January 2012 Mix - "Good Enough For Me"

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It should come as no surprise, but I had fully intended to publish this mix earlier in January. Actually, I had intended to publish this in December, so I guess it's a double no surprise. Regardless, the time involved caused these 13 songs to go in some unique directions. At first I wanted it to be a greatest hits of 2011, with some refelection intothe songs that really rocked me. But then as life's events took place, other songs snuck their way in, and then as new music often does, it stuck in my head and earned slots on the mix. And so we kick off 2012's mixes with some old and some new and some that just feel right.  Not a bad way to start another year.

1. "Clean Sheets" - Descendents - I don't know how or why, but I went through a pretty major Descendents kick this past January. It's never a bad thing, just came out of nowhere as I had this song in my head for like a week.

2. "Eyes Wide Open" - Rival Schools - 2011 was a bit of a resurgance for Walter Schriefels in terms of my enjoyment and it pretty much started with this track from the Rival Schools record.  Walter probably ended up being one of the musicians I listened to the most last year.

3. "Hand Over Fist" - Wiretap Crash - So awesome to see one of my old friends from the Long Island hardcore scene rocking out with a new band. I was psyched to see that they were fun live, and recorded a pretty rad EP, with this song as my fave.

4. "St. Rosa and the Swallows" - The Thermals - Somehow I had never heard The Thermals, don't ask me how I missed them, because they're great and totally up my alley. Luckily someone showed me the way and this was the song that did it.

5. "God Loves Us" - Guided By Voices - Can't say I ever thought I'd be putting a new GBV song on a mix, and yet here I am. Add to it that the song doesn't suck! Will wonders ever cease?

6. "1313" - The Big Pink - The second record from a band after you've discovered them always seems to be a bit...less than. Luckily for me, the latest album from The Big Pink built on their previous release and is totally fun to listen to.

7. "Marathon Runner" - Yellow Ostrich - Nice how one of my favorite new band discoveries of 2011 comes out with a new song at the beginning of 2012. It's almost like they planned it. This is the first song released from their new album, which I can't wait to get my hands on.

8. "You You You You" - The 6THs - There's something about the sincerity of this song that I love. It' so simple and honest and completely what it promises to be. That's pretty special.

9. "The Slim" - Sugar - The other artist I've probably listened to the most in 2011 was Bob Mould. From Husker Du, to his solo stuff to Sugar, it's been a blast revisiting and reveling in his amazingness. I think I'm in for at least one more month though of Mould, as we build towards his show in SF in late February.

10. "To The Birds" - Suede - I still can't believe I saw Suede live again in 2011. Sure, I had to fly to England to do it, but it was worth every penny.  

11. "Man Out of Time" - Elvis Costello - I actually used this song for work on a podcast and was reminded not only how good it is, but how much fun I had discovering Elvis Costello back in college. I wish I could re-live that time...

12. "Asleep" - Stars - I recently gave the album this song came from to a friend of mine to play for her new baby. It's just...perfect.

13. "The Blower's Daughter" - Damien Rice - Another random song that popped into my head in December and stayed there until January.  It's so haunting and romantic, I adore it.

Enjoy!

 

Christmas 2011 Mix - "Happy Christmas"

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December is a double mix month, as the annual tradition of making a Christmas/Holidays themed mix continues with this mix coming in a bit earlier than my usual monthly mix.  I did break my rule of only 13 songs per mix with this mix, because well, I had 14 songs and the added extra song is a good way to ease into the New Year.

I do struggle with this after making holiday mixes for several years now, how to not just use the same songs over and over, but some are must-have standbys for me so they remain. But I did make an effort to find new versions of songs by bands that I haven't had on the mix before. So hopefully you hear something new that you like. 

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

1. "The Bells of St. Mary" - Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans - Many of you know that I believe the Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift for You is not only the greatest Christmas album of all time, but one of the greatest records of all time. For some reason, I love this song the most and it's always the first song I listen to after Thanksgiving.

2. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - She & Him - Ah, the holiday song about date rape that I'm not quite sure why it's a holiday song. I have to admit, I was excited for the She & Him Christmas record, but it fell a little flat for me, being too airy and not poppy enough, but this song was great in that they flipped the roles and you get a ton of M.Ward, which always a good thing.

3. "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" - Death Cab for Cutie - A rare, new classic, also from the Phil Spector record, but this time covered by DCFC.  A modern classic that sounds great by pretty much any band that covers it.

4. "Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)" - The Decemberists - A little country-themed humor is always fun, right?

5. "Twelve Days of Christmas" - The Muppets & John Denver - The most annoying song ever is made tolerable by The Muppets.  This is the year of Muppets, so figured this was appropriate

6. "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight) - Ramones - I love the idea of the Ramones writing a Christmas song, and coming up with this sardonic, all too real song.

7. "Run Rudolph Run" - Lemmy Kilmister - I decree this is now the greatest Christmas song ever. Lemmy wins. Always bet on Lemmy. Also it features Dave Grohl on drums!

