November 25, 2009

Shred Wednesday | Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters

Did you think we'd clock out for the holiday without a little Shred? Never question the old prospector. He writes in brown, below.

Song: “Jungle Lion” by Lee “Scratch” Perry & The Upsetters
Skater: Lewis Marnell
Video: Nike; Nothing But The Truth (2007)
Prospector’s Top 3

1. Line; Nollie Backside 180, Switch Big-Spin Heel-Flip (3:04)
2. Switch Kickflip Backside Shifty (look closely!) (1:58)
3. Switch Hard-Flip (1:23)
After doing his best Lil’ Jon impersonation, Lewis Marnell proceeds to set himself apart as a cutting edge skate technician. Once again he’s at the top of his game with regular and switch tricks down rails, stair sets, and gaps.

Marnell’s music taste marks him as Shred’s first twice-featured skater. Perhaps we should have buffered with a more recognizable reggae classic, but why not get right into some “roots” with Lee "Scratch" Perry; an artist whom you’ve definitely heard of, but perhaps have never actually listened to. He’s amazing and here are a few reasons why: He’s responsible for recording (as an artist himself) or producing some of the most important reggae albums ever released. He was instrumental (no pun intended) in Bob Marley’s rise to mega-fame. He’s credited as one of the creators of Dub. And he’s listed on Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Not such a bad resume.

On a side note, I’m going to rate this week’s video NSFW (as our employed readers might not want their boss seeing a Rasta skateboarding to Reggae on their screen while considering annual reviews, slackers). Funny how such a tornado of non-corporate friendly content can represent Nike. Could it be that Nike is merely ‘pretending’ to be an authentic skate company? Purists originally opposed their leap onto skateboarding’s popularity-growing bandwagon, however things like the extraordinary salaries they pay their skaters and their vastly popular retro skate shoe line seem to alleviated such accusations.

Download | The Upsetters | Double Seven (1974)

I'm no reggae collector, but I do know that there are certain times and places where nothing fits any better. So when those situations present themselves, Double Seven should always be within a click away. Not that this is your prototypical "reggae" album. It bends genres (soul, psychedelia) enough to be considered progressive even outside of the reggae world. The jam.

November 24, 2009

Mixtape | A Happy Thanksgiving

We all get a little crazy this time of year. Planning, getting our workloads to a 'leavable' status, traveling, cooking, etc. It looks like S&S goes mixtape crazy. This one comes from Nate (the man behind other seasonal soundtracks like Scary Halloween and Pumpkin Moonshine), and makes me want to relax with wonderful people (and also wear sweatpants and max out on cranberry sauce). His liner notes:
Like preparing a classic Thanksgiving meal, I didn’t take many risks with this particular holiday mix. Most of the songs here are as standard and well proven as turkey and biscuits. Since there’s a huge lack of Thanksgiving jingles out there, (Alice’s Restaurant excluded) I didn’t have much to choose from. I went with some well-worn favorites that inspire warmth and peace in my heart and hopefully they will also in yours' and your dinner guests’. The artists on the mix are like the friends and family I would invite to Thanksgiving. I know them all very well and expect each one to bring a pie and a six-pack. All I ask is, before listening, please say grace: Bless us, O iTunes, and these Thy songs, which we are about to receive from Thy mix, through Nate, our guy who makes mixes. Amen.
Download | Nate's Mixtape | A Happy Thanksgiving

Nothing says get your feel good feast on like some twangy/folky gems (a few dating back to the 60s). Tell me MMJ's "Golden" isn't the warmest, beardiest hug ever?

View the tracklist here.

And have a great holiday.

Jerry Fuchs Benefit Show @ Mezzanine (SF; 11/20/09, Juan MacLean DJ set + Parallels]

We were fortunate enough to be in San Francisco last Friday for a special tribute to drummer Jerry Fuchs, who died tragically earlier this month. All profits of the event went towards Jerry's family.

