WARMER MIXTAPES #545 | by Jonathan Abramson [Between You And Me]
1. Wye Oak | Holy Holy
Someone once told that Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner is a female version of Kurt Cobain. That comparison has really grown on me since. Her songwriting is timeless. She creates intense and mystifying harmonies that contrast with deep keys and pounding drums. It results in a beautiful full sound that envelops space. It’s chill inducing at times. But my real love of this song stems from when I first met the brains behind Live For The Funk. I’ve been living in Miami for Law School, and every March there’s a huge Electronic Music festival here, Ultra Music Festival. I ended up going to some side show and ran into Mike and Aaron. At the time, they were the only two working on LFTF. We ended up going back to their hotel room and swapping music and war stories until seven in the morning. One of the bands I played them was Wye Oak, and I led off with Holy Holy. They fucking ate it up. The next day I started writing for them.
2. Oscar + Martin | Recognise
Back in September, the music site I write for, Live For The Funk, threw a show at Webster Hall in New York City. I met an adorable Australian after the show and we’ve kept in touch ever since. I found out she runs the record label Two Bright Lakes in Australia and manages Oscar + Martin. She sent me their record For You and I fell in love with it. It’s a really unique Love album, one that transcends the stereotypical façade of most Love records. My favorite song on it is the atoning Recognise. It was clearly written in heart-wrenching longing, and maybe it’s the romantic in me, but I really identify with that. When I found out there was a video, I completely lost myself in the tune. It’s very special… Reminds me of better times.
3. Otouto | Cartoon Shoes
That same girl is also the lead singer in the band Otouto. The best way I’ve found to describe their music is infectious. At first blush, their album is honestly nothing special; it’s really mundane and the lyrics could use a little work, but for some reason I continuously find myself going back to it. It’s as if it planted a seed somewhere in my body and grew at a glacial pace. Cartoon Shoes is the second track off of Pip. It’s extremely whimsical, like something you could spin around to in a dreamlike haze and fall flat on a bed of pillows. The lyrics are, He can dance and I feel nervous... It embodies such a content feeling, one of which you may be too shy to exhibit the signs. It’s a big part of why I’ve grown to adore the record.
4. Jazz Liberatorz | Cool Down (feat. Raashan Ahmad)
One thing most people don’t know about me is that I really don’t have a favorite genre of music. I grew up on Classic Rock, and it’s eventually what got me playing the guitar (my dad showed me a video of Hendrix at Woodstock and the next day he got me a Fender Stratocaster). Eventually I strayed to the big Rock acts of the 90s, then to Jazz, then to Blues, then to Hip-Hop, then to Indie, and then to all the subgenres of the encompassing general genres. I never really stuck to only one type of Music. I see it as a benefit because there’s literally nothing I won’t listen to, but it can also be a crutch because I sometimes feel lost in the giant music sea. Anywho, the two genres I grew to appreciate most are Hip-Hop and Jazz. When I was in college I had the great honor of playing with Donald “Duck” Harrison – one of the saxophonists for Miles Davis. It was insane. I fell in love with Jazz at this point. During our time together, he wanted to try something different than playing strictly from a chord chart. He asked the drummer to lay down a Hip-Hop beat instead. I still remember the first session. We were reading off of his manuscript of Miles Davis’ Blue In Green, and he wanted us to Hip-Hop-ify it… It turned out awesome and opened an entire world of Music to me. A few months later I moved to Paris, France and was introduced to a group called the Jazz Liberatorz. They’re DJs, but I have never heard such a firm grasp of both Jazz and Hip-Hop… They combine the two in incredible fashion and invite MCs (like Mos Def, Q-Tip, Fat Lip, Tre Hardson, J. Live, etc.) from all over the World to rap over their beats. They have a few records out, but Clin d’Oeil is my anthem. Every time I listen to them, I’m transported back to my favorite city, walking along the Seine at night with friends, getting lost in some random neighborhood having to walk miles to get anywhere I would recognize, getting tear-gassed in the metro… There’s a lot I miss about it, but this song always forces me to stop and reflect.
