I got an unnamed mix of 14 tracks clocking in just shy of an hour.
In terms of genre, it’s diverse, drifting from surf rock to post-rock to pop rap and closing with Angel Olsen. Other than her, some of these songs sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place them.
01. I feel like I know the singer’s voice, but can’t quite place it. Has kind of a garage surf rock quality to it. The tone on the lead guitar is breezy. It has a good groove. Yeah, I feel like I should’ve seen this in a jeans commercial at some point. That’s not an insult. Solid track to lead off with.
02. Low-fi chillwave. The guitar effect sounds underwater and gives the track a dreamy aesthetic. The vocal recording could be a little crisper, but I suspect that would ruin the overall mood. It sounds like a bunch of people who did this in their garage or something and would love to one day do a better version when they had a bigger budget.
03. This one snuck up on me. I thought it was going to be this slow, windswept instrumental track, a contemplative piece to which you’d see a character in a movie look out of a window and think about where they’re at in life. At 7:37, it’s the longest track here. It just keeps adding elements as it goes along, building and swelling the whole way as it adds drums, bass and this lead guitar line that creeps in slowly. I’d lean toward calling it post-rock over instrumental rock just because of that track-long crescendo effect. Big and dramatic piece. Spends the final few minutes cooling back off. There isn’t a sudden, Mogwai-type change of tone, it just sort of lets everything to which it built float away.
04. Another low-fi number, this one built on piano and hand claps. Lives around a pretty catchy hook: “It always end the same.” I feel like this probably closed whatever record it came from. It feels sort of like a silly experiment they tried after they were exhausted from making the rest of it.
05. I know this one, but I don’t know from where. That bass line is thick and the synth line adds this quirky indie pop vibe. It echoes St. Paul and the Broken Bones, but it doesn’t sound as rich as Paul Janeway’s voice.
06. Maybe the biggest stylistic switch up between two songs in the mix. This is a pretty slick male rapped/female sung pop rap collabo. Connecting it to the theme of religion, the backing vocals I think aim for this hint of gospel, trying to take us to church a little bit.
07. Another rap track. This is a little more carnivalesque/ragtimey in the piano lick, but has a good bass thud. It’s got a lot of swagger and braggadocio, kind of keeping it in the essence of hip-hop in that sense. “I used to get the coldest shoulder but now I get the hottest ass.” Lol I’m sure I’ve heard this before, but I couldn’t tell you who it is off of the top of my head.
08. Horns arrive and we’re back to guitar music. This feels like what I thought would follow up track 5. This has a jazzy/soulful/funky vibe. It’s almost another instrumental track, although it gets a verse near the end. On my second time through, I had to stop the mix here for a second and as soon as I walked away, I was whistling the melody.
09. The beginning of this song makes me think of Dave Matthews’ “Save Me,” but this winds up being funkier. The woman singing has a high register for this kind of funk/soul vibe. I imagine this would be fun to see live, especially with all the backup singing.
10. Pleasant little indie rock song. Has a laid back mood. I like the group sing the punctuates the phrase “And I know” in the chorus.
11. Another indie rocker. A little more low-fi and has some indietronica elements. I can’t tell if it’s a synth part or a guitar with an effect, but I like what it adds to the song — the phrase that bridges the verses is the defining characteristic of the song. The singing slides between falsetto and some upper registers well enough.
12. Nice little breezy indie folk song. This singer’s voice has a bit of a sadness and longing to it. The guitar tone that pairs with it goes well. I hear some bongos or some other hand-played percussion that give the chorus just that little extra gallop. This is a nice tune. I feel like I’ve heard this voice before, but it’s another one I can’t place.
13. Piano is a little carnivalesque/ragtime, but the hand claps and vocal harmonies are kinda doo wop. Sort of echoes the vibe of Track 4 in how bare bones but fun it is. The voice sounds like Hamilton Leithauser. I wonder if it’s from his latest project, which I haven’t checked out yet. This track makes me curious.
14. Ooh. Angel Olsen. Swoon. Love her. I feel like she’s followed a career trajectory similar to The Tallest Man on Earth — started with just her and a guitar and she keeps adding elements with each successive project without compromising her sound’s integrity. I like ending the whole mix on that final snare hit, too.
Overall, I liked it. There isn't a track here that I'm like, "Eww. Skip that." It's a good blend of a lot of different sounds/styles. Whoever made this is my kinda music nerd.
So who's responsible?