New mix: the business

Did you ever notice how many songs there are about the music business itself? I think the popular music industry is possibly even more self-referential than the newspaper industry (though not nearly as self-referential as the Internet…). I started hearing the connection a few years ago and began collecting examples in a playlist, and I finally have enough to share with you in this mix (see also Art of the Mix).

Of special note is the hip-hop section (coming just after Joe Pernice’s wry anti-anthem decrying touring, “We Love the Stage”), featuring “Check the Rhime,” origin of “Music industry rule #4080/record company people are shady,” followed by Steinski’s record industry slag off mix of “Hit the Disco,” wrapping up with J-Live’s epochal “Them That’s Not,” which features the most astonishing bit of tempo bending that I’m aware of.


  1. Radio SongR.E.M. (Out Of Time)
  2. Legend of Paul ReverePaul Revere & The Raiders (Paul Revere & The Raiders: Greatest Hits)
  3. Suits Are Picking Up The BillSquirrel Nut Zippers (Perennial Favorites)
  4. A SermonThe Police (Message In A Box: The Complete Recordings)
  5. Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had A DealThey Might Be Giants (Miscellaneous T: B Side / Remix Compilation)
  6. Radio, RadioElvis Costello (The Very Best of Elvis Costello And The Attractions)
  7. Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?The Ramones (Mania)
  8. I Bet You They Won’t Play This Song on the RadioMonty Python (Monty Python’s Contractual Obligation Album)
  9. Hello RadioThey Might Be Giants (Miscellaneous T: B Side / Remix Compilation)
  10. Spirit of RadioRush (Permanent Waves)
  11. Formed A BandArt Brut (Bang Bang Rock & Roll)
  12. Rock NotesMonty Python (Monty Python’s Contractual Obligation Album)
  13. So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll StarThe Byrds (The Byrds: Greatest Hits (Remastered))
  14. Playing Your SongHole (Celebrity Skin)
  15. Left Of The DialThe Replacements (Tim [Expanded Edition])
  16. We Love the StagePernice Brothers (Goodbye, Killer)
  17. Check The RhimeA Tribe Called Quest (The Low End Theory)
  18. Hit The Disco (Mc Enuff Mix)Steinski (What Does It All Mean?: 1983-2006 Retrospective)
  19. Them That’s NotJ-Live (The Best Part)
  20. Pay to PlayNirvana (DGC Rarities, Vol. 1)
  21. The Late GreatsWilco (A Ghost Is Born)

New mix: My heart’s beating is all the proof you need.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a new mix. This one, My heart’s beating is all the proof you need (Art of the Mix), has been interesting–a little more upbeat than some of my past efforts, a few songs that have been kicking around my library for many years. I think the subtheme of this mix is in the second song: “It’s getting better all the time (can’t get no worse!).”

So there’s some party time stuff, both benign and wild; some funny tracks (I dare you to listen to “Bloody” with a straight face);  and some contemplative stuff. There’s not a lot of deep digging (outside of the Tom Waits/John Lurie track and maybe “Amen Brother,” which features what must be the most sampled drum break in the prehistory of hiphop), just some really fun listening. Just right for early spring.

  1. River of Men – Tom Waits/John Lurie (Fishing With John – Original Music From The Series By John L)
  2. Getting BetterThe Beatles (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)
  3. Just Like HeavenThe Cure (Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me)
  4. Mondo ’77Looper (The Geometrid)
  5. Amen’ BrotherThe Winstons (Color Him Father (Original Masters))
  6. In The StreetBig Star (#1 Record – Radio City)
  7. Happy KidNada Surf (Let Go)
  8. Don’t You Just Know ItHuey “Piano” Smith and the Clowns (Don’t You Just Know It [EP])
  9. Pictures Of YouThe Cure (Disintegration)
  10. Near Wild HeavenR.E.M. (Out Of Time)
  11. Friends Stoning FriendsMclusky (Alan Is A Cowboy Killer)
  12. The Ox (Original Mono Version)The Who (The Who Sings My Generation)
  13. Head OnPixies (Trompe Le Monde)
  14. No Hiding PlaceElvis Costello (Momofuku)
  15. BloodyGolinski Brothers (The John Peel Singles Box)
  16. Do You Wanna Hit It?The Donnas (The Donnas Turn 21)
  17. Yard Of Blonde GirlsJeff Buckley (Sketches for My Sweetheart The Drunk)
  18. CodexRadiohead (The King of Limbs)
  19. Steam EngineMy Morning Jacket (It Still Moves)
  20. Calling My Children HomeEmmylou Harris (Spyboy)
  21. Things behind the SunNick Drake (Pink Moon)

