July 2007

CD cover

1. FUGAZI — Intro
I realize it’s a little cliche to put an “Intro” song as an intro on a mix. However, in this case, it’s Fugazi…so why not? It was the perfect opener, I felt. Gave it a bit of a mainstream start to a pretty eclectic mix. Also, without vocals, it’s one of those songs where, since you don’t hear Ian MacKaye’s voice, you might have to check the liner notes to see what you’re hearing…

2. JOHNNY’S GUITAR — Bangsaen ’66
I was in Holland, stoned out of my tree, and found myself in a Thai bar with my friend Malcolm. They were playing the most amazing tunes that turned out to be the Thai version of house music. Naturally, when I got home, the search was on. Didn’t find what I was looking for, but came across this song, completely randomly, on a Thai compilation mix (put out by Phantom, a Swedish label, oddly enough). I admit that I don’t know much about this band, just that they were a crazy punk-surf go-go group from 1960s Thailand… Another instrumental to set up the mix, this one wildly different from the first.

Thai coffeeshop

3. THE SODS — Copenhagen
I had so many people emailing me that this song was their favorite on the mix! And I totally understand why! While it’s repetitive, it’s also dark…it’s punky…it makes you feel a little dirty in the best way. This band (not to be
confused with the U.K. group from the same era) is a completely underrated Danish group that I never would’ve discovered if not for friends in Denmark that couldn’t shut up about them ;) They are considered Denmark’s first punk band, and this is my favorite track off of their 1979 record “Minutes To Go”. Right after the release of the album (1980 or so), the band changed their name to Sort Sol and started putting out stuff that I’m not really that into; more industrial/goth stuff (some people consider it post-punk but I really don’t agree). A really odd change for a band
like The Sods…but then again, at that point they were no longer The Sods! The change in style makes sense, given seemingly never-ending line-up changes, but still… At least lead singer Steen Jorgensen remained the same. Mmm, that voice. If you ever come across the now-rare “Minutes To Go” — snatch it up. They even cover Suicide’s “Ghost Rider” on track 10!

4. ACE FREHLEY — New York Groove
A brilliant aspect of KISS’s musical efforts, the simultaneous September 18, 1978 release of solo albums by the four band members. While Peter Kriss’ album is still my favorite, this is really the only charting (Top 20, was number 13) hit of the four, this disco-guitar rock marriage by KISS guitarist Frehley that seemed to work for millions, and well! A lot of people don’t know that this song is actually a cover of the song by the band Hello! I dig the skiffle beat, and the head-bopping easy-listening that this song provides, while still remaining edgy and emphatic. This song was probably the most popular because any number of people could relate to it, whether it be for the dance-friendly beat, or for the lyrics or for a
general love of KISS and a curiosity as to what The Spaceman might be able to deliver on his own.

5. JARVIS COCKER — Fat Children
I originally chose this song because I was recovering from a 3-year stint as a Boston nanny…loved the children but felt friction with their parents. I was frustrated that when I was supposed to be taking an active role in their upbringing; their exposure to the world…their diet…their everything — then their mother decided to not go back to work following maternity leave, and didn’t even tell me she was going to do it! I had to learn how to do my job with her at home and resentment rising, toes were stepped on, I was pissed off and eventually left the position (though they may never know how I really felt; I made all sorts of excuses and even moved away — gotta keep that positive reference). Anyway, that’s some insight into my choice. Musically, I love Jarvis Cocker, and I find this tune respectable…I admire that Cocker’s solo work (after leaving behind my beloved Pulp) is hard-hitting and poignant, with sometimes humorous lyrics, like this song, for example — “and then, fat children took my life“! I also like that this stuff is stylistically completely different from Pulp, aside from the occasional”ahhh ahh ahhh” kind of choruses…but that’s what you get when dealing with the front man; the one responsible for most of the lyrics and flow,right?

6. KING KHAN & THE SHRINES — 69 Faces of Love
European rock stars, these guys. The psych-rock/soul/big band-inspired music is so beautifully layered and intertwined that it’s hard to pick up on the fact that there are at least 11 members of the band on this track. Yup, 11. King Khan was a Canadian who is now Berlin-based, and formed The Sensational Shrines back in 1999, when he was 22. He just basically started recruiting musicians who had the same vision as him…or more-so allowing like-minded folks to join in the group/tour (I believe they all even have the same tattoo). Khan is highly influenced by the cultish Sun-Ra and oh-so -funky George Clinton, as well as tabla music, and you can almost hear his world travels and life experiences in his music. Be sure to check out the Shrines’ “What Is?!” album, out now!

