May 2017

84 / May 2017 / John Kuhn

  1. The Lost SkyJesca Hoop
  2. SignalSOHN
  3. Constant RadioThe Wednesdays
  4. MildenhallThe Shins
  5. FamiliarAgnes Obel
  6. Valley CloudsSam Beam & Jesca Hoop
  7. Die YoungSylvan Esso
  8. The World's Smiling NowJim James
  9. ComeJain
  10. Bum Bum BumCass McCombs
  11. CocoFoy Vance
  12. Atomic Numbercase/lang/veirs
  13. I Ain't the OneSpoon
  14. PegasiJesca Hoop

The genesis of this mix goes back to December when I was looking for "best of" songs for 2016. Some of my selections stayed with me and became the core for 84. I found myself gravitating toward softer sounds and voices - I had no room for dissonance in my head. I found myself listening to slower tunes with power and sweet male/female harmonies. While there are a few up-tempo numbers, the bulk of this mix is mellow and meant for sitting in front of a roaring fire with your lover and a glass of red wine on a chilly night.

Jesca Hoop was my big find in the early months of this year. Her writing is quirky and ideosyncratic....and beautiful. She starts and stops the mix and a duet from her album with Sam Beam also found a slot.

And a retrospective note....I uploaded our first Burnmix on June 1, 2010. We've been at this for seven years now - 7x12 = 84 mixes. Not bad.

I hope you enjoy this one.

Download all songs
  1. Jesca Hoop / The Lost Sky

    I love this song - the way she adds a third, then a fifth to her harmonies as the song progresses. Her early mentor was Tom Waits and his characterization of her hits the spot: "Jesca is like a four-sided coin. She is an old soul, like a black pearl, a good witch or a red moon. Her music is like going swimming in a lake at night". "The bitter burden of a signal run cold" - what a great line!

    More Info from Last.FM

    Jesca Hoop (born Jessica Ada Hoop on 21 April 1975) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist who writes and performs in diverse musical styles. Hoop has lived all over the map, and her rich life experience is reflected in her distinctive voice and natural gift for inventive song craft. She learned to sing at an early age, harmonising with her musical Mormon family in northern California. She began writing highly idiosyncratic songs at the age of 14 to keep her company on her long walks to school. Read more on more...

  2. SOHN / Signal

    I included a SOHN tune on 49 (2014), as did Kristin back in December. This tunes taps in at 76 BPM - so slow, so powerful. I missed his spring tour, but would love to see him play live. Great tune.

    More Info from Last.FM

    SOHN (born Christopher Taylor) is an English musician, songwriter and producer based in Vienna, Austria. Born in South London and taught to play guitar and piano, Taylor relocated to Vienna in 2010. After dissolving his previous project Trouble Over Tokyo in 2012, Taylor began releasing new music (Oscillate and Warnings) via Soundcloud under the pseudonym SOHN. Aesop announced he would release an EP, and released tracks The Wheel and Red Lines which earned critical acclaim for their vocal melodies and precise production. Read more on more...

  3. The Wednesdays / Constant Radio

    I found this group by accident. There isn't a lot of information on them - no website. I just know they're from Cambridge/Somerville and I like this song - a lot. Great build-up and wonderful harmonies.

    More Info from Last.FM

    Read more on more...

  4. The Shins / Mildenhall

    I've always found James Mercer's voice intoxicating, but as much as I loved The Shins, their lyrics often left me scratching my head. Not this song from their most recent release. This is a beautiful tune of finding love in the UK at fifteen. Just love the poignant imagery. "The kid in class passed me a tape...." Indeed.

    More Info from Last.FM

    The Shins are an American indie rock band centered around James Mercer. The band formed in 1997, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States as a side project of Mercer (previously of Blue Roof Dinner) and drummer Jesse Sandoval, who were both members of Flake Music. The band's original lineup was Mercer (vocals, guitar), Sandoval (drums), Marty Crandall (keyboards) and Dave Hernandez (bass). Neil Langford replaced Hernandez in 1998. Hernandez returned to the band in 2003, as Langford had left the band in 2001. Read more on more...

  5. Agnes Obel / Familiar

    I discovered Agnes Obel through Radio Paradise. I think we've been light on Danish artists, so why not start now? She currently resides in Berlin. Love the way the male voice weaves into the mix at 1:20 & 2:44. Here is a live rendition on NPR - featuring an all female band, Agnes on keyboards, two cello players and a percussionist. It doesn't hurt that she's quite gorgeous to boot.

    More Info from Last.FM

    Agnes Caroline Thaarup Obel (born 1981) is a Danish singer-songwriter. Her first album, Philharmonics, was released by PIAS Recordings on 4 October 2010 in Denmark, Norway, Germany and other European countries. Since February 2011, Philharmonics is certified gold. On September 30th 2013, she released her second album Aventine. Agnes Obel was born Agnes Caroline Thaarup Obel in 1981. Living in Copenhagen, and coming from a musician family, Agnes Obel learned piano at a very young age. Read more on more...

  6. Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop / Valley Clouds

    I was in the supermarket one day and started humming a tune and, as is often the case, I paused to take note of what I was humming. It was this song. For me that is always the mark of a great song - when it's wormed it's way into your subconsciousness and comes out of nowhere at odd times - like in the produce section. Sam Beam is Iron and Wine and his album with Jesca has some outstanding harmonies. Love the structure of this song too - progressing from verse to pre-chorus and chorus - and back again. Well done.

    More Info from Last.FM

    Sam Beam (of Iron & Wine) and Jesca Hoop are two American singer-songwriters, who recorded the 2016 album Love Letter For Fire together. It was released by Sub Pop Records. Read more on more...

