Nowadays, it's so fast and easy to throw a mix together, it's almost impersonal. Just drag the tracks into an iTunes playlist, and you're ready to go. Maybe click from song to song to make sure the flow is ok. You can crank out a shit ton in less than an hour, throw it in a mass-produced sleeve, scribble down the names and be done with it (or upload the list, and skip the handwriting all together).
So, in the spirit of mass consumption, here is a virtual mix tape for all of you readers. A mishmash of some of the new stuff and a few old favorites that I've been spinning this November, and my thoughts on the tracks. Look 'em up, check 'em out, let me know what you think. And heck--if you want an actual, tactile mix, I'll make one for you. Just ask in the comments!
22 tracks--I've included links to streaming versions of the songs. I don't have time to make them live right now, but I will later. In the meantime, just copy and paste into your favorite web browser!
November Spawned This Monster Mix
1. "TWO" -- THE ANTLERS
From the concept album Hospice, which follows a young home-care professional and his affair with a troubled patient, the song hooks you with jangly guitars, a rapturous build and lyrical imagery like:
"Something in my throat made my next words shake,
and something in the wires made the lightbulbs break."
2. "COMETS" -- FANFARLO
One of my favorite albums of 2009, Reservoir by London's Fanfarlo is a marvelous folky sway of a record. Comets has a sing-songy sweetness to it that is infectious.
"If you look at the horizon there is always something ducking out of sight
When you’re looking at the treetops and they’re scratching out their patterns in the sky"
3. "THINK I NEED IT TOO" -- ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN
From the just released new record The Fountain, Ian McCulloch and co. sound fabulous on this catchy pop burner.
"How can I blame what I got to
Putting the wheels in motion
Autopilot I can't drive"
4. "HEARING DAMAGE" -- THOM YORKE
It's surprising to me that the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack would be such a good collection of worthwhile indie bands and not a bunch of Emo bands for 14 year olds. Thom Yorke gets laptoppy in a good way with this dark, moody mid tempo grinder.
"A tear in my brain
Allows the voices in
They wanna push you off the path
With their frequency wires"
5. "SWEET DISPOSITION" -- THE TEMPER TRAP
You may recognize this from the film (500) Days of Summer. It's got a driving beat, a sweet melody and kind of reminds me of Unforgettable Fire era U2. They're from Australia, and they're gonna be big.
"A moment, a love
A dream, a laugh
A kiss, a cry
our rights, our wrongs"
6. "THE RAIN" -- THE SWELL SEASON
Personal favorite track from their new record Strict Joy, Glen and Mar sound as great as ever. Backed by The Frames (yes, my all time favorite band), the song builds beautifully with a chorus that has been bouncing around in my head for weeks.
" know we're not where I promised you we'd be by now
But maybe it's a question of who'd want it anyhow"
7. "GORGEOUS BEHAVIOR" -- MARCHING BAND
Glorious twee, with a bit of a Sea & Cake slant to it.
"He talks about girls like he talks about cars
You don't know where to begin
You tell him off by being nice"
8. "SPYSTICK" -- KING CREOSOTE
Another great folksy ballad from Scotland's King Creosote, a.k.a. Kenny Anderson. If you like Crowded House, you'll dig this. *NOTE: I can't find a streaming version of this anywhere, so here's a live video of questionable quality
"She's one in a dozen
Yet you've seen the state
of the other eleven"
9. "TENDER TORTURE" -- ISLANDS
From the sophomore album Vapours, Montreal's Islands continue their genre-hopping unclassifiable indie rock. This track has a bouncy electronic rawk feel to it.
"I'll be your wave carrying you to shore.
And if your ribs are peeking through your fur,
I'll feed you some more."
10. "WALK ON" --THE HIDDEN CAMERAS
This track from Canada's The Hidden Cameras an epic, cinematic swagger. Maybe it's the brass...
"Hey there baby don’t you know?
That if you cry cry cry it won’t do much
Who’s been there right from the start?
Who’s gonna love you when you are old?"
11. "RHINEMAIDENS" -- THE ENVY CORPS
They sound positively British, but The Envy Corps hail from Ohio. It has the feelings of a lost Doves track.
"Would you be my Freia with her apples, or the seventh seal
Signaling the rapture and a call to kneel
"No" we say, cause it's not coming"
12. "BONES" -- PAUL'S GRANDFATHER
Three female voices blend beautifully on this up-tempo charmer.
"Tell my mother not to cry
Father not too either
My heart's not coming home tonight
I'm not coming either"
13. "MARBLE GODS" -- SAD DAY FOR PUPPETS
Recalls 90's shoegaze with Mazzy Star-esque vocals. And their from Sweden!
"Old rusty stains
Where's your lover now?"
14. "THE AGE OF REVOLUTION" -- THE DUCKWORTH LEWIS METHOD
Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy and Thomas Walsh of Pugwash have teamed up under the moniker The Duckworth Lewis Method for a concept album about--yup, you guessed it--cricket. Old timey in the best way...
"Always denied entry by the English gentry.
Now we're driving Bentley's playing 20/20"
15. "TWO WEEKS" -- GRIZZLY BEAR
Grizzly Bear keep getting better and better, flushing out their spare sound on their latest record Vectamist. Tricky percussion melds with high-pitched piano plinks and some sweet background harmonies.
"Save up all the days
A routine malaise
Just like yesterday
I told you I would stay"
16. "CRIMSON ENEMY" -- THE BATS
New Zealand's seminal 80s shimmery guitar band are still at it, their latest offering 2009's The Guilty Office. This is straight up multi-layered guitar pop--a feast for the ears.
"We live in the data
Everyone can see"
17. "DOMINOS" -- THE BIG PINK
Another shoegaze band, with a bit of an electronic percussion touch. A driving beat and grinding guitars meld well here.
"As soon as I love her it's been too long.
And I really love breaking your heart
These silver apples will shine on I was wrong
The hardest love has the coldest end"
18. "SEPTEMBER GURLS" -- BIG STAR
Early Alex Chilton always bring a smile to my face--their influence on artists like Matthew Sweet is evident on songs like September Gurls.
"I loved you well never mind
I've been crying all the time
December boys got it bad."
19. "DEAD MAN'S SUIT" -- CHERRY GHOST
I've raved and raved and raved about the debut record from the UK's Simon Aldred, and this track has proven to be my favorite (although most every song is brilliant). If you like Elbow, Joe Henry or Peter Gabriel, pick this up IMMEDIATELY.
"Sister quick pull the cord
There's a horse on the ward
With a mouthful of diamonds for teeth
In a dusty old cape stands a man in its wake
Singing I got a woman that loves like an ocean"
20. "YOU AND I ARE A GANG OF LOSERS" -- THE DEARS
This one is a couple of years old, but I return to it all the time. Hearing strains of it in Kevin Smith's Zach & Miri was a nice validation for this unsung gem.
"They were slurring words and acting like
a bunch of animals every given day
Never read or hardly wrote
but signed an 'x' once in blood"
21. "SEMI AUTOMATIC" -- THE BOXER REBELLION
London's The Boxer Rebellion are one of the best unknown indie outfits out there, unfairly lumped in and dismissed by some as a Coldplay knockoff. Their sound is much more expansive, as evident on this track.
"you know i am here, but i am losing
faith in what i see you celebrating
i know, up here,
i’ll be proven guilty"
22. "STAY ALIVE" -- THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART
They remind me so much of the Jesus & Mary Chain, which is a good thing. A good track to close out the virtual mix...
"when its gone, you sit and stare
until the golden dawn
cant you see his arms are a hell and you wont ever leave?"
That's all for my virtual November mix...enjoy!