18 August, 2009 Mix Tape!

Des Moines has its advantages, and it has its disadvantages. One major disadvantage: all its radio stations are THE SUCK. We don’t have anything as remotely awe-inspiring as Minneapolis’ The Current.

Really about the best you can hope for from Des Moines radio is Peter Frampton’s friggin annoying talking guitar schtick. If it’s feeling like I don’t care about anyone’s life, including my own, while I ignore the road and clamor to rip the goddamn speakers out of the sockets to shut you up, then yes, Peter, I feel like you do.

And one major disadvantage of being me: I am cheap, and I have no money (that’s two, things, Yogi). Therefore, I’m not about to go the satellite radio route anytime soon. Long story short — I make mixes to keep me company in the car. And my ’02 Honda Civic still rocks a tape deck.

Throughout the year, I make 60-minute cassettes that act as my radio station. I basically make a new one whenever I have 60 minutes worth of crap that I think is worthy of committing to a sub-dollar roll of tape encased in plastic. I think 60 minutes is the perfect length of a cassette to get …

Hold on, gotta switch sides.

… well-acquainted with. Usually I know 4-5 of the tracks pretty well already before I put them on the tape. My awareness of the other tracks ranges from having heard the song a couple times and thinking I might dig it — to not having heard it at all, but I decide to include it based on the recommendation of a smarty friend of mine.

Other than smarty-friends, I initially find songs by trying stuff that The Current has listed on its playlist, taking a standout track from an album I’ve been listening to, following “if you like this shit, you’re going to frickin freak, dood, over this hot new band, which has an album that HITS stores blah blah blah” links through iTunes, reading pitchfork reviews, allmusic reviews and sifting through other people’s “Listmania” trash heaps on Amazon.

It’s always primarily stuff that is pretty new, but a couple songs from a year or two prior that I missed out in tend to work their way in from time to time. See Women, below.

I title the cassette simply with the date and the time at which I finish making it. So right now, I know the first part: 18, August, 2009, duh.

Here’s wha’s onnit:

SIDE A:
1. Spoon – Got Nuffin
2. Jason Lytle – Yours Truly, The Commuter
3. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Drain the Blood
4. The Antlers – Shiva
5. We Were Promised Jetpacks – It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning
6. Fruit Bats – My Unusual Friend
7. The Fiery Furnaces – The End is Near
8. Cass McCombs – You Saved My Life

SIDE B:
1. Telekinesis – Coast of Carolina
2. Wye Oak – Siamese
3. Bowerbirds – Northern Lights
4. Bill Callahan – Too Many Birds
5. Foreign Born – Early Warnings
6. Wilco – You and I
7. Alexi Murdoch – All My Days
8. Women – Black Rice

Two quick impressions of songs that I’m not all that familiar with yet: that Alexi Murdoch does a pretty decent Nick Drake. Impressed that a band with an un-kick-ass name like Telekinesis has a song that is, seemingly, kick-ass.

Oh, and it looks like the end of the tape name is … 11:45 p.m.

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