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2012 mix

24th Dec 12 (Mon) 3 comments

Time for this year’s mix CD, except I decided to go CD-free again (like 2011’s mix). It’s still formatted to stay contained on one CD (21 tracks ~79 mins); so if you want to download the whole shebang and burn to a CD – go for it!

Check out prior year-based mixes: 2009 (CD) and 2010 (CD) and 2011 (digital). No major theme this time like some of my prior mixes (4 Elements & A-to-Z mixes)… the only rule I placed before myself was that everything is current (i.e.- released in 2012).  A few of the songs were technically released in 2012, but the album will hit in 2013.

This year’s mix ended up poppier and/or melancholier than prior mixes.  Sometimes that’s just how things shake out. I hope you enjoy.

The following songs were put on the mix from mostly lossless sources where possible and for promotional purposes only (read: free direct market advertising to people who decidedly love music). Most of the artists on this compilation are independent (put out the music themselves) or signed to smaller, independent labels. If you like what you hear, check out their music / support them with your wallet if you are able. The artists’ Webpage, Facebook, and Amazon links are available for each song below. I’ve also included concert review links if I’ve seen the artist recently.

Download the ZIP File (140M) available *HERE*, extract then drag & drop the mp3 files to your iTunes (or other playback software).

All Songs Streaming Playlist (click arrows to skip back & forth… for individual songs find them below.)

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01 Brian Borcherdt / Dusted(Into The) Atmosphere” from Total Dust

Brian Borcherdt from Canadian live-electronic band Holy Fuck has done some singer-songwriter-y solo projects in the past, but this album in-between HF albums still held on to some electronics and keys versus the standard acoustic guitar fare.  This lo-fi, melodic, and haunting affair hit me well this rainy Oregon fall.

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02 O.S.I.Wind Won’t Howl” from Fire Make Thunder

The fourth album in the O.S.I. partnership of Kevin Moore (Chroma Key) and Jim Matheos (Fates Warning) isn’t a metal heavy as the other albums.  I love how there’s a bit of rock in this track to offset the melancholy delivery of Kevin’s vocals.  Guest drummer on the entire album is Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree.  The album fits in with what I’d call “glitch prog,” to which Kevin liked my moniker.  Organic/real drums cut up electronically alongside with prog rock keys & guitars.  This album is easily one of my favorites of 2012.

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03 Peter MulveyEgg Radio (instrumental)” from The Good Stuff

04 Peter MulveyGreen Grass” from The Good Stuff

Peter Mulvey is an American treasure. His lyrical storytelling, guitar prowess, and overall charm and earnestness make him a favorite artists of mine, period.  With his recent album, he put together a band and re-purposed others’ music… “new standards” if you will.  The instrumental “Egg Radio” is originally penned by jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and “Green Grass” is from Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan.

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05 Levi WeaverTalk Me Down” from I Am Only A Tiny Noise [EP]

Less than a year ago, I had no idea who Levi Weaver was.  I joined a fantasy baseball league online (uncharacteristic of me) and met Levi via that.  I had no idea he was a travelling musician until he mentioned on twitter something about a documentary being shot about him (String Theory).  Then the cards fell in place for him to play a show at my house, and then I bought and fell in love with all of his records.  Such is my musical addiction.  Sometimes I luck into gems.  Levi put out the Tiny Noise EP in 2012, but I also strongly urge you to check out his earlier work.

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06 Emily WellsInstrumental (Lolo Remix)” from Mama Remixed

08 Emily WellsFire Song (Doctor Rosen Rosen Remix)” from Mama Remixed

Emily spans indie rock, chamber music, and hip-hop near flawlessly (check her cover of the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy“).  With her latest album, Mama, she has continued in that vein… and then also released a remix album for free on Soundcloud.

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 Kim Taylor - Love's A Dog07 Kim TaylorSave My Life (demo)” from the forthcoming album Love’s A Dog

Heartfelt Cincinnati singer-songwriter Kim Taylor successfully Kickstarted her forthcoming album.  I loved this song so much; so here’s a glimpse in what is to come.  Since the Kickstarter is officially done, keep in the loop via her webpage and Facebook for when it’ll hit regular retail outlets in 2013.  Also, take a listen to her back catalog… her music has a special place in my heart.

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09 Sufjan StevensAlphabet St.” from Silver & Gold: Christmas Infinity Voyage [EP]

Five EPs of Christmas music released this year, and I find a non-holiday-forward Prince cover to break things up on this mix.  This song is more indicative of things on The Age of Adz versus the rest of the Christmas EPs.  Enjoy!  Skip below for the other Sufjan track on my 2012 mix for something different…

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10 Digital Noise AcademyMelting Inside” from the forthcoming album DNA

Way back in 2006, the Los Angeles Digital Noise Academy (LADNA) did a couple of shared tracks… passing around pieces via the internet as they’re all busy musicians in their own rights.  Back in those days, there was mention of releasing an album, but nothing ever materialized.  Well, in 2012, they changed things up to just DNA and finally had enough momentum to get a Kickstarter going – which succeeded on its 2nd try.  The album will come out in 2013.  DNA is the cooperative of Ken Andrews (Failure, On, producer/mixer of tons of rock bands), Charlotte Martin (pop singer-songwriter), Sharky Laguana (Creeper Lagoon), Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck & NIN), Fernando Sanchez (popular hired gun), and Jordan Zadorozny (Blinker the Star).

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11 Aimee MannLabrador” from Charmer

I don’t have much to say about this song outside of that I love Aimee Mann, and the video for it was a shot-for-shot remake of the “Voices Carry” video from her ‘Til Tuesday days.  Wacky and fun!

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12 The Album LeafStretched Home” from Forward/Return [EP]

The Album Leaf is Jimmy LaValle, and he’s had some good success making some great keyboard-driven, organic post-rock.  This EP almost escaped me, though, as the word on the street was faint.  Jimmy has an upcoming project with Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon); so I guess I’ll have to keep my eyes & ears peeled better!

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13 Damien JuradoMuseum of Flight” from Maraqopa

Damien Jurado is one of those pure songwriters that hits me hard with his lyrics.  This song has impacted me a lot this year, and I think I’ve listened to it more than 100 times, which knowing the amount of music I go through each year is saying something.  Maraqopa is a gorgeous record, and it will end up high on my list for 2012.

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14 Glen PhillipsStill Carrying You” from Coyote Sessions

Glen Phillips (the voice behind Toad the Wet Sprocket) can bend my ear no matter what he’s doing.  His latest self-release, Coyote Sessions (via bandcamp), is full of some old favorites that he’s done for a while in a live setting, but have never made their way onto formal releases.  A must purchase for the pop singer-songwriter in me.

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15 Charlie Hunter & Scott AmendolaNot Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead” from album of the same name

The ease at which Charlie Hunter plays both the guitar and bass parts on his 8-string guitar makes witnessing him in concert confounding. Fuck that guy! He’s too damn good to be an actual human being.  He’s been working with drummer Scott Amendola in several incarnations in the past (trios, quartets).  For this recent album and tour, it was just the two of them.  Stripped down, yet full of sound.  Highly recommended guitar jazz.

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16 Ben Folds FiveAway When You Were Here” from The Sound of the Life of the Mind

One of the saddest days was when I heard that Ben Folds Five broke up.  I kind of always hoped they’d get back together, but Ben Folds kept chugging away on his solo stuff… which was excellent, but not… you know, not “the same.”  There was a glint of hope a handful of years ago when Darren Jessee and Robert Sledge joined forces with their pianist brother for some live shows.  This year, they got back together for real in the studio!  They’ll hit the road in early Winter 2013.  I’ll be lucky to see them in Portland in February.  When I saw them back in the late 90s/early 2000s, they blew me away.  Truly a fun band to see live!

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17 Bad VeinsIf Then” from The Mess We’ve Made

Cincinnati rock duo Bad Veins should own the world.  Their 2nd full length is lush, hooky, and a perfect follow-up to their 2009 debut.  With the lushness on this record, Ben & Sebastien are probably giving “Irene,” their reel-to-reel band member, a good workout.  Hopefully they buy her new cords and oil her joints in between gigs.

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18 John ZornPathway of Fire” from The Concealed

One of nine releases from John Zorn this year, this album is a jauntier, more accessible jazz compared to some of his other work.  I desperately wanted to put on some screeching, grating stuff from Music & Its Double, but I spared you all.  I was *that* close to doing it, too.  You’re welcome!  Anyway, The Concealed album features some excellent packaging – embossed white inks on white digipack with die-cut shapes in the front.  Kudos to Tzadik’s designer Chippy for her always stunning work.  The music was written by Zorn and performed by the usual suspects in his arsenal – the stellar cast of NYC jazz cats: Joey Baron on drums, Trevor Dunn on bass, Mark Feldman on violin, Erik Friedlander on cello, John Medeski on piano, and Kenny Wollesen on vibes.

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19 Fiona AppleWerewolf” from The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

It’s Fiona.  What can I say? Great standout track on her stupendous new album. There’s “nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key.”

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20 Sufjan StevensJustice Delivers Its Death” from Silver & Gold: Christmas Unicorn [EP]

Sparse acoustic guitar and Sufjan’s angelic voice thrust this song into my head and heart like no other.  I take its lyrics as disappointment in the temporary, which can also be a call to do more fruitful things while we’re here.  Which I think is good advice for everyone.  This song is also not too indicative of most of what you’ll find on the Christmas EPs. I don’t really like Christmas music, but I think Sufjan makes some wonderful art.  And, whoa, his concert tour this year was amazing (see review with photos of the Portland/Aladdin show)!!!

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21 Au4So Just Hang On, Beautiful One” from the forthcoming album …And Down Goes the Sky

These Canadian soundscapers haven’t released music since 2006. I found them in the halcyon “MySpace days,” if that tells you anything.  Their first album (On: Audio) is amazing and textured.  Their 2nd album from which this song is from is out now (digitally) with an official release date in 2013.  It’s also textured and gorgeous, with a little mixing up on the vocal duties.  I’m still digesting it, but I can still very much recommend it!

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Let me know what you think… If you enjoyed what you heard, please support the music. Definitely feel free to pass the link the mix along:

http://tinyurl.com/MixyD2012

~Dan – np: Au4On: Audio

there are no torrents, free mp3 or other downloads available

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2011 mix

24th Dec 11 (Sat) 6 comments

Time for this year’s mix CD, except I decided to go CD-free this year.  It’s still formatted to stay contained on one CD (20 tracks ~77 mins); so if you want to download the whole shebang and burn to a CD – go for it!

