misspelled because you're too drunk to remember how to spell it correctly)! And who knows more about music and getting crunk than the Ol' Dirty Bastard. He continues to move our asses from beyond the grave, like some horny specter with a Ouija board, but, instead of a Ouija board, it's our asses This also serves as a fitting prologue...

The Streets - Fit But You Know It
And thus begins the Drunkest Night Triptych.
You and your friends hit a pub, maybe get some food (but not nearly enough to soak up all the alcohol you're about to ingest) and then begin to steadily drink, and drink, and drink until...

Gabin - Bang Bang To The Rock 'N' Roll're at a backyard barbecue and getting ready to leave. Whose house this is and where it is, you have no idea and it doesn't matter. You are so drunk that you can either speak or walk, but not both and neither well. Whose vomit is this, whose shirt is this? The one thing you do know is that you need to leave and why...because that cute girl said she's going to this other party across town...and maybe she'll see you there?

Nouvelle Vague - Too Drunk To Fuck
Whoa. That got out of hand rather quickly. Bad luck, friend-o: you picked the girl with...issues. I'd get out of there as fast as I can, if I were you. And, once you do...the Drunkest Night Triptych ends in tragedy. But, there is a coda...

The Rapture - No Sex For Ben
It isn't Ben's fault. He was cock blocked by that crazy, French chick who started crying and waving a goddamn marlin spike around! She said it was for the limes...but no limes were in evidence..
Maybe next time, Ben.

The Flaming Lips - It's Summertime
Too easy? Wrong. YOU'RE too easy! Zing!!!
All the pussy/cock/ass chasing is over, the sun is setting. Sit back, relax. Take it is summertime after all...and, if you look inside, all you'll see is a self-reflected inner sadness.
Also, I like that the bridge at the end sounds like "Fuck Wit Dre Day" from The Chronic.

The Last Car - Firefly
Fireflies come out at night in the summer. And that's all you're gonna get.

*read: 'butt lovin'"

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A review of "Wet Hot Australian Summer"

Sorry it took so long, but here it is...

"I Love It" - Aussie rap sounds so NOVEL to me. The Streets win when it comes to foreign rapperers but this is interesting. Not being Australian, I don't know these who would be these guys American counterpart and I think that might help me understand them better. Great opener.

"L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N." - Whoa. This is SO radio friendly; musically if not lyrically. The singers voice and delivery remind me of Lou Reed more than Tom Petty, specifically "Walk On The Wild Side", but I can totally hear the "Lola". Sadly, this is too sunshiney and sugary for my music teeth to properly bite. Undeniable good feel though.

"Heart It Races" - Love the beginning vocalizations, feels very summer, very exotic. Some of the least annoying steel drums I've ever heard. Vocals get a bit annoying though, bummer.

"Jump Into The Fog" - I love this. First excellent song on the album, in my opinion. Great synth and I dig the guy's voice. This seems very mainstream. I'm wondering how much of this album is from Triple J's weekly Top 10n...

"Even Though I'm A Woman" - Don't really love this. Can't say why...maybe because I'm not a woman? It's too...straightforward? Nice and sweet and sad and meh. I'm such a dick. Let's watch football and put ground beef on nachos and drink beers and stuff.

"The Signal" - Same feelings as "I Love It", but I liked that better. There's less going on here. Oh, and the fact that this is an "oldie from 2007"? Makes me feel creaky.

"This Heart Attack" - Almost completely and instantly turned off by the "aahh aahh's". By the time the chorus kicks in, I'm gone. Pass.

"Tongue Tied" - BIG 80'S HOUSE PARTY!!! JUMP ON THE BED!!! The beat and that sparkling keyboard just WIN. A lot. "Marmalade. We're making out." What?! WHO CARES???!!!  SLUMBER PARTY!!!! TRUTH OR DARE AND COCKSUCKING COWBOYS!!!!

"Rapunzel" - Yes. YES. This is the most summery summer rap EVER. That surf rock background is IT. I feel like Jade and Kaitlyn could make the best summer rap mix tape EVER.

