Monday, March 10, 2008

Tapes and Tapes

Making a mixtape is really, really hard.

I thought "oh, I'll just cobble together a random mix of bands I like, it'll be easy then I'll get an early night". That was nearly two hours ago. What's worse is that it's still ongoing - you try finding a bridge between The Kills - Now Wow and Goldfrapp's Utopia involving a mellow male vocalist who isn't David Ford.

I wish I'd got some David Berkeley mp3s from Katy now.

"The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules."

I try not to make too many gaps between songs, I like it to flow from one to the next. Hence I was way, way too happy to discover that the outro to You!Me!Dancing! tessellates rather too well with the intro to Rockin' in the Free World. In the same way, the theme of Say Something, Say Anything matches with Portions For Foxes - although I'm making this for a friend who's just split up with her longtime partner, so I might try and finish on something cheery. What's the closing artist? Easyworld.

Track listing:
  1. Garbage - Bad Boyfriend One of my favourite side ones track ones. More original than Smells Like Teen Spirit, anyway.
  2. Led Zeppelin - Rock n Roll As the quote goes, kickin' it up a notch. Also a sign that it's not just contemporary artists either.
  3. The Duke Spirit - Lion Rip And increasing the tempo once again. Two and a half minutes of barely restrained emotion, building to the first peak of the CD.
  4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cheated Hearts So we catch a breather, with a nice slow burning song which again builds into...
  5. Jenny Lewis - Big Guns ...a country song? It doesn't sound too romantic...why does every song have to be about love, or the lack of it? I feel another High Fidelity quote coming on.
  6. The Kills - No Wow Well, at least it's not about love. A nice, sleazy, throbbing bass line (listen to it, you'll see I'm not being dirty for the sake of it) and plenty of sexual innuendos - we've moved from 50's high school love to a rough shag in a dark seedy alleyway.
  7. The Subways - Lines of Light (instrumental version) This bridging song was the hardest thing I've done regarding this tape. It seems like a bit of an abrupt jump, from the bass line almost dropping off a cliff to the acoustic guitar intro of the track. But it's a nice break from the onslaught of the previous half dozen songs and leads the ear nicely into...
  8. Goldfrapp - Utopia These italics are really annoying now. Still one of my favourite 'Frapp songs. A song I know she's got, because I bought her Felt Mountain many moons ago in exchange for some Subways gloves, and a bit of familiarity in case her attention is wandering.
  9. Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing! I tried to get We Throw Parties... into the tracklisting somewhere but wherever I put it, it just jarred with those around it. So I went for this one. Yet another slow burning song building up to a big ending, it just exudes fun.
  10. Neil Young - Rockin' In The Free World When I make a mix CD, I try to make it like the mixtapes of yore - with a side A and a side B. I usually kick off side B with this song as it's got such a strong intro. However, it matches perfectly with the outro of Y!M!D! - almost a little too perfectly, like the remastered CD of Dark Side Of The Moon where The Great Gig In The Sky overlaps Money to mask the break between sides.
  11. Blood Red Shoes - Say Something, Say Anything Well, the intro matches the previous song, and I wanted a BRS song on there somewhere. Might not have been the wisest choice given the content though. Personally, it's gone from one of my favourite BRS songs to a song similar to Johnny Cash's cover of Hurt - an amazing song, but one I can't listen to that often.
  12. Rilo Kiley - Portions For Foxes So, lets have a happier song then. Well, not quite, but "baby, you're bad news" might strike some resonance with her.
  13. Be Your Own PET! - Heart throb Wake up! Just over two minutes, and possibly 500 beats crammed in there. I really suck choosing tactful songs. Don't ask me to playlist a funeral, you'll probably get Send In The Clowns mixed with Rammstein.
  14. Metric - Poster of a Girl It's likely she'll appreciate the two Canadian artists on here (you try finding more who aren't Avril Lavigne, Bryan Adams or Celine bloody Dion) and it works well to bring the pace down.
  15. Blur - The Universal On the home straight now, not long left, and a truely epic song which fits surprisingly well with PoaG before it. The strings compliment the normal sound rather than overwhelm it - a song to listen to watching the sun burst through the clouds to remind of you of the beauty in this life.
  16. Easyworld - Goodnight A song that slings it's arm around your shoulders, buys you a fresh pint and says "cheer up mate. You're over the worst of it now, you've got lots to look forward to" (and by this I mean her life, not the end of the CD). I just wish it didn't end with that quartet of lines implying I'm only making it to get in her knickers!
I'm not sure if this post works best as a blog introduction, sleeve notes for said CD, or a way of keeping my ramblings off the Blood Red Shoes board. Whatever, it's done now.


sven945 said...

**adds to RSS feed**

JessDG said...

Response to James’ Mix

Since you wrote notes for the tracks, I decided to write a response to each track. I am riding the bus from Amherst, Nova Scotia to Fredericton, New Brunswick. I have one transfer, but will be on the bus for about 3 hours. Good time to listen to a mix and concentrate on it. I find when I take the bus from city to city, I really reflect and ponder during those rides. This is the perfect time to listen to a mix tape, but specifically a mix tape made for such a reason.

