This blog is as much a celebration of music as it is a celebration of the ah ha! moment when a solution presents itself. Throughout design school and as a professional, I always knew that the “right idea” would come along—the trouble was in not knowing when. So sometimes you’d have to wait days and stay awake until the birds started chirping just to reach it; other times it would show immediately. I just had to trust that it would come, and that the process—however long or meandering it may be—was worth it.
So that’s what this mix is like to me: an occasionally bewildering, frequently inspiring, always tremendously fun process of hunting for that ah ha! track. We hope you’ve enjoyed this second volume and will download the collection below.
Download the Mix as a 115 MB zip file.
Now using sendspace to deliver these massive files. Email me if the file expires.
The tracklist is as follows:
01 A Few Hours After This… (demo) by The Cure
02 Haunted When the Minutes Drag (USA Mix) by Love and Rockets
03 I Am the Resurrection by The Stone Roses
04 Chewing Gum Weekend by The Charlatans
05 Shoot Speed/Kill Light by Primal Scream
06 Strange Lights by Deerhunter
07 Clean Coloured Wire by Engineers
08 The Story of Yo La Tengo by Yo La Tengo
09 Departures by Half String
10 City of Bugs by The Cribs
11 Remember Me by British Sea Power
12 You Still Love Me by Cut Off Your Hands
13 Taking Tips from the Gallery Gang by Bound Stems
14 Interzone by Face to Face
15 Electricity by Spiritualized
Filed under: Vol 02, Mixtape, NEIMT
So this mix was perfectly moving along its wall of sound theme and then Epp throws in a monkeywrench like that. Total curveball and totally fair game. But it made me think I have to re-evaluate my end-game-plan.
Then I ran across Spiritualized. And this massive wall of sound called Electricity. I think it nicely capstones the mix and even has a little of that bluesy energy evident in the Face-to-Face track. They both move at the same pace and have a similar franticness to them.
And the magic of this track is the bass line. What the hell low-end heaven does it hit in that chorus? and what the hell is it doing at the end of the song?Up and down the neck like a bat outta hell. Yum.
Filed under: Vol 02, Mixtape, NEIMT, Spiritualized
Well this track, um, changes abruptly. Since we started with the Cure and Love and Rockets, I thought a little Joy Division cover would help the closing of the mix and bring us somewhere punkier.
Filed under: Vol 02, Face to Face, Mixtape, NEIMT
A question to ponder: does this song change radically halfway through because it wanted to, or because it had to? The section built around the “we’re waiting to go right now” line is a sunspot flare, massive and powerful and blinding in its beauty. I listen to that 45 seconds and think that there’s no container big enough to hold a song full of moments like that. Not even one owned by Arcade Fire or U2. So the song has to mutate into something else to prevent us from melting away.
It serves a nifty purpose for me as my final entry in this volume: a wonderful anthem that supports previous entries that suddenly takes off in another direction. Maybe it’s just me fighting my nature, because I could stay in glorious-bombast-anthem land forever, blind and blissed out. But if Bound Stems can make a hard left into another territory—somewhere jaunty and sunny and with trumpets—then what happens when this mix does as well?
Filed under: Vol 02, Bound Stems, Mixtape, NEIMT
I can see now that we are fully diving into what I consider the new wave of spacious & sprawling pop. Bands unafraid of the reverb & digital delay pedals, upbeat tempos and plenty of faux (or perhaps real) english accents.
Despite the bombast of that amazing British Sea Power song, I am not yet ready to give up on the sweeter side of things. This track by the amazingly named Cut Off Your Hands brings together so many elements explored throughout the mix. It’s really straight-forward but seems to be hitting the right spot on this beautiful spring weekend.
Full disclosure: the song that really should appear here is CUYH “Happy as Can Be” but it appeared on an NEIMT just over a year ago and I thought that was just “too soon.”
Filed under: Vol 02, Cut Off Your Hands, Mixtape, NEIMT
So everything I was trying out was too psych, to heavy, too dark, with lyrics buried too deep to follow that awesome Cribs track. Then I scrolled past British Sea Power. They meld punk, goth, new wave and deliver it in big uplifting waves of crashing sound. When their debut, The Decline of British Sea Power, came out it grabbed me instantly. Bold and brash with a huge ass guitar sound (influenced no doubt by Joey Santiago, Kevin Shields and J.Mascis among others), the album and this track kick it hard.
Filed under: Vol 02, British Sea Power, Mixtape, NEIMT
I really wanted to scour my Ride albums for this post, as I’m certain a great response to the Half String track lies in there somewhere. But I’m in a hotel room in Santa Barbara, CA, and my music collection is back at my house in Apex, NC, so I had to make do with what I have on hand.
