See, I told you this wouldn't just be a one off.
We're back this month with Volume 53 in The Dylan Samson Mix Series. This one's called "Permanent Angst," and features music from artists like A$AP Rocky, Sleater-Kinney, tUnE-yArDs, Skream. Those interested can find it on West 4th St. in the West Village.
1. Jay-Z : Reminder
A great song from an OK album. Listen to that beat. It's basically everything we love about Jay-Z's music. Solid song structure. Kind of sexy. A little dangerous. Well done Hova.
2. A$AP Rocky : Goldie
Sex. Drugs. Money. Fashion. Status. If you believe everything A$AP Rocky says in his music, you'd probably think he is the best at all of those things. He's taken boasting—an act I tend to hate in hip-hop—and turned it into an art form. If the reports are true and Rocky is releasing a new record later this year, that means we're in for 40+ minutes of top shelf boasts. I can't wait.
3. M.I.A. : Y.A.L.A
There's part of me that still doesn't know what to think about this song. Like so much of M.I.A.'s music, I frequently find myself wondering if it actually has a larger cultural message, or if it's just another club banger. No matter what it's actually dealing in, the fact that M.I.A. forces you consider that dichotomy is worth the price of admission.
4. TV on the Radio : Wolf Like Me
This song feels like it wants to burst apart at the seems. There is so much potential energy balled up in there, just begging for some kind of release. A lesser band would quickly loose control of this energy, allowing it to spill out everywhere and overwhelm the song, but TV on the Radio harnesses it and directs it exactly where they want it to go. It's a beautiful balancing act, one few bands can pull off. Bravo!
5. Kanye West : Good Morning
Say what you will about Kanye, the man knows how to put a song together.
6. Dirty Projectors : Gun Has No Trigger
Few bands are as virtuosic as the Dirty Projectors are. Fewer still display this kind of restraint, focusing all of their skills on creating a tense mood rather than showy technical displays. It's a rare, beautiful thing, one that should be celebrated whenever it happens.
7. Sleater-Kinney : Modern Girl
Of all the songs on of "The Woods," "Modern Girl" felt the most like Sleater-Kinney's swan song. It summed up so much of what this band stood for, so much of the movement they helped define. And while I couldn't be happier that they've returned, no one would have complained if this had been their send off.
8. Fugazi : Epic Problem
This song is a transforming act. It starts off as a raw, reckless punk rock song, but by the end it has incorporated pop elements and a traditional melody. What's even more impressive, is that Fugazi does manages this transition without sacrificing their edge, that feeling that everything they have to say matters more than anything else. It's an act of beauty. Pure, punk rock beauty.
9. tUnE-yArDs : Bizness
On paper, so much of what Merrill Garbus does sounds extremely pretentious. Vocal heavy songs based around kind of weird instruments and tape loops... Need I say more? But in reality it's so much more than that. Her music has this essential quality to it, one that demands the listener to step back and take notice. It drives. It explores. It relishes. So while it might not cover that much new ground, it brings a lot of existing depth to what already exists. Beautiful.
10. Radiohead : Lotus Flower
For so much of his career Thom Yorke has been searching for a way to explore complex musical concepts while giving listeners something to dance to. With this song, he might have just pulled it off.
11. James Blake : Building it Still
This song (as with much of the 200 Press EP) feels like a throwback to James Blake's pre-2011 catalogue, when he was still figuring out how to fuse R&B's song and chord-structure with dubstep's sonic pallet. The difference here is that he feels more sure of himself, more ready to put music out without worry of how his audience will react. It's exciting, and hopefully a quality that will carry over to Radio Silence when it is released later this year.
12. Bon Iver : Woods
I wish Justin Vernon would release an experimental record. An EP. A single. Something where he could exercise this exploratory instinct he clearly has. While much of his Bon Iver project has focused around songwriting, listening to this song and much of his earlier material make it clear that he has a knack for pushing musical boundaries without alienating his core audience. And while I doubt his next release will really exercise this instinct, it's still important that an artist of his stature be willing to explore new territories. And, if he doesn't, at least we still have this fantastic song.
13. Skream : Perferated
It feels reductive to label Skream as a dubstep artist. While he was definitely one of the pioneers of the genre, he has evolved so much since it took hold. Hell, just in this album (2010's "Outside the Box") he pulls in influences from house, footwork, post-dubstep, and instrumental hip-hop. And don't even get me started on the Skreamizm series. All of that aside, this feels like the perfect song to end on, to contiue to throttle us down to into a nice respite until the next mix.