November 12, 2005

106: Sunrise

The cover is a snap I took just before daybreak in Elizabeth, New Jersey on Thanksgiving morning 2005, as my wife and I awoke extra early to go see the Macy's parade.

The Title: This disc has no title. I created the packaging for #105, 106, and 107 all in one shot, and I was not inspired with titles.

  1. Don't Stop Me Now - Queen, as heard in Shaun Of The Dead.
  2. Lovely Day - Bill Withers
  3. Deacon Blues - "Steely Dan is not one guy!"
  4. I Can't Make You Love Me - Bonnie Raitt
  5. Walk In The Sun - Bruce Hornsby
  6. Thin Line Between Love and Hate - The Persuasions (1973)
  7. Margarita - The Traveling Wilburys
  8. Wild Mountain Honey - When I was a teenage DJ at WBMT 88.3 FM, We played a LOT of Steve Miller. Our Steve Miller Band Greatest Hits LP got a lot of use. It was nice to include Mr. Miller on one of my mixes for the first time in at least 10 years!
  9. I Am Trying To Break Your Heart - You might think it impossible to include this Wilco song on a mix, but I think I pulled it off. Sandwiched between a trippy 1970s song and a loopy 1980s song, I think it works.
  10. America Is Waiting - When I was a college DJ at WERS 88.9 FM, I played this sample-heavy experiment-rock track from David Byrne & Brian Eno on the afternoon world music/jazz fusion/experimental show Gyroscope.
  11. Screenwriter's Blues - Soul Coughing
  12. Desire - The "Hollywood Remix" of the U2 song.
  13. Mass Romantic - New Pornographers
  14. All The Right Friends - A surprisingly retrograde R.E.M. song from the Vanilla Sky movie soundtrack.
  15. Panic - The Smiths
  16. Soap Star Joe - This Liz Phair track brings the mix to a dead halt. I should have cut it out.
  17. Frere Jacques - The famous nursery rhyme, recorded in the style of "The Space Between" by Dave Matthews Band, credited to "Dave Math Shoes". I found the web site advertising this collection and I loved it.
  18. A Bit Of Alright - Paul Peña wrote the song "Jet Airliner" which Steve Miller made a smash hit. This song was (at the time) used in TV commercials.

November 01, 2005

105: Apple

The cover photo is my wife's hand holding a freshly-picked apple October 16, 2005.

The Title: This disc has no title. I created the packaging for #105, 106, and 107 all in one shot, and I was not inspired with titles.

  1. Never Destroy Us - I found this song by The Dears when researching music for our SXSW trip earlier that year.
  2. Count On My Love - I don't apologize for liking all phases of Liz Phair's career, from the lo-fi indie rock to the current hi-fi power pop.
  3. When My Baby's Beside Me - You can only read so many critics saying how awesome Big Star are before you buy their CD for yourself.
  4. Who Did You Think I Was? - This is from John Mayer's attempt to be taken seriously as a blues-rock trio.
  5. Times Like These - Foo Fighters
  6. Chest Fever - The Band
  7. Diddley Daddy - Bo Diddley
  8. Hickory Wind - You can only read so many critics saying how awesome Sweetheart of the Rodeo is before you go buy the CD for yourself.
  9. Photograph - The first time I heard this Jamie Cullum song, I thought he sounded *exactly* like Paul McCartney. The rest of this CD is a little too jazz-y for my taste.
  10. Fine Line - Paul McCartney
  11. Something Wild - Maia Sharp was the female singer Du Jour on the radio that week.
  12. No Way To Treat A Lady - Canadian rocker Bryan Adams had a flourishing sideline as a tunesmith for other artists. Along with his writing partner Jim Vallance, Adams contributed songs for KISS, Krokus, .38 Special, and Joe Cocker, among others. Two women named Bonnie covered this song: Bonnie "Total Eclipse of the Heart" Tyler, and Bonnie "A dozen Grammys" Raitt.
  13. Get Your Hands off My Woman - Ben Folds
  14. Don't Pass Me By - The Georgia Satellites cover Ringo's song as a Southern-fried rave up.
  15. Free Girl Now - I had this Tom Petty CD single lying around for 5 years without listening to it. I finally cracked the seal and gave it a slot on this mix.
  16. Eight Years Old - I generally like Ben Lee, but I was trying too hard to find new music when I picked this track off one of his CDs for this mix.
  17. Paul Newman's Eyes - I saw Dogs Die In Hot Cars at SXSW that spring.
  18. Forty Feet - Franz Ferdinand
  19. Vox Humana - I saw this terrible Kenny Loggins video on "V-66" when I was a teenager, and I bought the cassette.
  20. Sleeping Bag - ZZ Top

