- The Walkmen – “Louisiana”
I’m from Louisiana and The Walkmen is one of my top five bands, so it was pretty pre-destined that this would be one of my favorite songs. Maybe I’m spinning it because I miss that huge orange sun and the circling purple martins. Maybe I’m spinning it because of the beautiful horns. Maybe I’m spinning it because the storm is always a hundred miles off. Whatever it is, this is one of the most realized Walkmen songs the band wrote. Might not prepare you for the weekend, but if you’re still in the drinking-coffee-to-kill-the-ill-advised-Friday-morning-hangover phase, it’ll waft between your ears pretty nicely.
- Aesop Rock – “None Shall Pass”
I’ve argued, in the past (in my head, with myself), that “None Shall Pass” is the most aurally pleasing rap song ever written. This is not true. But it is one of the most hypnotic songs I’ve ever heard, Aesop Rock’s words bouncing back and forth, left to right in some sick cadence, that has me listening to it every Friday (if not every day) and getting more and and more pumped up with every line. Pumped for what, I’m not sure, but goddamn am I pumped.
- Kylie Minogue/New Order – “Can’t Get Blue Monday Out of My Head (Extended Mix/Mashup)”
Because I just want to fucking dance.
- Japandroids – “The House that Heaven Built”
Take this punk rock punch and use it to breakthrough whatever barrier is separating this moment and your weekend. Yes, tell ‘em all to go to hell. This song, like the album Celebration Rock, works best if you’re young, reckless and void of direction in your life. Japandroids are coming to Rock N Roll Hotel this Saturday, so get those dance-rock muscles warm! It’s very, very sold out, so you’ll have to find your own means of snagging tickets. In any case, I very, very recommend this song/album.
- Chromatics – “Lady”
It hasn’t been a particularly consistent road, but I’m digging the dark-electronic-chillwave spot Chromatics is currently occupying. Their latest album Kill for Love is easy and cathartic. Even where songs are driving or upbeat, like this one, you won’t be asked to focus on more than two or three sounds at any given time, and the sounds trade off the spotlight slowly, so as not to overwhelm. For the synesthesiacs among you, think thin lines (angled differently depending…) and small colorful dots topping steady blocks overlaid by blue or grey haze. Relax and let the music/colors take over.
- Hanni El Khatib – “You Rascal You”
Calling those with justified murderous inclinations. If that sounds like you, clench your teeth and think about that moment when you will stand holding a gin cocktail looking squarely over you glamorous crime. Others may simply enjoy the gritty guitar.
- Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built” [ed. In some strange twist of fate, we've got two of the same song. A rare "Friday Tunes" occurrence indeed; Japandroids are doing something everything right.]
I realize I’m quite last on this one, but holy shit do Japandroids rock. To me their songs sound like a combination of Death From Above 1979 and Fucked Up, yet to me “The House That Heaven Built” still feels like a perfect summer song. Maybe because summer means to me telling them all to go to hell?
- Paul Banks – “Summertime is Coming”
Speaking of summer, if I were to make a list of artists least likely to write a song with the word “summer” in it, near the top would be Paul Banks of Interpol. Yet “Summertime is Coming,” the first single from his recently released EP Julian Plenti Lives…, sounds distinctly like Banks and not like some peppy summertime track, even though there is a tinge of summer to it. But it’s still fun to imagine Banks singing this song in a Hawaii shirt, puka shell necklace and flip-flops.
- Neutral Bling Hotel – “King of Ante Up Pt. 1″
I love myself a good mashup. To me, a good mashup will take several songs and make you seen them in a completely different way. But a great mashup will make you look at a song you can’t stand in a way that is bearable. While the track I picked is a combo of two songs I very much like (Neutral Milk Hotel’s “King of Carrot Flowers Part 1” and M.O.P.’s “Ante Up”), the album, created by a video game programmer named Psycosis, takes songs from Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea and mashes them up with some of the most popular hip-hop songs and artists of today. While NMH does get mashed up with great artists like Kanye West, Jay-Z and Nas (the album’s best track “Communist Mic”), but also makes me enjoy songs I usually can’t stand, such as the absolutely terrible song “Look At Me Now” in the mashup “Look At The Two-Headed Boy” and when the song “Oh Comely” is invaded by the Dougie. It’s a fun, free album you can download here.
- Black Lips – “Family Tree”
Since today is a fucking scorcher, there’s nothing like a quintessential summer jam to get you through the heat. Enter Black Lips–the perfect band for getting into some mischievous shit outdoors–and the first track off Arabia Mountain, “Family Tree.” It’s got just that perfect tinge of surf rock with just the right amount of vintage (and it should; the album was produced by none other than Mark Ronson, the same vintage-rock production god behind Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black). Turn this on, feel invincible.
- Wolf Parade – “Modern World”
We posted a fantastic interview this morning, wherein Spencer Krug (of Moonface/Wolf Parade/Sunset Rubdown fame) lets us in on both his innerworkings and why the product of some of his innerworkings–namely all Wolf Parade songs–will never be performed again. It’s understandable, though it’s a complete shame because I really loved that band. The interview got me onto a huge Wolf Parade kick all day, so that’s where I am now, so that’s what I suggest.
- Ram Jam – “Black Betty”
It was last weekend’s US Air Guitar Championships at 9:30 Club that got me back on a “Black Betty” binge but I’ll be damned if I ever want it to end. It’s entirely possible, in fact, I’ve listened to this one 30 times in the last week alone (my roommates wish I were exaggerating, they really do). It’s that southern roots rock riddled with finger-lickin’ riffs that keeps me fistpumping, even while writing this post. (Also not an exaggeration.) I also love it because every time I hear it, I’m reminded of that scene where Kenny Powers is riding around on his jet ski, the Pantydropper, with a topless lady, throwing beers into a lake. Am I condoning this? Not officially. What I am saying is that it’s your civic duty to play this song and start some shit in this fine city of ours this weekend.
AND ON THAT NOTE, HAPPY ALMOST-AMERICA’S BIRTHDAY, EVERYONE. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND.