New Vacation Compilations

anime music listening

As always, when we’re going on vacation, I always create a new compilation or two to listen to during the flights.  I’m a little behind in creating these, so they contain tunes from most of the spring and summer of 2017 (including a few reissues).

Here’s the playlists, with the YouTube links where available.  Enjoy!

Walk in Silence XIX

Side 1
1. Cold War Kids, ‘Love is Mystical’
2. The Drums, ‘Blood Under My Belt’
3. Overlake, ‘Winter Is Why’
4. Spoon, ‘Can I Sit Next to You’
5. Mutemath, ‘Hit Parade’
6. The Charlatans UK, ‘Different Days’
7. Sylvan Esso, ‘Die Young’
8. Dishwalla, ‘Give Me a Sign’
9. The New Pornographers, ‘Avalanche Alley’
10. LCD Soundsystem, ‘American Dream’

Side 2
1. Radwimps, ‘Zenzenzense [Movie Version]’
2. Lydia Ainsworth, ‘What Is It?’
3. Wire, ‘Short Elevated Period’
4. Imagine Dragons, ‘Believer’
5. 311, ‘Too Much to Think’
6. The Charlatans UK, ‘There Will Be Chances’
7. Day Wave, ‘Wasting Time’
8. Bush, ‘Mad Love’
9. Future Islands, ‘Ran’
10. Slowdive, ‘Falling Ashes’
11. Gorillaz, ‘We Got the Power’

 

Untitled XXIII

Side 1
1. Ride, ‘All I Want’
2. Future Islands, ‘Cave’
3. Liam Gallagher, ‘Wall of Glass’
4. Lydia Ainsworth, ‘Ricochet’
5. Wire, ‘Brio’
6. Royal Blood, ‘Lights Out’
7. Alt-J, ‘In Cold Blood’
8. U2, ‘One Tree Hill’
9. Alexiane, ‘A Million On My Soul [Radio Edit]’
10. Maximo Park, ‘Get High (No, I Don’t)’
11. Big Wreck, ‘Skybunk Marché’

Side 2
1. Radiohead, ‘I Promise’
2. Cold War Kids, ‘Can We Hang On?’
3. Phoenix, ‘J-Boy’
4. Toro y Moi, ‘Girl Like You’
5. 311, ‘The Night Is Young’
6. Panda Riot, ‘Ghosting’
7. Au.Ra, ‘Above the Triangle (ii)’
8. Sylvan Esso, ‘Just Dancing’
9. Slowdive, ‘Sugar for the Pill’
10. LCD Soundsystem, ‘Call the Police’

Yet More On Making Mixtapes

memorex dbs gif

Yes, I know I’ve gone on about making mixtapes how many times here?  Bear with me, I’m about to go on just a bit more.

Every now and again I return to my catalog of mixtapes — that is, the mp3 recreations — and give them another listen.  By now I can tell which ones worked for me and which could probably have used a bit more planning.  Not that I’m going to change any of them, though…they’re a specific part of my past, and changing them now would only turn them into something different.  [Case in point, when I remade a few of them in 1999 and 2000, I was missing a few songs on each and replaced them with different tracks from the same era.  The mix worked just as well, but it didn’t feel like a true recreation…it felt like a ‘remastered reissue’ instead.]

As I’ve mentioned before, around 2014 I chose to reinstate the mixtape rules when making new mp3 mixes: double batches of roughly 45 minutes each, just as I would on one of those Memorix DBS I 90s you see above.  This forces me to think further about the flow of the music and the balance of the mix.  The upside to this is that the end result is a pretty solid and well-flowing mix.

The downside?  Well, I seem to still be throwing songs that don’t quite fit into the context of the rest of the mix.  They’re good songs, they just don’t quite work with the rest.  I’m thinking the main reason for this is that I’m no longer building the mixtape the true old-fashioned way, dubbing from tape or cd or vinyl, listening all the way through the song before adding the next one.  I’m just that little bit distanced from the mix, just enough where I don’t always catch when it doesn’t sound right.

I’m making up for it with these last few mixes by taking that extra time to select the music I think will work best, and listen to a rough set list so I can get the songs in the right order.

Why do this in this digital age, you ask?  Who makes mixtapes anymore?  Well, these are for my own enjoyment.  I listen to them at the gym, on long plane rides, during my writing sessions, and during Day Job hours.  I’ve only ever shared my mixtapes with a few others, and in truth I’ve only made maybe four or five tops specifically for other people.  I’m merely continuing the art of mixtape making as I know it.

