The summer of 2000 was a time of transitions for me. I had started to broaden my horizons beyond my childhood and young adulthood in Virginia, thanks to trips to Italy, London, Ireland and France with Lisa (ah, the late 1990s and the strong US dollar!). And though I had begun in late 1999 to plan seriously leaving my job at American Management Systems behind, it wasn’t until the spring of 2000 that I committed to the MIT Sloan School of Management and to moving away from my life in Virginia.
You can hear some of the uncertainty of that change in Side B of this mix. The first is still exploring beautiful singalong music. It was the first mix I made after John McLaughlin brought over Justin Rosolino’s self-produced first album; the first after my cousin Greg gave me a copy of The Soft Bulletin one momentous Christmas; the first after I began a dive down the rabbit hole of David Bowie’s collaborations with Brian Eno. There’s a track at the front, not listed on the J-card, that excerpts about two minutes of unaccompanied Gabon pygmy song, another weird rabbit hole I was on the brink of falling into.
It was also the spring I (late to the party as always) discovered Moby. I had previously fallen into a rabbit hole of old blues and folk records, occasioned by the Anthology of American Folk Music, but hearing those works in this transformed context was remarkable—even if my growing familiarity with the source recordings was soon to reveal just how shallow a trick Moby played, particularly on tracks like “Run On.” The remix of decades worth of Steve Reich recordings into a singular “Megamix” was more rewarding.
But Side B: once you get past the throat-clearing of Elvis’s version of “Blueberry Hill,” there’s wistfulness and uncertainty in every track. I kind of wish I could reach out to my old 27-year-old self and reassure him that it was really going to be okay.
Etudes de jodls – Gabon Pygmies (Musique des Pygmées Bibayak/Chantres de l’épopée)
Fool Of Me – Me’Shell Ndegeocello (Bitter)
Perfect – Smashing Pumpkins (Adore)
Heroes – David Bowie (“Heroes”)
The Spiderbite Song – The Flaming Lips (The Soft Bulletin)
Stateless – U2 (The Million Dollar Hotel)
Pale Blue Eyes (Closet Mix) – The Velvet Underground (Peel Slowly and See)
Beautiful Way – Beck (Midnite Vultures)
Portland Headlight – Justin Rosolino (“Music” (The Live Recordings))
Run On – Moby (Play)
Megamix (Tranquility Bass) – Steve Reich (Reich Remixed)
Blueberry Hill – Elvis Presley (The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Complete 50s Masters)
The Ground Beneath Her Feet – U2 (The Million Dollar Hotel)
Souvenir – Morphine (The Night)
One Single Thread (Float Away) – Justin Rosolino (“Music” (The Live Recordings))
Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder) – The Beach Boys (Pet Sounds)
Falling At Your Feet – Bono (Lanois) (The Million Dollar Hotel)
Jesus (Closet Mix) – The Velvet Underground (Peel Slowly and See)
Ecstasy – Lou Reed (Ecstasy)
Sister Morphine – The Rolling Stones (Sticky Fingers)
Isolation – John Lennon (Plastic Ono Band)
Via Chicago – Wilco (Summerteeth)
Central Reservation (Original Version) – Beth Orton (Central Reservation)
If you have Apple Music, you can listen to (most of) the mix here:
In the summer of 1993, I was on top of the world. Having finished a great Glee Club season and gotten a literary magazine off the ground, I had just gotten a room on the Lawn and was staying in Charlottesville for the summer as an undergraduate assistant in a physics lab. I had just started listening to the funkier side of James Brown and was starting to discover blues, hip-hop and world music. Plus, I now had wheels, in the form of an incredibly fun but unreliable 1977 MGB.
This mixtape, accordingly, was shaped by all these factors, perhaps not least of all by the last. Most of the selections on this mix were chosen because they sounded great in the MGB with the top down. That was certainly true of “Ocean Size,” the opening track. After ignoring Jane’s Addiction for many years, I finally got into them about two years after they had broken up. This was a version of Los Angeles rock I could get behind—something like heavy metal for art students. And the lead-in to Hubert Sumlin’s slashing guitar on the great “Killing Floor” remains a potent link from the first song to the second. I had first picked up the Chess blues sound from a phenomenal box set of Willie Dixon recordings, and then this 1965 Chess anthology of Howlin’ Wolf’s work, which had just been reissued on CD. (It’s with no shame that I note that my first exposure to the title of this track was in William Gibson’s short story “Johnny Mnemonic,” where he borrows the phrase and puts it to an entirely different purpose.)
On the strength of Peter Gabriel’s early Real World compilation Passion Sources, I started to branch out and find other artists on the label. The African artists on the label, such as Geoffrey Oryema and Ayub Ogada. Oryema’s “Piri Wango Iya” is a great introduction to the Ugandan’s sound, featuring only his voice and the traditional Ugandan lukeme (a gourd with plucked resonating metal strips).
I was still working my way through Suzanne Vega’s phenomenal 99.9 Fº, and “Blood Makes Noise” was just the sort of twitchy dance that I could get behind. Likewise PJ Harvey’s “Sheela-Na-Gig,” which even then struck me as a striking reversal of traditional gender politics, with Harvey’s narrator confidently offering herself sexually to a man who flatly rejects her as an exhibitionist and is terrified of being dirtied by her. We hadn’t explicitly covered Freud’s take on what would now be called the Madonna-whore complex when I read him in my first year, but it was a pretty clear illustration.
Then follows, for some reason, “Englishman in New York,” a track which I love by itself but which doesn’t flow very well here. Then “North Dakota.” I never had listened to much country music, but a friend who came to visit that summer left me with an aching heart, and a mixtape featuring this phenomenal Lyle Lovett song. “If you love me, say I love you” sounds like the loneliest thing ever, and it resonates at the heart of this tape once you peel back everything else.
I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to acknowledge or linger in my feelings, but I was more than capable of irony, and PJ Harvey was always there to help, as was the gently mocking narrator of Laurie Anderson’s “Language is a Virus.” Self-mockery always made me feel better, so it was a good transition from there into “What Goes On” and “Numb,” which may have been the first U2 song that made me laugh. Ditto the over-the-top apocalyptic Western of Nick Cave’s track from Until the End of the World, another third-year frequent rotation CD that I was still digesting.
