Technically, this next volume of Songs from the Eden Cycle would be volume nine, given that I’d started to make volume eight a few years ago but only got as far as nine tracks before abandoning it. But I digress.
As I start the actual writing of this new version of MU4, I’m thinking about what music I’d like to listen to this time out. As I’d mentioned previously, I’m trying to break out of the habit of hyperfocusing on new releases, so pretty much anything that catches my ear and/or gets me in the mood for the story is fair game. As you may have guessed, I’m currently writing this entry while listening to Wire’s 154, their third album from 1979 and my favorite of their Mark I era. “On Returning” is the first song to officially be added to the SftEC v8 mix.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve purposely done a deep dive into my music library to search for writing session music to this degree, so I’m sure two things will happen: one, I’ll default to some mainstays from the Belfry years (Blue Wonder Power Milk, Sea Change, And You Think You Know What Life’s About, and the usual 1997-2004 albums, soundtracks and compilations) when I can’t think of anything else to listen to…and two, I’ll rediscover some absolute bangers I’d completely forgotten about over the years. Add this to the new release which I promise I won’t obsess over, and I think that soon enough I’ll have myself another official soundtrack list. And maybe I’ll even post a few of them here as they surface…?
For your listening enjoyment, here’s my year-end mixtape! As expected, this one’s a bit all over the place and I’m sure I’m missing a few songs I should have put in there, but I think it still came out pretty well.
To be honest, it kind of mirrors my current status in life: all sorts of nonsense going on in the world, most of which is out of my control, but on the other hand I think I’ve managed to control what I can in my life, and that’s what really matters.
The title comes from the Cheekface song “We Need a Bigger Dumpster” which may not have been my top song of the year (that’s Hot Chip’s “Down”, firmly sitting as Track 5 as always), but it fits perfectly considering.
Hope you enjoy!
I’ll admit I didn’t have the time or the inclination to go into super detail with the end-of-year lists this year, so I will at least provide you with my top favorite albums. You can safely assume that nearly all of my favorite songs of 2022 made it to the above playlist, with a few exceptions!
TOP ALBUMS (listed chronologically with top favorite in bold)
Yard Act, The Overload The Beatles, Get Back: The Rooftop Performance The Reds, Pinks & Purples: Summer at Land’s End Spoon, Lucifer on the Sofa White Lies, As I Try Not to Fall Apart Beach House, Once Twice Melody Nilüfer Yanya, PAINLESS Bob Moses, The Silence in Between PLOSIVS, PLOSIVS Wet Leg, Wet Leg Hatchie, Giving the World Away Warpaint, Radiate Like This Dubstar, Two Porcupine Tree, CLOSURE / CONTINUATION Röyksopp, Profound Mysteries I, II and III The Beths, Expert in a Dying Field Alvvays, Blue Rev PVA, BLUSH The Beatles, Revolver Super Deluxe Edition The Cure, Wish 30th Anniversary Edition
What to name a mixtape you truly enjoy, but can’t come up with a decent one? By this time I had Walk in Silence, Listen in Silence, The Last Home Year, Cimmerian Candlelight, and so on…names for themed series. But what about a chaotic mix that was essentially my favorite indie tunes at that point in time?
And so the Untitled series was born. Cheeky, but it worked.
This is a mix of songs I’d heard on Amherst College’s WAMH, WMDK out of Peterborough, recent 120 Minutes episodes, with a sprinkle of deep cuts, records borrowed from Chris, and to top it off, promo singles he and I had “borrowed” from the local radio station that they were obviously never going to play. The original mix features versions taped from the radio or off the TV speaker as well as actual source material.
Like Listen in Silence II, it was a mix primarily made as a catch-all for songs I liked but didn’t necessarily have in my collection. This would explain the strong beginning and the somewhat meandering end…but yet it works and still stands up so many years later. Also like LiS II, it was a mix to be listened to while mowing the cemeteries for my summer DPW job. Since my favorite college radio station was off the air for the season, this was my mix to fill that gap.
