Raven + Crow Midsummer Mixtape

What really is the difference between “French” vanilla and plain old vanilla?

We’ve made it halfway and depending on how you look at things summer is either halfway over or you have a few more weeks of fun left. Maybe this is the mix to listen to while counting how many Montauket sunset toasts you have left. Without further ado, Let’s go to the mixtape.


“Essentially” by Japanese Breakfast kind of makes us hungry. What’s a good Japanese breakfast?

Troy Farmer: I’m afraid I 100% agree. I would say a number of coursed small dishes including but not limited to freshly steamed rice, baked tofu, fresh fruit, seaweed, a small salad, miso soup, soft tofu with eggplant, radish, and mushrooms. That’s what they served us the first morning at the ryokan we stayed at in the mountains of Hakone, at least. If anyone’s interested, we did an extensive travel journal sub-site for the trip. Hey, what does that have to do with music though?

We digress. There is fakie fade out on the song “Fade in Nylon” by A Beacon School. Any relation to the title?

Troy: My guess is no. That song reads like stream of consciousness to me and I feel like Patrick J. Smith, the creative force behind what’s essentially his solo project right now, is still getting his sea legs with singing/front-man-ness…which is a good thing—I love his songwriting style and just feel like that end of things is going to get stronger with time.

She’s the indie world’s current she-went-viral-with-that-YouTube-song-and-now-she’s-got-her-debut-album-coming-out it girl

What’s got you so excited about Clairo?

Troy: She’s the indie world’s current she-went-viral-with-that-YouTube-song-and-now-she’s-got-her-debut-album-coming-out it girl—see Maggie Rogers, SZA, Billie Eilish…countless others. Some crash, some burn, some disappoint, but, like the three aforementioned artists, I think she’s going to deliver in spades with her full-length, out this week.

And some become Lana Del  Rey. “Get Stüpid” by bülow is maybe a polka with an electric sitar? Also our new favorite getting ready-to-go-out music. As a designer, what do you think of the use of the umlaut?

Troy: Thank you for asking. While I do think that throwing around legitimate linguistic punctuation all willy-nilly in any field is both annoying and irresponsible, Megan’s is German and her actual legal surname seems to be Bülow, so we’ll allow this into our acceptable aesthetic zeitgeist. That said, if the history of success in the music industry shows us anything, it’s that we will not put up with quirky spellings as an audience. Is Anderson still putting a period before Paak? Is Merrill still spelling it tUnE-yArDs? I can tell you right now, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not going to put up with that shit.

Speaking of…Naytronix, or Nate Brrenner, is one half of tUnE-yArDs, and yet uses no random capitalization. Musically, “Come Back” sounds a lot smoother too. What do you think of the album?

Troy: Yeah, he is both musical partners and life partners with Merrill Garbus, and I feel like you can definitely hear that creative proximity on the album, especially on some other tracks. But it’s good—we got sent an advance copy and need to give it a second listen still—we decided to go see the new Tarantino movie instead.

Is ambient standby Tycho adding Saint Sinner’s vocals to the mello mic on his new album the new “Dylan goes electric?”

Troy: Sadly, Mr. Seeger’s no longer around to axe the mic cord, but maybe. If so, I’m on the applause side of the audience, not the boos—I’ve always loved Scott Hansen’s music and always wanted him to add consistent vocals, his music begs for it. I hope this is a new chapter and he receives positive feedback from the move.

“Ashes to Ashes” by Jenny Hval definitely has a whiff of the ’80s to it. What’s the premise of the imaginary John Hughes movie this plays on the credits of?

Troy: Man, I don’t know, but I’d want to see that movie. I think it would start off as your run-of-the-mill Hughes-headed rom-com, but John would get the boot last-minute and be replaced by David Lynch, who would have us realize just before the credits roll that the male protagonist has dreamt the whole affair before being buried alive in a coffin with a singing fish who resembles his mother.

Moon Honey announced that will be their last album. Can you give us a fitting epitaph?

Troy: We’re truly bummed about that. We’ve known Jess + Andrew since they moved the band here from Louisiana so many years back and loved them—both as a band and people—since we met them. It breaks our heart to see them not together any more, but we can’t imagine those two aren’t going to just impress us even more with what they go on to do creatively. And Moon Honey’s left a legacy of the most transcendent marriage of prog-psych musicality and beautifully banshee-esque vocal explorations. We highly recommend everyone listen to + buy their final bow, dreamlet.

If we are listening to “Get Stüpid” while getting ready to go out, French Vanilla is what we are listening to when we’re actually out. We hear you’re a fan (of the band, not the ice cream flavor)?

Troy: Do they even make french vanilla any more or did the ice cream industry fully give up on that one? Yeah, though, they’re great. They number among the bands that I didn’t really dig when I first heard their early recordings, but then I caught them opening up twice in about as many months for other bands I’d gone out to see and they really won me over with their live show. It helps too that this new album of theirs, How Am I Not Myself?, plays like they’ve really come to their own and settled in to a sound that they’re really comfortable with. Or maybe I’ve just come around late. Either way, it’s one of my favorites of the year. The album, not the ice cream.

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.