Guest Mix: TEEN
Earlier this year, TEEN released Carolina, an EP follow-up to their 2012 psych-pop full-length debut, In Limbo. The EP notably sees singer/multi-instrumentalist Teeny Lieberson shifting her vocal style from a more aggressive, care-free approach to one with a softer, more consciously “beautiful” inflection, inspired by Kate Bush and Al Green. In an interview from earlier this year, we asked what precipitated the change, and here’s how she responded:
I didn’t want to do the angry thing any more; the cool thing, you know? […] And since when is it not important or meaningful or cool to have somebody who can tell a story and carry the entire thing? That’s what a singer is supposed to do, and it’s been completely lost. Twenty, thirty years ago, you couldn’t be the lead singer of a band if you weren’t good at that. There’s was no reverb, people weren’t hiding behind this stuff. I’ve been guilty of trying to hide behind effects, but I don’t want to do that anymore. It feels boring.
It makes sense, then, that TEEN’s guest mix for Tiny Mix Tapes would be composed of mostly R&B singers who can indeed tell stories and carry entire songs by the strength of their vocal performances. Unlike most of our mixes, this mix has no intention of digging deep (unless you mean temporally), which is actually really refreshing because I’m so in the mood to hear Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye devastate me with their voices.
Check out the mix here, and read Teeny’s track-by-track commentary below:
[00:00] Sly and The Family Stone - “In Time”
I recently became re-obsessed with Sly. I listened to him all the time when I was a teenager, because I loved his voice so much. I recommend checking out his Twitter feed. This has been a highlight to my life.
[05:43] Al Green - “I’m A Ram”
My babysitter introduced me to Al Green when I was 12 or so. I remember getting into the car and she was blasting “Love and Happiness.” I thought it was the best thing I had ever heard. I now know every song he has sung, a lot of them written by a man named Teeny.
[09:24] Stevie Wonder - “You’ve Got It Bad Girl”
One of my favorite songs of all time. Stevie is such a master of inserting melodies and ideas where you least expect them and making it work every time. I also want every keyboard played on this record. They sound so good…
[14:11] Bill Withers - “Ruby Lee”
Such a genuine voice. I love the way his recordings sound — always moody and mysterious.
[17:23] Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers - “Pilgrim of Sorrow”
I had a friend tell me to check out Sam Cooke’s gospel recordings because they are so powerful. There’s a live recording of this song as well that’s completely amazing.
[19:45] The Flamingos - “I Only Have Eyes For You”
Along with my obsession for soul, I also have an obsession with hip-hop. The Fugees sampled this track in their song “Zealots,” which is still my favorite song from The Score. I later heard the original and it blew my mind. It’s so romantic.
[22:53] Marvin Gaye - “When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You”
Here, My Dear is the most amazing break up record. So much pain and expression.
[28:58] Funkadelic - “I’ll Stay”
I love funkadelic because they’re so pysch. Their music doesn’t lose its groove or melodic sense when it goes into outer space.
[33:11] Betty Davis - “Game Is My Middle Name”
Miles Davis’ wife, and a total weirdo… she has a knack for the fantastic. The guitars on this song rip.
SOLARIUM MISCELANEA MILENIUM
Sitting meditation-style, tanning the backs of your forearms, blissing out to the simplest rays scorching skin; arms on chair handles and feet immersed in grains of sand. And you think of the breakdown process of all that sand. Harsh waves smashing into bars, shells defleshing into salt or mineral: matter. Mind-surfing into pure blue wakes of curls, foamed at the tip, and writhing into a flat/surfaced graze landing. Ripe tides suck thoughts as the ocean breeze chills your hairs. Stares from beaks and insatiable streaks of neon orange… maybe it’s what you’re wearing. How about that? And that mist in the air.
Ooo you hear in off-key melody, vocalized by beach bakers, as a plane flies by and reads on its tail, “World’s Largest Foam Party Sat. - July 13th. Tix at Websterhall.com.” She turns to you with that nahh look, but your thumbs-up reaches the sky, maybe. You then flick, draw, and sear into another brain bubble, auraing a conch of noise roaring waves, passing light beyond the seen. It’s your hit. Let’s reach SOLARIUM MISCELANEA MILENIUM together, while speaking in Afrika Pseudobruitismus tongues.
