Wednesday, December 31, 2014

You Scream, I Scream: Choice Cuts Volume 13

Choice Cuts

In no particular order, I've selected the favorite tracks from 2014's playlists for our thirteenth annual Choice Cuts end-of-year mix:



1. Unkinder (A Tougher Love) -- Thumpers

Childhood friends Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr. make up the British indie pop duo Thumpers, which released their album "Galore" in the U.S. last year via Sub Pop. I thought the classic pop sound of this track was an upbeat way to kick off this year's mix.



2. Let Go -- RAC (feat. Kele & MNDR)

André Allen Anjos, also known as the Remix Artist Collective, or RAC, partnered with Bloc Party's Kele and MNDR on this track, which comes from their EP "Don't Talk To."



3. Mean Streets -- Tennis

It was a good year for Tennis, the husband and wife band that hails from Denver. I also considered the Tennis song "I'm Callin'" for the mix until settling on "Mean Streets," which comes from their EP "Small Sound."



4. Chain My Name -- Poliça

The synthpop band from Minneapolis came up with what may have been my favorite track of 2014. There's something really memorable about this track -- the distorted sounds, perhaps? While not a hit in the U.S., this song was popular in Belgium.



5. Little Numbers -- Boy

This song, from the Swiss/German pop duo Boy, was actually a hit in Europe a few years ago, and even a part of a Lufthansa Airlines commercial. Boy's first album was released in the U.S. in 2013, but I only came across "Little Numbers" last year. It almost didn't make this year's cut, but I can't resist the chorus.



6. Luna -- Bombay Bicycle Club

I've included several Bombay Bicycle Club songs on regular playlists over the years, but "Luna" may be one of my favorites from this English indie rock band.



7. Archie, Marry Me -- Alvvays

Pronounced "Always," the Canadian duo consists of Molly Rankin and Kerri MacLellan. Yes, perhaps there's something a bit precious about this song, but it's also extremely catchy.



8. i -- Kendrick Lamar

I've been pretty frustrated that the "Saturday Night Live" performance of "i" by Kendrick Lamar isn't available for download. The SNL version was more raw and contemporary... I don't mind the original, but there was so much more urgency with the SNL performance. You be the judge: above is the original version, and below is the version from SNL.





9. Ashes -- The Belle Brigade

Another good year for sibling duo Barbara Gruska (guitar, drums, vocals) and Ethan Gruska (guitar, piano, vocals). I really like the opening and close of this song, which almost sounds like it was performed on the railroad.



10. Brain -- Banks

It was either "Brain" or "Beggin' for Thread" that would make the cut from Banks, but either way, Los Angeles-based Banks (full name: Jillian Rose Banks) was going to make the Choice Cuts mix.



11. Elevate -- St. Lucia

Originally from South Africa, St. Lucia (aka Jean-Philip Grobler) now calls Brooklyn home. This is a bright, sunny, summer song.



12. New Romance -- Azekel

According to Wikipedia, both Prince and Bastille have thrown their support behind "New Romance" and Azekel (full name: Azekel Adesuyi). I just like the sound.



13. Milkman -- Bully

You may have figured out over the years that I love female-fronted garage pop-punk, and Bully -- a new four-piece band out of Nashville -- fits the bill. "Milkman" is the lead track from their EP.



14. Artifice -- SOHN

SOHN is British musician Christopher Taylor, who has also worked with artists such as Banks (who also makes an appearance on this year's mix). "Artifice" was the lead single from SOHN's 2014 debut album, "Tremors."

15. On My Mind -- Liam Bailey

"On My Mind" is the lead single from British singer Liam Bailey's US debut album, "Definitely Now." Mother Jones calls Bailey and his unique mix of R&B, reggae and rock "sneakily addictive."



16. Looking Too Closely -- Fink

Per Wikipedia, "Buoyed by the radio success of the single 'Looking Too Closely,' the album charted in several territories, including a top 10 appearance in the Netherlands (number 8), number 25 in Germany, and at Top 30 slot on the Billboard Heatseekers album chart in the US."



17. A Little Lost -- Sufjan Stevens

Yes, "indietronica" is a word, and perhaps best describes this track from the singer/songwriter.



18. Black Out Days -- Phantogram

It was a breakthrough year for the duo, which had a breakout hit with the song "Fall In Love." I considered putting that on this playlist, but considering how overplayed that song became, I settled with "Black Out Days."



19. Coffee -- Sylvan Esso

From the debut album by the North Carolina duo. It was either this song or "Hey Mami," but I think my love for coffee won out.



20. Always Winnin -- Shad & DJ T.LO

How can you not love a song that references "Homeland," the NBC peacock, "30 Rock" and EGOT winners, among many other things? Oh, and it's also a catchy track.