The end of this summer, when I was starting to put this mix together, was a rough one physically, and I was starting to feel ragged and tired around the edges. When I came home at the end of the summer for a few weeks before school started, I realized why — I had contracted mononucleosis, probably as a consequence of the close living quarters in the student apartment that was my home for the summer. (While I was dating someone that summer, we only spent a few days together as she was off doing her own things, so I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the “kissing disease” the fun way.) “Run That Body Down” accordingly became my theme song. It’s a good thing I didn’t know then how rundown a body could actually get…
More feelings avoidance, more loud rock! I still love “Ain’t No Right,” though not as much as I love the downtempo shift that follows it. I listened to For the Beauty of Wynona for the first time with a good friend and neighbor who had good taste in music and confused my feelings (a common theme of my college years). And Lanois’ country-infused guitar had a natural connection, at least in my mind, to the freaked-out electric blues that Miles and his band pulled from thin air on “Honky Tonk.”
My immature late teenage feelings (okay, I was actually 20) loved getting lost in Elvis Costello’s Brodsky Quartet collaboration, and on no track was this more true than on “Who Do You Think You Are?,” a paean for those with a more active imagination than love life. And again, any time I felt actual feelings getting close to the surface, it was time for a shift of gears. I have always loved “Le Bien, Le Mal” ever since borrowing Jazzmatazz Vol. 1 (and the first Digable Planets album) from a neighbor in that crowded college apartment (thanks, Patrick!), but the name of the transition technique between the Elvis Costello track and this is called “discontinuity.” Once I found that groove, though, it was a logical connection to James Brown, whose “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine” had soundtracked a memorable party a few months prior in an apartment full of physics students, quality porter and stout, and someone’s incredible record collection (including, oddly, Speak No Evil).
I didn’t always know how to end mix tapes then, so there’s no real through line for the last few tracks. But “En Mana Kuoyo” is a fine closer, a brightly percolating groove from Kenya that transported me to another place. I hope it does the same for you.
With great Veracode hackathons come more Exfiltration Radio episodes. This time around, I have a playlist of indie/alternative/etc. rock with female voices that I’ve been building for a few years. Only I didn’t realize it.
The original version of this playlist had basically the same intro as the final version but segued into a hip-hop and funk set halfway through. While it made sense from a musical and beat perspective, something bugged me about it, and that something revealed itself over the past few weeks as the half-forgotten memory of an observation my sister made about some of my mixes twenty years ago: that they were heavy on dudes with guitars, or dudes, period.
I’d say the rethinking of this playlist was worth it, as it made me listen more closely to what the songs had to say. And they aren’t shy. Let’s begin with Caroline Polachek. In her 2020 solo spot on KEXP, she comes across as thoughtful, deep, a little shy. There’s all of that in “Welcome to My Island,” but there’s also a huge self-confidence on display, along with a magnificent set of pipes and what she has called “brattiness,” a.k.a. a well-earned swagger.
I have been listening to Dum Dum Girls for almost ten years—long enough for lead singer Dee Dee (née Kristin Gundred) to release her solo debut in the meantime. I came on board with the Too True album, and it’s a piece of work. It reminds me of William Gibson’s description of AIs battling AIs in Neuromancer, in a passage that seems prescient now: “He … swung the program in a wide circle, seeing the black shark thing through her eyes, a silent ghost hungry against the banks of lowering cloud.” Which is to say, the song is sleek, fast-moving, and ready to take precious things from the unwary.
“Headspins” has been in my playlists for almost as long. Forming in 2012 and breaking up in 2018, the band (formed in London by Australian ex-pats) does a fine job of updating the sound of the Breeders and bringing them into the 21st century.
If you haven’t heard “Chaise Longue” by Wet Leg, you’re welcome. If you’ve heard it a million times, this is your opportunity to revel again in the slyly dadaesque innuendo of the verses, as well as the sheer joy of the guitar work.
It took me a while to get into the latest St. Vincent, a deeply personal work about her father’s release from prison, partly because of her artistic choice to lean into a 1970s-inspired set of styles throughout the record. But there’s nothing wrong about the funk that drives “Pay Your Way in Pain,” to say nothing of the deep discomfort just below the surface of the lyrics.
“So Unreal” is the oldest track on the mix. Post-punk has been a reliable well of inspiration for me, albeit one that gives me no small amount of impostor syndrome. After all, I was alive and listening to music when the Creatures formed their splinter group off of Siouxsie and the Banshees, but wasn’t nearly hip enough to know they existed.
Originally, “Kyoto” was the pivot point of this mix, and a different version of it followed up Phoebe Bridgers’ meditation on jet lag and alienation set to a brass section straight out of an old Beulah record with Thundercat’s “Tokyo” and a general pivot into 21st century funk and electronica. But I decided against taking what was, for me, the easy path; hopefully you’re as glad as I am.
“Silk” has been on this mix since it came up on a random shuffle through my music while I was blowing snow one bright winter day. I dearly love Wolf Alice on the basis of this early album and am almost afraid to listen future iterations of their sound. I might have said the same of Neneh Cherry, having been a huge fan of her first few albums but not closely following her since then. Broken Politics is a pretty darned impressive follow-up, albeit one more closely related to the remixes of “Move With Me” than to the funk of “Buffalo Stance,” and “Black Monday” is a pretty spectacular representation of the album’s pleasures.
Soccer Mommy (aka Sophia Allison) made one of the quintessential albums of the early pandemic years with Color Theory, and a slightly brighter version of the same introspective sound is in her latest release. By contrast, Liz Phair’s Soberish appears to have come and gone without an impact, which is a shame as I think the songwriting on it is as strong as anything since Whitechocolatespaceegg.
And then there’s Sales, whose “Pope is a Rockstar” probably would have languished in limbo were it not for TikTok, where mondegreen readings of the title as “go little rockstar” made the song go viral. But on its own it’s a woozy hybrid between indie pop and, maybe, surf rock? There’s something in those guitars, is what I’m saying.
I fell in love with Laura Marling a few years ago, on her album Once I Was an Eagle, which featured prominently on my 2013 mix “Something Other Than Regret.” Her most recent album, Song for Our Daughter, takes the stark template of that sound and layers on Laurel Canyon harmonies that go on for days, especially on this track.
Lavender Diamond, aka Becky Stark, is another artist who appeared on that 2013 mix, and promptly disappeared until their 2020 album Now is the Time. All the hallmarks of the sound are there — the high vocals, the chord progressions out of an evolved version of the American Songbook — but where their 2012 album Incorruptible Heart dwelt in heartbreak, the new album seems to seek out hope behind horror.