[Missing from the Spotify mix due to unavailability: The Feelies’ “Away” (after “Makes No Sense at All”) and Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians’ “Swirling” (after “Charlotte Anne”).]
I’ve been terrible about making mixtapes this year. By this point I’ve got at least three or four ready to go, but for one reason or another I just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve got a few false starts with maybe six or seven songs, but that’s about it.
I think I’ve gotten to a point where I’m just throwing a bunch of songs together but not always listening to them. Part of that has to do with my obsessive listening to KEXP when I can, but it also has to do with my even more obsessive habit of consuming new releases. I’ve focused too much on the New Stuff and not allowed that many songs to jump out at me and blow my mind. Sure, there have been a few over the last couple of years, but not nearly as much as before.
So I’ve been contemplating a mixtape rethink. I do like the format idea I’d come up with some years back of strictly following the forty-five-minutes-a-side rule, which makes it fun and creative, especially when I spend a good amount of time shifting the order of those mp3s until it sounds great to me. But again…what about the music that jumps out at me? The songs that make me focus on them?
I’ve been thinking about how I did this in the spring of 1988, when I finally took the plunge and planned out three mixes instead of leaning on the randomly created ‘radio tapes’ that I’d been making for the last several years. It was a learning curve, sure…a few questionable songs, a few terrible transitions, but listenable nonetheless. [I’d drop the themed bit soon after, finding it too restrictive at the time. I’d do themed ones later on, mostly ‘soundtracks’ to my novel projects in progress.] Thesaurus in hand, I came up with three themes based on my listening habits at the time: songs to listen to at top volume (Stentorian Music), songs that lean heavily on electronics (Preternatural Synthetics) and quiet and/or “dark” songs to listen to late at night (Cimmerian Candlelight).
It’s something I’d like to do over again. Start fresh, give myself a tight focus on the mixes. Songs that set a specific mood or setting. Songs that blow my mind. Songs that I’ve rediscovered. I think one of my downfalls over the recent years is that the mixes tend to focus tightly on brand spankin’ new tunes and very rarely introducing older tracks. In retrospect I think that kind of limits what I want to listen to, really. Allow myself to add a song I haven’t heard in years, or an older song that some station slipped my way. Stop being so restrictive about it.
Yeah, I know…it’s been over thirty years since I created those three mixtapes and changed how I listened to music, but honestly: is that really a concern, when I’m still obsessed over music at this age, to this extent? I’ll always embrace music, no doubt about that. I don’t see myself drifting away from it anytime soon. And I think that making a new generation, a new brand of mixtapes for myself is just what I need to do to give it a refresh.
As soon as I have more, I’ll let you know, Spotify playlist and all.
Here we are, as promised — my end of year mixtape! As with the last few years, my listening habits have pretty much been listening to KEXP online or whatever tunage I happened to download. And this time out I’ve created a Spotify playlist out of it for your listening enjoyment!
This past year has been kind of a strange one musically — a lot of records made during lockdown, incomplete sessions rejiggered as EPs and standalone singles, and songs that have been kicking around in the vaults for a bit — so while there may not be as much coherence or intensity behind some of it, the gems that are out there were pretty flippin’ phenomenal. Stay tuned for my best-of-year lists on Thursday!
