Most mixtapes are tied together with a cohesive theme, some on the topic of love for a special someone, others with fury for that bad day. Some mixtapes are lush with clever wordplay and focus on connections in the lyrics, titles, and hooks of songs. We make mixtapes to wake us up, to bang our head to at parties, to celebrate a change in season, to commemorate a break-up, or dance to while cleaning our house. I considered all these options while piecing together complex lists of tracks and sifting through records searching for songs that would convey a sought after message. Finally, while speaking to a friend about my dilemma, he offered a simple solution “People just want to listen to awesome music,” he said, “put together a mixtape with new jams you enjoy and don’t worry about the concept.” So this mixtape is to you friends, treasure these thirteen tracks knowing that I’ve spent the past few weeks dancing in front of the air conditioner, lip-syncing on the bus to work, and vacuuming the house wearing only underpants to.
To those personal friends I share music with regularly and are away for the summer, I miss your presence and your concert update text messaging is appreciated, I look forward to many future iPod swaps, coffee house exchanges, and shout-out-loud new release celebrations. To those readers I haven’t been fortunate enough to meet yet, if you enjoy Ca Va Cool and find yourself twisting and shouting to this bunch of tracks know that we’ve already made the first step to a super-best-friendship. So whether it’s a bad day, a blossoming romance, or just a picnic in the sun, remember to spread the love and share, because sharing is caring. Without further ado, Ca Va Cool says cheers to friends, summertime, and awesome music.
Download | Dear Friends Mixtape
Last Summer Delorean gave us their Ayrton Senna EP, this summer the Spaniards have composed another gem with Subiza. The Barcelona-based quartet strikes a fine balance between carefree dance music and Back to the Future sentimentality. Subiza is categorized as a combination of “beach rave” and “the sound of Ibiza”, call it what you will as the upbeat melodies and mixed vocals of Delorean will have you running to the coast in high spirits.
The aptly named ‘Maximalist’ is a beautiful abstract of breaks, snares, and glitch. The single comes from bedroom producer Will Wiesenfeld’s record Cerulean. The busy dynamics of ‘Maximalist’ blend flawlessly with the sonic elements of Cerulean employing walls of layered vocals to hold you captive as you’re bombarded with hard-hitting drums. The stylistic elements of ‘Maximalist’ are a vibrant mash of contemporary washed out beats with textured piano shepherding you to collapse through apocalyptic drops.
Sometimes I think James Murphy does what he wants just so he can revel with what he gets away with. He’s brought back disco, shamed drunk girls, and rocked a salt-and-pepper beard – just because. ‘You Wanted a Hit’ comes from the wrecking ball of sound that is This Is Happening, as Murphy goes on singing, “Yeah you wanted it smart / But honestly, I’m not smart / No, honestly, we’re never smart / We fake it, fake it all the time.” If you haven’t had this track on heavy rotation yet your life is a sham – and James Murphy is very disappointed.
When I listen to ‘Long Flight’ or anything on the Future Island’s record In Evening Air,I imagine that this is what singing wizards sound like. The vocals are incredibly particular as J. Gerrit Welmers sounds like a bellowing Dan Deacon shooting rainbows from his haggard cane as he rides into a sunset upon the back of a unicorn. ‘Long Flight’ doesn’t trifle with inconveniences such as using a chorus, but opts to loop disjointed refrains instead. The result is a memorable track with a dense rhythm section, lo-fi guitars, and quirky storytelling that’ll have you coming back to the Future Islands like magic.
Amelia Meath, Alex Sauser-Monnig, and Molly Sarle were most likely hexed and reincarnated as a beardless version of Fleet Foxes – possibly by the Future Islands. The three ladies string together delicate harmonies made the more beautiful by their own frailty. ‘Animal Tracks’ was originally released on Mountain Man’s self-titled EP in 2009 but has since been re-released on the bands full-length Made the Harbor. If you’re looking for a record to escape to this summer and your ideal refuge is amidst sun, trees, and water look no further.
