August Monthly Mix in Motion

Graham LeBron
09 01, 2015

I'm making it in just under the wire for this one, folks. It has been a busy month. At this point in the summer, I'm DJing 2-4 days/nights a week, sometimes doubling or even tripling up per day. I can't complain, but it has made it a little more difficult to find new stuff. But, as always, I find the time. So here you go, an August mix of mostly new music, an hour and 45 minutes of it, no less. Fresh! 

This mix starts off mellow and kind of works its way into the dance. The first song is from Kurt Vile's upcoming album, "b'lieve I'm goin down...," out 9/25 on Matador, it's a laid back stomper with some sweet guest appearances -- like Stella Mozgawa from Warpaint on drums here, for example. I love her style. Are you guys familiar with NPR's Drum Fill Friday, where you are quizzed on what song a certain drum fill is from? You should be. Check out Stella's quiz here. She has some choice selections, for sure. Oh yeah, the video is pretty cool too.

 I grabbed another track, the title track actually, from Mac Demarco's new mini-LP, called "Another One." So smooth, I love this album, especially now that his laid back synth stylings are featured more prominently. Self produced and recorded at home, Mac surely has his thing down at this point. So consistent. There's a cool "making of" video too. Have I mentioned I love those? I never noticed how much his speaking voice sounds like Jason Bateman until now. He sure loves making weird, old looking videos, and I love watching them. 

The new Destroyer album, Poison Season, is classic Dan Bejar. He's abandoned the synthy glitz of his last album in 2011, Kaputt, and moved on to a classic, early 70s studio vibe -- which works just as well. Honestly, whatever form Dan has decided to take since the first Destroyer record back in 1996, he always hits his mark, creating something all his own. What a voice on that guy.

I had to throw in that Earworm of a track I wrote about, Will U Dance?, from The Bird and The Bee, which is still on heavy rotation here at Drops of Gold HQ. 

There are a couple of reissues here this month that I've been getting into. I'd almost forgotten about Liquid Liquid, a New York post punk dance band that was only around for a few years in the early 80s. They cranked out a couple of super jams in that time, specifically the track, Cavern, which was completely ripped off by Grandmaster Flash + Melle Mel for the old school rap classic, "White Lines (Don't Do It)". Come on, guys! At least their label sued and won, but then the label folded and the band broke up. Oh well. Interesting to note, Grandmaster Flash had already left Sugar Hill Records and had nothing to do with the song, but they put his name on it for the publicity. Oakland's own Superior Viaduct label just reissued the 12"s and they sound great! My other favorite track of theirs, and the one on this mix, is called Optimo. I just love that beat. Which leads me to another song on the mix by my own band, Outer Embassy

Our first single came out this month on 45 -- recorded, mixed, and mastered by yours truly. It is our debut release and also the debut of our new label, Outer Sound. Stay tuned for more on that. As I mentioned, I had almost forgotten about that Optimo song, but some part of my drumming brain had not, because if you listen to the drum part on the bridge of Lights Out, it might sound a bit familiar. They say geniuses steal, right? Anyhow, the other reissue I'm digging is also from New York around roughly the same time. Lizzy Mercier Descloux was a French artist/performer/musican type that was all up in the East Village scene in the late 70s/early 80s, that heyday time you always hear about. She hung out with all the usual suspects like Richard Hell and Patti Smith, and was somehow able to coax enough money out of record labels through the 80s to make several fairly strange and intriguing records. What a character. The liner notes, by Vivien Goldman, for the Light in the Attic reissue of her first album, Press Color, are excellent and informative -- a great read. This record is somehow dated and timeless, and along with Liquid Liquid's limited output, definitely pioneered some new sounds that would have an influence on scrappy disco-punk Brooklyn bands decades later. My favorite track is Hard Boiled Babe, I swear it sounds like it could have come out this year. So grooving and ahead of its time. Maybe I'll steal that beat too...

One last oldie, from the Lijadu Sisters, Come On Home, is such a mellow jam -- it sounds like if ABBA were from Nigeria. So groovy, it has made me search for similar songs that I can segue in and out of. I just want to listen to it all day. The whole album, Horizon Unlimited, from 1979, is great, though the rest of the album is a bit more influenced by the Yoruban sounds of their homeland, including prominent talking drum at the top of each track. I love it.

One of my favorite discoveries from Hickey Fest this year was Mild High Club.  Their debut album is out next month and I can't wait! Such a great live band with an excellent recording style as well. They released Undeniable as a sneak peak of said forthcoming full length, Timeline, out on Stones Throw imprint, Circle Star, Sept 19.  

One of my favorite sets at Huichica this year was by Pure Bathing Culture -- I met them a few years ago when they were playing in Fruit Bats' touring band and I really enjoyed their minimal guitar and electronics approach to pop music. It reminded me of some of the more emotive moments from songs by the Cocteau Twins. Man, have they come a long way since then. They've become a formidable live band with an entrancing rhythm section that creates a confident, expansive soundscape. I was mesmerized. Guitarist, Dan Hindman, told me they were a bit nervous about playing a bunch of new material. Well, they could have fooled me. The video for their new single, Pray For Rain, is worth a watch and listen. For their new album, they worked with producer John Congleton. This guy keeps turning up in my life. He's from Dallas, where I grew up, and he has worked with a number of folks in my musical circles -- Rogue Wave, Waters, Two Gallants, Spoon, The Thermals, St. Vincent, and Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, just to name a few. He gets great sounds out of everyone he works with. I hope to meet him someday. Apparently, he got Pure Bathing Culture out of their comfort zone and helped them achieve some exciting new sounds. In Interview magazine recently, singer Sara Versprille said "It changed us, and the way we think about our music." I'd say that is the mark of a great producer. Pray for Rain is out 10/23 on Partisan Records.

Other new discoveries this month include Yukon Blonde, Young Guv, and Romare. Also stoked on new tracks from favorites like Wilco, Youth Lagoon, Deerhunter and Dungen. All good stuff. Have a listen! Catch ya'll on the flip flop.

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