So instead I offer this track by the Cribs (plus the pinch hitter of the decade, Johnny Marr), from last year’s Ignore the Ignorant. I think it combines the epic intensity of “The Story of Yo La Tengo” with the rhythmic power of “Departures.”
I obtained an mp3 of this song through less-than-perfectly-legal means a month or so before the album’s release and copied it immediately on a thumb drive that I plugged into my car. When “City of Bugs” came on, the creators of the mp3 had done a nifty trick and literally caused the track to never end—it looped at a certain point back to an earlier point in the song, and that edit seemed technically flawless. I bet I listened to the song for 22 minutes before figuring out that it wasn’t really that epic. But I think that ceaseless rising and falling is the ultimate dream of the shoegazer: music that traps the listener in a state of rapture forever.
Filed under: Vol 02, Mixtape, NEIMT, The Cribs
So how does one follow such epic feats of noisy beauty? Because those last two tracks left me gaping-mouth amazed. Stellar choices fellas.
I almost countered with another 12 minute plus track but thought since there are already two on this mix in that range I will spare you listener and save it for another day.
Ultimately I settled on this wondrous track by a “little known” Arizona band, Half String. I don’t say that to be indie snob snooty. Let me explain.
I grew up in Phoenix. In the cultural desert that was Arizona in the 90s, there just happened to be a pretty great little music scene. And there was and still is the greatest little record store in the history of man, Stinkweeds. All the clerks had that indie-know-it-all-allure, which at that time had not been dubbed an unattractive “hipster” quality. For me it was everything I aspired to be. I came of age in that record store and was introduced to countless amazing bands via their recommendations.
I do not call Stinkweeds the greatest record store because they had any and every kind of music. Far from it. This was a small place. What made it special was that they only carried what was “good”. And even better they had everything good that you never heard of. In this digital-get-anything-anytime-age, we shall never know such curated beauty again.
Anyway, the owner of this record store is a woman named Kimber. She not only ran this Mecca of music but also was an amazing drummer in one of the greatest AZ indie bands, the aforementioned Half String. The high school version of myself had a huge crush to say the least. Anyway, I only call them “little known” because for me they were and will always be one of the special things about my growing up in Arizona. The mere thought about anyone outside that space knowing about them is just beyond my understanding. But that’s just me.
This track is from their last record, A Fascination with Heights. It is a classic from front to back. Find yourself a out-of-print copy STAT.
Filed under: Vol 02, Half String, Mixtape, NEIMT
Loveless influenced so much, and the deeper in the mix we get, the more the possibilities exponentially expand. So I have another huge list of almosts. With “shoegaze” I’m a sucker for the wash, the sense of being overpowered by, or diving into, the sound. There’s a lot of that going on in this mix and I’m going to push it along with a Yo La Tengo track from 2006s I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass. They just keep going and going, making one great album after the other.
I also thought it would be nice to have a big noisy epic track right in the middle of the mix: here’s “The Story of Yo La Tango”.
Filed under: Vol 02, Mixtape, NEIMT, Yo La Tengo
I suppose this post is more of a response to Epp’s Primal Scream track, which bears the sonic imprint of Kevin Shields, shoegazer extraordinaire, and a man who builds fallout shelters from walls of sound. True, I’ve never been super-into My Bloody Valentine, and prefer Shields’ work as a collaborator instead of mythic guru. But his big idea had an widespread influence on music—that the vocal was simply not any more important than the other layers. I hear a little of it in Robb’s Deerhunter track, with its constant plinking piano and fuzzy guitars. Though I liked their use of the double-tracked vocal too.
This Engineers track made me want to introduce the language of shoegazing into this mix. We’ve seen so much human essence, from Pere Ubu and the Slits and Deerhunter and all the rest, that I wanted to drop in something almost mechanical.
Filed under: Vol 02, Engineers, Mixtape, NEIMT
Oh god, how I agonized over this song choice. I’ll admit, despite being introduced to the Stone Roses on that bus trip across Ohio oh so many years ago, my knowledge of that late 80′s english sound, or the early 90′s shoegaze is still really shallow. So the intimidation factor that the mix is going in this direction is immense.
I am also incredibly aware (and anxious) as to how my choice is going to affect the overall direction of the mix. I don’t want to fuck it up.
I felt like adding another track from the same era would pigeonhole the mix permanently in that direction and make it too singular in focus. Then again picking something too out of left field and I screw up the flow.
So I hope I managed to do both with this absolutely gorgeous Deerhunter track. It maintains the fuzz and the tempo of the previous track, but brings us squarely into a new century point of view. Love Deerhunter.