Check out 2009’s mix over here and 2010’s mix over here.  No major theme this time like some of my prior mixes (4 Elements & A-to-Z mixes)… the only rule I placed before myself was that everything is current (i.e.- released in 2011).  This year’s mix ended up mellower than most mixes from me.  There are a few rock songs, but whilst re-listening, it’s definitely less rocky.  I hope you enjoy.

The following songs were put on the mix from mostly lossless sources where possible and for promotional purposes only (read: free direct market advertising to people who decidedly love music). Most of the artists on this compilation are independent (put out the music themselves) or signed to smaller, independent labels. If you like what you hear, check out their music / support them with your wallet if you are able. The artists’ Webpage, Facebook, and Amazon links are available for each song below. I’ve also included concert review links if I’ve seen the artist recently.

Download the ZIP File (136M) available *HERE*, extract then drag & drop the mp3 files to your iTunes (or other playback software).

All Songs Streaming Playlist (click arrows to skip back & forth… for individual songs find them below. Note: Track 20 has explicit content.)

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01 PusciferThe Green Valley” from Conditions of My Parole

Tool / A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan makes wine and makes other music in his time off from Tool and APC.  I loved Puscifer’s debut and the subsequent EP, but this album tops it all.  It’s a brilliant record, recorded in one of his wine cellars with his friends – featuring backing vocals from Carina Round.  It’s self-released by Puscifer music with a small distribution partner (available in indie shops, primarily).  While there are some rockers (maybe 1/3 of the album), this song is fairly representative of the feel of the album.  It’s my #1 album in 2011.

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02 My Brightest DiamondBe Brave” from All Things Will Unwind

Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond) took some time off since her last album – 2008’s A Thousand Shark’s Teeth.  She put out some stunning collaborations in the past three years (including her first kiddo); so the lapse in studio work was a-OK.  On this album, Shara teams up with NYC-based ensemble yMusic to create a lush backdrop for her gorgeous voice.  It’s my #2 album in 2011.  I can’t praise it enough!

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03 Ric HordinskiMy Pretty Bagatelle” from Arthur’s Garden

Guitarist extraordinaire Ric Hordinski (formerly of Over the Rhine – in their rockier days) has been a favorite of mine for a LONG TIME. He’s the kind of guitarist who is subtle and unassuming in his approach, but you end up wracking your brain how he gets such lush and complex sounds out of the frets.  This album was part of a Kickstarter campaign, and while the physical manifestation hasn’t hit my mailbox yet, I was happy he sent it out to Kickstarter funders early.  It’s such a great record… you can get it now on bandcamp!

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04 Goddamn Electric BillSin” from Jazz

GdEB is the one-man brainchild of Jason Torbert.  He hits the spot for organic electronic meets post-rock for me.  Ambient at times, melodic other times.  His latest work has featured some vocals, but he’s primarily a groove-induced soundscape kind of guy.  Chirps and glitches, too.  Excellent stuff!

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05 RadioheadCodex” from The King of Limbs

I could probably put the “indie” icon next to Radiohead, too… I think technically they put TKOL out by themselves.  But they’re a huge superpower of a band.  I like this record, but I’ll admit that it’s still sinking in… I need to give it some more spins.  This album spawned a seven 7″ vinyl remix set.  The video for “Lotus Flower” also spawned a silly “Thom Yorke dancing” meme… one of my favorites being the tennis/fish and the “Single Ladies” editions.

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06 Garage A TroisAssault on Precinct 13” from Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil

Skerik, Stanton Moore, Marco Benevento (who replaced Charlie Hunter) and Mike Dillon make their way through Oregon quite a bit.  They are a sight to see – you don’t know exactly what kind of show you’ll get, but it’s definitely a fun time.  Fun, groove-oriented “new jazz.”

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07 dredgThe Tent” from Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy

I love this band.  I hate the album title, but I love the band.  Modern progressive rock, tons of talent, thoughtful lyrics, none of that “prog wankery” that is generally detestable.  While it’s hard for them to follow-up the stunning The Pariah The Parrot The Delusion, this new album does a hearty job of maintaining their quality rock standards.

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08 Tres Mts.Makes Me Feel” from Three Mountains

Supergroup made up of dUg Pinnick of King’s X, Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam, and Richard Stuverud of the Fastbacks.  They jangle through about an hour of solid rock tunes… more closely resembling a soulful King’s X trajectory vs. Pearl Jam – mainly due to dUg’s vocal duties.  This is a great trio that I hope isn’t a one-off.  With King’s X on tour in 2012, I doubt we’ll hear more from Tres Mts for a while, though.

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09 Chamberlain/Krauss/PhelpsEverest” from Modular: Sonic Explorations

Gorgeous soundscapes from Matt Chamberlain, Viktor Krauss, and Dan Phelps.  The Modular Project is the collaboration of the aforementioned musicians working together to “discover what the spontaneous and organic manipulation of sound can yield. Inspired by the world around them, they set out to discover what it might sound like when continents shift, clouds form, and roots push through soil.”  This track, “Everest,” features one of my favorite cellists – Eyvind Kang (who has worked with Secret Chiefs 3, John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Mike Patton).  It’s a great mix of cello, vibes and soaring atmosphere.  It’s only available digitally or on vinyl (it’s a luscious triple-gatefold!)…

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10 Jeffrey FoucaultPasserines” from Horse Latitudes

Jeffrey Foucault is a favorite Americana artist that I got turned on to by singer-songwriter/storyteller Peter Mulvey.  Jeffrey and Peter work together in the band Redbird (with David Goodrich and Jeffrey’s wife Kris Delmhorst).  I didn’t pick up Jeffrey’s albums until the past year and a half.  He’s definitely more on the cusp of country than I tend to traverse, but I dig his authenticity, poetic wit and charm.  He’s a delight on stage and a fantastic Prine-esque songwriter for the new generation.

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11 Peter Mulvey & David GoodrichDrumlin Trail” from Nine Days Wonder

Peter Mulvey has toured all over the US and the world for about 2 decades.  Some of the first times I saw him in concert, he had “Goody” with him on backing guitar.  They don’t get a chance to tour together much lately, but they did find some time to hole-up inside a studio to write and record some instrumental guitar duets.  While I love Peter’s vocal storytelling, it’s nice to hear his and Goody’s instrumental interplay tell a different story.

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12 Steven WilsonHome in Negative” from Grace for Drowning

Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson is a hard worker.  Whether he’s producing albums for others or making albums & touring with PT, Blackfield, No-Man, Storm Corrosion, or solo – he’s always busy each and every year.  This year brought his second solo album and a small tour.  The album is a bit more stripped down from his other projects.  It is reminiscent of Pink Floyd in spots – specifically this song “Home in Negative.”  He also rocks out a bit in the almost two hour double album… check out the video for “Track One” here (it’s a bit bleak then startling).  Gorgeous work.

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13 WussyPulverized” from Strawberry

Well, I was super happy when I found out that Wussy was putting out their fourth full-length studio album this year. They’re a fantastic rock quartet made up of Chuck Cleaver, Lisa Walker, Mark Messerly, and Joe Klug. They write catchy, poppy choruses and meld it perfectly with Midwest Americana-meets-indie-rock grit (or “Midwestern drone” as their press says).   Vocal duties are traded off with Chuck (of Ass Ponys) and Lisa (of Magic Words).

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14 PomplamooseTelephone” from The Album You Bought At Our Show…

This is the song that got me into Pomplamoose.  It’s a cover of the collaboration between Lady Gaga and Beyoncé (whose ridiculous but still kind awesome original video has 129 million hits as of Dec 2011).  Pomplamoose does “video songs,” and this was the hook to lure me in.  Click the image at the left to see their video of the song.  The CD came out this year as part of their first tour ever… which I caught in Portland.  Excellent, fun band!

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15 David BazanWolves at the Door” from Strange Negotiations

Continuing in his solo expressions after the official ceasing of Pedro the Lion, David Bazan manifests wit, a sharp tongue, and a questioning mind into his DIY-indie rock.  This year, he toured quite a bit, solo and with a band.  An album last year (Curse Your Branches), an album this year, and another on the way.  He’s slogging away, trekking all over the country, and making some great music on the way.

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16 John ZornSong of Experience” from At the Gates of Paradise

“Channeling the work of Romantic visionary William Blake and ancient Gnostic writings from the Nag Hammadi archives, At the Gates of Paradise is the newest installment in Zorn’s ever growing catalog of mystical works. The music is filled with bright light and a childlike innocence, and ranges from long form compositions with constantly shifting time signatures that unfold with a compelling inner logic to mysterious ballads and hypnotic moods.”  The album features a quartet that I know and love from many jazz/avant outfits: drummer Joey Baron (Masada and many more), bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr Bungle, Fantômas, Nels Cline Singers), keyboardist John Medeski (Medeski Martin & Wood) and vibraphonist Kenny Wollesen (Sex Mob, Electric Masada, etc).

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17 Over the RhineDays Like This” from The Long Surrender

For those that don’t know Over the Rhine, they started out as a four piece in Cincinnati in 1989 and put out their “post-nuclear, pseudo-alternative, folk-tinged art-pop” indie debut ‘Til We Have Faces in 1991. After about a decade as a four-piece, Ric Hordinski (guitars) & Brian Kelley (drums) left.  Karin Bergquist (vocals) & Linford Detweiler (keys) carried on the Over the Rhine flame throughout the years… moving away from a rockier feel to a more folky-pop-Americana thing. What I like about Over the Rhine is they continually change and evolve into a different band with each album and each outing. I’ve seen them rock out, I’ve seen them jazz it up, I’ve seen them happy, I’ve seen them somber, I’ve seen them celebratory, and I’ve seen them tell stories that will make you laugh and cry.  This tune was written by fellow Cincinnati singer-songwriter Kim Taylor (it originally appeared on her 2008 EP The Greatest Story).  I’d highly recommend checking her out as well.

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18 Elysian FieldsSleepover” from Last Night On Earth

Brooklyn-based sultry art rockers Elysian Fields don’t really tour outside of NYC often.  Jennifer Charles and Oren Bloedow find their way to Europe on occasion, but most U.S. fans only really have their studio albums to sate their musical desires.  This is their sixth full-length album in their near 16-year career.  Well crafted, well produced, lush vocals and folk meets dusky jazz.