"It's Nice To Be Alive" - This is also IT. So sugary sweet it's ACTUALLY sweet. Love the "don't stress, it's dumb" line. The rampant, baseless happiness here works great. Like Bobby McFarren but not retarded. And I'm not just saying that. He was mentally handicapped.

"Dreamshaker" - Ah fuck and god damn it! The ONLY THING wrong with this is the lead singer's voice. Like poison ass in my ears. Sad. Face.

"Vitriol" - Man, this track is ALL about those keys. Love that old haunted house organ and that funky guitar patch thing...distracts from the fact that this song is just a chorus repeated six times. SUPERGOODBURN!!!!

"The Festival Song" - SO the story and this guy's voice and HATE the Eels sample and that chick's backing vocals. Torn. In. Half.

But an excellent end to a fully realized and bitten musical endeavor. Listening to the Australian artists on here is like listening to summer pop from another dimension where everyone has funny accents, a very exotic and enjoyable sensation. Several teeth up, my Aussie friend, several teeth up.

I wonder if I should make a summer mix tape...?

Monday, August 6, 2012

TOot! TOot!

Some people didn’t get my original bite of the music, so here it is.

I was really happy to find this cd tucked into a box when I moved last year. It’s a nice slice of the music I was listening to all those years ago. The tenuous theme is modes of transport. It’s actually a little bit morbid, there are lot of crashes mentioned.  

Interestingly, a lot of these acts are ones that I never listen to anymore, so it’s been a nice rediscovery of a lost moment in time. This album was originally presented without comment, but below are some notes from 2012.

1. America - Horse with No Name 

Meh, I just like it.

2. Barenaked Ladies - Brian Wilson

I really love BNL, can’t help it, and I’ve always loved Brian Wilson, misunderstood genius that he is. This song actually reminds me of San Francisco. The first time I went abroad by myself, I went out one night in San Fran and went to the big Tower Records and bought the album this is on, then walked back to my hostel listening to it (discman = instant musical gratification, take that ipod).

3. Ben Gibbard - Recycled Air

Obviously, I’m a lover of words, and this song is just unapologetically romantic and sexy to me. Something about Ben Gibbard’s lyrics (I watch the patchwork farms slow fade into the ocean's arms - GAH!) combined with his swoony, swoony voice… excuse me, I’ll be in my bunk.

4. Better Than Ezra - A Lifetime

Even after all of these years, this song gets to me. Better Than Ezra deserve more credit.

5. Cake - Stickshifts & Safety Belts

I dunno, don't really care for this one anymore.

6. The Decemberists - Apology Song

I just think that if someone got my bicycle racked, this song would go a long way towards making up for it. I’m not really one for naming inanimate objects (although, all of my vehicles are called Linnell and all of A’s are called Flans, but that’s different. I started by naming my Vespa Linnell because I ride him. Eh? Eh? No? Not really?), I think Madeline is a sweet name for a bicycle.

7. Eskimo Joe - Car Crash

I still listen to a lot of Eskies, and am working on another mix for you guys featuring them. Eskimo Kav, the singer, just has a killer voice. This is one of the morbid songs, I guess.

8. Gavin DeGraw - Chariot

GDG was MASSIVELY overplayed back in the day, and I think people think he’s a bit of a sell-out, but I saw him live around this time, and he blew me away. To be honest, I don’t really know what the hell this song is about, for me, Chariots are irrevocably linked with Christianity, so…yeah.

9. Groove Armada - Madder

Oh, Groove Armada, I’ve missed you. I didn’t realise it until I heard this song again, but I’ve missed you! This song takes me back to my club days. I used to go to this Britpop club on William St and although this doesn’t actually fit into the genre, they always played this song because it’s so much fun to dance to. My boyfriend and his friends used to make up funny actions to songs (Disco 2000 being the best example - I still can’t hear any version of that song without doing the actions) and this song works because of the way the story progresses.

10. Jason Mraz - Plane

Mraz is another one who suffered from massive overplay back in the day. Last year (this year? maybe) I went and saw him at the opera house. It was just him and another dude and they just played the shit out of his stuff. He has a shockingly good voice, when it’s just him and a piano, and he can kick it on jazz or even opera. Dude. So good.