"Jerry Fuchs was that totally fucking amazing monster drummer you saw play in at least one show in the last 10 years--it could have been with Maserati, Turing Machine, !!!, or the Juan MacLean, as he completely decimated his hapless kit and mesmerized everyone no matter what band he was in. He died early Sunday morning after falling down an elevator shaft at a Williamsburg loft party. He was 34. Jerry was a friend, an inspiration, and one hell of a drummer. I say this with no exaggeration: New York will never sound the same.

Jerry was a relentlessly amicable dude who could never hide the smile behind that mustache; he had the enviable ability to instantly shrug it off if he found out your website gave him a bad review (sorry about that, man). He was completely humble about the fact that he seemed to have life totally figured out. To anyone playing drums in New York, Jerry was more than a behemoth, he was a mythical figure: that completely unattainable combination of a total badass player who's constantly in demand, constantly recording an amazing project, and practically living on the road." ...definitely read more - Christopher Weingarten, The Village Voice

Parallels started things off with a high energy set, hitting their stride just as the room started to fill up. After a short break, The Juan MacLean frontman (John MacLean) took over as DJ, mixing a steady and very danceable stream of DFA inspired jams. All in attendance would probably agree that the full-scale moment of bliss came when Maclean hinted at, toyed with, and then totally unleashed Hercules and Love Affair's song of 08' "Blind". The rest is a little foggy. A sign of a great time, with great friends, honoring the life of a great person.

November 19, 2009

Mixtape | The Best Songs of 2009

Update: Due to the high volume of downloads, I've taken these links down.
I figured this might be a good teaser for the giant top 50 albums write-up that's in the works. Enjoy.

The Best Songs of 2009 [SIDE A]

Acting as a proper countdown to the best song of 2009, this mix is ordered as such. Like any list put together by some dude (this is me, Sutton), it's a subjective exercise in taste. Limited to one jam per artist and no tracks over 10 minutes (sorry, Destroyer). Criteria: I liked these songs more than any other songs released this year.

(click artwork for high-res, photo credits: madrepadre)

18. The Flaming Lips - "Borderline" (Madonna Cover)
tUnE-yArDs - "Fiya"
16. Suckers - "It Gets Your Body
15. Night Control - "Star 131"
Pictureplane - "Goth Star"
13. The xx - "Heart Skipped A Beat"
12. Phoenix - "1901"
11. Neon Indian - "Deadbeat Summer"
10. A Sunny Day In Glasgow - "Close Chorus"
09. Golden Silvers - "True no9 Blues (True Romance)"
08. Atlas Sound - "Shelia"
07. Memory Tapes - "Plain Material"
06. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - "Home"
Yeasayer - "Tightrope"
04. Girls - "Hellhole
03. Grizzly Bear - "While You Wait For The Others"
02. Animal Collective - "My Girls"
01. Dirty Projectors - "Useful Chamber"

The Best Songs of 2009 [SIDE B]

I know, sometimes the best can be predictable. SIDE B is a collection that's just as strong but maybe a little less played out. Sequenced by flow rather than rank. This was really fun.

01. Windmill - "Big Boom"
02. Best Coast- "Sun Was High (So Was I)"
03. Handsome Furs - "All We Want, Baby, Is Everything"
04. Delorean - "Seasun"
05. Smith Westerns - "Diamond Boys"
06. Freelance Whales - "Generator ^ 1st Floor"
07. Built To Spill - "Life's A Dream"
08. Real Estate - "Beach Comber"
09. Micachu & The Shapes - "Turn Me Well"
10. Circlesquare - "Dancers"
11. Cymbals Eat Guitars - "Wind Phoenix"
12. Phantogram - "Mouthful Of Diamonds"
13. Solid Gold - "Bible Thumper"
14. The Antlers - "Bear"
15. Ganglians - "Voodoo"
16. Matias Aguayo - "Rollerskate (Radio Edit)"
17. The Mantles - "Don't Lie"
18. Future Islands - "Little Dreamer (Jones Remix) [ft. Victoria Legrand]"
19. The Drums - "Down By the Water"
20. Antony and the Johnsons - "Another World"
The aforementioned giant post is an inevitable burn out, so all blurb/praise has been reserved for that. Stay tuned.