Bouncy riffs and sunshine melodies fit Free Energy to a tee. The band is a mix of seventies glam rock, Strokes-esque indie sensibilities, monster guitar solos, and acapella hand-clap sections. If you’ve been through high school, enjoy bubble gum, or have spent a day at the beach you’ll probably find some joy with Free Energy this summer. ‘Bang Pop’ begs for hefty air guitars, bad dancing, unkempt hippie hair, and youthful rebellion.
Sleigh Bells deliver shoegaze distortions and catchy pop on their record Treats. The Brooklyn duo need just under four minutes on ‘Rill Rill’ to prove that they’ve mastered melancholy trips for lazy summer afternoons. The track uses dreamy melodies and revolving acoustic samples to form a booming anthem while flying through distort pedals and shooting straight for your heart. So have a heart and dance to Sleigh Bells this summer.
Mount Kimbie is two friends from Brighton that have named themselves after “a place inside all of us where buses arrive on time.” Their debut LP Crooks and Lovers sounds like a clever sampling of Boards of Canada bathed in funk. ‘Field’ begins with a reserved shuffling beat that burns slowly until exploding into a glorious fireworks showing of snares, cowbell, vocal distortion, snaps, and oracular bass. The barrage washes over you in just under a minute but the swell of sounds at the peak dazzles for days.
Heartbeat Hotel makes clouds of sonic noise that balloon high into the troposphere and rain down in a fine mist of patch pedals, guitars, organs, and reverb vocals. ‘Fins of a Shark’ comes from their free album Fetus Dreams – which you can grab from their bandcamp – and the dizzying euphoria that accompanies the record comes at an equally favourable cost. The well-crafted waves, rhythms, and harmonies on ‘Fins of a Shark’ are akin to the experimental nature of Bradford Cox or Avey Tare. Considering the band has under a hundred listeners on Last.fm and the quality of music they’re producing – for free at that – you can tell your friends with confidence that you liked them when they were indie, because they very well deserve to be playing alongside the preceding influences, and at this rate it wont take them long.
Based on title alone this track has earned its spot on this playlist. Jangly guitars and pop harmonies blanket ‘Summer Holiday’ as Jack Tatum reveals a nostalgic yearning for youthful innocence. I’d imagine this song could be visually encapsulated by M83’s video for ‘We Own the Sky’ if it was shot circa-1976 and avoided an invasion of geometric shapes. Wild Nothing draws catchy melodies and creates a type of dreamy twee Pains of Being Radio Dept. vibe. In short, you’ll most likely hear this track again on our Favourites List in December.
I can’t come to terms with the brilliance that is Suckers. The seemingly endless chain of beautifully strung together influences are scattered throughout their recently released Wild Smile letting the record play like a best of highlight reel as it flickers through a whirlwind of sounds from baroque and experimental to orchestral and folky. ‘It Gets Your Body Movin’’ is a euphoric swell of noise that matures with melancholy horns, clamours with discordant piano keys, and erupts into an anthemic sing-along that’s bound to get your body movin’.
What has felt like ages since Elephant Shell our friends from Newmarket have brought us Champ. Tokyo Police Club has a knack for crafting light-hearted and contagious indie. ‘Breakneck Speed’ is no exception. Punchy refrains, synth to the ceiling, and fiery percussion capture the magic in a way only a band from Newmarket can. Dave Monks sings, “but the big bad years are gone / yeah, the big bad years are done and gone away / I remember when our voices used to sound the exact same / now we just translate.” Yes, Tokyo Police Club have matured, but they come through with an instant familiarity, one that’ll have you dancing away with vacuum in hand as you realize the neighbours are watching you and you’re not wearing pants. And that’s worth celebrating.
S. Carey is an offshoot from the school of Bon Iverism. But the Wisconsin woods and dense facial hair aren’t what make his album All We Grow appealing. As a band member of Bon Iver from its roots and a student of classical percussion from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Carey’s musical tendencies are vividly evident as ‘In the Dirt’ flowers. The dynamic textures, looming drums, and subtle piano show patience in progression as they merge into an ambitious symphony with layers of sound bouncing from every corner.
Download | Dear Friends Mixtape