Monthly Music Roundup…August edition.

It’s that time again and things could sound a little different this time around. In previous editions I stuck to a lot of upbeat dance music, but we are in the stickiest heat of summer now and it’s time for things to chill out a bit. So this time things are going to be a little mellower. This also means that, with a few of the songs, you’re going to have to be patient. On of these bad boys is about eight minutes long, and really does take its sweet time in revealing itself fully. Most of these are just good summer jams, perfect for lazy night-drives and sitting on the porch, watching the bats fly overhead.

Whenever I’ve got some form of DJ’ing coming up, the week before I do two things: practice and listen to anything but what I would be playing on the night of (which is Saturday, by the way). So in celebration of both this rainy day and the molasses-like humidity it will surely produce, here are some slow-movers. Remember, you can just download these and make a little playlist. I put the little player in for preview purposes, but lets admit, they are a little annoying. And yes, there are maybe too many remixes in here, but they are all completely brilliant.

First up is a Madvillain remix by Four Tet. I was reminded of this the other day when I was driving around and had the ipod on shuffle, a rarity for me. If the end result of shuffle is being reminded of a fantastic song/remix like this though, maybe I ought to “shuffle” more often.

Madvillain – Great Day (Four Tet Remix)

I’m a pretty big fan of David Axelrod. Both his solo stuff and his production work had that fully orchestrated white-boy funk feel that I love very dearly. Wanna feel like you are on your way to do something pretty awesome? Just throw an Axelrod album next time you are driving. Axelrod could be one of the most heavily sampled artists of all time, due in part to how epic a lot of his songs sound as well as the amazing drums he would track. DJ Shadow used “The Human Abstract” for “Midnight in a Perfect World” and Lil Wayne has “Holy Thursday backing him up on “Dr. Carter.” Today though, I’m handing over “Song of Innocence” from the album of the same name and a track by David McCallum called “The Edge,” a song Axelrod produced. That second one should sound a little familiar too. Oh, and yes it really is by this David McCallum, the man from U.N.C.L.E., the one who is now on “Navy NCIS”:

David Axelrod – Song Of Innocence

David McCallum – The Edge

The second of three remixes I’m putting up today is a Burial remix of “Where Is Home” by Bloc Party. Bloc Party has a pretty stellar record as far as remixes go, but until I heard this one I had been fairly disappointed with most of the “Weekend in the City” remixes. With all the hubbub surrounding Burial and the Mercury Prize, it seemed proper to put this up. When I first got this (it was released on the “Flux” single that came out a little bit ago) I had this on repeat, an act that takes a little extra effort with a record. Proof that Burial can turn just about anything into a total haunt-fest.

Bloc Party – Where Is Home (Burial Remix)

So, what of that eight minute song I was talking about? Here it is! It’s by Droids and was released on their 1978 album “Star Peace.” Most of the album are post-disco synth workouts, and its a really great album, but something about this song struck me. Instead of telling you about the song, I’m just going to give you directions on how to listen to it. Don’t force it. Let the song ride out and keep yourself from forcibly moving the song ahead. There is a reason it is this long, so be patient and the payoff is that much sweeter. This is Droid’s “Renaissance De L’amour,” let it wash over you.

Droids – Renaissance De L’amour

Next up is “Retina” by Apparat & Ellen Allien. Separately, I like these two alright, but their collaboration, 2006’s “Orchestra of Bubble,” wowed me. This is a great song for headphones, what with the synths pinging around in your head and the strings really mowing a straight line through all of it.

Apparat & Ellen Allien – Retina

The final remix I’m putting up is an M83 remix of the Midnight Juggernauts’ song “Shadows.” When I came across this remix it was a dream come true. I love both parties involved quite a bit, and I’ve often thought they have a lot more in common than most notice. While their music sounds radically different a lot of the time, both understand the mountain of glossy sound that synths can provide. Layers upon layers of synths do an epic sound make. Here M83 transforms “Shadows,” an epic disco stomp, into, well, an epic M83 song.

Midnight Juggernauts – Shadows (M83 Remix)

And finally, in what may be a little bit of a confusing move, the final song is by Blue Oyster Cult. Yup, shut up and hear me out. Bands that have really huge, massive, enormous songs often get that shaft when it comes to their back catalogue. “In Thee,” off of 1979’s “Mirrors,” could be one of the worlds most perfect soft-rock songs….ever. Just trust me. If you don’t have this song on repeat for a week you’ve seriously got some damage.

Blue Oyster Cult – In Thee

Enjoy!

Love,

John

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