Monday, February 8, 2010


Submitted for the approval of the Mix Tape Appreciation Society, I humbly present ... "Be Ready with Bells and Drums":


1. Motion City Soundtrack - "Her Words Destroyed My World"

Ever since "The Future Freaks Me Out" first rocked the original, on-air incarnation of "Don't Tell a Soul," I've championed this Minneapolis band. Needless to say, it fills me with great pride to know that they've amassed such a dedicated following. This explosive, impossible-to-resist track's parent album, "My Dinosaur Life," debuted in the top 15 of the Billboard 200 when it was released last month.

2. Harvey Danger - "Cream and Bastards Rise"

The boys in Harvey Danger have been considered a one-hit wonder by some because their only tangible success came as a result of the song "Flagpole Sitta," but, like Nada Surf and their mock-high-school-drama hit "Popular," they turned around their careers and became bona fide critical darlings. It's easy to hear why.

3. OK Go - "Oh Lately It's So Quiet" [acoustic vers.]

I can't argue that OK Go is served best with a mountain of sugar, but, even in its quietest moments, the band manages to dazzle.

4. Drew Danburry - "Gas Masks at the Barbecue Beach Party Make-Out Session"

Everyone makes fun of Marc Gartman for being ever-so-prolific, but, somewhere in Utah, he has an equal. Luckily, they're both terrific songwriters and, as I actually have firsthand knowledge of this, terrific conversationalists.

5. Starlight Mints - "Eyes of the Night"

Before they went off the deep end and made their "drug album," these Oklahoma kids knew how to craft intelligent, Electric Light Orchestra-worthy pop singles that even fans of "Barnyard" and, perhaps more relevant, needless "Van Wilder" sequels could enjoy.

6. Ima Robot - "Sine Your Life Away"

Have you ever bought a house/witnessed the future of your "fun money" completely wither away in front of your eyes? Well, this isn't a song about that, but it might help you get over that disgusting feeling in your stomach nonetheless. (p.s. Did you know that, upon disbanding Ima Robot, the voice you're now hearing* went on to form Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros? Quite a change of pace ... like OK Go going all MGMT on us.)

With terrific supporting players, Lucky (whom I was *ahem* lucky enough to meet at Pizza Luce a few years back) crafts one of the most relaxing/paranoid downtempo hip-hop tracks in some time -- wouldn't have been that out of place on "Unsolved Mysteries."

8. Aceyalone feat. Chali 2na and Bionik - "Eazy" [FREE MP3]

... And miles away from "Borrowedtime" is "Eazy," one of the most battery-draining jams to ever assault your system. (Listen to at maximum volume to get the full effect.)

9. Semisonic - "Erotic City" [Prince cover]

Hearing members of this squeaky-clean Minneapolis group sing along to one of the Purple One's naughtiest jams (and that's saying a lot)? Priceless.

10. System of a Down - "The Metro" [Berlin cover]

Say what you want about "Not Another Teen Movie," but it had quite the soundtrack.

11. Self - "KIDdies" [FREE MP3]
A dark moment from the Self mastermind Matt Mahaffey, for sure: "Let's go trick-or-treatin' dressed up like Marilyn Manson / Snatch up all the kiddies and then hold 'em all for ransom."

12. Sid Six - "20one"
As heard on the "Dawson's Creek" episode "Promicide," this is sincerely the most obscure rock gem I've ever heard on such a made-for-the-masses forum. It's worth seeking out this track, to be sure, as it's most definitely not on either of the show's soundtrack releases.

13. Idlewild - "As If I Hadn't Slept"
While these Scottish rockers' songs never really caught on over here, I've always been a fan of their earnest, workmanlike brand of rock 'n' roll. (And I was fortunate enough to catch them in Fargo while they were opening for Pearl Jam back in '03.)

14. Spoon - "Who Makes Your Money?"

Believe the hype: "Transference" is a killer album, and you'll be enjoying it for years to come.

15. Bjork - "I Miss You" [Original Mix]

Have you ever stopped to think what the world would be like without Bjork? The Icelandic phenom has to be one of the most creative individuals ever to call this planet home, and I, for one, will never grow tired of her genre- and boundary-pushing ways.

16. Digital Leather - "Kisses"

Question: Do you like the Raveonettes and the Butthole Surfers (circa "Electriclarryland" in particular)? You're absolutely going to dig this radio-ready slab o' fuzz.

17. Vic Chesnutt - "Society Sue" [FREE MP3]

Speaking of recommendations, if you like where Bob Dylan has been taking his music over the last couple albums (and who doesn't?), check out this free gem from the late/great Vic Chesnutt.

18. Earlimart - "Interloper"

While I appreciate this song for what it is, I must remark on its recording quality: It's simply phenomenal -- yes, even for an MP3! Recommended if you like Jason Lytle's more a-wanderin' sonic experiments.

19. Islands - "EOL"

On the flipside, if you like the compositions that the aforementioned now-solo Grandaddy frontman pumps out which sincerely knock you over because of their sheer pop perfection, this Islands track (which is, perhaps, an homage to ELO) will absolutely win over your heart.

20. Bran Van 3000 - "Problems"

Musically, this is great (per usual), but it's the fantastical lyrics that immediately draw me in: "I live in a frequency / Where action rules / That god is me."

21. The Smashing Pumpkins - "Disarm" ["Earphoria" vers.]

I've really been on a Pumpkins kick lately. (In other words: What's left to say about the genius of Billy Corgan? Even the albums he's put out of late are great. Not timeless, mind you, but great nonetheless.)

22. The Pixies - "Blown Away" [Live @ Winnipeg's Burton Cummings Theatre, April 14, 2004]

I went. I saw. I wrote a column about nearly getting stuck in the Great White North. (With a little help from my friends, of course.)

23. Cursive - "Making Friends and Acquaintances"

Omaha has a certain sadness to it, so it only makes sense that its most exciting export sometimes conveys that. (Same goes with the films of Alexander Payne -- chief among them "About Schmidt" -- of which many are based in the city.)

24. Dealership - "Nerdy Girl" [FREE MP3] 
I've known a few. 
... But you know what? I love them all. (Seriously. One girl actually turned me on to the "Fatal Frame" series. How cool is that?)

25. Air - "Remember"

Songs don't get much more beautiful than this. This is one dreamy French soundscape that will forever be stuck on repeat in my humble abode.

*If you're "playing along at home," that is.

Thus concludes your sixty-fourth dose of SHAKE*YOUR*SHORES, the awesome mix tape series formerly known as "Don't Tell a Soul."

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