Drops 2016: March Mix

Graham LeBron
03 29, 2016

This month's mix is pretty consistent with what I've been honing in on over the past few months. If you've already been listening, you should be pleased.

It starts and ends with selections from Shay Roselip's amazing debut EP, Ever Present Calm, which I wrote about here recently. I'm fairly confident this one will make it onto my best of 2016 list. 

Next is another one from "Absolute Loser," the soon to be released triumphant return to form from Fruit Bats. Expect to hear more about this in the coming months. For now, enjoy the title track, which pleasantly reminds me of Robert Plant's 1983 slow jammer, "In The Mood." It is even the same key and tempo, Eric just forgot to ask Phil Collins to do his best John Bonham impression for his version...

I wrote about Luke Top back in January and, as predicted, his new album is as good as I thought it would be. Do yourself a favor and have a listen to "Suspect Highs."

I've also got to mention the new track from Snowblink. I met Daniela Gesundheit probably 10 years ago at a backyard show in Oakland when our bands played together and I have been a fan ever since. Her voice is so pure, effortless and sincere, it melts me every time. It has been great watching the evolution as she has morphed her arrangements and bandmates around her immaculate "non-denominational devotional pop" compositions. Obviously, I'm partial to the current slow burn direction of her latest tune. Feist, who features on "How Now," described the writing and recording process as "mastery at its liquidiest." And she's one to know about that kind of thing.

As you may have come to expect, there is more female sung "sophisti-pop" this month by Frankie Cosmos, Quilt, Steady Holiday, and Wild Ones, to name a few.

Prince Rama's new album, "Xtreme Now," has quite a few electro-pop gems on it and the LP has been getting quite a few spins as it is currently living in my "best of" record crate. If you're in the Bay Area, be sure to see them rock Starline Social Club on Wednesday, March 30th, with Danish producer, Dinner (also featured on the mix).

Primal Scream has been consistently churning out alternative dance pop albums for 25 years now. Their 1991 classic, Screamadelica, stays in my DJ rotation fairly consistently. Playing their first track, "Loaded," into George Michael's "Freedom '90" is one of my favorite #sweettransitions to get people moving. Primal Scream's latest, Chaosmosis, sounds as fresh as ever.  The first single, "Where The Light Gets In," is a duet with front man, Bobby Gillespie, and Sky Ferreira.

My favorite current country artist, Sturgill Simpson, releases his 3rd album in April entitled A Sailor's Guide to Earth. His last record was on my best of 2014 and a song from it, "Turtles All The Way Down," is easily one of my favorite songs of all time. A Sailor's Guide to Earth is his first release since signing with Atlantic and, despite rumors to the contrary, it will still be a country record. As he told Rolling Stone recently,

“Some people will say, and have said, that I’m trying to run from country, but I’m never going to make anything other than a country record. As soon as I open my mouth, it’s going to be a country song. . . but it doesn’t make the think pieces any less amusing,” says Simpson. “I thought it was hilarious when ‘Brace for Impact’ was released and people said I had abandoned country even though the song is dripping with pedal steel. If anything, that tells me I’m making progress.”

As his records in the past have had loosely based concepts, this one does too, though perhaps a more practical one this time.

"I knew I wanted to make a concept record in song-cycle form, like my favorite Marvin Gaye records where everything just continuously flows. I also wanted it to be something that when my son is older and maybe I'm gone, he can listen to it and get a sense of who I was. I just wanted to talk as directly to him as possible."

His version of Nirvana's In Bloom, featuring horns by the Dap-Kings, is absolutely phenomenal and the video is something to behold as well. Man, does he have a way with a cover.

"I remember in seventh or eighth grade, when that album dropped, it was like a bomb went off in my bedroom. For me, that song has always summed up what it means to be a teenager, and I think it tells a young boy that he can be sensitive and compassionate—he doesn't have to be tough or cold to be a man. So I wanted to make a very beautiful and pure homage to Kurt."

This guy can do no wrong in my book. I even sat through a 3 hour Joe Rogan podcast because Sturgill's answers were so thoughtful and down to earth. I feel like I got to know the guy, and he gives me hope.

OK, that's all for this month, folks. Enjoy yourselves, and this mix. It was made, with love, to take you on a journey. Use it for good!

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