November 18, 2009

Shred Wednesday | Black Merda

Let's just let the Prospector get on up and get into it:

Song: “Cynthy Ruth (alt-take)” by Black Merda
Skater: Ben Skrzypek
Video: Black Label; God Save the Label (2009)
Prospector’s Top 3
1.) Switch Heel-Flip Tailslide (0:46)
2.) Big Spin (2:02)
3.) Nollie Frontside Heel to Switch Hill-bomb (2:55)
It’s good to see fellow Northeasterner’ Ben Skrzypek make it on “The Label.” This San Francisco based company used to be synonymous with death-metal ramp skaters and have obviously done a lot to give their team some diversity. So far most videos on Shred have featured “pros,” but Ben is still “am.” This may or not be noticeable. He’s got a little ways to go, but currently has some good tech tricks on lock, skates switch really well, and has a pension for jumping over fire-hydrants.

I like that Shred’s Season II has started off with a few funky tracks. Black Merda’s (alt-take) is a great find. Their Hendrix influence is strong enough for listeners to wonder if it's a Jimi B-Side. And you might recognize a few riffs, since they are often sampled in hip-hop.

Download | Black Merda | The Folks From Mother's Mixer (recorded 1970-1972, compiled in 2005)

This is a lot of JAM for one sitting. Black Merda had two albums in the early 70s, each loved by the underground but kept from the masses due to poor promotion (and perhaps not the most marketable name). This release put them in one bin, giving cult fans a deserving upgrade in quality and the band a resurgence which inspired them to reunite.

It's a unique crossing of psychedelic soul, funk, timeless rock and a dose of Motown (they were from Detroit). Give it a whirl.

November 17, 2009

Quick | Beach House's Teen Dream

Is this the first great album of 2010? It's certainly the first big one to leak. What are we supposed to do with this thing? Sure it's already stunning (it's Beach House), but we're in 09' reflection mode here. Now all I want to do is chill with this record (when I'm supposed to be making end of year lists because "people love lists"). Time to multitask.

Beach House | Teen Dream (2010)

The "Used To Be" video premiered this time last year and at the time it felt slightly out of place with the vibe of Beach House's Devotion (our second favorite album of 08'). It now has a home, and from what a few spins reveal, a very good home.

On Teen Dream, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scully bring us to a place just as warm, if not warmer than anything previously. They recorded
in a converted church in Upstate New York, which of course suited their trademark delicate dream pop. Surprisingly with that though, comes their most active songs to date. Something Legrand commented on, "There's a different kind of intimacy, a physicality."

November 13, 2009

Friday Send-Off | The Mantles

Since this video borrows from the 1973 film Paper Moon and that works really well (and because I felt like a San Francisco post but didn't think that risque new Girls video needed more hits), The Mantles are today's smiling welcome to the weekend.

Tatum O'Neil was a super talented kid.

Download | The Mantles | The Mantles (2009)

Nothing new happening on this debut, but nothing boring either. I'm getting sick of hazy garage production for the sake of aesthetic, but exceptions can be made for good old fashioned pop songs.

GvB sent me in The Mantles direction, so let me send you back to Chris for a download of "Don't Lie". UPDATE: album now available above.

November 11, 2009

Shred Wednesday | Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

We were gonna wait and come 'back by popular demand', but there's no use playing hard to get here. Shred is a weekly regular until further notice. And Ian still writes in brown, below:

Song: “I'm Not Gonna Cry” by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Skater: Shuriken Shannon
Video: Osiris; Feed the Need (2007)
Prospectors Top 3:
1. Switch Kickflip (3:19)
2. Line: Frontside Crooks; ollie up to nollie nose-grind (2:20)
3. Varial Heelflip (1:19)
Shuriken Shannon is bringing the funk back to skating, and I think people are beginning to wonder why he isn’t real well-known yet. He’s currently blowing up the Bay Area scene as The Label’s new premier rider and just scored the final part in their new video (soon to be featured on S&S). He skates with a care-free style that makes everything look easy. Dreadlocks flying, Shurikens' freakin skating is as badass as his name.

