Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘mixcasts

landscape // a 1.2013 mix

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landscape // a 1.2013 mix  {download}

It’s nearly March, I know. This is in no way a “1.2013” mix to anyone except me. But these are my January songs. Some older, actually — it’s been too too long since I’ve shared music with friends and Internet strangers. The Raveonette’s “Young and Cold” has been in constant rotation in my iTunes since October, when it first found its way on a mix I  never gave to you. I was just wondering what happened to them last fall, and then there they were, with songs much lovelier than the ones I remember from 2004. Speaking of that musical era: I originally had some new Benjamin Gibbard and Sufjan Stevens on this mix, but it sounded too out of place, the aesthetic juxtaposition too jarring. I’ve been listening to a lot of drone-y doo-wop these days (see: Pure Bathing Culture, Angel Olsen, Trance Farmers). The Rolling Stones cover of “Under the Boardwalk” I only recently discovered fits right in.

Other than that — well, I’ve been moving around a lot, again, lately; which means (as usual) half these songs are more or less meditations on Home. And half are just new and interesting or fun. I like Run DMT because a reviewer described them as a bath salt-snorting version of the Velvet Underground; there’s a Velvet Underground cover because my love for Lou Reed & Nico endures (thanks, Jordan). I like Parquet Courts because I think they sing about being stoned in Ridgewood, Queens (and I think we’re neighbors?). I like Hotter Than a Crotch because the lady sings hot and the drummer is a friend of my roommate’s and looks like an extra in Jesus Christ Superstar. They introduced me to Cave Cricket, in the kind of basement show space that Silent Barn used to be last time I lived here, when it was in Ridgewood (which seemed impossibly far then), but now Silent Barn is down the street and fancy and legal and at the moment dry. I read an article in the New York Times the other day, from 2010, about art & media collectives in and around this neighborhood; I looked up the ones mentioned, afterwards, and they’d all disbanded or fallen apart somehow. I don’t believe the Cobras ever finished our Goddamn Western. Time goes marching. /end digress.

I like the Liminanas because the few times I regretfully decided to drive into Manhattan (oh, a car! how it changes Brooklyn), their’s was the only CD I had and it proved eminently listenable on repeat. I missed Wooden Wand at the Midpoint music fest in Cincinnati a few months ago because my friend and I decided to walk, drinking wine, over the highway and down to the city, instead of rushing (but we caught Lower Dens and Dirty Projectors; and later that weekend I finally saw Woods, swoon). A girl just moved in upstairs from Cincinnati by way of California and, most recently, Big Sur. She worked at the Henry Miller Library there. Times goes marching but not always onward. Sometimes you can’t tell which direction it’s going.

happy new year.


“Mountain Song” // Dynasty Electric
“The Heart Needs a Home (To Break In) // Tomboyfriend
“Ivory Coast” // Pure Bathing Culture
“San Francisco” // Foxygen
“The Waiting” // Angel Olsen
“Purple Hay” // Trance Farmers
“Young and Cold” // Raveonettes
“Bad Lady Goes to Jail” // The Liminanas
“Stoned and Starving” // Parquet Courts
“Use Your Hands” // Cave Cricket
“We the Common (For Valerie Bolden)” // Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
“Butcher Song” // Hotter Than a Crotch
“Bardo States Dream Walker Version” // Run DMT
“Year of the Glad” // Marnie Stern
“Supermoon (The Sounding Line)” // Wooden Wand
“Under the Boardwalk” // The Rolling Stones
“I’ll Be Your Mirror” // Meklit Hadero
“Closer” // Tegan and Sara
“Applesauce” // Animal Collective
“Minnewaska” // Widowspeak
“How Do You Ruin Me?” // Black Prairie
“Stay In The Game” // Adam Ant


Written by ENB

February 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Posted in Culture, Music

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rearrange: an early summer 2012 mix

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Happy summer, guys. In my general tradition, I am posting a beginning of summer mix, 2012 edition. It’s really all about Best Coast—I mean, seriously, Best Coast, right? I can’t get enough right now. The beach!, everything still sounds like the beach, though in a way slightly different than last year’s beach and slightly more different than the year before that.

[Even Lafayette, Indiana is too hot this time of year—that still, dry, let’s-have-red-wine-at-noon hot; that all I can think of is Lily in Run, River hot; that do we really have to wear clothes? (and I work from home, so not really) hot. It’s more or less my favorite weather.]

