Sunday, March 6, 2011

At the Temporary Age of 24: A Late-Winter Mix

[Download it here. Some songs may offend those with tender ears. Make sure the playlist is ordered by album, not by artist. See the bottom of this post for a full track list to ensure yours is correctly ordered.]

This mix sprang out of a recently renewed obsession with Destroyer and my dissatisfaction with my 2010 playlist. I should clarify that I am not dissatisfied with the contents of the playlist–there are a handful of songs I've since heard that I would include, but no major revisions. Instead, the playlist failed to satisfy my biannual desire to make and share a mix ordered more meaningfully than by artist name.

I'm vain enough to point out a few of the small details I like about this mix. The Walt Whitman poem about a vigil before burial leads into the opening line of the following track: "It was back amongst the living..." (aside: the track that closes with Whitman opens with a quote by Jefferson Davis, supposedly said or written to his wife after his inauguration). I like, too, the echo of sounds between the end of the Flaming Lips track and the beginning of the Walkmen one, and also how "Paper Lace" and "You're Not in Love" provide the hinge on which the mix swings from clear to somewhat more distorted, slightly more sinister.

12. The first thing I knew about this mix when I conceived of it sometime in January or February was that "Farrar, Straus, and Giroux" would be the closer. It's one of my favorite Destroyer songs, which means that it's one of my favorite songs. At one point I thought of making this mix about 50% Destroyer but eventually changed my mind.

1. Soon after I decided Elvis Perkins would open it. I first heard the track while listening to Pandora Radio with Sean in the fall of my junior year at Hillsdale, upon which I impulsively bought the album (the rest didn't quite hold up, though it's certainly good).

Filling in the space between open and close was a surprisingly long, and changing, process--particularly by comparison with the almost immediate coming-together of my last mix. Various "drafts" of mixes were sometimes as short as 30 or as long as 80 minutes. The final version clocks in at about 50 minutes.

5. The third lock, coming a bit later, was "Paper Lace" by Swan Lake. Enemy Mine, the album from which the track comes, did not impress me initially, and the more energetic "Paper Lace" that Spencer Krug busted out for his Sunset Rubdown release the same year only cemented my opinion.

Sometime later a sad bear suggested that the Swan Lake version might be better. I scoffed that the Swan Lake version "feels plodding." Even so, the discussion prompted me to revisit Enemy Mine. A month later I had decided that, in fact, the Swan Lake version is superior. Looking back, I really don't know what I was thinking–not that the Sunset Rubdown version isn't good. It is. Just not nearly...

It's now two years after I discovered this song, and about 18 months since I first became obsessed with the Swan Lake version, and I am still very much obsessed.

It is a masterpiece. "And paper burns and paper fades / and paper crumples into ugly shapes." Bejar singing on Jackie, Bejar and gruff Mercer on "oh sanctuary." The muted guitar plucks. And "Oh, what's in the world? what's in the world? what's in the hearts of pretty girls? There's nothing left inside the room you filled with lion skins and morals--those were good ideas, but they weren't diamonds and pearls."

(Bejar on Jackie: "I can’t speak for Spencer, but in any song I write where the word Jackie turns up, it is a crystal clear substitute for the words 'Daniel Bejar.' I’m serious." Though as the linked interview suggests, this may not be entirely true, as at least sometimes it's referring to Jackie Kennedy/Onassis.)

6-11, 2-4. The basic outline of the tracks following "Paper Lace" emerged soon afterward, followed with a little more delay by the ones preceding it.

8. The last addition was Caribou's "Leave House," which replaced a My Bloody Valentine track that just didn't quite sound right in context.

Quick thanks to all my kind friends who introduced me to many of these bands and to Sean, Sam, and Chase for helping me make sure details of the upload worked correctly.

Track list:
1. "While You Were Sleeping" by Elvis Perkins
2. "Up, Up, and Away (the Wake and Bake Song)" by Kid Cudi
3. "STILL" by jj
4. "Cocaine Man" by Baxter Dury
5. "Paper Lace" by Swan Lake
6. "You're Not in Love" by video?
7. "Piano Fire" by Sparklehorse
8. "Leave House" by Caribou
9. "Silver Trembling Hands" by the Flaming Lips
10. "Little House of Savages" by the Walkmen
11. "A Pot in Which to Piss" by Titus Andronicus
12. "Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Sea of Tears)" by Destroyer