DJ Natty Heavy :: THE FIRST OF THE MONTH [June 2013]

DJ Natty Heavy is back with his third monthly compilation mix for your ears, an exclusive to 32ft/sec and we're calling it THE FIRST OF THE MONTH [June 2013], the time when you get paid, or when someone comes to collect, or in this case, both. Natty Heavy is already one of the best spinners of records in the American South, lighting up the airwaves and clubs of Charleston with impunity, and now he brings his talents to indie rock. It isn't his usual wheelhouse - except that he immediately makes a new wheelhouse - mashing up Vampire Weekend with Jay-Z, Skee-Lo and Born Ruffians, Tupac and the Strokes, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and B.o.B., Snoop Dog and Jon Lawless. Tell your friends, and then take cover. It's your just-add-water mix for the increasingly dilated days of June, straight from the South to make a big hot mess out of your Zip Code.

1. Vampire Weekend - "Worship You"/Jay-Z "Dirt Off Your Shoulder"
2. Prides - "Out of the Blue"/ Dorrough "Ice Cream Paint Job"
3. CHVRCHES - "Mother We Share"
4. Skee-Lo - "I Wish"/ Born Ruffians "Needle"/Fatman Scoop "Natty Heavy Bumper"
5. The Strokes - "Happy Ending"/Tupac - "Changes"
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Sacrilege"/ B.o.B. - "Still In This Bitch"
6. Jon Lawless and Mary Cassidy "Verbs"/Snoop Dog "Sensual Seduction"

Letting Up Despite Great Faults :: "Postcard"

In their most angular and insistent work to date, Letting Up Despite Great Faults builds a wall of fuzzy synthesizers on "Postcard". Buried in miles of reverb and feedback, the vocal acts as lead instrument but nothing else, only hints of consonants and vowels hanging at the edge of hearing, a few lines like, "find you" just clear enough from the maw to discern. The breathy snare is ceaseless, even as the arrangement wanders through a protracted outtro, the final, mildly abrasive tones behaving in eulogy for a lost, sunny and barely understood thing.


Smith Westerns :: "3am Spiritual"

A shimmering and delicate slice of the late stages of a summer night, Smith Westerns latest single, "3am Spiritual" possesses only a few moments of bombast. The chiming synth and guitar progression that follow the band's carefree group vocal, "whoa ... yeah", exactly the kind of non-answer that the second-half of a parabolic evening demands. Better yet, the second movement, a keyboard interlude lifted right from Win Butler's "We Used To Wait", seemingly doubles the layers of the refrain, a last languid look down a nostalgic hallway. The band sings, "You don't look like you used to be," a type of easy sadness so uniform, it can't possibly be original or surprising. And yet, pitching themselves as the last heirs to a fragile and nearly deceased world, Smith Westerns have one of the better songs of the year, an invented moment in the last iterations before dawn, the unremembered guitars of the 1970s slow-dancing with the anachronistic, gauzy synthesizers that never seemed to exist until now.


TV Girl :: "She Smokes In Bed"

Self-destruction is as dangerous as it is attractive. It's a trope: the poisonous girl with the laissez-faire attitude, a person unbound by the constraints of risk-adverse modern society. She's uninsurable; she's a walking liability; she's fascinating. Or, rephrased and writ-large as a visual simile, "She smokes in bed", the title lyric of latest TV Girl single. With a bass line that very nearly has a voice booming along at the bottom of the arrangement, TV Girl craft "She Smokes In Bed" as a breezy take on the sample-heavy, industrial-pop of a band like the Big Pink. The band refuses to answer the essential problem - with all the rhetorical niceties stripped away, "She's a nightmare" - instead descending into a series of weightless "ba's", maybe the only response for someone who cares so little and still manages to be the fecund and imploding star around which so much interest orbits.


