ECHO :01

It occurred to me that in this era of the iTunes playlist, I haven’t made a mix CD–a proper mixed CD, complete with tricks and overlays–since my days at Amoeba (thanks to Nick Pinto and the CD Exchange club.) So I’ve started a series. There’s a lot of music out there. And a lot I want to share. the idea is to spin a relaxed, chilled-out vibe that ebbs and flows, and ultimately ends in a bit of a dance frenzy and then is punctuated at the end by some stand-up comedy. So download it and give it a spin. I’d be curious to hear what you think.

I’m not utterly satisfied with this mix, but it works well, and they’ll only get better from here.

Echo :01

Beach House – “Levitation”

Kicking it all off with the dreamy, atmospheric noodlings of Beach House. I like Beach House. Sometimes they remind me of Julee Cruise, like David Lynch could have used them in Twin Peaks. Maybe he still will. I’m so excited about the new Twin Peaks series. Are you?

Deerhunter – “Snakeskin”

Deerhunter is the epitome of cool for me. So slick and filthy, fronted by one of the most unique dudes in rock, Bradford Cox. This is from their new album, Fading Frontier. Here’s what I love about this one so much: yeah, it’s got that slick, sexy rhythm, and Cox’s keening vocals wrapping around those creepy lyrics, but the way it descends into those ominous chords at the end–that just makes it for me.

Aquilo – “Good Girl”

These guys? God, I don’t know. I like the song. They’re from Australia. I wonder if they go over to AC/DC’s house ever. I also like the sentiment. I’m looking for a good girl, too. Problem is, I act like I expect them to just walk up to my door and knock. They don’t do that. Ever. Except once, in Hollywood, but she had the wrong apartment.

Doe Paoro – “Nostalgia” (RAC Remix)

RAC has a knack for taking a cool song and giving it that extra melodic and beatsy bump. I heard this one early morning (at about 2:00am) on KCRW and had to track it down through tricky Internet means. “Remix Artist Collective” was the outfit. Now it’s just one guy: André Allen Anjos. The first remix of his I ever heard was his treatment of “Rescue Song” by Mr. Little Jeans. Check it out. So good.

Baio – “Sister of Pearl”

I’m not sure why I included this one. It’s upbeat and fun, and I love Vampire Weekend, for whom Baio plays guitar. It’s angular and funky, but I think it works.

The Everly Brothers – “Illinois”

This album came out the year I was born. And this song was my favorite song once I knew how to work headphones. I like to think Sufjan Stevens heard this song and got the idea for his album.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Jubilee Street”

Nick Cave is the epitome of cool. He’s dark and sexy and weird. This is the song I think most people had a hard time getting into on this CD. I love the build, though, the increase in tempo and the ascendance of the strings. “I’ve got a fetus… on a leash.” Yeah, that’s gonna go over well with my pro-life friends. Of which I have none. Or maybe I do. I don’t judge.

Broken Spindles – “Induction”

This was a recent Pandora discovery. I put on the Massive Attack station and let it roll. But this caught my ear because it has a nice, trippy, almost drum-bass rhythm, all delicate and stuff, until it bursts into a big, string-heavy crescendo at the end. This is classic chillout stuff.

Hans Zimmer – “Cornfield Chase” (Interstellar)

I used to not like Hans Zimmer at all. His score for Green Card was okay, but his score for Regarding Henry was sticky and gross. But then The Thin Red Line came out and I’ve been checking out his scores ever since. His work on Interstellar was excellent. Reminded me a lot of Philip Glass. And if you know who that is, you get a gold star. Come over and I’ll give it to you.

Maximum Balloon – “Let It Grow”

This has since been released officially. I had to crib it off of a YouTube video, so the quality wasn’t great for the CD I burned for people. That’s Karen O. (Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs) and Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio) doing vocals. In fact, David Sitek comes from TV on the Radio, a self-consciously artsy rock band who have put out some marvelous music. Karen O. has such a nice voice. I wish I had that voice. I’d keep it in a little jar.

TV on the Radio – “Careful You”

“There’s a softness to your touch/There’s a wonder to your ways”

And in keeping with the flow, he’s something from their latest. I saw TV on the Radio open for Massive Attack at the Hollywood Bowl. We went to the after party, my brother and I, because I happened to know somebody. Kyp Malone is so distinctive, once I had a couple of margaritas, I went up and slurred something like, “I like your music’s good.”

ODESZA – “Light” (feat. Little Dragon)

I like ODESZA (all caps or you’re spelling it wrong!) just fine. But I was especially taken by this lovely turn featuring Little Dragon. I like it when artists collaborate. It gives me hope for the world. Yukimi Nagano has distinct, smoky vocals. Like aural incense or something.

Destroyer – “Kaputt”

This is a bit older. It has a marvelous, ethereal Seventies Yacht Rock quality to it. It’s rare that the saxophone, for example, is used well. I hear Dan Bejar is kind of a jerk. If you recognize his voice, it’s because he’s from The New Pornographers. If you recognize his voice and you don’t know New Pornographers, then maybe he sounds like an old neighbor of yours. I don’t know. To be honest, he kind of looks like a jerk, though I don’t judge people by their looks lest I be judged by mine. Actually once I was at Macy’s and the two Korean clerks wouldn’t let me leave until I told them what movie I was in. I’m familiar to many, I guess.

Crazy P – “Echo”

Three AM, September 6th. I’m supposed to DJ a wedding later that Sunday, and I’m lying in bed, wide awake, still rolling from that ecstasy I took earlier when I was spinning the practice sets. I turn on KCRW for company in the dark and Karene Daniel is spinning some luscious house tunes. This one came on and I was, like, “Oh, funky.” And then a little while later, “Wow, this is good.” And then after a moment, “No, seriously, this is good.” And then I realized I was rolling again. I found it online and listened to it about eight more times while the sun rose. And here’s some trivia: Crazy P actually used to call themselves “Crazy Penis.” I still like the tune, though. At 01:50 it pulls a shift in rhythm that is so beautiful that it makes my hair stand up on end. My arm hair. And yeah, when I conceived of this mix series, I was springboarding off this track.

Doug Stanhope – “Funnier Drunk”

I could write pages about why I love Doug Stanhope. He’s a genius, and I don’t use that word lightly. He’d disagree, I’m sure. But in stand-up terms, he’s on par with Bill Hicks, whom I also refer to as a genius. He’s honest and raw and funny and iconoclastic and totally unique. Stand-up is another way I teach myself to be cool, to be chill, to be at ease with this fucked up world.


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