UPDATE 10/07: I had the pleasure of recently going on tour with The King Khan & BBQ Show (Arish Khan and Mark Sultan). These guys are something special, and ought to be supported and promoted in any way possible. We spent however many hours in the car together, traveling from place to place. In regard to King Khan (to stay on topic), we talked music, family, love and life and as we zoomed down the highway, or sat in the back of Brooklyn’s Crypt Records, or sat at brunch in a small town…I really got that I was in the presence of an extremely bright, decidedly honest and forcefully creative person who will change the way we hear and see music, both in terms of recording and live shows. An absolutely dynamic and thoughtful individual with unlimited ideas and potential…who snores like a bandsaw :) Also worth mentioning, Saba Lou (Khan’s 7 year-old daughter, the older of the two with wife, Lil) has just released her first single, a sweet and pouty “First Day of School”. Find it on their merch table!

(VIDEO: King Khan & BBQ at my mom’s VT house, as we prepare to leave/kick off the tour)

7. THE SPECIALS — Ghost Town
I used to hear this song come on the stereo when I was younger and trying to fall asleep…and I used to get a little freaked out! Has always been a spooky reggae-rock favorite. This, I believe is the longer original, not to be confused with the shorter version released as the 7″ single (correct me if I’m wrong, that does happen sometimes, believe it or not — haha) with “Why” and “Friday Night And Saturday Morning”. This is the one that appears on the imported “Ghost Town: 13 Singles” album — and it’s perfect, in regard to writing, performance, editing — everything. The Specials were a force to be reckoned with, and aside from Madness and perhaps The English Beat (genre-fy how you please), they are my top choice for British ska band.

8. GIRL TALK — Knife by Grizzly Bear Remix
A really nice guy, Gregg Gillis, that goes by the “I’m Not A DJ” moniker of Girl Talk. He’s a mash-up artist out of Pittsburgh (and apparently a music producer, too) who gained underground fame with his oh-so-illegal album “Night Ripper” (was available for purchase on illegalart.com, but now apparently that site’s been shut down), which sampled something like over 100 artists’ music in order to create his complicated and awesome dance hits (I like to listen while driving, though). He had two albums out prior to “Night Ripper”… This particular track samples primarily from (obviously) Grizzly Bear’s “Knife”…if you compare the original to this you’ll be completely surprised. While it’s obviously the same song, the vibe is completely different. Grizzly Bear is an indie/electronic band out of Brooklyn and their “Knife” is a nostalgia-inspiring, fluid track that Girl Talk has transformed into (no pun intended) a completely different animal. You’ll see! My friends, the now-dormant The Texas Governor, opened for Girl Talk at The Middle East venue in Boston…and then I ran into him again at Lollapalooza. Definitely get into him if you haven’t already!

9. D.I. — (I Hate) Surfin’ In H.B.
Yeah, motherfuckers, original O.C. punk rock. I’d call it “surf-punk” but it’s really not…though they are surfers and talk about it frequently, I think there’s more to surf-punk than talking about surfing! This track is off of 1994’s “Ancient Artifacts”. It’s a loud 15-track disc that features lead goon Casey Royer lashing out at society for 9 mastered tracks and 6 live ones. Fantastic! They thrash about with a sense of humor, they involve the crowd, they are anything but sterile stereotypes and I respect the hell out of them for that. It’s almost like they are the Op Ivy for this generation, yeah! They are total record label hoppers, though…1 album with Doctor Dream Records, 6 with Triple X and the new one with
Suburban Noize…anyone know what that’s about? And…yes…bless ’em, these dudes are still touring.

D.I.

These kids have no idea how to truly mosh, haha. Except for maybe that kid in orange. He looks like he means business. Also: love the Black Flag shirt, brah. Really original for a punk show! ;)

10. THE HIGH-CLASS ELITE — They Call It Dancin’
Apparent “gutter-glam” rockers, I caught this NYC group of 6 for the first time at Lollapalooza, then ran into lead singer Franco and back-up singer Christina (couple alert?) in the airport on the way home. Franco is the hottest, most seasoned-looking, 23 year-old front I’ve ever seen. Fantastic! Their show at Lollapalooza was so high-energy…the guitarist was bleeding, Franco was running through the crowd, the girls were “Ooh, ooh oohing” in teensy gold lame (“la-MAY”, don’t mis-read, ha) outfits… And lookit those hipster tight pants on Franco! *fans self*, whoooo! Their EP reminds me a lot of a bastard child that might be born from Art Brut and The Who. And I say “bastard” ever-so-lovingly. I wouldn’t feature them if I didn’t love them! Buy the album. Dance your fanny off. Love the hell out of this up-and-coming 70s-style band and try to catch a show while they’re still new, to get a good view/vantage point. Their energy is absolutely palpable and is worth any small cover charge.

