Submitted for the approval of the Mix Tape Appreciation Society, here lies "Appear Calm, Remain Paranoid," another sweet compilation curated by Matthew R. Perrine. As always, enjoy this and all coming editions at maximum volume.
1. Suckers - "Save Your Love for Me"
One of the most gorgeous things I've heard in the past decade. To set the scene, I was reclining in my video rocker (most likely nerding out to "Battlefield 3") when it started to snow outside. Since it hasn't really been a "white winter" in La Crosse this year, the heavy flakes falling outside my window took me aback. Coupled with this captivating song, I was mesmerized.
2. Sleigh Bells - "Comeback Kid"
Man, what an exciting song -- truly one of the most worthwhile "Saturday Night Live" performances in recent memory.
3. A-Trak - "Make the Trap Wile Out"
From the endlessly entertaining (and usually free) "Dirty South Dance 2" mix tape.
4. fun. - "Why Am I the One?"
Music doesn't get much more beautiful than this. It's a little overpowering, actually.
5. Someone Still Loves You Borin Yeltsin - "Oregon Girl"
Never say Polyvinyl never did anything for you: This and many other great tracks are available on this free label sampler from Amazon.
6. The Office - "Had a Visit"
Chicago rock mania.
7. Sharon Van Etten - "Serpents"
With an album title like "Tramp," it's hard not to notice this up-and-coming chanteuse. (By the way, this will be a great one for those upcoming summer mix tapes -- keep it in mind!)
8. David Bazan - "How I Remember"
I listen to this song entirely too much.
9. Django Django - "Default"
Endearingly goofy, this track always puts a smile on my face.
10. Pieta Brown - "Be with You"
Pieta is the whole reason I got back into writing about music. I had the pleasure of interviewing her back in 2010 for the Duluth Budgeteer News -- where she said such memorable things as "Music has a way of finding you" -- so, when I saw she was coming to La Crosse next month (to play at the Root Note), I jumped on the opportunity to interview her again. And her new material is just as invigorating as the road-tested material we've enjoyed for the better part of a decade.
11. Anya Marina - "Notice Me" [LISTEN HERE]
Caution: This song will rattle around in your brain for days. No joke. It's catchy ... maybe a little too catchy. (LOL)
12. Grandaddy - "Pull the Curtains"
"Pull the curtains on the night / Sometimes it isn't worth the fight." The sun-drenched equivalent of Soundgarden's "The Day I Tried to Live"?
13. La Sera - "Break My Heart"
will already has.
14. Dawes - "Time Spent in Los Angeles"
Too bad this wasn't written back in the early '70s. It would've fit in fine on the "Almost Famous" soundtrack.
15. Elizabeth and the Catapult - "Taller Children"
A surprisingly insightful way to look at adult life: "We're all just taller children." So true.
16. The Get Up Kids - "Martyr Me"
Rock me, Kansas. Or is it "Rock me, Missouri"?
17. Alva Star - "Victorian"
John(ny) Hermanson is another musical mastermind I've had the pleasure of interviewing. When I spoke to him back in '09, he blamed (credited?) his varied musical adventures -- Storyhill, Alva Star, the (Olympic) Hopefuls, et al. -- on the fact that he's "always been a bit schizophrenic." This explosive track finds the Montana native mastering alternative rock. It's a glorious thing to behold.
18. I Self Devine feat. Muja Messiah - "Oblivious" [FREE MP3]
From his latest mix tape, "Reports from the Field: In the Trenches," which you can download here for free.
19. Skrillex - "Right on Time"
Sure, all the kids at Hot Topic dig this modern-day Richard D. James, but fans of "Block Rockin' Beats"-era Chemical Brothers will find much to love here.
20. Rory Allen Phillips - "Swimming While Sleeping"
This head-in-the-clouds instrumental from the genius behind the Impossibles and Slowreader will have you repeating a new mantra: "I'm on a beach. I'm on a beach." Get it while you can. And remember, kids: END PROHIBITION.
21. Jay Reatard - "It Ain't Gonna Save Me"
Never has a quote so encapsulated my life: "Everything I do is motivated by the fear of running out of time." It appears as if the late Jay Reatard and I were kindred spirits.
22. Robyn - "Dancing on My Own"
I laughed when the great Superstar DJ Walt Dizzo told me Robyn -- yes, that Robyn -- was making great records. Boy, did I feel like a fool when I actually picked one up. Needless to say, now I am hooked on this Swedish pop s---!
23. Bracket - "Talk Show"
This bouncy ska-punk number is long a staple of my myriad mix tape series -- which include, but are definitely not limited to, Don't Tell a Soul, couleehighharmony, shake*your*shores and Fly High, Duluth!
24. Nada Surf - "Teenage Dreams"
Wow, these guys are still going strong. I mean, I remember listening to "Popular" in my cousin Cale's bedroom before we were teenagers!
Per usual, I'd like to take this opportunity to encourage you to seek out the aforementioned tracks and, again, listen to them AT MAXIMUM VOLUME. I recommend Koss headphones. Not to totally cop from the Wisconsin (Viva Milwaukee!) company's website, but *ahem* there is an emotional thrill when you're "enclosed in the music."