In the Weekly Track Roundup, Aural Wes members each share song that they've been getting down with in a serious/silly/significant way. Contributions span genres and moods. It's fun for children of all ages. Maybe write home to your dad about it. To kick off this year, Aural Wes members bring you the tracks of their summers (whatever that means?!).
"Simply Are" - Arto Lindsay
This song accompanied the best moments of summer: shot gunning beers on July 4th, joyrides in the "swag-wagon" (yes, station wagons can be cool), and those summer nights. Arto Lindsay has been on the music scene since the no wave movement in the 70's and he's worked with David Byrne, Brian Eno, Animal Collective and more. "Simply Are" is one of my favorites from Arto's most recent two-disc album, Encyclopedia of Arto. It has a laid back vibe but it is layered intricately with guitar, bass, synth and some sweet bossa nova rhythms. Permission granted 2 groove to this all day n' all night.
- Leana Paymar
"How Many" - Iceage
Summer? More like Iceage. (zing!) I can't imagine any near-future releases topping Iceage's new LP Plowing Into the Field of Love for my album of the year. These guys have honed every single part of their past two LP's sludgy hardcore-punk into an astonishingly cohesive art-rock landscape that's held me in awe for the past week. The album is more spaced-out, lush, complex, and instrumentally diverse than anything they've done before. While the addition of mandolin, violin, and piano can spell disaster for many bands, Iceage nails it on Plowing. Absolutely nails it. On "How Many," rich, dissonant piano chords couple with the band's galloping rhythm section during the verse before rising up and ringing clearly over the chorus. It's glorious. The clarity of these notes are an entirely new endeavor for Iceage. Striking in their contrast to the track's scorching distortion guitar, the piano gives "How Many" a depth that I found magnetic. While I've reveled in the pummeling delivered by Iceage's previous releases, I'm completely sold on the band's new-found musical complexity. And then there are Elias Bender Rønnenfelt's vocals. Once buried in Iceage's fiery mass of lo-fi hardcore-punk, Rønnenfeltl has been brought up in the mix on Plowing and absolutely kills it in the spotlight. It's rock n' roll front man material delivered in a gasping, groaning train of dark metaphors and imagery that on some tracks rolls over any conventional sense of rhythm or meter. It's like a 2 packs-a-day hammered Bjork with twice the testosterone. Ok, it doesn't sound like Bjork at all, but the point is that it's original. And naturally, its scary. But it scares me into attention. In this way, Plowing tends to pull me in to its groaning, dirge-y atmospheres more often than it simply beats me over the head. I love the latter, and always have with Iceage. But the depth of Iceage's new sound invites me to explore. I find new beauty in every listen, and this more than anything else is a sign of a band truly coming into its own.
- Chris Gortmaker
"Hellhole Ratrace" - Girls
This song captures what it's like to be full of life and alcohol. If you've ever left your dorm room, you can relate.
- Bryan Schiavone
“Goodbye Weekend” - Mac Demarco
Mac Demarco is a musical god and beautiful person, some things I discovered when I spent this summer immersed in his albums and watching basically every Youtube video he’s in. “Goodbye Weekend” has everything that makes Mac perfect in my mind-the steady, upbeat guitar, laidback pacing, and fun, playful bass lines. The title really resonated with my summer because I had to work every weekend. I also spend a lot of time with my parents when I’m home, so the line “Don’t go telling me how this boy should be leading his own life” in the chorus nicely echoes the “God mom, get off my back” sentiment I frequently felt. If you’re looking for a gentle jam that makes you feel like you are, as one Youtube commenter said, “passin the blunt back n forth in jellyfish fields,” this is the track for you.
- Anne Leonardo
"Kiss Me (Schwarz Twerk Edit)" - Schwarz
Schwarz is Adam Schwarz, a dj/producer out of Baltimore. He released this sunny remix in August as part of a compilation, TOP 40 BOOTLEGS (2009-2014), He has an uncanny ability to turn any song into a feel-good masterpiece, reworking your favorite guilty pleasures into lively club mixes. As the days grow colder, this song will fill you with a warm nostalgia for the BBC broadcast coverage of Prince Edward’s royal wedding.
"...if you don’t feel inspired and get a boost of confidence for yourself and feel a sense of love for the world around you and the people in it, then I am sorry but you are the kind of boring ass person that Schwarz and his fellow Baltimore warriors are battling against." –Pictureplane
Ashe Kilbourne ’14 is touring with Schwarz later this month.
Download TOP 40 BOOTLEGS here.
- Page Nelson
"It All Feels Right" - Washed Out
Listening to this song instantly takes me back to the 3 am night drives that shaped my summer into a magical haze. Although Washed Out’s 2013 album, Paracosm, is full of many pleasant songs, “It All Feels Right” is a standout gem. Sweet synth sounds and Ernest Greene’s dreamy voice combine to produce this soothing track. Washed Out is an overall prime music choice for when you’re in the mood for chillwave, and I'd highly recommend seeing him live if you get the chance.
- Kelsey Gordon
"Feel the Heat feat. Rare Times" - Groundislava
I spent the majority of my summer at Wesleyan with a gang of goons and squares. We played this song going to the liquor store. We played it going to Price Chopper. We played it on the way back from NYC. We played it to go to bed and we played it to "turn up." There wasn't a song that elicited a similar response all summer. Sometimes I'll hear the backing beat as I walk around campus and feel every drive and adventure.
- Eric Lopez
"Brooklyn Baby" - Lana Del Ray
“They say I’m too young to love you,” she sings. “You,” commonly thought as the older man of Lana’s whichever current obsession, feels more like New York City, a place whose history seems more respectfully understood by previous generations. Today’s NYC (particularly Manhattan and Brooklyn), a rather more gentrified version of its youthful self, is soaked in media and myths of “experience,” amazing socioeconomic diversity, and artistic breeding ground. Lana’s track, soaked in warm reverb and a “summertime sadness” soundscape, feels effortlessly summery, despite all the false anachronism and sweet tears involving Lana’s musical integrity. “I get high on hydroponic weed.”
- Zander Porter
"Instant Disassembly" -Parquet Courts
From the moment I heard the slow, lethargic riffs of this jam off Parquet Court's third LP Sunbathing Animal, the melody haunted my summer. The constantly repeating grooves evoke feelings of the barbeques I never went to and slowly rotting in the sun. The monotonous vocals lulled me into countless summer slumbers. I have no idea what this song is actually about.
- Ava Davis
"Shelf" -The Gradients
I watched this band play once in a place called Muchmore's in Brooklyn and have had a weird obsession with this song since. I can't quite tell whether it's that sliding chord guitar part or the melody in the verse?
- Zack Kantor