HAERTS :: "All The Days

A rapid-fire combination pops from the tams as HAERTS' singer Nini Fabi scoops her way up - and the height is considerable as the arrangement is in full-bloom - to the top of the refrain on latest single, "All The Days". Possessing the ambient power of all great pop music, it describes a place that is no place, a time that is no time, quite literally "All The Days". Cribbing the charming, now Taco Bell-approved sonics of St. Lucia (who also acts as co-writer and producer here), the creepy vocal loops of Kate Bush and the synth dessert of Men At Work's globalized drum-fills, HAERTS cuts across genre lines with their pan-location pop. "All The Days", like "Wings" before it, won't necessarily be the song that breaks the band into the mainstream, but the next one, the first single from their full-length due later this year, will almost certainly transition this band from one that sounds like it could be anywhere, to one that is, in fact, everywhere.


Le Fever :: "White Hearts"

A glittering ode to the sound of the Shout Out Louds, Le Fever, a Stockholm outfit, disburse a meticulous and somber bit of pop on latest single, "White Hearts". Featuring down-tempo lyrics like, "Monday morning, what a joke" and the final, admittedly-adolescent crusher, "that you love him and you never loved me", the band courts the sort of fragile, heartsick Northern European pop that has found such an audience on the other side of the ocean. The melody runs downward, each stanza of the verses beginning at eye-level before heading relentlessly to the floor. Even the warm synthesizers, Cure-guitars and sharp snare drum do nothing to regain uplift, another in a long history of happy-sounding songs that instead encounter the inviolable depths of human relations.


Pure Bathing Culture :: "Pendulum"

It's a bit of form meeting function, vocals rising and falling in a swaying downbeat, as Pure Bathing Culture arrive at the chorus of lead track, "Pendulum" from forthcoming debut Partisan Records LP, Moon Tides. Like some lost 1980s revivalists who awoke in a universe of swimming pastels and Beach House songs set down 10 BPMs, Pure Bathing Culture prove expert at providing a type of modern moral-victory slow dance. "Pendulum" is a sweeping arrangement, an aperture opened wide, a melody focused on the natural rise and fall, the rhythmic cycles that so fascinate the band. The human experience filtered through this lens becomes an exercise in repetition, release and return. This, too, shall pass, only to emerge again, like Teen Dream washing up, over and over, on a foreign shore.


Let's Be Loveless :: "Video Song"

Brooklyn's Let's Be Loveless draw portions of their name from the second My Bloody Valentine LP and their sound from across the dream-pop and shoegaze landscape. On debut single, "Video Song", vocalist Abby Camaya channels one the band's stated and most pleasing influences: The Sundays. Though "Video Song" is darker by far, a bass line that rumbles with a vague if unyielding menace, the breezy vocal, even on lines like "Give me some time to work this out" is every bit Harriet Wheeler. With an album release show at Muchmore's on July 10th, it will be something like you and them in the summer time, as Camaya calls wilting from beyond the leading guitars.


Challenger :: "Back to Bellevue"

John Ross of Challenger is a synthesizer genius. Latest single, the first from a coming yet-to-be-titled LP, "Back to Bellevue" shares the stomping and halcyon Reading Rainbow-electrics of his 2012 offering, "I Am Switches". Similarly, "Bellevue" also features a stunning second movement, vocals spun in reverse and a leading keyboard line. It stands that the Challenger LP that comes with "Bellevue" will be an enormous and wantonly nostalgic slice of synth-pop, set wide-screen for impact.

For New Yorkers, the band plays Arlene's Grocery at midnight on Saturday, May 18.


Swimming Lessons :: "Double"

An effervescent slice of electronic pop, Swimming Lessons meanders pleasantly through debut single, "Double". The percussion resonates as carbonated, an ever-rising loop of chiming sounds and loops - a snare sound for organizational purposes only - mixed with Ben Lewis charming, echoing vocal. The Leeds outfit gives hints of the Clock Opera empire that never was, and windows to the better sides of Ernest Greene's work in Washed Out. None of it necessarily aims for the ceiling. "Double" gives little hint of unchecked ambitions, rather a frictionless slow-drive through electro-pop tropes that sound as familiar as they are pleasing.