New mix: Hurricane Irene

Well, here we are again, in the middle of a storm. So far, knock wood, it’s been a lot of rain and very little wind, but this will be the day that Massachusetts really gets it. So I threw together some music to weather the hurricane by.

  1. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna FallBob Dylan (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan)
  2. Rain In the SummertimeThe Alarm (Eye of the Hurricane (Remastered))
  3. Goodnight IreneTom Waits (Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards)
  4. Florida HurricaneSt. Louis Jimmy (Chess Blues 1947-1952)
  5. Goodnight IreneJohnny Cash (Sun Recordings)
  6. I Can’t Stand The RainAnn Peebles (The John Peel Singles Box)
  7. The Rain SongLed Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin Remasters)
  8. RainThe Beatles (Past Masters, Vol. 2)
  9. Have You Ever Seen The Rain?Creedence Clearwater Revival (Pendulum)
  10. Devil Sent The RainCharlie Patton (Founder of the Delta Blues)
  11. In The RainThe Dramatics (The Stax Story: Finger-Snappin’ Good [Disc 3])
  12. When It Rains, It Really PoursElvis Presley (The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Complete 50s Masters)
  13. Rain (Falling From The Skies)Frank Sinatra (The Complete Capitol Singles Collection)
  14. Comes a HurricaneShannon Worrell (The Honey Guide)
  15. IreneLead Belly (Where Did You Sleep Last Night?)
  16. Ballet For A Rainy Day (2001 Digital Remaster)XTC (Skylarking)
  17. Blowin’ In The WindBob Dylan (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan)
  18. Wild Is The WindCat Power (The Covers Record)
  19. The WindPJ Harvey (Is This Desire?)
  20. Sauget WindUncle Tupelo (Still Feel Gone)
  21. Rain Please Go AwayAlison Krauss (Lonely Runs Both Ways)
  22. Dry the RainThe Beta Band (The Three EP’s)
  23. It Can’t Rain All the TimeJane Siberry (City (collaborations))
  24. Goodnight IreneRobert Cage (Can See What You’re Doing)

New mix: a piece of hope holding us together

End of summer is happy mix time. Now that I’m putting out only two mixes a year, it seems like one is downbeat and the other is happy. Lots of fun tunes in here, including a rare Shannon Worrell track that I had to pull off a 17 year old cassette tape.

  1. Moonlight In GloryMoving Star Hall Singers (Sea Island Folk Festival)
  2. SunflowerLow (Things We Lost In The Fire)
  3. Postcards from ItalyBeirut (Gulag Orkestar)
  4. The Ballad of Ronald Jeremy HyattJustin Rosolino (The Leaves Are Right to Tremble – EP)
  5. Boy With a CoinIron & Wine (The Shepherd’s Dog)
  6. LighthouseShannon Worrell (Shannon Worrell (EP))
  7. LowdownMy Morning Jacket (At Dawn)
  8. You Can Have It AllYo La Tengo (And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out)
  9. HexNeko Case (The Tigers Have Spoken)
  10. HomeEdward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (Up From Below (Deluxe Edition))
  11. Love And AngerKate Bush (The Sensual World )
  12. In LiverpoolSuzanne Vega (99.9 F°)
  13. Neither Heaven nor SpaceNada Surf (Let Go)
  14. My Back PagesBob Dylan (Another Side Of Bob Dylan)
  15. Begat BegatJane Siberry (Maria)
  16. Inside of LoveNada Surf (Let Go)
  17. Give Up the GhostRadiohead (The King of Limbs)
  18. Polegnala e TodoraBulgarian State Television Female Choir (Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares)

New mix: every day is getting straighter

This mix has been percolating a while. I didn’t know how to move beyond Jeff Buckley’s absolutely epic reading of his lament for his dead father, but it turns out that anger works remarkably well when played against grief and loss. And that’s how the rest of the mix went.