July 30, 2005

104th Of July

The cover photo of my friends Kim and Laura looked like a band photo, maybe a female Steely Dan? The sunglasses, the way they're looking away from the camera, the angle, it all says "album cover" to me.
1 THE STYLE COUNCIL: "Mick's Up" (a instrumental track from their odds & sods collection.)
2 ELVIS COSTELLO: "...This Town..."
3 LIZ PHAIR: "It's Sweet"
4 GENESIS: "Turn It On Again" (I liked this song long before it was in those Chevrolet commercials.)
5 THE B-52's: "Dry County"
6 RAY CHARLES: "Let The Good Times Roll" I love the way the horns and vocals are nearly overmodulating. Sounds like a hot session!
7 GORILLAZ: "Feel Good Inc." (I first heard this song in a TV spot for those "NOW Thats What I Call Music!" collections.)
8 THE SHORE: "Waiting For The Sun"
9 KEANE: "Everybody's Changing" (When The Shore and Keane charted these big hits, I could never remember which band was which.)
10 DANNY ELFMAN: "Veruca Salt" Elfman wrote and recorded original music for the Charlie & The Chocolate Factory movie, with lyrics taken directly from the book.
11 COUNTING CROWS: "The Ghost In You" (A great cover of the Psychedelic Furs song, live at KBCO Boulder 8/28/93; from the Clueless soundtrack.)
13 MODEST MOUSE: "Ocean Breathes Salty"
14 R.E.M.: "Talk About The Passion"
15 PAUL McCARTNEY: "Momma Miss America" (used to good effect in the "travel montage" in Jerry Maguire)
16 THE WHO: "Summertime Blues" (Live at Leeds 2/14/70)
17 MARK KNOPFLER & JAMES TAYLOR "Sailing to Philadelphia"
18 NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE: "Changing Highways"

May 09, 2005

103: The Effects of a Texas Festival on a Musical Mix

I think the title says it all: I composed this mix after attending the South By Southwest Music Festival for the first time. There's no better time to escape dreary Boston winter weather than mid-March; and Austin, Texas, is not a bad place to escape to: T-shirts and jeans abound, tequila flows like water, the roads are paved with pork ribs, the Dr. Pepper is sweetened with cane sugar, and the steaks are chicken fried.
This mix is peepered with music we heard on our trip: read on...