 

Listen in Silence XXI

cassette30082013

For your listening pleasure, here’s my latest compilation/mixtape that I created a week or so ago.  All the links are to their respective YouTube visuals and will open in a separate window.

On a side note, I’m greatly amused that I’m still using a mixtape name that I created way back in the spring of 1988.  I usually used the LiS title for ‘favorite poppy alternative songs’ mixtapes (whereas Walk in Silence was used for ‘favorite moody alternative songs’).  There was a stretch there in the early 00s when I used a different title and the mixes were more varied (this would be the Re:Defined mixes).  Hey, if the titles still fit, might as well keep using them, right?

Side A

  1. Spoon, “Hot Thoughts”
  2. Colony House, “You & I”
  3. Cloud Nothings, “Modern Act”
  4. Depeche Mode, “Where’s the Revolution”
  5. The New Pornographers, “High Ticket Attractions”
  6. Elbow, “Magnificent (She Says)”
  7. Slowdive, “Star Roving”
  8. Dirty Projectors, “Keep Your Name”
  9. The Orwells, “They Put a Body in the Bayou”
  10. Cosima, “To Build a House”
  11. Beach Slang, “Roadrunner”

Side B

  1. Grandaddy, “Way We Won’t”
  2. Los Campesinos!, “I Broke Up in Amarante”
  3. The XX, “On Hold”
  4. Bastille, “Good Grief”
  5. Arcade Fire, “I Give You Power (feat. Mavis Staples)”
  6. Minus the Bear, “Last Kiss”
  7. Temples, “Certainty”
  8. OK Go, “Interesting Drug”
  9. Japandroids, “Near to the Wild Heart of Life”
  10. Portugal. The Man, “Feel It Still”
  11. Of Verona, “Wish You Were Here”
  12. Dropkick Murphys, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”

Songs from the Eden Cycle, Vol 1

cassette30082013

The TDK D90 blank cassette. My tape of choice for almost all of my 90s mixtapes.

One thing I’d always done during the course of a writing project is to give it a soundtrack.  Whether it’s a playlist, a list of specific albums, or a mixtape, it serves to create a specific mood that I’m looking for.  With The Phoenix Effect, having envisioned this as a multi-book project even then, I’d given the series the name The Eden Cycle (referencing both obvious religious imagery and EdenTree, a megacorporation that would be a part of the plot).  It seemed fitting to give the mixtapes the same title.

At the time, my idea had been of souls inhabiting AI cybernetic bodies — which in hindsight created a lot more trouble than it was worth — so the imagery I was looking for was much darker and creepier.  That said, however, I chose not to focus on dystopian pessimism; instead I wanted my story to ascend past that into something positive.

This is the first of four mixtapes I made during 1997-8; this one was made in mid-April of 1997, just before I went on a road trip out to Ohio to visit a friend of mine.  One of the major reasons for making it was so I could listen to it during my commute and think about what I was going to write.  Over the next few days I’ll be sharing the other three original volumes from this era.  The links are to their YouTube/Vimeo videos (they’ll open in a separate tab), and I’ll also provide a brief background as to why I chose the song for the mix.

