Three day weekend left you weakened? Now is not the winter quarter of your discontent. If you’re feeling down, start bumping these tracks, even if you’re in Green Library. People will appreciate your verve.
stream it all here.
BLOOD ORANGE – On The Line – as described by adam bowles
You might not know Devonté “Dev” Hynes by his given name, but you’ve almost certainly heard his music; as a songwriter, producer, and vocalist, he has collaborated with artists like Solange Knowles, Florence and the Machine, and Sky Ferreira. Hynes has also released his own music under the stage names Lightspeed Champion and (more recently) Blood Orange.
“On The Line” is a standout track from Blood Orange’s fantastically funky 2012 LP Cupid Deluxe. Singing over skit-skat drum machines and minimalist-funk bass lines, Hynes paints a scene of a couple at a breaking point (a theme common to most tracks on Cupid Deluxe). He asks, “baby, are we on the line?/ tell me, baby, are you mine?” Hynes’ already-great vocals are complemented perfectly by Samantha Urbani singing backup.
No one song on Cupid Deluxe fully exemplifies its style; it was nearly impossible to choose just one song from the highly eclectic album for this week’s playlist. The entire album is great, and is best enjoyed as a whole. If you like this track, also try “Clipped On” (which showcases Hynes’ skill as a rapper) and “Chamakay.”
WHITE STRIPES — Little Bird — as described by kelsey dayton
I’ll just skip past belaboring the universal truth that Jack White on guitar is probably the Eighth Wonder of the World. That alone should be enough to convince you to put this song on loop. If not, just listen to the first 35 seconds. The beginning showcases all my favorite elements of the classic White Stripes sound: the slow, sultry guitar strums to set the mood, the sexy vocals and creepy lyrics, and finally the rock equivalent of a drop to send the song into its percussion-pounding main riff. For the literarily inclined like myself, the lyrics have a lot to unpack: bird imagery and the domestic violence undercurrent make for a very unsettling, intriguing combo. And of course there’s the classic Jack solo, the perfect musical energy shot to power you through the last stretch of that p-set.
YELLOW OSTRICH — Mary (Alternate) — as described by justine beed
“Mary, you are doing drugs / Don’t you think we know?”
That’s the kind of moany, patronizing lament I look for when I’m feeling pretentious. “Mary (Alternate)” is one of those contemporary tunes with a psychedelic spin that makes you either dance around like the quirky chick in the video or sit down and have your head do the spinning. There’s a bit of a Local Natives beat in all the “ooohing” and drum kitting, as well as that enchanting hipster state of mind. The song will take you to a place where whimsical people dance around a forest and colors manifest in thin air, and I swear I’m not just extrapolating from the video. It’s slow and mesmerizing, roaring and flaky, much like how I like to think Mary herself would be.
DR. DOG — Broken Heart — as described by alejandra salazar
Dr. Dog’s super crazy catchy single is a gem off of “B-Room”, the latest release from the psychedelic rockers that strikes just the right balance between radio friendly and off-kilter to appeal to new and veteran listeners alike. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of a song, with lyrics designed to be in some sort of weepy ballad but instead intermingling with saccharine melodies and infectious “ohhh, yeahs” that are guaranteed to have you swaying along to the beautiful noise—because, as crooned by the six-man harmonies of Dr. Dog, there’s no point in staying hung up in the messiness. “Broken Heart” is totally worth a listen, if only for that playful, soaring, your-heart’s-about-to-burst-from-the-happiness feeling that comes from singing along to that sweeeeet bass line: “Freedom from love, freedom from the heartache.”
WASHED OUT — Amor Fati — as described by liam kinney
My night was subpar. I was one of the hosts of this party, but I was playing less of a part than the people who kept telling us, bleary eyed, to keep it down. Over the course of the night we all progressed, so to speak, into the room of my friend from whom I reap a good amount of my good music. Boy, did he break out the top shelf stuff for this shindig. Before I knew it, I was locked in an alternative shuffle with said friend, laughing, and lots of people were watching and laughing too.
The key? This song made me stop worrying about what was going on around me. It stopped being an issue whether I could hold a conversation with that cool kid from down the hall, or that my crush came with another guy. For a moment, I was the life of the party because I had forgotten about the party. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized the song had led me to embrace the very philosophy it advertised: amor fati, the love of ones fate (and subsequent loss of ones worries). I hope that the world melts away from you like it did from me. I hope you want to play this at top volume and that you accidentally start to sway when the chorus drops. I hope, when Mr. Green tells you to relax (1:40), that you listen.
