Blog, Music, Personalnicholas

August 2011 Music Playlist

Blog, Music, Personalnicholas


1. Video Games-Lana Del Rey

What happens when a musician has carved out a wildly incongruous look for themselves, even before they release a debut album? Enter Lizzy Grant. That was before she entered serious celebrity potential, and needed a name change, something that would be more applicable given her extravagant new caricature. Re-enter Lana Del Rey. The NYC swooner is proud of her style, she's quoted as saying she's a "gangster Nancy Sinatra". A bold statement coming from an artist who has yet to sell a single record. But it's that brashness that makes her so compelling -- and so attractive... ooooohh. She seems to ooze confidence, apparent in her flashy fashion choices and her self-created "Hollywood Pop/SadCore" music genre.

One might find her style a bit bombastic, but you can't knock the promise of her music. Her sultry swooning brings to mind Cat Power, and even a little Nina Simone. On her Facebook page her influences range from The Beach Boys, to Elvis, to Britney Spears, and even to Nirvana. The girl certainly has it. She has an effortless power in her vocals, controlling everything. Her lyrics are simple, but the subtly in her voice summons you to listen closely to them. And as a visual artist I'm intrigued by the videos that accompany these songs. They possess a sort of romantic sadness, a nostalgic yearning for the classic time of the Hollywood Hills era, where celebrity defacing and personal collapses weren't a billion dollar industry, but just a symptom of the industry, and the consequences that followed seemed soft. At face value, they're compelling because they stray far from the mindlessness that is found on VEVO.

But who knows what will become of Miss Rey. It's a risky move to arrange such a drastic look so far in advance, but I have a hunch that she'll wind up on Rolling Stone sooner rather than never. She seems more accessible -- the shots of her in her videos look webcammed. With such an overstated look, she's obviously looking for more attention than the eyes of a few dozen onlookers at a coffee shop that Cat Power might receive. We'll find out soon. Her album drops in October. Peep her single.

2. California English, Pt. 2 (Bonus Track)-Vampire Weekend
The always fresh, Ivy League prepsters who put Indie music on the Billboard, have always been some of my favorites. My best friend Tyler and I would listen to their debut album in the car anytime we drove anywhere. Tyler returns home from a two year church mission where he's been serving in Argentina, so this calls for a celebratory song -- especially considering he hasn't heard the new CD. This specific title was a b-side to the single Cousins.
3. Santa Fe-Beirut
The master of horns releases The Rip Tide, his third full-length album. His most wide-appealing disc yet. This song is rad.
4. Hours-Tycho
He probably got me into chillwave 4 or 5 years ago when he released Sunrise Projector, a beautiful album that remains to be a go-to record when I need a quiet but entertaining musical landscape when I'm editing. Tycho is Scott Hansen, a super talented artist/musician from San Francisco. I've been following his work for years for serious design inspiration. Incredible style. Getting on with it... this is the new single off his new album. I'm giddy.
5. Still Life-The Horrors
A Verve-esque band that I recently discovered through, guess who, Scott Hansen's blog. David Bowie would be proud of this album.
6. Ready or Not-Fugees
My roommate Scott and I are preparing a definitive hip-hop playlist, compiled of our favorites, EVER. This won't make the cut but I forgot how much I loved the Fugee's. Last decades Black Eyed Peas, but much cooler and a lot less filler. Also, does this song have an Enya beat?
7. Take Off Your Shirt-Bibio
This is a song to bump your head to. This guy's EP starts with this song and ends with a song titled "Take Off Your Skirt". Clever points.
8. A Real Hero (feat. Electric Youth)-College
Added this song at the last minute after viewing the trailer to the new Ryan Gosling film, Drive -- start salivating ladies. Happy 80's vibes.

9. Ships in the Night-Mat Kearney
This genre-defying madman creates music that is wide in range, reaching from hip-hop to folk. He finally releases a new album and this is the song that should carry it.
10. Soul Rebels-Talib Kweli
My best friend Daniel and I roll the windows down when this song comes on. Were so hood.
11. Sour Apples (featuring Travis Barker)-The Cool Kids
If I made rap music when I was in high school, this is what I would have attempted to make.
12. Blood Pressure-MUTEMATH
MUTEMATH makes us scream their band name with the all capitals, but I'm not screaming anything until they right their wrongs. They've been disappointing me in the past few years. Nothing has bested their self-titled album. This song gives me hope. They almost sound like The Raconteurs.
13. Ode to Janice Melt-Army Navy
Thank you Amazon recommendation. New band. New awesomeness.
14. Moldau-Smetana
One of my favorite orchestra pieces from the film Tree Of Life, A film devoid of any real story structure, but rewards those patient viewers with enchanting visuals, potent realness, and of course, beautiful music.
15. Boy 1904-Jonsi and Alex
Sigur Ros fans... have we heard of this side project? I certainly hadn't till a few days ago. Where the eff was I when the roll was called? Child choirs and angelic sounding stratospheres. What can I say, I'm a sucker for them.