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19 Kevin MooreHypnogogic” from Shine

This is a little palette cleanser for the mix CD – right before the end.  Kevin Moore’s main projects are the trippy/sample-heavy Chroma Key & heavier prog collaboration band O.S.I. (with Jim Matheos).  Shine is the soundtrack to the 2006 Turkish film Küçük Kiyamet (“Little Apocalypse“).  It came out in early 2011 after a successful Kickstarter in 2010.  The next album from O.S.I. comes out in February 2012 on Metal Blade.  I can almost guarantee it will be my Top album of 2012, and I haven’t heard a shred of it yet.

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20 Childish GambinoHeartbeat” from Camp (warning: explicit content)

I first heard of Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) like many people – via television.  Donald plays Troy Barnes on NBC’s Community.  I’ve heard a few of his albums, but this was his first full-length with a wide release.  This song almost didn’t make the cut, but the melody in the chorus and the grinding keyboards just made it to difficult to ultimately cut from the mix.  Brilliant song about the messiness of dating.  If you’d like the “clean” version of the song, there is a “clean” version of the whole album on Amazon.

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Near misses from the mix: something from Earth’s Angels of Darkness Demons of Light 1 & Opeth’s Heritage (songs are too long) and Azealia Bank’s “212” (infectious as hell)… plus songs from several other albums that’ll still be on my Best of 2011 lists (coming soon).

Let me know what you think… If you enjoyed what you heard, please support the music.  Definitely feel free to pass the link the mix along:

http://tinyurl.com/MixyD2011

~Dan – np: Florence + the MachineCeremonials

there are no torrents, free mp3 or other downloads available

2010 mix

18th Dec 10 (Sat) 2 comments

Time for this years mix CD… check out 2009’s over here.  No major theme this time like prior mixes… the only rule I placed before myself was that everything is current (i.e.- released in 2010).

The following songs were put on the mix CD from lossless sources where possible and for promotional purposes only (read: free direct market advertising to people who decidedly love music). Most of the artists on this compilation are independent (put out the music themselves) or signed to smaller, independent labels. If you like what you hear, check out their music / support them with your wallet if you are able. The artists’ Webpage, MyFace & Spacebook (whether official or not), and Amazon links are available for each song below. I’ve also included concert review links if I’ve seen the artist recently.

If you want one of these mix CDs, message me (see my “About” page).

PDF front liner is available HERE (designed to print double-sided).

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01 Mike PattonIl Cielo In Una Stanza” from Mondo Cane

Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Fantômas, et cetera is known for more boisterous, left of center fare.  With Mondo Cane, he classes up the joint that is Ipecac Records.  Mondo Cane, named after the film, is Mike’s homage to 50s Italian pop songs.  He croons some classic Italian songs with the backing of the Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini conducted by Aldo Sisillo.  The artwork, in both CD digipack and vinyl, is stupendous.  This is a magnificent record – both aurally and visually.  It’ll rank near the top of my upcoming year-end lists…

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02 Charlotte Gainsbourg & BeckIRM” from IRM

IRM came out in late November 2009 – which was after I had done last year’s mix; so I’m sneaking it into this year’s mix.  Beck collaborated with singer/actress Charlotte on the whole album (outside of one song).  It’s a nice poppy-electronic mix… some French tunes as well (her father is French musical legend Serge Gainsbourg).  The album and track were inspired by her head trauma in 2007 (“IRM” is the French acronym synonymous with what we call an “MRI machine” in the US).  My favorite part may be that the IRM delivers rhythmic support to the track.

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03 ElleryPieces (live)” original from This Isn’t Over Yet

This version is from Ellery’s live album that preceded their wonderful 2nd studio album that hit this year.  Ellery is one of my favorite things in Cincinnati… I miss being able to see them multiple times a year (sad face).  Husband/wife duo of Justin & Tasha Golden craft singer-songwriter pop songs… usually layered nicely on their albums with the help of producer, knob-twiddler Ric Hordinski (of Over the Rhine fame).  This album is with Malcolm Burn at the helm (Daniel Lanois / Bob Dylan / Iggy Pop / Kaki King / Emmylou Harris / etc).

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04 Comic WowNice Chaps” from Library Catalog Music Series: Music for Mysteries of Mind Space and Time

Asthmatic Kitty’s Library Catalog Music Series (LCMS) is much more hit than miss.  There have been a couple albums that didn’t interest me for multiple listens, but Comic Wow’s settled nicely from the get go.  LCMS (as a series) is made up of instrumental albums designed for possible use in films and television, background sounds for home or office.  Per the P.R., “Comic Wow are sonic illustrators, alchemists, designers, dilettantes’, poets, teachers, Socialists, and outdoorsmen whose advocacy of affordable colored cod pieces helped influence the look of thirty-third century America.”  Whatever you call it, I like it.

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05 Holy FuckRed Lights” from Latin

Despite what you think of their choice of band name, these Toronto band continue to put out great, groove-infused live electronic music that is both experimental and a poppy-force in the indie rock movement.  Latin, their third full length album, grabbed me immediately when it came out this past May… and it’s #1 with a bullet as far as instrumental albums go in 2010.  To top it off, they swung through Oregon twice this year (both excellent shows), and they put out quite possibly the cutest video for the raddest song (“Red Lights” – click the kitty to the right).  The video now has over 1,000,000 views on the YouTubes.  Only 900,000 views are from me.

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06 Damien JuradoBeacon Hill” from Saint Bartlett

I got into Damien Jurado via the Seattle-based melancholy, indie singer-songwriter scene (i.e.- Pedro the Lion / David Bazan).  While similar in general geography and friendship, Damien strikes me as more of a pure “songwriter” when compared to David’s social critique set to music.  Saint Bartlett fits well into Damien’s oeuvre.  At a show this past February (6 months before the album came out), I hardly knew any of the songs but felt as though I did.  That’s a testament to his craft.

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07 Jeanne CherhalCertains Animaux” from Charade

I first heard Jeanne Cherhal when we picked up her second album (Douze fois par an) when in Toulouse, France, for my MBA program in 2004.  Only available in France, I’ve managed to get her albums via Amazon.fr (good thing the buttons are in roughly the same spot).  I still don’t know what she’s saying, but I dig her style.

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08 Nellie McKayThe Portal” from Home Sweet Mobile Home

Nellie McKay’s move to Verve (instead of Sony) has been good for her.  They seem to give her free reign to put out Doris Day cover albums one year and an album of originals the next.  HSMH is a return to the quirky, diverse collection of songs that drove me to fall in love with her.  “The Portal” is one of the mellower tunes from the album… the rest of the album is full of Nellie’s modern piano jazz-pop, ukulele ditties, and even a pro-animal reggae tune.  The album has grown on me nicely, and I’m looking forward to more Nellie in the near future.  She seems to be in a period of prolificity as of late.  This is greatly welcomed.

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09 PusciferThe Humbling River (Duet Mix)” from C is for… EP

When Tool / A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan isn’t rocking with those bands (both had touring activity this year), he’s usually tending to his grapes or noodling around on some mildly offensive, but well-crafted music with his other side-project Puscifer.  The C is for… EP actually came out last year, but since it was digital only at that stage and since the 2010 CD & vinyl releases contained a touch of new material – it fits the criteria for this year’s compilation.  He also put out new mixes / remixes for the Blood Into Wine documentary (about the Arizona wine scene).  That record is called Sounds Into Blood Into Wine.  As I type this, I actually got a call from my local Eugene Oregon wine/beer shop (16tons).  They have my Caduceus/Merkin order in stock… so, coincidentally, I’ll be dropping some major coin on some of Maynard’s wine very shortly… glug glug.

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10 Haftor Medbøe GroupPneumatic” from A Box of Monkeys EP

This is another record that came out in late 2009… but I got it in 2010 and iTunes recognized it as 2010 (plus it was too late to be stricken from the CD mix rolls, as I liked it too much).  The track faatures some nice guitar-based jazz, and the EP also features some songs with vocals that aren’t too unlike Björk or Under Byen (also known as “a-OK with me”).  It’s a delightful EP that put Haftor on my radar… for good.

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11 Sufjan StevensFutile Devices” from The Age of Adz

The first Sufjan track that made its way onto this 2010 compilation comes from his second release from 2010.  The Age of Adz is a odd musical assembly.  At first I didn’t know what to think of it, then I started to like it, and then after seeing him live – I truly loved the album.  This song is actually one of the songs that I fell in love with right away.  For those not familiar with Sufjan, this track fits better with some of his earlier work and not so much with Adz as a whole.  But I think if you have an open mind and a desire to explore, you may very well fall in love with this record as well.

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12 AutorYnoOverture Automatique” from Pastrami Bagel Social Club

I am fans of some of the other Jewish rock acts on John Zorn’s Tzadik label: like Eyal Maoz’s Edom, Jon Madof’s Rashanim, and Yoshie Fruchter’s Pitom.  The description for this AutorYno debut from Tzadik was “a wild klezmer/rock fusion by this crazed band of Paris-born punk rockers… AutorYno hits with a hardedged sound and an exciting musical imagination. Full of youthful energy, massive guitar and centered by a powerful beat, they present eleven instrumentals that combine the power of rock with a taste of Jewish tradition.”  Regardless of Tzadik’s usual/expected hyperbole, I couldn’t not get it.  I’m glad I did, and I will say that it will rank high amongst my instrumental finds in 2010.

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13 Glen PhillipsThe Innocent” from Tornillo

The voice of Toad the Wet Sprocket has been putting out some fantastic albums since his first solo album (2000’s Abulum).  Tornillo was recorded in 2003 with David Garza, but was shelved / lost.  Many of the songs were re-recorded and put out on 2005’s Winter Pays For Summer (a favorite of mine).  Regardless of some of the songs making their way out to the fans, there are still some never-before-released gems on here.  Glen put it out about a month ago via his bandcamp page.  $7.  A total steal.

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14 Beats AntiqueEgyptic” from Blind Threshold

I got to see Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique twice this year… once with Beats Antique during Eugene Celebration, and once with the Indigo Bellydance troupe as part of their Le Serpent Rouge tour.  She had a knee in a brace during Eugene Celebration; so she lended her stage presence to additional percussion instead of dance – which was unfortunate.  Beats Antique is a bellydance-friendly, electronic and live instrument band from the Bay Area.  Elements of Balkan music and tribal-fusion dance music.  “Egyptic” is indicative of their infectuous sound.