I make no apologies for the elegiac (some would say self indulgent) triple punch of the Death Cab, Cure, and Jane’s songs stacking up all together. Somewhere there is a sixteen year old who’s just broken up with his girlfriend who only wishes he could put that much misery together in one place on the mix that he’s going to send her.

Bascom Lamar Lunsford’s a cappella version of “To the Pines, to the Pines” is both more matter of fact and more chilling than the version by Leadbelly (and the bloodcurdling Nirvana cover it inspired).

  1. Dream BrotherJeff Buckley (Mystery White Boy (Live))
  2. Careening with ConvictionMission Of Burma (The Obliterati)
  3. Written In ReverseSpoon (Transference)
  4. Company in My BackWilco (A Ghost Is Born)
  5. What Is Your Secret?Nada Surf (The Weight is a Gift)
  6. RevelatorGillian Welch (Time (The Revelator))
  7. The Queen Is Dead (Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty)The Smiths (The Queen Is Dead)
  8. Pump It UpElvis Costello (The Very Best of Elvis Costello And The Attractions)
  9. Radio CureWilco (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)
  10. ProgressMission of Burma (Vs. )
  11. TransatlanticismDeath Cab for Cutie (Transatlanticism)
  12. DisintegrationThe Cure (Disintegration)
  13. Then She Did…Jane’s Addiction (Ritual De Lo Habitual)
  14. To The Pines, To The PinesBascom Lamar Lunsford (Ballads, Banjo Tunes, And Sacred Songs Of Western North Carolina)
  15. Einstein’s DayMission of Burma (Vs. )

New mixes: your scary 80s 7 and 8

We call this “unclogging the pipes.” I have probably 20 mixes in various partial states of repair, and it’s high time I start publishing them so that I can make room for the real stuff.

So here are two—maybe, dare I hope, my last two—80s mixes. As always, the first one is the stuff I’m ashamed (and secretly happy) to remember, while the second one is stuff I would have been proud to listen to had I known about it while I was growing up.

Your Scary 80s 7

  1. Be near MeABC (How to Be a Zillionaire)
  2. Always Something There to Remind MeNaked Eyes (The Best of Naked Eyes)
  3. She Blinded Me With ScienceThomas Dolby (The Golden Age of Wireless)
  4. Your LoveThe Outfield (Play Deep)
  5. Spies Like UsPaul McCartney (Press to Play)
  6. Your Wildest DreamsThe Moody Blues (Anthology: the Moody Blues)
  7. Rain In the SummertimeThe Alarm (Eye of the Hurricane (Remastered))
  8. AfricaToto (Toto IV)
  9. No One Is To BlameHoward Jones (Dream Into Action)
  10. The Captain of Her HeartDouble (The Captain of Her Heart)
  11. Life In a Northern TownThe Dream Academy (Rhino Hi-Five: The Dream Academy – EP)
  12. Tonight, Tonight, TonightGenesis (Genesis: The Hits – Turn It On Again)
  13. Sanctify YourselfSimple Minds (Once Upon a Time)
  14. Higher Love (Full)Steve Winwood (Back in the High Life)
  15. I Wanna Be a CowboyBoys Don’t Cry (Boys Don’t Cry)
  16. Pump Up the Volume (USA 12)Colourbox (Best of Colourbox: 1982-1987)
  17. The ReflexDuran Duran (Duran Duran: Greatest)

