Thursday, August 10, 2006

And now one of mine

Title: None. I don't title my mixes unless they're for someone else.
From: Me to me.
Circa: 2002

Side A:

Hey- Faux Jean
Cynicality- Superdrag
Gett off- Dandy Warhols
Once in a Lifetime- Talking Heads
Blues from a Gun- Jesus and Mary Chain
Watch that girl destroy me- Possum Dixon
At Home He is a Tourist- Gang of Four
Very Ape- Nirvana
Neat Neat Neat- The Damned
Holiday in Cambodia (live)- Dead Kennedys
Too Much to Dream- The Electric Prunes
Ruthie Lingle- 16 Horsepower
The Communication- Thinkin' Fellers Union

Side b:
The Flowers of Guatemala- REM
Kiss Life on the Lips- Faux Jean
Chartruese Skirt- Faux Jean
Look Inside America- Blur
I Feel Better than James Brown- Was (NOT WAS)
Coming Down Glass- Laika
Prison of the Rhythm- Golden Palominoes
Icelandic Round- Hector Zazu
She's the One- Beta Band
Help Me Somebody- David Byrne
Wave of Mutilation- Pixies

Well, I can tell pretty much exactly when I made this by looking at the music, which is kind of nice and kind of a little bit sad. I like mixes that seem timeless, but I put a lot of Faux Jean on there because I had just seen them live and loved it. But since this was just a tape to listen to in the car while I drove in and out of work about half an hour), I don't sweat that too much. I can tell that it was a casual mix because there are a lot of sort of cotton candy picks on there (Pixies, Dead Kennedys, Talking Heads) that I try to stay away from when I make tapes for other people. Or at least include only a little bit of, as sort of palate cleansers. Though this has a Gang of Four track on it, that was before I bought the album (which makes me feel vaguely ashamed, even though it shouldn't) because I'd gotten it off of an Uncut sampler. I don't think I can over-emphasize the amount of influence that samplers had in my early (really, pre-internet) music life, something that I've largely given up. Especially now, as (I don't know if it's me or the music) they seem to have really fallen off in terms of quality and ecclecticism. Especially CMJ and Uncut, and who has the cash to get a subscription to Wire? (If anyone reading this would like to buy me one...)
On the whole, I think it holds up, though I'd only give it a c+/b- grade. Too much rock, and the dancier stuff is kinda all clumped together. I was in transition, adding more and more from outside of my indie rock comfort zone, but the non-rock stuff is still pretty tame.

Another mixology 101 coursepack

Title: 3 months are 2 long to make 1 mix tape
From: Jason, the former cinema editor at Current. He was cool, in a band (that kinda sucked), and was passionate about music. Once he was gone, the place kinda sucked. Well, I guess the next guy to hold that position, Chad Walsh, was pretty cool to. I had asked him to make me a mix tape that would get me into the Flaming Lips, and he did.

Side A:
This is Music— The Verve
Kim's Watermelon Gun— Flaming Lips
The Slider— T. Rex
Electricc Phase— Spiritualized
All of my Tears— "
Endlessly— Mercury Rev
Inner Meet Me— Beta Band
Mother Sky— Can
Something Goes Wrong— Medicine
September Gurls— Big Star
Benefits of Lying— Apples in Stereo
Dark Globe— Syd Barrett
Satan Gave me a Taco— Beck
Slow Nerve Action— Flaming Lips
No Money No Honey— Beck

side b:
The Pink— Medicine
From a Motel 6— Yo La Tengo
Coney Island Cyclone— Mercury Rev
Unconsciously Screaming— Flaming Lips
Sister Ray (edit)— Velvet Underground
Gimme Danger— Stooges
Come Together— Spiritualized
The Sun, The Sea— The Verve
Slide Away— The Verve
What's Going Ahn— Big Star
I Am the Cosmos— Chris Bell
Beer Can— Beck
Round the Bend— Beta Band
A Pert Cyclic Omen— Electric Company

Verdict— Well, it breaks a lot of "rules," but seeings as how I asked him to, that hardly counts. It DID get me into the Flaming Lips, something that I can thank him for re: my current girlfriend (a Lips fan when we met). It also cemented my love of Spiritualized, T. Rex, The Beta Band, Can, Big Star and Chris Bell. I even took the name for my weekly column from it. All that from a tape that broke "the rules" as propounded by the Nick Hornsby gooners of the world. And beyond that, it's still great to listen to. The tone and the segues are immaculate, and the Beck bits help leaven what's otherwise a pretty portentuous mix. I kinda wonder what Jason's up to now (I guess I could find him on friendster...) but this is a mix I still love.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

More from the wayback mix machine

Title: Josh Mix
From: The intern Trevor. He worked for us for a while before going off to New York. He was one of the first folks outside my family that I thought had great taste, and I still like this mix a lot. Too bad I played it so much that it snapped. It's around here somewhere, waiting for the splice tape.
Circa: 2001

Side A
Uncle Tupelo— We've Been Had
Aloha— Roanoake Born
Moby— Run On
Stevie Wonder— Lookin' For Another Girl
Ted Leo— The Nice People Argument
De La Soul— Ego Trippin' Part 2
Pedro The Lion— Promise
Roots with Most Def— Double Trouble
The Clash— 48 Hours
Young Pioneers— Fuck This Labor Pool
Eric B and Rakim— Know the Ledge
Thelonious Monk— Blue Monk

Side B
Parka Kings— Shocks
Fifteen— The Middle
Slick Rick with Outkast— Street Talkin'
The Holy Childhood— Fat Tuesday Everyday
Handsome Boy Modelling School— The Projects
Avail— McCarthy
Louis Armstrong— St. James Infirmary
The Jam— I Changed My Address
Redmond Shooting Stars— Just Like You
Mos Def— Habitat
Pogues— Dirty Old Town
Crimpshrine— Rearranged
Stevie Wonder— Living for the City

Verdict: One of the most skillful multigenre mixes I've gotten. Introduced me to a whole buncha people, including Ted Leo (though I didn't remember this by the time Hearts of Oak came out), Aloha, Louis Armstrong and Uncle Tupelo. On the one hand, I felt kinda slighted once I went out and investigated more of these artists, since I hated pretty much the rest of Play (from Moby), Pedro the Lion, and Aloha. But that really speaks to the skill of this mix— I love the songs from them here, and they work perfectly. Extra points for songs like Ego Trippin', which I still put on an inordinate amount of tapes.
And something to note is that both this tape and the one before it broke that oft-cited rule about not putting more than one song by an artist on there. It's kinda like being told not to start your sentences with "and." It's one of those things that you can get away with once you can write well enough to know when it's appropriate. Fucking killer mix.

What makes a good mix

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

Side B

Bad Time— Getaway Cruiser
Poppy Song— Mollys Reach
Sunday Morning— Velvet Underground
Quarter— Tightrope
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.