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15 The WeepiesEmpty Your Hands” from Be My Thrill

Syrupy singer-songwriter pop is not my bailiwick, but I do find myself drawn to it on occasion.  I guess even my CD collection needs a “rom-com” soundtrack every now and again.  The Weepies write well-crafted songs about love and life.  It’s hard to say anything bad about them.

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16 JónsiKolniður” from Go

Sigur Rós-frontman’s debut solo album was going to be an acoustic affair, and then it turned into a lushly produced, Rós-ian opus with a multimedia firestorm of a tour (two U.S. legs with stunning stage design by 59 Productions).  Jónsi is superbly brilliant and and ambivalently hyper-sensitively shy individual (ex. his abrupt cancelation of in-store performance tour) and boisterous-acting performer (ex. his magnificent stageshow).  This album makes me excited for more solo work in the future, but I hope his day job with Sigur Rós is not on hold for too much longer.

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17 George HrabHai Yookito ‘Ya” from Trebuchet

George Hrab creates one of my favorite podcasts ever… the Geologic Podcast.  It’s not about geology.  It’s about science, skepticism, and his general life as a musician from Bethlehem, PA.  He is both humorous and intelligent, and he puts out great albums as well.  Trebuchet is his 6th studio album, and it features some great instrumental songs as well as some witty numbers fitting his skeptical, atheistic viewpoint.  One of my favorite songs on it is “A Small Comfort,” which is about the death of his dog Oscar.  I’d put it on a mix CD, but it honestly makes me cry everytime I hear it.  I also give George some kudos for kicking off his album with the Christopher Hitchens’ inspired “God Is Not Great” (an atheist pop song).  Bravo!

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18 Kaki KingFalling Day” from Junior

Kaki King is a guitar phenom, and this is her second album in a row that seems to be moving more towards turning into a more vocal, indie rock songstress.  It’s still full of her amazing guitarwork, but brings in a whistful lyricism.  I’m still getting used to her “vocal legs,” but I like what I hear so far.

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19 John Zorn’s The Dreamers Hashul” from Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 14 (Ipos)

Let’s just put this out there now… with thirteen albums and a DVD out in 2010, John Zorn might seem to have more misses than hits.  Well, I don’t think there’s been a more consistent set of songs than his Masada songs, and there hasn’t been a more consistently great series than the Masada Book Two series (Zorn’s Masada songs covered by others).  The Dreamers is a supergroup, too: Marc Ribot, Joey Baron, Cyro Baptista, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn and Jamie Saft – pillars in the adventurous, downtown NYC scene.

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20 Sufjan StevensThe Owl and the Tanager” from All Delighted People EP

This is my favorite song from Sufjan’s 50+ minute “EP” from earlier this year.  Beautiful and haunting, and again, not as characteristic of the rest of the EP, which seems more experimental and adventurous compared to “Owl” or his older material.  Originally only released online via bandcamp, the EP saw physical form (CD & vinyl) earlier this month.  I’m looking forward to spinning the vinyl when it hits my front porch.

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Let me know what you think…

unfortunately missing (due to space or flow limitations, or that I simply didn’t get them in the mail yet): Kevin Moore’s Shine, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp Muhl)’s Acoustic Sessions, Mogwai’s Special Moves/Burning, Zero 7’s Record… and John Zorn’s Moonchild Trio Ipsissimus, because I didn’t want to scare you.  Oh well, those may make it on my “favorite albums” of 2010 list.

~Dan – np: Radiohead101010 (aka OK Computer & In Rainbows cross-fade mix)

for more on the Radiohead cross-fade mix, check out Puddlegum

there are no torrents, free mp3 or other downloads available

2009 mix

12th Nov 09 (Thu) 2 comments

Well, thanks to a certain bigwig, I got off of my duff to make a mix CD for his round robin dealio.  No major theme this time like prior mixes… the only rule I placed before myself was that everything is current (i.e.- released in 2009).

{If you aren’t part of the round robin and want a CD, contact me.  If you’re local, even better. I’ll get ’em out around Thanksgiving.}

The following songs were put on the mix CD from lossless sources for promotional purposes only (read: free direct market advertising to people who decidedly love music).  Most of the artists on this compilation are independent (put out the music themselves) or signed to smaller, independent labels.  If you like what you hear, check out their music / support them with your wallet if you are able.  The artists’ Webpage, MyFace & Spacebook (whether official or not), and Amazon links are available for each song below.  I’ve also included concert review links if I’ve seen the artist recently.

PDF front liner is available HERE (designed to print double-sided).

UPDATE (12/18): free download / bonus track #18 below

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01 Nellie McKayDo Do Do” from Normal As Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day
Well, the person who got this round robin going (Brad) was a direct influence in me getting into Nellie McKay back when Get Away From Me came out.  I’ve been a fan ever since.  I think GAFM is my favorite of hers, but she’s still quite consistently entertaining to me.  Her latest album is a tribute to the late great Doris Day.  It’s missing some of Nellie’s sly wit, but is definitely fitting in her “I wish I was born in another era” wishes.  The album art is 135% fitting for Nellie, too.  Perfect choice!

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02 John ZornMiller’s Crake” from O’o
I could have put on some more skwoky Zorn, but I opted for a more accessible number.  John Zorn is prolific, but this was actually a slow year – I only count six Zorn-related releases.  O’o is twelve lyrical and adventurous instrumentals combining world music, surf, exotica, soundtracks, easy listening, and minimalism dedicated to twelve different birds (Chippy’s artwork is amazing).  “Miller’s Crake” is a delightful Guaraldi-esque jaunt from the band that came out of the Electric Masada / The Gift / The Dreamers sessions: Marc Ribot, Jamie Saft, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn, Joey Baron, and Cyro Baptista.

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03 Extra GoldenGimakiny Akia” from Thank You Very Quickly Vol 3
I was planning on going to Eugene Celebration anyway, but I got a call from a friend who suggested that we meet and definitely go to see Extra Golden.  Um, OK, sure.  Then I saw them, and wow… fuuuuun.  I love African music, but sometimes it’s gets all too similar unless you do something fun (a la Fela Kuti, Antibalas, etc).  Well, Extra Golden are half Kenyan and half American (which I guess is the “something fun” part?  I don’t know).  They fuse some great jam-rock with Kenyan beats* and singing… great stuff.  Fantastic live show, too. *-Though, coincidentally, not so much Kenyan beats on this track.  Yeah, sorry.

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04 Ember SwiftHollowed Bones 空骨” from Lentic :: 子玉
Ember Swift (yes, her real name) is finally starting to head in a new direction.  I mean, I dig her a lot, but her past albums have been slightly derivative of Ani DiFranco (with maybe a little more adventurism).  She’s from Canada, but has spent time living in China recently.  In fact, I think she’s still living there (don’t quote me on that)… that culture has definitely had an impact on her music.

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05 Works Progress Administration / Glen PhillipsRise Up” from Works Progress Administration
This song first showed up on the Concert to End Slavery compilation as a Glen Phillips solo song.  It’s my favorite from WPA, but it’s not very representative of the album.  The album is more folky / americana via the heavy influence of Sean & Sara Watkins from Nickelcreek and Luke Bulla (from Lyle Lovett’s band).

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06 Madeleine PeyrouxDamn the Circumstances” from Bare Bones
I am usually not a fan of vocal jazz… it’s usually too full of schlock, if you ask me.  Well, Madeleine’s smoky voice overrides that generalism for me.  She’s a fantastic vocalist, a throwback to the golden era of jazz vocalists.  This album is her first of non-covers.  All original, either written solo or co-written, Bare Bones moves her from a “fantastic standards” singer to bringing vocal jazz back into fresh territory.

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07 dredgGathering Pebbles” from The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion
dredg is one of my favorite bands now.  2005’s Catch Without Arms floored me, and I was eagerly awaiting the follow-up.  It took too long (4 years), but it was well worth it.  The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion is by far my favorite album this year.  It was inspired by Salmon Rushdie’s essay “Imagine There’s No Heaven: A Letter to the Sixth Billionth Citizen.”  In fact, this past fall, dredg and Salmon did a joint show that was captured by Spin magazine.

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08 Porcupine TreeFlicker” from The Incident
The best progressive rock band around, Porcupine Tree’s The Incident is a 55-minute epic concept album/song.  “Flicker” is actually a session b-side from the 2nd disc from the collection.  I got a chance to see Porcupine Tree this September, and Steven Wilson & Co delivered the impeccable studio sound to the stage.  It’s almost magic.

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09 O.S.I.Terminal” from Blood
I really like this 3rd record by O.S.I. (formerly know as the Office of Strategic Influence).  O.S.I. is a joint collaboration of Chroma Key’s Kevin Moore and Fates Warning’s Jim Matheos.  Most of Blood is heavier progressive rock, but I tend to like the more Chroma Key-esque tracks like “Terminal.”  The album has guests Gavin Harrison (of Porcupine Tree) on drums, Mikael Åkerfeldt (of Opeth) on vocals for one track, and Tim Bowness (or No-Man) on vocals for one track as well. The 2nd disc also features a Kevin Moore-sung, rockin’ tribute to Elliott Smith (“Christian Brothers”).

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10 900XThe Black Beach” from Library Catalog Music Series: Music For Lubbock, 1980
Sufjan Steven’s label Asthmatic Kitty is really becoming a favorite.  They host music by Sufjan, My Brightest Diamond, Fol Chen, Osso, and now the excellent experimentation from the various Library Catalog Music Series artists.  The 900X release is my favorite of the six releases so far.  I received the high quality mp3s from the record label for free, and I loved it so much that I bought it on vinyl.

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11 Chali 2Na featuring Talib KweliLock Sh*t Down” from Fish Outta Water
I’m still sad that Jurassic 5 broke up, but now we get albums from Portable Payback (Marc7 & Soup), Cut Chemist, DJ Nu Mark, Akil the MC, and, of course, Chali 2Na (my favorite from the group).  Chali’s got that deep booming voice that makes you pay attention.  This song’s lyrics (and video) are kinda cheesy, IMO, but it still features some nice flow from the “lyrical manphibian.”

