DecibelCast Vol. 17 “We All Fall Down” Mixtape

WeAllFallDownMixtape

This latest dBCast, which completes our triage of melancholic mixes (we promise the next one will be happy), is an ode to the final days of Autumn—that time of year when the air is crisp, the nights are long and we’re all recovering from /gearing up for being around our families.

The back story on this one is that I came across these great compilations of weird, psychedelic and vaguely sad folk music from the early 1970s called Acid Folk, which, totally inform the mix—even if only a few of the songs made it to the final tracklist. As far as what else made the cut, there’s a bunch of stuff from 2013, much of which you will probably recognize if you read this blog. I’ve been really digging the oddball library music-inspired sounds of British imprint Ghost Box of late, so I included some tracks from The Advisory Circle, Pye Corner Audio and The Learning Center.  And then there are the songs with Autumn-sounding names and also, some random odds and ends from the past: the lo-fi jangle pop of Cleaners from Venus, and this amazing Chilean rock supergroup from the late ’70s, Boddega, that I stumbled upon—shit, there’s even a Donavon song in there.

Hope you enjoy.

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Download We All Fall Down.zip

Tracklist

Yo La Tengo – “Autumn Sweater”

My Bloody Valentine – “New You”

Salvia Plath – “House of Leaves”

Kelley Stoltz – “Your Face”

Maston – “Looks”

The Advancement – “Stone Folk”

Ghostface & Adrian Younge – “An Unexpected Call (Instrumental)”

King Krule – “Ocean Floor”

Cleaners From Venus – “Only a Shadow”

Boddega – “Dame Tu Amor (Give Me Your Love)”

Vashti Bunyan – “Rose Hip November”

The Advisory Circle – “Innocence Elsewhere”

Forest Swords – “An Hour”

The Low Frequency in Stereo – “Secondhand Nation”

Forest Fire – “Alone With the Wires”

Sparklehorse – “Don’t Take My Sunshine Away”

Donovan – “Get Thy Bearings”

Listening Center with Pye Corner Audio – “Titoli”

Young Fathers – “I Heard”

The Pastels – “Kicking Leaves”

Bry Webb – “Rivers of Gold”

Robert Gebelein – “In Search of Something”

Mark Fry – “Song for the Wild”

Maston – “Shadows”

It is almost impossible to discuss the music of Frank Maston without referencing his native Los Angeles and the psychedelic pop tradition of the 1960s. That being said, Shadows, released back in the spring via Chicago-based imprint Trouble in Mind, is not an easy record to classify. While it clearly owes some kind of debt to the production techniques of Phil Spector and the arrangements of Brian Wilson, it is hardly a neat fit within the West Coast cannon. After all, there is a certain sound one imagines when thinking of said tradition, and I’m willing to wager that descriptors like spooky, bizarre, paranoia and dread, do not generally figure into it.

frankMastonWelcome then, to Maston‘s fun house of esoteric bedroom pop! Like the name suggests, Shawdows is a far cry from the care-free sunny harmonies of the Beach Boys. Rather, this is the Los Angeles of Phillip K. Dick. Like some sort of bad trip everything is kind of familiar, but in a strange and unsettling way, a shiny veneer masking something  nebulous and vaguely sinister.

Even with a running time of just 27 minutes, there is a lot to take in, in fact this is the kind of record that demands repeat listens. The arrangements, which involve at different times: pianos, organs, guitars, various percussive instruments, horns strings and woodwinds (all of which Maston plays himself), are dense and sophisticated.  Shuffling rhythms composed largely of various shakers and bells and tambourines underlie music box piano melodies, which swirl around surf rock guitars and sit uneasily in the creepy synthetic ambiance with outlandish big band horns. Maston‘s croon, which only features on about half of the songs, has a strange hollow quality, and is processed in a way that makes his melodies sound ghostly when they might have otherwise been sweet.

This is good stuff, probably one of the best records of the year. But don’t take my word for it…

 

 

“Flutter” from Shadows

“Young Hearts” from Shadows