Raven + Crow Fall-Winter Mix Vol 1.

Songs for Not Summer

There are songs you want to listen to when the seasons change other than “California Dreaming,” but you should listen to that. Especially that Sia version from that movie with the Rock. Troy Farmer has some new songs that we can listen to that aren’t covers of classic folk rock songs that provide a nice backdrop to seeing the Golden Gate Bridge being destroyed and the Hollywood sign falling down.

Spoiling sports for people who DVRed the game and talking about sad parties, roller skating rinks and Steven Spielberg’s progeny singing songs.

“No Summer” from Sin Fang, who’s Icelandic, certainly sounds seasonal appropriate. Specifically like it is not summer. It’s got a chilly vibe (which is different from chill). What’s the right setting for listening? And where were you when you first heard Sin Fang?

Troy: Well, he evidently recorded the new album—which he titled Sad Party—in an old wooden studio in downtown Reykjavík just before it was closed and torn down due to rising rents, sooooo…any urban center where the middle class are being pushed out? (Sad party indeed.)

And we first heard Sindri Sigfússon—AKA Sin Fang—back at the beginning of 2013. We were sent his third album, Flowers, by his label, Morr Music, which is a longtime favorite of ours; founder Thomas Morr, in my opinion, continues to have one of the best ears in the electronic pop realm. After that, we were hooked on Sindri’s work and went on to talk with him about a number of time, most recently last January.

Chinatown Slalom, have kind of electro burble of weirdness that’s awesome on its own, but one cool thing this band has done is make a secondary IG account, @tunatownsalmon, that perfectly matches the sound. It’s pretty neat and something maybe it’s surprising we don’t see more of maybe?

Troy: Maybe. I think more poignant though—the fact that I’m currently eating a vegan tuna melt WHILST watching the end of this band’s hometown Premier League team Liverpool FC. That is cool though. I feel like we’re always less interested in how the massive bands with built-in and equally massive followings do things via socials and more interested in how smaller ones try to gain traction…or not and just have fun with it—these guys seem to be doing both, which is great. Though I will say I loved Anderson .Paak’s old Instagram feed, which was this really beautifully done, cohesive thing created and managed by the artist + creative director Simone Cihlar. It’s archived, but you can still view it at @SimplyAndy.

Think I found her trawling Soundcloud one day.

Do not fuck with.

So Miraa May kind of makes the lyric “Don’t even try to fuck with me,” somehow come off almost sweet. Must be all the raygun noises, and Miami Vice references and autotune?

Troy: I’m really not trying to make this about football/soccer, but May’s hometown team, Tottenham, just just lost to Man U, 2-1 (spoilers, sorry; soccer, sorry). She’s great though. Think I found her trawling Soundcloud one day. She’s London born and raised but her parents are Algerian, so her work’s often coming from a lesser heard perspective that I find really interesting. Plus she’s fucking catchy as hell.

“Roller Rink” has an old-school bump, but not old enough to be called “Roller Rink,” in our opinion. Last time you were out at a roller rink? (Given you live in LA, perhaps not playing fair.)

Troy: Yeah, roller rinks are (still? again?) really big here, right? Wonder why that is. Anyway, to answer your question super-precisely, it was a dual celebration in June of 2017, when the stars aligned for a friend of ours and he finally had his birthday during Pride week on Rainbow Wednesday at Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale (a longtime goal of his). I remember because, though we both love rollerskating, Katie had just found out she was pregnant with our son not a month prior and thought it suspicious to our friends if she didn’t skate…whereas I was far more concerned with her falling. Wordless fights waged in front of our friends with complex learned eye contact ensued. She took a few laps for show but hung up her skates after she was almost taken down by a not-so-stable skater who tried to grab for her as said skater bit it. All turned out well in the end (Nico says ‘hey’). 

Then we drove it cross-country to Los Angeles with the cat and the dog in the back seat in 2013.

In a similar vein, it’s funny what people will connect to in a song. Dude York sings about a ’90s Volvo. How long did you have yours?

Troy: Do, sir; do. Present tense. We bought our ‘92 240 (penultimate year of production) in July of 2012 from a very nice, yacht-rock-y kind of dude just north of New York City (see what we did there?). It’s primary use in NYC was the occasional trip with our dog to Bear Mountain and weekly movings across the street for cleaning save those magical times when the holidays aligned and we could leave it street-parked for a few weeks. Then we drove it cross-country to Los Angeles with the cat and the dog in the back seat in 2013; back to Brooklyn to get all our stuff and close up shop when we decided to move here proper; and back again to LA at just after Christmas 2013. I confess to an intense, likely illogical object love for her (“she” was named by our old neighbor in Brooklyn—Bianca, the White Wolf). She’s running strong today. Though I think she may need a new radiator if you know of anyone with one just sitting around.

“Rare Thing” goes on quite the journey musically, really ending up sounding almost like it’s a different song (in the best way). How does Frances Quinlan’s solo album differ from what she does with her band, Hop Along?

Troy: Frances has got this unmistakable charisma that feeds into an equally distinctive voice,  it’s hard not to think of Hop Along when you hear anything she’s on. That said, Hop Along’s much more rock-y in the traditional sense—both her solo endeavor and her band trade in melodic intricacies, it’s just that they’re more strictly guitar-based in Hop Along; this is a little more electronic and a little more experimental, I feel.  Hop Along is super live, though. Catch either if you can.

Did you know Wardell was Steven Spielberg’s kids when you first heard it? At some level that’s a help in getting attention for musicians, but obviously has its downsides.

Troy: I did. Their publicist sent us some of their earlier work, which I wasn’t as into, and it was mentioned in their write-up; which I totally get—use what you got to be heard in such a crazy-crowded field, you know? This track, “Tokyo Phone,” though, I really dig—the bass line and the vocal hook in the chorus are undeniably pleasant.

“Glide Freestyle” by Jordan Dennis is built around a sample from “After Laughter (Comes Tears),” an old Stax single by Wendy Rene, and bends and warps a very small bit of it. But the sample is so well known as the basis of and probably more associated with Wu-Tang Clan’s “Tears.” So is Dennis sampling Wendy Rene or RZA?

Troy: I mean, I would say Wu-Tang as it sounds more like that take, but WhoSampled disagrees and says Rene. Bigger question though—remember when we couldn’t instantly know something by typing a question into a device? Hard not to romanticize the naïvity and slowness of those times, but I feel like it’s a greater good, right? PS—Dennis has an older track, “Crumbs”, that we featured in a mix last fall and it’s very excellent if anyone’s looking for more by that Melbourne artist.

Being an increasingly random and stream of consciousness conversation between Whalebone Magazine and Troy Farmer about the series of monthly mixtapes from his Brooklyn-born, Los Angeles-based creative agency, raven + crow studio. Thanks for listening.