I’m also into so much by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy right now, because every other month he’s got out something new these days (though it’s still always strangely jarring when he really loves Jesus).

Best newcomers: Lower Dens? Maybe I just like that their album is called “nootropics.”

.rearrange >> an early summer 2012 mix


that’s what’s up – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
the place – Best Coast
dream – Mirel Wagner
alphabet song – Lower Dens
do you know ida know – White Fence
firehorse – Our Hearts
chain of broken hearts – Billy Bragg and Wilco
goin’ to the party – Alabama Shakes
I can tell you’re leaving – Trembling Bells and Bonnie Prince Billy
palms will smoke in cold air – The Pica Beats
my better self – Tennis
dusty rhodes – Lotus Plaza
on the sea – Beach House
tearz for animals – CocoRosie
hummingbird, pt. 1 – Bonnie Prince Billy


I turned 30 last week, by the way. It doesn’t feel like much, really, but I do like to think of things symbolically so I’ve decided that our thirties–and I say “our” because so many people I know are entering their 30s this year, as are Little Wayne, Elizabeth Moss, Kate MIddleton and Kirsten Dunst–are going to be pretty damn good. In your 30s, you’re still young but not as stupid as you were in our 20s, mostly.

If you listen to what sociologists say, the beginning tip of Gen Y (aka the millennial generation, but I dislike that name) could be as early as 1979, but most place it at 1982 — which makes those of us turning 30 in 2012 the first Gen Y’ers to do so.

Happy 30s, Gen Y. Here’s some music for the beginning of June twenty twelve.

Written by ENB

June 15, 2012 at 7:58 am

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Psalms of March — a (belated) 3.2012 mix

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Meant to post this last week and never got around to it. This is my March playlist/mixtape/mixcast/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. I hope it will do for April, too.

Psalms of March (a 3.2012 mix)

1. “Good Woman” – Cat Power
Because good woman/manhood has been a topic, of late. And because this song is sexy and wistful and gorgeous, and just right for an unseasonably warm early spring.

2. “Lovesickness” – Tomboyfriend
Because Tomboyfriend is one of those bands you like because almost every song sounds epic; maybe you don’t know exactly what the words mean, or even really what the gist of the song is, but something! is going on! and it! is a big deal! And our protagonists are feeling wistful or nostalgic or triumphant about it, so each song provides a mini-catharsis, like watching a Greek Tragedy or a Grey’s Anatomy episode in 4 minutes. So, yeah: I dig this band. And hope you do, too. [And if you do, check out “End of Poverty” or “Almost Always” by them next.]

3. “Could be so Happy” – Heartless Bastards
Because they’re a Cincinnati band! [Which is where I’m from.] And very folky, very throaty, the kind of thing you’d want to listen to on a hot night, somewhere smoky.  #psychfolk? They just released a new album, “Arrow,” but this song is from their 2009 album “The Mountain.”

4. “Holiday” – The Kinks
‘Cause … The Kinks, duh.

5. “Common Burn” – Mazzy Star
Because who among you did not lie in your high school bedroom listening to “Fade Into You” on repeat? And Hope Sandoval is back! This is from a 2-song EP released Oct. 2011, the first Mazzy Star release since 1997.

6. “Wind Was the Wine” – Woods
Because they’re my favorite and this is their new song. It’s short, sweet, Seussical and quietly joyous.

7. “Myth” – Beach House
Lovely, in that could-be-the-soundtrack-to-a-Twin-Peaks-dream-scene way. Or a cross between that Best Coast song with the urban Romeo & Julie video starring Maebe Funke and something out of Rocky Horror Picture Show? Yep, I think that about sums it up.

8.”The Night (rewards remix)” – School of Seven Bells
Because one of my best friends was in a band, Painted Face, founded by singer/musician Allie Alvarado, and Allie (who was formerly in Telepathe) has recently joined School of Seven Bells! Cheers, Allie! Also, because this song/remix is pure dance party.  Pure dance party/rooftop, basement, beach or movie montage.

9. “Love Love Love” – Of Monsters and Men
This is the first song on this mix that my boyfriend fell for. It’s strangely arresting the first time you hear it, even though in the hands of a different sort of singer (Colbie Callet? Taylor Swift?) the same words and melody would maybe come off totally grating/cutesy? But here’s it’s like … haunting, and just the slightest bit potentially heartbreaking (also: catchy!). [Update: BECAUSE—aha!—THEY ARE ICELANDIC.]

