Monday, November 20, 2006

The Christmas Mixtape Project, Vol. 1

Okay, so I was sitting in class today debating on whether or not I should make my next post be the beginning of the 2006 Insert Brand Name Here Christmas Mixtape, since I didn't have all that much to post about (besides the new Spoon tune that is featured in the new Will Ferrell movie, Stanger than Fiction), I figured I'd go with the Holiday tunes. I was told last year that some of my song choices were "depressing". I defended my choices by stating that Christmas (or whatever holiday you happen to celebrate) is not always happy, and the songs should reflect differentiating moods. Hopefully you'll feel the same because there are some real gems that I'm planning to include this year. those of you familiar with last years mix will probably recognize some of the songs, as I just couldn't resist including them in this years mix as well because, well, they're just so damn good. I'm hoping to make a good four disc set for this Holiday season, but we'll see how these lofty ambitions play out. So here it is, the first installment of the Christmas/Holiday Mixtape '06.

1. Coldplay - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
2. The Trekky Yuletide Orchestra - All I Want for Christmas is You
3. Grandaddy - Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland
4. Jimmy Eat World - Last Christmas
5. Aimee Mann - I Was Thinking I Could Clean Up for Christmas
6. The Long Blondes - Christmas is Cancelled
7. Bright Eyes - Blue Christmas
8. Neko Case - Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis
9. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Cold White Christmas
10. Snowden - White Christmas
11. Feist - Lo, How a Rose E're Blooming
12. Sufjan Stevens - Sister Winter

That's all I have for you today, hopefully you'll enjoy it as much as I am right now. Check back in the following weeks to acquire the rest of the Christmas/Holiday Mixtape Project. Until then, I look forward to reading some of your COMMENTS!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Babyshambles, for those of you who don't know, is the band fronted by ex-Libertine Pete Doherty. They're debut album, Down in Albion, was impressive, and now that Pete's clean and about to marry Kate Moss, they've been hitting the studio and have recorded some brand new tracks for the upcoming Blinding EP. Most recently, they've teamed up with twenty-one other musicians including We Are Scientists, fellow ex-Libertine Carl Barat, The Kooks, and the Guillemots (seems a bit excessive doesn't it?) to record a benefit single of The Clash classic Janie Jones for Strummerville (The Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music). How Pete managed to find time in between staying sober, beating the shit out of papparazzi, and wandering around a hospital is beyond me. You can pre-order the benefit single here. Moving along, here are some mp3s for you to enjoy.

Babyshambles - Janie Jones

From Down In Albion:
Babyshambles - Fuck Forever

From The Blinding EP:
Babyshambles - The Blinding
Babyshambles - Sedative (Live on C4 Transmission)

Babyshambles - The Man Who Came to Stay
Babyshambles - Do You Know Me

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Under the Covers Mixtape...and Sean Lennon

So I was watching the season premiere of The O.C. (I stopped watching after season one, but what with Marissa's death last season and Ryan taking a turn as a crazy revenge fueled Fight Club-esque cage fighter, I couldn't help myself but watch at how this show had jumped the shark long ago. I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be, mostly because of the inclusion of Placebo's stunning cover of Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill. All of this prompted me to review my immense collection of music in search for other covers that either hold up to the original or surpass it (or at least ones that you're not so familiar with), so here it is, the cover song mixtape.

1. Gypsy Kings - Hotel California - I absolutely hate the original version of this song, and I hate Spanish (it's currently killing my GPA), but this cover is undeniably awesome, and it was used rather effectively in one of my favorite movies, The Big Lebowski. (Original Artist - The Eagles)
2. The Kooks - Crazy - I know that we're all sick and tired of this song. It's been overplayed now for the better part of a year, but The Kooks are able to turn this blend their quirky sense of musical playfulness into this song and make it fun in a whole new acoustic way. (Original Artist - Gnarls Barkley)
3. Jose Gonzalez - Love Will Tear Us Apart - he is the Swedish super cover song champion, and this is one of my personal favorite songs of all time. (Original Artist - Joy Division)
4. Damien Rice - Seven Nation Army - this song is so simple, even I can play it. In all seriousness, Lisa Hannigan's voice is captivating as always, and the string arrangement adds a nice touch. (Original Artist - The White Stripes)
5. The Sex Pistols - I Did It My Way - this ode to death is just so completely ridiculous and over the top, I couldn't help myself. Whether you think they're butchering a classic or creating something entirely their own, it's a good one. (Original Artist - Frank Sinatra)
6. Johnny Cash - Personal Jesus - taking the slick, dark, goth synths of the original and replacing them with a twangy guitar and Cash's weathered voice works surprisingly well in this cover. (Original Artist - Depeche Mode)
7. Placebo - Running Up That Hill - utterly haunting. I cannot descibe to you the sheer brilliance that this song displays. In my opinion, much, much better than the original, totally jaw dropping. (Original Artist - Kate Bush)
8. Nirvana - Where Did You Sleep Last Night? - Kurt Cobain's voice is the highlight of this track, it cracks with the ache of the realization that we would all dread, and it resonates for a long time after hearing it. (Original Artist - Leadbelly)
Honorable Mentions:
Snow Patrol - Crazy In Love (Original Artist - Beyonce)
David Gray - Smile Like You Mean It (Original Artist - The Killers)
Damien Rice - Creep (Original Artist - Radiohead)

...and finally, to top it off, Sean Lennon.

