Sunday, March 30, 2008

various artists - Laptop Pop Collection, volume 5

Various Artists - Laptop Pop Mix, volume 5

Having a handful of mix-worthy tracks left over from the last installment, I wanted to make one last disc in this series. Don't worry, it's not a collection of leftovers, but really a nice ending to this series.

Each of the other mixes was 15 tracks long. Volume 5 is 16 songs long, an incongruent abnormality that could have been remedied by lopping off the PlayRadioPlay! song. But from the first time I heard this kid on my local college radio station, it just seemed like a fitting end for this entire genre and a good way to end the whole project.

1. Mystery Palace - Rebelize
2. Mobius Band - Detach
3. Home Video - We
4. Mr. Projectile - You Need
5. E*vax - The Process of Leaving
6. Lullatone - Pajama Party Pop
7. The Bird and the Bee - Fucking Boyfriend
8. The Northern Two - Maybe Not For Someone Else
9. Psapp - About Fun
10. Faux Pas - For The Trees
11. Toothfairy - Kicked Outta The Band
12. Tone - My Mind Exploded
13. My Enemy - Khreis
14. Copy - A Slight But Delicious Warble
15. Childs - Marysal
16. PlayRadioPlay! - Decipher Reflections From Reality

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

video #52: Prozzäk - Sucks to Be You

Since I don't live in Canada -- where no less than 35% of music played on Canadian radio must be from Canadian artists -- I never caught onto this song when it apparently was a real hit. Now I'm hearing it for the first time, and it's probably the worst of the batch of Prozzäk songs I've been able to listen to online.

Their compilation Ready Ready Set Go was released on Hollywood Records when it came out in 2002, probably giving the duo the biggest push in America of their career. The album was released under the name Simon and Milo rather than Prozzäk, for reasons I can only speculate about. Was Eli Lily so afraid that they'd tarnish the sparkling image of fluoxetine hydrochloride, their signature product? Surely their lawyers must have learned a lesson from Panasonic.

Not the best Prozzäk video, has the same kind of aggressively ironic/"simple" animation style that all their videos have but it's not really in service of anything interesting this time. Yeah, I know I'm imploring a fake and possibly defunct band to try harder, and I understand what this probably says about me as a person.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

various artists - Laptop Pop Collection, volume 4

Various Artists - Laptop Pop Mix, volume 4

I'd already made this mix before seeing Hot Chip live about a year and a half ago. No laptops in sight anywhere on stage, so I doubt they'd make the cut if I was putting it together now. The mechanical precision and robotic soul of "The Warning" and other songs on their second album make me feel like they're still not out of place here. The goofy antics and bloated trickery on Made In The Dark make me feel like they just don't care anymore. I'm not sure I do either.

Track 13 is the alleged new song from The Postal Service that was leaked in August of 2006. It was never clear who recorded the song or penned the hilarious Ben Gibbard quotes that bloggers spread like herpes around the Internet -- "We plan on telling a story with this album. We don't know exactly how many tracks will be on this release; but we anticipate splitting up the ownership of the album three ways. Jimmy has been working with us [(sic) Ben Gibbard, Jenny Lewis "The Postal Service"] for some time now, and will be responsible for opening the story." -- but it seems to have originated at this blog, citing a quote in this alt weekly paper that either never existed or has been lost to time. I know, it's not a great controversy but I'm kind of impressed that whoever is responsible has been able to keep it to themselves for so long.

I'm fond of this mix, I hope you are too.

1. Ms. John Soda - Scan The Ways
2. Thom Yorke - Atoms For Peace
3. Feist - Mushaboom (Postal Service Remix)
4. Barbara Morgenstern - The Operator
5. Hot Chip - The Warning
6. März - Blaue Fäden
7. My Enemy - My Time Coming
8. Boy In Static - Bellyfull
9. The Aluminum Group - If You've Got A Lover (Slicker remix)
10. Tender Forever - The Feelings Of Love
11. Electric President - Snow on Dead Neighborhoods
12. Miniature Airlines - Pushpin Revolution
13. Unknown Artist - The Importance Of Being
14. Sia - Breathe Me (Ulrich Schnauss remix)
15. Lambchop & Hands Off Cuba - 4 º Gus

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

video #51: Prozzäk - Be As

I don't know how to properly enjoy this as a 28 year-old man while still holding onto a few shreds of dignity, but it was stuck in my head for most of today and I really didn't mind at all.

Apparently this video came out back when I was in college -- what a sickening sentence to bring myself to type -- and surely would have been denounced as evil, immoral, and positively sinful by most of my classmates at the time if it had ever penetrated their tiny spheres of awareness. Homosexual propaganda, they would have called it. Aimed at recruiting children. And they would have said this with a straight face, too. Always on the lookout for anything secular or postmodern, this would have sent them scrambling for Biblical warfare metaphors, strapping on their helmets of salvation and their shields of faith to battle for the soul of their culture. But hey, at least it's not about abortion!

Dropping in bits of interviews/testimonials from teenagers into the middle of the song is kind of cheesy but the innocent naivety of it feels refreshing, especially after 8 years of increasingly angry and hateful alternative rock (which had already been building up since the beginning of the decade anyway) since its release. Jimmy Eat World tried the same trick in "Work" but their song reeks of bitterness and entitlement. It's too easy to imagine JEW's troubled teens as a troupe of MTV reality show hopefuls, which the totally poignant music video suggests they just might be. But who knows, maybe some of them were the same kids from "Be As," now 4 years older, confident, cocky, and finally comfortable in the cliques they once resisted.

