From February 2005 until January 2011, I did a weekly blog entry, presenting what I called “a Mixtape of the Interwebs” — a handful of tracks that I’d discovered via various music blogs, etc., presented for your listening pleasure on a Friday. A lot of people enjoyed that series (and so did I), but as 2011 continued, and I got busier, the stretches between entries got longer and longer. 2012 saw entries that were literally months apart, and then I stopped doing them altogether. I had too much other stuff to do — not just for the blog entries, but for the time taken to find tracks during the week. So I got out of the habit.
I’m starting the habit again, because I realize that I need to make time to do the things I enjoy, purely for the enjoyment’s sake. So here we go. More Friday Music!
This track from 2010 has been getting more notice recently, as the theme tune for The History Channel’s excellent drama series, Vikings. Appropriately enough, it’s by Swedish artist Karin Dreijer Andersson, half of the electronic music duo The Knife, who records solo under the name Fever Ray, pictured above. Fever Ray – “If I Had A Heart.”
I discovered this track after it’s use in a Bacardi commercial — it’s the work of Parov Stelar, an Austrian DJ who specializes in electro, acid jazz, breakbeat and house. This track is a perfect mixture of booty-shaking electro and the retro swing sound of the 1930s. Parov Stelar – “Chambermaid Swing.”
I heard a track via the soundtrack to EA Sport’s FIFA 13, and tracked down the band, who sounded to me a lot like Duran Duran. Young Empires are a Canadian group who describe their music as “World Beat Haute Rock” — World Beat referring to the Latin and African percussion they use, and “Haute Rock” being, in the words of bassist Jacob Palahnuk, “tracks that make you feel wealthy, attractive, powerful; a soundtrack to your haute life.” Which pretty much describes Rio-era Duran Duran pretty well, too. I mean, listen to this — it’s not just me, right? Young Empires – “Rain of Gold.”
From the neo-80s to the actual 80s: I’ve been listening a lot recently to The Ultimate Collection, a Best-Of collection from The Fixx, who were a group whose songs I always really liked, yet I somehow never managed to buy an album. I’ve picked two tracks for your Friday listening — one pretty well-known, one slightly less so (at least in the US).
The well-known track: The Fixx – “Red Skies.”
…and the lesser-known earlier track, a slice of Cold War pessimism: The Fixx – “Stand or Fall.”
Long-time readers will be aware that I’m big fan of hip-hop — and have a special interest in international varieties, where the idea of DIY music, using samples, is filtered through the local culture of the underclass specific to a region (French hip-hop that mixes North African music, for example). Here’s an example of Romanian hip-hop, from Bucharest: Skizzo Skillz – “BINIDITAT (feat. Karie).”
Lastly this week, for no other reason than it’s been noodling around my head a bit, I’ll leave you with a track from perhaps the best Canadian singer-songwriter in the history of Ever. Gordon Lightfoot – “Sundown.”
Enjoy, kids. Back here for more next week. (F’reals, yo.)