One of the newest tracks on the album, boygenius’s “$20” from their debut LP The Record is a sublime and angry tune about the desperate need to escape the ordinary, with layered and shifting vocals from Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker. It’s stunning. The following tune, from the final Low album before Mimi Parker’s tragic death from cancer last year, underscores and reinforces all the themes with its own harmonies, but the anger is replaced with resignation and sadness. “Always looking for that one sure thing/Oh, you wanted so desperately.”
The final track is something of a lost gem: the final cut from the debut album of Eggplant, released in 1996. While most of the songs on the London trio’s indie rock driven album nod to punk with short run times and brisk beats, the final song, “We Only Wanted to Be Loved,” is a heartbreaker of a ballad. The trio deserved better than the oblivion their records found on initial release; here’s hoping they get a good afterlife via the Bandcamp rerelease of their music.
I hope this show brings you some sounds you haven’t heard before and makes you think—or move your booty, or both. The full track list is below:
Welcome To My Island – Caroline Polachek (Desire, I Want To Turn Into You)
Rimbaud Eyes – Dum Dum Girls (Too True)
Headspins – Splashh (Comfort)
Chaise Longue – Wet Leg (Wet Leg)
Pay Your Way In Pain – st. vincent (Daddy’s Home)
So Unreal – The Creatures (A Bestiary of (Spectrum))
Kyoto – Phoebe Bridgers (Punisher)
Silk – Wolf Alice (My Love Is Cool)
Black Monday – Neneh Cherry (Broken Politics)
Feel It All The Time – soccer mommy (Sometimes, Forever)
In There – Liz Phair (Soberish)
Pope Is a Rockstar – SALES (Sales Lp)
Held Down – Laura Marling (Song For Our Daughter)
This Is How We Rise – Lavender Diamond (Now Is The Time)
$20 – boygenius (the record)
Days Like These – Low (HEY WHAT)
We Only Wanted To Be Loved – EGGPLANT (Catboy/Catgirl)
We have taken control, and we will return it to you as soon as you are exfiltrated.
When Wayne Shorter died on March 2, 2023, it was like the closing of a book that you knew was going to run out of pages soon, but hoped it never would. Shorter had retired from performance in 2018 due to worsening health, but was still composing and releasing new music up until last summer.
Having already put together an Exfiltration Radio episode of Shorter’s music, I debated doing another—I could easily do twelve or thirteen episodes of his works. But I decided to dedicate this episode to his music by highlighting performances of his compositions by others. Most of the recordings here come from the last few years, but there are two from the 1990s and one contemporaneous with Wayne’s most productive period as a composer in the 1960s—albeit with a very different approach.
I considered doing the entire album with covers and performances of “Footprints,” the Shorter classic that was dramatically reimagined by the Miles Davis Quintet on Miles Smiles. In the end I settled for two very different approaches to the standard, starting with Herbie Mann’s 1968 version. Recorded with an unusually star-studded group—Sonny Sharrock on guitar, Roy Ayers on vibes, and a very young Miroslav Vitouš on bass, with drummer Bruno Carr—the recording will surprise those who primarily associate Mann with his notorious early 1970s record Push Push.
David Ashkenazy’s “Chief Crazy Horse” is a 2008 performance compiled on a 2021 tribute album on Posi-Tone Records. Drummer Ashkenazy leads a quartet with Matt Otto on tenor sax, Steve Cotter on guitar, and Roger Shew on drums, playing a version of the closing song from Adam’s Apple that manages to be at once familiar and new, thanks largely to Cotter’s sterling guitar work.
One of my favorite large-band renditions of Shorter’s work, David Weiss’s “Fall” comes from a live tribute to Wayne recorded in 2013 with a group that includes Ravi Coltrane on tenor, Joe Fiedler on trombone, and the great Geri Allen on piano. While the arrangement undoes the innovation of the original Miles recording, in which the horns repeat the theme while the rhythm section improvises underneath, the performance is not to be missed, especially for Weiss’s trumpet solo.
More “Footprints” follow, this time in a duo recording by Dave Liebman and Willy Rodriguez from the 2020 compilation album 2020. The album is credited to Palladium, an effort by Shorter’s social media rep Jesse Markowitz to get his music better known. The performances here run from more traditional to more avant-garde and this one is firmly on the latter side of the spectrum, with Liebman’s soprano sax and Rodriguez’s drums moving things along briskly.
Walter Smith III is having something of a moment, coming off several collaboration albums with Matthew Stevens as In Common, guesting with Connie Han on several of her excellent recent albums, and about to release his Blue Note debut. The performance of “Adam’s Apple” here from his 2018 release Twio foreshadows much of that greatness, including his impeccable taste in sidemen. I’m not sure how the studio didn’t explode with the fury of Eric Harland’s drums on this number, and Harish Ragavan’s bass is nothing to sneeze at either.
The vocalist Clare Foster recorded an entire album of vocal adaptations of Shorter’s work at the beginning of her career, in 1993. While some of the lyrics are flights of fancy only tangentially connected to the work, her “Iris” precisely captures the mood of Shorter’s ballad. This track is followed by the other 1990s performance on the mix, the great Kenny Kirkland’s take on Shorter’s “Ana Maria” from his sole outing as a leader before his untimely death in 1998.
We close with another performance from Shorter Moments, a 2009 performance of Wayne’s phenomenal “Infant Eyes” by Wayne Escoffery on tenor sax with Avi Rothbard on guitar. While Shorter did not only write ballads, there was arguably no one in the second half of the 20th century who was better at writing ballads, and this recording makes a persuasive case in favor of that argument.
Full track listing and link for playback are below. Enjoy!
Footprints – Herbie Mann (Windows Opened)
Chief Crazy Horse – David Ashkenazy (Shorter Moments – Exploring the World of Wayne)
Fall (Live) – David Weiss (Endangered Species: The Music of Wayne Shorter (Live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola))
Footprints – David Liebman & Willy Rodriguez (2020)
Adam’s Apple (feat. Eric Harland & Harish Ragavan) – Walter Smith III (Twio)
Iris – Clare Foster (Clare Foster sings Wayne Shorter)
Ana Maria – Kenny Kirkland (Kenny Kirkland)
Infant Eyes – Wayne Escoffery (Shorter Moments – Exploring the World of Wayne)
Do not attempt to adjust your radio; there is nothing wrong.
