Free Download: The Luxuriously Smooth ‘Dedications’ Mixtape

Great news: your one-stop summer mixtape has arrived. Dedications, presented by pop duo Kisses (whose latest album, Kids in LA, we’ve already gushed about) was for the show Art Laboe Connection on freestyle LA beacon 92.3 FM. And while the typical mixtape means one producer exerting control over the whole, Dedications is assembled track by track from musicians the world over, each of whom insert a shout-out.

Who wouldn’t want a glimpse into the smooth sounds favored by Erika Spring of Au Revoir Simone (she goes with Sade) or Swedish maestro Jens Lekman (the truly chill “Our Love,” performed by Jennifer Lara)? This is like having your barbecue tag-team DJ’d by some of the coolest people in the world. And nowhere else are you going to get Explosions in the Sky’s “Your Hand in Mine” compiled with Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors”—but still, it all manages to hang together, fading from purple drank to pop balladry and back to funk again. Sure beats sweating over your own playlist. 
 

Kisses Reveal Next Predictably Awesome Single

Another day, another bangin’, sun-woozy, west coast dance track from L.A. duo Kisses. This one’s called “Huddle,” and yeah, you’ll probably want to bring it in close for this one. Not in the jock sense, mind you. Oh god mom, please don’t make me explain what grinding is.

We’ve been looking forward to the May 14 release of the just-maybe-autobiographically-titled Kids in LA for some time now; each new single has smooth-jammed its way into the Miami Vice soundtrack that plays on a loop in one’s head at all times. Is that just me? Regardless, “Huddle” just keeps getting better, right up to that sexy saxophone fadeout.

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Kisses Unveil ‘The Hardest Part’

The album art for L.A. duo Kisses’ sophomore album, the apparently autobiographical Kids in LA, is a bit like Bret Easton Ellis filtered through a Wes Anderson lens. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first single, “The Hardest Part,” is a song that would be on the soundtrack of the twee version of American Psycho. Perish the thought.

The full-length won’t arrive till May, despite being inspired by “the starkness of  wintertime in Southern California,” as evidenced in this album teaser, which reveals a slyer, more atmospheric side of their music—at least in comparison to the usual no-nonsense dance pop. Could ’80s nostalgia be overtaking ’90s love once more? Quick, someone write a highly ignorable 3,000-word essay on that.

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BlackBook Tracks #9: Summertime Sadness

What’s your summertime sadness, fellow member of the first world reading this article? Lana Del Rey? Not drinking enough frozen margaritas outdoors? Your best prospect for a potential summer fling not panning out? Your awkward farmer’s tan? Never working up the confidence to wear a crop top? Ryan Lochte? The Teen Wolf season finale introducing too many new ideas? Never finding the perfect pair of sandals? The new Taylor Swift song? Well, it’s mid-August. We’re in the home stretch, so either go out and get it or make this playlist the soundtrack to your wallowing.

Slow Club – “Giving Up On Love”

Oscillate between optimism and pessimism with one of Britain’s finest folk-pop duos. At this point in the summer 2012 game, it’s time to give up on a lot of things, and love is probably #1 on the list.
 

Beat Connection – “The Palace Garden, 4am”

Seattle quartet Beat Connection’s debut LP The Palace Garden has already proved to be one of this summer’s most pleasant releases. Loaded with smooth harmonies, the title track is simultaneously soothing and super catchy.

Ladyhawke – “Anxiety”

The title says it all, but the effervescent production lightens up the eponymous track from the Ladyhawke’s recently-released Anxiety. The electro-pop artist doesn’t shy away from getting personal, and she’s all the better for it.

Discovery – “Carby” (ft. Ezra Koenig)

Rejection hurts! Dance the pain away!

Kisses – “Funny Heartbeat”

Hard-to-Google L.A. synth-pop duo Kisses made a splash with their 2010 debut The Heart Of The Nightlife, and they’re back with “Funny Heartbeat.” It’s already setting the bar high for their follow-up album.

Efterklang – “Hollow Mountain”

The Danish band is back with more stunning orchestral sounds. Here’s a glimpse at their bleak and lovely new album Piramida, out next month.

Air – “You Make It Easy”

Legendary French duo Air excels at the atmospherics, and “You Make It Easy” is no exception. Nothing restores sanity like a listen to Moon Safari.

The Antlers – “French Exit”

Get tranquil and let some of Brooklyn’s brighter sons help you deal with that sense of lingering shame and regret.

Timber Timbre – “I Get Low”

Haunting vocals make this 2010 track from the Canadian folk trio totally captivating. Listen to this any time the sun isn’t out.

Chad Valley – “I Want Your Love”

Under the moniker Chad Valley, Hugo Manuel makes immersive, glimmering electronic music. The Oxford, UK-based artist is also gifted with a preternaturally earnest-sounding voice that’s hard to not fall for. This song will go great with your pining for someone who has a water filter and non-leather couch.

Cloud Nothings – “Wasted Days”

There’s something both triumphant and crushingly defeating about this nearly nine-minute track from the Ohio rockers with the raw refrain “I thought I would be more than this.” It’s simple, but effective—who doesn’t?