Dan, Carmen and I were hanging out one day and we went through our PDP3 CDs and kinda talked about the different songs and reasons we put them on. It was fun so I thought I’d waste a lot of time and write up an annotated track listing for my CD.
1. Relm and Josie – Mike Relm
Text from my Top 10 CD List of 2005, where Mike’s CD Radio Fryer was a solid number 5!
I don’t really know how to describe Mike’s style of music. One friend said it was a DMC-kinda style but I don’t know what that means. Mixing records, audio-scratching and manipulation of video? ‘Cause that’s Relm. Watching Mike Relm perform is so fun and he has an outstanding stage presence. I bought the CD at the first show and while it’s good, it doesn’t do him justice. It’s fifty tracks although there’s way more songs on the album; there are snippets of songs that are only seconds long but compliment the whole beautifully. The hour thirteen mixed into 9 distinct chapters tell some interesting stories. Anyone who can have a tribute to old school hip-hop, Joy Division and Danny Elfman – all within a High Fidelity framework – has to be awesome.
Check out his DVD Suit Yourself to get a little more flavour of his live show but you’ve got to be there in person to fully experience it – especially when he scratches, linked to the video feed of Office Space. I was watching the DVD with a friend when my dad happened to walk in the room. I was floored when even my dad was able to say, ‘He’s a musician the way he uses his equipment, not a DJ.’ Seriously, my dad. He’s almost 60 and he said that!?
Mike’s one of the coolest and most accessible artists I’ve ever met. We were talking politics and post-Katrina implications after one of his shows outside the Commodore while I tried to keep my geek-out in check. He’s also super at responding to any questions or messages sent to him. In fact, in trying to find out what the release date for Radio Fryer was, I offered him my congratulations on making my Top 10 CDs of 2005 List and he promptly replied:
thanks paul! here’s my acceptance speech:
‘Wow I didn’t expect this at all. First I’d like to thank the academy, my family, friends, colleagues, and all the artists who made this possible. I’d like to thank god even though I don’t believe in him. And to the people who said I couldn’t make Paul’s top 10 cd’s of 2005 list, please accept my middle finger.’
While Mike’s album was only number 5 on my Top 10 CDs of 2005 List, he would be number 1 on my Top 10 Artist of 2005 List. Check him out on MySpace or his website (www.mikerelm.com).
This track is a great mixture of 80s hip-hop and pop. Love it on the CD, love it live. And that authoritative, ‘Yo, give me something to dance too’ is an awesome way to start a CD.
2. Know By Heart – The American Analog Set
The American Analog Set is kinda a funny story. I was downtown at Scratch buying some concert tickets when I saw The American Analog Set was playing at the Media Club for $15. I’d remembered Ben (Obey the Cube!) had said some good things about them so I thought, what the heck, and bought a couple of tickets. I few days later while talking to Ben, he told me he didn’t know The American Analog Set’s music. Obviously I had mixed something up but Ben and I decided on the spot that we’d go to the show together and not learn anything about the band (like listen to any of their songs). Ben broke his arm and wasn’t actually able to make the show but I did and it was great.
I really dig their lo-fi sound and this song is a great example of it. It’s just kinda a quiet strength that I find comforting.
3. The Great Escape – We Are Scientists
This is one of the bands that I’ve been most excited about in the last little while. I heard this song on a compilation CD and loved it. Loved It! It’s really raw and aggressive yet at the same time has this underlying layer of angst. It’s not a wonder why I like this band.
I downloaded some of their earlier demo stuff and most of their new CD but I also bought it the day it came out in stores, it was that good. I’ve got tickets to their show March 29th at the Red Room in Vancouver and I think it’s going to be an awesome, sloppy night. I offered first dibs on my second ticket to Kristen but apparently there’s at least 6 other people I know going.
This song also filled the track requirement to ‘take it up a notch.’
4. Japanese Gum – Her Space Holiday
This song met my need to ‘back it down and not blow my wad too early.’ Marc Bianchi’s essentially ‘one man in his bedroom’ recording style really attracted me a few years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since. Similar to The American Analog Set, Her Space Holiday has a pretty lo-fi sound but is a little more cheesy-electro sounding. I’ve ordered the new album but haven’t really listened to it yet. If you liked this track, I’d highly recommend the album it comes from, The Young Machines.
5. I’ll Believe In Anything – Wolf Parade
Wolf Parade’s Apologies to the Queen Mary was my favourite album from last year and this was my favourite track from it. I think the line
I’d take you where nobody knows you and
Nobody gives a damn
The stark honesty and the mournful and yearning quality is what does it for me. I really think that the whole album is a great look at a relationship and the album really goes full circle.