• Afrika Pseudobruitismus: http://afrikapseudobruitismus1.bandcamp.com
“Goatman” [live at Glastonbury]
It’s common knowledge that most people who think of themselves as music journalists, even the ones without GOATees and every release from the Nuggets compilation on un-wrapped heavyweight vinyl, want to be back in the hazy days of 1968. They’ll pretend that this is because music was PURE and FREE LOVE worked its unilateral male-centered magic and DRUGS playfully darted between sphincters, pores, and nostrils like a swarm of horny midges. But actually, it’s because they have a love of lapsing into the language of the era, their internal monologues taking on the plummy but pissed tone of a seasick pirate-radio host, moored in the “HMS Fannypack” just off the coast of San Fran.
Wig out, frig out, kick those pigs out — it’s the new grooooovin’ sounds of the swamp. Hotter than Jackie Kennedy in a sweat lodge and twice as loud. Yes, hip hacks, it’s time to swing those slacks to the sound of GOAT. Straight out of Sweden, here we have a rare high-quality video of their legendary live show, steaming in fuzz and Voodoo vibes, with props from all over our throbbing Gaia. It fizzes, it hisses, it never misses…
You can see the appeal.
But me, I’m just happy to adopt the cloying, aloof tone of a late-capitalist internet hack, commenting on such phenomena from above in an endless circle of self-referential nods and winks. You see, GOAT were always one of those “nods and winks” bands — a group of kids with very good record collections and unafraid to prove it — but they inspire the prose of a stoned, relentlessly enthusiastic 1960s boy with a GOATee.
So let’s compare a mix from last year, with all those nods and winks laid out bare, to the band in all their live glory.
Which original wins out?
Tracklist and download of the mix at Punk Slime .
The thing I dig most about listening to music is that it’s sorta like reading musicians’ conscious thoughts. Creatively, with or without words, musicians are bestowing ideas unknown upon listeners, who then form original thoughts or feel nostalgia based on the music, all personalized to the closed-eyed imagination of the listener. It’s like a faux telepathic resonance.
Virtual Flannel (Chris Bridge) has been working hard to bring that resonance to every listener willing to take the journey. Starting this year with a TMT guest mix, Virtual Flannel now pops his second release on Noorden, blowing away dancers, ciphers, bobbers, and the like-mindeds, bending beat after beat in warped hip-hop explosion. And as his other Wet Money peers continue conducting shock and awe, dampening their beats in liquid electronics, Virtual Flannel still walks the line between warped-tape and fluid-skew on Neon-Waves. Enjoy it below! Sold out at the Virtual Flannel website, but more copies through Noorden!!
“Tunnel Vision” [NSFW]
Boobs, block letters, and awkward dancing. I get the feeling I’ve seen this exact same video before. Seriously, though: if you saw Robin Thicke’s clip for “Blurred Lines” and thought to yourself, “this needs more nudity, less cute animals, and maybe project the singer’s face onto the naked models’ bodies and have Timbaland play some air trumpet for good measure,” then you, my friend, are in luck. JT’s new video for “Tunnel Vision” offers up seven whole minutes of NSFW goodies, with none of the cheeky enthusiasm. Given the length, you’d think there’d be some plot, but nope, sorry: but what you can watch is three attractive women, slowly writhing about like drunken koalas against backdrops of smoke and disco lights and Justin Timberlake’s handsome visage. The singer, of course, is fully-clothed, poorly-shaved, and far enough away from the naked ladies to ensure that the YouTube police don’t come calling again; the video, released last Wednesday, was initially removed, but later put back up in accordance with the site’s policy to “make exceptions when it [nudity] is presented in an educational, documentary or artistic context” (unfortunately, the NSFW version of the “Blurred Lines” video did not meet the site’s artistic expectations). Oh, bosoms — what a bother they are.
I remember a friend talking about “that one Daft Punk song where it sounds like someone is in the club when the song comes on, steps out to have a cigarette in the middle, and then steps back inside at the end.” It’s a matter of subtraction. When the speakers are right in front of you, you can hear everything, and it’s loud. As you begin to get some people, walls, and buildings between you and the source, you begin to lose those details, only receiving a general idea of what’s going on on the other side. When the “drop” comes in, I suppose that is where you fall through the ceiling, in a split second, right back into what is going on. Some songs build toward it slowly. Some cut things and drop them back into the mix numerous times throughout the song. And some spend the whole time digging upward from the depths, uncovering those little details along the way, without ever fully reaching the surface — the full 100% of the sound.
“Léger” from Midtown Direct, the recently released tape by M/M (Brooklyn’s Michael McGregor of Meadowlands and Chocolate Bobka) on 108op, is a slow digger. The song feels complete while still leaving you wondering how much further up it could’ve dug. But I guess that is what remixes are for.