Okay, so it's actually an iTunes playlist that I can burn to a CD, but I like the idea of the mix tape. Back in school, I'd make mix tapes of my favorite music at the time and occasionally share them with friends - or even make one specifically for a particular friend.
Looking at the list, it's actually strong women and sensitive new-age guys - maybe that's because it's spring or something. It's not all that I listen to - I'll write about the new Tool album later.
Little Plastic Castle - Ani Difranco
I remember listening to an interview on the radio and thinking 'This woman is GREAT, whoever she is. She's outspoken and funny and seems to know herself.' She also spoke in complete sentences - which is actually pretty rare (just listen to people, and you'll notice we mostly speak in phrases). Turns out it was Ani Difranco. I haven't followed her career very much, but I really enjoy this song. The lyrics are smart and it has one of my favorite horn parts. There's a bit of a Township Jive thing going on with this track, as well.
Fever Trees - Bobby McFerrin
Keeping with the pseudo-African feel, this is from Bobby McFerrin's backing music for Rudyard Kipling's "The Elephant's Child", as narrated by Jack Nicholson. I had this on tape and this is the only piece of it I could find online. There's something pure about this music, which nicely contrasts with Jack Nicholson's trademark lecherous menace - the two combining to fit the tone of Rudyard Kipling's story perfectly. It's a shame Bobby McFerrin is mostly known for a novelty hit and some late-80s Levi's commercials - he's done a lot of interesting stuff.
Hold On, Hold On - Neko Case
That voice that voice! Even though it's technically country, I can't help but love this.
Shadowland - Youth Group
This was free from the iTunes Music Store a while back and it has a great anthemic chorus. I'm a sucker for great anthemic choruses. Ask me about Handel's 'Worthy is the Lamb' and the Gloria from Beethoven's 'Missa Solemnis' some time. This is nothing like those, but it's still good.
Higher - Soft
Continuing in a anthems with swirly guitars and reverby vocals, here is Soft. They are not from Manchester circa 1990, but from Brooklyn circa 2005. Actually this isn't that retro for me, since I only really got into the Stone Roses in 2001 or so - after I finally heard the full extended version of 'I Am the Resurrection'.
Gold - Soft
Because just one track wasn't enough. Here they're sounding a bit more like Oasis than the Stone Roses.
Swinging London Town - Girls Aloud
The advantage of being on this side of the ocean is that I can hear this and like it without knowing that they're a pre-fab girl group from a reality show. It sounds like the Propellerheads but with sharp self-aware lyrics about life among the Beautiful People. I live just down the street from Yorkville, and so see a bit of this world. I found this at Fluxblog where Matthew Perpetua writes it up well: 'Think of this as being like the "kicking squealing Gucci little piggy" section of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" fleshed out into a proper character study'.
Whose Side Are You On? - Decomposure
This was one of the best of 2005 according to CBC Radio 3. All the sounds here are from this guys' apartment. Check out the screenshot of his sequencer screen. He also has extensive liner notes. I really like how the little bursts of silence are used as beats. This song sounds like the inside of my head.
Side B coming soon.
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