This is from my mix called “Love Wave,” a collection of songs that sound like lying in the sun on summer days, listening to chillwave from iPod speakers and then hearing Michael Jackson blasting from a distant passing car.1. Two Door Cinema Club, “Something Good Can Work” This a perfect late spring/early summer song, and I love what a tongue-twister it is. The chorus, sung super-quickly and in falsetto, is, “We’re gonna show the world that something good can work and it can work for you/ and you know that it will.” Whenever I hear a really happy song like this, I love to think about people all over the world listening to it, singing along and learning it with their garage bands.
2. The Sonnets, “Sebastian Said” The Sonnets, five gentlemen from Sweden, have an amazing style. Their sound is reminiscent of the ’60s culture clash between mods and rockers – Ray-Bans, pin-rolled khakis, anoraks, turtlenecks. I am pretty sure this a tribute to one of the best songs ever, “Shout It To The Top” by the Style Council, Paul Weller’s band after The Jam. Even though both of these songs mention heartache and restlessness, they sound optimistic and are so full of life. “Sebastian Said” might not be around in 25 years like “Shout It To The Top,” but The Sonnets are a promising band combining hip aesthetics and real emotion.
3. Miami Horror, “Holidays” This song is irresistible! So fun and catchy. Miami Horror is the new Cut Copy, or at least the new Australian electro-pop band to tide us over until Cut Copy’s third album is released in 2011. Alan Palomo from Neon Indian – and multiple other side projects – is featured on vocals.
4. Lindstrom and Christabelle, “Baby I Can’t Stop” When I first heard this song by this Norwegian duo, I thought it was a multi-layered remix of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough,” which is a huge compliment. On their album “Real Life is No Cool,” Lindstrom provides the disco and Christabelle provides the charm. Many of her lyrics, delivered effortlessly, were improvised!
5. Quadron, “Slippin'” Quadron is a Danish electro-soul duo from 20-year-old singer Coco and producer Robin Hannibal. I am in awe of her voice and her stage presence – she is so sophisticated for her age. She’s clearly influenced by Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill, two singers that I grew up listening to. Quadron’s debut album is phenomenal, and they really deserve all the hype that they’ve started getting in the US. You go Coco.
6. Teengirl Fantasy, “Floor to Floor” These two friends from Oberlin are making some really intriguing and warm electronic music. They recently opened for Animal Collective’s Panda Bear on Governor’s Island in NYC. I didn’t want to bore everyone with an entire playlist of tracks from the super “relevant” but hard-to-define chillwave genre, but similar artists to ride the chillwave to are Ducktails, Sorcerer and Blondes.
7. How To Dress Well, “Ecstasy with Jojo” First of all, just based on band names, How To Dress Well is in a league of his own compared to the single-word band names mentioned above. HTDW is one guy who splits his time between Chicago and Cologne, Germany, and moonlights as a musician while also translating philosophy texts. His music has been described as “narcotized below-fi R&B,” and this song samples one of my favorite songs of all time, “Baby Be Mine” by Michael Jackson, which is also my ringtone.
8. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, “Round and Round” This song is the ultimate roller-skating jam.
9. Voxtrot, “You Can Hide Your Love Forever” Don’t you love it when one of your favorite bands covers one of your favorite songs? And isn’t it just icing on the cake when the cover is almost as good as the original? “You Can Hide Your Love Forever” was written by beloved British band Comet Gain and captures perfectly the ups and downs of a long-term, sometimes-unrequited love. Voxtrot covered this during a Lounge Act for famed Ohio radio station WOXY before both the radio station and the band called it quits. Vox’s visit to Lawrence last spring is one of the highlights of my time here. VOXTROT FOREVER.
10. Tokyo Police Club, “Favourite Colour” This is the happiest song of 2010. They sing the three best questions to ask someone you like: how is your younger brother, what is your favorite color and what was the first record you owned? Sometimes it is as simple as that!
11. Madonna, “Holiday” I always like to end things with a classic. I remember when my dad taught me to use our record player with this record, so this song will always have a place in my heart. And it has such a great sentiment, too.
By now, I hope you can tell that every song on my iPod is my favorite song, but that Michael Jackson is my real favorite.