Daydreamin’

A couple of years ago I wrote a piece for Stylus about songs that list women’s names. Well, one of the biggest hits in the UK right now follows this conceit as well. The chorus of “That’s Not My Name” by the Ting Tings runs down several names that lead singer Katie White is mistakenly called, including Stacey, Jane, and Mary-Jo-Lisa. (It also incidentally reminds me of Whitney Houston’s bizarre 1991 single “My Name Is Not Susan.”)

Strangely enough, not long after I made this observation, I found another song that fits the formula. Kid Creole and the Coconuts’ amusingly narcissistic “I’m a Wonderful Thing, Baby” concludes with a disco vamp over which August Darnell goes over the names of women with whom he’s presumably scored. “Let’s start with the A’s,” he instructs, listing a half-dozen “A” names before giving up and settling for “Sophie.”

I’d originally heard the song on the great Mutant Disco compilation but rediscovered it recently when Drew Gaerig put it on a collaborative mix we made as part of the Stylus Summer Jamz ’08 project. (The site is no longer operational, but the annual feature was too fun to let the lack of a centralized venue stop us from continuing it.) So far the mixes, most done in pairs, have been co-hosted at Screw Rock ‘n’ Roll, The Passion of the Weiss, and What Was It Anyway. But on the chance that someone’s reading this who doesn’t already check those sites, I’ll throw it on here, too.

***

Summer Jamz ’08 #7: Daydreamin’
http://www.sendspace.com/file/izx220

For this mix we focused on the theme of “daydreams,” the kind you have while gazing out the window on the last day of school or while absent-mindedly dipping your toes into wet sand on the beach. We went back and forth, each drawing inspiration from the other’s selections, which led to some nice surprises along the way. Pour yourself a drink that requires an umbrella, kick off your flip-flops, and take a listen.

1. Allá, “Un Dia Otra Noche”

The Chicago-based psychedelic pop band Allá worked on their debut album Es Tiempo for six years (I heard some early mixes, courtesy of a mutual friend, way back in 2003) but chose just the right time to release it: the beginning of summer. On this, the opening track, the busy arrangement—anchored by a restless Swedish string section—threatens to swallow up the whole tune, but Lupe Martinez’s dreamy vocals keep it as light as a swiftly floating cloud. [John M. Cunningham]

2. Kid Creole and the Coconuts, “I’m a Wonderful Thing, Baby”

Strut. Buy new hat. Strut with new hat. Wonder aloud if that too expensive “Africa ’76” t-shirt from the too expensive t-shirt shop is 1. too expensive and/or 2. unacceptable on a white boy. But what if the hat matches the t? Ponder. [Andrew Gaerig]

3. Shuggie Otis, “Aht Uh Mi Hed”

Like Stevie Wonder, Shuggie Otis was a 1970s soul-music polymath, playing every last instrument on Inspiration Information. I particularly like his use of a primitive drum machine, though, which lends yearning songs like this an intimate homemade feel. [JC]

4. Serge Gainsbourg, “Daisy Temple”

What happens when a narcissistic French crotch-scratcher rings Sly & Robbie and they take him exactly as serious as he needs to be taken, composing rhythms out of those whirl-around party favors and … bass guitar. The latter of which is pretty standard, granted. I hope these backup singers are well-compensated. [AG]

5. Calle 13, “La Jirafa”

Calle 13 is nominally a reggaetón duo, but this 2006 single, with its lush strings, conversational flow, and romantically surreal lyrics (one is translated as “I want to wrap you in a tortilla”), is miles away from the gruff shouts of someone like Daddy Yankee. As the video makes clear, it’s also perfect for lying in the grass and conjuring up some sun-fueled fantasies. [JC]

6. Rancid, “Hoover Street”

I once suggested to my high school girlfriend that Rancid’s “Old Friend” should be “our song,” which was shot down about as fast as mom used to shoot down “chocolate cake” as “our breakfast.” “Hoover Street” ain’t that song, but it has always elicited my most churlish Tim Armstrong mumble-alongs. [AG]