SIDE A 1. Imagine Dragons feat. JID, “Enemy [from the League of Legends series ‘Arcane’]” 2. Roosevelt, “Echoes” 3. The Clockworks, “Throw It All Away” 4. Girlfriends and Boyfriends, “Your Touch” 5. Miss Grit, “Blonde” 6. Grandbrothers, “What We See” 7. Celeste, “Stop This Flame” 8. Arlo Parks, “Hurt” 9. Flock of Dimes, “Price of Blue” 10. Yola, “Stand for Myself”
SIDE B 1. Yard Act, “Dark Days” 2. Parquet Courts, “Walking at a Downtown Pace” 3. Siamese Youth, “So Far from Home” 4. Flyying Colours, “White Knuckles” 5. Sleigh Bells, “Locust Laced” 6. Dry Cleaning, “Scratchcard Lanyard” 7. K/DA, “Villain” 8. Jungle, “Keep Moving” 9. Wolf Alice, “The Last Man On Earth” 10. Teenage Sequence, “All This Art” 11. Nation of Language, “A Word & a Wave”
SIDE C 1. Seatbelts, “TANK! [Flix Mix] 2. The Beatles, “I’ve Got a Feeling [2021 Mix]” 3. Nation of Language, “Across That Fine Line” 4. Bachelor, “Stay in the Car” 5. Breeze, “Come Around” 6. Coldplay, “Higher Power” 7. CHVRCHES, “Cry Little Sister” 8. Snoh Aalegra, “In Your Eyes” 9. New Candys, “Twin Mime” 10. They Might Be Giants, “Super Cool” 11. Geese, “Low Era” 12. Duran Duran, “Invisible”
SIDE D 1. Goat Girl, “Sad Cowboy” 2. Hooverphonic, “The Wrong Place” 3. Sleaford Mods, “Nudge It” 4. Jack White, “Taking Me Back” 5. Fotoform, “Running” 6. Hatchie, “This Enchanted” 7. Amyl and the Sniffers, “Guided By Angels” 8. Film School, “Superperfection” 9. Public Service Broadcasting, “People, Let’s Dance” 10. ABBA, “I Still Have Faith in You” 11. Ambar Lucid, “Space Cowgirl”
SIDE E 1. Foo Fighters, “Waiting On a War” 2. Bill Janovitz, “Coming Up Close”* 3. Ora the Molecule, “Die to Be a Butterfly” 4. IDLES, “The Beachland Ballroom” 5. Thom Yorke, “Creep [Very 2021 RMX]” 6. Sleaford Mods, “Mork ‘n Mindy” 7. Wet Leg, “Chaise Longue” 8. tUnE-yArDs, “nowhere, man” 9. Grandbrothers, “Silver” 10. Roosevelt, “See You Again”
SIDE F 1. Field Music, “Orion from the Street” 2. Danny Elfman, “True” 3. Ambar Lucid, “Get Lost in the Music” 4. Low, “Days Like These” 5. The Goon Sax, “In the Stone” 6. Makthaverskan, “Maktologen” 7. Anna Schulze, “A New Way” 8. Ghost of Vroom, “Rona Pollona” 9. Shame, “Human, for a Minute” 10. Jane Weaver, “The Revolution of Super Visions” 11. The Verve Pipe, “Forever Reaching”
SIDE G 1. RUFUS DU SOL, “Alive” 2. Big Wreck, “Beano” 3. Goat Girl, “Badibaba” 4. Jose Gonzalez, “El Invento” 5. Delvon Lamarr, Organ Trio, “Call Your Mom” 6. Lucy Dacus, “Hot & Heavy” 7. Dropkick Murphys, “Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding” 8. Lost Horizons, “Every Beat That Passed” 9. Pond, “America’s Cup” 10. Porcupine Tree, “Harridan”
SIDE H 1. Garbage, “No Gods No Monsters” 2. Django Django, “Glowing in the Dark” 3. Billy Bragg, “Mid-Century Modern” 4. Nation of Language, “This Fractured Mind” 5. Sneaker Pimps, “Alibis” 6. Matt Nathanson, “Even Better Than the Real Thing” 7. Japanese Breakfast, “Be Sweet” 8. Mr Twin Sister, “Fantasy” 9. Elbow, “Flying Dream 1” 10. CHVRCHES, “How Not to Drown” 11. The Beatles, “Get Back [2021 Mix]”
I’ve definitely talked and written a lot about 1988, considering it was a high point in my teen years socially and emotionally, as well as creatively. Everything just fell into place in a positive way. I knew this feeling wouldn’t last, but I chose to embrace it and let it lift me up while it lasted, and I’m glad I did. I used to return to those memories sometimes out of desperation, especially during my mid-90s slump, but nowadays I can return to them with fondness and maybe a bit of amazement. I really did have a lot more personal clarity then than I thought I did, and I sometimes use that as a reminder of how to live in the present.
