Monday, January 13, 2014

Hot Mix 2013: #70 to 61

Our frequency of Hot Mix posts are not as hot as in recent years... Not surprising since Taste My Kids is kinda slow at the moment. School and Speedy Ortiz have been taking up most of our time. It was kinda easier to get this done when we all worked office jobs and could write things down in between emails and phone calls. But we're doing what we can to keep things moving. Another 10 jams, ready to roll...

| Hot Mix 2013 on Spotify |

| #100 - 91 | #90 - 81 | #80 - 71 | #70 - 61 | #60 - 51 |
| #50 - 41 | #40 - 31 | #30 - 21 | #20 - 11 | #10 - 1 |

70. Jai Paul “Track 8” (a.k.a. "Good Time")
“Track 8” begins with an intro (apparently) sampled from one of the Harry Potter movies (where one character transforms into a werewolf or something) juxtaposed immediately afterward by the most joyous and frustratingly brief passage to appear on any record in the past year: “Just wanna have a good tiiiiiiime...” 26 seconds later, the song has ended. Fade to black.

Seriously though, what the fuck? Jai Paul, you little tease... Where do you get off tossing around such a dope little song fragment at least 2 minutes and 25 seconds shorter than has any right to be? Considering the theory that Jai Paul himself was the mastermind behind his own leaked demo collection, it's entirely possible that he knew exactly what he was doing with this preview (or whatever it is), since we've been prone to several occasions where our brains become shackled within an extended 4-hour remix of this 26-second passage looping itself itself over and over.

Perhaps this is just what he wanted. Perhaps he's knows damn well he's got an earworm on his hands, and perhaps he's aware of the psychology behind short songs. Did you ever notice how jingles, commercials, TV themesongs, and other quickies (between 5 and 40 seconds) often attack our vulnerability greater than 3-minute pop singles of average-length? When the Sealab 2021 theme gets stuck in your head, sometimes it just feels good to let it keep playing another 6 or 7 times before allowing your brain to move onto something else.

It's like those goddamn Snyder's pretzel bites. You can't eat just one. Name your poison: Whether they're Honey Mustard & Onion, Peanut Butter, Jalapeno or Buffalo Wing flavored, they are among the most addicting “crack” junk-foods that currently exist. And oddly enough, the amount of time they last in one's mouth while experiencing the entire process of chewing and swallowing is roughly 26 seconds, the same amount of time it takes to listen through the actual “song” portion of “Track 8.” Stop us if we're giving Jai Paul too much credit, but the current demo version of “Track 8” may be purposely calculated to arouse the same brain chemicals of fleeting joy that addict us to our instinctive pleasures. We're animals. We love to get high. *shrug* “Just wanna have a good tiiiiiiime...” nowhere to find for streaming individually... this links to the full album on youtube

69. Yuck “Rebirth”
“Chew” - the swansong of Yuck 1.0 - marks the final point before their fork in the road. The Hebronix dude commendably avoided turning into Axl Rose and shouting “fuck these guys, I'm taking the band name with me,” helping fans to more closely examine the separation of Yuck 1.0. Hebronix and Yuck 2.0 aren't exactly the perfectly matched puzzle pieces that were revealed when STP briefly split into Talk Show and solo Scott Weiland. Yuck 1.0 have instead split into perpetually evolving units. Both halves issued music of approximately equal quality, although we unexpectedly preferred the highlights on Yuck 2.0 Glow and Behold, especially the dreamy jams like "Rebirth." Perhaps they'll regroup at some point, but at least the bitter split hasn't stifled either half.

68. Of Montreal “She Ain't Speakin' Now”
Kevin Barnes ditches his long-cherished quadruple-track layered falsetto and bouncy intertwining upper-fret walking bass lines in favor of a return to Of Montreal's 90s production values fused with 70s classic rock cues. The songwriting is still sprawling, but the playful and strangely effortless hooks are as memorable as anything on Satanic Panic or Sunlandic Twins, especially on “She Ain't Speakin' Now,” the tune that currently stands tallest as an early highlight of what may become Of Montreal's freshly launched third era.

