Archive for December 31st, 2011
Here’s what’s in the mix for this Saturday night’s Weekend Energy. This week’s show is so festive, it’s like writing a contrived romantic comedy with a suitably generic holiday title, featuring a series of interwoven vignettes of first world problems that culminate in the collective celebration of the holiday in which it was named! Yeah! You guessed it, it’s the Weekend Energy best of the year New Years Eve Blowout!
It’s the best of the year mix, that means like every song is a highlight and I’ve written about most of them on this ol’ blog before. Here’s what I said about the songs, I’m pretty sure most of it is in English. That’ s about all I can promise…
Morgan Page, Sulton, Ned Shepard, BT – In The Air (feat. Angela McCluskey) – It took an army of great DJs to put together the song In The Air featuring Angela McCluskey and it sounds… breathtaking. The production is top notch prog house, among BT’s best and as good as Morgan Page’s best repertoire (I might be biased). What really makes the song soar though is Angela’s voice. Unlike 98% of the female vocals in this genre, it actually sounds like she cares about what she’s singing. Her voice sounds weathered and, to that effect, grateful for the subject matter of the song. The lyrics may be superficial standard, but Angela makes the words, and feelings, seem important. For some more BT, check out Suddenly. I’ve got a Sultan and Ned Shepard track called Past Dreaming that sounds awesome. For Morgan Page, anything from the album Elevate (seriously, just listen to all of it).
33Hz – Nightspot – “Wow” pretty much sums up my reaction to Nightspot after like 45 seconds. This New York trio blends modern electro with classy disco resulting in a sonically smooth audio milkshake. Nightspot hits the sweet spot. Their other stuff is good, too. The B-side to Nightspot, Stephanie All Night, is more of a percolating rocker with an intense harmonized chorus. If you in to softer jams, check out the video for Under The Sun. But before you do anything else, before you even finish reading this sentence, check out Nightspot on their website.
Ill Saint M – Carnation – This fall, I stumbled across the EP “Carnation” by Ill Saint M and… was… floored. Carnation opens up like a bouquet of flowers containing live active grenades. It’s got a nice slow rising build that bursts into a total rage with a super catchy beat. Despite its title, it’s not very flowery – pretty basic. But that’s what makes it so great. No-frills, no-holds-barred, massive tune that will have you pressing repeat over and over. His other original release on the EP is titled “I’m Another,” which is a whole different monster entirely. Lots of diverse sounds happening at once, with a similar rhythmic backbone to Carnation. It’s an aural onslaught that is just dissonant enough to be melodic – my favorite place to be musically.
Justice – New Lands – See this week’s “Album of the Year” below.
Monarchy – You Don’t Want To Dance With Me feat. Britt Love (Dusk Remix) – Almost every single by British group Monarchy has been on Weekend Energy, beginning with The Phoenix Alive from Kitsune Records back in April 2010. Their new single, You Don’t Want To Dance With Me, is a brooding atmospheric masterpiece. The lovelorn male vocals are great, but the addition of Britt Love’s sharp, mousy voice is what launches this song to the stars. I love the original mix, but I’m a bigger fan of atmosphere, for which I turn to the darker and more confident Dusk Remix.
Kidstreet – X – Kidstreet is a family synth-pop band (two brothers and a sister) hailing from Waterloo, Ontario. My favorite thing about the group is their poppy staccato atmosphere that carries through each song, whether it’s a heavy-hitter like X or Birthday Cake or a shoegazer like Nineteen Ninety Three or Song. That they transcend all genres and just create their own feel-good sound is all I really needed to be sold on Kidstreet. Also, their album is like 6 dollars on iTunes – totally worth it if you’re in to trendy indie-pop, not unlike something you might hear at an Urban Outfitters. If you love X for its driving, heavy, plastic-y synth-pop sound, I should caution that all of the other songs on the album sound different with maybe the exception for Penny Candy. Fuh Yeah is so diverse and original, though, you’ll love it anyway. Sample it, download it. Kidstreet captures the moment, and it’ll be a moment worth having and worth re-discovering years later as you shuffle through your music mix.
Sneaky Sound System – Big – Sneaky Sound System is one of my guiltiest musical pleasures. This Australian electropop band is vastly… vastly… underrated. They’ve just released their third album and for some reason have hardly any exposure. Their music isn’t complicated, it isn’t underground or even particularly indie. On the contrary, their music is the most mainstream thing I’ve ever heard – way way way way way off the mainstream track. It’s extremely catchy, trendy, sing-a-longable, top-of-the-line vocals by Connie Mitchell, great lyrics, cool music videos, and a gazillion music awards. Their debut album from 2006 still ranks among my all-time-favorites in terms of every song (or nearly every song) being a total success. Their new album From Here to Anywhere already has two singles. I played We Love a couple weeks ago and this week I feature their second single, Big, which has a really great 90′s retro vibe, and lyrics that sound 70% uplifting and 30% desperate.
Album of the Year
“Audio, Video, Disco’ by Justice
French group Justice is the Daft Punk of the 21st century. Their debut album Cross was a legendary soundscape. They’ve just put out their follow-up album Audio, Video, Disco, and dare I say it’s flawless? Since it came out, I’ve played five stand-out songs from it… How many albums can you list with that many or more stand-outs? Justice isn’t even crafting their songs for some commercial radio output. This is musical art. The songs flow together, breathe together, live side-by-side together. So me even playing them is taking them out of context. This album is more retrospective than Cross, it’s more saturated. Cross sounded like a new group trying to gain attention – it was brash and boisterous. Audio, Video, Disco is more comfortable in its skin. The rocker “New Lands” is probably my favorite and in the mix this week. The other songs I’ve played from this album are the title track Audio, Video, Disco; Helix; On’n’On; and Civilization. I highly recommend picking this up on iTunes if you’re into an audio experience rather than party songs or one-shots.
There’s no video for New Lands, so check out this epic video for Civilization instead:
Second Hour Rewind
The second hour rewind is the previous week’s first hour. Last week was my Annual Dubstep Chrsitmas Extravaganza, featuring The Crystal Method, Ellie Goulding, Atari Teenage Riot, Skrillex, Figure, Subvert & Datsik, Calvin Harris, and more! One of my favorite tracks in the mix is probably the most wicked: it’s the Oscillator Z remix of “Lights” by Ellie Goulding. Her songs have been remixed to death, and a few months ago I swore to take a break. But…. This… Is so… Good! It’s the innate catchiness of the track (the original version kills), plus the syrupy sweetness of Ellie’s voice lends itself the perfect subject to the whirring, sludgy, grinding mess of dubstep. This remix treats her well, then turns the whole song upside down, dumps it all over the floor and rolls in it. It’s absolutely sick and crescendos into a superbly sophisticated melody at the end.
“Crank up your stereo, bust out the strobe light and kick up the bass.”
Weekend Energy has been blowing out car stereo systems, upsetting the neighbors and enhancing the night life of western Kentucky every weekend since July 2007 on WKMS. Host Matt “McG” Markgraf pours through hundreds of songs each week to create “the loudest show on public radio” featuring the best techno, dance and electronica from around the world. Weekend Energy airs Saturdays on 91.3 WKMS from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Stream it live on wkms.org Saturday nights.