Thursday, May 2, 2013
But things are getting back to normal. A rough work week has now led up to a 9 shows in 9 days bender. Last year, I managed to pull of a seemingly impossible 9 shows in 7 day bender. Beginning tomorrow things get nonstop and fun. So tonight's mixtape commemorates this awesome stretch of live music. It's comprised of all of the artists I get to see from Johnny Marr to Peter Murphy performing an all Bauhaus set (!!!!) to The Breeders celebrating the 20th anniversary of Last Splash to catching one of my favorite Boston psych bands' and their record-release show. It will be a week+ of living in rock clubs sporting earplugs, eyeliner, and black t-shirts...and all the while surrounded by great music.
Thursday Night Mixtape
1. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, "Whatever Happened To My Rock 'N' Roll (Punk Song)"
2. Johnny Marr, "The Messenger"
3. Bauhaus, "Silent Hedges"
4. Palma Violets, "Step Up For The Cool Cats"
5. The Presets, "Promises"
6. Nightmare Air, "Sweet Messy Riff"
7. The Breeders, "Cannonball"
8. Ghost Box Orchestra, "Oh, The Moon Hangs Low"
9. Shout Out Louds, "Walls"
Let the fun begin. Listen loud and become immersed.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Oh and my DJ set was pretty great and judging by how many people Tweeted at me, it went over pretty well. The picture above was taken by one of the people that Tweeted at me.
So tonight's late-night mixtape is comprised of artists that I've had the pleasure of meeting regardless of how awkward things got.
1. How to destroy angels, "Strings and attractors"
2. Nine Inch Nails, "Terrible Lie"
3. Gary Numan, "Metal"
4. Front 242, "Don't Crash"
5. Depeche Mode, "Strangelove"
6. ohGr, "Pore"
7. KMFDM, "Godlike (Doglike mix)"
8. The Cure, "From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea"
9. Pixies, "Here Comes Your Man"
10. Sleater-Kinney, "One More Hour"
11. Charli XCX, "What I Like"
There you have it. A mixtape to cap off what turned into a great weekend. I'm still shocked at how it played out, myself. And don't worry, I'll be talking about it nonstop for at least the next week. As always, listen loud and become immersed.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Enough rambling because it's time to get caught up with our belated March 2013 Backtracks. This mixtape is loaded with the kind of stuff that people expect me to like. In a nutshell there's plenty of dark, brooding electropop on here. Oh and then there's Bowie.
March 2013 Backtracks
1. How to destroy angels, "How long?": The most obvious inclusion to any of my mixtapes is anything Trent Reznor-related. It's no secret that I'm a huge Nine Inch Nails fan (I've only seen them live 11 times) and I love anything Trent touches. Yes, even that remix he did of that P. Diddy song. But How to destroy angels is a different animal altogether. It's a definite band atmosphere, as longtime NIN collaborators Atticus Ross and Rob Sheridan are full-fledged members, and Trent's wife, Mariqueen Maandig supplies lead vocals. I've described HTDA as an industrialized Massive Attack as most songs on their debut full-length, Welcome oblivion are set to a simmer. "How long?" is one of the album's highlights as it has a slight R&B backbone underneath the icy synths.
2. Tying Tiffany, "One Second": I was introduced to this Italian act by Boston DJ, writer, label-head, tastemaker, and all-around nice guy, Michael Marotta. He had Tweeted about Tying Tiffany and used the word "darkwave." Naturally, I had to check them out. "One Second" was the first song that I found and I was floored. It helps that it starts with the instantly catchy chorus. It definitely would fit in nicely on a darkly lit dancefloor. Further research led me to previous Tying Tiffany records which show a more aggressive side mixing electropop, goth, and industrial. Needless to say, it's love.
[Check out Michael Marotta's awesome Vanyaland music blog here.]
3. CHVRCHES, "Now Is Not The Time": It's safe to say that this Swedish electropop trio was quick to become one of my 2013 obsessions. I talk about CHVRCHES all the time. It's definitely because of their knack for making some of the catchiest songs I've heard. It's not all about bright synths and cute female vocals because there's a dark undercurrent swiveling its way through their music. A debut album is due out some time this year, but in the meantime, they released the Recover EP. Its title track is great, but "Now Is Not The Time" hits me harder and it's definitely because of those pulsing synths at the heart of the song's chorus.
4. André Obin, "Enjoy": I've been a fan of André Obin's music for a few years now. Easily one of my favorite Boston electronic artists. And there are so many reasons why, the biggest of which, is that he takes influence from so many things-- be it techno, Krautrock, shoegaze, or synthpop-- and filters it through his own artistic vision making music that sounds singularly like himself. His full-length debut, The Arsonist, has been getting some good attention and deservedly so. For me, "Enjoy" is the standout as Obin finds a way to bring EBM and dreampop together so seamlessly that I've managed to play this song on my industrial show alongside of Front 242. The Arsonist is proof that there is great electronic music out there that outshines some of the stuff passing off as "EDM."
5. Depeche Mode, "Soothe My Soul": A song that could have easily come out of Depeche Mode's Violator-era, "Soothe My Soul" has that slinky rhythm and slick guitar riff that could make it sound like a not-too-distant cousin of "Personal Jesus." Their latest album, Delta Machine, has its ups and downs but "Soothe My Soul" is a definite highlight sure to become a live staple deserving of repeated listens.
6. Cold Cave, "People Are Poison": Cold Cave has become one of my favorite bands to the point that I pre-order any 7" they've released. So far this year, the man behind Cold Cave, Wesley Eisold, has been releasing music at a breakneck pace already putting out two stellar singles with one more due out soon. It was a tough choice as to which one to include on this mixtape. It came down to the warmer synthpop of "God Made The World" and this brooding industrial pop gem. Appearing on the Oceans With No End EP, "People Are Poison" is the darker side to that EP's title track as Eisold sneers, "I'll give you one step over the line and then I'm gone" backed by guitars and synths grinding against each other like grimy, rusted gears before Eisold finally concludes, "You were nothing." It's the type of song I can dedicate to few people.
7. Nightmare Air, "Icy Daggers": LA's Nightmare Air falls into that category of "Bands I Can Easily Become Obsessed With." I remember seeing them live last year only having heard two songs and just falling in love with them. Their debut album, High In The Lasers, is already one of my favorites of the year and one I constantly listen to. It's actually hard to pick a favorite off the record since pretty much every song is killer, but the album's latest single, "Icy Daggers" is a definite highlight with its careening guitars and explosive chorus. I recently saw Nightmare Air for a second time and it just kicked my obsession with them into a higher gear.
8. Suede, "It Starts And Ends With You": I refuse to call them "London Suede." It might just be out of stubbornness. But really it's because to me, there will always be only one Suede. Their comeback album, Bloodsports is a return to peak form for a band that's practically the reason the term "Britpop" even exists. "It Starts And Ends With You" is a downright masterpiece. Hearing Brett Anderson belt out that chorus is honestly one of the greatest things ever. Easily one of my favorite singles of the year. Expect to see it high in that list when it gets compiled in December.
9. David Bowie, "The Next Day": What needs to be said about David Bowie? The fact that The Next Day came out was a surprise to many. And the fact that the album is pretty good is an added bonus. He's an elder statesmen for all the cool music that came out since donning the makeup and becoming Ziggy Stardust. At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, Bowie just rules, ok?
There you have it. I don't mean to play favorites or anything, but this particular Backtracks mixtape is one of my favorites. Depeche Mode, Trent Reznor, Cold Cave, Suede, and Bowie!? That sounds about right. Until next time, definitely listen loud and become immersed.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Eddie Vedder Must Die!! 
Grey Cell Green- Ned's Atomic Dustbin
Cape Connection- Pop Will Eat Itself
Friday I'm In Love- The Cure
Sick Of Myself- Matthew Sweet
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me- U2
I Got It Bad- Prick
Support System- Liz Phair
Hit Song- Peter Murphy
Sometimes- The Jesus And Mary Chain
OK OK- Juliana Hatfield
Shallow End- Superchunk
Down In The Park- Marilyn Manson
Take Another- Filter
High Speed Changer- Orange 9mm
Wilma's Rainbow- Helmet
Digging The Grave- Faith No More
Cosmic Dick- Gwen Mars
Self Destruction, Part Two- Nine Inch Nails
Juke-Joint Jezebel- KMFDM
No More Love- God Lives Underwater
Thinking back on this period of time, and it's evident that 1) I hate Pearl Jam (to this day I find them painfully ordinary and boorish) and 2) industrial music is slowly but surely taking over my taste with Pigface, KMFDM, and a NIN remix making it onto the tape. But there's also slight sparks of what would become my indie rock leanings on here as well (Liz Phair and Superchunk.) That's not to say that there aren't some embarrassing moments on here. For one, the inclusion of Filter. I really wanted to like them since Richard Patrick was a former touring member of NIN. But aside from "Hey Man, Nice Shot," the track that appears here and the one they did for The Crow 2 are the only songs Filter ever did that was worth anything. Don't believe me? I have 3 words for you: "Take A Picture." Oh and Sponge...I have no excuse for that one. Consider it a lapse of judgment.
