And the pavements are burning

6 July 2012

Stereogum once again is offering a 24-track mixtape (okay, it’s a pair of ZIP files, don’t get cranky) titled Cruel Summer, which they describe as “handpicked from the pool of this year’s finest freely available MP3s, and then lovingly selected and sequenced to soundtrack rooftop goodtimes and/or backyard BBQs and/or emotional breakdowns.” What more could you possibly want? And you’ve probably got 200 MB to spare, so download it here and unzip at leisure. So to speak.

Waiting for the 80s

17 January 2012

Yeah, I know, they probably won’t come around again — all that time-looping business tends to screw around with the future — but Steph’s Top 40 Tunes from the 80s contains some seriously good tunes from this era, some big hits, some not so big.

Then again: isn’t “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” (#33) the premise of every Smiths song?

Songs for People with Two Ears Revisited

30 December 2011

And after a long spell, another collection of songs that are seldom heard in stereo, with yet another variation on the same cover art. As before, this includes rather a lot of DES — “Digitally Extracted Stereo” — which is essentially fakery, but often really good fakery. A couple of these are sync mixes: the original 45 and a karaoke track fused into a single sort-of-stereo whole.

Note: “Paperback Writer” is routinely available in stereo, but the canonical mix is none too good; this is a remix. And the Doors track is an attempt at duplicating the 45 mix, by cutting, pieceing, and retiming the stereo LP version. I didn’t do either of these myself, so don’t ask me how it was done.

Cover art, Wendex 111147-2Track listing for 111147-2:

  1. The Dave Clark Five: Do You Love Me
  2. Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders: Game of Love
  3. The Skyliners: Since I Don’t Have You
  4. Martha and the Vandellas: Jimmy Mack
  5. The Beatles: Paperback Writer
  6. Chubby Checker: Hooka Tooka
  7. Preston Epps: Bongo Bongo Bongo
  8. Sagittarius: My World Fell Down
  9. The Yardbirds: I’m a Man
  10. The Shocking Blue: Venus
  11. The Beach Boys: Heroes and Villains
  12. Them: Baby Please Don’t Go
  13. Sonny and Cher: Baby Don’t Go
  14. The 13th Floor Elevators: You’re Gonna Miss Me
  15. Wilson Pickett: Funky Broadway
  16. The Animals: We Gotta Get Out of This Place
  17. The Crystals: Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)
  18. Sly and the Family Stone: Hot Fun in the Summertime
  19. King Harvest: Dancing in the Moonlight
  20. The Doors: Light My Fire
  21. The Temptations: Papa Was a Rolling Stone
  22. The Rivieras: California Sun
  23. Edwin Starr: Agent Double-O-Soul
  24. Eddie Cochran: Summertime Blues
  25. The Murmaids: Popsicles and Icicles
  26. Bobby Darin: Splish Splash
  27. The Soul Survivors: Expressway to Your Heart

For any and all occasions

11 November 2011 is “a database of ready-to-use playlists about holidays, current events and interesting topics of every kind!” Even better, they’re posted a little in advance; their Veterans Day selections came out on November 3rd.

The material is derived from the Green Book of Songs®, offered as a subscription service. They admit up front in their FAQ that they can’t possibly get everything:

Some songs are regarded as, frankly, too complex to full classify in this Database. For example, Emmylou Harris’s “The Pearl” covers profound themes of God and mankind that resist efforts to recognize it adequately. There are numerous other such cases, and we thank you for accepting the inevitable limitations within which this Database operates.

Which statement, modest as it is, was enough to insure their inclusion here.

15-year-old goes retro

22 August 2011

Tavi Gevinson, who’s been blogging at Style Rookie for four years, has several side projects, including mixes at This particular one I found delightful, especially in view of the fact that she wasn’t around for any of these songs when they first appeared. There’s no list attached, but you can read it here.

Bring on the Nineties

12 August 2011

So far as I know, I’ve never done a 1990s compilation of any sort, and this may have something to do with the fact that I spent much of that decade avoiding record stores and such. Fortunately, Apocalypstick is here to fill the embarrasing gap with an inspiring 24-track 90s mix, and what’s more, she was kind enough to put it up on Spotify. More than this, one should not presume to ask.

2 1/2 Weeks

23 July 2011

Dear me, it’s been almost a year since I picked up the burner. And it took Rebecca Black to rouse me from my torpor. 2½ Weeks is an 18-track compilation covering, well, a little over 2½ weeks, starting of course with “Friday.” A hint to you songwriters out there: we need more good Wednesday and Thursday stuff.

Cover art, Wendex 111146-2Track listing for 111146-2:

  1. Rebecca Black: Friday
  2. Sam Cooke: Another Saturday Night
  3. Spanky and Our Gang: Sunday Mornin’
  4. The Mamas and the Papas: Monday, Monday
  5. The Moody Blues: Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)
  6. Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories: Waiting for Wednesday
  7. Giles, Giles and Fripp: Thursday Morning
  8. The Cure: Friday I’m in Love
  9. Elton John: Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
  10. The Clique: Sugar on Sunday
  11. The Boomtown Rats: I Don’t Like Mondays
  12. The Rolling Stones: Ruby Tuesday
  13. The Guess Who: A Wednesday in Your Garden
  14. Nilsson: (Thursday) Here’s Why I Didn’t Go to Work Today
  15. The Easybeats: Friday on My Mind
  16. Bay City Rollers: Saturday Night
  17. The Monkees: Pleasant Valley Sunday
  18. Bangles: Manic Monday

Rules made to be broken

28 May 2011

A paragraph from Nick Hornby’s novel High Fidelity:

To me, making a tape is like writing a letter — there’s a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You’ve got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention (I started with “Got to Get You Off My Mind”, but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightaway, so I buried it in the middle of side two), and then you’ve got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can’t have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can’t have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you’ve done the whole thing in pairs and … oh, there are loads of rules.

I might actually follow these once in a while, but I don’t make a habit of it.

Listen while I play

9 April 2011

Since I haven’t had much going on here myself, I’ll point you to “Songs for Tambourine Hands”, suggested by Tiny Mix Tapes, featuring about an hour’s worth of shakin’ action, without once even mentioning that green thing brandished by the Lemon Pipers, which you’ve heard too many times already. It does, however, feature Beck’s “Black Tambourine” (from Guero), which would have offset it nicely.

Show some Enthusiasm

3 January 2011

Liz Enthusiasm and Sean T. Drinkwater of Freezepop suggest this collection of songs that inspired their particular brand of synthpop. As a Freezepop fan, I give it two controller-addled thumbs up.