Patio Stations 9

Last Call: the final installment of my annual Memorial Day BBQ mix. It's been a great run. If you want to check out the rest of the series or the others in this podcast you can copy use this link.

Patio Stations has been a series that is near and dear to my heart. There's something about these gentle rockers and laid back electronic grooves that speaks to me. Despite that, I realize it's time to bring this series to a close. There may yet (eventually) be a 10th episode, but the series is certainly moving from annual to infrequent.

Nine episodes and a total twelve hours—that's enough for any single concept. Besides, when sequels get into the double digits, you're in real danger of barrel scraping. I don't want to see a series that's received some of the most enthusiastic responses, run aground.

I saw plenty of signs: normally, when I finish a Patio Stations mix, I have almost an hour's worth of tracks I just couldn't fit in (which becomes the basis for the next year's episode). Not so this time 'round. I had exactly what I needed; nothing less or more. The tracks I picked for this edition, inadvertently, ended up having a sort of late-night, last call kind of twilit vibe. In so many ways the end just seems appropriate.

This begs the question: how did Patio Stations last so long, so well (volume 8 was one of the best of the series to date). One factor is how flexible a concept it is—not committed to any style, sound, or era so much as a mood. I've always wanted to capture the vibe of hanging out with your oldest and dearest friends—the ones you don't have to posture with or explain much of anything to. Where you're at ease and most yourself. These songs try to capture that feeling, for me.

This might be the last of the series, so maybe plan yourself a Memorial Day bash. Spend some time with the ones there's never enough time for. Char some food on the grill and enjoy some drinks in the outdoor sun. 

This is the Patio Stations, signing off.

Benoît Pioulard: The Sun Is Going to Explode but Whatever, It's OK
Phew & Sei-ichi Yamamoto: Sonouchi
Motorpsycho: My Best Friend
Sarah Cracknell: In the Dark
Alison Statton & Spike: In Time
David Grubbs: Two Shades of Green
The Pogues: Small Hours
Tom Verlaine: Old Car
Monade: Change of Destination
Rework: Moon
Lightning in a Twilight Hour: Night Traveller
School of Language: Suits Us Better
Mark Ernestus' Ndagga Rhythm Force: Simb
HTRK: Chinatown Style
Xao Seffcheque & Der Rest: Unfamous Last Words
Post-Industrial Boys: Sometimes
Magic Castles: Lost in Space
United Waters: Our Beat
Spacemen 3: Sometimes
Teenage Fanclub: Steady State
Lambchop: A Day Without Glasses
The Hive Dwellers: Moanin'
Lake: We Can Work It Out
Morgan Delt: Obstacle Eyes
Dean Wareham: Babes in the Woods
Wire: An Alibi
Sons of the Morning: The Way that Wind Moves, pt.1
John Talabot featuring Ekhi: Journeys
Michael Mayer featuring Joe Goddard: For You (DJ Koze Kalimba mix)
Nightmares on Wax: There 4U
Depeche Mode: Goodnight Lovers
Brian Eno: I'm Set Free

playing favorites

Since my podcast just crossed the 10-year mark and has stacked up 100 episodes, I thought I would publish a primer, of sorts—bringing together some of the best episodes, so far.

Admittedly, all my picks are latter day missives. My tools and methods evolved as the sndlgc series went on, so the earlier episodes feel more exploratory to me. There's still plenty of nuggets back there, though, if you care to dig. To get at the older episodes—as well as keep up with the continuing adventures—use this feed link to subscribe to the series in the player of your choosing.

no.1, Punks in the Post: End of Service Area
Hands down, this is the best mix I have ever made, in any format. I am well and truly obsessed with the post-punk era, and this is (in my humble opinion) one of the best collections of that music I've ever heard. It's deep, dense and thorough. I set up so so many rules as to how this would come together, but I navigated them all. It felt like ages, fiddling with the edits and levels. It digs deep into songs and bands you may not know yet, but when it turns to the familiar touchstones, it serves up obscure gems that still dazzle. Quite literally, I almost shuttered this podcast after I finished this mix.
(further listening: If I Had Only Known)

no.2, 2013 Recap
My year-end round-ups are fun as hell to make. Since the only theme is what's flipped my lid in the last 12 months, they span the breadth of my interests. I try to instill some semblance of a cohesive narrative from that smorgasbord of sound. This particular year, it flowed like all hell. There are leaps in audio-logic that shouldn't work, but fabulously do (Mary Halvorson into Melt-Banana?). I also just think 2013 ended up being a goddamn banner year for new music—all these songs still thrill me.
(further listening: 2011 Recap)

