Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hot Mix 2013: #40 to 31

| 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 |

40. Doe B featuring T.I. & Juicy J “Let Me Find Out (Remix)”
Pour one out for Doe B. Hazy sadness permeates the hiphop community mourning what may have evolved into a much larger career. A string of remixes and mixtape cuts followed in the aftermath of “Let Me Find Out (Remix),” supplying the proof that he was worth such a tribute. Social media provides immediacy in our recent discoveries, although Doe B, T.I. and Juicy J concern themselves with dark discoveries that might be revealed in person (or through texting): “Let me find out yo baby's mama's a man” implies deceptive tranis. “Let me find out you puttin' molly all in that champagne and she don't even know” implies scummy daterape. The unfortunate realities of trap life don't always reveal the lightest subject matter.

39. Kanye West “I Am a God”
In Groundhog Day (directed by the late, great Harold Ramis), Bill Murray struggles to grasp his overwhelming superpowers: “I am a God. I'm not THE God - I don't think - but I'm A God.” Kanye seems far more comfortable with his similar position of power, approaching yet another item to cross from his extensively absurd bucket list: standing elevated in New York City above a mile-deep crowd and screaming “I am a God" through a PA system. This might imply the logical continuation that began in 2010 with “No one man should have all that power.” “I Am a God” signifies the moment when someone realizes they might be uncontrollably drunk with power, recognizing the bizarre reality of their existence. Beyonce experienced a similar fate, probably around the time where she admitted via Youtube, "I am more powerful than my mind can digest or understand." The video may have been yanked, but she's clearly in the same boat (or yacht, whatever).

38. Jute Gyte “The Haunting Sense of an Unrepeatable Unidirectional Vector”
A math rock band who used to worship Drive Like Jehu discovers Satan. The results are otherworldly - a creepily warped or even psychedelic version of hell . Descending dissonant chords emit the aura of dark, confusing chaos. Atmosphere aside, the songwriting on this record displays nothing less than killer craftsmanship, with “Haunting Sense” ruling hard as the feared dark lord within its universe. Thou shalt sacrifice a goat on the sixth hour of the sixth day in the sixth month. Victory is ours.

37. Joanna Gruesome “Wussy Void”
“I think it's kind of a ripoff of a Mannequin Pussy song,” admits Owen Gruesome, guitarist from Joanna Gruesome and songwriter of the sludgy and pensive “Wussy Void,” one of the defining slacker-anthems of the year. A few nights ago, we sat down with Owen, lead vocalist Alanna McArdle and lead guitarist George Nicholls, prior to a recent sold out UK concert, for our big exclusive interview:
Alanna: “['Wussy Void'] was called 'Dave' for a really long time.”
Owen: “And then it was changed to 'Davey von Bohlen.' After it was recorded, we changed it to 'Wussy Void'. We don't have many slow songs, so it's like our ballad.”
TMK: Is that why you don't play it live as much?
Owen: “We don't play it much because it's got a more complicated structure than any of our other songs.”
Alanna: “Well it was my favorite on the album, but then Max [their bassist] just said he didn't know it, and that was the end of that.”
Nicholls: “But it's only three chords?”
Owen: “He only plays one string on it.”
TMK: Are you especially psyched that you've recently added it to your live repertoire?
Alanna: “Actually no, because now that we have played it, I realized that I can't sing that high anymore and it's really embarrassing for me. I think I'm out of tune the whole time.” [She def wasn't.]
Nicholls: “But also we can now play a complete set of songs.”

36. Bad History Month “Sad History Month, January 2012”
What might have been intended as Fat's swansong turned into a new era for Jeff Meff. "Sad History Month" boasts closer production value to Fat's pre-hiatus LP, thanks to Philly's most badass sound engineers Dan Angel and James Ryskalchick. But the song's first half is injected with so much sludgy drone and teetering distorted piano octaves that one might not decipher any difference from their earlier self-produced material. Halfway through a particularly rough hospital visit, overbearingly chaotic brain chemicals surge. Devastatingly gothic drones give way to a sunrise that doesn't signal a new dawn. The sun is completely up in flames as a pensive morning arrives. The previously painful stabbing piano re-enters with clarity, but slowly builds in intensity. Curious grinding noises emerge within the final few seconds before an abrupt cut to silence.

35. Juana Molina “Sin Guia, No”
We forgot where we heard this quote, but a wise man once noted that the scariest moment in a suspense thriller isn't when the monster or killer is slicing and dicing, but rather the moment of anticipation. It's that gripping moment just as the door handle starts to turn in slow motion. With that said, “Sin Guia, No” could have easily fit onto the soundtrack of a suspenseful 60s spy movie (or in a vaguely similar art-house film like Blow Up or something). The atmosphere surrounding Juana increases in intensity throughout the song's 5 minutes. As the enemy suddenly catches onto our hero's scheme, sexy-spy will need to think fast in order to avert the situation.

34. Queens of the Stone Age “My God is the Sun”
Did we mention yet that this was the first Queens album with no re-recordings? In its place, they've cranked the “David Bowie” knob far louder than on previous releases, although certain circles may have noted a sudden resemblance to Pile's Dripping LP from 2012. The entire calendar year of 2013 progressed with no new music from Pile, who have since admitted strong influence from Josh Homme and Dave Grohl, fused with their own personalized flair. Perhaps coincidentally, this flair appears generously within “My God is the Sun,” perhaps the biggest hit song Pile never had. Is it possible that Grohl places Kris Kuss among his drumming contemporaries? Does Josh Homme's current phase of songwriting include Pile among his same echoes of influence that Brian Wilson offered Paul McCartney, in turn offering influence to Brian Jones and Keith Richards? And most importantly, when will the QOTSA/Pile tour pummel across the United States and beyond? All this and more will be answered in due time.

33. Jackson Scott “That Awful Sound”
Dreamy teenage-slack and slo-mo weed haze saturates Jackson Scott's 2013 output. His one-man-band uses home recording equipment in a similar style to Mac Demarco's first 2 albums, striking his instruments very quietly and compressed with just enough reverb to evoke gentle dreamy immersion. Even the nearly whispered double-layer vocals don't know their own strength, as if they may push over large furniture without really trying. He should also be commended for the best usage of Christmas bells since prior to indie-rock's hokey 2007-era fascination with glockenspiel. “Evie” and the unfortunately titled “Sandy” are his catchiest early standouts, while “That Awful Sound” may best represent Jackson's charmingly lazy naivety.

32. Kurt Vile “Wakin on a Pretty Day”
Nigel Godrich's contributions to Pavement's Terror Twilight seem especially prevalent in the pristine clarity of “Wakin' on a Pretty Day,” the ultimate wake and bake jam of 2013. The atmosphere strongly evokes clear summer morning skies accompanied by the satisfaction one may receive from a morning coffee and/or cigarette (or in Kurt Vile's case, the stoned-wisdom perspective). Forget about your cellphone for a few hours. Step away from immediacy and urgency. Allow the next two minutes to feel like 20 and simply enjoy the feeling of being alive in a perfect moment alone.

31. Connections “1980 Called”
We'll have to apologize for indulging yet another Connections/Bob Pollard comparison, even though nothing else on their LP raises more suspicions than “1980 Called.” We'd like the think the song title partially disses the overwhelmingly pushy marketing tactic of equating modern music to previous styles or eras. The differences are both subtle and crucial: Connections slightly buries their lyrics in delay, while Pollard typically pushes lyrics closer to the forefront, emphasizing melodic hooks alongside enunciation. The next great Ohio band has arrived.

| 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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