11. COACHWHIPS — I Knew Her, She Knew Me
A short but sweet career for this band, 2001-2005. This is track 3 off of 2003’s “Bangers vs. Fuckers”, the third out of 7 records. Obviously and heavily inspired by bands like The Oblivians and other bands in that vein, it sounds like lead singer John Dwyer (you might also know him from projects like The Ohsees) is singing into a megaphone…and that somehow makes it impossible to hear what exactly he’s saying, if that makes sense. Completely stripped-away garage/punk/noise, one of San Francisco’s former finest makes an appearance on the first Mixtress mix.

12. MAN MAN — White Rice, Brown Heart
I first caught this band this past spring when they opened for Modest Mouse. It wouldn’t have been long before I would’ve heard them again…perhaps just my awareness changed or perhaps they completely exploded on the scene…either way, they got my attention! They put on a really unique live show (was mainly drinking in the foyer of the Orpheum Theatre but made my way back to Orchestra Row N — thanks to Danielle and the BMG label for the comp’d seats — to catch the last half of their set). If I had to compare them to another project, I might go the route of Devotchka or Gogol Bordello…what are the kids calling it these days? Gypsy-punk? Well, that’s what it is. This particular song, though, is
much more about being exotic and layering sounds and minor-note melodies to create a unique almost-anthem for what they’re all about.

13. AGAINST ALL AUTHORITY — 30 Sec. Song
And here we come to the part of the mix that gives a brief and intense look at my love for ska-punk. I wouldn’t put all of Against All Authority’s music in that category (though they are definitely categorized as angry ska-revival — again — genre-fy as you please), but this song, hey — what more could it be? It’s 35 seconds (hrrumph, 30 sec. song, my ass) of frenetic “WHERE THE FUCK’S MY FREEDOM” patriotism with little ditty, tinny horns. It fits perfectly on “Destroy What Destroys You”, a definite fan favorite. And I like how for a song that’s only half a minute long, even the title of the song suggests brevity.

14. PRIMITIVE RADIO GODS — Standing Outside A Phone Booth With Money In My Hand
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to 1996. Here you go, a nice, steaming cup of modern rock. I typically won’t choose for a mix the total and complete, without-a-doubt favorite from a record or a band, but I did for this band because, well, this one’s the best. Yup. It’s off of the band’s first album, “Rocket”, and can apparently also be found on The Cable Guy soundtrack. This single made their album go gold, and unfortunately for them, despite personnel changes and attempts at similarly-successful tracks, they just never really made it in the same way that they did with”Standing Outside A Phone Booth With Money In My Hand”. Interestingly enough, though, the band did enjoy some short-lived renewed faith and fame when they started a MySpace in 2005…but alas, they’re just not the hit-producing band they were that one time. At least they managed to produce this rad track, though. Go, guys, go!

15. DOLLY PARTON — Jolene
When I was trying to think of the best name to call myself on Suicide Girls, I wanted to be named “Jolene” so badly…but it was taken. And not even by someone with auburn hair like me, the nerve! So I had to settle for something else. Ah, well. It still shocks me when I talk about “Jolene” and someone says to me, “Oh yeah, that White Stripes song!” and I have to glare at them and say, “NO, YOU FUCKING IDIOT”…*AHEM* Not really…I’m quite friendly in person, I swear. But I do wonder why it is that, when someone loves a song, they don’t automatically run to find out everything about it — starting with, I don’t know, whether it’s a cover or not?! This song came out in 1974 on a 10-track album of the same name. It was Dolly Parton’s first solo album…her voice is so clear, and if you’re ever trying to introduce someone to traditional country music — this is the album to start with. It’s also the album with “I Will Always Love You” on it, but this track — the opener — remains my favorite, with its minor-key structure and “woman scorned” lyrics. As much as I love Johnny Cash (I know, you folks are hardcore about your Cash), he’s just not as pure. So, like I said, start with Dolly! This song is timeless…and its mountain roots have modern-day relevance.