Magic Man :: "Nova Scotia"

The great hope of Providence, RI, Magic Man recently hooked their cart to the Neon Gold imprint of Columbia Records, meaning you might be reading this in early 2014 when one of their songs ends up in a Taco Bell commercial and your Shazam-ing turned Googling leads you here. Their mercurial rise will be completely earned and entirely righteous. After all, it isn't cheating when the game has already been fixed. You aren't skipping steps when you've always written hooks this sticky. Having heard some of the unreleased cuts live a few months back, Magic Man are an easy prediction for an intensely relevant band in the summer of 2013, portending an absolute heater of a next calendar year.


Frugal Father :: "Red Headed Hipster"

Lost somewhere between the confessional barritone of Matt Berninger's work with the National and the glittering sonics of an LCD Soundsystem record, comes LA-by-way-of-Boulder, Colarado band Frugal Father. Essentially, the one-man work of Mac Welch, a young guy who has been cutting his teeth as a roadie for other bands, Frugal Father will soon be making its own way through the independent rock wilderness on the back of bulletproof first single, "Red Headed Hipster" and its charming mixture of lyrical hedonism and nihilism, one of the lines of 2013, "We don't have to be best friends/but I like your cardigan/let's dance." The arrangement grows in expansiveness from an initially limited perimeter, channeling a weird mixture of "Dance Yrself Clean" and "Bloodbuzz Ohio" in the opening measures before unleashing a somber glitch-pop anthem in the final movement. With just two songs to his name, Welch and Frugal Father have nothing but green lights ahead with this titanic mixture of indie rock.


Bend :: "Short Crush"

Like a wedge finding the weakness in a small fissure, the keyboard pop coming out of the minds of the current crop of adolescents and post-adolescents is both tiny and potentially huge. Built in the ashes of a post-Postal Service world, the bedroom jams of burgeoning LA two-some - currently at USC and Vassar College  respectively - Bend represent the smallest of impulses on the appropriately titled, "Short Crush". Soft 8-bit breakdowns lay beside a snapping loop and pretty boy-girl duet, all accented with the type of lyrics that make most intimate sense to 19-year-olds who wrote them. But if "Short Crush" lacks a certain universalism, it still manages to strike a deep sonic chord with anyone who ever loved Give Up, a new generation of painful bedroom pop for the kinds of thoughts and minor terrors that, understandably, never left the bedroom in the first place.


There Is Danger :: "Passport"

The charming last movement of There Is Danger's latest single, "Passport" offers singer Illya Riske riding down the back of a cascading melody and a mantra, "All I wanted was adventure." It sounds vaguely apologetic, the final iteration of a song that has Riske admitting, "I keep my passport in pocket" and "I fall in love in every city", a love song to wanderlust and all her terrible drivers. The sounds are dreamy and spirited, lo-fi and ambitious, a little prop plane rock song that buzzes low over the trees. Appropriately, Riske ends not with an apology but a demand, "Just give me adventure." Both he and his listeners won't be disappointed by what the next movement brings, a national tour and unfolding recognition, one of the best independent bands in this vein since Throw Me The Statue and Youth Lagoon.


Tideup :: "Beaches" and "Walk"

Orlando's Tideup take their slow-drive electro-pop out to the backyard and let it drift on the surface of an in-ground pool. Both singles, "Beaches" and "Walk" are bedroom jams, full of sparkling lo-fi loops and taut drums. Vocalist, Noelle Indovino shimmers and shakes in a distant, full-bloom fecundity, backed by the instrumental architecture of her collaborator, Ben Guzman. It's a night drive through a suburbia with no zoning laws; it's the terrible beauty of the afternoon strip mall, the subdivision, the backyard and all that lies beyond.