Your Scary 80s 8

  1. Gardening At NightR.E.M. (Dead Letter Office)
  2. Alive and KickingSimple Minds (Once Upon a Time)
  3. You Be Illin’Run-DMC (Raising Hell)
  4. Do You Really Want 2 Hurt MeCulture Club (Culture Club (Box Set))
  5. West End GirlsPet Shop Boys (Please)
  6. Moments in LoveArt of Noise ((Who’s Afraid Of) The Art Of Noise?)
  7. Let the Day BeginMichael Been AKA The Call (The Best of the Call)
  8. The Perfect KissNew Order (Low-Life)
  9. Fire WomanThe Cult (Sonic Temple)
  10. One Thing Leads to AnotherThe Fixx (20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Fixx (Remastered))
  11. Banned in D.C.Bad Brains (Bad Brains)
  12. Rise AboveBlack Flag (Damaged)
  13. Small Man, Big MouthMinor Threat (First Two 7″s)
  14. Kinky Sex Makes the World Go ‘RoundDead Kennedys (Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death)
  15. I Want You BackHoodoo Gurus (Stoneage Romeo)
  16. RedMission Of Burma (Signals, Calls, And Marches)
  17. You Are My FriendThe Rain Parade (Emergency Third Rail Power Trip: Explosions In The Glass Palace)
  18. JetfighterThree O’Clock (Sixteen Tambourines/Baroque Hoedown)
  19. I Love Rock N’ RollJoan Jett and the Blackhearts (I Love Rock N’ Roll)
  20. Beat BoxArt of Noise (Into Battle with the Art of Noise)

New mix: Happy time

The aftermath of a big flood feels like the right time to publish my first mix in about six months. Happy time is one part of a two part mix. This time, I might not ever get around to part two, because it’s the downside of this mix, and I’m enjoying the happy side too much.

Track list:

  1. Finest Worksong (Mutual Drum Horn Mix)R.E.M. (Eponymous)
  2. ReenaSonic Youth (Rather Ripped)
  3. Moby OctopadYo La Tengo (I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One)
  4. Scared StraightThe Long Winters (When I Pretend To Fall)
  5. Hot Pants RoadThe J.B.’s (Pass the Peas: The Best of the J.B.’s)
  6. I’ll Take You ThereThe Staple Singers (Best of the Staple Singers)
  7. HelicopterM. Ward (Transfiguration Of Vincent)
  8. BeautifulPaul Simon (Surprise)
  9. Cello SongNick Drake (Five Leaves Left)
  10. It’s Not the Only Way to Feel HappyField Music (Field Music)
  11. ThirteenBig Star (#1 Record – Radio City)
  12. HopefullyMy Morning Jacket (At Dawn)
  13. Fistful Of LoveAntony and the Johnsons (I Am A Bird Now)
  14. No Man in the WorldTindersticks (Can Our Love…)
  15. Happy TimeTim Buckley (Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology)
  16. People Got a Lotta NerveNeko Case (Middle Cyclone (Bonus Track Version))
  17. Sweet ThingVan Morrison (Astral Weeks)
  18. Number TwoPernice Brothers (Yours, Mine and Ours)

Commentary: Did R.E.M. record “Finest Worksong” with the horns in mind, or was it a cynical touch by some producer when it was time to release the single? It reads as a brilliant move, though, 22 years later. I’m of two minds about “Reena”–such a simple song for Sonic Youth–but the fact that I can’t get it out of my head two years on settles it for me. Ditto “Moby Octopad”, which is less a song than an extended riff, but no less brilliant for that.

“Scared Straight,” on the other hand, is a song, and a flipping brilliant one. And the horns alone are worth the price of admission. The horns also provide a great segue into “Hot Pants Road,” which makes a very nice segue into “I’ll Take You There.” A nice little singer songwriter set–“Helicopter,” Paul Simon’s “Beautiful,” “Cello Song”–follows, before we get into the psychosexual set of “Thirteen,” “It’s Not the Only Way To Feel Happy,” “Hopefully,” and “Fistful of Love” (and only Lou Reed could set up that song).