Sometimes my early mixes are what might charitably be described as “all over the place.” (Heck, sometimes my late mixes are too.) This one, which was assembled sometime around May of 1993, definitely fits that description.
There comes a time in every young music head’s life when they discover Tom Waits. For me, that was clearly happening right about the time this mix was made. It was fortuitous that Apollo 18 by They Might Be Giants had come out about six months previously, as the frenetic energy of the opening track plays nicely with “Goin’ Out West.” (Side note: because I bought a lot of my CDs through music clubs at this stage in my life, I was almost always late to the party when a new album was released. If I recall correctly, it could be a few months before a new release was available in the mail order catalog. —And yes, mail order catalog, because this was right before the Internet began to eat that business model.)
Between those two tracks is “Frelon Brun,” from Filles de Kilimanjaro. I had just picked up this CD, having fallen in love with the title track, which appeared on Miles’ The Columbia Years anthology (another box set I snagged at a discount). “Frelon Brun” is probably the most rock-oriented of the performances on that album; for one, it’s the only track that is under 6 minutes long. It’s funky and powerful and fun. On this album it punctuates the ferocious energy of the tracks on either side.
Side 2 opens with Ayub Ogada’s “Obiero,” a track that appears in slightly different forms on both his own En Mana Kuoyo and Peter Gabriel’s Plus from Us anthology; it’s the latter that appears here (and coincidentally helps to date the mix, since Plus from Us was released on May 16, 1993). That’s followed by “Rain” by An Emotional Fish, which was on the Spew 2 promotional compilation (which I’ve since lost), alongside King Missile’s dryly hilarious “Detachable Penis” (which also appears on this mixtape). And then comes “Traditional Irish Folk Song,” from Denis Leary’s comedy album No Cure for Cancer. Like I said, charitably described as all over the place.
This mixtape also memorializes the beginning of my interest in PJ Harvey, having picked up Dry based on word of mouth from the crew in the basement of Peabody Hall, i.e. the publications staffs of the Declaration and The Yellow Journal. I was still digesting the Talking Heads, having picked up the Sand in the Vaseline compilation earlier that year. And, having bought Neneh Cherry’s great Homebrew on a whim earlier that spring, I discovered the seductive pleasures of “Peace in Mind” by blasting the album out my Monroe Hill window one Sunday afternoon as we played an impromptu volleyball game.
Dig My Grave – They Might Be Giants (Apollo 18)
Frelon Brun (Brown Hornet) – Miles Davis (Filles De Kilimanjaro)
Goin’ Out West – Tom Waits (Bone Machine)
Ten Percenter – Frank Black (Frank Black)
The Unbreakable Chain – Daniel Lanois (For The Beauty Of Wynona)
Cain & Abel – Branford Marsalis Trio (The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born)
I Want To Live – Talking Heads (Sand In The Vaseline Popular Favorites 1976-1992)
When I got to the University of Virginia, I started buying much more music. Plan 9 (the original one on the Corner) was within walking distance, I had the mail order music clubs, I had neighbors with their own CD collections, and I started checking out different musical directions.
One of the directions that was new to me at the time was the blues. There had started to be some serious efforts to reissue and preserve old delta blues recordings, starting with the complete works of Robert Johnson and a series of box sets of artists on Chess Records. I found both available on the various CD clubs (probably Columbia, in this case) for a fraction of the list price, and started digesting the music by putting it alongside other blues that I understood better, namely jazz, the Rolling Stones, and folk music.
I might have been on to something. The Child Ballads that Dylan rifled for “Seven Curses” have a straight through-line to the blues. So does every single Leonard Cohen song. And the themes of death, guilt, and murder that snake through most of the rest of the tracks are all steeped in the blues. The outlier might be David Byrne’s “Make Believe Mambo,” but it works well melodically with the songs that surround it, and some blues are for dancing.
I note in passing that I made this mix in the late spring of 1992, long before Jeff Buckley covered the version of “Hallelujah” that appears on this mix as performed by John Cale and made it immortal. I always liked Cale.
Special shouts out in this mix to my upstairs neighbor in Harrison Portal at Monroe Hill for lending me the Rolling Stones compilation; to Greg for introducing me to Reckoning and Camper Van Beethoven in our first year; and to now-Bishop Poulson Reed for suggesting that we visit Preservation Hall on our visit to New Orleans while on the Tour of the South in 1992, where I heard the band play and picked up New Orleans – Vol. 4.
“Sweet Home Chicago” – Robert Johnson (The Complete Recordings)
“Sympathy for the Devil” – The Rolling Stones (Beggars Banquet)
“Seven Curses” – Bob Dylan (The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1–3: Rare and Unreleased)
“Carolyn’s Fingers” – Cocteau Twins (Blue Bell Knoll)
“Suzanne” – Geoffrey Oryema (I’m Your Fan — The Songs of Leonard Cohen)
“Nigh Eve” – Marcus Roberts (As Serenity Approaches)
“Peace Like a River” – Paul Simon (Paul Simon)
“St. James Infirmary” – Preservation Hall Jazz Band (New Orleans – Vol. IV)
“So. Central Rain” – R.E.M. (Reckoning)
“Eye of Fatima, Pt. 1 & 2” – Camper Van Beethoven (Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart)
“Halo” – Depeche Mode (Violator)
“Preaching Blues (Up Jumped the Devil)” – Robert Johnson (The Complete Recordings)
“Hallelujah” – John Cale (I’m Your Fan — The Songs of Leonard Cohen)
“Kindhearted Woman Blues” – Robert Johnson (The Complete Recordings)
“Make Believe Mambo” – David Byrne (Rei Momo)
“Creole Blues” – Marcus Roberts (As Serenity Approaches)
“Gimme Shelter” – The Rolling Stones (Let It Bleed)
“She Divines Water” – Camper Van Beethoven (Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart)
“Blues in the Evening” – Marcus Roberts (As Serenity Approaches)
“From Four Till Late” – Robert Johnson (The Complete Recordings)
“7 Chinese Bros.” – R.E.M. (Reckoning)
“Who By Fire” – The House of Love (I’m Your Fan — The Songs of Leonard Cohen)
“Death’s Door” – Depeche Mode (Until the End of the World Soundtrack)
“Armistice Day” –Paul Simon (Paul Simon)
“Come On In My Kitchen” – Robert Johnson (The Complete Recordings)
“Walkin’ After Midnight” – Cowboy Junkies (The Trinity Session)
You can listen to (most of) the mix on Apple Music:
One of the things that happened when I got to the University of Virginia was that I began to branch out in my musical tastes—or, maybe more precisely, I began to explore each of the branches I had already grown to like. In this case, it was jazz, and while I had made mix tapes containing jazz music before, this was the first to be (almost) entirely devoted to jazz.
