To the poor soul of this AskMe question: There are a lot of things that make a good mix. But most MeFi/MeCha/MoFi folks don't know 'em. I stopped participating in the swaps because I got sick of getting a bunch of different Coldplay soundalikes and feeling cheated. So, the first rule of the mix is only swap with people you know, because if you don't you tend to get a lot of crap from people more interested in promoting their taste than putting together a solid mix (or maybe they all just have shitty taste).
To further the art, I went and grabbed about six tapes that I love love love, from different periods in my life. I may upload some of the mixes I've made too, though those are all more recent that these.
Here they are, in rough chronological order—
Title: Lots of random music!! Woo hoo!! chock full of good stuff
From: Chiann Tsui, a pal from high school. She made my girlfriend jealous during the early stages of our relationship. I think Chiann's in China now, and she was always too smart for me anyway.
circa— '98? '99?
Tracklist: Side A
I Hate Rock and Roll— Jesus and Mary Chain
Universal Dawn— Eric's Trip
If I Only Had a Brain— MC 900ft Jesus
Alright— Whirling Road
Lion's Mouth— Big Chief
Party With the Gods— Borax
Teenage Riot— Sonic Youth
Landing— The Gandharvas
Kiss Off— Violent Femmes
Explain— Jeremy Enigk
Physically Unaddictive Mind Change— Elevator to Hell
Stood Up— Sloan
Bad Time— Getaway Cruiser
Poppy Song— Mollys Reach
Sunday Morning— Velvet Underground
The Land of Where Lost Dreams Go— Tara S'Appart
Sign Up Maybe For Being— Richard Davies
Cut Your Hair— Pavement
What Are Your Coordinates— Snailhouse
Demons— Yo La Tengo
Kings— Magnetic Fields
Theme— Soft Blanket
Puzzle Pieces— Tiget Trap
One Day— The Super Friendz
I Often Dream of Trains— Eric's Trip
Verdict: Fantastic mix of indie pop back from when that wasn't just the first thing that college students learned to listen to. Introduced me to Magnetic Fields and The Gandharvas. A good selection of popular and obscure stuff, and an excellent job done repping local artists.