The title requires some explaining. Back in the day, before I started doing this mixtape thing on the internet, in public, I would arrive at my friend Ken's house with a new CD, we'd drive around, smoke cheap cigarettes and just hang.
One of my favorite mixes was called Bling Bling -- which itself was a relatively new phenomenon in rap music at the time. I found that CD and was amazed at how dated some of the stuff on it sounded, so I gave it an upgrade. For example, the Toadies had just put out their second album, Hell Below Stars Above, when I first made the original Bling Bling...
Recently, they put out their third album. It's been that long.
So, this is Part 2. I hardly ever do that, but this mix is that good.
So on with it, eh?
1. Ian Moore - The Literary Kind
2. Phantom Planet - Too Much Too Often
3. Stereo MCs - Sun
4. Toadies - So Long, Lovely Eyes
5. The Cramps - Two-Headed Sex Change
6. Katy Perry - One Of The Boys
7. Dashboard Confessional - Little Bombs
8. Descendants - ALL-O-Gistics
9. Phish - Free
10. Nada Surf - Deeper Well
11. Deftones - KimDracula
12. Gnarls Barkley - Going On
13. Guns N Roses - Garden Of Eden
14. Hot Hot Heat - Conversation
15. Ike & Tina Turner - I Want To Take You Higher
16. The Mountain Goats - How To Embrace A Swamp Creature
17. Pretty Girls Make Graves - The Teeth Collector
18. The Breeders - German Studies
19. Ol' Dirty Bastard - Lift Ya Skirt (Feat. Missy Elliott)
20. Omar Rodriguez Lopez - La Tirania De La Tradicion
21. The Apples In Stereo - Winter Must Be Cold
22. Blink182 - Stockholm Syndrome
23. Thursday - Telegraph Avenue Kiss
24. Smashing Pumpkins - Starz
I'm really really glad I have friends who want to share music with me. Without my friend Jeremy, I wouldn't have heard of Ian Moore and his elegant, literate pop music. "Literary Kind" is a more straight-forward rocker and it comes from the album To Be Loved.
Phantom Planet are a weird group. Every album they change styles so drastically, it's almost hard to recognize them. They are finding something very close to a genuine voice (though I really loved the previous incarnation, which was a Strokes-meets-Elvis-Costello blend) on Raise The Dead. A prime example is "Too Much Too Often."
"Connected" was the huge mega-hit for England's Stereo MCs in the mid-90s. Then, nothing happened. The 2005 album Paradise shows us what's been going on... not much. And that's a good thing. Jams like "Sun" don't come around from changing the formula.
As mentioned earlier in the post, the Toadies were the inspiration for bringing back Bling Bling, so it's off to the barn-burner "So Long, Lovely Eyes" from the exceptional third album No Deliverance. They bring the southern-fried rock like no other, save maybe Kings of Leon.
If you wanna talk sleazy rockabilly you really have to start with The Cramps. They've been at this a while and they show no signs of stopping. "Two-Headed Sex Change" is a Cramps template - bizarro lyrics, surf-rock-meets-punk-rock guitars and freaky vocals from 'Lux Interior. This comes from the album Look Ma! No Head!
I know by now that some people really hate Katy Perry. Most of them are just tired of "I Kissed A Girl" which is turning out to be a huge hit. Well, I enjoy it. So there. The album One Of The Boys (and, by extension, the title track, featured here) is a girl-power-pop grab-bag and I really dig it.
Wow. I haven't had Dashboard Confessional on a mix in a while. It's about time to feature another song from The Shade of Poison Trees, "Little Bombs" which would not sound out of place with DC's earlier work. Which is a compliment. After going the full-band route for two albums, they're returning to the singer/songwriter arrangements that made them a hit.
This one might turn some people off, but I love it. It's a Descendents track, but not your usual 2-minute punk blast. No, "ALL-o-Gistics" is the exploration of what they mean by "Worshippers of the Mighty ALL." And no, I don't really know what it means. But it's a funny, goofy track that shows off their sense of humor. It appears on the album -- get this -- called ALL.
People who know me, know that I have contempt for jam bands. Serious, hardcore rage. But the thing is, it's not the music that I dislike. It's the fans. So, in an effort to expose myself (and, by extension, you) to more music without prejudice, here's Phish doing "Free" from the album Billy Breathes. I'm actually digging it. Who'dathunkit?
I really need to invest in more Nada Surf albums. After hearing a bit of High/Low, which gives us the rockin' "Deeper Well" (and the one-off hit "Popular") I was hooked. It's the combination of art-rock guitars with satisfying lyrics and songs that move you to rock out. I guess I'm a sucker for it.
