mix xxiv. i know my redeemer lives (REVISED)
haim – falling I can only tell how old this mix was supposed to be by the date that I initially downloaded this track. and this might even be something of a late tell. but the creation of this file is found on the fourth of june of 2013. that’s how long it’s been that I’ve wanted to share this with you guys. and now, there they go, haim shows up in the top lists of a lot of the major music news outlets. the whole record is catchy as all hell, and gives that 80s vibe about it without ever resorting to any of those characteristic keyboards or samples of the time. it’s all just a solid, cyclic, exuberant hook, over and again. this just makes you feel awesome. I remember getting to work after this coming on and needing to completely replace the store audio with this song. maybe twice. what is this song even about? falling or something? into the fire feeling higher than the truth? COOL. LET’S DANCE.
letlive. – that fear fever I feel like letlive. is that perfect band to get you OFF. not in the sexual sense, where you’re physically orgasming. really, no, please. I’m not even going to give you a maybe on that one. but I feel like they’re all in and it’s very hard not to be all in when they’re throwing down. I feel like there’s something about what they’re doing here that gives them an element to ME at least of what the punk sound did to people before there was anything guttural and raw like that. it’s stripped down and kinetic but focused enough that it can only fit down one pipe, one channel, one tunnel directly to your face but there’s so much going on at once that you are having your eyes dart around in REM-like motions to be able to catch everything. clockwork orange film strips for your aurals. the production on this one is a little weird, a little low budget it feels? but get in it, surround yourself by it. flip tables. throw molotovs.
misery signals – shadows and depth heavy as shit, like handfuls of that black soil you’d use to plant trees or new landscape projects. so much denser and thicker and weighty than what you thought you were holding. the heft doesn’t match the volume. but then there are those wood grain textures in the background and in the in betweens. that’s what this band has always been for me. it’s the band that everyone has basketball shorts for and the fitteds and whatever the mosh kids where nowadays, but there’s something about all of it at once that doesn’t seem possible to reduce down to a two step or a mosh. when I saw them as one of the last things I did in NYC before coming down here to the swerve, even during the breakdowns, kids just stare at them and nod their head like they’re receiving some outerworldy transmission that is promoting rhythm through understanding. to wield the vastness that they incorporate their songs is something that I endlessly respect. they want to punch you down through a granite floor but into a dust that floats through the atmosphere and lands out on one of saturn’s moons. I’m down, they sound rad.
citizen – drawn out whereas a band like this is that band that plays the VFW to all of their friends that they’ve never met and make eye contact and donate the microphone to the crowd through the choruses and the hooks so that everyone can be the band can be the voice and can be the message. there isn’t much to the lyrics in this song personally, but there’s a flashback here to holding the shoulders of kids I didn’t know who drove the same streets to get here to celebrate the movement and the songs and the band and the record and the song. the faces that light up when they finally play the song that “they better play”. it’s joy. it’s that live performance euphoria that can’t be replaced. it’s small and singular and important. this song embodies it for me. air drumming on this one is furious, too. love that bass line too. asics. new balance. saucony. feel wild.
rookie town – valley lily there are bands like this that are derivative of the above movement. and they never really sound like their recordings when they play those little venues. and they’re playing to such small crowds of people who can only make out what the songs really sound like because they received the demo or streamed it on sound cloud and know the first few notes. but they play it too fast and they play it so energetically and frantically that it barely sounds the same. “I’M STILL AS STRONG AS I EVER WAS” is such a powerful thing to scream amidst the chaos that the whole song represents. it’s a beautiful thing to scream into any open space. it’s an absence of desperation. it’s an affirmation. but there are moments like that weird bridge in the middle that ONLY belong in the little bars and the wooden VFWs and never make it in the transition outside of that. but in those tableaus, they are the prism through which ONLY that light can shine.
bear vs. shark – bloodgiver I’m endlessly happy that I received an equal visions record sampler back at some warped tour that I’ve since forgotten. from the days when I was really into coheed and cambria’s first record and the second one was still kind of relevant to me and before I thought it was possible the third one could possibly lose me. because ON that sampler was the song by this band called ‘ma jolie’ that opened my eyes to them forever. and there’s that midwestern 90s vibe to them a la braid, but that same era post-hardcore nonchalance that at the drive-in brought that was a blend that grew deep into my bloodstream. seeing them live was dangerous. I love how misleading the lack of anything obvious going on in this song is. it shifts and folds and spreads like a flock of birds or a school of fish. one unit acting in multiple minds.
