Tuesday Time Machine: December 2020 (Trying to Make Sure Mates Doesn’t Fire me EX+Alpha Edition)

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Hello and welcome!

Alright, here we are for the FINAL Tuesday Time Machine of 2020!

Also, as the headline says–

I’m trying to save my job here.

Seriously, I’m on thin ice, folks…

Two beef columns in as many weeks earlier in the month?

A habit of including several decidedly non-indie tracks selections for Time Machines past?

Look– I know I should probably go to HR about this, but the day after Christmas, Mates cornered me in the Indie Pong break room, and said, “behave yourself Folz, or, you’ll disappear.”

Needless to say, this is VERY, VERY, SERIOUS.

You’ll notice this month, that I’m TRYING to change my ways. There are even SEVERAL Mates selections on here, so hopefully, this will keep me away from the unemployment line, though idk.

In any case, for those of you who are checking in for the first time, these monthly playlists which I’m re-visiting came about as a result of an idea I had back in January of 2010: an idea that would see me create one 80 minute playlist a month.

The reason for doing this was two-fold: I wanted to create and re-enforce very specific lived experiences and memories tied to music, and I wanted a rather consistent set of songs to propel me each month as I created my art.

In creating these playlists, I tried to make things flow— I wanted songs to segue very effortlessly (or abrasively) creating a sense of narrative.

Going forward, once a week, I’m going to update the Spotify playlist that you can find below.

I’d recommend not shuffling the songs, as they were sequenced the way that they were for a reason. To get the full experience, listen to them in the way in which I’ve arranged things.

Included below is a short description of the tune I’ve included, and/or a description of the specifics memory associated with it. If you’re not trying to read all of that, just hit play on the link below!

December 2020

  1. When We’re Older- James Blake

My goodness.

We’re not worthy.

For the record, I’m not 100% bowled over by everything that Mr. Blake does, but I will check all of his new releases out on principle, because I think he values craft, and makes a concerted effort to produce at the highest level that he can.

This is a cover of a Beyonce song from the Lion King which… her version is fine, but like most things she does, it’s overproduced. This– a fairly brutal reduction of the original, succeeds, because of how devastatingly beautiful it is.

I’ve had this on repeat for hours upon hours over the last couple of weeks. It has yet to grow old.

2. Change (In the House of the Flies) (Tourist remix)- Deftones

I’m really coming to appreciate remixes that have almost NOTHING to do with the original.

This sees perhaps, Deftones most famous song, transformed into something that’s almost completely unrecognizable, save for a few fleeting vocal samples.

While the OG version is a remarkable piece of music, we’ve all heard it 10,000 times, and it’s lost some of its power.

This manages to retain the hypnotic aspects of the original, while sliding into a completely different lane in terms of mood and execution. Whereas the original is enthralling in a depressing, hopeless kind of way, this is the exact opposite: a white hot blast of optimism and euphoria.

I love it so very much. I hope you do too.

3. Make Water- Pearly Drops

Yes, Mates put me on to this one.

Yes, I might have to retroactively amend my top songs of 2020 to include this and a couple of others, because HO-LEE SMOKES, what is this PERFECT BLEND OF EVERYTHING THAT’S AWESOME.

If you put Cocteau Twins, Grimes, and FKA Twigs in a blender, you’d get this delectable slice of aural perfection.

I had NO TIME to do anything but draw people’s dogs and houses in the lead up to the holidays, but I MADE TIME to do a light footwork routine to this song, because I have self-control issues.

Let this song into your life.

Please.

4. Mr. Solo Dolo III- Kid Cudi

Indie Pong is a beacon of positivity and a no-hater zone, so I can’t express my thoughts about Kid Cudi’s new album as a whole.

I can however, talk about this song.

Cudi brought it.

As we’ve known for the better part of 10 years now, Kid Cudi, like Drake excels when he’s on his sad shit. This isn’t a happy piece of music, but it rings true to what Kid Cudi’s about, and it was the first song on the new album to really grab my attention.

It’s a great song to draw to.

5. Detroit Rock City- Kiss

I’m not gonna sit around and act like I know a lot about Kiss, but I will say that I love this song, dearly.

My Dad once remarked that Kiss sounded like a third-rate version of The Who, which– I can kinda hear that? Here, I feel like they’re more in their Thin Lizzy bag, which no one should be mad about because Thin Lizzy is AWESOME.

The basslines in here are glorious, and while the harmonized guitar parts may not be as good as what Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson were doing in their heyday, they’re still great.

6. Ever Again- Two Minutes to Late Night

Speaking of Thin Lizzy, here’s a bunch of metal musicians covering a Robyn song from two years ago in the style of Thin Lizzy.

Intrigued?

Horrified?

I’m going to let curiosity get the better of you, and hope that you listen to this, because it’s one of the greatest covers I’ve ever heard, and you’ll be happy if you hit the link above.

7. Them Bones- Thou

Damn.

Look, if I’m gonna have harsh vocals in my metal music, I prefer the white hot screaming shit as opposed to the cookie monster growling shit, because I think the latter sounds pretty silly.

In any case, in an effort to pay homage to the OG vocal tandem of MISTER Jerry Cantrell, and the late Layne Staley, Thou applies a vocal treatment here that sees harsh vocals go in one ear, and clean vocals in another.

It makes one of the standouts from, “Dirt,” even DIRT-ier (ooooooh, Pun-master George swings and misses) and you should listen to it as loudly as human possible.

8. Keep Dealing- Pusha T featuring Beanie Sigel

We all know Beanie Sigel was probably the meanest dude signed to the Roc back in the day.

