It should be quite clear to anyone who has been following my mixtapes over the last year that I suffer dearly from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). While I’ve tried many a remedy, the only medication that seems to work is a carefully constructed playlist which bridges the transition from one season to the next. So what you’ll find in this installment of my seasonal mixtape series is a trip through the denial of the season’s change to a few songs that sound like the early Winter months, some that echo the deepest doldrums of January, and a few sweet tunes to welcome Spring along. Thank you for allowing me to spread my med-cin with you all once again.

Download | The Soul’s on Ice Mixtape

1. Jonathan Boulet – A Community Service Annoucement

Jonathan Boulet came onto my radar a few months ago when Kanye West took a break from blogging about uncomfortable but aesthetically immaculate lounge chairs and scantily clad video ho-fessionals, long enough to plug Boulet’s video for ‘A Community Service Announcement’. The video is justifiably sick, playing like a game of capture the flag gone horribly wrong, though I have no idea how it, or the song’s lyrics and title, relate. Boulet’s first album is making its rounds in Australia, and will likely see the light of day sometime up-over, this year.

2. Empire of the Sun – Without You

Staying in Australia, and propelling the denial of Winter along, is ‘Without You’, my favorite track from Empire of the Sun’s – now old – debut. Drawing comparisons to MGMT, Empire of the Sun have been everywhere as of late, showing up on Jay-Z’s Blueprint III last year and getting a shout-out on HBO’s Entourage as being Jamie-Lynn Siegler’s favorite band, which really begs the question “is Entourage the new ‘OC’?” in terms of it’s music referring power – and is Jamie-Lynn the new Marissa Cooper, in that leaving the show may find her as an actor out of work (via St. Vincent). Think about it.

3. Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill

The ever-secretive and animated Gorillaz have a new album out this Spring, and this is my favourite track on it. The track is mellow synthpop that can be read as a commentary on over-consumption and materiality leading to doldrums, or simply as a jam that can be jived to no matter what you’re feeling. I prefer the latter. Dance now, deal later.

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— , March 30, 2010    10 Comments
Photograph by Fred Loek

Photographs by Fred Loek

A little over a year ago, I was sitting in my room listening to Fleet Foxes’ full-length debut when I discovered something in the LP’s sleeve for the first time. Printed on a large piece of parchment was an anecdote which captured the essence of why I love music like nothing I had read before. In it, the writer cautions us of photographs, which he claims are almost like fake representations of what we think to be memories. Do you really remember your third birthday, or has a picture that you’ve seen repeatedly, mixed with accounts of the day from people who were there, created a false sense of memory, now almost indistinguishable from the real thing? The authenticity of a memory is definitely questionable when it has been cognitively inserted into your thoughts through photos and their accompanying captions.  Music, on the other hand, claimed the writer, has the ability to evoke much more genuine memories, taking you to the time when you heard a song, what you felt then and what was around you:

“Ask anyone who loves music and they’ll tell you that certain albums and songs remind them of particular places and people; loved ones who may now be gone, good and bad times, or particular evenings spent driving for the sake of wanderlust all somehow take sustenance from the songs that accompanied them. The trick is that the memories enhanced by the music come to life more readily and with more force than memories triggered in any other way.”

Music can take you to places. Now I know I haven’t shed any new light on this special but well-known dimension of music, but I will say that there are few albums and bands which can evoke this journey for me – especially in this era of music over-consumption that we’re in. Fleet Foxes are definitely one of them and I discovered another this past Fall when I was invited to go see a new band called Make Your Exit play an album release event in Toronto.

Make Your Exit – Leave This Town
Make Your Exit – Kids
Make Your Exit – Smokes and Lint

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— , December 7, 2009    5 Comments