16. MADVILLAIN — All Caps
I was absolutely shocked how well this song followed “Jolene”, but it did, it fit perfectly. And I was so fucking pleased with myself for figuring it out ;) Madvillain is made up of MF Doom and Madlib, a magnificent pairing of hip-hop MCs/producers. This track is one of their 2003 singles, and for any of you that heard that “Adult Swim soundtrack”, you’ll recognize them as artists immediately. They have such a signature sound that can’t really be compared to anyone else. Their style is pretty genius, with the brief tracks and the cryptic, underground lyrics and the fact that their music isn’t really the kind that can be radio-marketed! They’re viral and addictive, with one album (2004’s “Madvillainy”) out and another on the way. Get into it.

17. THE JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION — Lovin’ Machine
You might remember Jon Spencer from Pussy Galore…this is his (and two others’) blues/punk/noise project that is more an example of boastful swagger than his last hatefuck project. Off of 1998’s “Acme”, this track (and album, really) is so much more organized and well-thought-out than previous albums. It really shows that they put time and effort into this, and weren’t just spewing forth an image that essentially mocked rock and thus was rock, like before. Definitely more beats on this album (Andre Williams, R&B musician, is executive producer), and this track is my favorite because I think it is a really good example of both the old-school blues/soul they started with and the modern band they’ve become. There’s nothing too unique about the music itself — totally simple, tried-and-true rock ideals — but the beauty is in the lyrics: “Grab a hold of my drummer baby everybody watch out / Yeah! Amour amour…” <3

18. WILLIAM SHATNER — You’ll Have Time
Engineered by Ben Folds, and with contributions by musical heavyweights like Joe Jackson and Henry Rollins (and literary heavyweight Nick Hornby), this whole album (“Has Been”, 2004) is quite good. This track completely cracked me up, though, hence why it made the mix. It’s sinister while also accepting an inevitable demise, and of course it’s delivered in primo Shatner spoken-word style. I thought the organ in the background was genius, made me feel as though a funeral was already occurring. And right around 2:20, when he lists those who have died? YES. “…Johnny Ramoooooone…” Thought about putting the cover of Pulp’s “Common People” on instead, but went with this one. As I listened to the mix
all the way through, I was convinced I’d made the right choice for the overall feel of this mix…what do you think?

19. BLACK FLAG — Wasted
Speaking of Henry Rollins (and the above-mocked T-shirt) — get out yer skateboards, jerks, it’s BLACK FLAG! This is off of 1987’s greatest hits album “Wasted…Again”, a posthumous release by the West Coast hardcore punkers. It’s the 45-second spazzed-out intro that leads into “TV Party”. It’s so difficult to say much more about such a short song from a band that rocked so hard. Had I had more room on this disc I might’ve chosen a different, lengthier song to really showcase this band and what they truly mean to me. This track is, to me, pretty much a sum-up of their career, though…so it’ll more than just do. And I do dig how the intro (to the intro track, sorry for confusion) is reminiscent of the earlier “Nervous Breakdown”‘s opening chords.

20. JIM CARROLL — People Who Died
This seems like a natural choice, essentially following “You’ll Have Time” on the mix, ha. I got a lot of feedback about this one, too — and “I was listening to ‘You’ll Have Time’ and was thinking, You know what song would be good right now?…” What can I say about Jim Carroll that would really do him justice? He was a poet, a musician, a Rolling Stone write-up at 17, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author (“Basketball Diaries”) at 22. This song was one of the most radio-requested songs following the death of John Lennon, it was used during the opening of E.T. — it defined America and truly captured the early 80s feel, before anyone really realized that they were in an era that almost needed definition and capturing. His album, “Catholic Boy” is considered one of the last punk albums, and this is the song that propelled Jim Carroll and his band from the underground to international fame. Completely and deliciously evil.

21. MARK RONSON — Most Likely…Reversion Snippet
Some U.K. musician friends of mine (who prefer not to be named, given the nature of what I’m about to say) got this song off of Mark Ronson’s MySpace using a hack. This is why it’s just a snippet of the actual collaboration track with Bob Dylan — the entire track isn’t yet available! Anyway, I love the horns as part of this remix of Bob Dylan’s “Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine” — they’re sampled from Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings! The fat backbeat is pretty sweet, too. Dylan is releasing later this year a 3-disc box re-issue, and this song is being used for promotion of the album. Some folk fans are all up in arms over the fact that Dylan is perhaps in some ways leaving behind his folk roots and stylings and getting with the times; jazzing things up a bit — I see no problem with progress, though. The folk songs he wrote back in the day were topical and the message was clear, and that time has gone by…a new Bob Dylan to reach a new generation? That to me is no sell-out, that’s a true legend. Fanfuckingtastic. And if he’s going to enlist the help of anyone already in the scene and who could display his music properly and with respect — Mark Ronson’s the man for the job (also produced albums for Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse and has worked with countless other bigwigs in the industry). The complete track is expected out at the end of September, but I’m watching MySpace for the full version…it ought to be coming soon and I can’t wait to hear it!

