MixtapEP #14: Audra to Jesse
1. El Perro Del Mar, “Innocence is Sense”
AW: This is NOT what I expected from El Perro Del Mar, either sonically or visually! Does it surprise you? It’s so spooky! Is all of her stuff super spooky and I just hear it differently when I remember it?
It seems really abstract in every way. WHAT ARE THE WORDS WHAT IS SHE SAYING? WHAT ARE THE MOVES SHE IS DANCING? I like the beginning more than the end. I wish it built into something with more vocals.
JD: Wow this is not what I expected at all either, but I like it better than anything else she’s done since the self-titled record! I guess the words are not in some English probably. Perhaps that is also the case with the dance moves. [This is a very funny joke. -AW]
I do think her stuff has been on the verge of spooky before, but not in this way. The visuals probably contribute to that a lot. I was annoyed at first that it wasn’t shot in a consistent style, in terms of the type of grain and colour, but then I got the idea that that was probably very intentional and maybe even the whole point of the video. The video is very early 90s “alternative,” don’t you think?
AW: Yeah!! I feel like I’m seeing that a lot lately! I wonder what that’s about? I guess … nostalgia?
JD: I don’t dislike it but I wouldn’t have the patience to watch it through again.
The best and worst thing I can think of to say about the song itself is that I don’t really care if I hear it again either, but that if this is what her new record sounds like then I really want to hear THAT.
AW: Me too!
2. Zaki Ibrahim, “Heart Beat”
AW: Okay I guess this is a boring house-music beat, but I don’t care. This woman is so charismatic I cannot even stand it. The BOW TIE. The gap in her teeth! The grinning! The running! I am going to make the Dirty Projectors comparison again on the harmonies, and hardly even feel that bad that I don’t know more bands.
I want to hear a remix album of just different versions of this song. Zaki Ibrahim is friends with Jessica Kaya, so probably that isn’t the MOST impossible musical dream I’ve had (see my dream split 7-inch that has Liz Phair covering Iggy Pop’s 5’1” on one side and Iggy Pop covering Liz Phair’s 6’ 1” on the other).
JD: Remember the first time you asked me “do you know what my dream split 7” is?” and I was so excited that you even had ANY dream split 7”???
Yeah this video is great. I’m not going to complain about the house music - all I listen to lately is Azealia Banks! The other day someone referred to house music as being for/by white people and my impatience was PALPABLE. Phew! But also I wouldn’t listen to this song as it is most of the time, because it is pretty much some house music and no-one is doing jaw-dropping raps over it, just nice singing.
I will weigh in with my contrasting opinion on the harmonies - I think they are very UN-like Dirty Projectors. They sound like pretty comfortable jazzy/bluesy (but not blues) scales, like a lot of R’n’B since the 90s has incorporated. I think maybe that one Dirty Projectors R’n’B song is colouring your estimation here! The rest of their harmonies are INSANE.
I really like hearing the song while watching the video, in any case, because as you have ably indicated, Ms Ibrahim is a walking (and running) charisma fountain.
3. Holy Hail, “Born Of A Star”
AW: Did you ever wonder what happened to one-third of the Fannypack ladies? I think the video is not super well done but I guess the dude who did it is super famous so who am I to criticize? I like seeing a woman play electric guitar, and I like the handclap beats. Also I think I could probably mimic the dance that Cat Marnell does and that might be my new signature dance floor move. (Previous move: falling over.).
JD: Hahaha falling over is not your only previous move. There is the shruggy dance as well, and also that dance where you make uncomfortably enthusiastic faces in a never-ending sequence. Oh and you tapdance on rap records HELLO.
AW: I like that you said that falling over isn’t my ONLY previous move.
JD: I have bad news about the woman playing electric guitar: no performing musicians were harmed in the production of this song. So she is kind of just an objectified ringer to stand in for the sampled SOUND of one guitar note that’s being triggered in this song. Same with the drums, so even the long-awaited victory of finally seeing some white guy playing the drums has been robbed of its significance.
AW: Ha. Fine.
JD: Yeahhh this song and video failed to make me feel a way. I feel like the director remembers what Michel Gondry used to do for White Stripes and Chemical Brothers and thought to his or herself “well… why don’t I do something almost like that but in the easiest way possible?” I feel like these exact effects - which are pretty cool in isolation - could have been used to much better purpose with more of a vision to bring the whole video together.
Like I’m sorry I just don’t care about these infinite drum guy nautilus shapes shimmying into oblivion… but on paper that sounds GREAT.
4. Peggy Sue, “Song & Dance”
AW: OBVIOUSLY I am also going to learn this dance. And OBVIOUSLY it is the dance that sold me on this song at first. It sounded really 90’s at first, but I love the production so much. It has elements of some of the things I love about Pony da Look, mainly the way it just takes up a lot of sonic SPACE and is like “Look at me!” and is really unapologetic about that. That type of production feels really feminist to me.
JD: Heyy now we’re talking! I like this track a lot! I mean I also love things that sound really 90s, like for example many things which were produced in the 90s, and I didn’t get tired of this kind of rock in the 90s because I only listened to rap in the 90s, so this works out for me just fine.