6. Disposable Parts – Enon
I’m not sure how I stumbled across Enon but it was an accident while trying to download some other stuff. But it was really good so I looked into the band further. Characterized by a mutating sound, the High Society era that this song comes from was my favourite.
This song makes me think about robots – happy dancing robots – like 80s futuristic music that was made in the 21st century. And what’s not to like about that?
7. Me and My 424 – John Vanderslice
A recent find for me, I really enjoy John Vanderslice’s sound. It’s got a slight quirkiness to it that I appreciate and an almost plodding beat that makes it really infectious to sing along with. I think it’d make for an excellent show at Richard’s or something.
8. Blood Bleeds – The Helio Sequence
This Helio Sequence track really represents a sound that I’ve really started to get into over the last 6-7 months… I kinda think of it as a minimalist, not quite amibent-electronic sound. Brandden’s CD had a lot of tracks in the similar vein, things like [[[[Vvrssnn]]]] who I’d heard before and others like Lali Puna who I hadn’t.
I got this particular song off a Sub Pop podcast which had some other similar bands I liked (as well as Sleater-Kinney and Wolf Parade songs!) and I really enjoyed it.
This was also one of my more ‘neurotic’ choices. It was a late edition in the track selection process and I think it bumped Interpol, a band I really, really like but I didn’t want my CD to be too Indie-Mainstream. And some of my bands, when I first selected them in late November/early December weren’t well known were all of a sudden blowing up. I read a We Are Scientists article in the free Famous Players magazine you get at the movie theaters for crying out loud. And my next band was a little known group in England who just happened to end up unseating Oasis as the biggest debut album in the UK.
9. A Certain Romance – Arctic Monkeys
I really like the Arctic Monkeys, the raw, infectious and cheeky sound that to me is all that is not-posh England. While I don’t think the album as a whole is as strong as the singles (‘A Certain Romance,’ ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor,’ ‘When The Sun Goes Down’), something that reminds me of my fourth favourite CD from last year, Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm, I like it. Even their sound is comparable to Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand’s dance-punk sound but even more stripped down. I’d write more but I think NME has said it all about these lads.
10. International Dateline – Ladytron
My friend James introduced me to Ladytron, back around when their first album came out 604. I enjoyed the sound and really found my love for them cemented when they released, Ladytron (Softcore Jukebox), a mix CD of other electro-clash/electro-pop songs by other artists such as !!! and My Bloody Valentine.
This is from their latest album, The Witching Hour, which they’re currently touring in support of and I’ve got tickets for the show in April and am totally psyched. This is one group I’ve wanted to see for a long time and am finally getting a chance to.
11. Amsterdam – Guster
I saw Guster open for John Mayer, must be four years ago now. The thing that first attracted me was that the drummer often wasn’t using a drum kit but instead using various hand drums. This was obviously a transition period to greater reliance on the drum kit because they were finding themselves limited in the sound they wanted to create and I don’t think some of the fans liked it.
Fun, infectious song that I really like – very college rock. I totally dig the allusion to ’99 Luftballoons.’ I also like that he’s going to write her a letter, going to write her a book!
This song is from Keep it Together, their last LP release but I think that I like Lost and Gone Forever the most.
12. Dark Is Light Enough – The Duke Spirit
Kinda a dark blues-infused rock from England, I think Carmen introduced them to me when she asked for some help tracking down a song. There’s something about this track that really appeals to me, appeals to me in the way that I hate all it’s obvious influences. Because of this I haven’t really spent a lot of time listening to the full album but I think I’m happy with the idea of having this be the way I think about The Duke Spirit.
13. Final Broadcast – Statistics
A band that I might say is sorta electro-rock. There will be parts where its fairly mellow and parts when the guitars just smash down. I really wanted to put a Statistics song on my CD and kept going back and forth between this song from Often Lie and ‘A Number, Not A Name’ from Leave Your Name.
14. Your Redneck Past – Ben Folds Five
This was instigated by Dan. We were hanging out one night and he had Whatever and Ever, Amen playing in his car and it reminded me it’d been a while since I’d listened to any of my Ben Folds CDs and I decided then that I’d put something on my mix CD. I’ve got Whatever and Ever, Amen, The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner from Ben Folds Five and Fear of Pop, Volume 1 and Rockin’ the Suburbs from his solo stuff.
I didn’t want to use anything from the solo album, especially from Fear of Pop, Volume 1 because I wanted it to be Ben Folds Five and to have the Ben Folds Five sound (which is one of the reasons I did put a Fear of Pop, Volume 1 track on my monocromatic neuroses CD). Since I wasn’t sure if Dan was going to put a track from Amen on his, I thought I’d stick with Unauthorizaed.
I was trying to decide between ‘Your Redneck Past’ and ‘Army’ and decided on the former for two reasons. One, I really am trying to hide my redneck past or at least my working class suburban past but is not something I’m really go into here. But the irony of the line of the following line clenched the deal.
