If it’s December at You Ain’t No Picasso then it’s time for Mixmas. Every year I use the holiday season as an excuse to get some of my favorite musicians to contribute a mix centered around a theme of their choosing. They share some of their favorites and we get a little peak into their playlist and their brain.
MP3: Jaill – Snake Shakes
One of my favorite discoveries of 2010 was the band Jaill. I must’ve played their album That’s How We Burn over 50 times at work. They blend together everything I love about rock ‘n roll into one seemingly effortless package.
“Loss” by Austin Dutmer of Jaill
For this mix we’ve decided to use the uplifting, and these days omnipresent, theme of “Loss.” Merry Christmas, right? Fuck it, its Great Depression 2.0! But really these are just the songs that we have stuck in our heads every goddamned day because their so good. Tread cautiously my friend, do not listen to these songs unless your prepared to become totally obsessed with them…
The Pizazz – Livin’ Like Animals (YT link)
This severely under-appreciated band from Detroit put out one of the best garage-pop records we’ve ever heard. The cassette version Burger put out has practically melted into our van’s tapedeck from overuse. “Animals” is such a killer first track to the album, and its easily one of the best songs to encapsulate the often-shitty touring lifestyle. “When you got nothing to lose, you lose things that don’t belong to you.”
Funny story: Before we even ever really listened to the record we asked the Pizazz to come to Milwaukee to open our record release show for That’s How We Burn. Little did we know however that some of the dudes in the band had last-minute obligations. Rather than cancel the show, the guitarist, Ted drove to Milwaukee by himself, stopping in Chicago first to pick up, and teach the songs to, a drummer from Chicago. They opened the show as a two piece having practiced for an hour, a hour before the show. He’s not even the lead singer of the band, he’s 2nd guitar! What?! Fucking incredible. Such a sense of rock and roll duty is rarely found anywhere these days. And for that we owe him, and the rest of his stupidly awesome band a huge hug.
“Dropped my phone / Lost my keys / They threw me off the balcony” Ha!
MP3: Happy Birthday – Cracked
If you don’t already know about Happy Birthday or King Tuff then go slap yourself in the face for sleeping on one of the most talented, interesting and funny songwriters out busting his ass today. Sub Pop got hip to King Tuff and put out this album early this year to surprisingly sleepy criticism. Why? Because people don’t know what’s good anymore, they only like shit like the Arcade Fire, and that sucks. This song’s about the Earth being a punk rock chick who’s fucked up and probably not gonna make it. So its about losing the planet. But its great because it doesn’t point fingers or anything dumb like that, instead it talks about the planet being the head, and humans are, like, the brain. And we all know our brains make us do stupid things. I swear if this album doesn’t make its way onto some year-end top-ten lists soon we’re gonna go buy guns and shoot the internet.
Oliver Onions- Bulldozer (YT link)
Our driver through Europe, Fabio, turned us on to this band, and in particular this song. I should say, rather, that he drilled it into our brains by making it his phone’s wake-up alarm. A cruel thing to do to us poor, exhausted travelers, indeed. We heard the guitar-plucking part that occurs throughout the song every fucking day for a week until we finally asked him what the hell it was. Lo and behold the song actually totally rules and now we’re even thinking about a covering it someday. We’re gonna say here that its about a guy who loses his cool. His name is Bulldozer. Huh? Check out these lyrics: “You can see a mountain that comes, Bulldozer / You can see a cloud of fists and dust / Where its coming from nobody knows and nobody will ask such a thing.” Brilliant.
MP3: Wild Nothing – Chinatown
We played with this band last night in Varese, Italy, and this song is hands-down one of the prettiest songs we’ve heard in the past couple of years. The video is incredible. It pieces together clips of an old French film in which a boy loses his best friend, his dog, and searches high and low, but to no avail. If you haven’t seen it yet do yourself a favor and get on youtube right now. And keep some Kleenex handy.
MP3: Conspiracy of Owls – Three
We’re such big fans of the Go that we practically all came in our pants when we first heard their new 70’s-tinged project, Conspiracy of Owls. Its Love meets Pink Floyd meets Seals and Crofts, singing songs about the Illuminati and somehow managing to connect the idea of massive, global conspiracy to growing up in the 80’s and spending all of your money in an arcade. You try and do that.
We’ve also been fortunate enough now to meet and even play a couple of shows with them. For the live show they’ve assembled a gaggle of awesome Detroit shitheads who fill up the entire stage with guitars and beards. We love them.
This song is about John Krautner losing his virginity.