  1. HUDDLE FORMATION; I saw The Go! Team perform at a UK Pop showcase. The show was a circle-jerk of music industry weasels with corporate credit cards. It was like the Black Hole Of Calcutta of self-congratulation. The Go! Team had a UK record deal but was pimping themselves for a US deal- the hype was so thick I had to burn my sneakers afterwards. The band members knew it, and they were so smug I wanted to slap the bass player around to regain my self respect. Having said all that, I like this song.
  2. BRIGHT FUTURE IN SALES; Fountains of Wayne
  3. F.I.N.E.; I was reminded of this Aeromsith song when I heard the new Billy Idol song on the radio.
  4. SCREAM; Billy Idol
  5. SISTER SURROUND; We saw The Soundtrack of Our Lives from the front row as they opened for Robert Plant on our first night in Austin. The Scandinavian sextet did great imitation 1970s rock, with one Keith Richards clone, one Pete Townshend clone, and the lead singer was a beefy bearded man in a mumu who looked like Mick Fleetwood. Between sets, I ran into "Mick" near the bar. I gave him a quick soggy hug and yelled in his ear "you guys are FABULOUS!"
  6. BIBLE CYST; The Legendary Shack Shakers also opened for Robert Plant, and they put on a hell of a show. Think of a hillbilly Stray Cats on amphetamines and you're close to the mark.
  7. OH WELL, PT. 1; Fleetwood Mac
  8. SON OF A PREACHER MAN (live 1991); Joan Osbourne
  9. SHOW SOME EMOTION; Joan Armatrading
  10. LOUNGER; Dogs Die in Hot Cars was also in the UK Pop showcase - I was drawn to them because they play power pop and their lead singer sounds like the guy from XTC. Their CD was pretty good, and their set was OK.
  11. TAKE ME OUT; Franz Ferdinand
  12. ONE (live 1992);  'Automatic Baby' was a hybrid of R.E.M. circa Automatic for the People and U2 circa Achtung Baby:
    • Michael Stipe, vocals
    • Mike Mills, guitar
    • Adam Clayton, bass
    • Larry Mullen Jr, percussion
    This one-off ensemble covered U2's "One" at an awards show. I really liked Stipe's interpretation of the lyrics. He sang the same words as Bono did, but his style is so different! Back in the early 1990s, it was damn near impossible to find a one-time-only performance from a TV show- if you didn't record it on VHS, you were out of luck. Somehow I found the recording on a benefit CD completely unrelated to the awards show.
  13. CLOSER TO YOU; The Wallflowers
  14. SUCH GREAT HEIGHTS; The Postal Service, since used in UPS commercials?
  15. BOULEVARD OF BROKEN SONGS; A great mashup of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and "Wonderwall"; A year after I discovered this mashup, we heard it on the set of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart- it was one of the high-octane songs they play during commercial breaks to keep the crowd pumped up.
  16. KINGDOM OF RAIN; I always liked this song by The The because Sinead O'Connor sings on it. I finally bought the CD at a yard sale that spring.
  17. CATCH MY DISEASE; Ben Lee, I always love tinkly kiddie piano!
  18. RENT A COP; Ben Folds
  20. GUERO CANELO; A memorable song in 12/4 time, from Calexico- we saw them live at SXSW too.

February 26, 2005

102: Mashups

I created this mix at the zenith of my interest in "mashups". Mashups, in their simplest definition, are DIY music remixes where DJs will disassemble rock and pop music and mash up the vocal tracks of one song with the rhythm section of another. Thanks to audio mixing and processing software, it's possible for a DJ to isolate discrete vocal and instrumental tracks, change the pitch and/or tempo with precision, and endlessly loop the smallest instrumental break to fit their needs. Most of the mashup titles are include words from both/all the songs sampled; I have included notes to help clarify the provenances, and I have credited the DJs who created these mashups. This collection represents the best mashups I discovered in 2004:

(1) MACA-MUPPET by Pilchard | The Doors vs The Muppets vs The Macarena!
(2) SWEET SECRET by Soundwasta | Madonna vs Mick Jagger
(3) CHOCOLATE CAKE, REVISITED by Lenlow | featuring Bill Cosby "Chocolate Cake For Breakfast"
(4) SEE
(5) BITE by The Kleptones | Queen vs KRS-One, Queen vs O.D.B.
(6) SAY LADY SAY by Brat Productions | The Beatles vs Paul McCartney
(9) SURE-LA-DI, SHOT-LA-DA by DJ BC | The Beastie Boys vs The Beatles
(10) TO THE TAX-MOBILE! by Lenlow | Batman vs The Beatles vs "Wipeout"
(11) PAPERBACK BELIEVER by Go Home Productions | The Beatles vs The Monkees
(12) BABY YOU'RE A PURE MAN by Brat Productions | The Beatles vs All Saints
(13) CRAZY LITTLE FOOL by Go Home Productions | The Beatles vs Queen
(14) YOU WON'T SEE YOU'RE ALL I NEED TO GET BY by DJ Nite | The Beatles vs Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
(15) DREAMING IN YOUR SLEEP by Brat Productions | The Romantics vs Depeche Mode
(16) WRAPPED DETECTIVE by Go Home Productions | The Police, Lionel Richie, Elvis Costello, Peggy Lee, Bob Marley
(17) THIS IS HOW WE DOOBIE by DJ Jay-R | Montell Jordan vs The Doobie Brothers
(18) J-LO vs K-CO vs S-WO by Lenlow | Jennifer Lopez vs Nirvana vs Stevie Wonder
(19) CALL ON VALERIE by Mixomatosis | Steve Winwood's "Valerie"... Remixed