22. LA REAL ACADEMIA DE LA RIMA — Super MC’s (Nuevo Leon) [Version 1.0]
Don’t even ask me how I ended up with this — I have no idea. But I’m enamored with the loop and I find the whole thing catchy and sun-baked. Mexican hip-hop, yesssss. I wish I could say more about this band or this track, but unfortunately, all the press about it that I’ve found is in Spanish! So — if you know anything about this, holler. I am a musical sponge; I want to know everything! That’s the tough thing about falling in love with foreign tracks, though there’s information out there, I may not be able to understand it. And that should say something about public school foreign language education (or *ahem* my fantastic skills of being a student) — I took 9 or so years of Spanish and yet I look at these web pages and feel helpless. BOOO!

23. PETULA CLARK — Rowe “Play Me” Single
Isn’t she darling? Petula Clark fills in the space between La Real Academia de la Rima and Val Bennett with a commercial for Rowe in 1967. It is what it is!

24. VAL BENNETT — The Russians Are Coming (a.k.a. Take Five)
In the 50s, tenor sax player Val Bennett started his career. This particular song, a 1967 (or 1968?) rock steady — or roots reggae, we can argue about this later, if you like — cover of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”, was a single produced by Jamaican record producer Bunny “Striker” Lee (who was the one responsible for licensing his productions to the Trojan label in the 70s). The B-side to this split record was Lester Sterling’s “Sir Lee’s Whip”, in case you were wondering. Only this song, though, can be found on the 1999-released “Reggae Chill-Out” version of the Trojan box set series. Fun
fact: a 30-second sample of this was used as theme song for that much-loved 80s show, “The Secret Life of Machines”. Another fun fact: I recently read that Val Bennett (who died in 1991) had a mouthful of gold teeth and at one point in his life drove a hearse. Seems like an interesting character!

25. CONCRETE BLONDE — It’ll Chew You Up And Spit You Out
Few female fronts affect me in the same way as Johnette Napolitano — she is one fierce lady who says what she means and means what she says. The band started as Dream 6, only releasing one album under this name before becoming LA alt-garage band, Concrete Blonde. While this song was the last track on their first album (self-titled), the band may be best known for their third album, “Bloodletting”. It is rumored that Napolitano had her heart broken on a Friday and the entire album’s songs were written by Sunday. Unreal! As a female front, myself, that supposed fact knocks the wind out of me. I mean, can you imagine?! That’s one hell of a productive heartbreak. I wish that I could bang out an album when I’m feeling low, but alas, I just manage to eat a shit-ton of popcorn. Hmmm, perhaps that’s why you’ve never heard of me? Hahaha. This track isn’t the best-known one on the album (“Still in Hollywood” and “Your Haunted Head” ended up in cult classic film The Hidden), but I think it’s epic, and potentially one of the strangest, most perfect songs with which to almost-end a mix.

26. THE AVALANCHES — Tonight May Have To Last Me
This Australian band weren’t always The Avalanches, nope. They were Alarm 115, Pan Amateurs, Swinging Monkey Cocks, Quentin’s Brittle Bones, Whoops Downs Syndrome — then finally The Avalanches. Interestingly enough, they got their big break at their fifth gig, while opening for Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, when Steve Pav (legendary nutcase producer) offered to sign them to the Wondergram label. The Wondergram “El Producto” EP was recorded in literally 5 minutes, and the drunken chaos that was the band started to take actual shape. This track is from 2000’s “Since I Left You”, a much- heralded full-length debut. You might best recognize the single, “Frontier Psychiatrist” — I mean, if you haven’t seen that video, YouTube that shit, yes. I chose this track, though, because while it’s laid-back and seemingly romantic, it brings to light the guys’ signature DJ talents and also gives the feeling that while the mix is ending, it’s coming to a crashing halt, and notsomuch withering away (which is how a lot of mixes end…people taper them off with slower, more emo songs). Out with a bang, I say! [They try to make me end with emo, and I say, no, no, no… ;) — ha, I couldn’t resist] Check out their remixes of songs like Wolfmother’s “Woman” (2006) and Badly Drawn Boy’s “The Shining” (2000).

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