Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Planetary Video Mixtape #1

As 2012 drew to a close, I mentioned that I was flirting with the idea of changing up the format of this blog a bit. Every once in a while I just feel like posting music videos rather than mixing them in with the latest movie trailers, queer comedy, and the never-ending public displays of political and religious insanity/hypocrisy happening on a weekly basis. So, this is my first stab at the concept of a mixtape blog, in which I present some artists/bands I've happily discovered, but that haven't garnered much attention in the U.S., yet. The catch: I pick five, but only one of them can originate from within the United States. This week, diverse sounds from Israel to Duluth, Minnesota. Enjoy!

Asaf Avidan. He's an Israeli singer/songwriter and musician that recorded a couple of albums with a band called Mojos.

Israeli folk-rocker Asaf Avidan
No one really paid much attention outside Israel until a German DJ named Wankelmut remixed Avidan's "Reckoning Song" from a 2008 album and this cheap, but effective video hit YouTube in the summer of 2012... where it now has over 74 million views. The splendid remix obviously struck a chord.

The Young Professionals. Also known as TYP, this Israeli electro pop band consists of producer Johnny Goldstein and singer/songwriter/producer Ivri Lider.

TYP. That's Johnny Goldstein, left, and Ivri Lider, right.

In 2011 these guys remade a Eurodisco track from 1979 -- "D.I.S.C.O.," originally a hit for French duo Ottawan -- and took it all to the next level with a brilliantly goofball video.

Trampled By Turtles. It's a damn shame that there will be people who dismiss this Duluth, Minnesota, band as soon as they find out their sound is a mashup of indie folk, alternative country and bluegrass.

Trampled By Turtles; lead singer Dave Simonett is front and center. 

Slip outside your musical comfort zone and give 2010's "Wait So Long" a fair listen. It's fierce and sweet and wise all at once. Lead singer Dave Simonett has a helluva voice, but I'm guessing that face has prompted some swooning, too.

The Wilderness of Manitoba. According to their Facebook page, the five Canadians behind this band have agreed to call their sound "chamber folk/alternative." A music critic for Time Out
Chicago characterized it as "totally modern yet captivatingly anachronistic at the same time." Yup, I agree.

The Wilderness of Manitoba

Their latest single is "Morning Sun," a shimmering beauty that's eerily reminiscent of Crosby, Stills & Nash. They've married it to a perfectly winsome little video, too.

Professor Penguin. Despite the scale of their seven-piece line-up, this UK band's sound is masterfully intimate, placing lead singer Jonny Abraham's lilting, folksy voice front and center in their delicate (but dynamic) compositions.

Professor Penguin. That's ginger lead singer Jonny Abraham with his arms folded.

Here's the video for "Pirate," one of the singles from their 2012 debut album. It's a beauty of a song, elevated by Abraham's disarming style and some dreamy countryside visuals.


  1. Love this format. I left mainstream radio a long time ago and it's always good to see an eclectic offering of music. I don't even know where to look for new, quality music. So Mikey Likes It.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Mike! I'll probably do this format about once a month.