10. “Firestarter” – Blouse
Art school kids from Portland.

11. “The Way In” – Porcelain Raft
New wave beach party prom rock? I don’t know. Something like that. That’s what I keep describing everything as. That’s what everything sounds like, right now, beach parties prom or dusk.

12. “Go Home” – Lucius
Twangy back porch and/or drinking music. Achey. Pretty. From 2 girls with cool hair and sunglasses and 2 guys with mustaches.

13. “Lost on Leaving” – Luke Roberts
Brooklyn meets Nashville, literally.

14. “Bird Child” – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Mariee Sioux
From a Bonnie Prince Billy/Mariee Sioux collaboration that also features a billion or six other interesting musicians. Here is how label Spiritual Pajamas describes it: “Flowering tongues, love skulls, whales trapped in ice, be thou not deceived and touch yourself a hundred times. These songs carve a place in your heart and tattoo your brain for ages to come.”

15. “State of Mind” – Whispertown
Sound like Tegan and Sara. Touring with Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s.

16. “Bird on the Buffalo” – Angus Stone
Because I liked the 2010 album, Down the Way, Angus Stone put out with his sister Julia. I can’t decide yet about his solo efforts. I like his nasally Bob Dylan affect (that sounds sarcastic, but I mean it), but overall it’s maybe a bit too hip-soundtrack-to-a-WB-teen-series?

17. “From Finner” – Of Monsters and Men
Because I believe two songs from one band on a mix are okay.

19. “Honolulu Blues” – Craig Finn
Because I recently had a conversation with someone about how Hawaii was the saddest place they’d ever lived. Craig Finn is the dude from the Hold Steady, who writes about Jesus, sings about drugs and performs like a former musical-theater major. (This is from his debut solo album)

20. “Radio” – Lana Del Ray
Because I don’t understand why everyone hates her?

21. “Voices” – Soft Metals
More Portland natives, currently living in Los Angeles. From the same label (Captured Tracks) as Blouse.

22. “Everybody Loves a Lover” – Doris Day
Because they do, don’t they?

{click to download}

Written by ENB

April 6, 2012 at 11:05 am

heat wave/lavender wild {a mid-summer 2011 mix}

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As promised (to myself, anyway),  the second installment in my 2011 summer mix tape trilogy (first installment here); a little late to be classified as ‘mid-summer,’ perhaps, but So. Awesome. that I’m sure you’ll forgive me. The past two months have been really good months for music, as far as I’m concerned. New albums from Beirut, YACHT and Ducktails, and new LPs or singles from Woods, Best Coast, Jens Lekman, Real Estate, and Forest Fire—I mean, seriously? Thank you, Summer 2011, thank you. And you wanna give me a whole album of Buddy Holly covers as an added bonus? You’re too much, really. Aural exuberance overload of the best kind ….


heat wave/lavender wild {a mid-summer 2011 mix}


East Harlem – Beirut
Pure joy, really. Combine this with the YACHT song following it, and I triple dare you not to feel a little burst of happiness. 

Shangri-La – YACHT
This seems like a departure to me from previous YACHT albums (I’m thinking ‘Psychic City’), but I could just not be remembering previous YACHT albums correctly. Anyway: BY FAR my favorite song on this mix; upbeat, poppy, and it’s not only about Los Angeles (a city I love), but about starting a commune in Los Angeles (an idea friends and I have discussed many times). “If we build a utopia will you come and stay? Shangri-la la la la la la la la la ….”

Our Deal – Best Coast
Thanks to Ms. Rachel Steinberg for sharing this adorable Romeo & Juliet a la swoopy-haired teens on Brooklyn-rooftops video, directed by Drew Barrymore and featuring Arrested Development’s Maebe {you’ve probably already seen it, but if not}.

Find Them Empty – Woods
I love Woods; I’ve said it 2 million times on here, and I think I’ve run out of ways to profess my love for them other than that …

It’s Real – Real Estate
I think I creeped Real Estate lead singer Alex Bleeker out the other day when I cut my twitter follows down to 80 (that’s practically 3 in twitter numbers) and he made the cut … But I’ve got a soft spot for Greenpoint boys, having lived there myself not long ago; and an Alex Bleeker & the Freaks show at Monster Island Basement a few years ago where they first played the ‘Touch-of-Gey’-inspired ‘Getting By’ was one of the best shows I’ve seen (I’m more of a AB&TF fan than Real Estate, but I’m actually really digging this song …). Dear Alex: Can you & the Freaks please cover Thunder Road sometime?

