We both came to really appreciate music in an age still dominated by full-length albums; an age of first cassette tapes, then CDs and then, when we hit college-age, vinyl, in its fledgling re-emergence.
So, yes, we’re rather old, but more to the point, we still often think of consuming music in doses akin to traditional album formats—10-15 songs, all tied together in some sort of theme, even if it’s just in the sense that it shows you a snapshot in time of a particular artist or artists and their work; side A, side B, with strong openers on each side and ending on something with a tone of finality and/or summation.
Whether it’s intentional or hard-wired, we often approach these mixtapes in the same way—this month, we start with one of two brand new and timely songs by one of our favorite bands, Braids, each of which tackles how we interact with each other in this digital age. In their own words:
“For those of u that have ever taken selfies, contorted ur body for selfies, pushed up ur breasts, hid ur breasts, hid ur ass, pushed up ur ass, exaggerated ur bulge, exaggerated ur collarbones, turned up the contrast, softened ur lines, been ghosted, ghosted, used tinder, failed at tinder, fallen down an instagram hole, deleted and downloaded it, deleted and downloaded it, deleted and downloaded it, wandered the drug store for clarity, thought hair dye could ease ur pain, at least for a couple days, and flipped the bird at 1 or all of these things – these songs are 4 u. We hope you can sing with them, scream with them, dance with them, laugh with them and dream of how u want to feel and deserve to feel. Take a moment for urself.”
In a kind of echo to that opener, we end the mix with the return of Belgian musician, rapper, singer, and songwriter Stormae who gives us his first original material in five years, “Défiler”, about being left behind and having your head stuck in your phone and wondering maybe which is worse. Last month, Stormae’s label Mosaert presented its very first fashion show at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche in Paris to mark the release of its latest collection, “Capsule no 5“. Dubbed an “enhanced fashion show”, the whole thing combined movement and choreography by dancer and choreographer Marion Motin with an intricate set designed by Mosaert and Le Bon Marché’s creative teams and Stormae’s 9+ minute song setting the sonic backdrop. The video for the song, by Sacha Wiernik and Luc Junior Tam, captures the whole impressive event.
And giving the spine to the mix (or kicking off the ‘second side’, whichever you prefer) is another significant return—that of longtime favorite Lykke Li. The Swede-turned-Angeleno has teased a new album out June 8th—her first in four years—and, by the sound of this track and another she’s released, fellow fans will not be disappointed.
In-between those three musical pillars we have a dreamy new song from Nashville’s Bantug; the return of Sydney-born, Paris-based songwriter Jack Grace; and some dystopian hip hop from Chicago’s Air Credits (“music from the not too distant future, when the planet’s water supply has all but ceased, the landscape turning to desert, the desert turning to wasteland”), which features Show You Suck, who we featured a couple years back. Then we’ve got a string of AKAs that played SXSW this year—breezy hip hop, also from Chicago, from Knox Fortune (AKA Kevin Rhomberg); something a little jazzier from the always-impressive Cadence Weapon (AKA Toronto’s Roland “Rollie” Pemberton); and a beautiful soundtrack for dreamily driving through the desert from Slisbee, Texas’ Lomelda (AKA Hannah Read).
We’ve also got the first new work from DJ/producer/mash-up-artist/musician Girl Talk, featuring Brooklyn’s Erick the Architect; a nice pick-me-up from Brooklyn’s Maria Usbeck; more melodic electronic music from France’s Kidswaste featuring DC’s Manila Killa; a bouncy sing-along from Sydney’s Alison Wonderland; a glitchy banger from Stockholm’s Baba Stiltz; and something a little more pop than noise from Meghan Remy’s U.S. Girls.
As always, enjoy.
Below, the aforementioned video/fashion show and the lovely cover art for Braids’ new split single, by photographer Melissa Gamache.