However, there are some songs on here that have held up surprisingly well. Matthew Sweet's "Sick Of Myself" is a forgotten gem. A simple three and a half minutes of power pop goodness. And then there's Gwen Mars' "Cosmic Dick." I'm pretty sure I only know one other person who remembers this one but it's just glam/grunge awesomeness with a kickass chorus, to boot ("You don't know dick!") And lastly, there's "High Speed Changer" from the highly underrated, Orange 9mm. I'm probably a little biased because I was at their first ever show together (opening for Sick Of It All at the Academy in NYC) but holy hell, this song was almost too ahead of its time. Had they come out with this song just 5 years later, they would have been huge and quite possibly, they would have saved us from the antichrist known as Fred Durst.
Mixtape Revisited: Selections from Eddie Vedder Must Die!!
1. Grey Cell Green- Ned's Atomic Dustbin
2. Cape Connection- Pop Will Eat Itself
3. Friday I'm In Love- The Cure
4. Sick Of Myself- Matthew Sweet
5. I Got It Bad- Prick **
6. Support System- Liz Phair
7. Hit Song- Peter Murphy
8. Sometimes- The Jesus And Mary Chain **
9. Shallow End- Superchunk **
10. Stutter- Elastica
11. High Speed Changer- Orange 9mm
12. Wilma's Rainbow- Helmet
13. Digging The Grave- Faith No More
14. Cosmic Dick- Gwen Mars
15. Self Destruction, Part Two- Nine Inch Nails
16. Juke-Joint Jezebel- KMFDM
** not included on the Spotify playlist
So there it is- my return to Random Ramblings & Mixtapes with one of my favorite actual mixtapes. I honestly still have this tape and I still listen to it. Coming soon, March 2013 Backtracks and much more. As always, listen loud and become immersed.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
We're already a little passed the midpoint of another month which, around here, means it's time for our Monthly Backtracks mixtape. February proved to be a good month for music. We got the return of a goth troubadour, a guitar hero, a soon-to-be goth/pop diva, electro-pop godfathers, and some pleasantly dark surprises. Not meaning to get ahead of ourselves, but March is looking to be even better as already there has been new music from the likes of Bowie, How To Destroy Angels, and a brand new full-length from Depeche Mode. And to think, in May there's a brand new Skinny Puppy album due out. This is shaping to be the "Year Of Brian L." Now onto the mixtape.
February 2013 Backtracks
1. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, "We No Who U R": I first saw Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at Lollapalooza '94. It was the summer after my senior year of high school. And it was under a blazing hot sun. Not the ideal situation to see Mr. Cave yet somehow it left a lasting impression. Now almost two decades after that first impression and I've been a fan of his work both with the Bad Seeds and with his garage rock project, Grinderman. The latest offering from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Push The Sky Away is more of a slow scorcher of a an album and its lead single simmers rather than boils, almost as if there's an evil lurking beneath it all.
2. Frightened Rabbit, "Backyard Skulls": It's a little surprising how Frightened Rabbit's music has aged so well with me. At a time when I've been exorcising most anything described as "folky" from my life, these Scottish indie rockers have managed to endure. It's probably because they've embraced bigger sounds on their latest album and major label-debut, Pedestrian Verse. On "Backyard Skulls," the band forgoes the temptation of turning their music into fragile campfire tales and instead they've plugged in and turned things up which really does go a long way with me.
3. Haunted Hearts, "Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good": I love Dee Dee of the Dum Dum Girls. She might very well be the biggest of my rockstar crushes. That being said, I want to hate her husband, Brandon Welchez but I can't. Mainly because he heads up Crocodiles, another band I love. With Haunted Hearts, the happily married couple join forces and the result is just as good as you'd expect; a good medium between Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles that leans closer to the latter. Their debut single, "Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good" is a sexy fuzz bomb whose chorus boasts the none-too-subtle come-on "It's alright, you can tie me up, if I can tie you down."
4. Johnny Marr, "Upstarts": What can be said about Johnny Marr? His guitar heroics with The Smiths has had an immeasurable influence on indie rock. The biggest surprise on his first solo album, The Messenger is how straightforward it is. Just a batch of good songs with no real trickery needed. Yet on tracks like "Upstarts" he manages to turn simple Nick Lowe-indebted power pop into infectious earworms.
5. Shout Out Louds, "14th Of July": I have a soft spot for Shout Out Louds. I can't help but love their band name. Not only that but the first song I ever fell for from them was "Tonight I Have To Leave It" which was mainly due to two things: 1) sounding a little like The Cure and 2) it has a cowbell solo. Their new album, Optica continues what has now become their familiar New Wave inflected indie shuffle. The upbeat and sunny "14th Of July" wouldn't be out of place filling a dancefloor on a Friday night.