  7. Sylvan Esso / Die Young

    Somewhat depressing lyrics, but a powerful song. Love the "Now I gotta wait for you, hun" repeat in the chorus. Noah, Kristin and Lindsay all served up tunes by Sylvan in the past. I'm just joining the good company.

    More Info from Last.FM

    Sylvan Esso is a Durham, NC, USA duo of vocalist Amelia Meath and electronic musician Nick Sanborn. Their début was the double A-side 12" Hey Mami / Play It Right (16 Jul 2013), featuring a capella and instrumental versions of each song. Meath’s powerful voice is front and center, unjoined by fellow harmonizers as it is in her folk group, Mountain Man. Sanborn, who plays bass in the genre-destroying Megafaun, creates intricate, pulsing grooves for Meath’s voice to inhabit. Sites: SoundCloud, Deezer, Discogs and BandCamp Read more on more...

  8. Jim James / The World's Smiling Now

    Andrew Bagge of KRA (and future Burnmixer if we ever lose a member or decide to add a ninth) played the Jim James album one dreary morning this winter. This tune stood out. Jim James is front man for My Morning Jacket.

    More Info from Last.FM

    Jim James, or sometimes Yim Yames (actual name James Edward Olliges, Jr.) is an American vocalist, guitarist, producer, and primary songwriter of the rock band My Morning Jacket. James is also a member of the Indie super group Monsters of Folk. James occasionally plays solo shows (often with Carl Broemel on Guitar & Pedal Steel), showcasing "bare-bones" versions of My Morning Jacket songs along with various covers. Notably, James (with Broemel) supported John Prine for several shows in late summer 2006. Read more on more...

  9. Jain / Come

    I can't remember where I found this gem, but it always makes me smile. Jain is French and only 25. She spent four of her teenage years in the Congo, which might explain the lyrics and rhythmic thrust of this tune.

    More Info from Last.FM

    Jain is a multicultural pop artist influenced by the many places she has called home. Born in Toulouse, France, with roots in Madagascar, she relocated to Dubai at the age of 9 and then onto the Congo during secondary school. This is where she first began experimenting with music under the direction of Mr. Flash. Post graduation she returned to Paris to study the arts. Her music utilises a variety of influences such as, French techno, Arabic percussion, and the rhythms of Africa, to create her unique style. Read more on more...

  10. Cass McCombs / Bum Bum Bum

    I first heard Cass McCombs on a 2014 mix by some guy named Grogan who used to comment on here. Anybody remember him? Noah also had a tune on a mix that year. Great guitar riff......

    More Info from Last.FM

    Cass McCombs (born in Concord, California in 1977) is an American singer-songwriter and performer. An enigmatic folk nomad, McCombs is a quintessentially American artist; "he's quietly become one of (the country's) finest chroniclers of fringe characters, a writer of heart-rending love songs and psychedelic odes to the natural world, a teller of tall-tales with a sense of humor dry as desert wood, and that rare folksinger who actually sings about the folk. Read more on more...

  11. Foy Vance / Coco

    I featured a couple Foy Vance tunes on my last mix. Love this guy. This is a third song from that same album - The Wild Swan. It sounds mixed rather low when I listen back, so apologies if you have to crank this one up a bit to hear. Lovely gem of a song with great lyrics. Some really tasty guitar playing in here too. As I learned from watching/listening to Duke Levine - it's not always what you play, it's what you don't. Kind of like talking.

    More Info from Last.FM

    Foy Vance is a songsmith born in Bangor, County Down, who is now living in London. He released his first single "Gabriel and the vagabond" c/w with "Indiscriminate Act of kindness" on December 18th, 2006 on Wurdamouth Records. The songs "Gabriel and the Vagabond" and "Homebird" was featured in the second season of the US TV drama Grey's Anatomy and received an incredible response and demand to release the track as a single. "Indiscriminate Act of Kindness" Read more on more...

  12. case/lang/veirs / Atomic Number

    Neko Case has appeared on Burnmixes before, k.d. lang has not. But i've had Laura Veirs on three different mixes and love her style. Quite an interesting trio - a super group of sorts. Veirs and lang both live in Portland - maybe Bryn runs into them.... Great little ditty.

    More Info from Last.FM

    case/lang/veirs is a one-of-a-kind collaboration of three phenomenal, self-driven artists: avant-rock icon Neko Case, legendary musical nomad k.d. lang and indie folk star Laura Veirs. Their self-titled album, case/lang/veirs, was released on the ANTI- record label in 2016. Read more on more...

  13. Spoon / I Ain't the One

    This song hasn't gotten the play that a few other songs on their new album have, but I love the way this builds up and then slowly fades away.

    More Info from Last.FM

    Spoon is an American indie rock band from Austin, Texas. The band was formed in late 1993 by lead singer/guitarist Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno. Current members also include: Eric Harvey (keyboard, guitar, percussion, backing vocals) and Rob Pope (bass, backing vocals - replaced Joshua Zarbo in 2007). After releasing their debut LP Telephono on Matador Records, the band signed with Elektra in 1998, but the contract was dropped soon after the band released A Series of Sneaks. Read more on more...

  14. Jesca Hoop / Pegasi

    It was tough deciding on which Jesca Hoops tunes to include here, but it was hard to leave this one off - and it felt like a fitting ending to the mix. I am likely to lose my 91 year-old mother (and Noah's grandmother, of course) in the coming weeks. The line about "dying star" makes me think of her.

    More Info from Last.FM

    Jesca Hoop (born Jessica Ada Hoop on 21 April 1975) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist who writes and performs in diverse musical styles. Hoop has lived all over the map, and her rich life experience is reflected in her distinctive voice and natural gift for inventive song craft. She learned to sing at an early age, harmonising with her musical Mormon family in northern California. She began writing highly idiosyncratic songs at the age of 14 to keep her company on her long walks to school. Read more on more...

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