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12 Peter MulveyVlad the Astrophysicist” from Letters From a Flying Machine
Storytelling has always been a fantastic part of Peter’s live shows.  Nine years ago, when his first niece was born, Peter got into the habit of writing physical letters to his nieces and nephews (now 17 kids in total).  This album is interspersed with spoken word letters and new music.  I think it’s his strongest album since 2000’s The Trouble With Poets.  I like a lot of different music, but with that being said, I think Peter is by far my favorite singer-songwriter.  Support indie music!

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13 David BazanCurse Your Branches” from Curse Your Branches
I wanted to put on “Hard to Be,” but due to space limitations, I went for a shorter song.  This is David’s first full-length solo album since disbanding the indie rock band Pedro the Lion.  PTL was really David’s thing anyway; so him disbanding the band isn’t that big of a deal, if you ask me.  This album also marks his first decided move away from the “religious guy” things into the “heavily agnostic thing” (kudos to him, from me at least).  This album is peppered with his thoughts and doubts of his religious upbringing – even moreso than in his prior Pedro days.  It very well called a “breakup letter to God” by some.

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14 John ZornNovato” from Alhambra Love Songs
Alhambra Love Songs is a set of 11 songs that are an eclectic homage to San Francisco Bay area musicians.  This particular song is dedicated to Mike Patton (and, no, that’s not why I picked it).  The album is played by pianist Rob Burger, bassist Greg Cohen, and drummer Ben Perowsky – and also falls into the “more accessible” John Zorn camp.

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15 WussyLittle Paper Birds” from Wussy
This little band that could from Cincinnati is getting some good buzz in major publications (I know Spin has featured them several times).  I went to college with their female lead singer, Lisa Walker, and remember when she did a more folky thing.  I think Wussy’s sound suits her well (and vice versa).  Anyway, this is their third record, and features some great songs from both Lisa and Ass Ponys’ Chuck Cleaver.

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16 The Dead Kenny G’sBirther Blues” from Bewildered Herd
Prior to moving to the PacNW, I had heard of saxophonist Skerik via John Zorn and other avant-garde connections.  I never got to hear him until I moved here and saw him at Sam Bond’s.  He seems to be down here in Eugene every other month or so, in different band incarnations.  The Dead Kenny G’s features Skerik on tenor sax & pianos, Mike Dillon on drums (who I recently saw drum with Ani DiFranco), and Brad Houser on bass & baritone sax.

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17 Ikue MoriRedeye Skimmer” from Class Insecta
Ikue Mori is an interesting instrumentalist.  She mostly utilizes a laptop, and I saw her play live with Ellery Eskelin & Jim Black in NYC in 2007 and was wowed by the improvisational nature of her craft.  Most of her albums are more avant-garde.  She has one album that I’d consider to be much more accessible (1995’s Painted Desert on Japan’s DIY/Avant label).  Class Insecta is also more accessible than most of her work.  I suppose if you like well composed, electronic music dedicated to insect species, it’s for you!

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18 Derek WebbWhat Matters More” from Stockholm Syndrome
(bonus mp3) DOWNLOAD it >> http://www.derekwebb.com/387/WMM.zip
Stockholm Syndrome is an album that I’m bummed I didn’t get fit on the CD version of this compilation.  It’s going to place fairly well in my year-end “Best of 2009” list.  I think it’s the best thing Derek’s ever done, including Caedmon’s Call and prior solo work.  It has a great overall vibe, and a message that I can agree with, even though I don’t agree with his religious philosophy.  This song, while not the best on the album (IMO), has a great lyric and pro-gay marriage position and was actually banned by his independent Christian label (INO Records).  He subsequently released an “uncensored” version of the album, and now has the song available for free on his site.

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Let me know what you think…

unfortunately missing (due to space or flow limitations, or that I simply didn’t get them in the mail yet): pop from Regina Spektor, Zero 7 & the Swell Season; jazz from Dave Douglas’ Brass Ecstasy and A Single Sky, Masada Quintet + Lovano, and The Fantastic Terrific Munkle; comedy from Flight of the Conchords; and some metal Ahleuchatistas, Megadeth, Isis, Dream Theater, Puscifer, Tides From Nebula & Alice in Chains.  Oh well, those may make it on my “favorite albums” of 2009 list.

~Dan – np: PusciferC is For…

there are no torrents, free mp3 or other downloads available

The 4 Elements (Mix CD)

10th Jun 06 (Sat) 3 comments

Posty‘s Not-All-That-Quarterly Compilation
The 4 Elements

It’s thematic, obviously. Some of it is new music, yet most of it is just music I’ve always liked that seemed to fit the compilation’s schema. The liners are not completed, yet. Hell, a test pressing hasn’t even been completed; so the track order might change some. I’m just drumming up interest before I decide how much energy to expend… email me if interested. It’ll likely go out sometime in mid-to-late July ’06

Thieved Art represented by Storm Thorgerson (earth), Karen Kristin (sky),
Julian Stanczak (water), and Dale Chihuly (fire)…
/
/

Music Shared without permission, but without ill-intent either, from these artists…

EARTH
1 On “Avalanche” (from the album Shifting Skin )
2 El Douje “Colision De Mundos” (from the album Worlds Collide )
3 Celldweller “Own Little World” (from the album Celldweller )
4 John Zorn “La Flor del Barrio” (from the album Music Romance, Vol. III: The Gift )
5 Porcupine Tree “Collapse the Light into Earth” (from the album In Absentia )

SKY
6 Tristeza “Stumble On Air” (from the album A Colores )
7 Dredg “Ode to the Sun” (from the album Catch Without Arms )
8 Pearl Jam “Thin Air” (from the album Binaural )
9 The Tango Saloon “The Little Plane That Could” (from the album The Tango Saloon )
10 Nick Drake “Pink Moon” (from the album Pink Moon )

WATER
11 O.S.I. “Bigger Wave” (from the album Free )
12 Au4 “An Ocean’s Measure of Sorrow” (from the album On: Audio )
13 Chroma Key “Even the Waves” (from the album Dead Air For Radios )
14 The Squirts “Lobster” (from the album Resquirted )

FIRE
15 Tori Amos “Spark” (from the album From the Choirgirl Hotel )
16 The Times “Laser Beams” (from the album Begin )
17 Heatmiser (early Elliott Smith) “Flame!” (from the album Cop and Speeder )
18 Fantômas “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” (from the album The Director’s Cut )
19 Angeldust “Firestorm” (from the album System 3 )

Think of it as a stroll through a museum installation. The headsets are free this weekend.

And since we’re germophobes… um… go on and keep those there headphones…

~Dan – np: electric masadajohn zorn’s 50th birthday month, vol. 4

Liner info, for those that care-o (fuzzy due to not having a proper Adobe P-Shop install on my new work laptop, had to do this via screencaps & MSPaint… oy…).




THE ORCHARD MIX CLUB: OCTOBER 2005 presented by posty mcposterton in A-to-Z style

14th Oct 05 (Fri) 3 comments

THE ORCHARD MIX CLUB

OCTOBER 2005 presented by posty mcposterton in A-to-Z style.

Too much music? Nah, that could never be!

Introduction… well, I’m definitely more of a rock fan; so my compilation is gonna lean more that way than more of the folk/alt.country camps that a lot of y’all have come from… but alas, hopefully you’ll find something new and exciting on here. If something on here is atrociously not your thing… sorry. There may be some heavy riffage goin’ on in parts… again, sorry. And due to the A to Z nature of it all (asinine, I know), sometimes one song doesn’t flow all that well into another… again, sorry. Even with 36 tracks to share, I still feel like I’m cutting off my left arm for the sake of my right sometimes in selecting songs. If you ever wanna hear more of an artist, let me know.

cover art

The following is a glut of information about the artists on this compilation if your interests have been piqued by the Mix CDs. I won’t be offended if ya toss this info sheet, though… ya bigger tosser… Oh, you might wonder why I also note “Indie Meter” for some artists… well, I love a lot of music, but I love to support indie artists a lot, too. I think it’s important to support good music. The downside… I tend to not know songs like Van Morrison’s “Moondance” or Elton John’s “Rocket Man” on first listen, and the first time I heard Over the Rhine covering “Blackbird” I asked Bruce who they were covering (that was 6 years ago, and I wasn’t really big into the Beatles until early 2000). Yeah, my wife laughs at me a lot.

CD #1

(track 01) A is brought to you by The Album Leaf.

Song:Streamside

Album: In a Safe Place (Sub Pop, ©2004)

Indie Meter: All of The Album Leaf’s albums have been on dinky indie labels, and this one on a larger indie label, Sub Pop. I give him major indie props.

Webpage(s): http://www.albumleaf.com/

Hails from: San Diego via Iceland (or Iceland via San Diego, depending)

Info: I got into The Album Leaf (aka Jimmy LaValle, formerly of Tristeza) via a Sigur Rós connection (read: a link from their site to some sound samples with the SR guys guesting). This recent album was produced in Sigur Rós’s swimming pool studio in Iceland. I have a tendency to really like organic-meets-electronic-driven, melodic efforts by one-man bands (Ken Andrews/ON & Kevin Moore/Chroma Key being the other notable ones). The Album Leaf has a smattering of about 6 albums/EPs (plus some 7” vinyl)… In a Safe Place is the best place to start. Some of the songs have vocals, but I’d earmark The Album Leaf as primarily an instrumental, soundscape artist. If you like The Album Leaf, I’d say also check out Tristeza (more guitar-y, but still instrumental).

(track 02) B is brought to you by Blackfield.

Song:Blackfield

Album: Blackfield (Snapper, ©2004)

Indie Meter: Released on indie Snapper in Europe in ‘04 and indie Koch in North America in ‘05

Webpage(s): http://www.blackfield.org/

Hails from: England and Israel

Info: Blackfield is a wonderful collaboration between Porcupine Tree singer/guitarist Steven Wilson and Israeli popstar Aviv Geffen. Normally I would cringe at a band/album/song combo all having the same name… but, hell, it’s a good song regardless of the triple-team naming with which it is associated. The Blackfield album fits in with the Porcupine Tree catalog, as Steven’s fingerprints are all over this one-off collaboration. I actually hope it becomes more than a one-off, but I don’t mind Steven’s Porcupine Tree stuff either… ;)

(track 03) C is brought to you by Copeland.

