10 Ways to Stay Hip

A weekly reference to keep your mind fresh and your limbs loose.

This week, in honor of it being 4/20, I guess, there’s a lot of zoning out on the cool psychedelic trip. Man. Plus some depressing photos, and, um, lip gloss. Did that harsh your mellow? Well, whatever. Where were you when we were getting high:

mojo-photo-danlesac.JPG10. Dan le Sac vs. Scoobius Pip – “Thou Shalt Always Kill” (mp3 via Feed Me Good Tunes)
Okay, novelty tune, for sure. But when a novelty tune comes in the form of a hilarious, fast-paced Streets-meets-Audio Bullys screed about stuff you shalt and shalt not do, most of which seems amusingly, uh, specific to this Dan guy, I’ll make an exception

mojo-photo-maximopark.jpg9. Maximo Park – “Russian Literature” (From Our Earthly Pleasures out 5/9 on Warp) (mp3 via Stereogum)
Oh, those Russkies. They write good. This angular, Franz Ferdinand-y British five-piece agrees, and brings a little piano action to the foreground to make the point

mojo-cover-explosions.jpg8. Explosions in the Sky – “The Birth and Death of the Day” (from All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, on Temporary Residence) (mp3 via Aural Fitness)
I like post-rock, yes I do. When it comes to 8-minute instrumental rock epics, there’s a fine line between exultant and self-indulgent. But this Texas combo keeps it together by going right for the emotional jugular, like Slint, Tortoise, or Godspeed you Black Emperor before them

7. Lil’ Mama – “Lip Gloss” (video, via Pitchfork)

Apparently Lil’ Mama is really “lil,” only 17 years old in fact, but in this video about how a magical pink lip gloss makes everything okay, she actually seems more self-assured than that setup might make you think. Plus, the supremely minimal backing track (just a stomp and a clap) is a showcase for her very real vocal skills

mojo-photo-ulrich.jpg6. Ulrich Schnauss feat. Judith Beck – “Stars” (from Goodbye, out July 10th on Domino) (mp3 via Use Your Faults, Use Your Defects)
This German artist put out one of my favorite albums of 2003, the neo-electronica-meets-My Bloody Valentine-fuzz A Strangely Isolated Place. This preview track from his long-awaited followup shows a more mature, and dare I say accessible, style

mojo-cover-teddybears.jpg5. Teddybears – “Automatic Lover” (from Soft Machine on Atlantic) (mp3 via My Old Kentucky Blog)
This Swedish combo put out their Big Beat-reminiscent full length last year, but it took me a while (and a few stellar live performances) for me to warm up to it. This track may have “car commercial” written all over it, but its robot vocal and blippy background put it somewhere between Royksopp and the Chemical Brothers. One for the Coachella poolside iPod mix…

mojo-photo-chrisjordan.jpg4. Chris Jordan – “Running the Numbers: An American Self Portrait” (photography, via Yahoo! Picks)
For a borderline obsessive like me, who has a really hard time putting anything in the garbage, since all I think about are the piles of plastic trash, lasting for millenia, these large-format digitally altered photographs are both beautiful and nearly unbearable. The rearrangement of “Denali” to say “Denial” in the b/w mountain portrait is a little silly, but the version of Seurat’s “Sunday Afternoon” made from soda cans is awesome

mojo-cover-blonderedhead.jpg3. Blonde Redhead – “Spring and Summer by Fall” (from 23 on Matador) (mp3 via Crackers United)
Pitchfork was, in my opinion, a little mean about this album, even though they gave it a 7.0, using the word “monstrosity” seems a bit harsh. Perhaps it’s just the soft bigotry of high expectations, but the review seemed to have a real issue with the shoegazey sheen. Well, I say, “hooray for shoegazey sheens,” especially when combined with a song this mesmerizing: an uptempo guitar-driven track with surprising melodic twists and turns, over which Amadeo Pace insists, “Tell me where you’ve been / tell me what you saw”

mojo-photo-dungen.jpg2. Dungen – “Familj” (from the forthcoming Tio Bitar, out April 26th on Subliminal Sounds) (mp3, and great story about the guitarist working for the Swedish post office at Stereogum)
Dungen blow my mind. Is it some sort of Scandinavian genetic memory, helping me deduce meaning from the Swedish lyrics? Or is it the hypnotic, swirling harmonies that suddenly give way to a single acoustic guitar, only to blast back in again? Dungen give “psychedelic rock” a good name, maybe the best name it ever had

mojo-photo-coachella.jpg1. Being completely, utterly focused on Coachella
Hey have they posted set times yet? Check again! What does Weather.com say the high is for Saturday? 90? 92? 93? What’s optimum? What stage do you think Arcade Fire is playing? When? How long will we have to camp out in front of the stage to get a good spot? Have they posted set times yet?! How many days until we leave? We’re having margaritas, right? Are set times up yet? Did you bring the limes? Wait, where’s my ticket?!


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