moneen – accidents are on purpose to open, yes. this is a cover. but not so much a cover as it is a reimagining. so if you’ve not heard the alexisonfire version of this track, it may make it more (or less) enjoyable based on your knowledge of that track. but this one is way slower, way less vicious, though all the elements are still there. it’s nothing like george’s wildcat, throat tearing scream. this is a song completely deconstructed and reassembled after years of water erosion. it compounds a different level of emotion into it. moneen has always been a band that seems to simply roll around on their guitar pedals so there are way more effects going on in the little spaces between the verses and the periods after the musical sentences. and there’s the spacial post-rock moment that they place in the middle of the song that rolls you through a river of illusion and empty galactic space that is placed where the original song had its musical break.
hrvrd – timid scripts the first notes of this track always almost lift me inches off of the ground. I have a devotion to this record that is worn openly like an old hoodie or a pair of jeans that is completely threadbare. that weird guitar float away sound that happens right after the first vocals come in, the way the cymbals are recorded, just how much reverb is surrounding the singer… a lot of it. it’s all shaped like a halo to me. this is one of those songs that you’ve been asking for when you’ve gotten bored of every record you’ve bought, every recommendation and every song on the radio. this is the response to that silent telegraph. the missing brick to the foundation. the one that fits the new design, the new remodel. I talked about this record in sort of (read: extremely) over the top terms and this is the song that sort of encompasses all that the record makes me feel. it’s one of those songs that makes me feel like there’s no way that this song was written by human beings, that it was sort of a spiritual transmission that was received by a collective of people that united them at some temple or sudden canyon. really. I feel this way.
hrvrd – flaming creatures this is actually the first song from that record that called to me and made me realize that I was truly loving it, and that it had a voice that was speaking directly to me. a similar example is when you are trying to put together what a word or concept is with no prior recollection to it. like the native americans standing on the shores, unsure what they were seeing as the global explorers brought their massive ships to their banks. just not being able to mentally define or even outline these objects or ideas or in this case sounds. it took me a second to really grasp it. and it’s not that these guys are doing something that sounds like it’s in a completely different key or anything, it’s more that I had to really succumb to the idea that it was taking over as a brand new idea and that there was nothing really like it that I had liked. it’s in the nuance. the trumpet here, the high pitched vocal piece. it’s all captivating to me. the “loathing government” thing… wack. I get that. but the organ, the guitar lacing that goes over it… an anchor and a propulsion. I love it.
local natives – you & I the slow sweeping of the guitar and its amber hue is all that it would really take for me to be completely caged up by this song. but the hook is, on its own and in conjunction with this, terribly sad and sounds simple and pleading and yet is catchy and something I want to sing all day. somewhere in the three minute mark, there are notes that are filling up the whole landscape, like the type of blanket that fill your vision when you have your eyes closed but stare at a blinding light. little moments like that stacked with an already great song is what makes this stuff timeless and endless for me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now, some of these songs I get almost nervous to share with you because the song itself might only sound like a song to you, and what I want to do is have something like a séance where I hold your hands around a table and let you feel what I’m feeling and let these songs speak to you the way they speak to me.
into it. over it. – favor & fiction one of the most genuine and hardworking and believable dudes in all of music right now is evan weiss. hands down, such an approachable dude who just ‘gets it’, constantly. both in person and on television he has some kind of mission statement and work ethic that comes across in everything he does. and the talent he has on the guitar is something that makes him far more than just a figure head. he can deliver. the main riff on this track is something that can really speak for his entire discography. lots of angling and bending and fingerwork going up and down the neck of the guitar. and then another one of this incredible abilities as a songwriter and music player is the weight and heaviness of the songs that he’ll lay down without doing much of the palm muting and typical breakdown stylings that tend to come with songs that can be described as “heavy”. it’s the timing and the space that he places around the notes and in between the movements of the song that he’s tying together. take the part around 1:42 as an example, and on record you can possibly get the view as it would look on paper, but in his live performance the way that the notes ring out and the investment and reaction and delivery on his face makes it fathoms and tons heavier.
poliça – very cruel bass heavy and rhythm happy and head nodding. the almost sassy and loungy vocals. just on that level, this song is great. on loop endlessly. lots of really basic stuff coming together, but layering and building and frothing and getting whipped out at different intervals. really smart use of echoes. in one of those rare moments, one string of lyrics really hits directly close to home with me. a way of life I’ve had to leave behind, one that I was almost ignorantly walking through days with.