Well, him, or Memphis Bleek.

Or, Freeway (more on that later).

In any case, this is a couple of verses of cocaine folklore that Pusha T could come up with in his sleep, followed by rasps, whispers, and flexes from everyone’s favorite Philly rapper.

Pretty good.

9. 1-900-Hustler- Jay-Z featuring Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, and Freeway

Concept songs within rap have gone out of vogue it seems, but they used to be a thing, and they were kind of awesome.

This song is tremendous through and through, but it will probably be remembered as the thing that introduced the world to Freeway.

And, what an introduction it is.

Probably best known to people for being on Kanye’s, “Two Words,” it’s because of performances like this that Freeway got on that song in the first place.

A picture-frameable performance from an underrated rapper.

10. Tryin to Stop Smokin- Trick Daddy featuring Mystikal

Five years ago, Trick Daddy proudly proclaimed himself, “the boonk underdog.”

For those who don’t know, boonk is a Dade-County thing– weed laced with cocaine, the proverbial, “dirty, dirty,” that Mystikal is so wary of in the song’s introduction.

Speaking of Mystikal, he shows out here.

This song is full-on manic madness, featuring two of the greatest rappers to come out of the south in the late 90s, both of whom are wildly underrated.

11. Me in 20 Years- Moses Sumney

I’ve been listening to Moses Sumney’s music for almost three years now, and I still find myself amazed at the soul-shattering power of his voice.

In addition to being a beautiful, deeply contemplative piece of music, this song is vocal showcase unlike any other– certainly, one of the best songs on, “græ.”

If you’ve yet to hear it, please give it your undivided attention, and allow yourself to be awed by the specifics of it.

12. Oblivion- Alaska Reid

Are you all following the consistently updating, OFFICIAL Indie Pong Best Tracks articles?

If you are, you’d have already known about this.

I’m all for a good sultry voice, and Ms. Reid more than delivers in that department.

The production here is nothing but complimentary, and putting this on repeat allows you to find a particularly blissful groove with relative ease.

I’m all for it.

13. niagara falls- thanks for coming

So, if you tuned into the interview that Mates did with thanks for coming a couple of weeks back, you’d have been treated to a STUNNING, OUT-OF-CONTROL, extra tender acoustic rendition of this, that would have sent you to dreamland a happy camper.

Or, at least, that was my experience.

The studio version here is great, don’t get me wrong, but my goodness– listening to the acoustic version, I felt cocooned in the particular blue hues that you can only find in David Lynch movie, floating about a foot off the ground, as though I was en route to go shoot dice/sip the elixer of life with the pink elephants from Dumbo.

You should follow Indie Pong on Instagram, and then watch till the end of this, so you too, can be similarly blessed.

14. Transmission to Mercury- Imperial Triumphant

I know, I know– Alphaville.

Thanks to bpmhill, I FINALLY sat down to listen to the most buzzed about indie metal album of 2020 before the year ended, and I was NOT dissappointed.

Jazz and metal don’t go together in a lot of people’s minds, but they REALLY should.

Question, when you hear Daniel Tracy from Deafheaven putting in THAT WORK, who comes to mind, John Bonham, or peak-era Billy Cobham/Jack DeJohnette?

If you answered Bonham, you can leave.

In any case, this songs begins with a little something that wouldn’t be out of place on Bill Evans’, “Moonbeams,” or, an album from Miles Davis’ second great quintet.

Yeah, THAT good.

The song them tumbles in metal, but better believe that 7th chords with an added 9th (or maybe, 13th?!) are being SHREDDED in the background, and with all due respect to Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath wasn’t exactly on that.

I’m glad I know about this, and I’m glad I can now listen all the time, because I probably will.

15. Kodama- Alcest

So, before their was Deafheaven, there was Alcest.

There were a lot of things before Deafheaven, but primarily, Alcest.

Not a knock against the former band, either, but these Frenchmen helped lay the blueprint for one of the cooler metal bands to come out of America in awhile.

In any case, this is very pretty metal. This is deep thought metal, or, something to put on when you have to start contemplating one thing or another.

I dig it.

16. The Valley- Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou

Ok, look– from 6:49 to the end of the this song, all this song does is WIN.

Like, Win, win, win, win, win, win, win.

We’re not worthy.

Screamed vocals have never been used for better effect, or, counterpoint against a voice as effortlessly beautiful as E DOUBLE R’s, and I don’t think I’ve had the inside of my skull pulverized quite like this since I first heard, Black Sabbath’s, “Into The Void,” when I was 18.

This is a slow-burn to end all slow-burns, and when it FINALLY goes heavy, you know that heavy has been forever re-defined, and you feel sad, because nothing is going to make you feel so utterly decimated again.

When it goes loud, make your headphones go loud too, because– oof, this is a monster.

17. Spirit in the Sky- Norman Greenbaum

Okay, but for real? The most underrated guitar fuzz tone EVER?

Found on this song– no jokes.

This is one of the best songs ever too, but we gotta shout out the fuzz, because it’s in a league of it’s own.

Also, had to end the playlist on a happier note, but closing out the last playlist of 2020 with the previous track might be too tough.

To all the people who have read and supported Indie Pong throughout the first year of our existence, THANK YOU.

This blog has helped me get through an upside-down, nutty, outrageous year, and the sense of community established with folks who are both reading the blog, and writing for it made for some really wonderful moments in 2020.

We hope that you stay with us, and (hopefully) I’ll still have a job next week, unless Mates wants to flex his founding father powers, and send me packing!

Only time will tell, but in the meantime, thanks again.

Much love and appreciation,

Sunday Monday Tuesday George

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