Heathers ruled our list of frequently played tunes this year, and today Michael Francis of the band created this crazy amazing guest mix, Double Knots in Paradise. Stream the mix below via 8tracks and read up on Michael’s track choices below:
SIDE A “I Want to Be Lonely”
1. “All Day Long” – Shop Assistants : Just too bloody fucking cool. I can’t think of much more to say. Perfect pop song, perfect band. Effortless cool.
2. “Fifteen” – Standard Fare : Who knew you could sing a song about fucking a fifteen year old and not only get away with it but pull it off with charm and silly grace that really only Standard Fare are capable of? Plus, christ, that climbing melody at the chorus. They were one of a kind. “This isn’t right/I don’t want to have to stay the night/well six hours of my life just wanting you….” We’ve all been there, and fuck if this isn’t what it sounds like.
3. “The Well of Loneliness” – McCarthy : For my money, McCarthy (who would clearly have none of it, the Marxicissits) are nearly criminally underrated. It’s nice seeing Felt get some of the adoration they deserve in recent years, but I feel like McCarthy is still our thinly-kept secret. Though Gaine went on to bigger things with Stereolab, McCarthy’s the one for me. Brilliant melodies, brilliant lyrics, perfect chiming guitars, and this one may be the finest of them all (with the exception of “Red Sleeping Beauty” perhaps, but then again: naturally). “I once thought that fame and romance could drag me out of hell/but they have only chained me here in a life-like prison cell” — this.
4. “Paradise is for the Blessed” – Television Personalities : Having come late and unaccompanied to Television Personalities in my early twenties I don’t really know how their albums are regarded, and I discovered 1991′s Privilege by accident or dint of its availability on the internet and it has always been my favorite TVPs album. This song is just absolute beauty. Treacy does Morrissey and I love it. This here is the song I’m always trying to write. There’s a bridge ahead but I just don’t know if I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it — how many times I’ve seen the path before me and chose instead to stay in bed.
5. “Eleanor (The City & Sea)” – The Secret History : Really I wish that this mix tape could just be the entirety of The Secret History’s masterpiece Americans Singing in the Dark. Indiepop hangers-around will recognize the gorgeous mug of frontman Michael Grace, Jr. from his beloved My Favorite. It’s a shame that The Secret History aren’t the toast of the moneyed deweyed record label executives & music fans alike the world over because here are some of the most wonderful and compelling songs around today. Not to mention that Michael is a total charm. Have you heard about the television series we’re working on together? It’s called Sad Men and it’s about two sad miserable pop singers who work miserable jobs in miserablist advertising. I’ll send you a spec script once we’ve got it. Michael should be working on it, I think. It’s his gorgeous thing, really. Mikey?
6. “Sportswriting” – Little Big League : I feel like I’m approaching each of these songs with the mindset of “this is my favorite thing in the world ever” — but then again I guess in a way each one of these songs is, if only for different reasons. I haven’t listened to any single LP as much as Little Big League’s debut These Are Good People in ages, so yeah, I’m properly obsessed with it. This song in particular resonates with me: “I wonder when the summer comes and I still wanna drive to your parents’ house, if you live somewhere else?” There’s really no need to go into it, but this song brings back that terrible beat-skipping sigh of exaltation every summer during college when (oh you know who you are) I’d drive through the valley and for a moment catch a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror of my memory driving to your parents’ house pretending that we were not falling hopelessly in love (and who were we fooling, anyway?). Oh, and christ, that voice. I will say that it’s funny that LBL’s singer’s name is Michelle and let you guess at why.
7. “Fold” – Pity Sex : I have fallen in love with this record recently and listened to it as many as five times in a row in one night drinking and reading Franzen. It’s not necessarily anything I haven’t heard before in other forms but it paints a beautiful picture with old colors and as such I am invited to not only witness the birth of a new painting but rethink the colors I thought I knew. If you haven’t heard this record, change that fact immediately. The entire thing is beautiful. “Fold,” the album’s closing track, is especially haunting, with singer Britty Drake out Bilinda Butchering Bilinda Butcher, to wide-eyed spine-chilling effect. Ugh, in love. Bonus points for the best band name ever.
