Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hot Mix 2013: #30 to 21

| 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 |

30. Liars “I Saw You from the Lifeboat”
We hope these guys never disappear. The lengthy introduction section of “Lifeboat” reminds us of an industrial factory assembly line. But once the vocals enter, the narrator admits that he's somehow managed to escape, rescued from his monotonous situation, while his former cohorts remain trapped, perhaps indefinitely. “They can't get out.” New Liars LP is expected to drop in the next few months, and this single's gotten us especially pumped for more brooding drone.

29. Potty Mouth “Damage”
As a song title, “Damage” might suggests various shades of deterioration: confused and pissed off, chaos and punk rock. Abby's vocals project a nonchalant and subtle coolness, no fucks given while watching the fire destroy something from the past, with her delivery of “now that you're gone” especially maximizing the “fuck you” quotient. The buried isolationism within Phoebe's surfer-girl guitar fills stay very much in character with the best of Potty Mouth's repertoire. Our favorite element is Ally and Victoria's engine room, as they continue bashing down its walls with baseball bats, feeding the momentum provided by such a brilliantly deep and driving guitar riff. Fresh CPR breaths provide new life to punk rock with songs about destruction. Oh, the irony.

28. Sebadoh “Beat”
While many of Lou Barlow's recent contributions to Dinosaur have strongly shone as standouts, Jason Loewenstein's most recent Sebadoh jams may have outdone Lou's just the same. To Lou's credit, he has more outlets for songwriting, whereas Jason may have been holding onto “Beat” since a few years ago. It's definitely their best recent song, and among Jason's crunchiest and most cathartic, securing his placement as Sebadoh's secret weapon, just the same as on albums like III and Bakesale all those years ago. Some things never change.

27. Trinidad Jame$ “Givin' No Fucks”
So many questions in this life. Trinidad closes his Don't Be S.A.F.E. mixtape with a pensive downer. His flow is still tight as fuck and he still recognizes his freshness, but the struggle for perfection in the most valuable areas can bring down even the most talented MCs. “It always surprise me how the realest niggas be the fakest, man, and the underdog be the greatest, man...” Our only gripe is that it ends slightly too early, and we wish he had returned to the chorus just once more before the abrupt outro.

26. Ovlov “Where's My Dini” / “Moth Rock”
It's too tough to choose between Am's two drop-D bummers. We couldn't help but notice some vague resemblance between Steve and Sadie's shaky-hand boy/girl unisons in “Where's My Dini” and the child voice actors from An American Tail who played Fivel and Tilly, specifically during saddest-song-ever candidate “Somewhere Out There.” We're imagining a similar scenario: Gazing into the sky miles apart, wondering where their loved one might be, seeking comfort in the possibility of wishing upon the same star. As a muse, “Dini” seems to represent something larger than a single instance, as the song's crushingly overwhelming sense of longing strikes a universal chord. The same goes for “Moth Rock,” expanding on a classic metaphor: “Like a moth through a flame, burned by the fire, my love is blind, can't you see my desire...” And yes, we really did just compare Ovlov to Janet Jackson.

25. Gunk “Ice Cream”
“Ice Cream” is basically a caricature of any drug sequence music from a Hollywood movie. Its quieter A-section establishes an absurdly catchy vocal melody that might fit on a record from Donovan or maybe Syd Barrett. The B-section releases inhibitions, expands consciousness, stimulates the nervous system, and intensifies sensual experiences. By the time the A-section returns, a balls trippin' sound collage has entered the picture, not sounding all that far from the stranger moments in “Revolution 9” or “I Am the Walrus.” Also: Earworm alert.

24. J. Cole featuring TLC “Crooked Smile”
We're counting this among the year's finest '90s-throwbacks, which could feasibly have been a mid-decade West Coast jam, or maybe even a '98-era Atlanta jam. Plus, it supplied us with a preview of TLC's well-timed resurrection. “It makes me excited for the next TLC album,” says Sadie Dupuis, who we asked for some quotes, because we're lazy and can't think of shit to say. “Macklemore sucks hella, despite trying to deliver a positive message, but J.Cole actually is delivering a positive message in a way that I like, because he's actually a good rapper and his production isn't cheesy. This song makes me want to spend less time in the bathroom so that my roommate won't be like 'why you gotta take so long?'”

23. Sky Ferriera “I Will”

We're not exactly sure how this album turned into such a big deal. Aside from a few scattered moments of dopeness, nothing matched or surpassed “Everything Is Embarrassing,” although her TV On The Radio tribute “I Will” comes closest. Its similarities to “Wolf Like Me” are a huge part of the reason why we dig it so hard.

22. Krill “Theme from Krill”
Far past their eponymous anthem, Krill's catalog boasts a trove of gems now cherished by the diehards who might resent anyone choosing “Theme” - now probably their most popular jam - to represent Lucky Leaves or their music as a whole. While it's not their absolute career highlight, it's still probably their quintessential jam, combining all their best elements into a neatly packaged anthem: Tight songcraft with finely tuned arrangements, yelps and voicecracks, bombastic musicianship, and self-deprecating sense of humor, combined with one of the year's finest drunken singalong choruses. For the same reasons, we'd likely have no problem eventually settling on “Theme from Krill” if we were forced into the impossible task of crowning Boston with an “Anthem of the Year 2013.”

21. Kurt Vile “Never Run Away” / “Girl Called Alex”

It might be tough to dissect or explain the dopeness of this album without alluding to weed, but its importance shouldn't be undersold. Stoned wisdom often triggers quick flashes of unexpected nostalgia, sometimes leading to memories that may lead to some intense longing. “I think about them all the time.”

| 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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