12 Days of Mixmas: Day 15
Keith Murray of We Are Scientists

Keith Murray’s contribution to Mixmas marks his third time. And, for the third time in a row, Keith has chosen to use this platform to pimp out some of his friends/favorite bands. One day I’m going to trick Keith into doing something self-serving, but that day is not today. So here’s the ever cruel Keith Murray’s mix on six songs that you can’t hear just yet…

“Six songs that make me really excited for 2008, although, due to the fact that the albums that will eventually house these songs are presently unreleased, I can’t disseminate them, I can only taunt you by raving about them and then recommending further, currently-available listening from the same bands, since I’d really like to avoid angering these friends and their legal advisors by leaking this shit, even though I really, really want to (leak it)” by Keith Murray of We Are Scientists

Mystery Jets – “Hand Me Down” (live version on Youtube)
As my band was working on our new record this year, I found myself wanting more and more to delve into the realm of Bowie-style electro-funk. I’m talking “Ashes to Ashes”-type stuff, here: groovy and sexy, but essentially devoid of anything even remotely human. We’ve got one or two new ones that generally fit that bill, but I was pretty nervous about the viability of that kind of thing on a contemporary indie-rock record – until I caught saw Mystery Jets play this song from their forthcoming album, that is. They are blowing the doors open on this crap, but, unlike Bowie, they seem entire incapable of being cold, removed, alien. This song is all heart. An early contender for me for “Song of the Year, ’08.”

Here’s another fantastic song from the forthcoming album that appears to have been officially leaked (I downloaded it from some blog):
MP3: Mystery Jets – Flakes

Mates of State – “Get Better”
Good god, talk about expanding your palette! These two have made a hell of a career for themselves by pushing the limitations set by their idiosyncratic instrumentation, and it was pretty exciting to watch them dip their toes into more ambitious arrangements on their last album, Bring It Back. With their new stuff, though, they’re pretty much marching headlong into totally uncharted territory. This song is so unique to their oeuvre, so lushly conceived, and, ultimately, so totally rewarding, it’s the musical equivalent of machete-hacking through miles of dense jungle undergrowth, only to stumble upon one of those rad, solid-gold Mayan temples, built to look like an enormous human skull with glowing ruby eyes and a river of chocolate sauce flowing from the mouth. I love those things.

From Bring It Back:
MP3: Mates of State – Fraud in the 80s

Snow Patrol – “Cubicles”
The demo of this song got passed on to me fresh from its recording session, and it’s pretty exciting to hear a tune that’s clearly destined to be played in stadiums delivered in so raw a form: this version is all dry acoustic guitars and perfunctorily multi-tracked vocals, and it’s gorgeous. If Panda Bear had recorded this, he’d have slapped a shitload of reverb on everything and added a track of random field recordings, and every blog in the world would have crapped their pants in excitement. That’s not a slight against Panda Bear. I love Panda Bear. It’s just all about context, people.

From Eyes Open: “Open Your Eyes” (YANP Matt: I once got an RIAA letter for posting this track… Once bitten, twice shy.)

Oxford Collapse – “John Blood”
For the better part of ’07, these dudes were threatening to make their next record a double album, and they went ahead and wrote enough songs to do it. In the end, cooler heads prevailed, and so now what we’ve got to look forward to is a potent little distillation of that project – a “greatest hits” kind of thing. “John Blood” has a bunch of the staples of the Oxford Collapse sound: a drum beat that acts as an awesome lead , a funky-ass bassline that acts as an awesome lead, and a melodic guitar lead that, um, acts as an awesome lead. But they’ve stepped it up with this one – there’s a groovy slinkiness to the song that we haven’t really heard from these guys before, and the sexy, saucy female vocals that pop up in the choruses are next-level.

From Remember the Night Parties: “Lady Lawyers”
MP3: Oxford Collapse – Lady Lawyers

Au Revoir Simone – “Oh! You Pretty Things”
This is coming out sometime in the nearish future on some K7 compilation of Bowie covers. Do I even have to go on at length about how excited I am that Au Revior Simone have recorded a Bowie song? To really encapsulate my enthusiasm, this synopsis would ideally just be an animated GIF of the Earth exploding and showering the cosmos with puppies and Skittles-brand candy pieces and slices of pizza bottles of single-malt Scotch and crap. Can somebody please put something like that together?

From The Bird of Music: “The Way To There”
MP3: Au Revoir Simone – The Way to There

The Little Ones – Ordinary Song (Video)
We just got off of a three-week tour in England with these guys, and their songs got way under our skin – so much so, that on a day off in Cardiff, Max (our keyboardist) and I had to impose a ban on the singing of this song. Every three minutes or so, one of us catch the other singing one of the, like, twenty hooks that feature in the 3:30 of this song, and would halfheartedly berate the offender. What were we supposed to do, though? We’re only men, flesh and blood. We love the Little Ones.

From the Sing Song EP: “Lovers Who Uncover”
MP3: The Little Ones – Lovers Who Uncover

Mixmas 07
Day 14: Gregg Gillis aka Girl Talk
Day 13: Danny Seim of Menomena
Day 12: Josh Grier of Tapes n Tapes
Day 11: Michael Nau of Page France
Day 10: Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond
Day 8: Holy Fuck
Day 7: Jay Underwood of the Light Footwork
Day 6: Matt Kretzman of Tapes n Tapes
Day 5: Jason Nesmith of Casper and the Cookies
Day 5: Matthew Pelham of the Features
Day 4: Keith Lowen of De Novo Dahl
Day 3: Fishboy
Day 2: David Crane of BOAT
Day 1: Scott Carney of Wax Fang
Day 1: Ivana XL

Mixmases from ’05 and ’06 below…

Mixmas 06 (MP3s removed)
Day 12: Keith Murray of We Are Scientists
Day 11: Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear
Day 10: Allan Vest of The Starlight Mints
Day 9: The Light Footwork
Day 8: Casper and the Cookies
Day 7: Sure Juror
Day 6: Ryan Allen of Thunderbirds Are Now!
Day 5: Michael Nau of Page France
Day 4: Greg from Oh No! Oh My!
Day 3: Tony Miller of Ideal Free Distribution
Day 2: Ivana XL
Day 1: Daniel of Oh No! Oh My!

Mixmas 05 (MP3s removed)
Day 13: Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal
Day 12: Keith Murray of We Are Scientists
Day 11: Justin Rice of Bishop Allen
Day 10: Becca from The Light Footwork
Day 9: Jay from The Light Footwork
Day 8: Christian Owens from Bishop Allen
Day 7: The Rinse
Day 6: Chris of Gorilla vs Bear
Day 5: Dodge from My Old Kentucky Blog
Day 4: Ryan Allen of Thunderbirds Are Now!
Day 3: John Vanderslice
Day 2: Tapes ‘n Tapes
Day 1: Dean from Secret Unicorns Forum

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