Song:No One Really Wins

Album: In Motion (The Militia Group, ©2005)

Indie Meter: Always on indie labels… but about to blow up, if you ask me…

Webpage(s): http://www.thecopelandsite.com/

Hails from: currently Atlanta, GA

Info: I got into Copeland based on one of those damn in-store listening booths. J Great packaging, cover art… and when I popped the headphones on, I got an immediate Ken Andrews/Failure rush… when I turned over the CD, I saw that Ken had mixed the album (he’s relentlessly all over the rock scene). Anyway, the best part of Copeland, to me, is Aaron Marsh’s vocals. Enjoy.

(track 04) D is brought to you by The Dissociatives.

Song:Goodbye (Prop Sleepyheadz Mix)

Album: The original version appears on LP, The Dissociatives (Virgin Eleven, ©2004)

Webpage(s): http://www.thedissociatives.com/

Hails from: Australia, the country and continent

Info: The Dissociatives is comprised of Daniel Johns and Paul Mac (and some touring members). Daniel Johns of Silverchair is a rock-n-roll hero of mine. At age 15, he had his first international super-hit (“Tomorrow” from Frogstomp). Alas, Silverchair were just a 2nd rate grunge band at the time. I’ll save my ramblings about Silverchair for Song #S, but just know that my interest in The Dissociatives came from Silverchair (who is now on hiatus while Daniel is busy with The Dissociatives). The Dissociatives’ debut album came out in 2004 in Australia, and I’m extremely thankful that of all countries with high potential for importing CDs to me, Canada and Australia have great exchange rates in favor of us Stateside. It was my #1 album of 2004, BY FAR. The Dissociatives record got international release in 2005… you can get it for a reasonable price at Amazon and iTunes. Do it, you know you want to…

(track 05) E is brought to you by Erin McKeown.

Song:Bells and Bombs

Album: We Will Become Like Birds (Nettwerk, ©2005)

Indie Meter: Former indie-queen now on a biggie.

Webpage(s): http://www.erinmckeown.com/

Hails from: Northeastern U.S.

Info: I first saw her open for Over the Rhine some years back, and I wasn’t impressed. Then I saw her on one of Ani Difranco’s tour DVDs… still not much to get me to purchase her stuff. Then I saw her newest CD above in a listening booth at my local shop, and there was a song that Peter Mulvey sang with her on the CD (he’s a personal favorite of mine). I got the CD, and the Peter Mulvey track isn’t even in the top half of the good songs on this album… and that’s a very pleasant surprise. This record is a pop-folk delight.

(track 06) F is brought to you by Faith No More.

Song:Stripsearch

Album: Album of the Year (Warner Reprise, ©1997)

Indie Meter: Never since probably their Courtney Love days were FNM indie. Now they are in the “dead band” category.

Webpage(s): http://www.fnm.com/ – – http://www.cv.org/

Hailed from: San Francisco, CA

Info: Faith No More (and Mike Patton offshoots) are in my Top 5 Artists of all-time. I just love ‘em… This here is a mellower song from their final album. I’m glad I got to see them before they broke up. My only pain is that the opener for that Fall 1997 Faith No More show was Limp Bizkit, who went on to sell a cagillion records while Faith No More broke up for “artistic reasons.” Faith No More was comprised of 5 very divergent musicians, who at the end of it all, hated each other’s artistic direction. This is what I feel made Faith No More so brilliant: five musicians who wanted something completely different in their sound. It was that great tension that birthed some wonderful music. Oh, and yes, Courtney Love was once their singer… I’m glad that other singers took over and eventually Mike Patton brought it all together.

(track 07) G is brought to you by The Galactic Cowboys.

Song:Still Life of Peace

Album: Space In Your Face (Geffen, ©2003)

Indie Meter: The later part of their career was on the indie label Metal Blade Records. Now they are in the “dead band” category as well.

Webpage(s): http://www.galacticcowboys.com/ – – http://www.montycolvin.com/

Hailed from: Houston, TX

Info: I got into the Galactic Cowboys in the Fall of 1994 – aka freshman year in college. I got into so much new and different music that first quarter alone… my buddy’s band Enslaved (now unfortunately called Gnashing of Teeth) led to Dream Theater which led to the Galactic Cowboys and subsequently King’s X. Anyway, I also got into creating webpages, and in 1995 after I got out of the Air Force ROTC I had all kinds of free time… so I created the 2nd Galactic Cowboys page on the “internet” (but humbly it was the best GC website at the time). It was 1995 – the internet was picking up credibility. Anyway, a bit after starting my little fanpage, I get an email from their guitarist (Wally Farkas). I built up a good connection with them, and for a while was their primary source of web content until they launched their own official webpage about 4 years later. Their bassist (Monty Colvin) is also a painter; and I just recently bought one of his originals… All the above is to say that the Galactic Cowboys have a special place in my heart the left ventricle, I think. Anyway, their music ranged from prog-metal at the beginning into what ended up being a melodic-hardrock at the end (like the Beatles mashed with Foo Fighters or something). The song featured here is in my Top 5 Songs of all-time, which is why I couldn’t cut it even after it was on the chopping block for this compilation about a dozen times. Where else can you get tasty quasi-speed metal riffage, strings, sitar, screwed up time changes, four-part harmonies, and an allegory for Corporate America?

(track 08 ) H is brought to you by Hotel Lights.

Song:Miles Behind Me

Album: Hotel Lights (self-released, ©2004)

Indie Meter: Sold completely indie via their webpage, shows, and CDBaby. Big indie meter points!!

Webpage(s): http://www.hotellights.net/

Hails from: North Carolina

Info: The primary vocals and songwriting is done by Darren Jesse, the drummer for the now-defunct Ben Folds Five. Refer to his penned song “Magic” from the Five’s The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner CD for more quality songwriting of his. Darren doesn’t drum in this band, though. He plays guitar and sings lead. This song is fairly indicative of their sound… great indie pop.

(track 09) I is brought to you by an Incubus side-project called Time-Lapse Consortium.

Song:Cholula

Album: Time-Lapse Consortium Live at the Roxy (Epic Official Bootlegs, ©2003)

Webpage(s): http://www.timelapsebootlegs.com/ – – http://www.enjoyincubus.com/

Hails from: Southern California

Info: As far as I know, this was a band put together for only a few shows in 2003. I hope it comes back in the future for a reprise album or tour… It is the brainchild of Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger and his musician friend Suzie Katayama. It also featured Incubus’ drummer Jose Pasillas and The Roots’ bassist Ben Kenney (who later joined Incubus), as well as horn and string sections. The CD made my Top 5 CDs of 2003 (see the old Actwin archives for proof). It was a delightful surprise. It is primarily jazzy numbers like “Cholula” (named after an authentic Mexican salsa), and it also has a few Incubus songs thrown in near the end, with Brandon Boyd coming out to sing on “A Certain Shade of Green.” It is primarily an instrumental effort, though.

(track 10) J is brought to you by Jude (Christodal).

Song:Brad and Suzy (Petralia Mix)

Album: You’re So Hot I Love You -EP- (Maverick, ©1999), the original version is on No One Is Really Beautiful (Maverick, ©1998 )

Indie Meter: Now completely indie via his webpage, shows, and CDBaby. Big indie meter points!!

Webpage(s): http://www.judemusic.com/

Hails from: Los Angeles, CA

Info: Once indie, once Madonna’s whipping boy, now indie again. I saw Jude open up for Ben Folds Five over Memorial Day weekend in 1999 down in Nashville. By his second song, I was a lifelong fan. I bought his only majorly-distributed CD the next day at Best Buy. He went into hiding for a while after his label rejected his follow-up album and made him re-record it. The result was King of Yesterday, which was good, but quite… um, “forced.” He eventually got out of his contract and seemingly disappeared. In late-late 2003, he mysteriously had a new album on CDBaby (I CDBaby). Anyway, for the past few months Jude has been updating his webpage almost daily, like some kind of hard-to-maintain manual blog. It is often humorous, and I proudly say that I try to visit it daily. He’s got several projects in the works… 2006 looks like it’s gonna be a good year for Jude fans.

(track 11) K is brought to you by Michael Kelsey.

Song:Wild Blue Ride

Album: November (H Note, ©2003)

Indie Meter: Completely through his webpage, local shops, and shows… major indie props!

Webpage(s): http://www.michaelkelsey.com/

Hails from: Lafayette, IN

Info: My first Over the Rhine concert was also my first Michael Kelsey concert. He was the opener, and he blew me away. His records are great, but his live show is something of legend. I once saw him play a song, break a string, and change the string while not stopping the song. In 2004, he was awarded the top prize in Guitar Center’s Best Unsigned Guitarist search. He’s got 4 records and a DVD-EP, and his music is about half instrumental and half vocal. If you only do one thing in your life from here on out, add yourself to his email list and go see him live if he comes to your town.

(track 12) L is brought to you by Jason Ludwig.

Song:Godspeed

Album: PeLL MeLL (self-released, ©2003)

Indie Meter: A complete DIY-er from Cincinnati… gotta love his tenacity…

Webpage(s): http://www.jasonludwig.com/ – – http://www.noctaluca.com/

Hails from: Cincinnati, OH

Info: All I can really say it that I really dig Jason’s debut CD, and I hope Noctaluca (Jason’s band incarnation) get that damned debut album recorded… they’ve been threatening to finish it for about two years now… in concert, they’ve got a nice Pink Floyd meets Radiohead meets <insert jam-band name> vibe.

(track 13) M is brought to you by Mr. Bungle.

Song:Goodbye Sober Day

Album: California (Warner Bros, ©1999)

Webpage(s): http://www.mrbungle.com/ – – http://www.cv.org/

Hails from: San Francisco, CA

Info: Mr. Bungle was Mike Patton’s band before, during, and after Faith No More. They are what I’d call loungy-cartoon-beachbum-circus-deathrock. They’ve only released three proper albums, all on Warner Brothers… which was lucky for them, otherwise they’d probably be sued for their logo. They are on a long-term hiatus right now, meaning that Mike Patton is busy with his 80-million other musical and filmic side-projects. I believe that Mr. Bungle’s music is utter brilliance, yet I also concede that it’s not for everyone. It’s on this mix CD to expose your brain to something different. At least listen to it once all the way through… after that, I wouldn’t be offended if you skipped it. Again, it’s not for everyone. It’s definitely up my proverbial alley, though. Me likes me some Bungle.

(track 14) N is brought to you by No-Man.