Also on the rise is the musical act featured, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Their sound mirrors the funk/soul from the late 60’s/early 70’s, in it’s purest form. They record using analog rather than digital to capture a more authentic sound. It’s refreshing for a “sound snob” like myself to listen to recording quality that sounds this good. Word on the street is that the only thing they do better than achieve a great recording sound is perform live. Sharon Jones has already been dubbed a “female James Brown,” and I’m going to leave the rest of this to Sutton, who’s seen them first hand.

Download | Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings | Naturally (2005)

What this band pulls off goes far beyond the terms "throwback" or "revivalist" that their commercial counterparts like Amy Winehouse often earn. It's the real deal. Partly because Sharon Jones has really lived it: she started her career in the 70s singing back-up vocals for disco and funk records, eventually moving to gospel, and then away from music altogether, working as a corrections officer and armored car guard. Nowadays, she's royalty. Her journey is worth reading. Just as her commanding, soulful presence is worth witnessing, and this selected 2005 record is worth hearing.

The skate part above features a lone single from 2007 (expect it on our next mix), so instead enjoy Naturally, a modern funk masterpiece.
With such vintage arrangements, you might initially assume these are all classic cover songs, but the record's only reworking is Woodie Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land", and that might as well be Sharon's own when she's done with it.

If you dig, you really can't go wrong with any of their 3 studio albums.

November 10, 2009

Mixtape | Teen Age Dance Party

Our resident mixtape man is back and he wants you to dance. Nate's liner notes below:
The Nate’s Party Mix Series is an ongoing collection of new hot tunes to blast at your next bash. Since everyday is not a holiday, to appease our social gathering appetite sometimes you just gotta step up and throw a party. If you need an excuse, don’t worry, there’s plenty: you got a new job, you got fired form your job, you got a cool hair cut, you had no cavities at the dentist, you found five bucks in your old winter jacket… The reasons are erroneous, the outcome is what matters, and the outcome should always be dancing. Like a great party, a great dance track should inspire you to do things out of the norm, go outside your comfort zone… The song is a hand and you’re a puppet moving your arms and feet at will with its all-controlling fingers. Focusing on the always en vogue trend of old being the new, new, Teen Age Dance Party has a soft spot for an array of recent retro inspired tunes. Don’t be afraid if they make your hips sway in a unfamiliar way, that’s just the old soul in you pulling your marinate strings. Have a fun I Just Got A Cool Hair Cut Party.
Download | Mixtape | Teen Age Dance Party

He mentioned comfort zones. When it comes to dancing, I personally don't have one. But it seems I do when it comes to music. Honestly (and slightly embarrassingly), I rarely listen to hip hop, and especially anything current (outside of your occasional DJ set). Teen Age Dance Party isn't shy when it comes to rhymes (not to mention a shameless guilty pleasure of an opening track), so I thank Nate for pushing it. Because we should push it, real good. Right?

You'll also find a few S&S regulars (see: tags) and some damn good hybrids to bridge the gap. "Ambling Alp" is now officially entered into the running for 'song of the year'. And that new Casablancas jam sounds better coming off the heels of "Havin My Baby" than it does on its own album.

This debuted at our own little bash last Saturday night, and let's just say: things got weird. View the tracklist here.

November 6, 2009

Friday Send-Off | Golden Silvers

I can't get enough of this. It's like The Clash covering Bowie's "Let's Dance" at Studio 54 (which is a chronological mindfuck):

Download | Golden Silvers | True Romance (2009, .rar)

London's Golden Silvers are a pretty big deal over the pond. Not sure why they aren't more of one here. Plenty of videos for us blogs to pick from: the intoxicating "Arrows of Eros", sweet ditty "Please Venus", and the "True no. 9 Blues (True Romance)" meme above. True Romance is fresh in a hearing the Arctic Monkeys for first time kind of way. And it's all lighthearted, even when they slow it down. I'm guessing these guys would rule live.

Have fun. Be safe. Get weird.

