Yesterday I woke up for work before the sun did. Traffic guards are back on duty at every corner and the local roving Pokemon trainers seem to be going to bed at a reasonable hour. I’m two weeks removed from the last disappointing Hollywood “blockbuster” I’d care to spend money on, and I’ve attended my last outdoor festival of the year (jury’s still out on you, Treasure Island). Summer is officially over.
But not before we queue up one more quick hit of tunes. August’s Tunes of the Month features recent songs from five leading ladies that call to mind beach bonfires and late dawns, winsome smiles and ten-week crushes, and all the speaker crackle and headphone buzz that energize us every summer.
Ette – “Attack of the Glam Soul Cheerleaders (Pt. 1 & 2)”
Seems like nobody knows how to turn overcast skies and marine layer mist into sunshine and fun better than a Scottish pop band. Ette’s debut LP, Homemade Lemonade, is a welcome successor to similarly upbeat charmers by the likes of Teenage Fanclub and Camera Obscura. This track is the lead single from the album, and figures to get a lot of L-O-V-E on all my future summer playlists. Lead singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Carla Easton has a great interview on the Bandcamp blog, including an anecdote about discovering an inspiring collection of Cookies hits at a record shop in Edinburgh. Continue reading Tunes of the Month – August
These last few months have been spent reminiscing over fifteen years of list-making, CD-stomping, and favorite music lobbying, while revisiting lots of Idle Time-approved bands in the process. As luck would have it, some of those artists have made recent returns to the studio, and our early working lists of favorite recordings has us partying like it’s 2004. May’s Tunes of the Month is a rousing Welcome Back, featuring new songs by veteran bands, some of whom have been riding the wave from cassette mixtaping to CD playlist-burning through online Mixcloud streaming. The more things change, and all that…
Speaking of Mixcloud, bookmark Idle Time’s new page, future home of all of these playlists, from the five-track Tunes of the Month mini-jams to the LP-length Playlist By Committee compilations.
The Thermals – “Hey You”
The new Thermals’ LP, We Disappear, is their best since ’06’s The Body, The Blood, The Machine and one of my favorite releases in the young year. This single, taken from the album, is major standout, and it even got a sweet 7″ release for Record Store Day (the B-side is killer too). And, by the way, kee-rist. Y’all are one of the best punk bands of our generation. Put out some more seven-inches fer crying out loud. Continue reading Tunes of the Month – May
It’s no secret that Idle Time has a serious crush on Swedish music. And it was only a matter of time before our five-track Tunes of the Month feature propped up some new songs from that magical, shimmery land of pop perfection. I would seriously be fine blogging five new Scandinavian tunes every month, but there are other people round these parts who have a say, and, sure… other bands who can hold their own against the best Sweden has to offer. But, for now, Happy April, and more Swedes, please.
Listen to the whole eighteen-minute jam via Idle Time’s newly minted Mixcloud account, or stream the tunes individually below.
Continue reading Tunes of the Month – April
When most folks think about DFA Records and 2016, there is really just one major news story that comes to mind. Hell, it might just be the music story of the year. And as excited as we all are to see James Murphy et al back in the studio and back on stage, we can’t let that overshadow the fact that his record label is absolutely killing it this year. And it’s only March.
So for our Tunes of the Month, here are five recently released or preview tracks from the Brooklyn label that, incidentally, just like Idle Time, is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this year.
Essaie Pas – “Le Port du Masque Est de Rigueur”
Essaie Pas is a French-Canadian dark disco duo comprised of Pierre Guerineau and the exquisite Marie Davidson. I pride myself on my passable linguistics skills, as well as the fact that I can converse in two different Romance languages. French, though? I can’t pronounce half the songs on their new album, Demain Est Une Autre Nuit, and I sure as hell can’t understand the lyrics. And I think that’s what makes it so damn alluring. I take my minimal dance music with a heavy dose of mystery, and this track is the spookiest.
Continue reading Tunes of the Month – March
It’s Noise Pop week here in the Bay Area, so our February edition of Tunes of the Month highlight acts you can find performing at various venues in SF and Oakland. Be sure to check out the full schedule here.
Hamilton Leithauser & Paul Maroon – “Immediately Alone”
I miss The Walkmen. Like a lot. But original members Hamilton Leithauser and Paul Maroon are still cranking out quality music while their main band is hopefully just in cryostasis. “Immediately Alone” is the first track these two have put out that absolutely soars in the same way many of the best Walkmen tracks have. Leithauser’s pipes are an American treasure.
Continue reading Tunes of the Month – February
We’re opening twenty-sixteen’s Tunes of the Month feature by keeping it local! Here are five recent tracks that we’ve been digging, all by Bay Area artists.
The Y Axes – “Meteorite”
San Francisco’s The Y Axes are following up 2014’s excellent Sunglasses & Solar Flares, as well as a victory in the first ever Idle Time Tune Tournament, with a new album later this year. “Meteorite” is the first single, and from the fiery opening drumbeat, these guys seem poised to stage a power-pop atmospheric reentry of epic proportions.
How refreshing that “space” can be a musical descriptor beyond references to jam-band synths, noodly electronics, or nebulous clouds of fuzz.* The Y Axes like to remind us that their brand of cosmic rock is from the future; thank goodness that time-and-spacefaring bands still like to dance. And rip out crazy guitar riffs. And belt out melodies that get stuck in your head for days. Check it out – you’ll see.
And then check out The Y Axes headlining The Winter Wizard Formal at Milk this Friday, January 29th. It’s the official “Meteorite” release, and figures to be the best sci-fi and sorcery mash-up this side of a San Diego summer.
*just about everyone here would like it to be known that we enjoy synths, electronics, and walls of sound. we just don’t think those bands should have a monopoly on the term “spacey.” oh, but we still don’t like jam bands. Continue reading Tunes of the Month – January