Makeup For The Silence

The digital home of music writer Jesse Richman

Makeup For The Silence

Tag: the reign of kindo

Makeup for the Silence - Best of 2013 Mix

Makeup for the Silence – Best of 2013 Mixtape

Makeup for the Silence - Best of 2013 Mix

Though I’ve done an annual mix each of the past three years*, this year was the first time I actually compiled an ongoing list of my favorite songs throughout the year. You’d think that would make this process easier; instead, I wound up with a glut of sincere favorites, and a lot of hard choices to make. For some reason, I insist on keeping this thing to a >80 minute playtime, i.e. the length of an actual CD. I’m not under the pretense anyone is actually burning this to a disc (I’m certainly not), but there’s something to be said for this mix being digestible in a single sitting, for it being something I can listen to on repeat and actually get familiar with – I like the way albums ebb and flow and tell stories through sequencing and pacing, and it’s something I’ve always put a lot of care into when making mixes. That gets unwieldy in a lengthy playlist. I enjoy getting to the point where I feel unsettled if I hear a song in my mix and it’s not followed immediately by the track that’s supposed to come next.

As always, I’ve elected to leave off any sort of big radio hits (well…kinda. You’ll see what I mean in a second). That’s a challenge in any year – for a guy who mostly writes about punk and other music of that ilk, I’m really a pop fan at heart. But this year was especially challenging. 2013 was the biggest year in recent memory for Superstar Pop – if you’re a musician people call by just their first name, odds are good you put out an album this year. A lot of those albums were genuinely great, and even when they albums were merely OK, or weren’t particularly pop-radio friendly, each seemed to contain at least one or two killer singles.

Not only that, but two artists who I normally would have found room for here, Fall Out Boy and Paramore, came back in such a big way this year that I couldn’t justify squeezing them in – both “My Songs Know What You DId In The Dark (Light Em Up)” and “Still Into You” found Top 40 radio ubiquity, and nobody’s going to be overlooking those acts just because I didn’t squeeze them onto my list. (Unlike, say, in 2011 when Patrick Stump made it onto my mix with a track from his criminally underappreciated solo album).

Finally, this year’s mix wound up especially upbeat; there’s a lot of bright, synthy, dancey pop that really hit home this year (and some moody, synthy, dancey pop to go with it). There were a number of songs I really loved – Defeater’s “Bastards”; View From An Airplane’s “Stayed Awake”; Sparks The Rescue’s “Ceara Belle”; many others – that just didn’t fit here stylistically, and even more – anything by The 1975, for one – that felt too similar to other tracks on here to make the final cut.

That said I’m really happy with how the final mix came out. Download**, listen, enjoy!

Makeup For The Silence – Best of 2013

  1. Feeling In The Night – The Reign Of Kindo
  2. Paper Royals (Lorde vs M.I.A.) – Mashed Pot8er
  3. In For The Kill – Kelsey Chaos
  4. Waste My Time – Tilian
  5. Dresden – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
  6. Baby Shakes – Shone
  7. I’ve Been Waiting For This – Butch Walker
  8. Sad And Blue – Jimmie Deeghan
  9. Keep Me In Your Heart – The Here And Now
  10. Take A Picture – Carly Rae Jepsen
  11. Dreaming – Smallpools
  12. Excalibur – TEAM
  13. Supernatural – roboteyes
  14. Love Is A Dog From Hell – The Limousines
  15. Forget You – Cady Groves
  16. Hanging On A Honeymoon – William Beckett
  17. All I Know – Washed Out
  18. The Way Back – Whitewaits
  19. True Trans Soul Rebel – Against Me!
  20. Au Revoir (Adios) – The Front Bottoms
  21. Etc. – Francis and the Lights

click image to download

Stay tuned; the yearly Top Ten will begin tomorrow!

*you can always find the complete collection of mixes which have appeared on Makeup For The Silence, as well as all the playlists I’ve contributed to elsewhere, right over here.