AW: Yeah it sounds like Helium a lot, true!
JD: I am not sure what Helium sounded like but I believe you. I think they sound and look tough as hell.
I like the dancing and the dancers all individually but I am at this point in my life where when I see a bunch of people and they’re all white I don’t just see a bunch of people anymore, I see a bunch of White People, and it feels creepy. (It is obviously something I contribute to in my own art, social life, and family photos, but I’m not comfortable with it anymore.)
This video is basically like GIRLS (the HBO series, not the gender) in that it looks great, I like the ideas in it, it’s kind of mean in content but kind in execution, and everyone’s white by accident.
AW: This is an interesting point.
JD: Thanks Audra!
5. Rachel Goodrich, “Lightbulb”
AW: Last week, 90% of what I listened to was Rachel Goodrich’s self-titled album that this song is from. It’s like Princess Chelsea meets Piggy? Meets some animals?
JD: I wish it was Princess Chelsea meets Piggy meets THE Animals.
AW: The whole thing is SO precious. It also has handclaps. I WANT TO GO TO THE PARTY AT THE END OF THIS VIDEO SO BAD. Also I love how adorably dorky the girl is. Everyone is having the best time. I need a trumpet and I need to learn to play it.
JD: You can borrow my trumpet any time! I was moving boxes around this morning and I took it out and reminded myself that *I* sure as heck can’t play the darn thing! Sorry for swearing but SHOOT.
[Conversation to make actual arrangements for Audra to borrow Jesse’s trumpet redacted]
JD: I’m going to have to coin a saying now that I expect to take off like a wildfire… This 1’s 2 3 4 me!
Get it? ”3” has to kind of sound like “twee” for it to work I mean I guess that’s not obvious. Okay I mean now it’s pretty embarrassing but it’s out there so moving on. I like the arrangement of this song but it doesn’t speak to me otherwise.
I wish the whole video had the filter used for the moment of fake old-timey camera because I don’t love the colours in the outdoor scene. They’re flat and drab and look like cheap kid’s TV from the 90s (ok there are some things I don’t miss from the 90s). I don’t get how they didn’t process that at all if they were going for a kaleidoscopic wonderland vibe. The indoor stuff looks better. The dorky girl is pretty cool.
6. Dan Mangan, “About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All”
AW: The fourth and final video in this pEP that features choreographed dance moves. (I was gonna say “People dancing in sync”, but then I realized that the Holy Hail video doesn’t have more than one person dancing at a time, that’s just an EFFECT.)
My confession about the inclusion of this song is that I had pretty much decided it was gonna go in as soon as I saw the amazing title. It isn’t what I was expecting at ALL, musically, because I feel like solo musicians who want to make UNUSUAL music don’t do it as just their OWN NAME, they call themselves WOLF EYES or FINAL FANTASY or MOZART or something.
What I like about this is the instrumentation that is like a marching band, but I’m not 100% sold on the singing because we already have The Pogues. I don’t know. What do you think of it?
JD: The title is a winner. The title is a CHAMPION. The song is less brutally victorious but I do like it - “don’t count the feathers, just count the wings” is a great line.
JD: I had been meaning to start paying attention to danmangan for years now - I wrote his name down after seeing it in an ad in Exclaim!@?# Magazine but didn’t follow through and now he’s like the most popular beardy man in wooden guitar music of Canada. Right? Oh my god I’m an amazing writer.
AW: Hahaha. Fact.
JD: (I don’t want to step on your MOZART joke so I am writing down here that it was REALLY funny.)
I like many things about this video. The shot with the confetti is just great. The costumes of the dancers are very individual.
AW: I really like that sentence!
JD: I’m not wild about the clutter but I recognize it likely means something. I am confused as to why the dancers are required to be in quadroon-face makeup, but as mr manganmandan winds up that way at the climax of the thing, I guess that probably means something too. And it is probably not intended to address ethnicity that is just kind of among my lenses lately. For wondering things.
7. Brooke Fraser, “Something in the Water”
AW: I LOVE the animation in this. It reminds me of Heather Harkins. Also I fell in love with this song in the first two lines, when she goes from referring to herself in the first person to the third person. I like the rhythm of the song and that there is clapping in it. Also she is wearing a dress with a big floppy neckbow and I think we all know how I feel about those (positively). She sticks her tongue out at the end of the video and it is adorbs.
I found out about her because she sang in the Flight of the Conchords’ charity single “Feel Inside and Stuff Like That”. (You should watch that video right away, if you haven’t.)
JD: I really like the way the song sounds! It sounds big and like it was recorded in the same room as “Little Talks” by Of Monsters And Men.
The opening lines are great but my attention was taken by the video from there. All of the sitting in a room shots reminded me of our video, and made me worried that we missed out by having the camera not zooming in and out for those shots. [Our video is perfect. -AW]
She has a lot of outfits but her hair is always wet.
AW: Something in the WATER, Jesse. The WATER.