I don't know what happened to the Deftones. Or I should say, their fans. After releasing the critically-panned hit The White Pony, they came out with a mediocre self-titled album. People were calling them done and sorta gave up. But then, Saturday Night Wrist comes out... "KimDracula" is from that record, which balances White Pony-era experimentation with Around The Fur-era bombast.
Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo Green are Gnarls Barkley, the Wonder Twins of pop music. On "Going On," from the latest album The Odd Couple, they take the form of a neo-soul groove and Al Green vocals. A nice mix, indebted as they are with old soul music, pop records from the 60s and psychadelic music.
Since Chinese Democracy may never come out, here's a deliciously rocking cut from Guns N Roses' under-rated double-album Use Your Illusion. "Garden of Eden" is everything that is right and wrong about GNR - whip-stinging guitar licks, hyperbolic apocalyptic prose and furious production.
"No need to hesitate" opens Hot Hot Heat's "Conversation" from their last album Happiness LTD. And that's the sentiment the album seeks to bring forth - urgent and undeniable. They do that, for the most part, slowing down only a few times for dramatic effect. Moving indie pop with killer production.
Ike & Tina used to be the killer duo behind hit after hit. Here's a classic from the glory days, "I Wanna Take You Higher" from the recently-released career retrospective Proud Mary: The Best Of Ike & Tina Turner. A funky, raucous classic fueled, as usual, by Tina's incendiary vocals and Ike's wild guitars and backed by a rock-steady band.
Much like The Hold Steady, I write a lot about John Darnelle, aka The Mountain Goats. I write about his literary, bracing story-songs, about his sparse but beatiful production, about his melancholy anthems of isolation and alienation. So, I guess the only thing left to do is recommend the new album Heretic Pride and this song, "How To Embrace A Swamp Creature."
I just heard that Pretty Girls Make Graves broke up. Which is a damn shame. Their mix of riot grrl and post-punk were just my cup-o-tea. Andrea Zellner's fragile but tough voice augmented by the ringing Gang of Four / No Knife guitars guaranteed that any album they put out would be in my collection. Here's to them, with a particularly rockin' cut ("The Teeth Collector") from their second (and best) album, 2003's The New Romance. (Particularly fitting as some of the last words of the song are "This captain's ship is going down")
Say what you want, but when I was a lonely teen listening to Pixies albums, I had a huge crush on Kim Deal. I hadn't been much interested in the Breeders catalog, but I grew out of that. "German Studies" features Kim and her sister on dual German vocals and the jangly art-rock guitars everyone knows and loves. From the recent album Mountain Battles.
"Voices in my head want me to go back / pick up the guns don't take your Prozac" Such conflicts constantly arise in Old Dirty Bastard's solo work, particularly those that followed his first arrest and rehab visit. This track, "Lift Ya Skirt" released on the posthumous collection A Son Unique, features Missy Elliott and dozens of shout-outs to Wu Tung.
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, for those who are unaware, is the genius/madman guitarist behind The Mars Volta (and, before that, At The Drive-In). His solo albums tend to be even more inscrutable than his work with TMV, though I never thought that possible. This track, "La Tirania De La Tradicion" (literally, "The Tyranny of The Tradition") comes from one of a series of solo efforts Se Dice Bisonte, No Búfalo (it should be noted that, while it's a solo record, this song includes Volta bandmember Cedric Bixler-Zavala on vocals)
When you tire of spastic art-prog, might I recommend The Apples In Stereo? "Winter Must Be Cold" comes from the Fun Trick Noisemaker album, and much like that record, it's a soft dollop of psychadelia mixed with a dose of indie-punk fuzz.
I used to be ashamed of my affinity for pop-punk albums. I would hide my MXPX Cds when friends would come over and dread should any conversation turn to blink-182. Now that I've grown up a little I see that there's nothing wrong with liking pop-punk music. A shame, then, since blink-182 has broken up. But they left us a great final album, the self-titled gem, which features brutally adult anthems like "Stockholm Syndrome" and many more.
It wasn't intentional to bury this classic Thursday track at the end of this mix, I swear. Thursday were first introduced to me as "what if Morissey joined a hardcore band?" This image fits them, since, as is evident on "Telegraph Avenue Kiss," their combination of metal-esque riffs and emotive songwriting makes them head-and-shoulders above their peers. The album A City By The Light Divided is their third and hopefully not their last.
I still hear a lot of smack-talk going on about the latest album, Zeitgeist, by Smashing Pumpkins. I do agree with some of it -- the album is half awesome and half OK -- but haters be damned, "Starz" is a bad-ass track.