no.3, Pation Stations 4
This series, since it's inception, has been near and dear to my heart. Released as an annual Memorial Day BBQ mix, it's the soundtrack to the opening salvo of summer. My ideal here is a sort of gentle rocker: good time music that is not slamming or insistent, but never too melancholy or lethargic. This mix always displays a strong vein of 90s indie-rock that belies my age a little. I think of this as the music I put on to hang out with old friends—our shared nostalgia. Plus, there's just something about a track that nails that sweet spot of mellow cool that makes me think music is just supposed to sound like that.
(further listening: Patio Stations 8)

no.4, Oblique Portraits: Andrew Weatherall
This is a veritable techno and electro-pop thesaurus. My original idea was to feature legendary producer, Andrew Weatherall's career solely through his remix work for other artists, The resulting mix is eclectic and wide-ranging—yet entirely cohesive. This includes a slew of rare tracks, with a focus on the master transmorgifying rock bands into mutant-dance hybrids. Along the way, it ends up charting a chronological map through the first 20 years of what we now call electronica.
(further listening: Biscuits for… Dog Days)

no.5, Freeform Freakout
This one is not for the faint-of-heart. It's hard to find a place in the average podcast for my love of full-bore free jazz, so instead, I made an episode of only that. I selected songs that were (at least, at the time) rare or hard-to-find. Additionally, each of the seven tracks is presented in a readers-digest version (the originals ranged from 20 minutes to 2.5 hours). I tried to capture small portions from across the entirety of each song yet still retain a sense you were listening to a a complete work. This meant making more edits for 7 songs than I've done for mixes with 30 tracks or more. The end result is utterly insane.
(further listening: a forthcoming episode, Oblique Portraits: William Parker)

Patio Stations 8

Here we are, tuning in for an eighth annual broadcast of the Patio Stations.

For those of you who are new to the podcast, this particular series was conceived as "making the ultimate Memorial Day BBQ" playlist. Especially in NYC, Memorial Day is the starting gun of summer. Public beaches and pools are opened, the free festivals swing into full gear, and we shake off the last chills of early spring.

The operating principal of this mix is a mellow cool. All my favorite times with old friends are enormously chill. We'll sit around and watch kids and dogs play in the yard, half-way tend the grill, eat all the live-long day, and generally goof off. I not only design Patio Stations for just that, but specifically tailor it to them, my dearest friends. 

Within this concept of 'perfect hangout music' there's a lot of wiggle room. With 33 songs edited down to fit into 80 minutes, the final contents span 7 decades and a small bevy of styles and variously hyphenated sub-genres. It keeps it diverse—but I try to arrange it so none of the transitions are too jarring. This particular edition is one of the best yet (if I do say so, myself). Each of these songs has such distinct character—hinting at a much larger world as they flit by.

Maybe it's because I live so far away from my closest friends, but I can't help but let just a touch of melancholy creep in. Whenever we're wrapping up a good BBQ, there's that unacknowledged fact: we won't see each other again for a year, at least. So while we're here together, let's fill another glass, find a new angle on well-worn conversation and enjoy what we have, because that's a lot. These are our Patio Stations, broadcasting directly to you.

Nat King Cole Trio featuring Ida James: Hit that Jive, Jack
Bim Sherman: Sit and Wonder
The Meters: Ease Back
Bly de Blyant: Laura
!!!: Lucy Mongoosey
Joe Goddard: Taking Over
A Certain Ratio: Good Together
µ-Ziq: Die Tomorrow
Eno • Hyde: Time to Waste It
JPS Experience: Block
Psycho and the Birds: She Tears Out
Galaxie 500: Crazy
The Clean: I Wait Around
Built to Spill: Else
Eric Bachmann: Separation Fright
Steve Gunn: Drifter
Sonic Youth: Personality Crisis
Blank Realm: Dream Date
Bonnie Prince Billy & Bitchin' Bajas: Your Hard Work Is About to Pay Off, Keep On Keepin' On
Castanets: Tell Them Memphis
Mark Barrott: Go Berri, Be Happy
Saint Etienne: London Belongs to Me (Richard X retouch)
Lætitia Sadier: Un Soir, Un Chien
Chet Faker: Cigarettes and Loneliness
Mac McCaughan: Wet Leaves
Kendra Smith: Waiting in the Rain
Future Pilot AKA: Witchi Tai To
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down: Give Me Peace
Hecta: We Are Glistening
The Declining Winter: Ruined Landscape Days
Greg Gives Peter Space: The Drive
Paul Simon: Think too Much
Tape: Eagle Miaows