Side A

  1. Poe, “Hello [Band Version]”
    I liked Poe’s Hello album, but the kickass single remake of the song felt like a perfect opening to a mix tape.  It fit in with the cyberpunk feel of TPE that I was originally aiming for as well.  An ‘opening credits’ song, if you will.
  2. Failure, “Heliotropic”
    Fantastic Planet was getting a crapton of play on my cd players, both at work and at home during my writing sessions.  This track’s spaciness, loudness and extremely heavy, crunchy bass evoked the exact amount of tension I was looking for.  It had that feeling of being outside on the brightest day with the heaviest of hangovers.
  3. U2, “Mofo”
    Pop was still getting a lot of play as well, and I loved how twitchy this one was.  I used this track as a kind of gauge to remind me of how Bridgetown felt on a spiritual energy level: a sprawl of millions of people, each with different levels and directions of this energy, all dissonant and discordant.
  4. David Bowie, “Dead Man Walking”
    I’ll be honest, I wasn’t the biggest of Bowie collectors — I think I only owned maybe five or six releases, tops — but Earthling (released earlier in 1997) connected with me big time.  I loved its techno influences and its paranoia.  This track fit my image of Nehalé: a man who was destined to take a specific action that would affect a vast number of people, and he had to force himself to come to terms with that.
  5. Psykosonik, “Need to Die”
    There was a brief surge of darkwave techno in the mid to late 90s (super-generalization: darkwave = gothy electronica) that I got into, and Psykosonik’s Unlearn was handed to me by one of my HMV coworkers (Thanks, Doug!).  I put this here mostly as a mood piece, but I did like how it fit in with one of the TPE themes: people didn’t necessarily have to die to be reborn spiritually.
  6. Live, “Lakini’s Juice”
    Another mood piece, this one suggesting (to me) discomfort in a situation one could find themselves in.  I believe I used this as inspiration for Poe’s constant irritation at not being able to complete tasks put before him.
  7. Elysian Fields, “Lady in the Lake”
    Their Bleed Your Cedar album was handed to me as a promo, and I liked its swampy feel.  The album (and this track) helped me focus on how a recently awakened character would have to deal with their situation; both feeling disconnected from everyone (I’m the only one like this) and superconnected (I can intimately sense everyone around me) at the same time.
  8. Moby, “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver”
    As a Masshole, I had to appreciate Moby covering the Mission of Burma classic (as well as putting out a punk album, considering he’s more known as an electronic musician).  Just like the original, this song was a perfect example of dedicated and determined nonconformity that fit in with Vigil.
  9. The Verve Pipe, “Veneer”
    Not that long before this, I’d seen this band live in Boston, and they did a beautiful and transcendent version of this track (which, as it happens, is about a long road trip through Michigan while high).  To me, it evoked a sensation of being elsewhere; in the process it inspired how I had my characters react when they first visited Trisanda.

Side B

  1. Richard Einhorn, Anonymous 4, “Exclamavit”
    I’d heard Einhorn’s Voices of Light on NPR one evening when I was driving into Boston in the summer of 1995, and I was completely floored by the gorgeousness of it.   [It was inspired by Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc and can be heard as its soundtrack on the Criterion dvd.]  I wasn’t the biggest orchestral music fan at the time, but this slowly set me on my way.  This particular opening felt like another good ‘opening credits’ piece, and thus opens Side B of the tape.
  2. Pulp, “Common People”
    The album version of their classic single is a much more sinister affair than the single version (there’s an additional verse that truly reveals the disgust he holds back in the rest of the song).  While the plot of the song doesn’t quite fit the plot of my story, it does reflect the bigoted view of The Other that was part of my story’s plot.
  3. Sponge, “Isolation”
    There’s a great Lennon tribute album called Working Class Hero from 1995 that I listened to a lot then, and I loved this version of the Plastic Ono Band track.  This ties in with the previous Pulp track, a forced cultural disconnect that one can only accept for so long before one has to fight back.
  4. The Offspring, “Gone Away”
    Part of the reason this one was on here is that I heard it so many times during that Ohio road trip!  Again, tension and discord.  This time because something’s been taken away and you can’t do a damn thing about it.
  5. Filter, “Hey Man, Nice Shot”
    This track inspired my love for the Slow Build:  starting off quiet and sparse, but gradually growing louder and more intense in energy.  The original Chapter 1 of The Phoenix Effect used this song as a template, which carried all the way to the opening of A Division of Souls.  The ADoS opening is supposed to feel like someone slowly turning the volume louder and louder until it climaxes in an intense burst of energy.
  6. Failure, “Daylight”
    Okay, how many times is this track on one of my mixtapes?  One of my favorite songs of all time, and even at the start of the project I knew it would be the Ending Credits track to my story.  [NOTE: I’m planning on writing a script of the ‘director’s cut’ for the ending of A Division of Souls and posting it over at the Bridgetown blog later this month, which uses this song as its soundtrack.]  The story is done, everyone’s exhausted, and the day has been saved…but the fight is far from over…and roll credits.  [Seriously, folks…go buy Fantastic Planet.  It’s a fucking phenomenal record.]
  7. U2, “Wake Up Dead Man”
    A denouement track after the epic ending track preceding.  I knew TPE was going to end on an unresolved note, leaving it wide open for its sequel.  The day has been saved, but the work’s not over.  Relationships between certain characters have been strained or broken; others have refused to give in so easily.  For me, this song is a plea for the war to cease before it goes too far. [I never forgot this idea and eventually used it in The Balance of Light.]
  8. The Tragically Hip, “Grace, Too”
    Canada’s favorite band with one of their favorite hits, which I remember seeing on MuchMusic back in 1994 (partly because I loved that the video was created using monitor feedback).   A lift from the previous song, in which we shift viewpoint to someone who knows they’re in the lower classes but still has high hopes for themselves.  This idea would later become the gathering of the Mendaihu at the Moulding Warehouse in A Division of Souls.
  9. Jamiroquai, “Virtual Insanity”
    …and after all that, ending on a slightly more positive note (somewhat), the final track brings a kind of…well, not hope, but an awareness.  This was a big plot point even in TPE: the characters had to become completely aware of their situation, where the conflict wasn’t in trying to figure it out, but in coming to terms with it and choosing either use it, abuse it, or avoid it as long as they could.