Right Away – Vetiver
Two points for any song that mentions living in Ohio!

Middle Cyclone – Neko Case

(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care – Cee-Lo Green
Unnervingly catchy, from the overall-great Buddy Holly cover-album Rave On Buddy Holly.

An Argument With Myself – Jens Lekman
Weird and catchy and slightly irritating and slightly funny; very in the vein of ‘Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo’ or ‘The Opposite of Hallelujah,’ but with more of Jens talking to himself …

Sympathique – Ben l’Oncle Soul
Thanks to Rachel for this one as well. French soul music. If you can’t get behind French soul music, I can’t get behind you.

Rhubarb Girl – Ducktails
More Greenpoint boys! I think … I may be wrong about this one … regardless, I have a hard time not loving any part of the Woodsist cabal …

Future Shadows – Forest Fire
I have seriously been waiting for years for a new Forest Fire album, as in, probably searching every 6 months since 2008 to make sure I wasn’t missing anything new by them; that’s how much I loved their 2008 album ‘Survival.’ Well the wait is (almost) over—Future Shadows is the first single from Staring at the X, which is supposed to be released in October. {Oh, this song doesn’t disappoint, p.s.} {And thanks to Courtney for the tip}

Ohio – Boy + Kite
From the debut album of this Austin-based band. This song really gets me at the beginning, but the chorus gets really, like, late-90s psuedo-indie pop, if that’s such a thing … Mixed feelings on the album as a whole, really. I can’t remember why I downloaded it, nor why I included it here …

The Rose With the Broken Neck – Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi & Jack White
Because I apparently can’t resist Jack White duets?

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know – Herman Dune

Not Fade Away – Florence + the Machine
More from the Buddy Holly album.

Hop Pala – Stephan & Haigaz
I’m gonna let Rcrd Lbl handle this one: “Hop Pala,” a haunting cut off a new three-disc set of music from the Ottoman-American diaspora between 1916-1929 curated by Ian Nagoski and released by curatorial masters Tompkins Square, is the soundtrack of immigration. We hear this music and think of places and times both strange and foreign, yet the compilation is called To What Strange Place because that place for these musicians was New York City. Artists like Stepan & Haigaz populated small pockets of major Manhattan neighborhoods and eventually Astoria, Queens. This was their folk music, a way to keep their unique culture alive in a strange new world, yet it’s still resonant today.

Let’s Do Something Impossible – William Elliott Whitmore
The opposite of the authenticity of the song above … I used to argue with my friend JVLaB about William Elliott Whitmore, because he hated his ‘shtick’ of being all depression-era bluegrassy. Okay, okay—but he does it so well ….

Bury Me Beneath the Willow – Linda Stoffel & Blackberry Winter
From the soundtrack of the gorgeous and creepy Winter’s Bone.

Shady Grove – Shrimp Boat

From a 2005 album from the mostly 80s/early-90s Chicago band Shrimp Boat. This is another album I have no idea how it came to me, but I’ve been listening to it a lot …

Written by ENB

August 18, 2011 at 11:00 am

Music, Best Of // 2010

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Happy 2011, darlings! One of my resolutions for this year is to start posting here with more regularity. But before we move things forward, let’s spend a little time looking back. Yes, yes: My nominations for Best Songs of 2010. You didn’t think I was going to go without some sort of year-end music post, did you?

As I combed through my iTunes library for inclusions on this list, I was surprised by just how many albums I had purchased or inherited this year, and by how many big-name indie bands put out albums this year, as well. Maybe it seems that way every year—there are a lot of bands in the world—but it made narrowing down my favorite songs of 2010 difficult. And so what we are left with is 41 songs—41 songs I feel are essential musical must-hears of 2010. In no particular order …

The 41:

1. The Ballad of the RAA – The Rural Alberta Advantage
2. Blood Dries Darker – Woods
3. Whiplash – Sunglasses (also, my favorite video of the year)
4. Rill Rill – Sleigh Bells (after approximately 9 billion listens, this song still makes me feel all dance-y).
5. Baby Say Goodbye – Wavves
6. The Arrangement – Beach House
7. Twenty Miles – Deer Tick
8. Motor Away – Alex Bleeker & Evan Brody
9. Go, Folks, Go – Bonnie “Prince” Billy & The Cairo Gang
10. Congratulations – MGMT (contains what I think is my favorite lyric from a song this year: “I’ll keep your dreams / If you pay attention for me”)

