Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mix Tape Appreciation Society No. 1 :: PATTON WAS ONTO SOMETHING WITH J.O.T.IF.

Yes, this is a mix tape. Play at maximum volume.

1. Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals - "Less"
Even though it's my job, I tend to agree with these words of wisdom from Mr. Harper: "Sometimes I think to talk too much about music almost cheapens it." Indeed, less is best.

2. Pearl Jam - "Glorified G"
Little-known piece of PJ trivia: The group's life-altering "Vs." album was originally called "Five Against One." In fact, some cassette versions of the album actually have that title printed on them.

3. Pilate/Pilot Speed - "Barely Listening"
Talk about confusing: Pilot Speed, a Canadian group formerly known as Pilate, released this song on an album called "Sell Control for Life's Speed," which, of course, was given a completely different name once it was re-released in America, "Into the West." Is your head spinning yet?

4. Refused - "Voodoo People" [Prodigy cover]
Refused is dead. And Refused is staying dead.

5. Smashing Pumpkins - "Whir"
I got in trouble once with some SP diehards because I said "Pisces Iscariot" was my favorite album by the group? They got mad because it's really just an odds 'n' sods collections of "Siamese Dream" outtakes (like this one) and B-sides, but, really, as far as overall coolness factor goes, it's way up there as a whole. (Check out the album's cassette cover art if you doubt me.)

6. Musical Charis - "Baby Blue"
I don't know if the following was penned by a member of Musical Charis, but the group's PR push sold me on this song: "... Toasty male/female harmonies coo 'Goodbye Baby Blue, our record spins for you.'" I didn't think the word "toasty" would ever be reclaimed from "Mortal Kombat."

7. The Bird and the Bee - "Heard it on the Radio"
One critic of the Bird and the Bee's new(ish) tribute to Hall and Oates, the appropriately titled "Interpreting the Masters, Vol 1," posited that the duo of Greg Kurstin and Inara George is trying to hard to become Daryl Hall and John Oates. I can see where they're coming from -- I actually thought this was a Hall and Oates cover the first dozen times I listened to it -- but, on the other hand, with results this spectacular, who cares?

8. Jessica Beach - "The World (You'll Grow)"
Fun fact: Jessica used to dress up as singer Laurie Anderson for Halloween. Even funner (I know, I know...) fact: I once went as Hank Williams Jr. I have proof!

9. Chad VanGaalen - "Bare Feet on Wet Griptape"
I like what his record label had to say about this track's parent album, "Soft Airplane": "The songs trace stories of birth and death ... and cocoon the listener in a distinctive and unique world."

In other words, this is one talented singer/songwriter you need in your record collection.

10. The Minus 5 with Wilco - "Retrieval of You"
When you're cruising around in your car on a set-to-boil summer evening, let all your windows hang down, crank this up and just enjoy life. This season may suck at times, but not when this song is involved.

11. Foxboro Hot Tubs - "Broadway"
As much as Green Day bothers me sometimes, their "secret" side projects (this and the equally enthralling electropunk group the Network) help me pretend their hate for our great nation is just a show they put on for the kiddies.

12. XTC - "Easter Theatre"
Yes, pretty is the name of the game here, and at least half of your friends, no matter how much they truly love homosexuals, will probably deride it as *ahem* "super gay." But you won't care; this XTC gem, like all the others they've come up with, is an expertly crafted pop song. Dig in and adore it in all of its splendor.

13. Gomo - "I Wonder"
When you think of Portugal, what artists come to mind? None? That's all I could come up with too. But then I discovered Gomo on some random compilation. This gently rocking, English-speaking gent will forever change your outlook on that country's musical output.

14. Paul McCartney - "About You"
I have long considered Paul to be my third-favorite Beatle, but I'm quickly realizing his approach to making music isn't all that bad. (And, believe it or not, No. 4, Ringo, has also been getting some long-deserved appreciation around my record room.)

15. Waking Lights - "Ice Cream and Vicodin"
Hailing from Northern, N.J., this expansive outfit (seven members and counting...) sounds like an arresting cross between Cloud Cult and Shelter Belt -- though I can't imagine splitting the night's earnings will keep them together for too long.

16. Mudmen - "Saint with Broken Arms"
While "rock with bagpipes" is becoming less of a novelty these days, this Toronto group is worth at least a spin or two.

If you only have the time and/or patience to follow up on one link this week, please let it be this one. This is an essential recording. Not since Brandtson's "Earthquake and Sharks" has an unfairly ignored group so burrowed itself into my narrow little mind.

18. Avenpitch - "Walrus Teeth"
Hey, look, Avenpitch's website currently features a review of mine next to one from my old NDSU Spectrum comrade John Hansen!

19. Black Grape - "Kelly's Heroes"
For whatever reason, I can't shake thoughts of "Hogan's Heroes" when I see this title; which, in turn, gets me to thinking about how utterly disturbing "Auto Focus" was. And you know what? This bouncy little number doesn't deserve that ... sorry I brought it up.

20. Galactic feat. Gift of Gab - "The Corner"
This is terrific, but it reminds me of a very simple truth: The world needs more rap groups like Blackalicious. Oh and, as long as I'm at it, more record from Blackalicious.

21. Lightning Seeds - "(I'd Go the) Whole Wide World" [Wreckless Eric cover]
Interesting fact: This impossible-to-hate track has also been covered by the Monkees, the Proclaimers and Laptop.

22. Jeff Litman - "It Wasn't Me"
If you like what you hear above (or here), read this Minneapolis-raised NYC songwriter's conversation with yours truly here.

Even though he hasn't had a regular radio gig since he was the program manager at Thunder Web Radio (now KDSU) in Fargo, Budgeteer editor Matthew R. Perrine likes to make mix tapes like he's going to play them on the air someday. This here Mix Tape Appreciation Society is a continuation of SHAKE*YOUR*SHORES, the awesome mix tape series formerly known as "Don't Tell a Soul." Enjoy!

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