November 4, 2009

Mixtape | Shred Wednesday

S&S proudly presents the Shred Wednesday Mixtape. Since June, Guest-author Ian and I have been diving into the musical selections of our favorite skateboarding videos. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring this taste-shaping combination of art forms. Hopefully you've had fun with it too. Odds are, you haven't flooded your iTunes with all 20+ hours of albums that these posts have covered. So here's the best of the best.

Download | Mixtape | Shred Wednesday

After each hump day, Ian added another gem to his Shred playlist, and probably somewhere around Curtis Mayfield, realized this might become a rad mix. I think we're both a bit surprised at how many plays it's been getting. Who knew M83 could segue Bowie to the Stones? Who even knew of The Chocolate Watchband?

Be patient, it's a big mediafire zip.

Tracklist, linked up with respective articles:

01. Herbie Hancock - "Watermelon Man" [Guy Mariano's part in Mouse]
02. Animal Collective - "In the Flowers" [Jason Dill's part in Mindfield]
03. Dinosaur Jr. - "Crumble" [Mikey Taylor's part in Mindfield]
04. Old Canes - 'Face It' [from Dennis Busenitz part in Roll Forever]
05. Modest Mouse - "Paper Thin Walls" [Stefan Janowski's part in Subleties]
06. Iggy Pop - "Some Weird Sin" [James Brockman's part in New Blood]
07. Curtis Mayfield - "Move On Up" [Lewis Marnell's part in Cheese and Crackers]
08. John Lennon - "Watching the Wheels" [Nick Trapasso's part in And Now]
09. Elliott Smith - "Son Of Sam" [John White's part in Fun]
10. The Cure - "Close To Me (Closer Mix)" [Kevin Long's part in This Is Skateboarding]
11. Jimi Hendrix - "One Rainy Wish" [Tony Cervantes' part in Ride The Sky]
12. Arcade Fire - "No Cars Go" [Mike Mo Capaldi's part in Fully Flared]
13. David Bowie - "Width of a Circle" [Bryan Herman's part in Baker 3]
14. M83 - "Lower Your Eyelids To Die With the Sun" [Intro to Fully Flared]
15. The Rolling Stones - "Monkey Man" [Kerry Getz part in Inhabitants]
16. The Chocolate Watchband - "Baby Blue" [Stefan/Ed in Inhabitants Africa]
17. Groundhogs - "Cherry Red" [Dylan Rieder's part in A Time To Shine]
18. Modeselektor (feat. Thom Yorke) - "The White Flash" [Tyler Bledsoe's part in Mindfield]
19. Roxy Music - "The BOB (Medley)" - [Andrew Reynold's part in Baker 3]
20. Gray Matter - "I am the Walrus" - [Geoff Rowley's part in Sorry]
Thank you all for encouraging us to keep this little project going. We'll catch you on the flipside.

November 2, 2009

Pretty Excited About | Phantogram

It's been a good couple of years for easy-to-digest, synth-driven, dream-gazing, psyche-pop bands - especially ones from New York. So good we might be growing tired of them, and that sucks for Phantogram because their hype-train may invite a critical derailing, when it rightfully deserves the same greenlights that bands like say Chairlift have enjoyed (and yes, earned). Truth be that Saratoga Springs isn't exactly Brooklyn, and Phantogram's sound isn't exactly the above descriptors (it's the above descriptors plus a random and awesome dosage of trip-hop).

Phantogram | Eyelid Movies (2009)

After an alarming amount of replays, it's got to be the "street beats", a term coined by Josh Carter, one half of this girl-guy duo, that really make
Eyelid Movies. Sarah Barthel sails her warm voice above them while Carter strums distortion right through them. It's an odd yet rewarding dynamic.

"Mouthful of Diamonds", which leaped out of their debut EP earlier this year, also wastes no time here as the album's lead off and perhaps best summary of their brand. "When I'm Small" follows, and proves to be a close second. And this thing isn't even front-loaded. Eyelid Movies gets official release in February 2010, so my link would promptly be removed (you know the drill).