I’d been making proto-mixtapes for years taping stuff off the radio, but 1988 was when I made the deep dive into the alchemical science of creating personal mixes. And since 1988 had been not just a personal high but a musical high as well, I was determined to celebrate that with a year-end mix. This was my first attempt at a multi-tape (non-radio tape) mix of this kind.
DTDDTS: The Singles 1988 is admittedly not my best mix work, as I was still feeling my way in making these things. It sort of rambles halfway through and drifts to a close with a sigh rather than a cheer…my mistake was overloading the first tape with so many great songs! (Whenever I listened to it I usually stuck with that first tape.) It does kind of redeem itself near the end, though, and in retrospect, I think it mirrors my mood at the time: once my friends left for college, the last couple of months of the year weren’t nearly as exciting or positive for me. Still: I do like this mix, and it contains so many songs that have remained personal favorites for years.
Side Notes: –Most of these songs were sourced from original albums or singles, but several on Sides E and F were lifted from recent 120 Minutes episodes or taped off WAMH or WMDK. There are a lot of album cuts on this one, which really shows how closely I was listening to a lot of these albums. –I made several “reissue” versions of this over the years, partly to fix the flow but also to add more songs that I’d left off or replace songs I no longer had in my collection. (I have in fact created digital versions of all of them.) This playlist is the original created 27 December 1988 during Christmas vacation. –The title comes from the last song on Side B, “A Public Place” by Wire. Years later in 2013 I named a year-end mix ‘We Sing and Dance as We Go: The Singles’ after another Wire then-current lyric. Sort of a personal 25th anniversary thing, I suppose. –This contains exactly one Flying Bohemians song which is thankfully not on Spotify as it is embarrassing as it is hilarious. Why I didn’t use “Night” or one of our better tracks, I’m not sure. “Nothing Spectacular” was me and Chris fucking around on guitars and making a hash out of a moody 80s riff, with Jim H scratching one of Natan’s Van Halen records while he was in the other room. Chris provides an amazingly torturous guitar solo. –I put my favorite song ever at the time, The Church’s ‘Under the Milky Way’, on Side A Track 5. When I revived the year-end mixes in the 45-minutes-a-side format in 2013, I also revived that as well. My favorite song of that particular year will always have that spot.
1. Morrissey, “Will Never Marry” 2. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, “The Mercy Seat” 3. Jane’s Addiction, “Jane Says” 4. Front 242, “Headhunter (Version 1.0)” 5. The Church, “Under the Milky Way” 6. The Primitives, “Crash” 7. The Godfathers, “When Am I Coming Down” 8. The Timelords, “Doctorin’ the Tardis” 9. The Smithereens, “Only a Memory” 10. Peter Murphy, “All Night Long”
1. Siouxsie & the Banshees, “Peek-a-Boo” 2. The Sugarcubes, “Coldsweat” 3. Cocteau Twins, “Carolyn’s Fingers” 4. ‘Til Tuesday, “(Believed You Were) Lucky” 5. They Might Be Giants, “Ana Ng” 6. Camouflage, “The Great Commandment” 7. Erasure, “Chains of Love” 8. The Art of Noise feat. Tom Jones, “Kiss” 9. Information Society, “Running” 10. Wire, “A Public Place”
1. Ministry, “Stigmata” 2. Grace Pool, “Out of the Wild” 3. The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Sidewalking” 4. Morrissey, “Everyday Is Like Sunday” 5. Shriekback, “Dust and a Shadow” 6. The Flying Bohemians, “Nothing Spectacular” * 7. A House, “Call Me Blue” 8. Information Society, “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)” 9. REM, “Orange Crush” 10. Cocteau Twins, “Blue Bell Knoll” 11. Pet Shop Boys, “Always On My Mind”
1. Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, “What I Am” 2. Big Pig, “Breakaway” 3. The Mighty Lemon Drops, “Inside Out” * 4. In-D, “Virgin In-D Sky’s” 5. Peter Murphy, “Time Has Got Nothing to Do with It” 6. The Psychedelic Furs, “All That Money Wants” 7. Midnight Oil, “The Dead Heart” 8. Stump, “Charlton Heston” 9. Dr Calculus, “Full of Love” * 10. Sinéad O’Connor, “Never Get Old” 11. Shriekback, “Go Bang”
1. Pixies, “Gigantic” 2. Graham Parker, “Get Started, Start a Fire” 3. Camper Van Beethoven, “Turquoise Jewelry” * 4. Crowded House, “Mansion in the Slums” 5. Living Colour, “Cult of Personality” 6. The Godfathers, “Birth, School, Work, Death” 7. Sonic Youth, “Within You, Without You” 8. The Church, “Reptile” 9. Joy Division, “Atmosphere” 10. The Primitives, “I’ll Stick with You” 11. Wire, “Kidney Bingos”
1. New Order, “Fine Time” 2. Marc Almond, “Tears Run Rings” 3. The Fall, “New Big Prinz” 4. Cowboy Junkies, “Sweet Jane” 5. Lloyd Cole & the Commotions, “My Bag” 6. The Feelies, “Away” * 7. Hunters & Collectors, “Back On the Breadline” 8. Sparks, “So Important” 9. Hugh Cornwell, “Another Kind of Love” * 10. Ministry, “Flashback” 11. Morrissey, “Suedehead” 12. Information Society, “Make It Funky”
* — Not available on Spotify, but I’ve added the YouTube link if it’s available.
I started writing Meet the Lidwells! A Rock n’ Roll Family Memoir during the summer of 2017, and like any other book project I’ve worked on, I created a mixtape for it. Surprisingly, for a novel that leans super heavily on music, there’s only one volume! Still, it’s not as if I could create a mix containing music that, y’know, doesn’t actually exist in real life.
Most of these songs are from the early 90s, which is when most of the book takes place, and are inspirations for songs written by the Lidwells in the book. I did choose to add a few then-recent songs as well just to balance it out, but for the most part these were all songs that I loved and listened to during my college and post-college years in Boston.
Some side notes: –The prevalence of EMF hints at the poppiness of the early Lidwells releases, as they were more of an alternapop band at the start of the novel. –A number of songs (and scenes) were actually pilfered from a trunked novel of mine called Two Thousand that I’d worked on in the 90s. The La’s track “Looking Glass” in particular was originally supposed to be part of the climax of that story but used instead as the “Listening” scene with Thomas talking about when they performed that song live. The remix of that Real People song (sadly not available online right now, it’s a banger) was also once part of that novel as a denouement scene. –I added Belly and Veruca Salt to hint at what Amy and Hannah’s songs would sound like. –The Stone Roses’ “I Am the Resurrection” is mentioned in the book as one of the main influences on The Lidwells’ first hit “Grapevine” with its stomping beat.
[SHAMELESS PLUG: The ebook is available at Smashwords for $2.99!]
1. EMF, “Children” 2. REM, “Pop Song ’89” 3. The Real People, “Window Pane” 4. Belly, “Gepetto” 5. EMF, “Girl of an Age” 6. The Cure, “Friday I’m in Love” 7. The House of Love, “You Don’t Understand” 8. My Bloody Valentine, “Soon” 9. 9 Ways to Sunday, “Come Tell Me Now* * 10. Belly, “Now They’ll Sleep” 11. Matthew Sweet, “Time Capsule”
1. Veruca Salt, “Seether” 2. The Black Keys, “Gold On the Ceiling” 3. Guster, “Barrel of a Gun” 4. Fenech-Soler, “Kaleidoscope” 5. Belly, “Super-Connected” 6. Matthew Sweet, “Girlfriend” 7. The La’s, “Looking Glass” 8. The Stone Roses, “I Am the Resurrection” 9. The Real People, “Window Pane [12″ Extended Remix]” *
This one reminds me of Silver Lake Cemetery. In that short summer between graduating high school and entering college, I got a job at my home town’s Public Works department and spent the entire season mowing the several local cemeteries. Silver Lake had always been my favorite because it was the biggest and most varied in landscape and we could take our time with it. We could easily find a quiet spot and hide for an hour if we wanted. It gave me a lot of time to think. I went through cases of AA batteries listening to my Walkman that summer.