8. “Sisters are Forever” – Sexy Kids : Yes my dear, those voices do sound familiar because they belong to Roxanne and Patrick from Slumberland darlings (and I mean absolute darlings) and generally agreed-upon best band in indiepop since 2010 Veronica Falls! Before they split Glasgow for London and formed Veronica Falls, Roxanne and Patrick were in a band called Sexy Kids who, to my knowledge, released one single on our favorites SLR before calling it quits. And HOLY SHIT it really is one of the finest 7″s ever released. That’s pretty much it. My copy is on pink vinyl, because of course. Bonus points for second best band name ever.
9. “Dress Up in You” – Belle & Sebastian : This is probably my favorite song of all time. I was surprised to find suddenly that The Life Pursuit and I have become inseparable. It has ascended to the position of favorite Belle & Sebastian album (if not favorite album of all time). It is one of my desert island essentials. I am not always in the mood the listen to it (although lately I listen to it every morning), but I do not want to live in a world where it’s no more than a click away. Murdoch at his lyrical height and the band as tight as an expert double knot tied by sailors coming home. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I really fell for this record (until then, it was If You’re Feeling Sinister or bust) but now I can’t live without it. It was practically all I listened to while living in London in January of this year and so a part of me will always live in that flat on Junction Rd. in North London sat at the glass kitchen table with the window open and snow sweetly falling down listening to Stuart Murdoch’s sad song about someone who is now just a memory and feeling my memory swirl with his. Ah.
SIDE B “You Put the Sad in Sadist”
10. “Cream Soda” – Playlounge : These YUNGxLNDNxPUNX fucking rule. Had the privilege to play a show with them in London in January and it was a blast. There’s something in the air in the UK right now. Breathe it in, you pretty bastards.
11. “Sometimes” – Dream Boys : Dream Boys are my favorite band in Los Angeles right now. Their record is fantastic. They’re even better live. We’ve played a handful of shows with them and each time I see them play my face hurts from smiling so hard. A+ pop, a cut above the rest. Oh and Wallace, their guitarist, is left handed like me and is from Scotland, so yeah. And their bassist is named Will Ivy (that is his REAL name) which wins for best name of the 21st century (only given competition by Black Sea’s Cole Devine). Ah, this band is perfect. I love their faces to pieces. Also, they thrifted a bunch of shirts to screen print for band merch and the one I bought is a yellow v-neck flower print ladies shirt i.e. the most dashing article of clothing I own. Kisses.
12. “Room In Your Heart” – The Rosehips : Papa Slumber turned me on to the Rosehips through a Kid Frostbite mix a few years ago and then by a stroke of beautiful coincidence, Glenn Rosehips himself did our very first interview for UK mag Louder Than War. Anyway, they were a great fucking band and this is a proper capital t Tune.
13. “Poor Old Soul, pt. 2″ – Orange Juice : Oh, Edwyn. While we’ll always turn to “Blue Boy” to get the blood racing, this one is the one for me. The way Edwyn’s voice bends and wavers on “rogue” and the chanting at the end: NO MORE ROCK N ROLL FOR YOU. How many times I’ve wanted to shout that at everyone. Also, who else but our dear Edwyn could pull of with such cheeky charm lyrics like “the harlequin, the rogue, defending the meek/his tongue tucked firmly in his cheek”? Critically deft. Edwyn’s mockery of all those hip-hugging-hangers-on is as pointed today as it was thirty years ago. We all know who the poor old souls are and I at least will not be a part of their scene.
14. “Correctional” – Michael Vidal : Erstwhile Abe Vigoda frontman Michael Vidal released an absolutely gorgeous mini-album on cassette called Dream Center. It’s beautifully arranged, wonderfully executed, and intimately hushed in a way that brings you so close to the glass that you can’t see your breath fogging it. Truly one of the most beautiful releases of the year.
15. “You’re the One for Me, Fatty” – Morrissey : Do I even need to comment on this one? Blasted through Moz’s autobiography and came out much better for it.
16. “Ecotone” – Places to Hide : One of my favorite records of the year. Just so fucking good. And this song has the best lyric of 2013, hands down: “I cried myself to sleep again, I know that that’s not punk.” These dudes fucking rule.
17. “A Case of You” – Joni Mitchell : There is no other love song.
18. “I Heard Her Call My Name” – The Velvet Underground : RIP Lou. It was because of you that my mind split open.