8. "Last Christmas" - Jimmy Eat World - I don't think I can make a Christmas mix without putting this cover of this song on it.  Great song made better.

9. "Christmas Wrapping" - Spice Girls - Yeah, I went with the Spice Girls. Deal with it.

10. "Fairytale of New York" - Stars - Another new, modern classic Christmas song. You'd think the Pogues would be a tough act to follow, but Stars pulls it off

11. "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" - The Polyphonic Spree - I was torn with putting the original vs this cover, but I wanted to have something new here, so I went with the cover. It's practically identical

12. "River" - Robert Downey Jr. - Possibly Robert Downey Jr.'s finest hour and it came to us via Ally McBeal of all paces.

13. "White Christmas" - The Wedding Present - I love how soft and airy this cover is by one of my favorite brit pop bands.

14. "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" - Rufus Wainwright - Another mainstay. I mean, what ARE you doing New Year's Eve?

Enjoy! I hope everyone has a happy holidays!

 

 

November 2011 Mix - "Someday We'll Find It"

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Unlike some previous months, this mix came fast, furious, easily and on time. Usually I keep track of songs I want to put on the mix through the month and then re-arrange the order, but this month, the natural order of songs as it came out seemed to be perfect, so I stuck with it.  I only got to see one live show this month, Noel Gallagher, so not much influence there.  Finding it hard to believe this is my 11th mix of the year. Crazy.  Only 2 more to go!  Enough of the rambling, here's the track list:

1. "Dead Hearts" - Stars - This band has the ability to just slay me with their songs. This song was used at the end of the movie "Like Crazy," which was a gut punch it and of itself, but using this song? whew.

2. "I Know Deep Down" - Architecture In Helsinki - AiH is one of those bands that I LOVED when their first record came out, and then soured on ever since. I gave the new record a try and while it lacks the chaos that I loved with them earlier, on, I dug it.

3. "Strange Powers" - Magnetic Fields - Someone on the show Bored to Death likes Magnetic Fields, because they used this song on a recent episode, and another one on the latest. Which is great because one of my favorite bands on one of my favorite shows = good times.

4. "Don't Look Back In Anger" - Oasis - I didn't expect Noel Gallagher to play any Oasis songs when I saw him for some reason, but he did, and he closed with this "hit" and it reminded me how much I did love this album back in 1995.

5. "By Your Hand" - Los Campesinos! - I love Los Camp. Their energy and wit, everything about them. Their new record is fantastic, as evidenced by this, the first track off the album. You just can't not dance to it.

6. "All You Need Is Me" - Morrissey - I was supposed to see Morrissey in Chicago this month, but the show got canceled due to visa problems. It's okay though, I'm seeing him tomorrow in Oakland.

7. "Suburban Home" - Descendents - I play pinball in the dive bar in my neighborhood. They have a great jukebox with Somery by the Descendents. I love playing pinball while listening to the Descendents for some reason.

8. "Regret" - New Order" - My first New Order song, and one of my all time favorites. This got me through the day recently.

9. "Abducted" - Cults - This band is getting popular. How do I know? They used this song on Gossip Girl. But that's ok, it's a good song by a good band.

10. "Punk Rock Girl" - Dead Milkmen - A Punk classic, once you get this song in your head, you can't get it out. This song always puts a smile on my face.

11. "When You Sleep" - Walter Schreifels - I have been looking for this song for ages. It was released on a compilation in Europe and for some reason almost impossible to find on MP3, but I got it. And boy was it worth it. Walter covering My Bloody Valentine? Awesome.

12. "I Hope That Something Better Comes Along" - Matt Nathanson - The Muppets movie was fantastic, so I couldn't not give it a nod this month, with a cover of my favorite song from the first Muppet Movie.

13. "Junebouvier" - Whirr - A last minute entry, my friend Ryan sent me this band (which happens to be a local bay area band) and I gotta admit, it was right up my alley. Love having a new band that hopefully you'll be hearing more from soon on here

Enjoy - see you in 2 weeks for my 2011 Christmas Mix!

October 2011 Mix - "This Is For Real"

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Barely as week has gone by since I finally published my September mix, I swore I wouldn't be late with my October mix, and here it is. Luckily, I've been building this mix since October 1st, so it wasn't all that difficult. It's funny how sometimes these mixes just make themselves. One may wonder why I do this and to be honest, I don't really know.  I guess I just like the idea of a soundtrack for the month, a snapshot into what's been in the background while life quickly passes me by.  This month was filled with long work hours, a week of controlled chaos, and the desperate attempt to get back to a rested, established base.  Luckily, I think I got to where I needed to be.

Enjoy!

1. "What is Life" - George Harrison - As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate George Harrison way more than previously. Bolstered by the HBO documentary about him, I "re-discovered" this song and fell in love with it all over again

2. "(I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Say what you will about the controversial former half of the Oasis boys, I welcomed this new record and found myself enjoying several tracks, such as this one.

3. "Wonder Years" - Real Estate - I'll admit it, I was drawn to this song due to the title and memories of the amazing TV show.

4. "Through The Dirt and Gravel" - We Were Promised Jetpacks - I love it when I a band I discovered years ago starts to get the attention they deserve.  We Were Promised Jetpacks was one of those bands I discovered purely for having a great band name, and sure enough, they've delivered a great new record.

5. "All In Your Head" - Quicksand - I don't think any musician has dominated my listening this year more than Walter Schriefels (maybe Bob Mould). This month I came across a treasure trove of old, unreleased Quicksand songs, including this one and I just can't get enough.

6. "Blue Boy" - Texas Is the Reason - I love it when you completely forget about a song and rediscover it. In this case, this song was a split 7" TITR released back in 1995. I have it on vinyl, but finally got it on MP3 and I'm glad I did.

7. "Ballroom Blitz" - Buzzcocks - One of my all time favorite songs by a legendary band? Sign me up.

8. "Raconte-Moi Une Historie" - M83 - I really struggled with what song from the new M83 double album to put on this mix. I had like 4 other choices before I realized, even though this song is silly fun, it's my absolutely favorite.

9. "Je Ne Te Connais Pas" - The Prototypes - I'm a sucker for french pop. I don't know why.

10. "I Love You Ono" - Stereo Total - This song was introduced to me by a new friend and it's absolutely infectious.

11. "Deceptacon" - Le Tigre - The un-official anthem soundtrack to the party we threw in NYC and forever immortalized by the double play at said party and the fun we had there.

12. "True Faith" - New Order - The thing I love about New Order is how years and years go by and the songs seem to get better with age.

13. "Mutal Core" - Bjork - somewhere in the late 1990s, I became a Bjork fan. Each album gets weirder and weirder, but there's always one track I become obsessed with. From her new record, this is the one for me.

September 2011 Mix - "Best of Intentions"

 

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I tried really hard. Honestly, I did.  The sad truth is that I'm 24 days late on publishing my September mix. The even sadder truth is that I had the mix completed and done by the end of the month, but the combination of travel plus work and a littany of other things kept me from sitting down and taking the time to publish the mix. So on one hand, I kept my goal of a mix a month, but I failed in the publishing. But hey, 8 months in a row was a pretty good run.  And I'll be sure to have October's mix in less than a week, so double the music enjoyment.

Now, to try and sum up what I was thinking while putting together my September mix...as I mentioned, September was filled with a ton of work as well as travel, but it also was the end of summer and beginning of fall. The ritualistic closing of the door on fun times and the beginning of getting back to work (or school). It's funny, I'm 12+ years out of any sort of school and yet I always get a little sad at September, as if I was going back to school.  Funny how that works. So that's where I was. Let's get into the track lists, shall we?

Enjoy!

1. "The Sweetest Thing" - Camera Obscura - I have several mixes I listen to when I'm flying the redeye to help get me to sleep. The past few months, the mix that starts with this song as been the one to get the job done. The combination of great vocals and lovely memories helps me sleep when flying cross country.

2. "Write About Love" - Belle and Sebastian featuring Carey Mulligan - My favorite song from B&S latest records, I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a duet.

3. "Happy Birthday" - Altered Images - This gem was suggested to me by a new friend to add to my DJ setlist, and it's a damn good addition

4. "Shadows" - Au Revoir Simone - I've been expierimenting with Google Music autogenerated playlists and it unearthed this gem that I can't get enough of.

5. "A Real Hero" - College featuring Electric Youth - From the soundtrack of the movie DRIVE, one of the best movies of the year with an amazing soundtrack.

6. "Ghostmouth" - Girls - Another unearthed song I had that I was reminded of thanks to the magic of Google Music

7. "Chinese Translation" - M. Ward - M. Ward's Post-War album is clearly one of the best of the past decade as I keep going back to it because of lyrics like this: "If life is really as short as they say, then why is are the nights so long?"

8. "Drift Into The Summer" - Silent Kids - I completely forgot I had this song until it came up on RDIO, and I thought the end of summer was a perfect time for it.

9. "Halo" - The Cure - Ever since the discovery of that Crystal Castles song from last month with Robert Smith, I've been on The Cure kick. 

10. "AKA...What a Life!" - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - A new song from Noel Gallagher's new project that I got my hands on, my fave of the batch.

11. "80 West" - Samiam - Got to see Samiam in NYC live again, which was much more enjoyable after hearing their new record. This is my favorite track from the new album.

12. "Happy" - Ned's Atomic Dustbin - I forget why, but I was reminded of this gem of the early 1990s that is pretty much the anthem of my High School days, at least amongst my tight group of friends.

13. "Hoover Dam" - Bob Mould Band - Now, I know I've been on a Bob Mould kick, and I got to MEET HIM in September. But then I discovered this recording from his set at All Tomorrow's Party in New York in 2008 - which I WAS AT! I'm in the crowd cheering along. Pretty cool, eh?