67. Two Inch Astronaut “Spank Jail”
Earlier in 2013, Lars Gotrich heard a similarly frantic influence from Dismemberment Plan. We hear a head-first plunge into the muck at 1000MPH. "Spank Jail" seems to concern punishment, whether wildly inflicted from the outside or a prolonged blast of internal berating. Shit can get hectic, and Bad Brother harnesses those moments into a sequence of explosions - chaotic breakneck riffage effortlessly breezing at a pace that demands repeated plays. As they continue to improve, we're predicting Two Inch's cult-status may receive copious upgrades in 2014.

66. Ciara featuring Nicki Minaj “Livin’ It Up”

The original 2012 version without the Nicki Minaj verse is our preference. The Minaj addition takes the lame Mary J Blige route, mostly heeding the “girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do” section, as opposed to its more subtle lyrical inflections. Beyond this slight blemish, it's still one of the year's strongest pop melodies, strangely avoiding any Top 40 airplay.

65. Kim Deal “Hot Shot”
A big year for Kim: After helping with new songs during a particularly frustrating Pixies session in England, she pulls the rage-quit card and immediately flies back to Ohio for planning the LSXX tour and possibly the best series of 7-inches from any artist this year. Inside sources have informed us that “Walking With a Killer” may get re-recorded for a prospective fifth Breeders LP. We chose stomper-chomper “Hot Shot” as our favorite a-side, arriving with the brightest Kim Deal smile out of her six 2013 jams, all of which surpassed Nu-Pixies recent misguided clunkers. Kim's tireless perfectionism wouldn't allow for anything less.

64. Selena Gomez “Birthday”
After throwing back a few shots, Selena ignores the “Do Not Enter” sign and busts down the doors to crash Ke$ha's secret spectacular birthday party. After successful undetected entry, it turns out that Ke$ha is absent from her own affair as a consequence of selling her soul to the reality TV devil. Selena takes advantage of the situation, covering her head with a blonde wig and impersonating Ke$ha so convincingly that no one notices.

63. Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats “Desert Ceremony”
In 1971, Z-Man throws yet another happening and makes an effort to invite the same band from 1 year prior. Unfortunately, lead guitarist Jimi Hendrix is no longer with us, leaving the 3 remaining members - Burt Ward, Geezer Butler and Wings-era Paul McCartney wearing black cloaks and surrounded by a shrine of candles - ready to jam on some sludgier “Album 3” darkness. Higher quality production suggests they've become one of the most revered sludge-pop bands of the moment, although their blusier approach includes subtle undercurrents of sadness seeping into the performances, perhaps a consequence of their mission to rediscover an initial fleeting high. BBC session version is available for stream on youtube

62. Cloud Control “Dojo Rising”
Our bias against Post-Phantom Limb indie-pop is never strong enough to push away an irresistibly tasty handful of jams year after year. After bands like Hooray For Earth, The Morning Benders and Stars found their way into our last few Hot Mixes (usually placing somewhere around #45), Cloud Control similarly beat the odds in 2013. Elsewhere on their LP, the lead singer dude belts some soulful croons that reach a little too far over the top for our tastes (i.e. their single “Promises”). We prefer the stuff that sounds more like “Dojo Rising,” wisely holding back from these instincts.

61. Neon Indian “Change of Coast”
Neon Indian converts from VHS to LaserDisc for his Vice City contribution. Just kidding, it was GTA:V - not Vice City, but it almost feels like no one bothered telling him. "Summery, smiley and vaguely nostalgic" is typically a good combination for murdering hookers with a forklift. It should also suit just fine for whatever Neon Indian has in store for 2014.

| Hot Mix 2013 on Spotify |

| #100 - 91 | #90 - 81 | #80 - 71 | #70 - 61 | #60 - 51 |
| #50 - 41 | #40 - 31 | #30 - 21 | #20 - 11 | #10 - 1 |

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