thom yorke – harrowdown hill one thing that has always stood out to me about this song since I played it on headphones for the first time is during that bed of high pitched almost digital keys, it has this weird warbly sound to it in this very light fashion that makes it sound like it’s coming off of some heavily used record that has been tried at the owner’s very best to keep it in good condition, but it is played so frequently, it just can’t help but be exposed to natural entropy. something about anything this man touches makes sense. I feel like I can type the lyrics a million times in many different fonts and beg you to look at it harder but it just won’t speak the same to you or even myself the same way. I’m staring at it like DON’T YOU GET IT??! like some kind of son of sam investigator. it’s weird, yeah, it gets weird. to get even more close to it, start listening to around 2:24, in the left channel, that weird choppy mumble that he uses as part of the beat to break up the loop cycle that he’s using. it appears and disappears. it’s little genius that reveals the iceberg of larger genius. I think of this song as an acknowledgment of a certain group of people in my life who I’m constantly and forever melded with, and twisted into a helix that never bends, warps, erases, or is destroyed. 1.
phosphorescent – muchacho’s tune oh, and this is just a sad song with a lap steel and lyrics that I can relate to from a certain point in my life. a longing and a reaching that held out for hours and endless Indiana miles. lots of staring out through solid walls as if they were glass windows or open fields. and while I’m past that sadness, it still was very real to me. and it’s still something that left a ravine in my existence. it’s healthy now, it’s got foliage and wildlife in and around it. but it’s still there because of the passing and crashing of events. and I’ll be able to use THOSE MOMENTS as very real inspiration both the prehistory, the history and aftermath and recovery from it. we all have these experiences that become educations for us, that seem so crucial and defining for us. and I really hope that all of you can openly choose to not let these framed moments rule your lives. to acknowledge them, take power over them, accept them and change them and change yourself in ways that only move you forward.
volcano choir – comrade more sadness on this track. this song really stood out to me, along with another track on that record. the other one just wasn’t as digestible to throw on the mix cd, but had one of the saddest lines I’ve heard in my entire life, quoted by mr. chinaski himself. there’s something cruel cruel cruel about singing sad songs with an uplifting sound. it opens up the creases in your lungs and your heart and your voice box and makes you let these little flakes of light in. real bite the bullet moments. I think the key that this song is written in is just inherently positive. there’s one line to me in here that sort of acknowledges that level of true rejection we’ve ever felt, though, better than any other. and I need to separate it from the rest of this description just so it can hopefully get a hold of you the way it did for me. there are a lot in here that are NOT this next line that really tear at me. but this next one feels universal. it’s in the song but you can’t make it out because it’s autotuned and flying away in all directions. but it says:
YOU DON’T EVEN LIE TO ME NO MORE.
blonde redhead – spain STILL SAD! I want to plaster more lyrics, but that’s not really my style. this woman’s voice feels like a ghost to me. always has. this song is written about a personal struggle with trying to let someone go, despite your excuses and the small wants and desires and perfect scenarios you set up in your head. although all of your external voices are telling you to stay away, to stop to leave it to run. you can’t combat or defeat the missing of someone, the longing. the dialogue you want to have with someone when you are reunited, the next time that you see them, the way you think it was the one thing you could say to make them understand. the fact that you feel like you can’t speak enough to say the one thing so superbly and succinctly (and at that time, so effortlessly) to make them swoon and stay or come back or fall into you. the shape of one person’s voice or personality or handwriting to haunt you for the rest of your goddamn life.
palms – antarctic handshake this song is simply a meditation broken into two stanzas. the sound of the universe and its shapes and children. the way the sounds of the guitars form perfect undulating waves rippling outward. this song feels like the description of a place described only as beyond. it feels like floating and fractals. the first portion of the song feels to me almost more of a portal, a slow pushing tunnel towards what ends up being the open experience of the second piece. like falling off of an upward escalator into a place with no gravity, into a sonic representation of an alex grey movement. I’ve had times with this record where I’ve listened so far into the background of this track where I can almost detect some kind of Tibetan throat chanting going on back there, or something even deeper, even bassier. it’s like a strand of light dissected. twinkles and trenches. the percussion part is so tribal, so simple but subdued and constrained. omega.