6. Depeche Mode, "All That's Mine": These dark electro-pop godfathers are set to put out their 13th album entitled Delta Machine on March 26th. That album's first single was the scorching synth ballad, "Heaven." And while that song may have been a bit of a letdown, its b-side, "All That's Mine" gave die hard fans a shimmer of hope. It's still not a dancefloor smash, but its smoldering electronics are a perfect compliment to Dave Gahan's always seductive vocals.
7. Charli XCX, "You (Ha Ha Ha)": If Dee Dee is the biggest of my rockstar crushes, then Charli XCX is my full-blown UK pop star crush. This might honestly be her 10th or 11th appearance on Random Ramblings & Mixtapes but honestly, it's well-deserved. Based on the song's title, I was a little apprehensive, but I shouldn't have doubted Charli XCX as she apparently has the Midas Touch that even a seemingly jokey title can turn into an addictive pop song. Her very long-awaited full-length debut, True Romance, is due out in April continuing the "Year Of Brian L." My only question is: Do I want it on vinyl? Of course I do.
8. Panda Riot, "Serious Radical Girls": This is band whose name didn't exactly win me over. It's cute in the way that The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart is cute. And just like that band, Panda Riot's music overcomes their name. Dreampop that falls somewhere between School Of Seven Bells and Curve. "Serious Radical Girls" finds the right balance between fuzzy guitars, hazy synth washes, and heavenly vocals. It's the kind of song that requires repeated listens.
9. Deathday, "After Dark": A friend posted this song on my Facebook page with the simple recommendation that went "You might dig this." That's putting it mildly. "After Dark" blew me away almost instantly. Dark, danceable synth-goth. Next thing I know I was listening to this song obsessively and trying to find out more info on Deathday, who happen to be a post-punk/goth band from LA. I've tried to fit this song in at just about every DJ gig I've had since I first heard it. "After Dark" appears on a post-punk/synthwave compilation put out by Italy's Mannequin Records.
10. KMFDM, "I (Heart) Not": I've been a KMFDM fan since high school. And unlike, say, Ministry, they've been consistent with their output. It's been a while since they put out an album that blew me away but they do always manage to have 2 or 3 songs on every release that rank pretty high on their career output. "I (Heart) Not" is one of those songs. Their latest album, Kunst (the German word for "art") is like most KMFDM albums continuing in the band's brand of guitar-heavy industrial fitting both dancefloors and mosh-pits alike. It's the Ultra Heavy Beat the way it should sound. Now if only Ministry could take note.
So there you have it, our February Backtracks mixtape. As always, listen loud and become immersed.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
ANOTHER Really Bad Mix 
Classic Girl- Jane's Addiction
Feed The Tree- Belly
Touch Me- The Doors
Don't Follow- Alice In Chains
Blew Away- Smashing Pumpkins
Pictures Of You (Live from Show)- The Cure
Here Comes Your Man- Pixies
Everybody Loves Me- Juliana Hatfield
Angel Of Harlem- U2
Interstate Love Song- Stone Temple Pilots
Tell Me When- The Human League
Side B: Evil Side [11/29/94]
So What'Cha Want- Beastie Boys
2,000 Light Years Away- Green Day
Seether- Veruca Salt
A Girl Like You- Tom Jones
Nite Flights- The Fatima Mansions
Heresy (Blind)- Nine Inch Nails
Butterfly Wings- Machines Of Loving Grace
Light (Fat Back Dub)- KMFDM
Get Your Gunn- Marilyn Manson
Custard Pie- Helmet w/ David Yow
Rock & Roll N*****- Patti Smith
Some interesting things of note going on here. First, each side of the tape is actually dated revealing that the mix wasn't completed in one sitting. Oddly, none of my other mixtapes were dated. Thinking back, this was actually compiled during my first semester of college. Aside from Alice In Chains, there are almost no hints of my high school metalhead years on here. Instead, it's been replaced by what can be considered a playlist of MTV's Alternative Nation. Side A still shows evidence of my love of Stone Temple Pilots. I said it before and I'll say it again, their first two albums were great. It also reveals another dirty secret which is that I like The Doors. At least for a short while. It is, however, good to see some Human League on here as they're still one of my all-time favorite bands. What can I say, Phil Oakey's voice is gold.
