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Hello again friends!
I built and rebuilt this mixtape several times. A few were due to technical issues with Rdio, but many were because I just wasn’t happy with it. I set out to make a mixtape that in some way represented the emotions of making it over a year with my girlfriend, having never dated anyone more than two months previously (and yes, I’m 27, I know that’s a bit nuts). But the mix kept coming out as a dance party (including several songs Kristine would never listen to). And while a dance party is definitely part of every good relationship, that’s not the whole picture.
In the end, not everything here is tied to that theme. But it’s close in some way or another. At least for me.
I appreciate your patience in waiting for this one, and of course for your time with these mixes! I’ve tried to write more liner notes than usual, but I’ll warn that many are still just me rambling :)
<3 | ∑>
1. Here We Go Magic - “How Do I Know”
Here We Go Magic is a band who make some of my favorite songs, and a lot that I forget easily. But man, when they get something right, they REALLY get it right, as evidenced here.
2. Gayngs - “Faded High”
I’ll admit, I was the last kid on the block to find out about Gayngs (the Minneapolis indie super-group that include’s Bon Iver). I hadn’t checked them out til Poliça came around. And then I let them sit for a while. But this song recently came back to me through a great live recording, and I had to post it.
3. Matthew E. White - “Big Love”
My buddy Kramer had been talking up Matthew E. White for a couple weeks before I gave him a listen. It’s not that I don’t trust Kramer — in fact, we met and became friends through common musical taste long before ever meeting in person — it’s that he was focused so intently on the story behind the music, rather than what it sounded like. Once I listened, however, I totally understood why — this guy reeeeeeeally cares about crafting great music, and understands that takes hard work and collaboration. His epic live band accompaniment reflects that as well.
4. Wintersleep - “Nothing Is Anything (Without You)”
Wintersleep’s first album, Welcome To The Night Sky, was one of my favorite records at the time (“Weighty Ghost” was the jam). But their follow-up, New Inheritors, was lackluster, and I wrote them off entirely. Then my friend Chase played it for me in his car several times, and I liked it (without knowing it was Wintersleep). I thought “In Came The Flood” was the hit of the record, until my friend Britti played this jam in her car with me in Nashville. Sold.
5. The Byrds - “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)”
I always loved this song growing up, but never knew who it was by, and so never knew how to look for it when I was older and back into this era of rock n roll. Thankfully, I found it again while in Milwaukee, on a Byrds record I found at an antique store.
6. 1, 2, 3 - “Scared But Not That Scared”
Back in July, I shaved my head for children’s cancer. This was my theme song. Both for the lyrical content, and because watching the video for the first time was the sign I needed to go ahead with something I had been contemplating for a while. Thanks to all my friends who helped us raise several thousand dollars in a week, and to the friends who got drunk and did the snipping with me. I feel lighter :)
7. Menomena - “Moms”
As I told my friend Edmund today, the two records that have really made me care about music lately have been Matthew E White and Menomena. The raw emotion is so meticulously channeled without losing any of its energy. The band has been through a lot, both collectively and individually, and they’re not afraid to hold that back in their music.
8. Haïm - “Send Me Down”
Haïm are a relatively new entrant to the music scene, but they sound quite mature. They draw strongly from 90’s influences, but do so far more confidently than most others these days. I’m sure we’ll hear more from these three girls.
9. Fiona Apple - “Hot Knife”
When a brilliant musical talent has decided she’s taken herself too seriously too long and decides to say “ah f*ck it, let’s have some fun with this one.”
10. Kishi Bashi - “It All Began With A Burst”
Kishi Bashi is another relatively recent find, which apparently many were hip to when this record came out in April. And they recently received a pretty nice placement in the Microsoft Surface commercials. While I’m still torn on the staying power (it at least seems possible), I’m highly entertained by this record — there’s not a dull moment on it.
11. alt-J - “Breezeblocks”
A coworker sent me this record a few weeks before it came out, and man what an earworm. This song stuck out to me on first listen, and has remained my favorite. That bridge. Man.
12. POP ETC - “Back to Your Heart”
Hand it to Chris Chu; the man is willing to take big risks. He’s taken The Morning Benders from poppy surf-rock to orchestral indie darlings, and thrown it all to the curb in favor of pure pop and a new moniker. And while many of their fans from the indie world feel betrayed, he’s done a heck of a job making a pop record. Particularly a debut.
13. The Happenings - “See You In September”
This was another that I loved growing up, but never knew who sang it. I found it online, added it to this mix, and got a record of The Happenings Greatest hits for free (in that order) in the course of two weeks. It wanted to come back to me, too :)
14. Barbara Lewis - “Call Him Back”
I was listening to a random 60’s northern female soul compilation (you’ll find three tracks from it on this playlist) on the ride down to Chase’s apartment in the suburbs. This song came on as I was driving down a 25 mph road that sprouted caul du sacs on either side. Perfection.
15. Boogaloo Assassins - “Mi Jeva”
Nick Waterhouse said that the band he most wanted to collaborate with right now was Boogaloo Assassins. Naturally, I tracked them down immediately, which was no small feat — this is the only track they’ve recorded, and they only have a couple live videos. I can’t say I’m generally a fan of this type of tune, but for whatever reason, this one worked. Maybe because I now get to call my (Honduran) girlfriend Mi Jeva.
16. Generationals - “Lucky Numbers”
Generationals have been one of my favorite recorded bands since I first heard them. Their blending of influences perfectly matches my taste. However, when I saw them live a year ago, I was disappointed. Sure, I still bought a t-shirt, because I still loved them, but they didn’t sell their songs to me at all. It didn’t help that Gardens & Villa were opening for them, a few weeks after they got a great Pitchfork review, and only about half the house stuck around for Generationals. A few weeks ago, they completely redeemed themselves. Back to the top of my list, fellas. Thanks very much!
17. The Essex - “Don’t Fight It Baby”
The Essex were a bunch of marines, some of whom knew each other from their service in Japan, others they met at a base back in North Carolina. They released “Easier Said Than Done” (which was recorded in 20 minutes) as their first single in 1963, and it went to #1 on the charts.
18. Chicha Libre - “Muchachita del Oriente”
No idea how I found this song or why (or if?) I like it. Just throwin it out there. Do with it what you will.
19. Patti Drew - “Tell Him”
Oh man, Patti Drew. She was only in the industry for a short time (heading back to Evanston, IL in 1971), having released this song as her first single in 1967 (charting at #90), but she left quite a mark.
20. Lord Huron - “She Lit A Fire”
This was the first song that made me care about Lord Huron (having already seen them live twice). It was a live track from a video shoot homie Rollo Grady did down in LA. A few months later, they finally released it on their new record, which is significantly better than previous efforts — they’ve taken their great sound and put real songs behind it.
21. Rhye - “The Fall”
One can only hope that the rest of Rhye’s debut is this evocative.
22. Dirty Projectors - “Impregnable Question”
I’m sorry, April. I promise this is the last Dirty Projectors song for a while. But I couldn’t not put it on here. As a friend recently noted, Dirty Projectors songs will cover very well. I look forward to finding some covers of this one.