15 March 2012

Baby Steps to ATX

(hey, it rhymes, like Geidi Primes)

So sometimes I'm a little slow. Like yesterday, biking home, I realized what the title of my 2011 End-of-Year mash-up mix is/must be, just about two and a half months late. (Guess I'll make the necessary adjustments... of course I haven't given out any copies of it anyway, so no real loss...)

In case you haven't heard it yet, or you don't feel you've sufficiently performed the new/retroactive titular injunction:


Speaking of that mix: the other day I took one of my favorite moments from it (maybe the first time the mix really kicks into gear, about a quarter of the way in) and extended it into a stand-alone mash-up. Which may be the first time I've actually done that.

So here it is for your dreaming/ass-bumping pleasure. M83 vs. Big Freedia. I guess it's called "Get Back to Midnight City"? (Maybe I'll figure that out in a few months?) Would probably make a pretty sweet mash-up video too, but I'll leave that to somebody else...

grab it: y'all get FLAC now (okay, it's really just m4a.)

I am, as I type, on my way to Austin, gearing up for my fourth go-round at South by Southwest Music Conference. ('07, '08, '11, '12.) This'll be my first year doing it with a badge, coveted amulet of magical line-shirking powers. That's because this is my first time attending under an official capacity: I'll be blogging about the conference for ye olde Philly City Paper (and I'll riposte here too.) We shall see how these changes affect the experience; I'm predicting something of an increase in stress/self-destructiveness levels (if only because of sleep lost 2º writing), but hopefully a somewhat commensurate increase in awesomeness of experience 2º extra access/flexibility.

(Though that could totally just backfire and turn into a higher level of optimization crazymaking.) (Also, truth be told, I've only rarely found having just the wristband, and no badge, to substantially hamper my ability to see stuff I want to see. Not that I'm complaining...)

In preparation for SXSW, which is, I guess, as close to a real-life experiential distillation of Now in Music as there is; some musings on how I'm feeling about music, nowabouts.

I'm feeling: good! Pretty excited about things! After a less-than-enthralling '11, one of the first things I noticed about 2012 is something that reminded me of 2010 (which was, for me, truly a musical annus mirabilis): my two out-of-the-gate front-runner favorites, which i discussed in detail in my last post, bear some notable similarities to my colossal, twin 2010 #1s, which were similarly early to reveal themselves.

[Even numerologically speaking...if that was a year of Ones, the year of said favorites – #1 Life Stand and Have #1 On Me – (and also "O.N.E." and "One" and "One"), now we get the 2 Bears and Born 2 Die. And there are two 2s in the name of the year! I'll stop.]

Okay, so of course The 2 Bears correspond very readily and obviously to Hot Chip (since Joe Goddard is in both groups, and they're roughly the same sort of music), and no I'm not going to try to make a case for Lana Del Rey being anything like Joanna Newsom, since both of them are just utterly singular, Joanna especially so. But there is something about the duality/dichotomoy represented by both pairs of albums – more or less the old dancing/crying split (which is, at its best, never a total split): warm/aloof, positive/bleak, loving/miserable, [gently] extroverted/[gently] introverted... they seem to occupy similar holes.

More broadly, I've been thinking a lot about the two-year cycle, because 2010 really does seem to be coming around again in the form of all my fave artists from that year hitting with new albums.

already we've got: Sleigh Bells, Dustin Wong, School of Seven Bells, The Magnetic Fields, The Chap, Foxy Shazam, Tanlines, The Mynabirds, Die Antwoord, and [most importantly] Allo Darlin', all with albums that play like subtle-to-substantial refinements that are as good or often greater than their 2010 counterparts. (or in the case of the MagFields, slightly less mediocre.) (or, in Lindstrøm's case, something totally different and utterly incredible.) plus Zammuto taking the [undefinable]-shaped niche left by the Books [r.i.p.] and, similarly, Pond as the new Tame Impala.

and it feels like a week doesn't go by without the announcement of a forthcoming record by another of my 2010 faves: Free Energy (!), Scissor Sisters (!!), Best Coast (not my complete fave in '10, but i've been listening to the new album and it is ace!), Simian Mobile Disco, Nicki Minaj, and, what is this... not only are we getting not one, but two excellent side projects (those 2legit2quit Bears + the excellent New Build, whose "Misery Loves Company" is my absolute jam of the moment, and looking to be my sxsw anthem for the year), but it turns out the motherlode itself, Hot Chip, are also dropping a new one in june. hosanna! for we are well and truly blessed...[i think it is official at this point: HC are my favorite band in music.]

and based on tour activity (and in some cases their presence here in Austin), and/or general two-year-cycle dependability, I'm guessing we can probably look forward to new ones as well from: Dragonette, Vampire Weekend, Javelin, Teengirl Fantasy, Matthew Dear, maybe Four Tet, The New Pornographers (or at least AC Newman?), Retribution Gospel Choir (whose new EP rips!), Taylor Swift, Alphabeat. Maybe Spoon? Maybe Tunng? Then there's M.I.A., who's in a pretty interesting spot right about now. (and if she doesn't redeem herself, at least we've got Santigold, blasting back from 2008) and does anybody remember Justin Bieber?

[there'll be no LCD, of course (though James Murphy does seem pretty active lately...), and almost certainly Joanna or Robyn.. but still. as two-year class reunions go, this thing already feels ridiculously well attended; and there's obviously still plenty more year to come.]

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