So I decided that I am going to lend my time to yet another page on teh interwebs. Muxtape.com allows users to create a mix tape of up to 12 songs. Who doesn’t remember creating mixes for your friends and family to listen to? I definitely created tons when I was a kid.
Now it is popular with the hipster set as not only a form of nostalgia (hipsters love nostalgia, seeing as how they never want to grow up) but as a way to show everyone how eclectic, strange and indie their taste in music is. That being said, I’m going to start making my own mix and update it, change the tracks periodically (hopefully monthly or so). I’ll blog up little descriptions of each track here and give you a link to the tape. Big surprise, it is http://quartertonality.muxtape.com. Just click on the track you want to start with (
Here is Volume 1:
“Wake Me When It’s Over” is off of Longwave’s 2nd full length album and is quite a change from their first, though it definitely extrapolates off of the influences that they clearly feel strongly about (Television, U2, Radiohead, The Strokes etc…) This is the opening track off of that album and I thought it would make a good opening track here. This song kind of feels like a sunrise anyway, with orange light bouncing off of dust as it flies through the air. Lots of delayed effect on the guitars and atmospherics. Great song
“Get a Shot of the Refrigerator” is typical Stereolab. Sometimes instrumental, sometimes not. Sometimes the lyrics are in French, sometimes English, sometimes both. This is a truly unique band with a very devoted, indie “insider” following. Somewhere between rock and dance music lies Stereolab with their groovy jams and tight ensemble work. “The groop”, as their fans call them are unlike anything you have heard before.
“Love and Death” is off of The Stills’ first album. This Canadian band made quite a splash with their first album, only to completely lose me with their second. This album feels nostalgic to me for some reason. It is great in all the right spots. This song has not only a great chorus but a great verse as well. The whole thing fits together very well. I like the interplay and counterpoint between both of the guitars and the way the verses really work towards the choruses to create a seamless texture, similar to the Longwave but a little more overproduced.
“Range Life” is off of the now defunct California outfit Pavement’s absolutely amazing album entitled “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” and features a very loose ensemble with barely tuned guitars creating a song that feels like it is in slow motion. Lead singer Stephen Malkmus’s voice is shaky and somewhere between falsetto and full voiced belting, but it seems like he is trying to keep it quiet. Sarcastic lyrics with a lazy delivery and all genius.
“First Day” is off of Sunderland England’s own The Futureheads first blistering album full of jangly, angular punk songs. The guitars are all over the place in this one darting in and out of the way of each other with the entire gang joining in to sing the chorus. The band builds up faster and faster until it seems like they are going to completely fall apart, the trick is that is when they are at their best, right before everything falls apart.
“My Mathematical Mind” is from Austin, Texas’ own Spoon’s album “Gimme Fiction”. Though that album did not quite do it for me as much as their most recent effort (“Ga ga ga ga ga” from 2007) it still has a few decent tracks on it. This is one of them. The lyrics are almost too brainy and self-absorbed, but they never quite cross the line. The bouncy, hemiola inflected piano line helps give the opening a good swing and the throbbing, present bass propels the song forward while the guitar struggles for air just below Britt Daniel’s soaring vocal.
“Stereo Sanctity” is from Sonic Youth’s album Sister. The group experiments with altered tunings, noise and chaos as part of its aesthetic flawlessly combining the ideals of the post-punk crowd and the downtown music composition scene of Eliot Sharp, Glen Branca and free jazzers like Sun Ra. This song has always been one of my favorites of theirs, very energetic, very noisy. Just plain great.
“Freak Out” by Liars, originally from Australia, then moved to NYC and now based out of Berlin Liars have experimented with each of their albums. This is off of their most recent offering simply called “Liars” which features a whole series of really tight rock songs that are similar in vane to early Sonic Youth, but a little more percussion driven. This album combines elements of all their past efforts and shows them finally focusing in and going out on one clear path. This song brings forward the jangle of a reverb soaked, out of tune guitar and the chant-like approach to singing.
“Your Hand in Mine” by Explosions in the Sky is one of the only examples of music in a rock band format that is truly orchestral in scope. This band, again from Texas, creates grand sonic soundscapes on each of their albums that are usually full of lengthy, developmental structures. This song is one of the most beautiful rock songs I have ever heard. Simple, in E major, utilizing the open strings on the guitar to create a truly moving sound. You can tell that each line was painstakingly put together. The structure of this song is almost mathematical and it is even divided into sections, but they work so well together it is scary.
“Goodbye Ukulele” by Peterborough, Ontario’s The Burning Hell is depressing, yes. It is also a great way to close an album. Singer Matthias Kom bids adieu to each of the instruments in the band one by one and they disappear until he is completely alone with his ukulele. This is one of the only really slow songs that I have ever really liked this much.
I hope I haven’t rambled on too long. I hope you enjoy this mix.