The first ever Ca Va Cool mix includes some highlights from the writers’ favourite albums, EPs, and singles of 2007. Pretty representative of what was important this year in indie pop, rock, and dance (indie being a sound, attitude, and aesthetic, rather than commercial means). This was a team effort, and you know what they say about herd mentality: it’s never wrong.

01. Spoon – The Underdog
02. Shout Out Louds – Tonight I Have to Leave It
03. Tokyo Police Club – Box
04. The Teenagers – Homecoming
05. The Shins – Australia
06. Radiohead – House of Cards
07. Basia Bulat – I Was a Daughter
08. M.I.A. – Paper Planes
09. The New Pornographers – My Right Versus Yours
10. Panda Bear – Comfy in Nautica
11. The National – Slow Show
12. Miracle Fortress – Maybe Lately
13. Two Hours Traffic – Stuck for the Summer
14. LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends
15. Jens Lekman – The Opposite of Hallelujah
16. Handsome Furs – Handsome Furs Hate This City
17. Feist – Past in Present
18. Justice – D.A.N.C.E.
19. Stars – Window Bird
20. The Cribs – Moving Pictures
21. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Satan Said Dance
22. Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
23. Band of Horses – Is There a Ghost
24. Arcade Fire – The Well and the Lighthouse
25. Au Revoir Simone – Sad Song

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— , December 25, 2007    4 Comments

The National

So, I read Pitchfork a lot.  And by a lot I of course mean daily.  And by daily I of course mean whenever my Profs become less than adequately engaging.  Thus, I get a lot of my musical stylings from Pitchfork recommendations, especially the ‘Best New Music’ list.  However, on occasion, it’s difficult to cut through the hype to see which records are actually worth spinning and which records are simply getting positive reviews because the writer knows a guy who knows a guy who robs a guy who plays in, say, Vampire Weekend (although I’m really getting into their demos).  As Ca Va Cool Contributor / Headmaster / Generalissimo Dan suggested, I will be attempting today to cut through the hype with a clear head, open ears, and biting satirical wit.  I will be giving you guys the top three records from 2007 that deserved the Pitchfork hype, and the top three records from 2007 that did not deserve the Pitchfork hype.

Records that Deserved the Hype:

The National – Boxer

Put simply, I think that this is one of the great records of this decade, taking a place alongside Is This It?, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Elephant, Turn On The Bright Lights, etc. etc. (you can insert your record of choice here to avoid argument).  On Boxer, Matt Berninger crafts intensely personal stories in a more understated manner than on Alligator.  However, what Berninger loses in ‘jaw drop factor’ he makes up for in understated beauty and one of the most accurate accounts of modern American life yet put to vinyl.  Further, Boxer features beautiful orchestral arrangements that complement the band’s instrumentation while never overshadowing it.  I could continue on for pages upon pages, but I won’t.  I will simply ask you to pick up this record as soon as possible (get yourself a Christmas gift, you deserve it).

The National – Brainy

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— , December 16, 2007    7 Comments

Hi, my name’s Will. This is my first time, so I hope it’s a lot like how it sounded in health class. I’m very fond of pretty much everything on this site but I tend to think the most interesting things coming out these days are in the more danceable genres suitable for sweaty upstairs dance parties. So every Wednesday I’ll try and rock this spot with some tracks that you might have ducked and maybe shouldn’t. All bangers no busters. Modern science has proven that the weekend starts on Wednesday, and if you play out some of this wildlife you’ll be sure to have a good one.

Here’s a mega-post starter kit to kick things off. Like a store-bought veggie and dip platter, what this post lacks in freshness it makes up for in variety. Future Wednesdays will be more current (which, currently, would be futuristic).

Giddyup. So sometimes I’ll rock out some disgustingly fun original tracks. Sonny Jim’s “Can’t Stop Moving” was one of my favourite jams of the summer, and Sneaky Sound System’s “UFO” is some durrtay electro-pop that’ll make you shake all the way from Australia.

Sonny Jim – Can’t Stop Moving

Sneaky Sound System – UFO

I also enjoy remixes and mashups. Some would say too much. In fact I like remixes so much that I’m writing a term paper on them right now. And mashups these days are not your grandmother’s mashups. Some are very good, and none smell like patchouli. So here’s some remixes and mashups guaranteed to romance her.

M.I.A. – Bucky Done Gun (DJ Marlboro Funk Carioca Remix)

Rick Ross feat. The Pipettes – Hustlin’ (Tyler Fedchuk Mix)

Gucci Mane feat. Ludacris – Freaky Gurl (Cousin Cole’s Super Freaky Mix)

And speaking of your grandmother, or mine at least, do you ever feel like sometimes it all gets a bit too fast? Too current? Too loud? If somebody tells you to “turn down that danged racket”, but you don’t want to stop dancing, I’ll be here to help.

Klaxons – Not Over Yet (Gentlemen Drivers Remix ft. Soko)

Celestial Choir – Stand on the Word

Especially don’t sleep on that last one. In fact, don’t ever sleep; you could be dancing. Hope you enjoyed the taste test. Even better things to come next week.

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— , November 28, 2007    Comments Off on The Jumpoff

M.I.A.

M.I.A.’s Kala is released on August 21 and singing/rhyming/whatever it is she does seems as consistent as the first album, but this album really innovates in the differences in style of the productions. The sound that Diplo set on the first album is expanded here by a myriad of new sounds, including those from Timbaland and Three 6 Mafia, whose presence proves how big M.I.A. has gotten.

The album begins the same as The Modern Lovers (1976): “Roadrunner, roadrunner, going faster miles an hour,” then flows through a few weak points where the album gets too adventurous, but then we hear the real highlight “Jimmy”. The new single has everything a dance song should. Lyrics which come off like Jane Birkin moaning “Je t’aime,” an LCD Soundsystem beat, and then to give it real umph, strings that sound like they’re an ABBA sample (think Madonna).

Here is the video for the Switch-produced Bollywood disco dance floor filler:

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— , August 18, 2007    1 Comment

M.I.A.

Maya Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A. will be releasing her second album Kala on August 21. The London-born, Sri Lanka-raised rapper will be working with the likes of Diplo, Timbaland, and Three 6 Mafia on the new record. The video for the unofficial first single from the album was filmed in Jamaica and financed by M.I.A. personally. Enjoy this video for ‘Bird Flu’.

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— , April 28, 2007    3 Comments