House of Balloons, chock full of samples


The story of The Weeknd is folklore by now, but you may not realize how much of the first mixtape, House of Balloons, is cribbed from other artists. I don’t think it diminishes the record, but you probably have no idea how much Beach House you are listening to in the background. House of Balloons is the first of 3 mixtapes that dropped in 2010 under the moniker of The Weeknd, all 3 later released as the remastered / repackaged Trilogy.

“House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls”

Samples “Happy House” by Siouxsie and the Banshees. “This is… a Happy House…” etc, listen for it:

Stuffed in the background is this track from 1980:

“The Party & The After Party”

The first half of the track happens over a sped-up version of Beach House’s “Master of None” from their 2006 self-titled debut. Here’s The Weeknd sampling it, I was floored how much of this track is based on it:

And here’s the original Beach House version:

“Loft Music”

“Loft Music” features another sped-up, flanged-out Beach House track, from 2008’s Devotion, “Gila.”

Here’s the original, which inspires the vibe of the whole tune at double speed:

“The Knowing”

This track features sped-up, warped bits of the Cocteau Twins track “Cherry Coloured Funk” from their record Heaven or Las Vegas, also the name of a track on The Weeknd’s mixtape, Thursday. It’s the first thing you hear:

Cocteau Twins:

“What You Need”

The version which ultimately ended up on Trilogy is devoid of “Rock the Boat” by Aaliyah, but the original mixtape version has excerpts:


There was some beef from Jeremy Rose (the producer of “What You Need,” “The Party & The After Party,” and “Loft Music”) about not getting proper credit for his role on the record. Ironically, 2 of those tunes are the ones which sample Beach House the most.

Best Albums of 2012


I agonize over this list every year, for 100% personal reasons. I feel like I have failed as a human if I miss anything hot that happened musically in a year. Because I live in the city that never sleeps, when I like a record, I can typically see the artist play it live soon after it comes out. Here’s the year in review.

Top 10

Some Nights, fun.

fun., Some Nights

channel Orange

Frank Ocean, channel ORANGE

Wrecking Ball

Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball

Strange Weekend

Porcelain Raft, Strange Weekend


Beach House, Bloom

Swing Lo Magellan

Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan


Sharon Van Etten, Tramp


Matthew Dear, Beams


Escort, Escort

Fear Fun

Father John Misty, Fear Fun

Special Award: The Weeknd, Trilogy
Technically, this encompasses 3 records that dropped last year. Chris had a visceral reaction of disgust when I even hinted at throwing this at #1

Also Really Good

The Walkmen, Heaven
Craig Finn, Clear Heart Full Eyes
Strand of Oaks, Dark Shores
Purity Ring, Shrines
Lord Huron, Lonesome Dreams


Japandroids, Celebration Rock
Beak>, >>
Django Django, Django Django
Cat Power, Sun
Daughn Gibson, All Hell
White Rabbits, Milk Famous
Silversun Pickups, Neck of the Woods
Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d city

Best Albums of (75% of) 2012 (So Far)

Updated version of:

Top 10

fun., Some Nights
Porcelain Raft, Strange Weekend
Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan
Beach House, Bloom
Metric, Synthetica
The Walkmen, Heaven
Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball
Matthew Dear, Beams
Sharon Van Etten, Tramp
Father John Misty, Fear Fun
Escort, Escort

The Rest (Bottom 10)

Grizzly Bear, Shields
Strand of Oaks, Dark Shores
Metric, Synthetica
Daughn Gibson, All Hell
White Rabbits, Milk Famous
Silversun Pickups, Neck of the Woods
of Montreal, Paralytic Stalks
Japandroids, Celebration Rock
Craig Finn, Clear Heart Full Eyes
Heartless Bastards, Arrow
Bear in Heaven, I Love You, It’s Cool
Escort, Escort
Sharon Van Etten, Tramp
Beach House, Bloom

Listen To This: “Bloom” by Beach House

The first time I listen to any Beach House record, I am turned off by Victoria Le Grand’s husky baritone of a female voice. But after awhile, I get more used to it and I hear more color. Plus, in real life, her voice doesn’t match her hipster-sexy vibe:

Oh Vicky…. (from @edroste’s Instagram)

The music is great, and does not disappoint after their last attempt, which most consider an indie masterpiece, Teen Dream.

Here are my favorite tracks from Bloom:

“Myth” – Live on The Late Show with David Letterman

“The Hours”

“New Year”