The video for Eminem's "Mosh" also features more animated marching in the streets, but looks pretty awful next to "Be As" despite what was surely an unlimited budget by comparison. Prozzäk videos have never featured the most impressive animation but almost anything is better than the Eminem's depressing politico dirge.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

various artists - Laptop Pop Collection, volume 3

Various Artists - Laptop Pop Mix, volume 3

Disc three: the inclusion of Laptop here is both a no-brainer and also pretty suspect. Also: do Husky Rescue or the Album Leaf really use laptops? Or any computers at all? I don't know. Seemed like a good idea at the time. More from Jimmy Tamborello, Morr Music, MacBooks, trackers, probable beards, and lots, lots more!

1. B. Fleischmann - Le Désir
2. Laptop - Ratso Rizzo
3. Jeans Team - Arthur
4. Bobby Birdman - I Will Come Again
5. Album Leaf - Eastern Glow
6. The Blow - Knowing The Things That I Know
7. Bitmap - Someone To Call My Own
8. Applied Communications - Let's Make My Bed
9. Triangle - Ordinaries
10. Beth Orton - Carmella (Four Tet remix)
11. Figurine - IMpossible
12. The Dissociatives - Somewhere Down The Barrel
13. Styrofoam - Couches In Alleys (Feat. Ben Gibbard)
14. Husky Rescue - Sunset Drive
15. Nautilis - It's Lonely in the Streets

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

video #50: Prozzäk - Strange Disease

Despite being the first fully-"animated band" (or at least beating Gorillaz to the punch by a few years) I've never bothered to check out Prozzäk before now. I can see how they would have fit in well with the turn of the century pop like Len or New Radicals, but I'm pretty sure they've never charted in the U.S. or even got any airplay here. Even today, they seem almost unknown here, and even on the Internet I haven't seen them get very much attention. So I don't know what to make of a scene like this. Is this what Canada is really like? I never would have imagined.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

various artists - Laptop Pop Collection, volume 2

Various Artists - Laptop Pop Mix, volume 2

Disc 2 of the laptop pop set, kicking off with a mellow instrumental version of "Temptation" (which works really nice coming off of the Fennesz cover/edit of the The Beach Boys on the last disc) before moving into a string of great/less-obvious songs that probably make this disc the best of the bunch. I know no one will take Linkin Park seriously here, even though there's no categorical difference between "Breaking The Habit" and, say, "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight."

1. Kid 606 - Temptation
2. The Notwist - Pick Up the Phone
3. Dntel - (This Is) The Dream Of Evan And Chan
4. Blue Ribbon - Eagles Fly
5. Lali Puna - Micronomic
6. Herrmann & Kleine - Kickboard Girl
7. Telefon Tel Aviv - I Lied
8. Schneider TM - The Light 3000
9. Benjamin Diamond - Let's Get High
10. Linkin Park - Breaking The Habit
11. TBA - I
12. Headphones - Hot Girls
13. Manitoba - Jacknuggeted
14. Pulseprogramming - Blooms Eventually
15. Mice Parade - The Days Before Fiction

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

video #49: Gorillaz - 19-2000

Video #2 from Gorillaz, again directed by Jamie Hewlett and Pete Candeland. And what a fun video it is, even though hardly anything happens in it at all.

I've had a CD-R of this album for years and didn't even know what this song was called before today. It probably could have been a bigger hit if only it had been called "Get the Cool Shoeshine" or pretty much anything other than "19-2000."

Summer seems so far away right now.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

various artists - Laptop Pop Collection, volume 1

Various Artists - Laptop Pop Mix, volume 1

As part of a series of genre-specific mixes that were being commissioned for a certain message board about two or three years ago, I assembled a two disc compilation of what many at the time were calling "laptop pop." Over time, I kept up with it and assembled what I think is a pretty good overview of the genre, if it even lasted long enough to reach such status. Does it deserve such treatment? Plenty of people who somewhat-deservedly mock Ben Gibbard from the safety of 2008 would roll their eyes and say no. But when you start exploring beyond the 3 or 4 artists that everyone came to namedrop and know, you can find some surprising and unexpected stuff.

There's a lot of problems with this mix, the biggest being one that hangs over each and every disc of it. Lots of these artists, on lots of these songs... don't use laptops at all. I tried my best to find out for myself before including them, but a few tracks slipped through the cracks anyway. Cornelius doesn't employ laptops, as I found out when I saw him and his band earlier this year. And having seen this performance when it originally aired, I should have already known that Radiohead really don't either (though "Idioteque" still remains their signature track from Kid A -- despite not being a single -- and has probably influenced more artists from this spectrum of music than anyone has ever cared to discuss). The Holden & Thompson track came from a generic "chill out" compilation full of trance artists, which they themselves most likely are for all I know. I haven't heard anything else from them but get the feeling they probably aren't running Powerbooks, but the song fits in great here so I don't care.

But I did my best with what I could find at the time. Download and enjoy. More to come soon!

1. Maurmari - Birch Beer Forest
2. Radiohead - Idioteque
3. Octet - Hey Bonus
4. Capitol K - Pillow
5. Broken Spindles - Matte
6. Bright Eyes - Time Code
7. The Postal Service - Such Great Heights
8. Cornelius - Point Of View Point
9. Decomposure - Whose Side Are You On?
10. Marbles - Out Of Zone
11. Her Space Holiday - Meet The Pressure
12. Junior Boys - Birthday (Manitoba remix)
13. Holden & Thompson - Come To Me
14. Múm - Green Grass of Tunnel
15. Fennesz - Don't Talk Put Your Head On My Shoulder