Buried in a Good Mix Tape: Modern Rock with Pops and Flaws...
For those who resist cassettes as a viable medium, I completely understand. Cassettes take work. Cassettes require patience and the act of fast-forwarding or rewinding seems a chore next to the immediacy of track selection or digital playback. But, I will continue to promote any resurgent interest in the medium and, if you ask why, I will simply answer with the following:
As I get closer and closer to forty years of age and remember the hours I would spend experiencing music, I ache. I ache because the feeling I used to get listening to music, which was nothing short of visceral and life-altering, exists only as some very distant recollection and fails to be either relived or re-experienced in the now. Music no longer affects me like I used to and that realization is painful.
This isn't to say that I don't still love music and that I don't remain passionate about it, but there was a time and environment years ago that facilitated a certain awe, enlivening in me a boundless appreciation not only for the sounds I was hearing, but for the time I was living. I'm now mostly disconnected, despite trying to keep abreast of all that is current, and the climate no longer applies to me. I can be a fan and I can appreciate what's going on, but in that I'm no longer directly involved or wired into the youth culture at large, I can only understand its power to SOME degree.
So, I cling to cassettes because they remain true to my understanding of music and they continue to perpetuate the wonders of the underground or the art of the mostly misunderstood. Cassettes continue to provide an outsider's perspective and, because they require work, are best suited for capturing uniqueness in all the happy accidents and/or missteps recorded. Mix tapes are my way of reacquainting myself with a passion, cathartic when I'm desperate to feel excited and unsullied by disillusionment. Inasmuch as nostalgia seems pointless, it also reinvigorates a feeling that I need to get in touch with from time to time.
Since this had been on my mind a lot lately, (and continues to be), I filed through the vinyl lined up in my shelves, piling dust jackets and sleeves on the hardwood floor, frustrating myself with recording levels while scribbling song names and then scratching them out when a better idea came to mind. I stuck with modern rock, figuring recent indie and their older ancestors might make for a uniformly strange and engaging selection of songs. Not too eclectic, but varied enough so as not to sound monotonous. My brother is its recipient as he remains the only individual in my life who shares as much of the same passion as I do (not to mention a tape deck). No CD's; all vinyl.
Here are the tracklists:
The Evens — "Warble Factor" (2 Songs 7," 2011)
Zach Hill — "The Primitives Talk" (Face Tat, 2010)
Queens of the Stone Age — "Never Say Never" (Romeo Void cover; Feel Good Hit of the Summer 10," 2010)
Sonic Youth — "Anti-Orgasm" (The Eternal, 2009)
Six Organs of Admittance — "Blues for Jack Parsons" (Parsons' Blues 7," 2012)
Menomena — "Copious" (Double Seven Inch, 2010)
Dead Meat — "Electric Head" (The King 7," 2010)
One Last Wish — "Break For Broken" (1986, remastered 2008)
DNA — "Egomaniac's Kiss" (DNA On DNA, 2008)
The Pop Group — "Forces of Oppression" (For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?, 1980)
Crystal Antlers — "Time Erased" (Tentacles, 2009)
Sunburned Hand of the Man — "A Red Rag to a Bull" (A, 2010)
Marnie Stern — "Risky Biz" (Marnie Stern, 2010)
Wall of Voodoo — "The Morricone Themes (Live)" (Ring of Fire (Remix) 12," 1982)
A couple notes:
I think, production-wise, the 2 Songs version of The Evens' "Warble Factor" probably pales next to the one that wound up on the band's 2012 release, The Odds. I like, though, its lack of polish. I think I've put Zach Hill's "The Primitives Talk" on other mixes, but it's a song I never tire of hearing.
QOTSA's cover of Romeo Void's "Never Say Never" is pretty solid and odd enough to be qualify as an inclusion. The Crystal Antlers cut didn't produce the best transition, but it provided a decent stride from The Pop Group's "Forces of Oppression." The Wall of Voodoo track is a B-side from an old 12" single I picked a couple years ago for maybe $3 and it ended the A-Side perfectly.
AFCGT — "Korin" (AFCGT bonus 7," 2010)
Sic Alps — "Trip Train" (Napa Asylum, 2010)
Seam — "Get Higher" (The Pace is Glacial, 1998)
Henry Rollins — "A Man and a Woman" (Hot Animal Machine, 1987)
Peter Gabriel — "Intruder" (III or "Melt," 1980)
Grails — "Corridors of Power" (Deep Politics, 2011)
The Men — "Open Your Heart" (Open Your Heart, 2012)
Hüsker Dü — "Crystal" (Candy Apple Grey, 1986)
John Cale — "Chicken Shit" (Animal Justice EP, 1977)
Thee Oh Sees — "Wax Face" (Putrifiers II EP, 2012)
Fugazi — "And The Same" (Margin Walker EP, remastered 2009)
Bad Brains — "Pay to Cum!" ("Pay to Cum!" 7," remastered 2011)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds — "Push the Sky Away" (Push the Sky Away, 2013)
Some more notes:
AFCGT's self-titled 2010 LP came with a bonus 7," which supplied the song "Korin." It's more funk-based compared to the otherwise noise-oriented and abrasive LP. "A Man and a Woman" from Henry Rollins' Hot Animal Machine LP is a shrill and bouncy spoken word piece about spousal abuse, situationally tongue-in-cheek and disturbing. It's a sentimental favorite, as is most Rollins-related work.
John Cale's "Chicken Shit," from the Animal Justice EP, is the oldest inclusion, but it fits very well in terms of sound. The newest song included is the title track from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' Push the Sky Away, which is very solemn and slow. It seemed a very good choice of song to carry the tape to fruition, following the speed and thrash of Bad Brains' "Pay to Cum!" and the bass-prominent and atonally perfect Fugazi track, "And The Same." I had to manually fade the song out as it ran just a little too long.
Letters From A Tapehead