Get you some books on tape,
to learn about holes in space.
Afterall, I’d just downloaded and listened to Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time and we all know how much I relish a good dose of irony.
ps. If you get a chance, check out ‘In Love – feat. William Shatner’ by Ben Folds on Fear of Pop, Volume 1. I don’t think the CD is available in stores anymore, at least it’s been discontinued at HMV: Canada. I saw a performance of this on Conan O’Brien like 7-8 years ago and it was awesome!
15. Silent Seven – controller.controller
I was a little leery about putting this song on my CD because Carmen had a controller.controller song on her PDP2 CD but I just couldn’t not. controller.controller made me start using the term death-disco and I think Nirmala Basnayake is really hot. Add these things to the sheer kick-ass of the music made it a no brainer. The driving, duelling guitars. The steady percussion marching you into oblivion. The minimalist nature of the lyrics. These are things I like.
In a year where I saw a lot of my favourite bands and a lot of really good shows, controller.controller at the Red Room was one of the best. I can’t believe Kristen, Rachel and Sarah punked out early but Carmen and I had a good time until the end. Suckers…
16. Soul’d Out – Josh Rouse
I’ve been enjoying and trying to share Josh Rouse with others for about 3 years. I originally found out about him when reading a review of his 1972 album on The Onion. He’s one of the handful of artists (Jenny Lewis, Rhett Miller, Ryan Adams) that have helped me ease into the sound that is alt.country.
I had the chance to see him play a few years ago at the Media Club with a buddy of mine, Ahmed, and it was awesome. Had a really good night and I’m really hoping it’s repeated when Kim and I check him out at the Red Room in April. I think he has a new album coming out, I should check into it.
I had probably the most trouble deciding which track of his to put on. I always knew I was going to have a Josh Rouse track on my mix but wasn’t sure which. I was really leaning towards ‘The White Trash Period of My Life’ but it clocks in at 6.47 and that would have meant at least one, probably 2 less songs. I was also considering ‘Under The Cold Blue Stars,’ ‘Come Back,’ and ‘Love Vibration’ which was the first song of his I heard. I remember seeing the video for it streamed on his site and it was fuckin’ rad. You can check it out in the media section at his website.
The particular song I went with is from his Bedroom Classics Vol.2 album, which might have been an iTunes exclusive – it’s where my copy comes from anyways. It was a chance though to share Josh with new people and still have it be something new for those of my friends I’d already pimped him out to.
17. I Lost My Dog – The Fiery Furnaces
I really like how non-conventional The Fiery Furnaces are in terms of song structure. This song though is maybe one of the most accessible from their Blueberry Boat disc, one of the reasons I put it on. If I was really courageous I would have put ‘Inspector Blancheflower’ on it, which clocks in at 8.57 and is this bizarre love triangle between ‘Jenny’ and two brothers she dates. There’s weird almost spoken word lyrics over strange electronic sounds and beeps along with more conventional parts. It’s really unbalanced as well, seeming to throw a lot of ‘rules’ out the window.
18. The Fine Line – Jonathan Inc.
I first saw Jonathan Inc open for Josh Rouse and I’ve seen them several times since then. I remember Jonathan made a comment about how they were happy to be playing in Vancouver and that they’d travelled all the way from Langley. It was a wry comment that still managed to be humble and good natured and it’s always stuck in my mind. The first show I saw them play was a stripped down set and I think I formed a little crush on Michelle Grunert because I really liked her voice.
19. Turnstile Blues – Autolux
Ryan gets all the credit for introducing me to Autolux and since he wasn’t in PDP3 I thought I’d put it out there. I’m still waiting on my Future Perfect CD I ordered in January but that’s fine because this is a band I want to support. This was one of the first tracks to go into my playlist and was a song that I never once considered cutting. Of all the Autolux tracks I was able to download, it’s hands down my favourite. Looking forward to hearing the rest of the album.
20. Walk In Fire – Doves
I like the comment on Doves MySpace for sounds like,
people tell us coldplay.
probably because we are from
England and we are not metal.
While it’s true I have a sweet spot in my heart for bands that sound like Coldplay to varying degrees (Pilate, Thirteen Senses, Athlete, The Perishers, Snow Patrol [Run is the new Yellow!], etc), I simply like Doves because they’re very good. I’m not as familiar with their earlier albums but I really like Some Cities, which is a stellar disc.
I knew for quite some time that I was going to have Doves be the final track on my CD but I wasn’t sure if it’d be this song or ‘One Of These Days’ or ‘There Goes The Fear.’ The latter wasn’t working in the space I had left so it was a duke out between the former and the eventual winner. In the end, I decided ‘Walk In Fire’ just worked better for the overall feel for the CD and as the lead into the hidden track.