7. Stephen Malkmus, “Dynamic Calories”

This breezy miniature (from the Pig Lib bonus EP) finds Malkmus asking us to imagine ourselves in an ‘80s underground rock band that never quite made it, a whimsical conceit that nonetheless retains a measure of wistfulness. [JC]

8. Ugly Casanova, “Things I Don’t Remember”

Funny how attaching a good hook makes absurdum palatable. Like if Billy B. had a little more Alex Chilton in him I might’ve made it more than 30 pages through Naked Lunch. Either way, best use of “alligator” in a song since Anthem of the Sun. [AG]

9. Pinback, “Concrete Seconds”

I’m kind of a sucker for precise, crystalline indie pop (there’s a playlist on my iTunes called Clean Guitar), and Pinback does it better than pretty much anybody (though the Sea and Cake are also right up there). Once they’ve locked in to a groove, the effect becomes almost trance-like. [JC]

10. Phoenix, “Lost & Found”

Listen for the shrugging “hmph” before “You don’t know what you’re doing” and the first chorus. For those days I wish I was younger, Frencher, and cockier and my friends were younger, Frencher, and fuller of shit. [AG]

11. The High Llamas, “Go to Montecito”

Sean O’Hagan catches a lot of flak for aping late-era Beach Boys, and recent High Llamas albums have proven that he sometimes has trouble crafting songs that transcend their retro details, but “Go to Montecito” frames its melancholic summer’s-end harmonies within a bossa nova that I find impossible to resist. [JC]

12. Gilberto Gil, “Mamma”

The opening syllabic nonsense might be the daydreamiest bars of music ever recorded, in a Highlights magazine kind of way. Then dude goes on about setting off and leaving mom behind, which, come to think of it, is exactly the sort of daydream you might have when you’re part of Highlights magazine’s target demographic. [AG]

13. The Avalanches, “Two Hearts in 3/4 Time (Edit)”

Rarely have I heard a voice more weightless than the anonymous one sampled here: the descending pattern of those la-la-las even suggests a lazily drifting feather or leaf. Completely inconsequential, and totally beautiful. [JC]

14. Low Motion Disco, “Things Are Gonna Get Easier”

One of those remixes where it sounds like your vinyl is skipping in a really cool way, a way that your vinyl never actually skips after you drop it on the ground. Saying we need more edits like this is akin to saying we need more summers. Well, of course. [AG]

***

More summer:

Summer Jamz ’08 #6: It’s Not the Heat by Jeff Siegel and Kevin J. Elliott
“This mix is a reflection of soupy, unrelenting humidity. A heat mirage. A little dancing, but not too much, because we must lie down and rehydrate.”

Summer Jamz ’08 #5: Compiled by Jayson Greene and Stewart Voegtlin
“Oh, geezus. Didn’t we all wanna give up the goose when the sweat ceased to dribble and ran?”

Summer Jamz ’08 #4: Compiled by Paul Scott and Ian Mathers
For their summer mix, Paul and Ian decided to have a conversation, or maybe an argument, thanks to one inarguable fact: Ian hates summer.

Summer Jamz ’08 #3: Dear Summer… by Jonathan Bradley
“My mix is for the times everything is still and quiet and perfect … I haven’t included any yacht rock or Eagles tunes, but that’s all I can guarantee.”

Summer Jamz ’08 #2: State of the Union, Jack by Mike Orme and Nick Southall
“Two former Stylus Magazine compatriots … celebrate the summer by splitting halves of a mix CD, each trying to fill their side with songs the other writer would put on a summer mix.”

Summer Jamz ’08 #1: Compiled by Alfred Soto and Dan Weiss
“In the context of summer, vastness suggests the abrogation of responsibility: school and relationships, mostly…”

Advertisements

One thought on “Daydreamin’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s