And then the last set. I won’t say anything about it, except that “Sweet Thing” may be the greatest single song ever. How was it that I missed out on Astral Weeks for all this time?

(Update: now on Art of the Mix.)

New mix: september grrls

My latest mix, “september grrls,” did not start out to be (almost) all women artists, but it ended up that way. After strong releases this year from Shannon Worrell, PJ Harvey, Neko Case, and others, plus Kim Gordon’s contributions to the latest Sonic Youth… well, I couldn’t resist. Add to that a few songs that have been kicking around my library forever, waiting for a home, and you’ve got yourself a mix.

  1. This Is What You DoGemma Hayes (Hollow of Morning)
  2. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)Kate Bush (Hounds of Love)
  3. Black Hearted LovePJ Harvey & John Parish (A Woman a Man Walked By)
  4. IamundernodisguiseSchool of Seven Bells (Alpinisms)
  5. Song To BobbyCat Power (Jukebox)
  6. JerichoGreta Gaines (Greta Gaines)
  7. Lake Charles BoogieNellie Lutcher (Oxford American 2003 Southern Music CD No. 6)
  8. If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me)The Staple Singers (The Stax Story: Finger-Snappin’ Good [Disc 3])
  9. When the Other Foot Drops, UncleSharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (100 Days, 100 Nights)
  10. Diamond HeartMarissa Nadler (Songs III: Bird On the Water)
  11. If I Can Make You CryShannon Worrell (The Honey Guide)
  12. For Today I Am A BoyAntony and the Johnsons (I Am A Bird Now)
  13. Massage the HistorySonic Youth (The Eternal)
  14. Crater LakeLiz Phair (Whip-Smart)
  15. I’m an AnimalNeko Case (Middle Cyclone (Bonus Track Version))
  16. Who Is It (Carry My Joy On the Left, Carry My Pain On the Right)Björk (Medulla)
  17. The Way I Am (Recorded Live on WERS)Ingrid Michaelson (Be OK)
  18. Sweet Like YouShannon Worrell (The Honey Guide)
  19. At Constant SpeedGemma Hayes (Hollow of Morning)
  20. September GurlsBig Star (#1 Record – Radio City)

New mix: Don’t be in love with the autograph

Again, posting the tracklist here because Art of the Mix is gone. I will send this one out, just as soon as I get around to sending the last ones out (yes, I’m aware that I’m about three months behind on that). Here’s, depending on the numbering system, 4.23 or JHNCD0035:

  1. The Arcade Fire, “Neighborhood 1: Tunnels” (Funeral)
  2. My Morning Jacket, “The Way That He Sings” (At Dawn)
  3. Big Star, “She’s a Mover” (Radio City)
  4. J-Live remixed by Steinski, “Them That’s Not (Cash Mix)” (What Does It All Mean?)
  5. Thao, “Bag of Hammers” (We Brave Bee Stings and All)
  6. Van Morrison, “Domino” (His Band and Street Choir)
  7. Sufjan Stevens, “Chicago” (Illinoise)
  8. The Reindeer Section, “Cartwheels” (Son of Evil Reindeer)
  9. The Long Winters, “Blanket Hog” (When I Pretend to Fall)
  10. Cat Power, “Free” (You Are Free)
  11. Vampire Weekend, “One” (Vampire Weekend)
  12. James Brown, “Bring It Up (Hipster’s Avenue)” (Star Time)
  13. Spain, “Dreaming of Love” (The Blue Moods of Spain)
  14. Freakwater, “Out Of This World” (Old Paint)
  15. Sonic Youth, “Rain on Tin” (Murray Street)
  16. Eva Cassidy, “Songbird” (Eva By Heart)
  17. Beck, “Diamond Bollocks” (Mutations