I guess I have some familiarity with flying away from the people I love, so even though I’m not sure what he means by ‘taste these teeth please’, I can get behind this one.

11. John Linnell - South Carolina


12. Mike Doughty - Fire Truck

I don’t appreciate this song anymore, although I still have a LOT of time for Mike Doughty.

By way of proving that I can turn anything into a story about me, I recently picked up the last of my firefighting gear. I love the tough-girl boots they issue (although they're in men's sizes and the littlest ones are still too big for me) and everyone appreciates a good hard hat and flash hood.

I'm acutely terrified of being called out to a MVA and finding a smashed up motorcycle and having to try to save the rider, and I had nightmares for a week after doing overrun exercises, but probably the most immediately annoying thing about being a chick firefighter is being too short to get onto the back of the firetruck without assistance.
13. Neutral Milk Hotel - In an Aeroplane Over the Sea

I don’t really know much Neutral Milk Hotel, but I do like a song that incorporates the theramin. What can I say? It’s sweet and romantic, and I was pretty emotional in my mid-20s.

14. They Might Be Giants - Destination Moon

I will always love this song. Always.

15. Radiohead - Killer Cars

‘Don’t die on the motorway’. 

Sometimes I think that the late 90s was the best time for music, ever, handsdown. But then, I also legitimately worry about all of the amazing new music that is released every year, because I already listen to music for several hours each day, and still don’t have time for everything that I love, let alone all of this new stuff. 

These are the thoughts that keep me awake at night.

Also, does anyone else hear this song and think of the Monty Python skit with Long Cat?

16. Rhett Miller - The El

Did anyone else notice that Rhett Miller got SUPER, SUPER HOT for the duration of promoting this album, and then went back to normal? So weird, right? At least once a year, I become obsessed with The Instigator and Pete Yorn’s Music for the Morning After (the two are linked in my mind for some reason), and listen to them on repeat for a week or two.

I’ve always wanted to go to Chicago. Maybe next year.

17. Darren Hanlon - The Kickstand Song

Oh, Daz. DAZ!!!

Daz always tells the story of being in Canada and meeting a guy who told him all about his uncle inventing the kickstand. Heather and I were once at Kareoke and we met Jimmy Barnes’ nephew and it has always stayed with me as strange that someone would think that the most interesting thing about themselves is someone that they are related to. It’s a good song, though, and DAZ!!!

18. TISM - Greg! The Stop Sign

TISM (This Is Serious Mum) are one of the greatest, most unappreciated Australian bands of all time. There are at least 58 people in the band, and they always perform in masks or balaclavas. Sometimes, they will wait until everyone is in a venue and then trundle a small stage out to the back of the room and perform there.

This song has an hilarious faux-techno thing going on that I find really endearing.

19. Tripod - Astronaut

At the time this CD was made, my flatmate and I were mad about Tripod, and listened to this song constantly, singing along at the top of our lungs. 

I suppose you should know that Tripod are three comedians who sing. At their live shows, they take themes / phrases and preferred song style from the audience, go backstage for an hour, and then come back and sing a song using those phrases. This is one of those songs. I can’t exactly remember, but I think the phrases are ‘Red Herring’ ‘Japanese’ ‘Astronaut’ and ‘Boxing’.

Anyway, they’re still around and they’re still hilarious.

20. Ben Lee - Float On

My goodness, I have so much love for Ben Lee. When I was a teenager (and he was too, I guess) his band had this video for one of their songs (16) where they beat the crap out of a wilderness society koala. Man, I loved Noise Addict.

This song is a cover, but I think BL nails it. From memory, it’s pretty similar to the original (Modest Mouse?), actually, Ben Folds also did a great cover of this, with Walter Meanie playing the DVD cover for percussion. Ah, good times in Australian Music.

It’s a bit sad, but I like the bit when he’s counting in and screws it up.

21. The Bluetones - Autophilia or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Car

I do love a good musical Kubrickian reference, and as already established, the 90s and Britpop are where my heart lie. That and 2000s Ausmusic, but that’s another story.

This song checks a few boxes for me - audible breathing, check, doo wah doo’s, check, no attempt to americanise singing voice, CHECK.