This may be the final mixtape of the season–it’s become instantly cooler since August ended and suddenly, the hot weather complaining is turning into hot weather nostalgia. It will soon be time to say goodbye to jorts, t-shirts and mini skirts, so it’s important that we get another playlist in before you start hibernating with Bon Iver and that Fleet Foxes record that everyone went gaga over. Alas, do not worry, this mix will help you hang on to summer at least through Halloween.

Let’s hear it for New York.

Jay-Z (featuring Alicia Keys) – Empire State of Mind
Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up
Michael Jackson (Telepopmusik Remix) – Remember the Time
Crystal Castles – Vanished
The xx – Heart Skipped a Beat
Camera Obscura – The Sweetest Thing
St Vincent – The Party
Cat Power – Fool
Broken Social Scene – I’m Still Your
Feist – Major Label Debut (live)

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Duets and The xx

August 24, 2009

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What I like about The xx are the complementary voices of the group’s two singers. Each is nice by itself, but this is a case of better-together-than-apart. The arrangements are simple and nothing detracts from the harmony of the vocals. Although I usually feel that duets and collabs should be reserved for rap records, it works here and it doesn’t get old or feel tacky. Even though they both sing in similar ranges and with similar vocal inflection, the hushed delivery is intimate and yet intense.

The xx – Crystalised
The xx – Islands

I’m excited to hear the rest of xx, which is out physically on October 20 (although it’s already available for download at Amazon). “Islands” is my favorite track by the group, but I think that “Crystalised” makes a better introduction. I don’t know what the deal is with the name, but it makes it impossible to search them online. I also regret missing them just last week (twice).

And in the spirit of duets, here are a couple more of my favorites:

Feist – The Simple Story (with Jane Birkin)

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood – Some Velvet Morning

UPDATE: Pitchfork has just posted an interview with The xx here, where you can learn more about them.

Please be Patient

December 9, 2008

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It was news to me when I learned Stephen Colbert had a Christmas album. It was a pleasant surprise when I saw Feist had a featured track, finally I thought “a Christmas song worth saving longer than the month of December.” Christmas music is for the two weeks immediately before the day, all this Thanksgiving time holiday music is for saps. I have posted two photos that have nothing to do with snow, winter or Christmas in protest.

Also today, a nice Leona Lewis cover. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

Feist – Please be Patient

Mystery Jets – Bleeding Love

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We Miss You, Fall

November 13, 2008

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I know the leaves don’t look like this anymore but I try to pretend that they still do.
I just saw on Amazon that Feist is releasing a deluxe version of The Reminder. That would normally be great and exciting news, but any good fan would have already found most of those remixes. I have literally been in bragging contests with people about how many times we’ve seen Feist; we should both just give up and agree that it hasn’t been enough. She’s even better when the weather is nice and the leaves still hang on to frail branches. Let it Die is to me an Autumn album.

Gatekeeper seasons wait for your nod
Gatekeeper you held your breath
Made the summer go on and on

Well they tried to stay in from the cold and wind
Making love and making their dinner
Only to find that the love that they grew in the summer
Froze

Feist – Nothin’ In the World Can Stop Me Worrying about that Girl


…I distinctly remember reading a Bill Simmons column on EPSN in the first few days after the Lakers lost the NBA Finals. He said what I’ve found to be the most empty and disappointing part of my favorite west coast city. To paraphrase, even during the Lakers’ home games, fans didn’t seem to care; the fans with enough clout and money to sit lower-level wouldn’t show up until mid-second quarter, and they’d spend the rest of that comparing handbags, sunglasses and looking for the backs of celebrities’ heads. The worst of it was when, late in close games, people would leave just to get to their cars first and beat traffic.

As soon as Feist left the stage before her encore people started trickling down the stairs and out of the bowl. Even though the lights didn’t come on and she eventually came back on stage, people kept finding the exits like rainwater finds gutters. Maybe you have season passes to the bowl, or whatever, maybe you think she blows, but please explain what the big rush is to get out on the 101. I’m half-surprised I don’t see people getting up and leaving near the end of movies only halfway through the denouement.

Let me preface the next sentence by saying that I love this city, and people don’t all suck here. I think this LA-apathy (heretofore “lapathy”) is just part of what you get though with flaky, non-committal and often fake people. Red Sox fans may be mostly douche-bag-band-wagon-free riders, but at least they care. The best fans are the ones apparently in cities not distracted by the glimmer of plastic (see: Steelers, Raiders, soccer fans).

When her set started and she played Mushaboom we got on our feet, like the people in front of us, kind of standard procedure at a concert we thought. After a few seconds the thirty-something couple behind us pulls on my shirt and matter-of-factly says, “I can’t see anything.” I didn’t know what to do so I respectfully sat down out of confusion and started thinking about how lame I’ll be once I turn thirty. Oh, I’m sorry for trying to enjoy myself. Maybe our section E seats were too close to the stage, and these people, like celeb-hunting Lakers fans paid too much money to stand.

I understand that the Bowl is a different kind of venue. First of all there’s no standing room and it’s a variety of ages, making it ideally suited for seated-music (whatever that is), but this isn’t church–wait I can dance at church if I want to. I know general admission usually sucks at big shows; you start wearing other people’s sweat and hardly have the room to scratch your head, but it is the best way to enjoy live rock/pop/indie/hip-hop. You probably meet more selfish people pushing and blocking your view when you’re on your feet, but no one is trying to stop you from having a good time.

I love the Bowl, I love the atmosphere and how friendly everyone is. We shared alcohol with a group of complete strangers sitting next to us. But I know I’d rather have seen my indie queen from Canada at the Wiltern.

Feist – Intuition (Live on KCRW)