Not to be outdone, Side B also does its share of revealing dirty secrets. Here it's Green Day. Dookie won me over so much that I somehow ended up picking up their first two albums and truth be told, I favored Kerplunk over Dookie. Also, I was a few years away from getting involved in college radio so at this point I didn't know that the The Fatima Mansions track was actually a Walker Brothers cover. Even more telling is the inclusion of Tom Jones. No, he's not on this mix ironically; hell, I openly admit to LOVING "It's Not Unusual" and "What's New Pussycat?" It's something I can't explain. At the time, the reason behind my love of his version of "A Girl Like You" was because it sounded like Tom Jones Gone Industrial thanks to producer, Flood (Depeche Mode, NIN, et al.) Again, I was a few years away from college radio and wasn't aware that "A Girl Like You" was, in fact, a Wolfgang Press cover. The most telling detail from the "Evil Side" of this tape is the beginning stages of my industrial music obsession (NIN, Machines Of Loving Grace, and KMFDM.) Soon enough, industrial would be all I listened to.
Mixtape Revisited: Selections from Another Really Bad Mix
1. Classic Girl- Jane's Addiction
2. Feed The Tree- Belly
3. Pictures Of You (Live from Show)- The Cure
4. Here Comes Your Man- Pixies
5. Tell Me When- The Human League
6. So What'Cha Want- Beastie Boys
7. Seether- Veruca Salt
8. A Girl Like You- Tom Jones
9. Nite Flights- The Fatima Mansions **
10. Heresy (Blind)- Nine Inch Nails
11. Butterfly Wings- Machines Of Loving Grace
12. Light (Fat Back Dub)- KMFDM
** not included on the Spotify playlist.
There you have it. Another glimpse into my personal mixtape collection. Our February 2013 Backtracks will be up soon. In the meantime, listen loud and become immersed.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
I've been toying with the idea of attempting to recreate one of my old mixtapes and sharing it on here. Today, I finally pull the trigger on this plan. This is one I still listen to since the CD player on my stereo is broken and the tape deck is the only other thing working. Its title may not be too inviting, but one look at the tracklist below and it's revealed that this relic is from an important transitional period in my music taste.
Really Crappy Music 
Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses- U2
A Small Victory- Faith No More
Plush- Stone Temple Pilots
Godsmack- Alice In Chains
We Cry Out- Warrior Soul
Stardog Champion- Mother Love Bone
I Wanna Be Sedated- The Ramones
Tommy The Cat- Primus
Time For Livin'- Beastie Boys
Wish (Remix version from Fixed)- Nine Inch Nails
Side B: Hardcore / Grind / Thrash
Pound For Pound- Pro-Pain
Locomotive- Sick Of It All
Martyr- Fear Factory
Like Rats- Godflesh
Desperate Cry- Sepultura
Mouth For War- Pantera
Seemingly Endless Time- Death Angel
Chemical Warfare- Slayer
We're Only Gonna Die- Biohazard
Left Hand Black- Danzig
Looking back at this list of songs puts an interesting timestamp on this tape because it's clear that there is a definite turning point in what I was listening to at the time. I was beginning to branch out into things that weren't considered metal. Side A shows that slow evolution. It also shows, that like so many others that lived through the Lollapalooza Generation, I was fooled into thinking Primus was a good band. However, I will still stand by those first two Stone Temple Pilots album; I don't care what anyone says, they were once good.
Side B is remnants of my metalhead-ness. Hair metal was done and thrash was beginning to lose its luster with me. Fear Factory was the tipping point since I couldn't find any redeeming factor to death metal. Hardcore at the time was a cool alternative; that is until I started delving into alternative which was back when that word still had some kind of meaning in music. I still listen to some Pantera and Sepultura - their music has aged pretty well. The same can't be said for Pro-Pain, however. Also of note on this side of the tape are two things: 1) "Redemption" from InsideOut which happened to feature a pre-Rage Against The Machine, Zack de la Rocha, and 2) including 2 songs by one artist on the same side!? That's a mixtape no-no.
Mixtape Revisited: Selections From Really Crappy Music [Side A]
1. A Small Victory- Faith No More
2. Plush- Stone Temple Pilots
3. Stardog Champion- Mother Love Bone
4. I Wanna Be Sedated- The Ramones
5. Unsung- Helmet
6. N.W.O.- Ministry
7. Time For Livin'- Beastie Boys
8. Wish (JG Thirlwell Remix)- Nine Inch Nails
Mixtape Revisited: Selections From Really Crappy Music [Side B]
1. Punishment- Biohazard
2. Locomotive- Sick Of It All
3. Like Rats- Godflesh
4. Desperate Cry- Sepultura
5. Mouth For War- Pantera
6. Seemingly Endless Time- Death Angel
7. Chemical Warfare- Slayer
8. Left Hand Black- Danzig