I found my way into jazz from Sting, whose band in the mid to late 1980s was made up of jazz musicians; from summer concerts at Fort Monroe; and from my mom’s record collection. She had some Ahmad Jamal and Dave Brubeck and Ramsey Lewis—nothing too outré but enough to convince me that I wanted to listen to more. I also knew, from U2, that I ought to listen to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. I didn’t really know anyone else who listened to jazz, so I had to find my own way in.
Because I liked to read liner notes, I found myself drawn to the Original Jazz Classics reissue series of classic jazz albums on CD when I was at UVA. There was so much context on the back of those albums! You could see who the players were, read reviews, and more without even opening the album. That’s how I started to dig back into some of the great ’50s and ’60s recordings. I also picked up the threads of Sting’s band, listening to Branford, then Wynton, then Wynton’s band and Kenny Kirkland.
Because I have never been able to focus exclusively, a couple of jazz-adjacent tracks snuck onto this mix. Most notably, “Escalay” from the Kronos Quartet Pieces of Africa appears. While this is nominally a classical or world music track, it has enough in common with the works around it—a strong rhythmic foundation, a modal scale, an improvised solo—to fit in nicely. The other, Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain,” was added to provide an anchor point for some of the other explorations of blues through the jazz idiom on Side 2. And I couldn’t figure out how to end the mix, so I dropped some Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo in; it fits better than you’d think because of the vocal improvisation and the general mood.
For the actual jazz tracks, there’s a pretty good range of stuff. Of course we touch on Kind of Blue, but there’s also Coltrane’s Sound and Ellington Indigos. I really like the tracks from Marcus Roberts, the pianist and composer who was the nucleus of Wynton Marsalis’s late-1980s/early-1990s band. And there are a couple of nice sets on the second side, with the early jazz workouts of Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins contrasting with the more abstract work of Branford Marsalis, Ornette Coleman and Kenny Kirkland.
This mix was made early in the summer of 1993. I had just finished my third year at the University of Virginia and was interning in a physics lab, and slowly coming to the painful conclusion that I would not be going on to graduate study in my field. But it was sunny, and I was reasonably happy! So this was made to play in my car with the top down.
Like so many of the mixes I made (and still make), this was a way for me to digest all the CDs I had bought and listened to, whether from Plan 9 or in the BMG music club, which sold classical and other CDs at a substantial discount if you didn’t mind the occasionally blurry reproductions of album art and liner notes they suspiciously sported…
But summer of 1993 was still a pretty good time. Frank Black had just changed his name and released his first solo album; Sting’s latest showed he still had songwriting chops. I had met a singer from a woman’s chorus on a Glee Club tour who moved me deeply, to the tune of a Suzanne Vega song. Peter Gabriel’s Real World was still introducing me to new voices like Sheila Chandra. My friends in the New Dominions had just recorded their first CD, for which I did the jacket and disc design, working around a brilliant illustration by Deepak Raghu. I had heard Tori Amos for the first time in concert at Old Cabell Hall, being lucky enough to score tickets after a Glee Club rehearsal. I was starting to explore jazz beyond Coltrane and Miles and Wynton and Branford. Good times indeed.
Fu Manchu – Frank Black (Frank Black)
99.9 F° – Suzanne Vega (99.9 F°)
Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven) – Sting (Ten Summoner’s Tales)
Before You Were Born – Toad the Wet Sprocket (Fear)
Ever So Lonely/Eyes/The Ocean – Sheila Chandra (Weaving My Ancestors’ Voices)
Ava – David Byrne (The Forest)
Tin Man – New Dominions (Salamander!)
Tilliboyo – Kronos Quartet (Pieces of Africa)
Road To Nowhere – Talking Heads (Sand In The Vaseline Popular Favorites 1976-1992)
Precious Things – Tori Amos (Little Earthquakes)
The Dream Before – Laurie Anderson (Strange Angels)
Seven Days – Sting (Ten Summoner’s Tales)
Drawing Room Blues – Joe Henderson (Lush Life – The Music of Billy Strayhorn)
Sassy – Neneh Cherry (Homebrew)
Ed Is Dead – The Pixies (Come On Pilgrim)
Warning Sign – Talking Heads (More Songs About Buildings And Food)
As Girls Go – Suzanne Vega (99.9 F°)
Dirt In The Ground – Tom Waits (Bone Machine)
Death Of A Train – Daniel Lanois (For The Beauty Of Wynona)
Washing Of The Water – Peter Gabriel (Us)
Motorway To Roswell – The Pixies (Trompe Le Monde)
If you have Apple Music, you can listen to the mix here, though it doesn’t include all the tracks… 🙁
Errata: Although “Upside Down” is in the track listing on the j-card for the tape, it wouldn’t fit on the end of Side 1. So I saved it for another mix.
So you’re stuck at home this Christmas. You have Covid, or someone in your family does, or both. Might as well crank the music up, and what better way to ring in the season than an hour of Christmas jazz?
This set, and yesterday’s, have been percolating for a few years, ever since my “Off Kilter Christmas” showed me how hard it was to trim all the holiday music I wanted to share down to an hour. But when I was putting together yesterday’s set, I realized I had something like four mixes worth of material, so I started separating the jazz out… and what came was remarkably coherent. Though maybe that says more about my record collection than fate. The track listing is below, though be prepared for Babs Gonsalves to pop up a few times.
“Sleigh Ride,” Duke Pearson (Merry Ole Soul). Pearson was, in addition to being the A&R man for Blue Note Records in the 1960s and composer of the great Donald Byrd track “Cristo Redentor,” a pretty fair pianist and arranger. This uber-cool take on “Sleigh Ride” is viewed through the prism of spiritual jazz, with a drone in the bass and drums that’ll knock your socks off.
“Marche Touche,” Classical Jazz Quartet (Christmas). This record is one of my happy discoveries this season. Featuring Ron Carter on bass, Kenny Barron on piano, Stefán Harris on vibes and marimba, and Lewis Nash on drums, this take on the March from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” is something else.