**just like last year, there’s a Spotify version of 2013’s mix available, but also like last year, there were a handful of tracks on the final mix which aren’t available on the service. I totally understand Spotify’s convenience – after dabbling with it for a couple years, in 2013 I really converted to using it as my primary listening spot, ahead of iTunes – but I recommend downloading if you want the real deal.

#2 Album of 2012 – Steven Padin – Out of the Silent Nest

#2 – STEVEN PADIN – OUT OF THE SILENT NEST [spotify]

(feat. track – “Down Under And Out” [spotify])

When I included Steven Padin’s “Two Little Lovebirds” on one of our PropertyOfZack Staff Playlists, I had this to say about Out Of The Silent Nest:

The Reign Of Kindo’s drummer steps out from behind the kit, playing every instrument on his shockingly wonderful debut solo album Out Of The Silent Nest. Supplementing Kindo’s jazz-rock influences with a heavy dose of Revolver-era Beatles, Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys and a dash of bossa nova and tropicalia, Padin’s penchant for complex, whimsical composition and unexpected chord changes never overwhelms a collection of songs which, at their core, remain beautifully simple.

I’ve long been a fan of The Reign Of Kindo (who made my Top Ten in 2010), and Padin’s inventive stickwork is a crucial component of their sound, but his skill as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist here are real revelations. His melodies never take the predictable path from point A to point B; the unusual progressions feel purposeful, not noodly, and always resolve beautifully, but there’s real magic in how they get to that resolution.

The recordings on Out Of The Silent Nest generally come in two varieties: gently lilting acoustic Gilberto-esque balladry, full of bright melodies that couch inner turmoil, doubt and melancholia; and more fleshed out, darker-toned rockers that brood rather than rage. The alternating effect makes for a balanced, easy listen despite the heavy content.

At Out Of The Silent Nest’s center is a cover of “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)”, and while I won’t say it matches the transcendent beauty of the Beach Boys’Pet Sounds masterpiece, it succeeds in capturing the shadows – the fear of fucking up, the certainty of collapse – hiding inside the song’s moony placidity. It’s a gutsy move, taking a hack at a song which’s initial recording is so undeniably unimpeachable, but for Padin it’s also a necessary one: the track serves as a signpost to the emotional heart of the originals which make up the remainder of the album – the Wilsonesque paean to love in all its tenuousness.

And ultimately, it’s that emotional aptitude that’s made Out Of The Silent Nest such a compelling listen for me this year; the sonics may have drawn me in, but it’s Padin’s clear-eyed grasp of complexity that keeps me coming back.

#6 Album Of 2010 – THE REIGN OF KINDO – THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS

(feat. track – “Comfort In The Orchestration”)

There’s nothing else on my list this year that sounds like The Reign Of Kindo; I’m not sure there’s ever been.  In part that’s because they have a sound that’s really hard to pin down.  They’ve been called “jazz rock” but their song structures come much more from the traditional pop music world. (It does capture the pure tones they favor both instrumentally and vocally, and the swing in their step, pretty accurately at least). They’ve been lumped into the “jam band” scene at times, though they by and large eschew improvisation in favor of tightly composed songs, and stay far from noodly solos and noodleheaded hippie-prattle.  They formed from the remnants of the gone-too-soon melodic emo act This Day And Age, but while they carry on the penchant for expansive soundscapes, they branch much further stylistically.  They could comfortably fit into the lighter end of “progressive rock” though they rarely really “rock” and couldn’t be further from its wackier theatrical impulses, especially lyrically, where they stand firmly grounded in the day-to-day.

How bout we just call them really freakin good at what they do?

