Stereogum Monthly Mix: December 2010

Appropriately, and by design, the December edition of our Monthly Mix is the iciest. In the comments of the last installment Scott joked about me doing an “all black metal” mix, but as you’ll notice when you read through the below tracklist, I opted to go for darkness in different corners. In case you missed the concept behind these mixes: Like October and again in November, the following is a carefully sequenced run of the best free MP3s we’ve posted (or that have otherwise popped up) in the last few weeks. It works as a distillation for folks who don’t have time to listen to everything, and at the same time, sets a specific mood that should work well once the snowflakes start falling. Amrit did the last two. Future installments may involve group selections, other staff members, well-vetted contributors, etc. As mentioned, I did this one.

It opens with jj’s “Let Them,” a track that’s takes T.I. and Akon and alters and extends the source material, transforming it into another example of their weird icy, warm Swedish pop. (It also sounds like someone whispering a secret about the haters — a good entryway to a mix that’s supposed to make you-against-the-world want to hideout and stay warm beneath your bedsheets.) You also get the snowy, bright crystals of The Golden Filter’s version of Psychic TV’s “White Nights,” a cover that appeared a few days after the death of Peter Christopherson.

That pair of lullabies is interrupted by the claustrophobic stomp of Gatekeeper’s “Serpent,” a run through a smoky funhouse that opens up to a walk through “Cemetery Rain,” a set-in-December track from gray-sky obsessed goth-pop Stereogum40 duo Minks’ forthcoming By The Hedge. We head back indoors for a warping, fading remix of Marina & the Diamonds’ “Obsessions” by San Francisco producer oOoOO. You’ll easily find the otherwise elusive oOoOO in various “Witch House” features. Ditto White Ring, the Brooklyn duo of Kendra Malia and Bryan Kurkimilis, though they dig deeper into black metal and England’s Hidden Reverse than most of their cohorts. You get a sense of that on the colossal, shadowy “Felt U.”

The mix is rounded out with the High Places’s Rob Barber (aka The Urxed) and his seasonal affective dance mix of Abe Vigoda’s “Throwing Shade,” the wind and rain (and electronic accents) of Destroyer’s “Chinatown,” a great garage-punk tune by Tyvek (who may not seem so cold at first, but I spent my coldest date of 2010 in their Detroit hometown, so they’re here for that and other reasons), Jokers Of The Scene’s groggy remix of Salem’s “Asia,” Zola Jesus’ equally danceable (and frozen) Valusia opener “Poor Animal,” and the dessicated closer Heaven’s Gate by another favorite, Salem and Tri Angle pal Stalker, who turns Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface” into an end-times cult prayer.

I’d wanted to go for a perfect dozen in honor of the The Twelve Days Of Christmas and the dozen months of this past year, but Locrian’s “Elevations And Depths,” the anguished acoustic/violin closer from the Chicago duo’s highly recommended The Crystal World, drifts into such a beautiful space, I decided to attach it as a “bonus.”

Turn out the lights while you hang the garlands.

Stereogum Monthly Mix: December 2010 (105.13MB .zip)

TRACKLIST

01 jj – “Let Them”
02 The Golden Filter – “White NIghts” (Psychic TV Cover)
03 Gatekeeper – “Serpent”
04 Minks – “Cemetery Rain”
05 Marina & The Diamonds – “Obsessions (oOoOO RMX)”
06 White Ring – “Felt U”
07 Abe Vigoda – “Throwing Shade (The Urxed Remix)”
08 Destroyer – “Chinatown”
09 Tyvek – “Underwater To”
10 Salem – “Asia (Jokers Of The Scene Remix)”
11 Zola Jesus – “Poor Animal”
12 Stalker – “Heaven’s Gate”
13 Locrian – “Elevations And Depths” (BONUS TRACK)

After you’re done listening, if you want to continue hibernating, I suggest playing some sequence of Nico’s The Marble Index (focus on “Frozen Warnings”), Grouper’s Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill, Peter Jefferies’ The Last Great Challenge In A Dull World, Mt. Eerie’s Wind’s Poem, Crystal Castles’ new one, and Darkthrone’s “The Pagan Winter.” (Doing a loop of “Into This Earth Of Shallow Intent” from Celestiial’s Desolate North should work, too.)

[Ice crystals photo by Helen Filatova via freefoto.ca]

Comments (9)
  1. I love that you do this. Always find your playlists enjoyable. I wouldn’t of heard Holy Other last month if you did make these things.

  2. oh wow…this may be the best one i’ve seen…not one, but two tri angle witch house acts, zola jesus, salem, white ring & locrian???
    i really hope that this turns more people onto these bands…i love them very much
    really nice work on this mix

  3. Great Job brandon! Can’t wait to hear it.

    Looks like you nailed that Winter feeling perfectly.

  4. Yay! The art of a fine mixtape never dies. Looking forward to this!

    Sort of on the subject of tapes, with some folks on the indie scene releasing things exclusively as tapes, I wonder if I am at the right age to feel about that as the people back in the day felt about Vinyl coming back in fashion. I see something released as a tape, and all I can think is “I got rid of anything that can possibly play one of those so many years ago, there is no way I’m going back down that path.” But in, say, 20 years, are we going to have Jack White releasing just 5 cassettes ringed in silver that you have to drop from a height of 10 feet to release the playable tape of a remastered Elephant, and the subsequent bidding wars on the post-2012 Ebay will ignite another internet riot? And am I going to be preaching to grandkids in the Republic of New Chicago about how everything just sounds better when listened through a tape deck?

    Anyway, Happy Weekend!

  5. This mix is a bit too heavy on Witchhouse for my personal taste, but still good. And I love how much you were willing to write about each song/ why you put them in the specific order you did. Not enough people do that!

  6. I would have chosen “King Night” by Salem just for the O Holy Night melody

    • Definitely, agreed, but these Monthly Mixes are based on MP3s that came out within the last month, so we’re working w/ certain self-imposed restrictions … it’s a fun, challenging limitation. (That said, “King Night” has a special place on my personal around-the-house Holiday sampler, of course.)

  7. Good playlist. But I think that many of the commenters will have dfferent views on who should be on this list or not.

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