 

Hope you enjoyed my little bit of tunage sharing there!  I’ll be following up with the other three volumes in the original series soon!

The Singles 2015

…and as promised, here’s my 2015 Best of compilation!  A quirky mix to be sure.  Alternative, indie, pop, techno, and even alt-metal this time out.  I stayed with the format I’ve been using for the past couple of years: playlists of roughly ninety minutes which can be split into two forty-five minute ‘sides’, just like the end of year compilations I used to make back in the day.

Hope you enjoy!

TAPE ONE, Side 1:
1. Big Data, “The Business of Emotion”
2. The Decemberists, “Make You Better”
3. Guster, “Simple Machine”
4. Beck, “Dreams”
5. Best Coast, “California Nights”
6. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, “In the Heat of the Moment”
7. Public Service Broadcasting, “Go!”
8. Frank Turner, “Get Better”
9. The Vaccines, “Handsome”
10. Jamie xx, “Loud Places”
11. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”

TAPE ONE, Side 2:
1. Failure, “Hot Traveler”
2. Wire, “Joust & Jostle”
3. MS MR, “Painted”
4. Wolf Alice, “Moaning Lisa Smile”
5. Death Cab for Cutie, “Black Sun”
6. Young Empires, “The Gates”
7. The Arcs, “Outta My Mind”
8. Stereophonics, “I Wanna Get Lost with You”
9. Robert DeLong, “Don’t Wait Up”
10. Editors, “Marching Orders”
11. The King Khan & BBQ Show, “Alone Again”

TAPE TWO, Side 1:
1. Foals, “What Went Down”
2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, “Ballad of the Mighty I”
3. Blur, “Go Out”
4. Dog Party, “Peanut Butter Dream”
5. The Helio Sequence, “Stoic Resemblance”
6. Wolf Alice, “Bros”
7. Courtney Barnett, “Pedestrian at Best”
8. Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
9. Silversun Pickups, “Nightflight”
10. Best Coast, “Heaven Sent”
11. Editors, “No Harm”

TAPE TWO, Side 2:
1. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, “Ur Life One Night”
2. Kurt Vile, “Pretty Pimpin”
3. Sleater-Kinney, “Surface Envy”
4. A Silent Film, “Paralysed”
5. Steven Wilson, “Perfect Life”
6. AWOLNATION, “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)”
7. Nothing But Thieves, “Trip Switch”
8. Cayucas, “Hella”
9. Failure, “Mulholland Dr.”
10. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, “S.O.B.”
11. Mikal Cronin, “Ready”

TAPE THREE, Side 1:
1. Public Service Broadcasting, “Gagarin”
2. Veruca Salt, “The Sound of Leaving”
3. Belle and Sebastian, “Perfect Couples”
4. Motion City Soundtrack, “Lose Control”
5. Caspian, “Arcs of Command”
6. The Verve Pipe, “If I Could Make You Feel”
7. Django Django, “Giant”
8. FFS, “Johnny Delusional”
9. Brandi Carlile, “Alibi”
10. Low, “No Comprende”

TAPE THREE, Side 2:
1. Mark Ronson, “Uptown Funk”
2. Toro y Moi, “Empty Nesters”
3. Panda Bear, “Boys Latin”
4. Blur, “There Are Too Many of Us”
5. Chvrches, “Never Ending Circles”
6. American Wrestlers, “Kelly”
7. New Order, “Restless”
8. Wire, “Harpooned”
9. Hot Chip, “Dancing in the Dark”

*EDIT: The Spotify playlists didn’t seem to be working, so I took them away.  Sorry about that.  The YouTube video links are now up and ready to go!

 

The Singles 2014

Hi there, and welcome to another edition of Jonc’s year-end compilation! I chose to follow up with the same rules as last year, creating a digital mix by way of using the confines of ninety minute cassettes, just like in the old days. I’ve been throwing this together over the course of the last few days, and I quite like how this one came out.

