Friday, April 07, 2006

Anatomy of a Mix CD

Fellow blogging friend Josh Mueller from Audio for Drinking has a blog called Loud Monkey Music which is completely devoted to mix CDs. Last night, I decided to make a new mix as the one I made in February is ready to be set aside for the time being. So, just like LMM, here's the tracklisting, but with stories behind the songs:

1. "Firecracker" by Strung Out
Strung Out, especially on Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues, is pop-punk on hyperspeed. "Firecracker" starts that album and it starts this mix CD too. Strung Out was one of the many pop-punk bands that I jumped into during my year at community college. I still have a number of these CDs even though I rarely listen to them. Suburban is one of them.

2. "That's When I Reach for My Revolver" by Mission of Burma
I first heard Moby's cover version of this song on his "rock" album, Animal Rights. The interesting thing was, in order for MTV to play it, Moby had to change the chorus to "That's when I realized it's over," yet the title remained "That's When I Reach for My Revolver." This original version took a little while to get used to because I thought Moby's version really rocked. Interestingly, I feel the opposite now. This song and the rest of the EP (Signals, Calls and Marches) is my favorite release of their's.

3. "Give Judy My Notice" by Ben Folds
This version features only piano and vocals and I think it's much better than the version that appears on Songs for Silverman. The Songs for Silverman version sounds more like an Eagles cover (especially with its slide guitar and its mid-tempo drumbeat). A great song no less, but this is my preferred version. I remember driving into Metro early one morning and this song put a smile on my face once the intro started. It still does that to me when I hear it.

4. "Happy Accidents" by [DARYL]
Jason was listening to some, er, terrestrial alternative radio last night and I heard a [DARYL] song. I thought the song that was played was "Happy Accidents," but it turned out to be another song from the same album called "You Were Way Too Young." Both are great songs, so I just figured go with the happy accidental song choice.

5. "Unreal is Here" by Chavez
A classic from the peak of my 120 Minutes viewing back '97. This video successfully mixed footage of Chavez playing this song at soundcheck and large stadium crowds for another band. If you weren't in on the joke, you'd think Chavez was a huge draw. Regardless, Chavez slowly disappeared a few years after Ride the Fader. Interestingly, guitarist Clay Tarver resurfaced as the co-writer of the script for that movie Joy Ride (with Paul Walker and Steve Zahn).

6. "Sometimes I Feel Like . . ." by Bad Religion
This was the song that introduced me to the power of punk rock. A group of guys a little older than me played at Mikestock one year and they played a wild mix of cover songs. Somehow they pulled off playing Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" and this barnburner from No Control with ease. This song was everything that I liked about punk rock (short, snappy and fast), but it was by hearing it played live that made me realize how powerful punk rock could be. A few days later, I dug out my dubbed copy of Bad Religion's Stranger Than Fiction and Minor Threat's Complete Discography and went from there.

7. "Rice and Bread" by Against Me!
Another fast ditty with a great guitar breakdown/outro. As I typed up the tracklisting, I realized that it looks really funny comparing the song title of the previous track with this one. I'm not sure I ever feel like rice and bread, but I seem to eat a lot of it in my diet.

8. "Building Steam with a Grain of Salt" by DJ Shadow
I'm not a huge fan of hip-hop and DJs, but DJ Shadow isn't a typical DJ. On this track, he fuses a really haunting piano and vocal melody along with some dirty drums to create a song that just keeps going on and on and on. Plus, you don't have to be stoned to enjoy it.

9. "Cheap Shot Youth Anthem" by Kid Dynamite
I will admit that I didn't give Kid Dynamite's second album, Shorter, Faster, Louder, the same amount of love I gave their debut when it first came out. However, upon recently viewing their Four Years in One Gulp DVD, I've found this album to be as good, if not better than, Kid Dynamite. As a reminder that we're all ages of fans, this song makes me wonder why age restrictions are put in with shows the first place (is it really because of the sale of alcohol?).