#1 Bad Boyfriend by Garbage: There is nothing like starting any album or mix tape with a truly bad-ass rock song. Especially one that plays straight to my little vixen heart. This song makes me think of a foxy uni classmate who told me last week of a sex dream he had about me. Perhaps I’ll sing him a line or two…

#2 Rock n’ Roll by Led Zeppelin: Another killer song. Rock n’ Roll can be taken in more than one way, and they all apply to me, heh heh. For the version that refers to a concert, I was supposed to attend a punk show for the Black Halos last night, but their van got stolen. It had all of their equipment in it. So much for that.

#3 Lion Rip by the Duke Spirit: “If you want it, you could have it, but you have to be honest now about what you’re feeling for me.” This lyric pretty much sums up our entire relationship. Unfortunately, he wasn’t honest for 7 years, and only honest during the break up.

#4 Cheated Hearts by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs: I thought I didn’t like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I was wrong.

#5 Big Guns by Jenny Lewis: Aw, a little country, but a kind of country I can handle. However, it reminds me The Gun Show from Anchorman :0)

#6 No Wow by the Kills: This song has a constant level of intensity. It almost suspends my mind and me mental being for the few minutes it plays. I feel like I disappeared, and part of my life is gone…The second time through, we were driving past these trees. The sun was behind them, but kept flashing through at the exact same beat of the song. When it changed to a slower pace, the trees ended and it was just sun.

#7 Lines of Light by the Subways: I find myself singing the voice bits, but try not to, so I can enjoy the beauty of the musical bits, which are able to shine truly, free from the burden of delivering a lyrical message.

# 8 Utopia by Goldfrapp: I feel like I am in a Stanley Kubrick film. The bus has stopped at a gas station. There are pine trees outside my window. I can see the sun filtered through on my face, and it moves as the branches do. The intense blue of the sky is the only thing convincing me I am not seeing in black and white.

#9 You! Me! Dancing! By Los Compensinos: Let’s dance! I only realize after that the title had “dance” in it. I adore the accent. I’d dance with this gentleman any time. Dancing is always a good idea!!! (The intro makes me want to take LSD)

#10 Keep On Rockin’ in the Free World: Canadian! Woot woo! A song I have heard my entire life, but every little bit I age, the song has new meaning not just to me, but in the larger cultural sense. Plus, my world is FREE now, I can go anywhere….and I intend to rawk anywhere I can. Oh my gosh, I literally just put on my white 80s style Ray Bans when he sang the line, “….never get to be cool.”

#11 Say Something, Say Anything by Blood Red Shoes: I am nervous to listen to this…..warned by content….Was not expecting line, “How long can you miss someone?” Stomach flipped a bit….Going to listen again in a bit. Second listen: yes, yes, fight through disguise and lies! Also sums up the shitty part of our relationship.

#12 Portions for Foxes by Rilo Kiey: {I have to piss, when will this bus ride end???} The lyrics are amazing. I swear I wrote them. Not that I’m amazing, but you know. Forget it, I am amazing! First time listening, this is my favourite song on the mix. “I don’t care, I like you”. I feel this song is the negative side of the idea from “Bad Boyfriend”.

#13 Heart Throb by Be Your Own Pet: I have felt this in the past with boys other than the one I was dating, but excited I don’t have to “hide these feelings” anymore :0)

#14 Poster of a Girl by Metric: I can relate to some of these words, the song is hip. Not muchly inspired to say more! Um, Go Canada! James, I am going to send you a list of Canadian bands. Probably at the end of this list.

#15 The Universal by Blur: This one definitely needs a second listening to. I missed some of the lyrics, but I dig the general mood and feel of the song. I like the part about just letting the days fall. It’s good for my soul.

#16 Goodnight by Easyworld: a screaming child across the aisle is ruining the song…but I am trying to concentrate. So far, this is the only song that really makes it hard to swallow and eyes tear up. It’s beautiful, and I thank you, James, for including it. It is nice to know people so far away, and we only really know digital versions of the other, yet we can reach across with real friendship :o) This song makes me want to stare into the sun until I am blind. Don’t worry, I don’t think you want in my knickers. Ha ah knickers. What a funny word.

All in all, this mix accurately tells of all the emotions and things I have been thinking. Delight at being single, anger and sadness, heart break and ache, longing for love and looking in all the wrong/right places. Nice work, James! It has made me happy, because I love the songs, but because it so pinpoints al of the things I am feeling. If someone wants to know how I feel, I merely have to give them this mix tape. Thanks, friend. →jess.

Canadian bands to check out: the Black Halos, D.O.A., SNFU, The Nils, The Rheostatics, Thrush Hermit, Joel Plaskett, Wintersleep, Broken Social Scene, you must know Arcade Fire, The Dears, The Dudes, Rural Alberta Advantage. I can't think of more. Blast! But there is a guy named Grant Lawrence and he does a podcast every week of al Canadian indie music. At least I think it's all Canadian. In any case it is at least 35% Canadian.