No-ManSong:Chelsea Cap

Album: All That You Are -EP- (Hidden Art, ©2003)

Indie Meter: Only on European indie labels.

Webpage(s): http://www.no-man.co.uk/

Hails from: England

Info: Steven Wilson sneaks his way onto this compilation once again. This side-project is fronted by Tim Bowness, though. It’s a two-man band of sorts. Tim writes the lyrics and sings, and Steven writes and plays the music. On some of their albums, they also have some additional studio musicians (Porcupine Tree kin and others). Great melodic rock, sometimes painful lyrically.

(track 15) O is brought to you by Office of Strategic Influence.

Office of Strategic Influence - Limited Edition Song:Hello, Helicopter!

Album: Office of Strategic Influence (Inside Out, ©2003)

Indie Meter: One album out on an indie progrock label.

Webpage(s): http://www.osiband.com/ – – – http://www.chromakey.com/ – – – http://www.mikeportnoy.com/

Hails from: The members were from Long Island, Montreal, and Costa Rica at the time, but it was recorded in upstate NY.

Info: A “supergroup” with Kevin Moore (of Chroma Key), Jim Matheos (of Fates Warning), and Mike Portnoy (of Dream Theater). You had me at Kevin Moore.” It’s like a Chroma Key record, but it didn’t even start with Kevin’s involvement. Now continuing on for OSI #2, it’ll be primarily Kevin and Jim. Anyway, the album is a loose concept of sorts about the media, political administrations, and the failed attempt of the Pentagon/Homeland Security Department setting up a real “OSI” to make the U.S.’s “war on terror” be viewed in a more favorable light overseas. Given all of that backstory drivel, the music isn’t overtly political.

(track 16) P is brought to you by Placebo.

PlaceboSong:Twenty Years

Album: Once More With Feeling (Astralwerks-EMI, ©2004)

Webpage(s): http://www.placebo.co.uk/

Hails from: England

Info: My favorite “exactly half gay band”… EVER. By the way, that’s their description of their three-piece rock group, not mine. I got into Placebo with their song “Pure Morning.” They only got better after that. The song on this Orchard compilation is actually the previously unreleased song from their culmination of singles compilation put out last year. Most compilations like that are a sign to an end of a band… ya know, record contract fulfillment. I’m relieved that they’re in the studio now for a new release in 2006. Brian Malko’s got a golden voice that bridges the gap between the Placebo sound of britglam and punkrock.


(track 17) Q is brought to you by Queen (via Extreme).

Song:Love of My Life

Album: Song for Love -EP- (A&M Records, ©1992)

Webpage(s): http://www.cherone.com/ – – – http://www.population-1.com/ – – – http://www.queenonline.com/

Hailed from: Boston, MA

Info: Well, you didn’t really want me to put Queensrÿche on here, did you? And, I admittedly don’t own any Queen. They just never were my thing, even though I do like some of their stuff. Rather than Queensrÿche, you all should be thanking me for opting for Extreme covering a Queen song. They even have Queen’s guitarist Brian May on the track. Extreme was/is in my Top 5 Artists of all-time list. Count how many times I say that – I think I’ve got 4 of those Top 5 Artists on this compilation, with my postscript being all about the 5th separate mention of the Top 5 Artists. Say what you will, but Extreme was so much more than the “More Than Words” hairband. They just came out either too late or too early for their time, depending on how you look at it. They were more of an art-rock band, but no one seems to believe me when I say that… alas, this song doesn’t go in that direction either. But trust me, Extreme was an art-rock band. J

(track 18 ) R is brought to you by Radiohead.

Song:Meeting In the Aisle

Album: Airbag (How Am I Driving?) -EP- (Capitol, ©1998 )

Webpage(s): http://www.radiohead.com/ – – – http://www.greenplastic.com/

Hails from: England

Info: Cough… Radiohead is one of my Top 5 Artists of all-time. I yield blindly to Thom Yorke’s will. I’d buy a record of him dumping in a plastic bag, shut up Steve. In other words, I don’t feel as if I have to defend Radiohead. Their music speaks for itself. Some people don’t like it. Some people do… a lot. I’m in the later group.

CD #2

(track 01) S is brought to you by Silverchair.

Song:Tuna In the Brine

Album: Diorama (Virgin Eleven, ©2002)

Webpage(s): http://www.chairpage.com/

Hails from: Australia

Info: Cough… my 3rd Top 5 Artists of all-time in a row… OK, I’m done with that for now. Silverchair started out as a 2nd rate grunge band but evolved into an amazing force. Their last two albums, Neon Ballroom and Diorama, are pulled out of my CD racks a lot to spin. Diorama was easily my favorite CD of 2002. The album features the orchestration of the legendary Van Dyke Parks on three tracks (including this track, “Tuna In the Brine”). Silverchair is currently on hiatus, but I hope Daniel Johns and company get back to working up new music soon. They’re only 24 or 25 now; so they’ve got hopefully plenty of time to put out some more great music.

(track 02) T is brought to you by Tool.

Song:Reflection

Album: Lateralus (Zoo/Volcano, ©2001)

Webpage(s): http://www.toolband.com/

Hails from: Southern California

Info: Tool is one of the most intelligent rock groups around. Sure, some of their content might be questionable to some, per se, but that’s all part of their artistic and conscious striving to be subversive towards the mainstream. This track is one of their most beautiful pieces of music. Much of their music is harsher than this, but it’s all quite stunning music, in my opinion. Maynard James Keenan has one of the best voices in metal – hands down. If you don’t mind the “f-ck your god” lyrics, I’d also recommend checking out Maynard’s other mainstream-subversive band, A Perfect Circle, with former-Tool guitar tech Billy Howerdel and former-Failure guitarist Troy Van Leeuwuen. Back to Tool… Danny Carey plays the most insanely creative drumming that I‘ve heard – but he remains very understated in his approach. Adam Jones’ guitar playing is oft understated as well, while also being oft powerfully abrupt. I don’t know much about their bassist Justin Chancellor, but I’m sure he likes bubble gum as much as the rest of them.

(track 03) U is brought to you by Unbelievable Truth.

Song:Solved

Album: Almost Here (Virgin, ©1997)

Webpage(s): http://www.unbelievable-truth.co.uk/

Hailed from: England

Info: I first saw them on tour with Tori Amos. I second saw them on tour with Tori Amos. I third saw them on tour with Tori Amos. Yeah, I am a Tori junkie, and I got hooked on Unbelievable Truth by the third time. They reminded me of a cross between Radiohead and Toad the Wet Sprocket, which is a comparison that still rings true (for me). I came to find out that the reason why they sounded a lot like Radiohead was that their front man was none other than Andy Yorke (Thom’s younger brother). They only released one album on a major, then went quite underground and independently released 2 to 3 albums (depending on your continent) before they eventually called it quits.

(track 04) V is brought to you by Vigilantes of Love (Bill Mallonee).

Song:Solar System

Album: Audible Sigh v. 3 (Meat Market/True Tunes/Compass, ©1999/2000/2000)

Indie Meter: Bill and VOL has been primarily indie for their entire career… except for the brief period when they had one greatest hits and a studio album on a Warner subsidiary.

Webpage(s): http://www.billandvol.com/

Hails from: Athens, GA

Info: Bill Mallonee is Vigilantes of Love. Some people love him, some people don’t. This song comes from the third issue of Audible Sigh. It’s my favorite album of VOL’s since the Blister Soul / Welcome to Struggleville era. The trouble is that it got released three separate times on three separate labels with different tracks… a-nnoying, but a great record nonetheless. Bill Mallonee is a prolific songwriter, and I enjoy his brutal honesty. Sometimes he gets too countrified or too sesame street-harmonica for my tastes, but many times he gets it spot on. My wife likes his Snuggle fabric softener song.

(track 05) W is brought to you by Carissa’s Wierd (the misspelling is theirs, not mine).

Song:Ignorant Piece of Shit

“Explicit” Lyrics: None other than the title…

Album: Songs About Leaving (Sad Robot, ©2002)

Indie Meter: Completely indie or self-released, and sometimes very difficult to track down…

Webpage(s): http://www.sadrobotrecords.com/ – – http://suicidesqueeze.net/s_artist.html

Hailed from: Seattle, WA

Info: I thank [jp/p] from the Orchard for getting me hooked on Carissa’s Wierd. I wish they would learn to spell, though. At first I thought they just took the whole “i before e” rule too seriously, but a look at their liner notes shows that they really just don’t know how to spell many words correctly. Eh… regardless, I love their raw, emotional music. They are now on official hiatus/break-up, but Jenn Ghetto has a couple of albums out and about under the band name “S”…

(track 06) X is brought to you by the X-ecutioners vs. General Patton.

Song:¡Get Up, Punk! (0200 Hours)

Album: Joint Special Operations Task Force (Ipecac, ©2005)

Indie Meter: On Mike Patton’s own Ipecac label

Webpage(s): http://www.ipecac.com/bio.php?id=32

Hails from: San Francisco, CA & New York City

Info: This was way better than the alternative for “X.” J This is a one-off side-project between Mike Patton and the hip-hop turntable crew X-ecutioners. I don’t have much to add other than saying that much of this album is disjointed, but the few actual songs on it are wonderful…


(track 07) Y is brought to you by Year of the Rabbit.

Song:Rabbit Hole

Album: Year of the Rabbit (Elektra, ©2003)

Webpage(s): http://www.yearoftherabbit.net/ – – http://www.kenandrews.com/ – – – http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/on

Hails from: Southern California

Info: Year of the Rabbit is the most recent Ken Andrews band in existence… it’s not officially done, but he’s off working on other stuff right now. I dig Ken Andrews a lot… I first got into him through his solo effort, ON. It’s very organic, yet very electronic pop. Then I got into his old band, Failure. Their album Fantastic Planet is probably one of the most underrated gems in modern rock. It’s utterly fabulous. He also had a cover project called The Replicants that Maynard James Keenan (of Tool) and others appeared on… Since my slots for F, O, and R were taken, Year of the Rabbit appears on this compilation. YOTR is rockier than ON and more polished than Failure. Ken has also produced or mixed upwards of 100 artists… the list is gi-mongous

(track 08) Z is brought to you by Frank Zappa.

