The Artifact Series: Summer 2007
For the last 15 years or so, I’ve been making mixes on a semi-monthly basis. Through various moves across the country I’ve lost or broken most of them, but occasionally I come across one in a box or a pile or tucked into a book. They are never perfect; far from it. They are always works in progress, like small snapshots of what I thought I might like at the time. Sometimes I immediately hate them and never listen again. Other times they become well-worn favorites. I figured that enough time has passed that I could dissect a few here and there on the site. For this second entry, we go to early summer of 2007. I don’t have an exact date but that’s roughly when this thing came from.
Full track list below the jump.
1.Something to Say – Action
There was a long stretch where this had to be on every mix I made. It just seemed to me that it was the perfect proto-indie rock song, incredibly ahead of its time1. I still feel that its a great song. I especially love the fuzz bass and the lead singer’s voice is just timeless. It’s one of my favorite vocals ever. But I probably burnt out on it and it doesn’t have nearly the emotional impact it used to. The cymbal punch at the crescendo still hits hard, and I’m hoping to re-introduce it to some new fans here.
2.Evil Bee – Menomena
I had a lot invested in Menomena’s second proper full length, Friend or Foe. I had seen them open up for The National while touring on their first record and was completely blown away. I listened the crap out of I Am the Fun Blame Monster and was all-in on this second one. I listened the crap out of this one too and I still think its pretty great. The drums — always the best part of their sound — are killer and the arrangement actually lives up to their wild ambitions which wasn’t always the case with them. Deep, casual sax.
3.Nighttime – Stylofone
One of the great lost bands of the ’00s. Just a fucking powerhouse of riffs. It is easy to forget that in the middle of the ’00s there was a cock-rock resurgence. Stylofone, Diamond Nights, Cheeseburger, etc. etc. Bands for whom Thin Lizzy was the Alpha and the Omega. I was fully on board for this, and Stylofone were arguably the best at it. “HotStepper” is probably their better known and better song2, but by this time I’d already worn that one out so I had to dig a little deeper. They went to form Amazing Baby who just weren’t ever nearly this inspired or fun.
4. Chocolate, Raspberry, Lemon & Lime – Muscles
What can I say about Muscles. There was a time where he was just everything to me and my friends. I have vivid memories of hearing “Ice Cream” blasting in my roommate’s car from down the street as he drove home. It was music made to be blasted at full volume without too much thought. Every song was basically the same — a message of peace, love, unity and respect, of dance floor romances and techno angst, all made by a seventeen-year-old Australian kid. He tried to double down on this promise with an opus called Manhood, which was eventually released a few years later3. But Guns, Babes, and Lemonade is such a powerful statement from 2007. It is that year for me and for that I will always love it.
5.The Vitamin V – The Secret Stars
I have no idea how this made it on there – it is not even remotely from 2007 and not even remotely the best song by the Secret Stars. Geoff Farina has had a long career of quiet bands, Karate probably being the most successful, but to those from the Boston area Secret Stars will always be the best.
6.Far Rockaway – Haywood
Long time fans of the site should be no strangers to our love of Haywood. We even included one of their songs on our first compilation way back in 20054. This is from their second posthumous album, which I still like quite a bit. They were always a great power pop band, anchored by excellent drumming. Far Rockaway is a song about living in New York which is not normally something I’d be into, but what can I say. I’m a sucker for these dudes.
7.Rebel Fever (Who We Are) – Hockey Night
Hands down the best song on the mix. No question. It destroys everything. I had a lot riding on Hockey Night. Their album, Keep Guessin’5 is just outstanding, especially side B opener “This Peaceful Year”. They toured a bunch from their base in Minneapolis and brought their guitar theatrics across the country. Then they released two demos to the MP3 blog world – this one, and a second one called “Dark Trance (Psychic Lightning)”, both of which signaled a huge leap forward for the band. No longer just some Pavement-aping janglers, these dudes were about to grab the brass ring of rock. Word spread that none other than James Murphy would be producing6 and shit got real exciting. Then Hockey Night broke up, Free Energy was formed, and you know the rest. In retrospect it’s hard to live up to that hype but man did they have potential. Just huge.