“Littler Drummer Boy,” Tia Fuller (It’s Christmas on Mack Avenue). If you want a modern classic of jazz interpretations of Christmas standards, I’d check out this compilation. Fuller’s take on “Little Drummer Boy” is representative, with a combination of traditional melodic interpretation and contemporary rhythm.
“We Three Kings of Orient Are,” Ellis Marsalis (A New Orleans Christmas Carol). This standout album from the late patriarch of the Marsalis clan has a lot going for it, especially Jason Marsalis’s beat on tracks like this one.
“Carol of the Bells,” Wynton Marsalis (Crescent City Christmas Card). I remember listening to this with my family with some puzzlement when it first came out. Now I love it: the horn line that shifts around the beat with each chorus, the typically crunchy Wynton chords, the classic Wynton Marsalis Septet members throwing everything into the arrangement (yes, that’s Marcus Roberts, Wycliffe Gordon, Todd Williams, Wessell Anderson, Herlin Riley, and Reginald Veal on the track).
“White Christmas,” Ill Considered (An Ill Considered Christmas). The Ill Considered Christmas album might be the 21st century equivalent of Crescent City Christmas Carol for dividing family opinion. There are some mighty interesting reharmonizations on this album. But I love the inclusion of Eastern melodies over the traditional Irving Berlin tune here, and the band is uptempo and bright.
“Christmas Time Is Here,” Ellis Marsalis. A second track off Ellis’s Christmas album, this is a solid reinterpretation of the Vince Guaraldi classic and a completely different mood from “We Three Kings.” Contemplative and mellow. You might want to refill that eggnog.
“Vauncing Chimes,” Bobby Watson (Blue Christmas). This contemporary collection from Blue Note has a bunch of fairly faithful covers of classic jazz arrangements, but this one actually comes from a different 1991 compilation and is a retitled version of “Jingle Bells,” with Watson’s saxophone taking us on a tour of the outer reaches.
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” Jimmy Smith (Christmas Cookin’). A top five holiday jazz album, Smith’s Hammond organ sizzles throughout this set. While I enjoy the numbers with orchestration in this set, this cut just has the trio, and they make a joyful noise.
“Here Comes Santa Claus,” Ramsey Lewis Trio (Sound of Christmas). This set from 1961, like the Jimmy Smith set, has trio numbers and orchestral arrangements, and this is also “just” a trio setting. But with Ramsey Lewis at the keys, it might as well be an orchestra. Rambunctious, bluesy and jolly, this’ll have you wondering what you put in that eggnog.
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” Bill Evans Trio (Trio ’64). Just why the otherwise straight album by Evans, Paul Motian and Gary Peacock contained this cover of the Fred Coots/Haven Gillespie holiday standard is up for debate. What’s not up for debate is the high level of artistry on this track, with Evans, Motian and Peacock displaying telepathic abilities throughout. Worth the price of admission for Motian’s bass part alone.
“Sleep, Holy Infant, Sleep,” Dave Brubeck (Christmas Lullabies 12”). I don’t know too much about this vault issue, which was a Record Store Day release a few years ago, except that Brubeck demonstrates a delicacy of touch and interpretation that’s characteristic of some of his later Telarc recordings. This is, true to the release name, a lovely lullaby.
“Auld Lang Syne,” Bobby Timmons (Holiday Soul). The great soul jazz pianist and composer Bobby Timmons sees us out, with a great soul-inflected cover of the New Years Eve classic (or, depending on your leaning, unofficial University of Virginia alma mater).
It’s time for more Christmas craziness, so break out the eggnog, put up your feet, close that window that’s blowing open, and enjoy! Big range this time, with tracks from Yo La Tengo, Low and Jane Siberry joining the expected bits of old blues and funk.
The Last Month Of The Year – Vera Hall Ward (Where Will You Be Christmas Day?)
Getting Ready for Christmas Day – Paul Simon (So Beautiful or So What)
A Groovy Christmas and New Year (Kojo Donkoh) – Houghas Sorowonko (A Groovy Christmas and New Year (Kojo Donkoh))
It’s Christmas Time – Yo La Tengo (Merry Christmas From Yo La Tengo)
Christmas In Jail – Ain’t That A Pain – Leroy Carr (Where Will You Be Christmas Day?)
When It’s Christmas Time on the Range – Bob Wills (Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree II: The Eggnog Is Spiked)
To Heck With Ole Santa Claus – Loretta Lynn (Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree – A Vintage Holiday Mixtape)
The Christmas Blues – Bob Dylan (Christmas In the Heart)
Santa’s Got A Bag O’ Soul – Soul Saints Orchestra (Lit Up Like A Christmas Tree II: The Eggnog Is Spiked)
Merry Christmas Baby – Bootsy Collins (Christmas Is 4 Ever)
Xmas Done Got Funky – Jimmy Jules & Nuclear Soul System (Santa’s Funk & Soul Christmas Party Vol.1-3)
Christmas on Riverside Drive – August Darnell (A Christmas Record)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Dread Zeppelin (Presents)
Go Where I Send Thee – Fred Waring & The Pennsylvanians (The Sounds of Christmas)
Another Hackathon mix! This one is about finding different states of mind in music from around the world. The mix is heavy on African music from different countries, but there’s a healthy dose of other stuff too. Track notes below.
“Ali’s Here,” Ali Farka Toure (Niafunke). I learned about Ali from his collaboration with Ry Cooder in the 1990s, Talking Timbuktu. But this solo album is grittier and deeply, deeply funky.
“Durgen Chugaa,” Shu-De (Voices from the Distant Steppe). This album of Tuvan throat singing is infamous in my family; I was blasting it in my first post-college apartment when a knock came at my door, and the melodious sounds of throat singing were the first things that Lisa heard when she met me for the first time as she and our mutual friend Shel met me at my door. Reader, she married me anyway.
“Shamas-Ud-Doha, Badar-Ud-Doja,” Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Shahen-Shah). My favorite of Nusrat’s albums for Real World. I began to learn vocal improvisation technique from listening to him on this track.
“Wagane Faye,” Youssou N’Dour (Badou). An early recording of Youssou from the mid-1980s, parts of this song would end up reprised on his Set album from 1990 as “Medina.” This version skips the xylophone-like synths and saxes and just goes full-out as a live band cut, much heavier on the percussion and other dance elements.
“Living Together,” Remmy Ongala & Orchestre Super Matimila (Mambo). I slept on this early-90s Real World album and am sorry I did. Great Tanzanian funk that fits nicely with the Senegalese sound around it.
