Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mixtape Philosophy: It's Brighter When the Lights are Out

The saga of the mix club continues. For anyone tuning in late, some friends and I have an arrangement for swapping Spotify playlists every week or so. Tonight I posted my second contribution, a mix called "It's Brighter When the Lights Are Out." Like I did last time, I thought I'd post the mix and a walk through.

Some months ago, I found a couple tracks by Simon Dawes (L.A. band Dawes's previous incarnation) and really loved them so I decided to build this mix around "The Awful Things," which is a punky-er turn on the Dawes sound. That set me on a mission to find songs that recalled guitar-bent, west coast music from decades past. That was not hard to do. A few that came to mind immediately were Howler's "Back of Your Neck" which I posted about this summer, "Learn How to Hang" by David Vandervelde, and The Explorer Club's "Do You Love Me," which is an awesomely bizarre combo of the Beach Boys and Phil Spector, essentially.

I also got the chance to work in some Madi Diaz, and because Madi Diaz and Keegan DeWitt are linked in my mind, I followed it up with "Jonti" by Wild Cub. It's a killer track that gets better with every listen. I cant' say enough good things about its sounds and spirit. "Jonti" is also where I got the name for the mix. DeWitt sings, "I see it now, it's brighter when the lights are out." I thought that was a great lyric and great name for the mix.

Record label samplers, NoiseTrade, and the like also helped me out this time around and I really did make some good finds. For example, "It Lingers" by Cheyenne Marie Mize and "How I Roll" by Charlie Mars, both important for the mix in terms of tone and pacing. Speaking of which, I thought the first couple drafts lacked something. Tthe mix needed one more song early on to bring things down just a bit for the middle section. I took to the ever reliable Paste Magazine and almost right off the bat ran into an article about a band from California called Allah-Las that have a kind of sepia-tinged retro thing going on and it was a real "bingo" moment. "Vis-a-Vis" fit perfect.

For the first time I included an instrumental called "Native New Yorker" by Booker T. which set up perfectly for "The Awful Things," and that pretty much brings us back to the beginning.

I've embedded the Spotify playlist above. I hope you take it for a spin. Sometimes you make these things and have no idea if A) anyone heard it or if B) anyone liked it. Anyway. There you have it. The very latest in mixtape philosophy.

No comments: