Monday, January 4, 2016

Hot Mix 2015: #100 - 71

We purposely wait until people are totally sick of year-end lists before posting all of this. Enjoy it.

| Hot Mix 2015 on Spotify |

| #200 - 166 | #165 - 131 | #130 - 101 | #100 -71 | #70 - 41 | #40 - 21 | #20 - 1 |

| All 200 Songs |

100. Major Lazer featuring MØ & DJ Snake “Lean On”
We're proud of ourselves for figuring out how to do that "O" with the line through it. Not sure who MØ is, but their name is very hard to type on a traditional US keyboard. Annoyingly catchy chorus becomes less grating after the rest of the song reveals itself. Hiring Eric to do their videos was a very good move.

99. Janet Jackson “2 B Loved”
It's surprising that TRL/Y2K-era isn't a more frequent target for '90s throwbacks. In "2 B Loved," we hear Jordan Knight's "Give It To You" from summer '99. Wikipedia reveals Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were the masterminds behind BOTH. Well of course they were.

98. Leapling “Flesh Meadows”
Cars drive by at night. Headlights slowly work their way across the walls. There's a lot of subtle texture to sort through on Leapling's Vacant Page LP, all of it anchored by careful, delicate restraint. The most immediate tracks - including stand-out "Flesh Meadows" - bordered on the quieter moments from Radiohead's My Iron Lung EP.

97. E-40 "Choices (Yup)"
Huge congrats to E-40 for honoring the song's video with a 1-second cameo from Dr. Ruth among a cast of hundreds including Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, and possibly MC Hammer at 3:35.

96. Philadelphia Collins "Dogsbody"
White Pony sped up to 45rpms. Word up to drummer Theo Hartlett for such a ferocious performance. We badly wanted to tie this with "Scuttlebutt" from Theo's other 2015 project Spook The Herd, but unfortunately we had to pass due to a certain band closely associated with this website who appears on the B-Side of their split. (We'll embed it below and throw it in the Spotify playlist anyway. Let this be our little secret.)

95. Radiohead “Spectre”
Less bleeps and bloops than usual. Perhaps this is an indication of what to expect from Radiohead's next record, although it needs a lot more Colin Greenwood. TURN UP THE BASS. [Edit: Can't believe we missed an opportunity to tie in their cover of "Nobody Does It Better." HUGE fuck up.]

94. Failure “Hot Traveler”
Fun anecdote time: People might not remember this so well, but it was kinda difficult to locate Failure CDs way back in 1997/1998. We special-ordered Magnified from Sam Goody one summer. And then every two weeks we returned and asked them what was taking so long. Months later, we finally got an upsetting phonecall telling us the CD was out of print. It was rough times. Eventually, college started right around the advent of Scour Exchange and Napster. And the rest is history.

Our first experience with new dope Failure songs in 15 years did a decent job of transporting us back to the 11-Gig HD Compaq Presario days. "Stay up late with me." Yeah, that's basically what we used to do. We would stay up until 4AM waiting on the progress bar of On's "Your Sister Says John" to reach 100%. [In our opinion, this is one of the best cases in favor of legal substitutes for Napster such as Spotify or Youtube. Without them, it's possible bands like Failure would have never been able to build a following strong enough to return for another record.]

93. Big Neck Police “Detritus Man Around”
Sometimes bands get too intimidated to re-record older stuff since it often sacrifices the nuances and subtleties of the original lofi demo. However, BNP's new version of their mathy/angular/weirdo single from 2014 sounds better than ever. RIYL Meat Puppets II. (Also check out their split with Dog.)

92. Weezer “Everybody Needs Salvation”
We didn't realize it at the time, but Weezer's last album was actually ok enough for us to consider updating our nerdy fanfic bizarro discography from almost 3 years ago. It's been very easy to stay skeptical of their newer releases, especially since they're almost all publicized with taglines such as "a return to form," or "in the style of Pinkerton." In the fanfic version, Rivers Cuomo objectively understands that albums 5 thru 8 should be released under a different name (like when Mascis released 2 albums using the name J Mascis + The Fog instead of pretending that it still felt like Dinosaur Jr). The new 2016 addendum to our fanfic include 2014's Everything Will Be Alright In The End as the official long awaited follow-up to 2002's Maladroit. It's not as good as that album, but it feels more similar to Weezer's first 4 records than anything during the 2004-2013 era.

"Everybody Needs Salvation" was demo'd during those 2014 sessions and was released as a proper fanclub-only single back in April. Despite the ridiculous coda section, it's still within their handful of recent jams that felt quirky and wild enough to heed fans who miss old Weezer. 2014's "I've Had It Up To Here" is another one of these. "Do You Wanna Get High?" from earlier this year is actually worthy of the tag "in the style of Pinkerton" since it REALLY sounds like "Pink Triangle." These are definitely the weirdest songs they've released in a VERY long time. We're down with weird. Even Bob Dylan had a mid-career slump during the '80s and early '90s before his unexpected comeback album, 1997's Time Out Of Mind. Perhaps Weezer are capable of something similar. Are they back in the shack? Well, sort of! Let's see where this takes them.

91. J. Stalin featuring L-Jay “Bye Felicia”
For some reason, "the kids in 2015" got into the phrase "Bye Felicia" (a random quote from Ice Cube in the movie Friday). We don't really get it, because we're old. (Ke$ha tweeted it at some point over the summer. Over the past 18 months, at least 4 other tracks and a Jordin Sparks mixtape were released with this title. KnowYourMeme claims it was one of the topics discussed in the Straight Outta Compton film.) Yeah anyway, we wouldn't have known about it if this song hadn't grabbed our attention. The beat reminds us of "Juicy" or Reasonable Doubt-era Jay-Z. Also for a minute, we thought they were singing "five foot leesha."

90. Gemma “As Ever”
We promise this was a coincidence, but Felicia also just happens to be one half of Gemma. (See above.) The title track from their As Ever LP arrives abruptly with odd hiccups and sci-fi patches, anchored by a calming Wurlitzer and a classic '60s-style vocal melody reminiscent of Smokey Robinson's best A-sides.

89. Wilco “Random Name Generator”
Hardcore fans knew this already, but their bassist John Stirratt (one of the 2 OG's along with Jeff Tweedy) has been responsible for Wilco's signature octave-vox. By all accounts, this guy should be considered "the secret weapon" - or their Michael Anthony, if a Van Halen comparison might suffice. Somebody send this man a beer.

88. Diddy f/ Pharrell “Finna Get Loose”
This is probably what James Brown's big 2015 album would have sounded like.

87. D.R.A.M. "Cha Cha (Original version)" / Drake “Hotline Bling”
These are tied up because some people think they sound suspiciously similar. Drake's loop of "Why Can't We Live Together" was one of the more inspired choices for any of 2015's actual hits. The original version of "Cha Cha" sampled Koji Kondo's "Star Theme" from Super Mario World for SNES (which was a slowed down version of the 3-second loop played when Mario collects the invincible-star in the original SMB). Perhaps some cease-and-desist action went down, since the sample was changed prior to its availability on legal streaming services. (Granted, this new less-interesting version does actually sound like "Hotline Bling.")
"Cha Cha (original version)":
"Hotline Bling":

86. Dornik “Drive”
Dornik's LP wasn't afraid to pay homage to Michael Jackson's infrequently-referenced late-period records like History or Invincible. "Drive" and "Mountain" (a calming "Human Nature" influenced send-off) were probably the best examples.

85. Timbaland featuring Aaliyah “Shakin’”
Timbaland loves bacon. He says so right in the song.

84. Palm “Doggy Doctor”
At long last, the Hot Mix finally gets down with some Palm, the 4-piece from Philly who are responsible for the most hypnotic rock album of 2015. Is it "rock" though? Despite their gtr/gtr/bass/drums/vox instrumentation, few (if any) of its songs adhere to traditional rock structure, instead immersed in unpredictable experimentation and loose theme-and-variations not unlike 20th-century classical composers. One of the most engaging live acts of the moment.

83. Mastery “V.A.L.I.S.V.E.S.S.E.L.”
This is the opening 17-minute track from the most absurdly chaotic blackmetal album since Mortician's late '90s stuff. (It's actually more insane than that Agoraphobic Nosebleed record from the late 2000s.) Its Pitchfork review accurately claimed, "To call this music "dense" would be an understatement." David Lynch should consider this for the Wild At Heart 2 soundtrack.

82. Faith No More “Separation Anxiety”
FNM's split happened so suddenly and abruptly after the release of 1997's Album Of The Year that their career arc felt unresolved despite the Abbey Road-style finalizing. Sol Invictus provides their long-awaited epilogue. It almost seems like these ideas had been brewing in their subconscious for 13 years, as if it would have sounded exactly the same recorded in 1999 or 2002 instead of so far into the future.

81. David Bowie “Blackstar”
The boomers and Jann Wenner want another Hunky Dory, and Bowie finds this all very funny. We're hoping the next record is entirely 11-minute Scott Walker jams. (Also, we love that the song had to be shortened to 9:59 due to Soundcloud restrictions.)

80. Babysitter “Hippy In The City”
The drums, sax and vocal parts do not coincide or flow with any specific key (except for the female vocalist, who sounds sorta lined up with the bass). What puts it over the top is the sarcastically absurd dissonance between the guitar and the bass. A giant, depressed fuck-you rage. There's nothing positive about this world at all. It's just chaos, and our lives contain no meaning whatsoever. There's no point of attempting to blend in the traditional sense. We wonder if any commentary on gentrification is intended here. "Hipsters in the city?" Pushin' out the poor people and make room for more coffees with the white hearts on top? Where Brooklyn at?

79. Tähtiportti “Poikarakkaus”
One thing everybody knows about kids these days is that they LOVE industrial darkwave. So obviously everyone should expect Tähtiportti to be opening for Ed Sheeran as early as Spring 2016. Get pumped!

78. Alessia Cara “Here”
Fun fact: It's not a Portishead sample, but rather both jams sampled "Ike's Rap II" by Issac Hayes. The more you know. For your health.

77. Ciara “All Good”
Over the summer, we were kinda desperate for summery-sounding summer jams, and this one ended up getting spun a lot. This is the 2nd Ciara album in a row that saves its best song for last, and neither jam was a radio single. What's the deal?

76. Wilco “Cold Slope”
A few of these finger-pick solos sound like Nels Cline is pulling the guitar strings right off the fretboard. Or like Jerry pulling out Tom's whisker. *yoink*

75. Rob Crow's Gloomy Place “Business Interruptus”
Rob Crow is back! Back to music, AND back on Twitter. Double-dope. He's never toured for any of his solo albums (as far as we know), so the title of this new project provides hope that he might be preparing live arrangements of stuff like "Prepare To Be Mined" or "Taste" or "I Hate You Rob Crow." [P.S. The storm trooper works pretty well next to both Wilco and Rob Crow. We swear that was a coincidence.]

74. Beauty Pill “Drapetomania!”
Beauty Pill is more rock than indie despite their bizarre instrumentation and song structures, far closer to Self's Breakfast With Girls or Soul Coughing's Ruby Vroom than Beirut. (No ukeleles in sight.) "Drapetomania" kicks off the party by setting up the scene with one of its record's catchiest jams.

73. Ava Luna “Coat of Shellac”
There's countless arty weirdo shit in Brooklyn at any given moment, but Ava Luna are continuing to hold down their position as Brooklyn's strangest and most off-balance rock band. And we know that's an odd claim since their songs are inherently catchy, danceable and hugely accessible, yet so compelling eccentric. If a modern day Talking Heads exists, Ava Luna is that band. We know they just happened to begin a hiatus as of this past weekend, and we're hoping they plan on returning soon.

72. Gunk “Hippy” / Dungen "Sista Gästen"
Our Top 2 "drug sequence jams of the year," or "jams for The Dude from The Big Lebowski while floating in outer space." And here come the rainbows. The sun is shining. It's Woodstock 1969. We're so happy Gunk returned after their brief hiatus, and super unexpectedly. Our verbatim reaction was shouting "THERE'S A NEW GUNK???!" seconds after the message dropped in our inbox. (The message was "Greetings, RANCH just released Gunk by GUNK.") And we're equally pumped that we still have no idea what Dungen is singing about. Passing a tab of acid from one foreign tongue to the other.


71. Ringo Deathstarr “Heavy Metal Suicide”

Ringo goes grunge. YES. Elliott and Alex are pulling off a fantastic Staley/Cantrell impersonation. The rest of Pure Mood is just as fantastic, sounding like a return to the nastiness and floaty textures from 2011's Colour Trip.

| Hot Mix 2015 on Spotify |

| #200 - 166 | #165 - 131 | #130 - 101 | #100 -71 | #70 - 41 | #40 - 21 | #20 - 1 |

| All 200 Songs |

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