“Gainde,” Omar Pene & Super Diamono (Direct from Dakar). Late-1990s Senegalese mbalax from the great rival to Youssou N’Dour.
“Na Teef Know De Road of Teef,” Pax Nicholas (Daptone Records’ Rhythm Showcase). A legendary track. Nicholas was a member of Fela Kuti’s band Africa 70 who recorded this solo album in 1973 in Ginger Baker’s well-equipped Nigerian studio with many of Fela’s musicians. Apparently Fela didn’t like the competition, and told him, “Don’t you ever, EVER play it again!” And thus the recording remained underground for more than 30 years.
“Pop Makossa Invasion,” Dream Stars (Pop Makossa – The Invasive Dance Beat of Cameroon). A great song from a great compilation of highly danceable funk from Cameroon, all following the original release of Manu Dibango’s legendary “Soul Makossa.”
“Lonyaka,” Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Classic Tracks). I love the mbube style showcased in this track. There’s a reason that so many people fell in love with this band when they heard it on Graceland.
“On the Street,” The Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble (The Wild Field). A completely different singing style from Pokrovsky’s pioneering folk ensemble, this traditional song comes from a region of Russia that adjoins Ukraine, and so has a completely different meaning today than when it was released over 30 years ago.
“San Vicente,” Milton Nascimento (Brazil Classics 1: Beleza Tropical). There was a pretty notorious cartoon that ran in a student magazine when I was an undergrad, picturing Peter Gabriel and David Byrne as carpetbaggers due to their leveraging world music sounds in their pop music. The accusation has a ring of truth to it, but both musicians did their best to provide the musicians with whom they collaborated with a broader platform, Gabriel through his still-vital Real World label, and Byrne through Luaka Bop, a more eclectic group that began with this release. Brazil Classics 1 highlights some of the musicians who worked with Byrne on the Talking Heads release Naked and Byrne’s solo debut Rei Momo, including Nascimento, a dean of Brazilian folk music.
“Voyager,” Kudsi Ergüner & Süleyman Ergüner (Sufi Music of Turkey). A hypnotic album I found in college showcasing the ney flute of Kudsi Ergüner and a very different sound from the Sufi tradition that manifests in the qawwali singing of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
“T’Amo,” Tenores di Bitti (S’amore ’e mama). Lest we think that remarkable vocal styles are a strictly extra-European phenomenon, give this track a listen. The Sardinian ensemble on display here does things with overtones that you normally have to travel to Tuva to hear.
“Svatba,” Bulgarian State Television Female Choir (Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares). Still hair-raising more than 30 years after these recordings hit the United States.
“En Mana Kuoyo,” Ayub Ogada (En Mana Kuoyo). The liner notes for the album describe this song as a “parable suggesting that the person who hurries eats his sesame seeds with sand.” I feel seen.
“Gut pluriarc with one man’s voice” (Instrumental Music of the Kalahari San). This uncredited performance, just a man and a stringed instrument, reminds us that there is still so much to listen to and learn.
It’s a Veracode Hackathon, so it must be time for an Exfiltration Radio playlist! This time, naturally, the musical choices were influenced by all the Miles-related jazz I’ve been writing about over the last few months, as well as an unlikely source: my Apple Music library maintenance.
So, when you source your library from iTunes Store purchases, third-party high-res music providers like HDTracks and Bandcamp, and CD and vinyl rips, you end up with pretty big music files and a lot of music. Too much music to fit on the internal hard drive of most Macs. I’ve been using an external drive for my media for many years now. Mostly it works fine. When it doesn’t, though, it’s disastrous. There is some kind of error condition in Apple Music that causes it to freak out when the external drive is temporarily unavailable and re-download all the music in the iCloud library. Which is OK, I guess, except when the external drive comes back online, you now have two copies of all the music in your library. Or, if it happens again, three.
I’ve figured out a rubric for cleaning this up, which will be the subject of another post. But I’ve been going through all the music in my library album by album, and in the process creating new genres to make it easier to find some types of music. In particular, the genres that inspired this mix were Jazz Funk and Fusion. The latter needs no explanation due to our journey with Miles; jazz funk is just the hybrid of a bunch of different strains of African American music with a heavy focus on improvisation over a funky beat. The end mix combines some tracks I’ve already written about with some more modern jazz from my collection; I’ll provide notes for each track below.
“Wiggle-Waggle,” from Fat Albert Rotunda: the track that got the most comments from my write-up of Herbie Hancock’s TV show soundtrack, with friends noting how it sounds like this track dropped in from another dimension.
“Chunky,” from Live: Cookin’ with Blue Note at the Montreux Jazz Festival, by Ronnie Foster. I’ve programmed Foster’s great “Mystic Brew” in past Exfiltration Radio segments, including the Hammond special. This is a live version of the opening track from the same album, Foster’s great Blue Note debut Two Headed Freap. There’s a lot that’s different about his approach to the Hammond organ compared to earlier artists, but all I can say is: he funky.
“Flat Backin’,” from Moon Rappin’ by Brother Jack McDuff. Speaking of earlier artists, a lot of McDuff’s early work was squarely in the “soul jazz” category (like his great Hot Barbecue), but by the time of this 1969 album McDuff was on another planet, and the electric guitar and bass land the music in Funklandia.
“Funky Finger,” from The Essence of Mystery by Alphonse Mouzon. We have seen Mouzon on the first Weather Report album, but his solo debut for Blue Note is another thing entirely. Despite the name, it’s got less of the mystery of Weather Report and more of the funk, and this track is a great example.
“Sugar Ray,” from Champions by Miles Davis. “That’s some raunchy sh*t, y’all.” Listen to how the chord changes are so wrong, the way they just walk over to an adjacent major key and then settle back into the original as though nothing happened. Also note the remarkable Wayne Shorter solo.
“Superfluous,” from Instant Death by Eddie Harris. Sampled on “What Cool Breezes Do” from Digable Planets’ Reachin’, this is an instant classic.
“The Griot,” from Henry Franklin: JID014 by Henry Franklin, Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Composer Younge and former Tribe Called Quest member Shaheed Muhammad have been having a blast recording albums with their jazz idols in the Jazz is Dead series, and this newer release with bassist Franklin, who played with Freddie Hubbard, Bobbi Humphrey, Archie Shepp, Willie Bobo, Stevie Wonder and others, is a tasty slice of funk anchored by his acoustic double bass.
