Posted by: Jeff | October 11, 2010

Monday Mixtape XXVI: Stuck at Work Edition

Before moving to D.C., I didn’t even know that people observed Columbus Day.  Like Boxing Day or Canadian Thanksgiving, it just seemed like one of those days marked on a calendar because there’s a lobby out there somewhere that pushed Congress for recognition.  Now it just kind of feels like a horribly misguided recognition of cultural domination and suppression.

In any case, the Federal Government gives its employees the day off, and us poor souls working for private institutions still have to work.  So for those stuck at work today, here are some groovy little cuts to get through the monotony.  If you enjoy, be sure to support the artist and purchase their work.

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Cut Copy – Where I’m Going

The first released cut from a forthcoming album, this track showcases a self-proclaimed for Cut Copy, focusing on pop accessibility and eighties nostalgia rather than the shimmery electro glamour of breakthrough hit “Lights and Music.”  The result is bubbly and fun, with a seriously catchy hook.

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Hot Chip, Hot City, and Bernard Sumner – Didn’t Know What Love Was

On this new collaboration released as a promotion for Converse, Bernard Sumner, frontman of the legendary synth-pop band New Order, takes the helm over a Hot Chip-driven groove.  The result is a track that would feel at home on either a late-eighties New Order LP or a recent Hot Chip release.  It’s not often that a collaboration between mentor and proteges goes so well.

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Miike Snow – Cult Logic

Through some well-placed features on commercials and high-profile television shows, Miike Snow is starting to gain a following in the US, and it’s no surprise, what with the prominence of soulful vocals over groovy layered synths.  On a record sadly filled with lyrical largesse, this more restrained track is a glimmer of what the Swedish-based pop group is capable.

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Four Tet – Love Cry

Londoner Kieran Hebden is Four Tet, an artist who blends dub, hip-hop, R&B, jazz, trip-hop and dubstep into unique blends of experimental music capable of moving a dancefloor.  On 2010’s There Is Love In You LP, Hebden masters funky restraint, teasing the listener with slow crescendos into soulful release.  “Love Cry” is a standout.

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Bon Iver – Re:Stacks (Tomas Barfod Remix)

I highlighted the original just a few short weeks ago, but this remix is also noteworthy.  The emotive and hushed vocals of Justin Vernon sound good in any environment, but over the minimal electro soundscape provided by Barfod, Vernon’s pipes take on an ethereal quality.  And there’s just enough groove in this number to keep the head bobbing.

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Matthew Dear – Slowdance

Matthew Dear is a prolific artist who releases under a variety of names and collaborations.  With releases as False, Jabberjaw, and most famously Audion, it is his production under his own name that stands out as most interesting and innovative.  His latest LP, Black City, is a conceptual album about life in a futuristic metropolis that runs 24/7.  His digitally-altered vocals on Slowdance are dark and forboding, carried forward by a pulsating hum.

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Hot Chip – We Have Love

The British electronic music circle is pretty close-knit, and nothing exemplifies this fact better than Hot Chip.  The band from London is the product of south London’s Elliott School, which also produced Kieran Hebden of Four Tet… as well as the gloomy mood-setters in The xx.  Unlike their more introspective colleagues, however, Hot Chip makes music to dance to, featuring nerdy vocals over eclectic beats and a funky bassline.

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The xx – VCR (Four Tet Remix)

The Elliott School connection is further strengthened by this unofficial remix by Hebden of The xx’s breakout single.  Trading funk for the moody spare atmosphere in the original, Hebden accentuates the breathy vocals and tick tock ringing bell that make the track so unique.  This is a gem of a production that completely transforms the original track into something new, a remix that truly adds a new interpretation.

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Maximum Balloon – Communion (Featuring Karen O)

Like London, New York City also boasts a close-knit group of artists.  When TV on the Radio’s bassist, Dave Sitek, announced a solo project as Maximum Balloon, one might have expected a bevy of guest appearances.  But the who’s who of vocalists on his debut album is still quite impressive – TVOTR’s own Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone join David Byrne, Theophilus London, and Karen O.  On O’s turn, she dazzles with this twinkly little number.

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Gorillaz – Empire Ants (featuring Little Dragon)

One of the highlights of Gorillaz’ 2010 LP, “Empire Ants” starts as a slow-churner with a dream-like quality.  Damion Albarn croons softly over an aquatic melody before the synth kicks in, driving this track into dance-floor territory.  One of the gems that truly showcase the versatility of Albarn’s vision for the Gorillaz collective.

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Responses

  1. subtext: i am jealous that my girlfriend has the day off.


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