Yo La Tengo (Photo: Carlie Armstrong)
Ben: Yo La Tengo recently released a deluxe edition of the terrific Fade, adding a bunch of B-sides and outtakes to one of my favorite albums from 2013. Normally, I read “B-sides” as “detritus,” but the alternate takes and covers in this set are almost uniformly great. Okay, maybe there’s a meandering remix that doesn’t add much, but the two live takes on “Ohm” are both great and the cover of Times New Viking’s “Move to California” served as perfect rainy day fare this week.
Jason: Whenever I see an email from Moon Glyph in my inbox, I know that I’m in for something good. This week, the label announced a new release from SF-based electronic act FWY!, a cassette entitled HWY Trust. With this new release, FWY! (the project of multi-instrumentalist Edmund Xavier) once again provides a moving collection of soundscapes, highlighted with chill drum machine rhythms and synth-work. Below, listen to “Anaheim Nightlife”, a track where Xavier layers organ and guitars to create uplifting melodies, and stream or purchase the entire HWY Trust cassette on FWY!’s Bandcamp.
Anna: I’ve had this mp3 on my iPod for what seems like forever, and whenever it comes up on shuffle, I always have to listen at least twice. This week, when I found myself hitting repeat yet again when this song made its inevitable appearance, I tried to remember how and when I originally came across it. As it turns out, I don’t remember when, and I only remember that it was via some random person on Twitter, which wasn’t really going to help in this case. But I remembered (of all things) the title of the blog post that accompanied the mp3: “she said losing love is like a window in your heart.” And lo and behold, that was enough for the Google machine to track it down. The Tallest Man On Earth covered Paul Simon as a B-side on a European single for 2010’s “King of Spain,” and the result is an exquisitely stripped-down version of “Graceland” – a song that is legendary in its original form, but still born anew with the deft guitar and vocal work of Kristian Matsson.
The Tallest Man on Earth – “Graceland”
(Paul Simon cover) (mp3 source: Music vs. Misery)
Nicole: Okay, it’s pretty much established by this point that Impersonator was the standout record for 2013. This week Majical Cloudz returns with a studio version of “Savage”, which has been a part of his live performance all year. The production value of this song just furthers along the explosive partnership between Devon Welsh and producer Matthew Otto, and I’m definitely looking forward to more great results of this collaboration in 2014.