This year’s tunage was an interesting mix of college radio and commercial alternative radio–songs heard on KSCU as well as Radio BDC, Live 105 and KFOG. I’ve tried to expand my listening tastes to various other platforms to pick up all sorts of different bands. There are two bands on this set (My Goodness and Catfish & the Bottlemen) that I found via free mp3s on NoiseTrade that are getting local and national airplay. There’s a track (from Jeff Williams) from a web series whose soundtrack I bought on a whim. And there’s a few brand spankin’ new tracks (Black Rivers and Noel Gallagher) that I couldn’t pass up. A very eclectic mix this year.

Click and enjoy! The links will open up a new tab so you won’t lose this page.

Jonc’s Best of 2014 List coming really soon!

Tape 1, Side A
1. U2, “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)”
2. tUnE-yArDs, “Water Fountain”
3. Big Data, “Dangerous”
4. Interpol, “All the Rage Back Home”
5. TV On the Radio, “Careful You”
6. Future Islands, “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
7. Alt-J, “Left Hand Free”
8. Night Terrors of 1927, “When You Were Mine”
9. Spoon, “Do You”
10. Beck, “Blue Moon”
11. My Goodness, “Cold Feet Killer”

Tape 1, Side B
1. OK Go, “The Writing’s On the Wall”
2. Phantogram, “Fall in Love”
3. The Kooks, “Bad Habit”
4. Failure, “Come Crashing”
5. Bleachers, “Rollercoaster”
6. Warpaint, “Love Is to Die”
7. Joywave, “Somebody New”
8. Johnny Marr, “Easy Money”
9. Robert DeLong, “Long Way Down”
10. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, “In the Heat of the Moment”
11. The Horrors, “I See You”

Tape 2, Side A
1. Dog Party, “The World Is Not a Game”
2. Foo Fighters, “Something from Nothing”
3. +/-, “Rewrite the Story”
4. Phantogram, “Black Out Days”
5. Elbow, “New York Morning”
6. U2, “Raised By Wolves”
7. Jeff Williams, “This Will Be the Day”
8. Embrace, “I Run”
9. Fenech-Soler, “Last Forever”
10. TV On the Radio, “Happy Idiot”
11. Beck, “Unforgiven”

Tape 2, Side B
1. Temples, “Shelter Song”
2. Banks, “Beggin’ for Thread”
3. The Drums, “Kiss Me Again”
4. Kaiser Chiefs, “Coming Home”
5. The History of Apple Pie, “Keep Wondering”
6. Robyn Hitchcock, “The Ghost in You”
7. Pixies, “Indie Cindy”
8. The Decemberists, “Make You Better”
9. First Aid Kit, “My Silver Lining”
10. The Black Keys, “Gotta Get Away”
11. Alt-J, “Lovely Day”

Tape 3, Side A
1. Big Wreck, “A Place to Call Home”
2. Broken Bells, “Holding On for Life”
3. OK Go, “I Won’t Let You Down”
4. The Verve Pipe, “Crash Landing”
5. Weezer, “Back to the Shack”
6. Catfish & the Bottlemen, “Kathleen”
7. Kasabian, “eez-eh”
8. Jungle, “Busy Earnin'”
9. Damon Albarn, “Everyday Robots”
10. Bombay Bicycle Club, “It’s Alright Now”
11. Black Rivers, “Voyager 1”

Tape 3, Side B
1. Joywave, “Tongues”
2. 2:54, “Orion”
3. The Notwist, “Kong”
4. K Flay, “Make Me Fade”
5. Delta Spirit, “From Now On”
6. Sloan, “You’ve Got a Lot On Your Mind”
7. Lamb, “We Fall in Love”
8. The Orwells, “Who Needs You”
9. Bob Mould, “I Don’t Know You Anymore”
10. Mogwai, “Teenage Exorcists”
11. TV On the Radio, “Trouble”

Coming Soon: End of Year Review and Compilation

Well hi there!  Sorry to keep you waiting.  Things have been busy here in Spare Oom with various projects, but I can see clarity at the end of this crazy tunnel, so we shall expect to see an update here soon!

Considering it’s now December, this of course means you’ll be seeing all sorts of End of Year Best-Of lists from all the music blogs and sites, and this one will be no different.  We’ve seen some really great albums in 2014, and I’ll be going over a few within the next few weeks.  I’ll also be creating my end-of-year compilation, which I will also share with you once it’s finished.

Thanks for waiting!  See you soon!