21. Myth of Myself (A Ruse to Exploit Our Weaknesses) -- Fanfarlo

The epic nature of this song, complete with flute, made it the natural way to end this year's Choice Cuts mix. Until next year!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

2014 Mixes

November 2014

i -- Kendrick Lamar (3:52)
Shirim -- Melody's Echo Chamber (4:45)
Hiding In The Pale Walls -- Snake Rattle Rattle Snake (4:26)
Milkman -- Bully (2:06)
Coffee -- Sylvan Esso (4:27)
Somebody Somewhere -- Amelia Curran (3:54)
Head Games -- Lost Midas feat. Audris (3:01)
I Don't Want To Change You -- Damien Rice (5:26)
The Sneak Tip -- Oil Boom (2:46)
Autumn -- Bear In Heaven (3:00)
Lake Song -- The Decemberists (5:54)
Weapon -- Bastille, Angel Haze, F*U*G*Z & Braque (4:48)
Hundreds of Ways -- Conor Oberst (4:29)
99 -- Hollie Cook (6:24)
Young -- The Paper Kites (3:42)
Why -- Les Sins (4:05)
A Little Lost -- Sufjan Stevens (5:05)
I'm Callin' -- Tennis (3:35)
In My Teeth -- The Rosebuds (4:28)
Black Lemon -- Generationals (3:53)

October 2014

Hey Mami -- Sylvan Esso (3:22)
Divisionary (Do The Right Thing) -- Ages and Ages (4:10)
Coasting -- Kele (4:35)
Archie, Marry Me -- Alvvays (3:17)
Cool Kids (Sample Gee Remix) -- Echosmith (5:25)
Magick -- Lia Ices (4:02)
Never Catch Me (CDQ) -- Flying Lotus ft Kendrick Lamar (3:55)
I Command -- Mina Tindle (4:42)
Stranger to My Happiness -- Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (3:31)
Food for the Beast -- Nina Persson (3:21)
Her Song -- Shaprece (3:10)
Left Hand Free -- Alt-J (2:54)
Complete Surrender -- Slow Club (3:27)
No Rest for the Wicked -- Lykke Li (3:40)
Heaven Knows -- First Aid Kit (3:19)
Body -- Niia (4:53)
Parade -- The Antlers (5:12)
Torn Apart -- Bastille vs. GRADES (4:16)
Realtime -- Silk Rhodes (2:48)
I'm In Love -- Fool's Gold (4:36)
Our Love -- Caribou (5:33)

September 2014

Home (Leave the Lights On) -- Field Report (3:41)
Next to Me (Kendrick Lamar Remix) -- Emeli Sandé (3:56)
Eyes Of The Muse -- King Tuff (4:15)
Stun Me -- Liam Bailey (3:41)
Little Grace -- Hippo Campus (3:07)
Heartlite -- Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics (2:58)
Every Morning -- J Mascis (3:58)
Blue Moon -- Beck (4:02)
Half Crazy -- The Barr Brothers (4:53)
Pendulum Swing -- Making Movies (2:48)
Colorado -- Chastity Brown (3:20)
Shut In -- Strand Of Oaks (3:22)
Hearts -- Young Karin (2:57)
We Come From The Same Place -- Allo Darlin' (4:37)
27 -- Passenger (3:20)
Bad Law -- Sondre Lerche (3:33)
The River -- Son Little (3:33)
Mess Is Mine -- Vance Joy (3:44)
You and Me -- You+Me (3:13)
Leave Me Alone (feat. Shay Lia) -- Kaytranada (4:04)

August 2014

Pretty Girls -- Little Dragon (3:44)
Don't Call Me On The Phone -- Beach Day (2:59)
Paradise -- Tove Lo (3:04)
In Mind -- Abram Shook (4:00)
We Only Come Out At Night -- Sugar Stems (3:51)
Beggin for Thread -- Banks (4:10)
On My Mind -- Liam Bailey (3:34)
How We Be -- Sinkane (4:19)
Little Killer -- Merchandise (3:05)
Am I Wrong -- Nico & Vinz (4:07)
Elevate -- St. Lucia (5:08)
Always Winnin -- Shad & DJ T.LO (3:06)
Looking Too Closely -- Fink (3:21)
New Romance -- Azekel (3:23)
September Fields -- Frazey Ford (3:21)
Just One of the Guys -- Jenny Lewis (3:52)
Can't Be Broken -- Twin Forks (3:37)
Cut My Teeth -- Dilated Peoples (3:40)
Right Next To You -- Algebra Blessett (3:10)
All the Time -- Bahamas (3:55)

July 2014

Chandelier -- Sia (3:36)
Paris -- Little Dragon (3:24)
This Love Is Here To Stay -- Thomas Dybdahl (3:21)
We Are Explorers -- Cut Copy (4:19)
Never Work For Free -- Tennis (3:28)
Happy Alone -- Saintseneca (3:10)
Alive (Original Mix) -- Empire Of The Sun (3:25)
Try To Be Better -- THE FAME RIOT (2:52)
L.A. -- Habib Koité (5:41)
Let Go (feat. Kele & MNDR) -- RAC (4:40)
Black Out Days -- Phantogram (3:47)
Ivory -- Movement (3:42)
Cake And Eat It -- David Gray (2:34)
Hesitation -- Beat Connection (4:24)
Mean Streets -- Tennis (3:23)
Zigzagging Toward The Light -- Conor Oberst (4:05)
Everything -- FM Belfast (3:38)
Sleepwalking -- The Chain Gang Of 1974 (3:38)
Flicker -- Atmosphere (4:46)
Mash Up for What -- DJ Earworm (3:34)