Song:Duke of Orchestral Prunes

Album: Läther (Rykodisc, ©1996)

Webpage(s): http://www.zappa.com/

Hailed from: primarily Southern California

Info: Frank Zappa was a prolific songwriting satirist who often wrote ridiculously and often politically. He many times stumbled on to a great thing, but many times he also didn’t know when to quit. He pushed the boundaries of rock, and specifically the concept of the rock composer. After issues with the biggies, he became an astounding do-it-yourselfer. Over his career, he put out over 70 albums of original material, and most likely appeared on a hundred other albums. In his later years, he became more and more avant-garde. My usual standby FZ instrumental track is “Peaches In Regalia” from Hot Rats (I even included it on our wedding music CDs), but I opted for something different in this compilation… and I didn’t want to offend anyone; so I picked an instrumental track. As for essential Zappa, Strictly Commercial (a hits package) is where I started, but other essential albums are Apostrophe (’), Hot Rats, Waka/Jawaka

(track 09) 0 is brought to you by Remy Zero.

Song:Gramarye

Album: Villa Elaine (Geffen, ©1998 )

Webpage(s): http://www.remyzero.com/

Hailed from: Birmingham, AL

Info: Hmmm… what to say about Remy Zero? I got into them back in 1998 when I saw the video for “Gramarye” on some late-night alternative rock cable-access station. I bought both of their albums at the time for cheap at a used shop… both great purchases at a $5 level. When their last album came out, The Golden Hum, I think I got it the day it came out. I saw them in concert that year, then I watched the first episode of Smallville after one of our weekly Buffy nights. First few bars of the TV show’s opening credits, I blurted out, “holy crap, this is Remy Zero!” Everyone else in the room looked at me like I was a psycho (which is a highly reliable reaction considering the source). Anyway, I thought it was cool that a fairly unknown band has getting such prominent exposure. Apparently this overexposure ended up breaking the band up.

(track 10) 1 is brought to you by Population-1.

Song:Unhappy B-day

“Explicit” Lyrics: Not really, but it does include “shit” a few times.

Album: Population-1 (self-released, ©2002)

Indie Meter: Puts out his albums out independently or also on Polydor Japan

Webpage(s): http://www.population-1.com/ which will eventually morph into http://www.dramagods.com/

Hails from: Australia & Los Angeles (and formerly Boston)

Info: Nuno Bettencourt is a rock hero of mine. After Extreme broke up, he put out a great solo album under the moniker of just “Nuno” called Schizophonic. He then put out two albums under the moniker Mourning Widows. The first MW record was still a solo album, and then by the second he made a band out of it. He briefly changed the name of his band to Near Death Experience, and then he changed it to Population-1. And now, two days before the beginning of October 2005, I find out that there are plans to change the name from Population-1 to Dramagods. Oy vey! Needless to say, I think Nuno’s got identity issues or something. All of his post-Extreme days have been melodic power-rock efforts… some showcasing his guitar-playing, but mostly showcasing his songwriting. I’m kind of an idiot, because this song doesn’t really showcase his “great songwriting” (it was just a fun “party” tune). Population-1/Dramagods hopes to release their third record (2nd full-length) in early 2006. Three members of Population-1/Dramagods (definitely including Nuno) are also working with Perry Farrell (of Jane’s Addiction & Lollapalooza fame) and Tony Kanal (No Doubt’s bassist) on a side-project called Satellite Party, which had its live debut at the Chicago 2005 Lollapalooza fest. I have no news about a Satellite Party studio effort…

(track 11) 2 is brought to you by The Jelly Jam’s album 2.

Song:She Was Alone

Album: 2 (Inside Out, ©2004)

Indie Meter: Small prog-rock label…

Webpage(s): http://www.tytabor.net/ – – http://www.kingsxonline.com/jellyjam/

Hails from: Texas, New York and Boston

Info: This is a veritable prog “supergroup” of Ty Tabor (King’s X), Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs), and John Myung (Dream Theater). It actually started as Platypus (with former-Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian), but splintered off into two side-projects – The Jelly Jam (sans Derek) and Jughead (Ty, Derek and Matt & Gregg Bisonnette from The Mustard Seeds). Of the three bands (Platypus, Jughead, and The Jelly Jam), I dig Jughead the most… but they’re all great rock bands.

(track 12) 3 is brought to you by Secret Chiefs 3.

Secret Chiefs 3 photoSong:Knights of Damcar

Album: Book M (Web of Mimicry, ©2001)

Indie Meter: Completely.

Webpage(s): http://www.secretchiefs3.com/ – – http://www.webofmimicry.com/label.php?band=sc3

Hails from: unsure, but probably the SF Bay Area

Info: No, you’re not listening to a band from the Middle East. You’re listening to a gang of musical fringe players who run in circles with the noiserock, punk, and hardcore underground, including members of Mr. Bungle. No, Mike Patton has no involvement in this group, but fellow Bungles (Trey Spruance, Trevor Dunn, and Danny Hiefetz) are all over the Secret Chiefs 3. The Secret Chiefs 3 catalog is “mostly made up of Indian/Asian-sounding melodies overlayed with wildly cavorting techno rhythms and a tiny bit of metal, infused with a sense of mystery and paranoia from the thematic artwork based on number theory and assumedly Hindu belief systems” (allmusicguide). Most of it fits in with the eclectic Bungle sound – ie: The Secret Chiefs 3 can’t be defined or pigeonholed.

(track 13) 4 is brought to you by Porcupine Tree’s EP that has a “4” in the title.

Song:Disappear

Album: 4 Chords That Made a Million -EP- (k-scope/Snapper, ©2000)

Webpage(s): http://www.porcupinetree.com/

Hails from: England

Info: I should thank (or blame) both Steve C. and Zayne for getting me into Porcupine Tree. A brilliant progressive band comes along just when I’m about fed-up with progressive rock. Porcupine Tree’s earlier albums are more Pink Floyd influenced, and their most recent albums (In Absentia and Deadwing) have a heavier edge to them. PT comes highly recommended in both the live and recorded setting. Porcupine Tree is also related to two other bands in this compilation… Steven Wilson (the primary songwriter in PT) is also a major contributor in both Blackfield and No-Man.

(track 14) 5 is brought to you by Jurassic 5.

Song:Monkey Bars

“Explicit” Lyrics: Not really, but it does include “shit” a few times.

Album: Quality Control (Interscope, ©2000)

Webpage(s): http://www.jurassic5.com/ – – http://www.cutchemist.com/

Hails from: Los Angeles

Info: Jurassic 5 is quite frankly one of the few hip-hop groups out there that truly excites me. I enjoy their “old school” style and their art of making the hip-hop sound be a lot about musicality. Their DJs (Cut Chemist and Nu Mark) bring a level of musicianship and playfulness to the band. J5’s MCs also tend to keep it clean (for the most part) and rap about positive and/or thought-provoking topics… not “hoes and gats”… This song (“Monkey Bars”) is just a fun song about the elements of hip-hop.

(track 15) 6 is brought to you by King’s X.

Song:Six Broken Soldiers

Album: Faith Hope Love (Megaforce, ©1990)

Indie Meter: They started out indie, then got signed up for an asinine 14-record contract with Atlantic. Yikes! Luckily Atlantic honored their request to be dropped, and they have been indie ever since 1996.

Webpage(s): http://www.kingsxonline.com/ – – http://www.tytabor.net/

Hails from: Katy, TX

Info: I’m going to preface all of this by stating that this song is an aberration of most King’s X songs… it is sung by the drummer, and it’s primarily nonsensical… alas, it had “six” in the title. King’s X is one of those rare bands who have withstood the test of time. They have been around for over 25 years, and they are still active in the rock music scene without having any major hits or chart success. They are a band that has spawned countless influenced-by colleagues – Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Collective Soul included – and gained much respect from musicians all over the world. All three members of King’s X (Doug Pinnick, Ty Tabor and Jerry Gaskill) have side-projects and solo efforts and remain loyal to King’s X through it all.

(track 16) 7 is brought to you by Zero 7.

Song:Truth & Rights

Album: Another Late Night (Kinetic, ©2002)

Webpage(s): http://www.zero7.co.uk/

Hails from: England

Info: Thanks to Luke for his pop-up Zero 7 Player post before When It Falls came out. Beautiful vocals and smooth jazz. This band became a quick favorite.

(track 17) 8 is brought to you by Elliott Smith.

Song:Figure 8

Album: Son of Sam -single- (Dreamworks, ©2000)

Indie Meter: indie-pop king who somehow got nominated for an Oscar against Celine DionJ

Webpage(s): http://www.sweetadeline.net/ is a good posthumous webpage

Hailed from: primarily Portland, OR, but also New York City and Los Angeles along his career path

Info: I thank Bruce for getting me into Elliott Smith right before he came to town in 2000. I’m glad I got to see him before he died. He was a treasure, and he is very much missed. This track was from the Figure 8 sessions and made its way onto the “Son of Sam” import single.

(track 18) 9 is brought to you by Buckethead.

Song:911

Album: Bermuda Triangle (Catalyst, ©2002)

Indie Meter: countless albums on countless indie labels

Webpage(s): http://www.bucketheadland.com/

Hails from: a chicken coop

Info: Buckethead is crazy. He plays guitar like few others. He wears a KFC-style bucket and a white mask during shows and photo ops. He plays guitars with nunchuks. He dances the robot. He’s got an album with Viggo Mortensen that is surprisingly good. He works a lot with Les Claypool and Bootsy Collins. He was in Axl Rose’s latest touring incarnation of Guns N’ Roses. There is very little known about his origins or personal life. Most of his music is in a metal vein, but two of his albums would be well-suited for fans of mellower music: Colma and Electric Tears. I even used some Buckethead tracks in our wedding CDs… J

FIN.

Enjoy! Sorry for overloading… but once I got the “A to Z” mix concept in my head, there was no smoting it.

~Dan

PS– You might be asking yourself, “why is Chroma Key clearly absent? Well, I’ve got an OSI track on there, which is essentially Chroma Key on steroids. If you wanna hear some Chroma Key (ie- my #1 favorite band of all-time), just ask me. Or check out some of the following links for sound samples:

http://www.chromakey.com/

http://www.cdbaby.com/all/chromakey456

The Chroma Key albums Dead Air For Radios and You Go Now have gained my 100% buy-back guarantee… if you buy them and don’t like ‘em, I’ll buy ‘em off your hands for what you paid for ‘em (max $13.95/ea). Honest to God!

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