I really love this one a lot; I played this one to the point of nearly wearing it out. It’s full of songs then getting airplay on 120 Minutes, WMDK, records picked up at Al Bum’s and Main Street Music, with a few oddities thrown in. I’d started it with the two first tracks on each side, requested from a friend’s music collection, and I built it up from there. The idea was for the first side to be upbeat and/or energetic, with the flipside being downbeat and/or moody. It wasn’t the last complete mixtape of my hometown teen years — the first Untitled gets that honor a few months later, which I’ll post here at a later time — but it does have that feeling of finality, which was deliberate, especially with that Smiths/Joy Division double-punch at the end. I was more than ready to escape this place and head out into the real world.
[Side notes: The Procol Harum song does stick out a bit, but the reason it’s there is because it was used prominently in the movie New York Stories which my friends and I had gone to see that summer. The GnR song sticks out a bit too, and that was because it had originally been added more as an add to my collection rather than an integral part of the mixtape, but it does kind of fit moodwise. The two Love and Rockets songs are in fact the very same song, played in completely different styles, fitting in perfectly with my upbeat/downbeat theme.]
Listen in Silence…The Singles II, created June 1989
Side A 1. That Petrol Emotion, “Creeping to the Cross” 2. Siouxsie & the Banshees, “The Killing Jar” 3. The Cure, “Babble” 4. The Smiths, “The Queen is Dead” 5. Soul Asylum, “Sometime to Return” 6. Love and Rockets, “Motorcycle” 7. The Cure, “Fascination Street [Extended Remix]” 8. Voice of the Beehive, “Beat of Love” 9. The Smiths, “Shoplifters of the World” 10. Camouflage, “That Smiling Face”
Side B: 1. Guns n’ Roses, “Patience” 2. Talk Talk, “Life’s What You Make It” 3. REM, “The One I Love” 4. Procol Harum, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” 5. Julian Cope, “Charlotte Anne” 6. Ultra Vivid Scene, “Mercy Seat” 7. Love and Rockets, “I Feel Speed” 8. The Cure, “Plainsong” 9. The Smiths, “Reel Around the Fountain” 10. Joy Division, “Atmosphere”
Early 2002 was definitely a time for personal change. Considering we ended the previous year with a terrorist attack and the reactive political wargasms that inevitably followed, I’d started unplugging a bit and refocusing on what was important to me. Part of that was writing A Division of Souls and beginning The Persistence of Memories. I was reading a hell of a lot more, continuing my comic and cd run, and writing new songs on my guitar. Trying to live life a bit more positively.
Nearly all the songs from Untitled XII come from Newbury Comics runs. A lot of deep cuts with some radio songs sprinkled in between. So where did I hear about them? From CMJ sampler CDs and music magazines, mostly. I’d read the reviews and pick out the ones that sounded like they’d be in my wheelhouse. It worked out great 80-90% of the time, too! It’s also a return to form with my mixtapes, as I’d kind of run out of inspiration from around late 1999 onwards. There are a few good but not great mixes from that time. I’m sure it was partly due to my leaving HMV, partly a change in musical tastes, and other non-musical things (personal and otherwise) affecting me in one way or another. But I remember starting 2002 with the determination that I’d be in a much better place emotionally and mentally, and immersing myself in more great music definitely helped.
Side notes: –I was introduced to Mistle Thrush by my former HMV manager Tom, who’d become a Newbury Comics manager. The singer was a good friend of his and, as it happens, part of NC’s upper management! –Cornelius gets three tracks as Point was getting very heavy play in the Belfry. He’s been in the Olympics news lately for acting like an arse some years ago, but I still love this record. –The Massive Attack song is a bit out of place being four years older than every other track here. Some cosmetics commercial used it as a backing track at the time and got me back into listening to Mezzanine during my writing sessions.