February 07, 2005

100: Centennial Mix

I wanted to celebrate the 100th mix (almost 12 years since my first numbered mix tape) with some kind of retrospective. At first, I tried assembling a 20-song collection of my favorite songs of all time. That proved to be to all-encompassing. Eventually I settled on a 20-track collection of the best songs which had appeared on my mixes in the "CD-R" era, which began with Mix #49.

The definition of "best" is a flexible one. Many of these songs are some of the best songs of their time, but in this collection, "best" also means a song which fits well on a collection, many of them are fun to sing along with, have a good beat, or have some strong emotional connection for me. The songs don't necessarily date from 2000-2004, but they all appear on one of the 50 mix CDs I had made in that five year span. The track listing below includes info about what CD the songs originally appeared on.

The cover design (main photo covered with checkerboard of smaller images) was inspired by Sheryl Crow's Tuesday Night Music Club. I am not as pretty as Sheryl, but that photo of me (taken by my friend Robert) may be the best photo of me ever. If it weren't for that photo, at the top of my online personal ad, my now-wife may not have ever met me!

01> Sick Of Myself (MIX 65; My favorite Matthew Sweet song and a hell of an opening track.)
02> Chemistry (MIX 65; the second would-be hit from one-hit wonder Semisonic.)
03> Bohemian Like You (MIX 84; Speaking of one-hit wonders, this is the only Dandy Warhols song I know.)
04> Supernova (MIX 72; Maybe Liz Phair's best song.)
05> Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town (MIX 62; this Pearl Jam acoustic b-side is better than the album version.)
06> Clocks (MIX 94; this Coldplay song is WAYYY overplayed and overdone now, but it was THE song of the year at the time.)
07> Forget About It (MIX 52; this melancholy Alison Krauss song means a lot to me.)
08> Einstein on a Beach (for an eggman) (MIX 57; a leftover song from the August & Everything After sessions, this is my favorite Counting Crows song.)
09> Peace Tonight (MIXES 60 & 78; from the Indigo Girls album when they hired the "JB" horns to add some muscle to their sound.)
10> Some Fantastic (MIX 50; a "deep cut" from Barenaked Ladies that I always liked.)
11> High & Dry (MIX 77; a perfect song from Radiohead.)
12> Barrel of a Gun (MIX 55; I love trying to sing the harmonies on this Guster song.)
13> Murder (or a Heart Attack) (MIX 55; a cool song from The Old 97s about a lost housecat.)
14> Malibu (MIX 55; liking Courtney Love's music is a guilty pleasure.)
15> Circles (MIX 80; this hypnotic Soul Coughing song has me in its spell.)
16> Little Plastic Castle (MIX 88; I love the 12/4 time signature and the awesome rhythm section on this Ani DiFranco song.)
17> It's My Life (MIX 99; a great No Doubt cover of a cool 80s New Wave classic.)
18> Heavy Metal Drummer (MIX 81; it was tough picking only one Wilco song.)
19> Not The Same (LIVE 2002; this Ben Folds Live cut makes its debut here- recorded on the tour where my wife and I went to the same concert, one month before we met for the first time.)
20> Frying Pan (MIX 14; breaking the rules a little here- this Evan Dando solo acoustic cover of a Victoria Williams song originally appeared on mix tape #14, but I re-made that mix on CD-R in 2001.)
21> Strange Condition (MIX 86; a good ending from Pete Yorn.)