The Cool New Music Chronicles: I’m Throwing You Off the Russian Sledge

I’M THROWING YOU OFF THE RUSSIAN SLEDGE (May, 2007)

 

Here we are, it’s a few years after I pretty much ended the story and sure enough, there’s only been one significant event. A month before making this mix my dad had a pretty significant stroke which took out his walking, most of his eyesight, and a nice chunk of various other brain functions (he has almost no concept of time, for example). At the time we were prepared for the end, but he leveled out and has been hanging in there ever since.

My relationship with my Dad (as with much of my family) has always been…well, not overly close. As a child I feared him, as he had a pretty explosive temper. Later on I just felt awkward around him. Facing the possible death of your father is one thing, but what if you have to struggle to extend any conversation with him past five minutes? I was — and continue to be — in a strange situation with him.

Other than that, not much to add. Here’s a blog post in which I am working on this mix:

Dial M for Mixtape

and here is the post announcing it:

I’m Throwing You Off the Russian Sledge

  1. Bright Eyes – At The Bottom Of Everything
  2. The Pipettes – Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me
  3. Teddybears – Hey Boy
  4. Of Montreal – A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger
  5. Mint Royale – Show Me
  6. David Sugar – We Weren’t Put Together
  7. PINEam – Gymnopedie 0.1
  8. Balun – Snol
  9. bitter:sweet – The Mating Game
  10. Pnau – Journey Agent
  11. The Go! Team – Ladyflash
  12. Liars – Drum And The Uncomfortable Can
  13. Maximo Park – Acrobat
  14. Rilo Kiley – Portions for Foxes
  15. The Arcade Fire – No Cars Go
  16. John Vanderslice – Dear Sarah Shu
  17. The Books – Smells Like Content
  1. Lyrics Born – Callin’ Out (live at KEXP)
  2. Daft Punk – Technologic
  3. Bloc Party – Helicopter
  4. The Thermals – An Ear For Baby
  5. Fountains of Wayne – Someone to Love
  6. Sonic Coaster Pop – Future Electric Machine
  7. ZX Spectrum Orchestra – Dollar Power
  8. Apples In Stereo – Energy
  9. The Decemberists – O Valencia
  10. Andrew Bird – Heretics
  11. The Avett Brothers – Talk On Indolence
  12. Cake – Pentagram
  13. Mark Schwaber – On Your Way
  14. The Minders – Same Time, Same Place
  15. Suzanne Vega – Frank & Ava
  16. Shriekback – Waterbaby
  17. Oh No! Oh My! – Walk In The Park
  18. Youth Group – Skeleton Jar
  19. Yo La Tengo – Black Flowers
  20. The Mountain Goats – Up The Wolves
  21. Her Space Holiday – The Past Presents The Future

This mix comes a year after the last, which I think improves the quality overall. I’m already overloading with too much stuff, but the delay meant I had more things fighting to be included, and I think that helped.

  • Bright Eyes – At The Bottom Of Everything

I heard a lot of Bright Eyes on KEXP and most of it I found pretty insufferable, but I love this one’s rambling, catchy tone, and the video (yes, that IS Terence Stamp!) is a treasure.

  • The Pipettes – Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me

This song gives me a funny feeling in my tummy.

  • Teddybears – Hey Boy

And this one is just plain odd, yet undeniably addictive.

  • Of Montreal – A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger
  • The Go! Team – Ladyflash
  • Rilo Kiley – Portions for Foxes
  • John Vanderslice – Dear Sarah Shu
  • The Decemberists – O Valencia
  • Andrew Bird – Heretics
  • The Minders – Same Time, Same Place
  • The Mountain Goats – Up The Wolves
  • Her Space Holiday – The Past Presents The Future

Some returning favorites here.

  • Mint Royale – Show Me

Let’s do something I haven’t done until now: see when this song actually came out. Oh, 2001, six years before being included here! See, I saw the video for this on some blog (I had not heard the song before), and fell in love with it, which explains why it’s so old.

  • David Sugar – We Weren’t Put Together
  • ZX Spectrum Orchestra – Dollar Power

I’m not a HUGE fan of so-called 8-bit music, but I dig these two songs. The vocals on the second are all from the ZX Spectrum computer, and are keys and commands run through its crude voice synthesizer.