Wakey! Wakey! - Bloody Tambourine - Photo by Goddamn Cobras

Photo by Goddamn Cobras

11. Feral Love – Wakey! Wakey! (recorded live in the Goddamn Cobras’ den)
12. Ragged Schools –Goodnight Lenin
13. Snake Seer – Blood Warrior
14. Learning – Perfume Genius
15. A Crime – Sharon Von Etten
16. Girls in Love – Painted Face
17. (You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am – The Living Sisters
18. Soft Skin – Mountain Man
19. Coast to Coast – Dirty Beaches
20. Hospital – Florence & the Machine
21. I’m Not Yours – Angus & Julia Stone
22. Fool’s Gold – Lhasa
23. Hey Kid – Chase King (Chase is a friend of mine, and he wrote & recorded this absolutely gorgeous song for Goddamn Cobras’ upcoming western)
24. Sleepwalking After Midnight – Wooden Wand (Second favorite lyrics of the year: “Don’t hold me accountable dear / tonight if the bottle is clear/ should I find my way to your room / we’ll pin all the blame on the moon”)

Painted Face @ Glasslands

Painted Face @ Glasslands

25. Swimming – Breathe Owl Breathe
26. We’re All Gonna Die – Bubbles
27. We End Up Together – The New Pornographers
28. Destroyer of the Void – Blitzen Trapper
29. Ambling Alp – Yeasayer
30. Across the Black Prairie – Black Prairie
31. Brooklyn Bridge – Karaocake
32. Let’s Get On With the Illusion – Barton Carroll
33. All Delighted People – Sufjan Stevens
34. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
35. Dance Yrself Clean – LCD Soundsystem
36. Love the Way You Lie – Eminem feat. Rihanna
(yep. I kind of love this song)
37. Times Are So Hard for the Dreamers – Ben Talmi
38. Tyrant Destroyed – Twin Shadow
39. Getting By – Alex Bleeker (I thought about not including two songs by any one artist, but Alex Bleeker was just that awesome in 2010…)
40. Drunk Girls – LCD Soundsytem (..and so was James Murphy)
41. Our Most Brilliant Friends – Slow Club

Download Podcast: 41 from 2010

Favorite Albums Taken as a Whole
For best albums overall, I concur with the myriad critics on Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” and LCD Soundsystem’s “This Is Happening,” and add Deer Tick’s “Black Dirt Sessions” and Woods’ “At Echo Lake.”

Most Disappointing Albums
Some of my favorite bands put out albums in 2010 that I just couldn’t get into: The Hold Steady, Heaven is Whenever; Magnetic Fields, Realism; Peter and the Wolf, Traffique’s Endless Weekend Mixtape; Stars, The Five Ghosts & The Seance; Wolf Parade, Expo 86. What happened, y’all?

Written by ENB

January 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm

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pencils down/manifest: a fall mix

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With all due respect to modesty, this is probably the best fall mix I have ever made.

It is helped, I suppose, by the sheer awesomeness of so much music that is out right now—including a few new songs by a few new friends new (and, yes, an oldie or two; and, yes, a few artists included twice because I don’t know why people say you can’t do that).

And holy return of the 2004/2007 bands, right? New Sufjan, Arcade Fire, Jenny Lewis, Nelly McKay … It’s like I’m living in a basement apartment in Columbus, Ohio / a studio in upper NW DC all over again …

Anyway: It’s exciting. I like fall shoe trends right now (lace-up boots!), fall outerwear trends (capes! like snuggies as evening wear!), and I like fall music. It all must mean something.