So Sean Lennon finally released a new album, Friendly Fire, and it's pretty good. I have to give Sean some credit. Since he inherited his fathers fortune he doesn't really have to do much of anything, and because of that he isn't worried about success, so it allows him to craft pretty catchy pop songs. And the songs are good, even though Sean doesn't have the vocal range of his father, the songs are fun and the lyrics are heartfelt and memorable. And included with the album is a DVD that features interconnecting short films that correspond to all the songs that feature a bunch of Hollywood types from Lindsey Lohan and Bijou Phillips, and they're pretty cool. Anyway, heres some mp3s and some YouTube links for the films.

Sean Lennon - Dead Meat (highly recommended)
Sean Lennon - Wait For Me
Sean Lennon - Friendly Fire
Sean Lennon - Spectacle

Friendly Fire Trailer
Short Film #1: Dead Meat

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Chilly Fall Mixtape '06

Now, I fully realize that it is already well into the Fall season, due to the fact that we're now in November, but I think you'll forgive me when your ears are molested by the sweet tunes I've comprised on this mixtape. While there really was no criteria that had to be met in order to be included on the mix, I tried to narrow it down to songs that exhibited a soothing, or calming feel, something to usher in the colder months ahead gradually, as we offically say goodbye to sunny skies and warm weather. With that being said, let's move right along to the mp3's.

1. Peter, Bjorn & John - Young Folks - this song is pure pop bliss, and with Victoria Bergsman sharing vocal duties, it's simply incredible. I am compelled to tell you that you must download, or die.
2. The Rapture - Pieces of the People We Love - this is one of those songs, that upon hearing it, you wonder where you've heard it before. unfortunately I don't have the answer, but it's a pretty kick ass song.
3. Benoit Pioulard - Palimend - this electro-folk song is a autumnal smash complete with an ominous strumming guitar, low vocal moaning, and an ever present ghostly marching snare. Oh yea, his real name is Thomas Meluch, a 21 year old from Michigan who happened to adopt a faux-French nickname. Or whatever.
4. Damien Rice - 9 Crimes - yes, I included the new single from Damien Rice, and yes, it is more of the same old Damien Rice. But its simplistic elegance is unparalleled.
5. Albert Hammond, Jr. - In Transit - surprise! Albert Hammond, Jr.'s (guitarist from The Strokes) solo debut is actually pretty good. And this track is perfect to pull you out of that depressing coma Damien Rice just put you in. So have fun!
6. Frida Hyvonen - I Drive My Friend - this Swedish singer/songwriter is generating a lot of buzz right now and she's currently on tour with Jose Gonzalez. This song is just incredible in its simplicity, and the heartbreaking ode to loss and ultimate sorrow.
7. Bloc Party - Helicopter (Santa Monica Mix) - this is probably one of the cooler Bloc Party remixes floating around (we all know how pointless most of the remixes on Silent Alarm Remixed were), and if anything, it's an interesting listen.
8. Mew - The Zookeeper's Boy - the winners of album and band of the year in 2003, at the ingneiously named Danish Music Critics Award Show, Mew has "indie hipster" written all over them. Which is a good thing, I think.
9. The Scissor Sisters - The Other Side - while I'm not the biggest fan of the Scissor Sisters, I find this song to be really, really good.
10. Fujiya & Miyagi - Collarbone - while I'm on this funktastic kick, here's a really cool song that amazingly is able to incorprate that childhood song where you name a bunch of bones in your body with the segue being "connected to..." into the final chorus of the song. It just oozes coolness.
11. Christopher Willits - Colors Shifting - here's an appropriately titled song (due to the colors of the leaves changing, dumbass), that is brimming with warm fuzzy electronic bleeps and bloops.
12. Sigur Ros - Hoppipolla - just an amazing, jaw dropping song. You are foolish to let this one sneak by you, so please, I am begging you to do yourself a favor, and download this track.
13. Jose Gonzalez - Stay In The Shade - ask me to name a song by Jose Gonzalez that isn't utterly beautiful and I wouldn't be surprised at the possibility of my head exploding in failure.
14. Beirut - Postcards From Italy - I can't explain why i love this song so much. All i can really say about it is that it is captivating, it wisks you away to some remote place, and it pleads with you to reflect (now I'm really talking out of my ass, but trust me it's a good tune).
15. Mute Math - Stare At The Sun - to conclude this mix I chose this song, due to the fact that it's got a nice "end credits" feel to it. Take it for what you will, I'm done.

Bonus fun: We Are Scientists - Hoppipolla (Sigur Ros cover) - not only does We Are Scientists stay true to the original, they actually learned the Icelandic lyrics. If that's not fan dedication I don't know what is.