One joyful week this summer, two albums that I have since grown to love, and which I consider creative summits for both artists, came out : “Freetown Sound” by Blood Orange and “Wildflower” by The Avalanches. I’ve seen Blood Orange pop up quite often this year on the SoCC blog, and (in my humble opinion) with good reason. Still, I didn’t want the Avalanches’ album to be overlooked. While its lyrics may not be as emotionally/socially charged, the production value of the album is outstanding –– for proof, just listen to how intricately tens of seconds of samples are woven through most of the songs. For the Song of the Day, I chose “Subways”, the fourth song off of “Wildflower”; listen below and find out why.
I’ve been listening to a bunch of cover albums lately, and quite often covers of this song come up (this one’s a good one –– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qWJPglDkB0), and I usually love them. Today, though, the original came on the radio and I remembered how fucking fantastic this song is. “Home is where I want to be/but I guess I’m already there” is weirdly resonant.
Hopefully I’m not alone in thinking that David Byrne is a genius, but even if you’re not a big fan of Talking Heads, I’ve found that even those (foolish) people who aren’t usually into Talking Heads still love this song, so definitely worth a listen.
The summer of sophomore year in high school in England is known as festival season –– girls put on tonnes of make-up and flower headbands, boys buy condoms in futile dreams of losing their virginity to a “festival fling”, twenty-or-so of them get together, buy a bunch of cheap shitty beer (or Strongbow cider, if you’re feeling really classy), and head off for weekends of music, mud and mindlessness.
While most of my memories of those weekends consist of wishing it’d stopped raining for at least one of the four festival days, some of them are bright, beautiful memories of shows –– Phoenix at Reading Festival in 2013, for example.
Most of the festival crowd had gone off to see either Green Day (I’m sorry, Billie Joe Armstrong, but in 2013 you were already much past your prime) or Knife Party, so the Phoenix set brought along only a modest crowd of about 1000 people (Reading’s general festival population is around 300,000). Being 5’, I got passed around from shoulders to shoulders until I got to the front of the crowd, high-fived Thomas Mars and crowd-surfed my way to the back, where my friends were performing some sort of an interpretive dance routine.
Since then, I’ve gone to a few festivals and had similar, lovely experiences, mostly because I realised that Reading (the British amalgamation of Coachella and Bonnaroo) was not what I was looking for. If anything I’ve described above rings true for you, or if you’re just sick of seeing Native American headdresses on drunk white girls, look no further.
Here are some of this summer’s festivals I’d love to go to:
Where: Austin, TX
When: April 29 – May 1
Who’s playing: Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, Animal Collective, Courtney Barnett, Flying Lotus, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Allah-Las, Parquet Courts and a bunch of other cool people
How much: $185 + $86 if you wanna camp on site
Where: Louisville, KY
When: July 15 – 17
Who’s playing: Avett Brothers, Death Cab for Cutie, Alabama Shakes, Glass Animals, Dr. Dog, Shakey Graves, Femi Kuti, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Alex G, etc.
How much: $170 (no camping though)
Shaky Knees Festival
Where: Atlanta, GA
When: May 13 – 15
Who’s playing: Jane’s Addiction, The Kills, Savages, Wolf Alice, Alex G, My Morning Jacket, Shakey Graves, The Head and the Heart, Atlas Genius, Parquet Courts, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, etc.
How much: $215 for 3 days and no camping
Nelsonville Music Festival
Where: Nelsonville, OH
When: June 2 – 5
Who’s playing: Courtney Barnett, Gary Clark Jr, The Tallest Man On Earth, Mac Demarco, Angel Olsen, Badbadnotgood, Twin Peaks
How much: $125 + $30 camping
and an across-the-pond shoutout to a festival with just a fucking fantastic lineup
Where: Barcelona, Spain
When: June 1 – 5
Who’s playing: Alex G, Animal Collective, Beach House, Beirut, Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, Cass McCombs, Chairlift, Deerhunter, Destroyer, Dinosaur Jr., Freddie Gibbs, Hudson Mohawke, The Last Shadow Puppets, LCD Soundsystem (!), Neon Indian, Parquet Courts, Radiohead (!!!), Sheer Mag, Sigur Ros, Tame Impala, Ty Segall, Vince Staples, Wild Nothing
How much: Weekend tickets are reselling at about $400, plus hostels, plus flights… a girl can dream
I was driving today, looking at the fog blanket on the mountains. It started snowing, and this song came on. My whole drive home suddenly took on a really lovely quality –– honestly, play this song on your walk/cycle/drive home and the next five or so minutes will become a tiny bit more wonderful.
This is an extended version of the original song, and has a much longer beautiful instrumental part with a lot of brass, which is dope –– brass is always pretty great. Personally, I associate Van a bit more with the summer, but this version of ‘Moondance’ is perfect for this meteorogically–bipolar beginning of the week.
Pick a song you’ve been listening to a lot lately and listen to it again (for me, that song is Happiness by Elliott Smith).
Write/paint/sculpt/make art while it plays, using the song as a prompt.
Flash fictiony thing I wrote in response:
I see him walking up the callous mountain, and I feel a little small. He is wearing Keds, with holes where the sole should join the fabric. His toes poke out. The wind ruffles his hair; I think I see him smiling at the sun rising above the Rockies. Behind me, the house is quiet and drained – Andy and Shane sleep on couch, top-to-tail, in matching t-shirts that say ‘I Heart Xanax’, in the ‘I Heart NY’ style. Shane’s arm is sprawled across the makeshift table (wooden log underneath, piece of cardboard as the top), with a burnt out Parliament between his fingers, leaning towards the ashtray, like a sunflower towards the sun. I sit in a swinging chair on the porch, cradling a cup of Earl Grey like a premature child. The world in front of me is unfolding slowly, calmly – sun peaks out over the mountains; its streaks get in my eyes like loose strands of hair. Behind me, the people sleep through the aftermath of unhealthy decisions, sleep away the glaze, just sleep.
I saw Porches post this song on their Facebook on Monday, and got unbelievably excited –– and with good reason, I think. Though much more electronic than any of the songs off their debut album, Slow Dance in the Cosmos, the two singles off the upcoming Pool – Car, and the recently released Be Apart, continue to tell intricate and relatable stories through their lyrics. Just like the title might suggest, the song transports me into a state of mental motion. Pool is out tomorrow on Domino Records, so if you like this song/Porches in general, the rest of the album probably won’t disappoint.