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

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— , August 7, 2010    2 Comments

Photograph by Victoria Jacob

Suckers play indie rock. They play it at dizzying speed. Suckers are the answer to “hipsters don’t dance.” Their recently released full-length Wild Smile has an immediate familiarity to it, their buoyant melodies keep you guessing – just when you think you’re getting bouncy Clap Your Hands Say Yeah synth lines you’re lifted into a roaring Yeasayer chorus and barraged with tribal drums à la Dodos. Suckers gravitate around booming anthems, experimental melodies, and harmonizing that would turn Robin Pecknold’s head. Their music is afloat in colourful rhythm sections and catchy to the point that this review is being written at 120 BPM. Frenchkiss Records has a knack for picking-up our favourite bands, as it was with Passion Pit and the Antlers last year, we now have a gem in Suckers.

Wild Smile is a reason to sing along, stomp your feet, and remember why you love music. The album is a scrapbook of pop sensibilities, free from pretense, glowing in energy, and ballooning in scope. The album draws from such a wide array of influences that it doesn’t simply reinvent a genre but breathes new life into the ways we can approach music. Admittedly, Quinn Walker lead singer of Suckers may not have been aiming for such far-reaching effects, but it would be hard to say Wild Smile doesn’t transcend indie rock, moving into a realm of philosophy, art, and ushering in an age of two-stepping hipsters.

The eleven precociously crafted tracks that comprise Wild Smile bare an unsettling energy. The album opens with the unsuspecting track ‘Save Your Love for Me’ with slowly building guitars and a refined piano for the first three minutes and fifteen seconds. At which point the track heavily punches with Walker’s vocal schizophrenia and devolves to an unshakable falsetto battle between thundering percussion and ripped guitars. The opener provides a foundation for ‘Black Sheep’ a track that ignores any hint of subtleties and takes shape as an urgent rhythm section provides a stage for shrieking guitar riffs drowning in a bubbling sea of mayhem.

Suckers – Save Your Love for Me
Suckers – Black Sheep
Suckers – A Mind I Knew

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— , June 23, 2010    1 Comment

Kings of Convenience

Where did all the birds go? And more importantly, where did all the skirts go? Fall is probably the most confusing time of year for me. While a part of Summer’s celebrations linger on, Winter’s doldrums are also starting to set in. While I haven’t become a total recluse and curled up into hibernation mode via cable TV and hot cups of coco just yet, I did pass up an opportunity to grab an ice cream cone by the waterfront in favor of a rerun of How I Met Your Mother last week, and I love the Harbourfront! Things aren’t looking good. I’m cold and contemplative and in search of soul food. I think I might either have H1N1 or schizophrenia, and I blame it on the damn season. As I do with all seasons, I’ve put together a mixtape that I hope might capture some of these feelings, and help you cope with them by enabling your transition from synth-filled Summers to Bon Iver-filled Winters. And Fall, I only ask of you, be kind.

Download | The ‘Fall Be Kind’ Mixtape

01. The Hood Internet – Anyway You Want (Ducksauce vs. Consequence)

The Hood Internet, who were featured prominently on my Summer in Synths mixtape, have continued on their sweltering streak with at least a couple mashups this Fall which have made me want to bust out the sandals and have a MuchDance. On ‘Anyway You Want It’ they take a mediocre (at best) song by Consequence and Kanye West, speed up the vocals and place them over one of the most infectious beats of the year from Ducksauce. Ducksauce, by the way, is a project to keep an ear on the grindstone for. A collaborative effort between Armen Van Halen and DJ gold medalist/Kanye’s on-tour DJ/Chromeo’s brother, DJ A-Trak, they’re inevitably going to be making fire together, and their first video is proof in the pudding.

02. Think About Life – Havin My Baby

One of my best friends told me recently that he’s starting a new playlist entitled Happy Songs and that this song was the inspiration for it. Escape the fall of Fall, share a hug with a friend and dance your face off to this infectious Avalanches-meets-TV on the Radio style banger from Canadians Think About Life.

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— , November 11, 2009    10 Comments