Filed under: Vol 02, Deerhunter, Mixtape, NEIMT
Ah, the über great XTRMNTR from Primal Scream. Welcome to the new f’n millenium. Sometimes an album comes along that rewrites it, or, reformulates it, and I’m still shocked at it’s caustic tone, groove, and anger at the world. The melding of shoegaze, psychedelia, punk and electronica is sublime. Mani from the Stone Roses, Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine and Bernard Sumner from New Order were all on board for this album.
Shoot Speed/Kill Light closes it beautifully. Felt like the right place to take this.
Filed under: Vol 02, Mixtape, NEIMT, Primal Scream
On a Friday evening in early March 1997, driving to my friend Alan’s house at sunset, I put the Charlatans’ Between 10th & 11th into the portable Discman my brother and I had plugged into the tape deck. I’d just bought it from the local Barnes & Noble, where it had been sitting in their clearance bin for $4.99 for who knows how long. I’d started out with the Charlatans on Up to Our Hips a month earlier, but 10th & 11th was a different animal altogether. Dressed in pastel colors, with strangely-titled songs set in lowercase and lyrics that resembled freeform poetry, it was like nothing I’d seen or heard up to that point.
Between 10th & 11th has become one of my all-time favorite albums, and I’m pretty okay with the Charlatans’ career being one long ripoff of the Stone Roses. You can hear “I Am the Resurrection” clearly if you listen to Some Friendly or Up to Our Hips, but 10th & 11th is light on the low end and heavy on keyboards, and favors the Roses’ soft introspection instead of its worldbeating. Surprisingly (or not), it’s probably the least-popular Charlatans album and is rumored to be the band’s least-favorite. I’d follow Robb’s post with almost anything off the album, but “Chewing Gum Weekend” takes its time unspooling, finding a wonderful groove that builds ever so slightly towards its end, making it a perfect track for driving at sunset and for pushing this mix into the early ’90s.
Filed under: Vol 02, Mixtape, NEIMT, The Charlatans
I was introduced to the Roses by my cousin on a 15 hour bus ride from Detroit to Southern Ohio, and it was a pretty great headphone moment. Listening to Waterfall and Elephant Stone while watching the sun set over the Ohio countryside. I remember it like it was a Wes Anderson Movie.
At that time, I hadn’t really listened to any of the mid-to-late Eighties English bands (not even The Cure) and I remember being taken aback by the noisiness of all that reverb and how they could sound so vintage and new at the same time. I repaid the favor to my cousin by introducing him to the Violent Femmes, specifically Add it Up. Natch.
The Stone Roses have a gold mine of great tracks but I am going with I Am The Resurrection because it’s rhythm seemed to be the most relational to the Love & Rockets track. I particularly love the grooviness of the bass lines throughout and the hugeness of the drums and guitar.
Plus I am a sucker for long songs (especially as they appear early in a track line up, Wilco’s Spiders (Kidsmoke) I am looking at you). I also love the fake ending at the 5:26 minute mark. That could have easily been the end of the song. But they said “hell no, there is still more awesome left in this track, let’s get it out”. I can only imagine what this would have been like to see live.
Filed under: Vol 02, Mixtape, NEIMT, Stone Roses
Musical taxonomies are personal for me, musical relationships are about discovered music as it relates to eras and events growing up, making friends, falling in love. For example Rick James’ Super Freak is about bus rides to high school football games, exploding testosterone levels, insecurity, exploration, confusion… Head on the Door is about driving, drinking, sex, changing friendships, becoming.
So, moving from hours to minutes but staying in the 80s, here’s a track by Love and Rockets before they shed most of the goth of Bauhaus and Tones On Tails but are definitely getting more psychedelic, glam, and moving towards the mainstream. It’s a magic spot and this is a magical track, one that Harry Soenksen and I spent many evenings listening to, driving back and forth from home to Medusas, The Exit, Berlin, or the Smart bar.
Filed under: Vol 02, Love and Rockets, Mixtape, NEIMT
I have a real soft spot for Swedish bands, because they seem to treat the Cure and the Jesus and Mary Chain as shapers of music on the level of the Beatles and the Stones. It’s not the gothy, distant Cure though—it’s the happy-poppy Cure that came along after 1985.
So why not go from Caesars back to their musical primordial soup? There were several contenders from the mighty Cure that could’ve fit here, but this outtake from A Head on the Door was both less familiar and flat-out better than the others. As a demo, it feels remarkably complete, with the right mix of scrappy confidence and melodic hope that I was seeking as this mix’s “track 1.”
Filed under: Vol 02, Mixtape, NEIMT, The Cure