Or perhaps not. I have a tendency to read a lot more into fall (rebirth! potential!) than most, having never outgrown that whole back-to-school excitement (a feeling, I suppose, not shared by all, but I always loved school, and summer just gets to be too much after a while, doesn’t it?). Either way—enjoy:


pencils down/manifest: a fall mix
[click that to listen to the whole thing all together]
[that note is for my sister, who can never figure out how to listen to anything I send her]


1. Now that I’m older – Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz:

2. Ghost Confessions – Cinema Red and Blue – Cinema Red and Blue:

3. Coast to Coast (remastered) – Dirty Beaches – U.S. Girls // Dirty Beaches Split 7″:

4. Tyrant Destroyed – Twin Shadow – Forget:

5. God – The Beets – God EP:

6. Kiss With a Fist – Florence & the Machine – A lot of love, a lot of blood:

7. Crash Hat – The Bonfire Band – One Man Can’t Carry Half a Piano:

8. My Pet Snakes – Jenny and Johnny – I’m Having Fun Now:

9. Late Again – Nelly McKay – Dear New Orleans:

10. This Beautiful Idea – Badly Drawn Boy – It’s What I’m Thinking: Photographing Snowflakes:

11. Commandante – The Mountain Goats – Devil in the Shortwave EP:

12. I Didn’t See It Coming – Belle and Sebastian – Write About Love:

13: [excerpt from down there] – U.S. GirlsU.S. Girls // Dirty Beaches Split 7″:

14. Sprawl (mountains beyond mountains) – Arcade Fire – The Suburbs:

15. Girls in Love – Painted Face – Undreamt EP:

16. A Crime – Sharon von Etten – Epic:

17. I’m a Pilot – Fanfarlo – Reservoir:

18. Scandal at the Parkade – Owen Pallett – A Swedish Love Story:

19. Far Out Isn’t Far Enough – Cinema Red and Blue:

20. Everything is New – Antony and the Johnsons – Swanlights:

21. All Delighted People (classic rock version) – Sufjan Stevens – All Delighted People EP:

22. The Suburbs (continued) – Arcade Fire – The Suburbs:

Written by ENB

October 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Posted in Culture, Music

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Mid-Summer Mix, 2010: The Wisdom of Lobster Pops

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Mid-Summer Mix, Twenty-Ten: The Wisdom of Lobster Pops



1. Destroyer of the Void – Blitzen Trapper
2. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
3. Nothing Changes – Anais Mitchell featuring The Haden Triplets
4. Learning – Perfume Genius
5. To Clean – Acoustic Family Creeps
6. It Doesn’t Have to Be Beautiful – Slow Club
7. Rill Rill – Sleigh Bells
8. Whiplash – Sunglasses
9. Long Day – Medications
10. Idea of Me – Makeout Point
11. “Honky Tonk Merry-Go-Round” – Patsy Cline
12. Troublesome Houses – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang
13. The Tree – Blitzen Trapper, feat. Alela Diane
14. Til the Sun Rips – Woods
15. Summer Dust – The Love Language
16. We End Up Together – The New Pornographers



1. Destroyer of the Void – Blitzen Trapper

I had really liked Blitzen Trapper’s Furr (2008), but 2009’s Black River Killer just bored me. “Destroyer of the Void,” though – the first track on the eponymous latest album from the band – is a 6-minute epic that starts all  Bohemian-Rhapsody-tinged then warps into some Led Zeppelin-style guitar rock before heading back into Queen territory. Yeah, that’s how I describe music: in terms of how it sounds compared to what my dad listened to. Anyway—well played, boys.

2. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire

Might Arcade Fire be the band of our generation? By our generation, of course, I mean the weird cuspers lost between flannel shirts and text messages, hovering on the edges of Gen X & Y, able to remember listening to Veruca Salt but still unable to escape Sleigh Bells, who managed to have Friendster accounts but also be the earliest adopters on Facebook, to have been banned from citing Internet sources in early college term-papers but never had a qualm about Starbucks. I remember hearing songs from the first Arcade Fire album on NPR while driving around my new neighborhood as a freshly-minted college graduate, back in 2004, and from then on “Neighborhood #1” became something of an anthem. And every few years since, the band seems to put out the same old album but updated slightly for the subtle shift of the previous few year’s petty zeitgeists. Or maybe I just listen to too much Canadian indie rock. Anyway, the full album, The Suburbs, is supposed to come out August 3; for now, we’ve got this.

3. Nothing Changes – Anais Mitchell featuring The Haden Triplets

4. Learning – Perfume Genius

Probably the most emo song on this mix, i.e., one of my favorites.

5. To Clean – Acoustic Family Creeps

If you’d asked me in July what album I’d take on a desert island with me, it’d be this 2009 release from Woods, a side-project album (I think; I don’t understand how all you weirdo noise/drone people release records) of manic psych-folk jams. Whatever it is, and wherever it came from, it’s goddamn gorgeous.