Untitled XII, created 14 February 2002
Side A: 1. Cornelius, “Point of View Point” 2. Massive Attack, “Inertia Creeps” 3. Mistle Thrush, “Enginehead” 4. Pulp, “The Night That Minnie Timperley Died” 5. Rufus Wainwright, “Across the Universe” 6. POD, “Youth of the Nation” 7. Stephin Merritt, “This Little Ukulele” 8. Elbow, “Little Beast” 9. Starsailor, “Tie Up My Hands” 10. Foo Fighters, “The One” 11. Bis, “Two Million”
Side B: 1. Sigur Ros, “Svefn-g-Englar” 2. Turin Brakes, “The Door” 3. Cornelius, “Smoke” 4. Ben and Jason, “The Wild Things” 5. The Strokes, “Last Nite” 6. Puddle of Mudd, “Blurry” 7. The Church, “Radiance” 8. Mistle Thrush, “3 Girls Walking” 9. Cornelius, “Brazil” 10. Stephin Merritt, “Tiny Flying Player Pianos”
This one was made during my last summer living in Boston. I was living in a two-bedroom apartment with a Berklee piano student on Brighton Avenue in Allston and working full time at the old Sony Theater that used to be up near Assembly Square Mall in Somerville. (A half-hour commute by the T, so of course I listened to a lot of tunage there and back.)
A lot of this mix came from different places: used CDs from Nuggets in Kenmore Square, album dubs from friends, a few Columbia House purchases, and a lot of taping off the radio, mostly WFNX. [I know, I know. I should have saved my money for things I needed, but I somehow made it work.] The title Untitled comes from a mix I’d made back in 1989, where I’d made a really great tape but could not for the life of me come up with a decent title. Calling it such seemed to fit somehow, and that particular series became one of my favorites to make. [I am currently on Untitled XXV, made last October. I need to catch up and make another one.]
There’s a lot of peak 90s bands here, and many songs that were highly popular with the alt-rock crowds. It was what got the most play on Boston radio at the time, plus there were some great tracks dropped then. I’d been listening heavily to Alice in Chains’ Jar of Flies, Soundgarden’s Superunknown, Stone Temple Pilots’ Purple and Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral at the time (among other things) and they’d pretty much become my personal soundtrack for the 1994-95 season.
I really like how this mixtape worked out, and I still listen to it from time to time. It’s not as adventurous as some of my other mixes, but it’s solid from start to finish and has some of my all-time favorite mid-90s songs on it. It also has a sense of humor to it; silly and lighthearted songs bump up against gloomy and angry songs, and each side ends in extremely short and funny filler. And in early 2003 I’d make a two-cd “reissue” of this mix featuring nine extra songs from the era that I’d loved but couldn’t fit on the original.
Bonus: That U2 song, which would be featuring on the Batman Forever soundtrack later that summer, had been recorded off WBCN in early April when it was world-premiered by DJ Carter Alan, a close friend of the band.
Untitled VI, June 1995
Side A: 1. Bad Religion, “Stranger Than Fiction” 2. Green Day, “Basket Case” 3. Live, “I Alone” 4. Pizzicato Five, “Twiggy Twiggy/Twiggy vs James Bond”* 5. Nine Inch Nails, “Closer” 6. Frank Black, “Headache” 7. Dig, “Believe” 8. The Flaming Lips, “She Don’t Use Jelly” 9. Alice in Chains, “I Stay Away” 10. Grant Lee Buffalo, “Mockingbirds” 11. Jeff Buckley, “Last Goodbye” 12. They Might Be Giants, “Spider”
Side B: 1. Blur, “Girls & Boys” 2. Danzig, “Cantspeak” 3. Ween, “Voodoo Lady” 4. The Afghan Whigs, “Gentlemen” 5. The Smashing Pumpkins, “Never Let Me Down Again” 6. Soundgarden, “Black Hole Sun” 7. Nirvana, “All Apologies” 8. Stone Temple Pilots, “Interstate Love Song” 9. Blur, “Parklife” 10. U2, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” 11. Bjork, “Army of Me” 12. Pearl Jam, “Bugs”