10. "Back to Rome" by Frank Black & the Catholics
I've been thoroughly enjoying Fool the World: The Oral History of a Band Called Pixies. Even though I'm currently on the part about the Pixies' second album, Doolittle, I somehow was more interested in hearing this nugget from Frank Black's first album with the Catholics.

11. "Angels" by Baboon
Also inspired by the um, Lakewood-centered radio station that Jason was listening to, I heard a track from Baboon. I was reminded of "Angels," a song that was played many times on my KTCU radio show back in the day. I'm still amazed by the long scream in the chorus and the strings underneath it. Plus, I love the small print on the back cover of the EP this song comes from: "No label affiliation here, just rock band."

12. "Do the Math" by Boxer
Ah, Boxer: Vagrant's first band on their roster. Even though most of The Hurt Process sounds like Lifetime, I still like this record. They kinda sounded more like Lifetime on caffeine. I remember the insert ad on these guys before The Hurt Process came out: "Shades of Lifetime and the Promise Ring." Those were the days. Now, an ad like this would say: "If you love Lifetime, The Promise Ring and Taking Back Sunday, then you'll LOVE Boxer!" Yeah, that's a great way of giving the fan a chance to make up his or her own mind.

13. "When I Get Old" by the Descendents
It seems like on every single Descendents or All record, there is one incredibly melodic tune that warrants insane amounts of repeat listens. This is the one from Everything Sucks.

14. "Head to Wall" by Quicksand
Quicksand has been on my mind as of late because I want to work them in a little more to Post. Though the current extent of them is a mention with Helmet in the Jawbox chapter and with Ceilishrine in the Promise Ring chapter, maybe I can work more into the Hot Water Music chapter. Regardless, I've always liked how this song's verses are rather unlistenable but the choruses are so good.

15. "Building" by Sense Field
With Sense Field getting a full blog post recently, I decided to add this, the title track from their second proper album, on here. I've always liked that line: "No I don't just hate everything/No I don't just love everything." A celebration of patience and gray areas.

16. "No Surface All Feeling" by Manic Street Preachers
The final track on Everything Must Go that's probably been played in a number of football stadiums all across England but never here in the states. It's not like the US record companies have failed to bring the Manics to the attention of Americans; they're just not for the average rock fan. For some reason, I always thought this song was called "All Surface/No Feeling." Amazing what happens when you read the liner notes closer.

17. "She Don't Use Jelly" by Ben Folds Five
A classic Ben Folds Five cover. Just like how they outdid Built to Spill on their version of "Twin Falls," the Five take a rather goofy song by the Flaming Lips and make it a bossanova cha-cha with an unforgettable chorus with three-part harmonies.

18. "The Compromise" by face to face
This song quotes Fugazi almost exactly word for word: "you can't be what you want/so you better be what you are." Words from the wise.

19. "Don't Lose Touch" by Against Me!
As an inspiration for a blog post earlier this week, this song feels even more relevant as the band is now on a major label (Sire Records).

20. "Static" by Jawbox
According to J. Robbins, Atlantic suggested Jawbox recut this song from Novelty for For Your Own Special Sweetheart. I'm glad they didn't: this version is fine enough, including Robbins' head-twirling guitar solo.

21. "A Place in Line" by the Appleseed Cast
One of the best tracks from the double album, Low Level Owl. I often compare Appleseed Cast's music to the ocean and this song feels like drifting in it.

22. "Throwaway Style" by Exploding Hearts
Yes, this band's story is a tragedy, but this album and especially this song, live on with how great this band was.

23. "Third Wheel" by Avail
The closing track on Over The James is also my closing track here. I think this song is about turning back and going back to a safe spot (in the case of the song's narrator, it's jail). Though it's not necessarily the way I want things to be, I somehow also relate to the "I'm tired of always changing/I'm tired of being seen" line.


swirly girl said...

I love #10. I know I should tell you why or go into how great I think Frank Black is, but I'm not that kind of girl.

But I did grin when I read that it was on your new mix.

josh Mueller said...

That's a fierce and fun mix. Made me remember all the funny lo-fi Chavez viseos on 120!