“Do They Know it’s Hallowe’en?” by North American Halloween Prevention Initiative // Do They Know it’s Hallowe’en (2005)
Well, it is in fact Halloween, and I’ve done what I could to spread the seasonal cheer through mixtapes and song posts, so why not tack on one more for the last day - Halloween. This little gem here is a charity single from 2005 that features a plethora of artists who were either on the verge, or would soon become stars (also, a couple of just downright megastars as well). Featuring Win & Regine from Arcade Fire, Dan & Spencer from Wolf Parade, Beck, Karen O, Thurston Moore, Feist, David Cross, Devendra Banhart, Roky Erickson and a dozen or so more, this track crams everything in (spooky thunder, childrens choir„ animal grunts, spoken word intermission, talks of all things halloween, and generally great songcraft) and still comes in under six minutes. It’s a fantastic little thing and a great track to help celebrate the best day of the year. So, please enjoy the sounds and of course, have a safe and happy Halloween!
“Here We Go” by Christopher Owens // Lysandre (Out 1.14.13 via Fat Possum)
Last year, Girls released the excellent album, “Father, Son, Holy Ghost”, which it turns out would be the last to feature the talents of frontman, Christopher Owens. Luckily, there is no lag time between Owens’ releases because he’s already back with a new single and word of a forthcoming album inspired by a girl that he met while touring with his former band. “Here We Go” is that first taste and it’s not going to be immediately breaking new ground for the artist, but experimental sounds have never exactly been his game - here we get a pretty, open-hearted ballad like Owens’ has been peppering his releases with for the past few years. It’s a familiar return, and that’s just fine because his ballads have always been my favorite points in his catalog.
I’ve been talking for a while about getting into popping out two hour mix blocks that follow a general theme, but don’t exactly adhere to the need to be hot new releases. This is the first attempt at cracking that nut. Here you will find 120 minutes of dream pop and shoegaze and all things in between. I liken it to a perfect two hour block from my favorite imaginary radio station (with zero interruptions). Some of these tracks are old, some are new - but here age doesn’t matter. It’s more settling into a time and space of late night listening for comedown. The afterglow, if you will.
Please support the artists that you find and enjoy. Buy their music, merchandise and tickets to see their shows. Supporting them is the only purpose in doing this blog. Contrary to the opinions of some, music blogs are a great way to discover new music, but there will only be so much new music to go around if these artists can’t afford to support themselves through their art and commerce. Only use these mixtapes as a guide to find something to throw your (financial and emotional) support behind.
“Words in the Fire” by Patrick Watson // Adventures in Your Own Backyard (2012)
Patrick Watson’s new album (out now on Domino) has a sort of strange mystic beauty about it, as the melodies and vocals and instrumentation seems to exist from another time. Everything feels fresh and new, but at the same time it’s all so warm and familiar and inviting. Watson has always been known for his voice which hovers somewhere between Antony Hegarty and Devandra Banhart, but after this album, it’s the songs themselves that stand out strongest with subtle haunting backing vocals and twinkling guitar lines and piano keys that float by like cast off embers from some late-summer bonfire that you and your friends have before scattering back to your corners (of universities or careers) across the country. It’s a lovely album, and the standout track is “Words in the Fire”, which is as representative as the sounds described as any. Highest recommendation for fans of Fleet Foxes, Devendra Banhart, and Grizzly Bear.
“I Only Have Eyes For You” by Beck // Originally by Harry Warren & Al Dubin
There are songs from the past that just never age. “I Only Have Eyes for You” is one of those songs for me. It was originally recorded in 1934, but found like again in 50’s and 60’s through covers from Peggy Lee and later The Flamingos (the most popular version). In the late 90’s it was featured in one of my personal favorite episodes of Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and now it’s being featured in Doug Aitken “Song 1” art installation for the Hirshhorn Museum in which he’s asked 6 artists to contribute covers of the song. Beck, being the most notable of those artists (others inclube No Age, Devendra Banhart, and High Places), also turns in the most traditional, and in turn, gorgeous, cover. Give it a spin (or head over to Pitchfork to hear all six) and get lost in the haunting, gorgeous, doo wop, pop gem that still feels fresh, but also lost in time. Highest recommendation.
north american halloween prevention initiative - DO THEY KNOW IT’S HALLOWE’EN?
Why are there not more awesome Halloween novelty songs for good songs? Sure, getting this group of people together was sort of like lightning striking a bolt of lightning that was wearing lightning shoes, but still. And for those of you who missed it the past five years, the N.A.H.P.I. is made up of:
Win & Regine from Arcade Fire, Karen O, Beck, David Cross, Buck 65, Devendra Banhart, Feist, Peaches, Jenny Lewis, Blake Sennett, Roky Erickson, Thurston Moore, Dan & Spencer from Wolf Parade, and many others…