03 August 2006


March 2005: CD-R

01. The BellRays, "They Glued Your Head On Upside Down"
02. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone"
03. Scissor Sisters, "Take Your Mama"
04. Kings of Convenience, "I'd Rather Dance With You"
05. Moloko, "The Time is Now"
06. Mark Mothersbaugh, "Ping Island/Lightning Strike Rescue Op"
07. Roxy Music, "Love Is the Drug"
08. Heaven 17, "Temptation"
09. Basement Jaxx, "Red Alert"
10. Bjork, "Triumph of a Heart"
11. Jennifer Trynin, "Better Than Nothing"
12. A.C. Newman, "Miracle Drug"
13. The Dandy Warhols, "You Were The Last High"
14. Tegan and Sara, "Take Me Anywhere"
15. Hello Goodbye, "Pussycat"
16. Junior Senior, "C'Mon"
17. PJ Harvey and Gordon Gano, "Hitting the Ground"
18. Belle and Sebastian, "I'm a Cuckoo"
19. The Futureheads, "Hounds of Love"
20. Santa Esmeralda, "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"

For a friend's 30th birthday (exactly one day and one month after my own), I made a double disc mix CD. It was blatantly modeled on a series of commercially available mixes with the same title. Each set was curated by a particular band or DJ, including one of my favorites. The general concept behind each edition was for the first disc to consist of peppy, upbeat music you'd hear in a club, while the second disc would include songs to "come down" to--stuff you'd want to hear after you returned home, kicked off your shoes, and lounged on the couch with a glass of pinot.

Thus, this is the party disc--or, as I originally wrote to the recipient, "music to listen to while preparing to get out of the apartment". With the one-two blast of The BellRays' Aretha Franklin-fronting-a-garage-band rave up and Ted Leo's raucous, rollicking tribute to The Specials, Thin Lizzy and Pete Townshend, this is also an exemplary mix for waking up to. I admit to playing it on my iPod on more than a few saggy-eyed morning commutes.

Despite the concept, this feels like a true, varied mix to me. What kind of logic puts a sweeping, quiet-loud-quiet electro/orchestral instrumental track from THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU next to Bryan Ferry's finest moment, a dated but irresistibly funky/geeky critique of the mid-70's singles bar scene? Why does The Futureheads' exuberant, jagged post-punk cover of a Kate Bush anthem lead into a ridiculous yet sublime ten minute flamenco-disco cover of an Animals song? How to explain the existence of Hello Goodbye (an obscure, squeaky, delightful trash-rock combo I had to review for Splendid) or Junior Senior (straight/gay, thin/fat male duo that actually had a great minor hit with "Move Your Feet")? Well, in that last case, they are two quirky tastes that taste fabulous next to each other, plus both are Scandanavian, love The B-52's and are completely bonkers.

It all goes back to feeling; the goal was simply to not be able to sit still while listening to this mix. Hearing it now and struggling in vain not to physically give in to PJ Harvey singing the shit out of a song Gordon Gano should've saved for the next Violent Femmes album, I say mission accomplished.

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