PLACEBO FEAT ALISON MOSSHART — Meds — as described by tina vachovsky
In an interview, Placebo members admitted they all got boners listening to Alison Mosshart record her vocals (which is particularly impressive considering one of them is gay). Add that to Brian Molko’s already sleazy inflections and fast-paced strumming, and you get “Meds”: a realistic portrayal of the generally arrogant cliché of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. The vocal combination provides a wonderfully androgynous and incredibly badass tool to evoke a sense of despair, impending doom, craze over drug addiction and sexual dissonance. Plus, politics aside, it’s a good listen for those “going-insane” days, which are fairly plentiful in our unit-packed winter quarters.
OF MONTREAL — Dustin Hoffman Thinks About Eating the Soap — as described by hanna tyson
First off, the title to this song is incredibly misleading. It has absolutely nothing to do with Dustin Hoffman or his bar of soap. Or, I suppose one could argue that it has everything[soundcloud width=”” height=””][/soundcloud] to do with Dustin Hoffman and his bar of soap, although I don’t think I’m quite deep enough to draw that connection. Regardless, this song makes me think simultaneously of sock hops, adolescence, and cherry pastries. It’s the kind of music you want to be listening to when you’re dancing on a dock by a lake in your underwear with no one in particular, holding a Shirley Temple and just having a ball. My favorite part of The Early Four Track Recordings by Of Montreal would have to be the presence of their non-sequitor-type lyrics in every song, including this one. They’re a big fan of the whole “let’s make everything a kooky metaphor” idea. And frankly, so am I. Their song’s parting words? ”I am a gift. Why don’t you open me?” I’ll leave it up to you to listen.
MOBB DEEP – Trife Life — as described by max wolff
“So fuck it, a nigga gotta do what he meant to/ My crew got my back, fuck the world is my mental”. Flashback to 1995: Havoc and Prodigy are New York teenagers navigating life in the world’s biggest housing project. Their verses recount tales of being on both sides of a set-up in a foreign part of town. Prodigy brings you through his paranoid thoughts before a arriving at a far-away rendezvous in “Brooklyn: the home of the coffin”, and Havoc describes bullying an “outta-towner” for his chain in his native Queensbridge. A dark sound just before the beat loops (appears first at 0:26) gives the beat a sinister, eerie feel that reminds you to mob(b) deep.
INFINITY — Infinity Ink — as decribed by carly lave
Infinity. Infinity. Infinity. I listen to this song on repeat for multiple reasons:
Firstly, I feel the song lyrically commands my subconscious to do so. Infinitely playing on repeat as I get lost between the penetrating introduction and echoing fade-out. The lyrics quote, “I don’t know where it started and I don’t know where it ends” continuously flowing through my psyche. And secondly, I get so caught up in the bass, I lose total conception of time and space. Continuous cycles of kinky beats and hypnotic vibes underscoring the UK electronic scene. With its psychedelic-rock influence, this Eurohit never gets old for me. And probably won’t for infinity.
BREAKBOT—Baby I’m Yours—as described by rachel mewes
Having finally accepted that jumping up and down to house and writhing to dub step didn’t quite do it for me, discovering this song a couple of summers ago was like a breath of fresh, funky air. Two years later, it still has me jumping up out of my seat to get down. It is the perfect mix of old school and electronic vibes and I dare anyone of any age to listen to this all the way through without dancing.
NATHANIEL RATELIFF -Don’t Get Too Close- as described by bojan srb
Dubbed a “pop-folk hero” by the New York Times, Nathaniel Rateliff has definitely paid his dues, with multiple albums released in the past. Not much changed in the style of the albums, but suddenly, the Lumineers noticed his work and invited him on tour. You see, Nathaniel Rateliff is the kind of guy whose lyrics you can’t google, yet he’s everywhere on SoundCloud and YouTube — which, to this lyric-loving reviewer, is the musical equivalent of buying the Chubbies and refusing to play beer pong, of getting the vanilla ice-cream and scooping off the sprinkles, of writing a sonnet with no ending couplet. He is, however snarkily hipster, a musician who managed to get under my skin in a matter of hours. And while I don’t get the lyrics, I imagine this song featuring prominently in the soundtrack of my life — it’ll probably be a scene in which I get rid of all the things I don’t need.
NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS — Stagger Lee — as described by marie vachovsky
A quintessential Bad Seeds track, and probably the most sexual of the folk-tradition Stagger Lee interpretations. Nick Cave perfectly personifies the motley crew of characters in the Stagger Lee narrative. Notably, the once sultry and then hysterical prostitute, and, of course, the man himself: the murderous, vulgar, and renowned Stagger “I’ll crawl over fifty good pussies just to get one fat boy’s asshole” Lee. We should in theory hate Stagger Lee, but when Cave coolly slurs “I’m that bad motherfucker called Stagger Lee” to Martyn P. Casey’s lobbing bassline and Blixa Bargeld’s short muted guitar strums, we kind of want to fuck him, but mostly want to become him. The narrative climaxes with one of Bargeld’s token backwards screams, while Cave (either figuratively or actually, if you’re watching the video) waltzes about the stage, waving those long limbs around with the sort of awkward confidence that is synonymous with Nick Cave.