May 2014

Money On My Mind -- Sam Smith (3:11)
Gold -- Chet Faker (4:45)
Slow Motion -- PHOX (4:56)
Brain -- Banks (4:42)
Spinners -- The Hold Steady (5:24)
Money Gnomes -- Arc Iris (3:43)
Artifice -- SOHN (3:36)
Palmless -- Dana Falconberry (4:04)
Repeat Pleasure -- How To Dress Well (3:36)
Avenger -- The Bamboos (3:32)
You Will Return Feat. Alice Russell (Radio Edit) -- Quantic (3:12)
Survival (feat. Oliver the 2nd) -- Jeremiah Jae (3:17)
Tamatebako -- Cuz (2:21)
To The Top -- Twin Shadow (3:20)
Bloodstream -- Exist Elsewhere (3:40)
Luna -- Bombay Bicycle Club (3:06)
Losing to the Dark -- La Sera (3:13)
Taking Chances -- Sharon Van Etten (3:51)
Diamond Days -- HABITATS (4:02)
Of The Night -- Bastille (3:33)
Love Never Felt So Good (IvanBeat Remix) -- Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake (5:02)

April 2014

Team (Mickey Valen Remix) -- Lorde (3:04)
Espeon -- PHOX (3:56)
Elusive Youth -- Elephant (3:03)
Pretty Thing -- Broods (3:17)
Seasons (Waiting On You) -- Future Islands (3:46)
Glory -- Wye Oak (4:53)
Blue Collar Jane -- The Strypes (2:51)
After the Disco -- Broken Bells (3:39)
Happy (Neus Remix) -- Pharrell Williams (4:40)
Weekenders -- Minks (4:12)
Feel the Effect -- Tokyo Police Club (3:43)
Spilling Lines -- Poliça (3:03)
Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! -- Kishi Bashi (3:31)
Call My Name -- HAERTS (3:37)
I Might Survive -- Architecture in Helsinki (4:06)
Letter of Intent -- Ducktails (5:19)
Hold On We're Going Home -- Holy Ghost! (4:55)
Vivir Mi Vida -- Marc Anthony (4:12)

February 2014

Unkinder (A Tougher Love) -- Thumpers (3:42)
Invisible (RED) Edit Version -- U2 (3:47)
Beautiful Day -- Marie & the redCat (3:13)
Hey Brother -- Avicii (4:14)
Nothing but Time -- Lily and Madeleine (2:45)
Crueler Kind -- San Fermin (4:00)
Violations (feat. Raekwon) -- Talib Kweli (3:37)
I'm Aquarius -- Metronomy (4:02)
Vengo -- Ana Tijoux (3:12)
Shine A Light -- Cults (3:14)
Gold -- James Vincent McMorrow (3:00)
No More -- Shlohmo & Jeremih (4:35)
Are You Okay? -- Dum Dum Girls (2:51)
New York Morning -- Elbow (5:20)
Bravely -- Julie Lee (4:02)
Eliza -- Anna Calvi (3:39)
Leave The Door Wide Open -- NO (3:58)
Stay Awake -- London Grammar (3:06)
Stay Ready (What A Life) featuring Kendrick Lamar -- Jhené Aiko (1:30)
Jerk Ribs -- Kelis (4:13)

January 2014

Rescue -- Yuna (3:46)
Little Numbers -- Boy (3:42)
Luv, Hold Me Down -- Drowners (2:51)
Chain My Name -- Poliça (4:08)
Fall In Love -- Phantogram (3:44)
Radioactive (feat. Kendrick Lamar) -- Imagine Dragons (4:36)
From You -- William Fitzsimmons (3:13)
Holding Out for Life -- Broken Bells (3:57)
Silver Timothy -- Damien Jurado (3:17)
Myth of Myself (A Ruse to Exploit Our Weaknesses) -- Fanfarlo (4:28)
Ashes -- The Belle Brigade (3:47)
Honey & I -- HAIM (4:12)
Love is to Die -- Warpaint (5:15)
Song My Love Can Sing -- Doug Paisley (4:05)
The Sweet Sound of Your Name -- Gina Chavez (4:35)
Transatlanticism Remix -- Collin McLoughlin (4:58)
These Plains -- Vertical Scratchers (1:37)
I Miss Your Bones -- Hospitality (4:08)
Red Eyes -- The War On Drugs (4:58)
Better At Making Time -- De Lux (7:33)