Over the past few months, we've been getting in touch with bands, celebrities and more to ask them to create eight-song-long mixtapes for YOU. So crack out your Walkman and enjoy...
Hailing from New York, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart’s upbeat indie rock has earned them a legion of fans across the globe. Last year’s sophomore release, Belong, impressed music critics and fans alike, and the group have seen their popularity grow as a result. Kip from the band took some time to let us know which eight songs you should be listening to right now…
Yo la Tengo -Sugarcube
Yo la Tengo would likely be twice as famous if they had broken up instead of releasing great record after great record for the last 25 years. It’s pretty unfair, as they eschew most of the stale “rock myths” while making incredible rock music. They’re humble and they’re awesome. Plus their videos are also pretty awesome, especially the one for this song.
Fear of Men - Born
We recently toured with this Brighton-based band. They were really superb, and this song especially stood out (and it’s a b-side!). It’s hard to talk about them because they seem removed from any readily identifiable contemporary trend. In the UK, young bands are often treated like seasonal catalogues by the press - and it creates an unhealthy priority on commercial viability from the moment they form. To their credit, Fear of Men seem unhurried in developing a sound, and refreshingly oblivious to pleasing the current “cool” set.
Bad Dream Fancy Dress - Choirboy Gas
This is probably my favourite release on one of my favourite record labels (El Records). Bad Dream Fancy Dress were two young women from Leigh on Sea who wrote clever, leftfield, and thoroughly accomplished pop songs about curry, lemon tarts, schoolboys and (English) footballers from the 70s. I don’t even know what else to say - they’re punk in ways I can’t begin to describe, subverting rock and roll convention and contemporary notions of what pop music should look and sound like.
North of Cornwallis - Billy Liar
I like how light this song feels, it’s so buoyant and unconcerned by trying to sound anything remotely like rock and roll. But it’s not fake cute or overtly naive. It’s classic indiepop, all soaring vocals and bright jangly guitars. The lyrics aren’t of the “whoah is me, some girl doesn’t like my sad ass” variety either.
The House of Love - Love in a Car
There are probably more immediate House of Love songs. Christine, Destroy the Heart and Shine On could all be mixtape staples for any generation. But this song always feels a bit more unhinged. There’s a frailty here that is touching - especially for a band that was always trying to become the next big world conquering arena band.
Catherine Wheel - The Nude
God, this song just destroys.
Francoise Hardy - Meme Sous La Pluie
La Question is an incredible album, it’s so restrained compared to a lot of her other records that can go a bit heavy on the orchestration. Meme Sous La Pluie is two minutes long and consists of only a cascading, fingerpicked acoustic guitar and Hardy’s voice - and that’s plenty.
Destroyer - Destroyer's The Temple
There are only a few contemporary lyricists I admire. Everyone seems so serious, so joyless - and so empty. It’s fine if you have nothing much to say, but at least try to say that nothing in an interesting way. That’s not Daniel Bejar’s problem. He seems to have no limit to his ability to twist language into clever, ornate and thoroughly beautiful forms. And just because those forms are often non-linear and perversely abstract, it doesn’t mean they’re devoid of substance. As he sings “there’s joy in being barred from the temple,” it’s easy to see the line as a perfect encapsulation of what it’s like to always live and make music on the periphery of acceptance. It’s not a bad thing to be rejected by the gatekeepers of good taste or commercial appeal - it’s liberating.