The Monday Mix: Jay-Z, Patrick Wolf, Phoenix

We’re starting a new feature here on BBook.com: The Monday Mix. We’re going to be digging up songs from both around the internet and what’s being jammed at BlackBook HQ to get through the beginning of the week. This week: Jay-Z’s balloon issues, Patrick Wolf’s disco depression, and Karen O baring her bones.

1. Jay-Zeezer – 99 Luft Problems. Kind of an old track, but recently rediscovered. Mashup DJ Jay-Zeezer takes Jay-Z’s famously over-remixed The Black Album tracks, throws them in a blender with various Weezer songs, and hits frappe. Zeezer shot for the moon sans Weezer with this, though: Jay’s “99 Problems” remixed with the diabetic-level sweetness of 80’s pop megahit “99 Luftballoons.” It — against all odds — works to great gangster-pop effect. Sounds like: bringing your cool-in-any-situation best friend to an obnoxiously cheesy 80’s themed party, and watching them work the room like no one else could. Via Jay-Zeezer.

2. Patrick Wolf – Vulture. The new Patrick Wolf is finally around for download, and it’s the synth-heavy classic to-be we’ve come to expect from him. It’s also lyrically — in contrast with some of Wolf’s previous stuff — kind of a downer, however pop-driven the beat behind it is: “And the big wheels turn, turn/all your forest fires burn/and all my dead meat yearns/for the vulture’s return,” isn’t exactly a message of optimism, but more or less accurately reflects the rough-and-tumble hard-lessons-learned few years Wolf has discussed widely in the press. Sounds like: coming down from a bad ecstasy trip at a roller-rink. Via MusicFansMic.

3. Phoenix – 1901. From the soon-to-be-released Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (May 25th), Thomas Mars and crew are coming off a strong few years after 2006’s every-track-is-a-hit It’s Never Been Like That. They don’t really show too many new tricks, preferring to default instead on the ones they’ve perfected. It works fine: “1901” has ringing guitar lines, serious synth-action, and a big, soaring chorus, involving hope, last call at a bar/in a breakup, and a desperate need to grab onto the present moment. Sounds like: counting down until summer, minute-by-minute. FYI: You can download the song for free via Phoenix’s website.

4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Skeletons. Not the lead single off of the new Yeah Yeah Yeah’s album It’s Blitz!, but it probably should be. Starting out with a lonely blip-ridden line of synth with Karen-O warbling free-association, asking of someone both to “Skeleton, me” and to stop crying, as it builds to a dense, drum-heavy, epic movie-moment climax. Sounds like: the opposite of “Maps.”

5. Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males – Nothing Compares 2 U. Multi-award-winning Aussie singer-songwriter Dan Kelly and his band don’t have a rabid American following like they do in their homeland, but American enthusiasts and music bloggers keep trying to convince the world of their talent. It’s probably not going to happen when posting their covers of others’ material, but their take on the classic Prince track is, as far as their extensive, incredible catalog of material in concerned, truly worth mentioning. It’s a subtle, understated, ukulele-lined affair, less love-song than lullaby. In their folksy white-boy conversion, they might strip the song of its beat, but they put something fairly substantial in its place: a closeness and intimacy that sometimes escapes both Prince’s original and the infamous Sinead O’Connor cover. We’re not saying it’s better, but it is worth a listen. Sounds like: Prince, as sung by a sensitive man-child.

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