8. What I Want (Demo Version) – Walter Meego
My old friends Walter Meego. Solid dudes with solid songs. My favorite thing about them was when they camped out in a house in the desert to write their song using Third Eye Blind’s self-titled album as their inspiration7. This was after they’d already tried recording in Bejing for its alleged access to superior, inexpensive musicians. It was amazing. The results were mixed but there were some awesome songs. This one is the demo of a track off Voyager, and it’s worth sticking around for the insane guitar shredding at the end.
9.Manila (Zongamin remix) – Seelenluft
Never much of a fan of Seelenluft, this would definitely be here because of the Zongamin. The reverse handclaps, the cowbell, the driving bass… these are all things I’d have been super down with at the time. The bass is super strong too. I like this jam!
10. If You’re Here Today – Letting Up Despite Great Faults
These guys are still around! Still going strong! I remember giving them one of their first ever live performances back when we did monthly night at Cinespace. They were great. This is still a great song and I just remember them being the nicest dudes ever.
11. Look at Me – Villeneuve & M83
This is actually from Villeneuve’s album, Graceland which I don’t remember at all. I do remember loving everything M83 had done up to that point, so I’m not surprised to see him on here. This song is really pretty though and now I want to dig up her album and see what it’s all about. Let’s go!
12. Jamie T – Ike & Tina
So the Monday after SXSW bands used to roll through LA and play the venues in an effort to capitalize on whatever buzz they earned in Austin. This was awesome, and Jamie T was one of those dudes. When he first toured America he didn’t bring a band – it was just him and his bass. He played Spaceland that Monday8 and he was small and fragile and amazing. Just really charming and endearing and we had big hopes for him. His album was super fun – kind of like a boy version of Lily Allen9. When he came around again he played the Trouabdour with a full band. He sped up all his songs in an awkward rock/punk vein that was just terrible. I don’t think he really recovered from that tour, though he just came out with a new album so maybe the smoke’s finally cleared. Anyway – this song is fun and that whole album is a kick.
13. Shipwrecked – Hot Club de Paris
Leave it to a bunch of teenagers from the UK to finally make the best midwestern emo. I was all-in on Hot Club de Paris and rode for them for probably way too long. I could never get anybody else interested, but such is live. This song is great, as are all their songs — I especially recommend their album Live at Dead Lake10. Fun dudes!
14. Cape Code Kwassa Kwassa (August 30th) – Vampire Weekend
What can I say?
15.watching that chair painted yellow – Twilight Sad
Boy did I love this band. In the interest of full disclosure I was the publicist for their first album and the following EP. I toured with them a little bit and was just super into them, as a band and as people. They were sweet, honest guys really looking to make amazing music. That first album, while dramatic and best saved for rainy days, is legend. This song is from the single for “That Summer At Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy.” These guys are still around, still making great music and I’m still a fan.
16. In California – Cub (Neko Case)
Man I fucking hate this song. I know she didn’t write it – Lisa from Cub did11. I guess I must’ve liked it at one point, but whoo boy it doesn’t do shit for me now. Pass!
17. Long Way Home – Tom Waits
I have a long history with Tom Waits and remain off and on a fan. I remember getting a promo for this odds ‘n sods collection and being really excited. This is a lovely song and he’s a lovely man. I’m not sure this song belongs on this mix though… it’s definitely an odd man out.
1. I also had a long monologue about how Grand Funk’s live version of “Mean Mistreater” was a direct ancestor of Modest Mouse which is…better left for another day ↩
3. with some wicked bangers on it ↩
5.On Lookout! Records just before they imploded ↩
6.Controversal statement: James Murphy is an amazing songwriter and an even better performer but he is mediocre at best, terrible at worst when it comes to producing ↩
8.back when it was Spaceland and back when Monday night’s were the free residency nights ↩
9.which sounds crazy now but totally made sense at the time ↩
10. which is not a live album ↩
11. please don’t make me use the words Cuddle Core to describe that band ↩