  • PINEam – Gymnopedie 0.1
  • Balun – Snol
  • Maximo Park – Acrobat
  • Lyrics Born – Callin’ Out (live at KEXP)
  • Sonic Coaster Pop – Future Electric Machine
  • The Avett Brothers – Talk On Indolence
  • Oh No! Oh My! – Walk In The Park
  • Youth Group – Skeleton Jar

Here are the inevitable KEXP tracks.

  • bitter:sweet – The Mating Game
  • Pnau – Journey Agent

And here’s where we all put on go-go boots and solve spy mysteries.

  • Liars – Drum And The Uncomfortable Can
  • The Books – Smells Like Content
  • Mark Schwaber – On Your Way

Around this time I also met James and his pals, who I was playing boardgames with on Sundays in Holyoke. They’re a great bunch of folks. James has a very eclectic taste in music and I heard a lot of things at his place I wouldn’t normally hear. Some of it was out of my zone, but a lot I’ve really dug, including these three bands. The Books especially impressed me and quickly became a huge favorite. If you ever have the chance to see them perform, do so, as their music accompanies collages of found video footage.

  • The Arcade Fire – No Cars Go

The Arcade Fire followed up the incredible Funeral with the only slightly less incredible Neon Bible, and this was the first song off it to really grab me.

  • Daft Punk – Technologic

Another band I only listened to after everyone else was already a fan. I haven’t heard a lot of their stuff, but I’ve liked everything I’ve heard. I found a remix of this with a woman singing instead of the voice here, but I didn’t like it as much.

  • Bloc Party – Helicopter

I like this song a lot, and the rest of the album is pretty good. The follow-up album, though? Oh man it’s bad.

  • The Thermals – An Ear For Baby

My pal Dan really got into The Body, the Blood, the Machine and turned me onto it. It’s a really solid concept album telling a story of religious tyranny.

  • Fountains of Wayne – Someone to Love

A new album and…honestly, it’s not that great, but it has its moments, like this song. Of course, the previous two albums were SO good, it was inevitable that there would be a letdown sooner or later. A lot of the cleverness and emotion in the previous albums seems forced and phoned-in here, sad to say.

  • Apples In Stereo – Energy

This is a note to myself that I need to get this whole album.

  • Cake – Pentagram

Again, heading back in the vaults to grab a track off their first album. I was sort of biding time for a new one.

  • Suzanne Vega – Frank & Ava
  • Shriekback – Waterbaby

And SPEAKING of new albums, oh my goodness! A new Suzanne Vega AND a new Shriekback! In fact, “Frank and Ava” was a PREVIEW track from the new album, which hadn’t yet been released at the time. And the Shriekback song was actually from the album Cormorant, which came out in 2005. Why it was only just now making it into a mix, I’m not sure.

  • Yo La Tengo – Black Flowers

Remember last time, when the song “Playboy” by Hot Chip referenced Yo La Tengo and I said I wouldn’t be surprised if they showed up? Hopefully you’re not surprised. I did check them out, based on that mention, and I did really like them, soon grabbing up several albums at once.

The game of “Russian Sledges”:

We all write down the same list of a dozen of the dearest friends we have in common. Each of us then imagines himself crossing the steppes of Russia with all of them in a sledge pursued by a pack of hungry wolves, and has to throw them out one by one. Whom do you throw out first, whom next? You have to decide this, and number the names on the list accordingly, in the order in which you would throw out your friends to be torn in pieces. Needless to say you cannot throw yourself out. … The game provides valuable statistics, for all the marks we have given each person are added up afterwards. The man who gets the fewest is, of course, the least popular of our friends. When one list is exhausted you can start on another dozen, and after that make a composite list of the top six of each list.

From The Weekend Book, by Francis Meynell, first published in 1924 and recently reprinted. Russian Sledges is from the section on Games, specifically “Quieter Indoor” ones.

Click on the player below to listen to this mix!


(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)

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One Response to The Cool New Music Chronicles: I’m Throwing You Off the Russian Sledge

  1. Tracy Taylor says:

    Love these. Amazing music that I’d never even heard of before. Noticed and followed you on twitter. Hope to see lots more.