“Tell Me a Bedtime Story,” from Fly Moon Die Soon by Takuya Kuroda. This funky cover of Herbie Hancock’s original from Fat Albert Rotunda is a great example of latter-day jazz-funk, with the arrangement draped (or smothered, depending on your taste) in layers of Fender Rhodes, synths, and electric bass. Kuroda’s incisive trumpet anchors the arrangement and lifts the funk to another level.
“Timelord,” from Inflection in the Sentence by Sarah Tandy. A great 21st century London jazz album, featuring Tandy on both acoustic piano and electric keys, the latter notably apparent in this moody track.
“Where to Find It,” from SuperBlue by Kurt Elling. I’ll write more about this track another time, but it’s worth noting that Elling is one of the few vocalists to brave the task of putting lyrics to modern jazz tracks like this one, Wayne Shorter’s Grammy award winning “Aung San Suu Kyi.”
Enough words. “We have taken control as to bring you this special show, and we will return it to you as soon as you are exfiltrated.”
This go-round of Exfiltration Radio investigates an unusual jazz instrument, the flute. This one has been bubbling around in my mind since I started putting jazz mixes together. I kept running across unusual instrumentation on some of the recordings, well beyond the sax or trumpet plus piano/bass/drums that I first started listening to thirty years ago. First it was organ, then vibes, and today I finally started pulling together this playlist, which focuses on that other woodwind, the flute.
One thing that jumped out at me in looking through the credits on these tracks is the number of flautists who were also, or even primarily, known for their chops on the saxophone. James Moody, who leads off this set with his famous false start from his Last Train from Overbrook album, was one, but then there’s Pharoah Sanders and Joe Henderson on Alice Coltrane’s “Blue Nile,” and Yusef Lateef (who here is playing the xun, or “Chinese globular flute”).
But part of the fun of this set for me was digging into some of the artists who were best known for their work as flautists. Hubert Laws, whose playing graces “Windows” (here drawn from the Chick Corea compilation Inner Space, but originally released on his own Laws’ Clause), is all over recordings from the 1960s and 1970s where the flute appears — in fact, he’s also on “Blues Farm.” (There is an alternate universe in which this mix is all Hubert Laws, all the time.) Bobbi Humphrey’s fine playing on “Harlem River Drive,” though drenched in 1970s production values by the Mizells, is outstanding, as is the more modern playing on Chip Wickham’s “Soho Strut.” Finally, we come somewhat full circle on Matthew Halsall’s cover of Alice Coltrane’s “Journey in Satchidananda.”
So kick back, dig, while we do it to you in your earhole.
The Moody One – James Moody (Return From Overbrook)
The Plum Blossom – Yusef Lateef (Eastern Sounds)
The Great Pumpkin Waltz – Vince Guaraldi (It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown)
Windows – Chick Corea (Inner Space)
Blue Nile – Alice Coltrane (Ptah, the El Daoud)
Harlem River Drive – Bobbi Humphrey (Blacks And Blues)
Blues Farm – Ron Carter (Blues Farm)
Nancy Wilson – Brian Jackson, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Adrian Younge (Brian Jackson JID008)
Soho Strut – Chip Wickham (Shamal Wind)
Dogon Mysteries – Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids (Shaman!)
Journey In Satchidananda – Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra (Journey In Satchidananda / Blue Nile)
Today’s edition of Exfiltration Radio looks at making songs from other songs. I started making it just as an exercise in a certain type of 1980s dance music, but realized that what drew me into these songs were the bits of other songs and sounds that popped their heads up in the mix. And why not? The 1980s were when sampling came into its own—whether the cut and paste techniques of Steinski or the early digital sampling exercises of Art of Noise. Even some kinds of remixes fall into the pattern, where a song is deconstructed to its component pieces and augmented with other sounds to make something new. And weird, don’t forget weird.
Do not attempt to adjust your set, there is nothing wrong.
Jazz – Steinski (What Does It All Mean?: 1983-2006 Retrospective)
Close (To the Edit) – Art of Noise ((Who’s Afraid Of) The Art of Noise?)
Regiment – Brian Eno & David Byrne (My Life in the Bush of Ghosts)
Megamix – Herbie Hancock (Megamix)
Love Missile F1-11 (Ultraviolence Mix) – Sigue Sigue Sputnik (The Remixes)
Push It (Remix) – Salt-n-Pepa (Hot, Cool and Vicious)
Pump Up the Volume (USA 12) – Colourbox (Best of Colourbox: 1982-1987)
Wise Up Sucker (12″ Youth Remix) – Pop Will Eat Itself (This Is the Day…)
Beef – Gary Clail & On-U Sound System (End Of The Century Party)
God O.D., Pt.1 – Meat Beat Manifesto (Storm The Studio (Remastered))
Justified & Ancient (Stand By The Jams) – The KLF (Justified & Ancient)
Paranoimia – The Art of Noise with Max Headroom (Paranoimia (12″))
It’s been quite a rollercoaster of a year, for all sorts of reasons, and there were times when it felt like we were hunkering down and waiting for a beating to end. But people are getting vaccinated now and it’s spring, and suddenly it seems reasonable to start hoping once more.
Musically, the period I associate most with “hope,” as opposed to “nihilism” or “despair” or “80s hair,” is the time from the late 1990s through about 2003 or so, which produced some of the loveliest songs of hope and happiness I can remember. Part of it was the rise of indie rock, part probably the sustained recovery of the world economy. Maybe it was just that I got married at the beginning of the period, who knows? For whatever reason, it feels like a good time to dust off some of these tracks and start hoping again.
Do not attempt to adjust your set…
Untitled 4 (“Njósnavélin”) – Sigur Rós (( ))
Scratch – Morphine (Yes)
The Laws Have Changed – The New Pornographers (Electric Version)
When You’re Falling – Afro Celt Sound System (Volume 3: Further in Time)
The Way That He Sings – My Morning Jacket (At Dawn)
Diamond In Your Mind – Solomon Burke (Don’t Give Up On Me)
Brief & Boundless – Richard Buckner (Since)
All Possibilities – Badly Drawn Boy (Have You Fed The Fish?)
Time Travel is Lonely – John Vanderslice (Time Travel Is Lonely)
Shine – Mark Eitzel (The Invisible Man)
Why Not Smile – R.E.M. (Up)
You Are Invited – The Dismemberment Plan (Emergency & I)
Where Do I Begin – The Chemical Brothers (Dig Your Own Hole)