Like "Song(s) 4 Klang" and "Ostey." before it, this special installment of SHAKE*YOUR*SHORES was lovingly hand-crafted for an accomplice of mine. The lucky recipient? Nikki Uren, a bona fide Upper Peninsula "princess" (she had a pony when she was little) I met through the mysterious Job No. 2. Pressing on, a few quick facts about this WEIRDO you might want to understand before diving into this awesome mix tape: She likes a lot of upbeat, FUN bands; she's unbelievably accommodating despite suffering from a level of hypochondria that borders on laughable*; and, oh yeah, she changed my life ... by introducing me to a magical unicorn and his shifty-eyed "friends."
1. The Rentals - "Getting By"
The first thing you do when you're about to sit down and put together an awesome mix tape for a close friend is feel them out and see what bands and/or songs really get them excited. Nikki gets exceedingly giddy at even the slightest mention of Weezer and, yet, she has no working knowledge of that band's glorious offshoots and side projects. So, in short, what better way to start off a mix tape than one of former bassist Matt Sharp's most exciting recordings?
2. Rob Crow - "I Hate You, Rob Crow" [Album Version]
I don't, and I don't foresee Nikki hating him either; not since the Pixies has a song under the two-minute mark won over so many ears.
3. Boxcar Racer - "All Systems Go"
Again, back to the "If you like A) you're gonna love B)" theory, Nikki adores blink-182 — and this short-lived side project picked off right where that group's self-titled "farewell" album left off.
4. Jimmie's Chicken Shack - "Do Right" [Radio Mix]
Finally an excuse to pick this chicks-always-dig-it No. 1 shot on one of these here mix tapes!
5. Homie - "American Girls"
The most baffling band of all time is also one of the most consistent. True, this impeccably orchestrated supergroup, featuring members of Weezer, Cake, the Rentals and Soul Coughing, only released one song officially (this one, for — strangely enough — the "Meet the Deedles" soundtrack), but, man, what a song it was!
6. Toki Wright - "Next Best Thing" [Free MP3!]
I know Nikki's boyfriend listens to Atmosphere, so hopefully some of his good taste has rubbed off on her and she'll dig this new Rhymesayers standout. (p.s. If you guys like what you hear on the free MP3, Toki will be playing a show with Aceyalone and Long Doe June 27 at the Orpheum in Duluth.)
7. Jonathan Fire*Eater - "These Little Monkeys"
OK, I'll admit it, this was kind of a selfish selection: I haven't heard this rolling throwback for a couple months and, when I saw it just sitting there all by its lonesome on my hard drive, I knew I couldn't deny it the opportunity to be discovered by another soul.
8. The Special Goodness - "Move It Along"
We're not even to Track 10 and we're already on the third Weezer-related group ... oh well, at least it's all been good listening.
Do you agree, buddy? Y / N
9. Plastic Eaters - "Bug Away"
Some call it "jungle punk," but I just call it the most addictive high-energy fun you probably haven't heard yet.
10. Felix da Housecat - "Pretty Girls Don't Dance"
A bizarre little "skit" before...
11. Eyedea & Abilities - "This Story" [Free MP3!]
the hot new single from E&A. I don't care who you are, but this fierce slab of forward-thinking hip-hop will set your soul on fire! [BONUS READING FUN: My exclusive interview with emcee extraordinaie Eyedea for the Budgeteer.]
12. Basement Jaxx - "Breakaway"
I kind of cheated here: Nikki admitted to being a huge Basement Jaxx fan, so A) I'm so very proud of her and B) she's probably already heard this classic dance anthem. Oh well, hopefully someone in her mix tape-listening company hasn't....
13. The Butthole Surfers - "Dracula from Houston"
This radio-ready hit was actually supposed to go on the mix I made for Amy, but ... I got lazy and didn't feel like ripping the last Butthole Surfers disc until this week. Man, I am a bum. (Plus, I didn't know this until just now, but apparently this song was used on "Scrubs," a show she and her man watch religiously.)
14. Janis Joplin - "Piece of My Heart"
I'm committing so many awesome mix tape sins here it's not even funny: This is one of the most-loved recordings of all time (as in, only a North Dakotan wouldn't know this one) and *cheeks redden* I may have had prior knowledge of Nikki loving Janis as much as ... oh, I don't know, Jane Krakowski's character on "30 Rock."
15. Prince - "Kiss" [DJ Z-Trip Remix feat. Murs] [Free MP3!]
In the words of the master himself, "This is the best download I own."
16. Jimmy Eat World - "Electable (Give It Up)"
Nikki and I have never discussed this Arizona favorite, but, come on, she's a girl, right?*
17. Flickerstick - "You're So Hollywood"
I'm a little embarassed I'm still so obsessed with this band — winners of VH1's "Bands on the Run" competition thingy — but, if anyone will back me up, it'd be my favorite yooper. (She's too nice not to, anyhow.)
18. Damone - "On Your Speakers"
Well, if that last entry had you rolling your eyes, you probably haven't experienced Damone yet. Yes, it's probably music for little girls, but, dammit, I like it!
This is the sound of summer.
19. Saves the Day - "Certain Tragedy"
... And continuing the string of embarassing selections is Saves the Day, one of those emo bands you just hate to love.
It's impossible not to though, truth be told.
20. Piebald - "American Hearts"
Talk about growing into one's skin: Piebald's early recordings were unabashedly s---, but, over time, one of the most compelling indie rock outfits emerged. More people should know about these guys.
21. Reggie and the Full Effect - "The F--- Stops Here"
I know it probably seems like I'm obsessed with a new band every week, but I've honestly been stuck on Reggie and the Full Effect — started by the Get Up Kids' James Dewees, for those of you who never get your music geek on — for some time. I think what draws me to this outfit is that Dewees doesn't seem to give a f--- about anything: his solo albums are wholly inconsistent, jumping from genre to genre, and, yet, this practice of making records for himself is undeniably exciting. You don't know what each subsequent track will bring, but you're always guaranteed to hear at least a handful of the coolest songs in your entire collection.
And this is one of them. (Nikki, you better at least pretend to be in love with this one!)
22. Schatzi - "Guitars vs. Humans"
Similarly, this track makes you want to blow out a speaker or two — play at maximum volume for *ahem* the full effect.
23. The Red Hot Chili Peppers - "I Found Out" [John Lennon cover]
Like the Weezer-y selections above, Nikki hearts RHCP, so I thought I'd tack on one she probably hasn't spent a lot of time with. From "Working Class Hero," aka the only John Lennon tribute you should have in your "music room."
24. Jets to Brazil - "You're the One I Want"
Hopefully Nikki's boyfriend isn't reading this, lest we have some unpleasantness on our hands because of this song's title....
25. Beck - "It's All in Your Mind"
A little inside joke for my continually "ill" comrade.
*We've already established I'm going to hell eons ago, so don't even bother with the hatemail....
Thus concludes your fifty-fifth dose of SHAKE*YOUR*SHORES, the awesome mix tape series formerly known as "Don't Tell a Soul."