6. It Doesn’t Have to Be Beautiful – Slow Club

Oh, Slow Club! Probably my favorite recently-discovered band, the English duo channels Tilly & the Wall, Bright Eyes and Rilo Kiley—I guess we could just say Omaha circa 2003. So … damn .. catchy …

7. Rill Rill – Sleigh Bells

Speaking of catchy …

8. Whiplash – Sunglasses

No one can resist dancing to this one. Seriously. It’s already become a Sutton Street backyard-dance-party favorite … [p.s. WHO WANTS TO REMAKE THIS VIDEO???? Dude looks so much like a combination of my roommate Ian Parker and a kid I knew in college …]

9. Long Day – Medications

10. Idea of Me – Makeout Point

Speaking of Veruca Salt …

11. “Honky Tonk Merry-Go-Round” – Patsy Cline

I heard a college friend-of-friends, Natalie Jose, cover this song in Chicago earlier this month (swoon!, p.s.) and haven’t been able to stop playing it several times daily since. Well I’m a-getting dizzy but I can’t stop …

12. Troublesome Houses – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang

Oh, Will Oldham, you sexy, pot-bellied, bearded-like-my-crazy-agoraphobic-uncle genius, you! I can’t even really separate the quality of his songs from how much I ❤ Will Oldham by this point*, so don’t take my word on this one. But it’s lovely. And it’s so, so the album Mr. Prince Billy would be making right now, having recently moved from the bluegrass state of his (and my!) ancestry to Brooklyn, NY. “I once had a house / and my family knew / where to find me / if ever they needed …”

13. The Tree – Blitzen Trapper, feat. Alela Diane

Could be Simon & Garfunkle circa Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.

14. Til the Sun Rips – Woods

15. Summer Dust – The Love Language

Sappy Smiths-esque doo-wop indie ballad. This one has montage written all over it, kids.

16. We End Up Together – The New Pornographers

It’s, you know … the New Pornographers. NP albums are always so hit and miss, and this one hasn’t won me over yet, but it is growing on me, especially the songs that sound like they might as well be A.C. Newman songs, like this one. Triumphant whimsy & longing and all that … (I think “Moves” will be the big hit, though?)



* He drinks Ricard! You know who else started drinking Ricard & Pernot a few months ago? This girl! Soul. Mates. … (ask me for a good anise liquor cocktail next time you visit)

Written by ENB

July 22, 2010 at 4:43 pm

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Narcotized: Beginning of Summer Mix, Twenty-Ten Edition

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May is flowering, or whatever it does, and we’re kind of all just waiting for June, let’s be honest, when we can really wear next-to-no clothing and not feel indecent, because it’s really just that damn hot, and everyone has kind of coaxed into the summer rhythm of things and maybe people at your office ask you out to get iced coffee more or maybe you really do start doing yoga on the roof every day. Those kind of things. But there’s a special charm to this time of year, too, this wintry-springlike-mix that is April and the beginning of May, when there’s still so much potential for the summer stretching out before you (yes, you will write that novel this summer! you will go climbing upstate more often, you will eat nothing but raw food, you will take a class in unicycling or cooking sauces or speaking french, you will land that job you are looking for, you will stay up late and subsist on kombucha and tecate, and get everything you’ve wanted to get done done and your skin will look great, all sunkissed and maybe freckled, and other things that I’m increasingly aware are beginning to sound like that one Rilo Kiley song). At this time of year, the sun still has the power to narcotize you, render you still and worshiping in its presence you are so happy you made it through another winter for this, because really, every year, you forget how good it really is.

Anyways, this is all just to say that back by popular demand! (two people asked me about it): the Summer Mixtape Trilogy, Twenty-Ten Edition.

First up is Narcotized: A Beginning of Summer Mix. I don’t want to brag or anything, but this may be better than the Most-Perfect-Beginning-of-Summer-Mixtape-Ever. I guess it all depends on your tolerance for weird Polish music from the 90s, which ends the mix and drove the people that are hosting me in DC right now away from me and behind headphones and/or closed bedroom doors after a minute or so (it’s a 10-minute song). So, there’s that. There’s a band that I learned about from NPR via a friend who’s a Threadless model, which is a cliche about something but I’m not sure what (the band, Black Prairie, is amazing, and sounds like a western). There’s old stuff, like Jon Prine and Sam Cooke and Arlo Guthrie, and very very new stuff, like MGMT and Broken Social Scene.

