The older you get, the less things change. It had been three years since my previous mix CD, and my life was more or less exactly as it was at that point. I don’t really have much I can add here.
Once more I stayed within the range of a single CD in order to focus things down, and I think it’s stronger for it. When I was first pulling together songs for this it seemed like there was a danger of it being entirely dream-pop. Hey, I like some dream pop! I got in some other stuff and mixed it up a little, but there’s still a haziness to the whole thing.
- The Mother We Share — CHVRCHES
Each time I make one of these there’s one song that stands out as the main excuse for putting the whole thing together. This is that song on this one. I fell in love with this band, which I checked out after hearing about it on Twitter, from the first song I heard. This whole album is great, as is the follow-up.
- Comeback Kid — Sleigh Bells
- Pompeii — Bastille
At one point, in an effort to find some new music, I simply asked people for suggestions. In one of these attempts I was told about Sleigh Bells, a band which for some reason I thought was completely different. In another, Bastille was suggested to me. Both were good finds.
- Ageless Beauty — Stars
This one was on a mix a Twitter pal of mine made, along with another one we’ll get to. It’s a return for Stars, which was on Meeple Deployment back in 2006.
- Picture Perfect — Strawberry Whiplash
- Wicked — Jennie Vee
- Cholla — The Joy Formidable
- Philomena — The Decemberists
Two of the very few returning acts. Joy Formidable’s second album was a powerful follow-up to the first. I have to admit I’m a little Decemberistsed out, but I thought this one was fun enough to include. The rest of that album just fell off of my ears, though.
- No Fool Boletus — Anaxaton6
- Ammonia Tree — Shriekback
There’s always room for some Shriekback. 2015’s ‘Without Real String or Fish’ was another solid album from a band that has not disappointed me much these past 30 years or so, and there were a couple of contenders for inclusion. Anaxaton6 was a Barry Andrews side project and a lot of weirdo fun. This is, I believe, the first time I even sneakily doubled up one a band/singer since 1989’s It Never Ends!, which had both Morrissey and The Smiths.
- Sail — AWOLNATION
This song is incredibly stupid and I love it.
- I Wanna Get Better — Bleachers
- Red Eyes — The War on Drugs
- Little Fang — Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks
I am fairly sure that all three of these came from the same “what songs are you really digging at the moment?” article.
- Do You Have Romantic Courage? — Hallelujah the Hills
Another returning band, the song “Hallelujah the Hills” was on the previous mix and I really liked it but hadn’t heard any more about them. I asked on Twitter if anyone would suggest an album to get, and got retweeted by one of the band members. Someone replied “DO YOU HAVE ROMANTIC COURAGE?” and I said I didn’t really know how to answer that. Turns out that’s a song off of ‘Have You Ever Done Something Evil?’ which I ended up buying and really liking.
- Fight Song — Eddie Japan
This is my friend David’s band and they’re really good. You should check them out!
- Girls — Deep Sea Arcade
I have no idea where I first heard this song but man, did it grab me. It’s kind of dream pop.
- Feel it All Around — Washed Out
This is, of course, the theme song to the show “Portlandia”, which we enjoy. And it’s also…what’s the word I’m looking for? Dream pop.
- Myth — Beach House
YES IT’S MORE DREAM POP. This is another one off that friend’s mix and I cannot tell you how much it blew me away. And then I heard “Wishes” and knew I had to own this album. Folks, it’s SO GOOD.
- Great Equator — Zammuto
The Books, a favorite since 2007, broke up, but member Nick Zammuto formed a new band and has consistently put out great music. This is from their second album, ‘Anchor’, and the entire album is great and pushes the Books’ sound into all kinds of new areas.
- Stardust — Lena
This mix started to get put together way back after we made a trip to London and Paris. On the last night of our time in Paris we were riding up the hotel elevator to the bar on the roof to get some wine and a view of the Eiffel Tower. This song was playing in the elevator and for some reason it stuck with me. It’s one of the few holdovers from that attempt to put this together.
- Dance Apocalyptic — Janelle Monáe
I had heard bits of Monáe’s music before, most notably “Tightrope”. When her album ‘The Electric Lady’ dropped, I bought it and listened to it thoroughly. It is incredible, and what had been a casual appreciation turned into full-on fandom. There’s not a stutter on the whole thing, and she skips effortlessly between styles and moods. You can’t not smile during this song.
As I mentioned, I first started thinking about this mix following a trip to London and Paris. I had been trying to improve my French and was able to say, “Les pommes sont rouges et je suis désolé,” which means “The apples are red, and I’m sorry.” The mix would get delayed, but the name stuck. The front cover is “Still Life of Apples and Biscuits, 1880-82” by Paul Cézanne. The back cover is a sidewalk. At the time that I made this, I had taken up running and was listening to a lot of these songs on headphones as I jogged the sidewalks of my neighborhood. This image isn’t a photo of anywhere nearby, but it may as well be.
Click on the player below to listen to this mix!
(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)