New mix: Funky President

  1. James Brown, “Funky President (People It’s Bad)”
  2. William S. Burroughs, “When Did I Stop Wanting to Be President”
  3. The Cure, “Primary (Morgan Studio Outtake 9/80)”
  4. Max Roach, “Freedom Now”
  5. Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come”
  6. Virginia Glee Club, “I shall not die without a hope” (Testament of Freedom)
  7. Jay-Z and Danger Mouse, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”
  8. Youssou N’Dour, “Hope”
  9. Branford Marsalis, “Freedom Suite: Interlude”
  10. The Flaming Lips, “Suddenly Everything Has Changed”
  11. Arcadia, “Election Day”
  12. Extra Golden, “Obama (Live, KEXP)”
  13. Funkadelic, “One Nation Under a Groove”
  14. Bob Dylan, “Things Have Changed”
  15. Parliament, “Chocolate City”
  16. Lou Reed, “Voices of Freedom”
  17. Miles Davis, “Freedom Jazz Dance”

New mix: Power’s out in the heart of man

As so often happens as I’m putting mixes together, I’ve collected enough tracks for about three mixes since I published “picture of you where it began” back in May (“Blasphemous Rumors” was a one-off theme mix that didn’t dip into this pool). So I ended up splitting out this first set of tracks as the first go-round via a stochastic process of picking the first and last songs and removing every other song from the list. After a little re-ordering, it shaped up into the dark bullet below.

As previously announced, my mixes will no longer be appearing on Art of the Mix, but I’m not sure what the right way is to have them show up in the blog. In this case, the iTunes mix widget was just about right because all the tracks from the mix were available in the store (except for the Elvis Costello cut, which was the original version from Brutal Youth–and now I’m curious about the alternate version in the store). But going forward I’ll probably use some other method to publish the lists. Anyone got a favorite?

New mix: “Blasphemous rumors”

I haven’t posted a new mix for a while, and there are a few reasons for that. So I’m jumpstarting by posting a largely unedited theme mix, based on Estaminet’s Sacrilicious mix of a while back. It’s called “Blasphemous Rumors,” and it hits songs with Old and New Testament themes as well as good old fashioned breaking of the third (or second, depending) commandment.

This will also be the last mix I post on Art of the Mix unless a few things change. The site has had some problems with SQL injection vulnerabilities, and the developer chose to fix the vulnerabilities by filtering input–which is fine, but it means that you can’t create a mix with the word “drop” in it, even in a song title (e.g. “Dropkick Me Jesus”). Tip to the developer: the best way to avoid SQL injection is by whitelisting input and parametrizing your queries, not by blacklisting.

So does anyone have a recommendation for a replacement for Art of the Mix? It should ideally support uploading playlists from iTunes.

New mix: Picture of you where it began

Inaugurating the new blog in style, here’s my latest mix, which started as a party and ended as a lullaby. Of course, the Art of the Mix service is down right now, but here’s a quick tracklist:

  1. Italian men, “Su Tenore A Ballu” (field recording)
  2. M.I.A., “Bamboo Banga”
  3. The Beatles, “She Said She Said”
  4. The Arcade Fire, “Neighborhood #2 (Laïka)”
  5. Vampire Weekend, “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”
  6. Beirut, “Elephant Gun”
  7. Guided by Voices, “As We Go Up, We Go Down”
  8. Elvis Costello, “Clown Strike”
  9. Talking Heads, “Stay Up Late”
  10. Grandpaboy, “Psychopharmacology”
  11. Elvis Presley, “Crawfish”
  12. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, “100 Days, 100 Nights”
  13. Bob Dylan, “Call Letter Blues”
  14. Sonic Youth, “Shoot”
  15. Black Angels, “You in Color”
  16. Mission of Burma, “Dead Pool”
  17. Radiohead, “House of Cards”
  18. Frank Sinatra, “Last Night When We Were Young”
  19. Duke Ellington, “The Controversial Suite (Later)”
  20. Low, “In Metal”
  21. Big Star, “I’m In Love With a Girl”

Copies to the usual suspects on request; just leave a comment. (Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that!)

Update: Art of the Mix came back online sometime since I wrote this, so the mix is linked now.