THE MAGNETIC FIELDS – I Don’t Want To Get Over You – as described by jenn schaffer
Monday January 20th was “Blue Monday”: the saddest day of the year. It’s actually a phony concept some British airline cooked up to get people off the Isles in a slow season. But like all made-up things, it’s made up of something: in this case, the fact that the third week of January can be blue, your champagne promises all worn off, the sun skipping town before the early bird special, and — if the statistics mean anything — half your friends just got engaged and the other half just split up. Anyway it’s just dark most of the time, and in places that aren’t California, it’s cold too, and damp. I’m not in California, so phony Blue Monday hit me like a bus driving on the wrong side of the street, and I had that feeling — you guys know that feeling? — of the last moments before being completely over it. Not the over it itself, which is always a kind of zen relief, but those last hours when you can muster up the ability to ache, the capacity to long for and lust over something that once meant a hell of a lot to you, maybe the world. That’s the hardest hour, I think, when you have to let yourself be indifferent to the indifference that’s going to come, which so seems to invalidate the hours or years your heart spent rioting. Alright, Rilke, no feeling is final — but I do sometimes wish one would be, even if it were longing, even if it were lack, even if it were how much I still miss the particularities of your laugh, which was always sarcastic and so against the world, but with me.
This song isn’t new or anything. But it’s from the 90s, I think, which makes it timeless.
MADE IN HEIGHTS — Murakami — as described by jake friedler
In a novel, the climax comes near the end; in a post-Skrillex world, we get impatient when a song doesn’t drop in the first minute. Setting aside questions of instant gratification, stamina, and other issues plaguing “our generation”, I remark here only on the boredom that arises when electronic music follows such a template, so that each song has only a finite and small number of plays before the drop loses its lustre and we have to move on to the next level(s). But what if the drop weren’t so predictable – what if you hardly knew it were coming? It could be used not just to meet an expectation, but rather as a turning point in the story. This seems to be the role that it plays in this track by Made in Heights. Just as Haruki Murakami’s novels synthesize dreamlike tales and violent history, the synths on “Murakami” layer ethereal beats with whimsical trap samples, as Kelsey Bulkin’s vocals – first a lullaby, then a rap – dance nimbly back and forth across the line between fact and fiction, real and dream. It progresses from a soothing melody to blaring, Hudson Mohican horns: just, as Bulkin repeats, “like the universe is singing a song.”
MASSAGE PARLOUR — “posterboi” — as described by editor eric eich
STREAM HERE (no embed codes exist)
This one has got everything I need: desperation, homoeroticism, and a catchy beat. Better judgment be damned, this mumbled anthem has become my new getting ready song, at morning and at night. I can’t quite make out what he’s saying (the “he” in question being Moon Baby, Pittsburgh-based drag queen and Massage Parlour’s lead singer) but I think I feel it, swaying with its punk-conga-vogue-IDK rhythm as I lace up my shoes. Get into it, and check out their new album while you’re at it, if you need some more sultry self-loathing to get stuck in your head.
LOL BOYS — Change Shlohmo Remix) — as described by editor brittany newell
This is the song I do curl-ups to. Slow, pensive, philosophical curl-ups. For 5 minutes straight. In a room by the sea. Lace curtains blowing. JK. But this song is the shit. You’ll often hear me repeating the musician’s name….in a room by the sea. Oh how that wind blows!
LUDACRIS — Get Back — as described by managing editor alec arceneaux
This playlist is really long already. Go hard with some Luda. This song is perfect.
J DILLA — Love Jones
PLACEBO — Humpty Dumpty
FASHAWN x J.COLE x OMEN — Relaxation — as described by editor in chief lawrence neil
This was originally going to be a post about just “Love Jones”, the supremely mellow, soul-enlarging horn snippet from J Dilla, that read: “J Dilla changed my life” (This remains true). I did some deeper digging, however, and found that the legendary Dilla did some serious (while skillful) sampling of funk band Placebo’s (unrelated to Ms. Vachovsky’s aforementioned Placebo) 1971 eyes-closed, head bobbing release, “Humpty Dumpty.” This link, in turn, turned me right back towards my own playlist, once I realized the same tasty lick from “Humpty Dumpty” layers keyboard chords and heavies the freestyle verses on one of my favorite collab tracks between Fresno native Fashawn, the once-great J.Cole, and Omen. Fascinating. Genomic. Phat jamz.
photo source 1 and 2