NEEDLE EXCHANGE 131: An Exclusive Mix By…Keep Shelly in Athens

Despite what Wikipedia might think, Keep Shelly in Athens is not a chill-wave band. Like the blog (Gorilla vs. Bear) that helped build the Greek duo’s buzz by pressing a couple promising EPs (In Love With Dusk and Our Own Dream), they maintain a certain mood throughout their immersive tracks—one that’s icy and immediate in equal measure—without relying on one particular sound to express it.

Or as singer Sarah P. put it in an eMusic interview a while back, “We’ve listened a lot to Oasis and stuff like that. And I have darkwave influences as well. So there’s quite a mixture…At first we were a bit afraid of it. But then we trusted it and we decided to follow that path of all this variety. It’s quite like a potion, now; we have to mix all of these things together and try to create something different.”

That explains why their long-awaited debut album is willfully eclectic, with the tense running time and full-blooded howls of “Knife” suggesting a synth-shocked punk song, “Recollection” scraping the sky with mirror-lined melodies, and the stuttering chorus of “Higher” somehow reminding us of rap-metal. (No really; it’s almost like Evanescence dialed back the melodrama and got brought back down to earth.) Which makes sense when you consider what a fitting foil Sarah’s shape-shifting vocal range is to RNR’s steely beats and cold-pressed keys. (Sure enough, she’s been attending acting school back home, upping the likelihood of character development on the pair’s LP.)

To help make sense of all this just in time for the At Home’s release on Cascine this week and a stateside tour next month, we asked the group’s camera shy producer to share an exclusive mix that slips the disco-funk of Chromeo in the same set as Keep Shelly in Athens’ direct descendants, the Cocteau Twins. Here’s what he sent back:

“Mid-September. Birds are ready to fly away to find warmer climes to spend the winter. We are ready to fly away and perform our tunes—old ones and new ones—to tour around North America and meet new places and new faces. This mixtape is to wish you a splendid fall! See you soon!”

Keep Shelley in Athens, Needle Exchange 130:
1. Keep Shelly in Athens – Flyway
2. Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas
3. Datsyuk – Puzzles
4. Serafim Tsotsonis – Mute
5. Junior Boys – ep
6. Toro Y Moi – Rose Quartz
7. Chromeo – Needy Girl
8. Holy Ghost! – It Must Be the Weather
9. Games – Everything Is Working
10. Keep Shelly in Athens – A tear in my i (Gacha remix)

Keep Shelly in Athens' tour poster