Sunday, January 3

Mix It Up: Christmas 2009

It wasn't cheating as much as lack of support from our so-called dear friends who all but twelve failed to show up for the traditional Christmas party accompanied by the even more traditional mixed CD exchange, but my brother ended up with His mix, which has been temporary stolen for this blog's purposes. A blessing in disguise?

The mix serves as a warm-up for all the music goodness announced for 2010, already one heck of a year to look forward to with promised new releases by quite a few of His favourites (Teenage Fanclub, The Radio Dept., Bettie Serveert and Broadcast, to name a few).

It starts off Canadian enough with a bit of Montreal landscaping softness by The Besnard Lakes, whose recent soundtrack collaboration on Mark Ruffalo's directorial debut is set to premiere this year on Sundance:

They are followed by fellow northerners Broken Social Scene's Bee Hives version of Lover's Spit, featuring vocals by our dearest Leslie Feist, which some gracious lad from Britain had the heart to set to some amusing footage from the Eastbourne Pier a few years ago:

Next comes the most recently proclaimed "Best Song of All Times" by California's youngest promise, Avi Buffalo, followed by long time Dutch darlings Bettie Serveert covering Joni Mitchell's notorious holiday (soundtrack) classic holiday tune River.

Track #5 features Swedish duo Club 8 and their eternal quest for redifining pop music with an old single from their eponymous album from earlier on in the decade, Boyfriends Stay:

Next are the Scots who already redefined pop rock, with what just might be the most overlooked song of the entire decade, a b-side from their 2005 full length release, Man Made. Here's Please Stay live at the Indietracks Festival:

Fresh out of the oven follows Tindersticks new track from their upcoming album Falling Down a Mountain, scheduled for a January 25th 2010 release (a mere eighteen days away!):

They make room for New Yorker Playboy bunny, topless waiting, artist models, cobra dancing, brothel worker, porno starlet, tattoo lady, dominatrix wannabes The Magnetic Fields, with one of the (funniest) tracks from their last record, Distortion. For much more hilarity, don't miss out on their tour later this Winter!

Next up is the musical story of when Frances's cat hid under the floorboards for 3 weeks. I wonder if they ever really skinned it (and how Bean Cobain feels about The Vaselines):

Next are a couple of singles from two very exciting upcoming albums due out in the first few months of 2010. First up is Göteborg's own Sambassadeur with their single Days from European (promised for February 24th):

Next up there is Aussie sweetheart Sally Seltmann, formerly known as New Buffalo and now signed to Arts & Crafts, which can only mean great things for her upcoming release (this time under her actual name) Heart That's Pounding, out this Spring. Until then, here's Harmony to My Heartbeat to hold us over:

Harmony to My Heartbeat from Sally Seltmann on Vimeo.

Track #12 features the Cocktease Grand Prize Winner of 2009, The Radio Dept. They are like the friend who becomes a best friend and before you know it, you're in love, but it doesn't love you back. They call back very seldom, just enough to leave the sentiment lingering. They make reckless promises they can't keep and small unexpected appearances, injecting enormously unfair hope into your weak infatuated heart. And then they go and cover a classic from The Go-Betweens like it's no big deal... so just to spite them and their (imaginary?) new release ironically titled Clinging to a scheme, I'm going to post the original instead. Don't worry, we still love you bastards and will most likely wait another year or ten:

Speaking of bands He is yet to see live, here's Broadcast celebrating the 10 year anniversary of The Noise Made by People. This deserves a proper commemoration, don't you think, Warp Records/Royal Albert Hall?

A mere six months ago, this post would have been incomplete without the efforts of a certain Kurosawa fan who kindly made this video of yet another Bobby Wratten gem from Trembling Blue Stars (click the link for a teaser from the new album due out in the spring):

My childhood memories of El Corte Inglés souvenir bags my grandmother used to carry around now find company in a more recent memory: randomly finding Azure Ray's Hold On Love on vinyl in the first ten minutes of the five hours we spent inside their 12-floor megastore in Porto. His long time ultimate pick for a dream Don't Look Back edition might also find new discography company if Orenda and Maria follow through with the rumors and reunite for a new release this year. Here's a reminder of the good times to come:

This next song is guaranteed to do a number in passionate hearts living in winter wonderlands everywhere, as He did to mine once upon a time:

In much the same mood, a toast to Joe Pernice, who not only makes great albums, but runs his own label which has it's own mascot, hosts his own editions of Cribs, writes amazing books, then writes amazing cover albums to go with them and still finds time to harass the quirkiest manager in the business. And they give out free stickers! Here's his take on Todd Rundgren's Hello It's Me

By golly, yes, yes, YES! You too, Labrador:

And finally, the best T-shirt ever made for toddlers by the band who changed all twee lives over the last 15 years, from poser producers of hipster indie films (I'm talking to you, 500 days of Summer) to actually amazing nerdy Australian music producers (Avalanches FTW):

Let the new decade show begin!

(mini-disclaimer: as I could not find the Pernice or Bettie tracks online, I created a tumblr account to post them and link back. this will be my temporary solution for things I can't find on the web. the songs are nearly impossible to be downloaded from their original page since they're posted on flash format, but I will take them down if any of the artists asks. there is no intention to profit out of this blog or its contents, only to promote great music and the artists hereby featured.)

(i wonder if i used "hereby" correctly in that sentence...)

Of All Times: The Avi Buffalo Edition

As witnessed in many wickedly magniloquent top lists, music lovers have a soft spot for bold, hyperbolic statements, an activity He excels at above pretty much everyone else. "Of All Times" is an expression most commonly heard (but not limited to) after a few long necks or a surprising playlist entry. It's His equivalent to my seasonal obsessive loop-overplay gorging and this month it comes courtesy of Long Beachers Avi Buffalo and their first single What's it in for?.

Albeit innocent, Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg youthful talent carries a level of honesty and creativity well beyond what any of us skeptic geezers would expect from a recent high school graduate from southern California. His accomplishments are not a product of trying too hard, a sin most teenagers are guilty of indulging, making their spring 2010 debut (out on Subpop) already one of the most exciting new acts to watch out for this year. In the American Scenester vs. Hipster wars, the only real winner is the authenticity of those who stay away from it, and in Avi Buffalo, there's plenty of it to go around:

Here's to a 2010 full of All Times like these.