This Is What Happens ebbs and flows like a full composition, from the insistent stomp of “Thrill Of The Fall” to the dissonant rumblings pockmarking “Bullets In The Air” to the sweet melodic melancholy of “City Lights & Traffic Sounds,” tied together by the twin engines of Joe Secchiaroli’s crystalline vocals – pure and clear with not a hint of grit or imperfection – and Steve Padin’s ceaselessly inventive drumming.  Between their top and bottom is just the right amount of space for the (incredibly talented) band to dance, and they test out every step in the book through the course of the album.  They prove facile at each and every one.  It’s a level of instrumental skill that frees The Reign Of Kindo compositionally; unconstrained by their talents, the songs have room to grow to their fullest.

It doesn’t hurt that they are some of the nicest guys I’ve met either.  My brother toured with This Day And Age in the middle of last decade and has remained friends with the band members, and on the occasions I’ve spent time with any of them I’ve found them to be supremely genuine, friendly, and unentitled.  They make it very easy to root for them, though their music really accomplishes that on its own, and would be in my Top Ten just on its merits even if they were a bunch of pricks.  (They’re also very-good-to-transcendent live, depending on the night you catch them on).

Finally, I want to give Kindo props for what is one of the cooler ideas I’ve seen in a while – rather than packaging This Is What Happens with bonus tracks or b-sides or demos, they instead went way above and beyond and created an 8-bit version of THE ENTIRE CD.  Titled This Is Also What Happens, it’s worth more than a cursory listen, and the only reason I haven’t returned to it more often is I so enjoy listening to the original. I can’t even imagine how much work must have gone into that project.

Makeup For The Silence Best Of 2010 Mix cover art

Makeup For The Silence Best Of 2010 Mix

Makeup For The Silence Best Of 2010 Mix cover art

I’m a subscriber to an internet mailing list, Skyway, based on discussion of the band The Replacements. I’ve been on there since I was in high school, back when that really was the way you had discussions about bands on the internet.  (Well there and Usenet, but that was mostly an unmoderated cesspool).  One fun part of the list is that every year around Christmastime, they run a mixtape exchange.  (Or at least it was tapes back in the day; it later moved mostly to CD, and now I wouldn’t be surprised if people are just transferring files online and skipping the post altogether).  Typically I would try and come up with some sort of theme; this year, I just opted for a collection of the year’s highlights.

Which is a long way of saying that I’m posting my Best Of 2010 mix here for anyone who feels like downloading it.

A couple ground rules – I decided I wanted to try and get one song from each of my top 10 albums* on here, maybe not my absolute favorite track on each album but one that fit with the ebb and flow of the mix.  I rounded it out with some of my favorite songs of the year.  I tried to avoid anything that was a big pop single (hence no Cee Lo Green – Fuck You for example) and stuck to stuff that maybe people missed or overlooked.

So download, listen, enjoy! Consider it my [insert any holiday you might celebrate here] present to you :]

MAKEUP FOR THE SILENCE – BEST OF 2010

  1. Intro / Bombs Away – Foxy Shazam
  2. Don’t Stop Now – The Maine
  3. Bullet – Steel Train
  4. The Pleasure Of Your Company – My Favorite Highway
  5. Internet Killed The Video Star – The Limousines
  6. Outta Time – Mercy Mercedes
  7. I’ve Been Thinking – The Narrative
  8. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind – The Reign Of Kindo
  9. Imaginary Enemy – Circa Survive
  10. Siren – The Graduate
  11. Riot Rhythm – Sleigh Bells
  12. Thinkin ‘Bout Her – What’s Eating Gilbert
  13. Darkness, Everybody – Man Overboard
  14. The Magician – Old 97’s
  15. She’s My Kinda Girl – Runner Runner
  16. Actors (Demo) – All Time Low
  17. Skin And Bones – Motion City Soundtrack
  18. I Cannot Speak – My Favorite Highway

click image to download

*if you know me, you know I do a big detailed Top 10 every year, and that I don’t post it until January.  This year, I was asked to compile my favorites for PoZ’s staff lists.  I’ll post a link to them here when they run on the site, but rest assured I’ll be doing a big long post about each record on the list, one a day in the new year, just like I did last year.

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