Welcome back to State’s weekly dose of new and newish music. It’s been quite the week(s) since our last Mixtape…so much so that many people are claiming it was actually two or three weeks. Nobody will ever know for sure, either way here are our selections for the last however many days. If last week’s inadvertent theme was duos, this week’s is definitely summer songs; summer pop and summer Mastodon. We hope you enjoy them. Again, if you stumble across any new tracks which you think should be included in our weekly Mixtape please send it on, along with a few words as to why you think it’s worthy, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mastodon – ‘High Road’
The first ever inclusion of Mastodon in State’s Mixtapes and not before time. Nicely in keeping with our theme, Mastodon’s melodic heavy metal is definitely the sound of somebody’s summer. Being Irish, of course, State has no illusion that the season involves cheery things or even leaving the house in anything other than long hair, a mighty beard and decked out head to toe in black. This song should be the perfect accompaniment to those heavy days.
Cheerleader – ‘Perfect Vision’
Hailing from that bastion of breezy, west-coast summer-infected pop that is Philadelphia we have Cheerleader. A hairy five-piece who have managed to blend the pop melodies of The 1975, The Beach Boys, Empire of the Sun and Boy Meets Girl. The summeriest song you will hear this side of the next track. It has some lovely harmonies and a devilishly intriguing guitar coda that will have you reaching for your phone to see who wants to go drinking in the Pav. Right now.
Go Wolf – ‘One More Night’
Belfast, and to a greater extent Northern Ireland, has been positively humming with musical inspiration of late. ASIWYFA, Two Door Cinema Club, Joshua Burnside and now Go Wolf. Their indie-pop is such a welcome addition to the Ulster canon and highlights perfectly a diversity in the Irish music scene not seen since the days of…since… hmmm.
Sam Airey – ‘Station Approach’
Isle of Anglesey born and Leeds shaped this is Sam Airey. This song is a killer and already has State in a bit of a fluster of anticipation awaiting his debut album. Here we have lad who possesses a voice made of pure, rich caramel and can write a tune too. Like John Grant meets James Morrisson and Jake Isaac. Whether you spend your summer days on a bus, offering fries with that or digging graves you can’t fail to fall in love with this song.
Blackstone Rangers – ‘Descendant Of’
Not to be mistaken with the Blackstone Rangers who, allegedly, were a street of 12 year olds with links to Libyan terrorism. No, in fact as far as State knows the Blackstone Rangers who were responsible for this music have nothing whatsoever to do with any terrorism. This music is slightly trippy and otherworldly and would probably not go down to well amongst the people they’re named after. We return to silly descriptions and this week’s hands down winner is “distorto-pop”, whatever the fuck that is.
Sea Change – ‘Bridges’
Sea Change, perhaps more commonly known as Norwegian electro-noodler Ellen .W. Sundes, provides us with some down-time on this one. A slowly burning and long lasting introspective that sounds airy and dense at the same time. Stoned, basically. If you like Fever Ray but find yourself getting a bit too scared too often, well Sea Change is for you.
Death At Sea – ‘Glimmer’
Liverpool, not normally associated with music of any sort – ever, gives us some necro-nautical themed musings with ‘Glimmer’, from Death at Sea. If this were 1997 this would probably feature on Adidas and Heineken ads with shaggy haired lads looking hard and ‘mad for it’ and cool. But it’s 2014 and therefore this indie-esque and emo-tinged beaut is retro enough to be included on ads for Adidas and Heineken with lads looking ironic and androgynous.
Doss – ‘The Way I Feel’
This is a little bit trance, a little bit new-wave and a little bit…here, check out her amazing website
Curtin – ‘The Funeral’
A second outing for Curtin in as little as two weeks. These accidental State favourites are spoiling us with their lo-fi, sequenced efforts but they are very effective at what they do. A song about a funeral might not scream summer, necessarily, but who can argue with the line “I missed your funeral, a fine day I am told. I lay beside you” when it comes to summer cheer?
Frankenstein Bolts – ‘Frankenstein Bolts’
“Warm is the air” sings Justin Cullen, or Frankenstein Bolts as he is known to his family. This breezy, and definitively summery pop is indicative of Cullen and co.’s appeal, and as an incumbent live favourite of State there is always room for them at this inn. While “dream-pop” isn’t even nearly ridiculous enough for a mention in our gallery of Stupid Made-Up Descriptions we’re happy to include it just because it’s Justin. This is summer distilled so be sure to catch them live
The Late Twos – ‘Never Mind’
Arctic Monkeys, Panic! At The Disco and Maximo Park walk into a bar and the barman says…I don’t know; make something up. Anyway, The Late Twos is what you would probably get if you were to cross all three. This will very likely be the sound of countless first year J1’s… they play infections, bright and cheery indie music and detractors be damned. This is fine, fine music.
Herod – ‘We Are The Failure’
Shouty heavy metal from American four-piece Herod. Gutteral roars, shredded guitars, frenetic drumming and intrusive lyrics all feature on this less-than-subtle summer classic.
Bristles – ‘Revolution of the Rich’
Who said Sweden heavy metal? This band are known for supporting worker solidarity, feminism and ant-consumerism (thank you, Google). Elsewhere they are known for their right-wing tendencies and anti-communist beliefs. But fuck all of that, they sound a bit like our very own Coldwar but unfortunately State’s Swedish is lacking so, taking this track on aesthetic value alone, it’s most definitely summer themed. Something for everybody.
Chance The Rapper & Social Experimentation – ‘I Feel Very Very Lonely’
Wonky hip-hop from this Chicago born musical weirdo who alleges the first hip-hop album he ever owned was Kanye West’s The College Dropout. If that’s true, well, State suddenly feels ancient and wishes it understood young people a bit better. It could be bullshit but nevermind, it’s a left of centre, stuttering nearly a capella track which uses vocal utterings to create the soundscape (think Bobby McFerrin, only beset by worry and a lack of happiness).
Skaters – ‘This Charming Man’
Smiths fans, turn away now with our sincere apologies. There is a good reason that very few bands cover The Smiths with any success. Much like people shy away from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd or any other canonised act, unless you are going to treat the song with respect and actually add something to it, there is no point in doing it. NYC upsatrts Skaters, however, a far better band than this suggests, have ignored years of sound advice and shat out this mess. This is a straight forward cover version with distortion instead of jangle, cockiness instead of coquettishness and bravado instead of talent. Sorry!