5. Kisses | Kisses
I want to see Kisses in concert so badly it’s unreal. I don’t know what my infatuation with them stems from, but I can’t get enough of the opening track from their record The Heart Of The Nightlife. I first started listening when I started Law School. It was a needed comfort for the drive to and from school. It’s such an upbeat and feel good tune… Really meshed well with the utterly depressing nature of Law School. The last few words of the song really solidified my love, So keep your heart strong, love long, and give kisses when you can. It’s such a beautiful life motto.
6. Mutual Benefit | The Cowboy’s Prayer
This is the title song off of the Mutual Benefit half of a cassette tape done with Philip Seymour Hoffman. I was so blown away at the beauty of these songs. It’s such simple songwriting and basic instrumentation, but the production is unbelievable. It reminded me a lot of The Microphones’ It Was Hot, We Stayed In The Water – excellent harmonies, beautifully flowing melodies, and swaying feels. It’s also pretty nostalgic, reminds me of some better times.
7. Wolfey | Sleep Country
This Montreal Electronic outfit came to my attention via an email submission. I get so many of these a day that at some point I typically just give up out of disappointment after an hour or so of sifting through. But just as I was about to call it quits, I open up Wolfey’s email to an amazing three track record. This dude mixes the epic grace of UK bass, the subtleness of Electronic composition, and, in James Blake-ian fashion, throws in some Dubby Soul. Keep a look out for this guy, his sound is really unique; he is bound to do big things.
8. Miles Davis | Blue In Green
This is honestly my favorite song of all time. I have yet to come across a song as perfect, shining, brilliant, inventive, and emotional as Blue In Green. It may have come out in the late 50s, but I have never stopped listening on a daily basis. This may be a little embarrassing, but sometimes I’ll listen and tear up. Davis just had a way of making his trumpet cry, kind of like how B.B. King commands his guitar Lucile. You can feel his pain and loneliness in his solos, and I really identify with it.
9. Lord Huron | The Stranger
A few months ago, my family rented a quaint little house on Cape Cod in Massachusetts for a week of vacation. I was born just a few hours away in Boston, but really don’t remember a single thing about the city, although every now and then when I return very few things come back to me. The ride from Logan Airport to the Cape can take hours and hours if you leave at the wrong time of day – traffic can be a menace. That happened to us, so I needed a great record to pass the time. I hit shuffle on my iPod and Lord Huron came on. I didn’t stop listening to their Mighty EP all week. It’s so lush with beautiful guitar work, memorable melodies, and intricate harmonies. I grew very attached to it. You have to understand that my family vacations can result in all of us hating each other 3 days into it… So music plays a very large part. Lord Huron fit perfectly with the simplistic lifestyle and rural and aquatic landscapes of the Northeast.
10. Musée Mécanique | Fits And Starts
I have a bizarre soft spot for Folk singers and groups. The Tallest Man On Earth, Leonard Cohen, Giant Sand… I could listen forever and never get bored of them. It’s readily apparent that the Music I really love is somehow associated with an experience or moment in time. There’s nothing different about this one. I was first introduced to Musée Mécanique while living in Paris. I was going on a trip from Vienna to Prague, and my buddy and I decided to take the train. It was well worth it, but it was seriously one of the most depressing scenes I’ve ever witnessed. The rural landscape of post-Soviet countries is so eye opening. Little towns that centered on a crudely built church with deserted manufacturing plants peppered the landscape. Life seemed lonely and miserable. I had yet to listen to the entirety of Musée Mécanique’s Hold This Ghost, but I was so glad I uploaded it the night before. I didn’t listen to anything else on the train ride. The melancholic nature of Musée Mécanique’s music accentuated the depressing scenes I would never live, but only could see through the passing bustling branches as the train whizzed by. I listen to this record at least once a week, and I can’t help be reminded of that train ride.