There are also two songs that I will declare right now are going to be THE SONGS OF EARLY SUMMER TWENTY-TEN. These would be “all our most brilliant friends” by the slow club (the refrain is “all our most brilliant friends are doubting themselves,” over top of jangly dance music; that alone – tapping our existential dread but pairing it with the kind of frantic beats that make you want to jump and dance around like Renee Zellewegger on the rooftop in Empire Records singing “Sugar High”  … it provides a crisis with an immediate and built-in path to redemption or catharsis that is like the stock and trade of summer hits, or medical dramas. But maybe that’s just me).

If you’d like your summer hit a little less complicated, a little more familiar (Chocolate Bobka pointed out that it “harnesses the vibe” of Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Grey,” which pretty much means at times it sounds just like it), then you’ve got “Getting By” by Alex Bleeker (also the front-man of somewhat-more-well-known Real Estate), which is a summer-after-senior-year-of-high-school driving or porch-drinking kind of anthem in all the best ways.

[Of course, I have been wrong about “songs of the summer” before.]

Anyways, enough of all this Sunday-afternoon babbling. Here’s some music. Hope you like it as much as I do.

[*if you’d like a copy, email me*]

Written by ENB

May 9, 2010 at 4:59 pm

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December Mix: Homeward Bound, & Everywhere

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Written by ENB

December 21, 2009 at 10:19 am

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Emergency Stimulus Mix!

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Steel Reserve photo from Douglas Van SantI was almost done compiling my January/February mix, the songs all slow or folky or faux-nostalgic, like I like, when suddenly realized—this is not what the people need right now!

The people need music that will re-instill confidence!

Music that will create a favorable climate for productivity to thrive!

Fast-acting relief that will create more inspiration in my friends’ iPods than a lot of slow-moving government programs!

So. I rushed to put this together—I knew I could not afford inaction or delay. This is music to fill out the unemployment applications to; write cover letters to; work those long hours (because god knows those of us still with jobs can’t say no to anything our bosses ask now) to.

Music for the bus rides home from the long hours of drowning sorrows at local taverns.

Music for scheming ways to make the recession work in our favor; music for planning new entrepreneurial and creative endeavors!

The mix passed 3-0 in my shared office this morning, and a version of it is now being sent to the blogosphere for approval.



Steel Reserve photo from Douglas Van Sant

Written by ENB

January 30, 2009 at 2:35 pm

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My Christmas Present to the Blogosphere

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I won’t say it’s the best holiday mix ever, but it’s pretty damn good. I must tell you that the last seven songs are probably the best, but I only say that because I like nontraditional holiday songs. Not that any of this mix is particularly traditional (Lynard Skynard’s “Greensleeves,” anyone?) , but the last seven are where the mistletoe really hits the fan. Or something. So, enjoy! And Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Etc.!

A Holiday Mix

Christmas Time (Is Here Again) – The Beatles
Spotlight on Christmas – Rufus Wainwright
Six Tons of Toys – Dave Dudley
Children Go Where I Send Thee – Natalie Merchant
Christmas Tree’s on Fire – Holly Golightly
Gold Front Tooth – Dick Smith
Hip Santa – Jimmy McGriff
Put the Loot in the Boot Santa – Mae West
Oh Holy Night – Avril Lavigne and Chantal Kreviazuk
Winter Wonderland – Goldfrapp
God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman – Jethro Tull
Carol of the Bells – TransSiberian Orchestra
Greensleeves – Lynard Skynard
So This is Christmas – John Lennon
Christmas Fire – The Deer Tracks
Father Christmas – The Kinks
Chanukah’s Da Bomb – Chutzpah
Christmas is for Losers – Mike Nicolai
Merry Christmas from the Family – Robert Earle Keen
Fairytale of New York – Stars
A Christmas Duel – The Hives & Cyndi Lauper*
If We Make It Through December
– Merle Haggard
Auld Lang Syne – Martin Sexton*

[* New arrivals on the holiday music scene. Dare I say the Hives/Lauper song, released just this month, may contend with ‘Fairytale of New York’ for greatest feuding-couple holiday duet? And this version of Auld Lang Syne is just heartbreaking, in the best way possible.]

Written by ENB

December 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm

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A Prayer for Winter Traverlers

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100_14312Mix tape time again!

With winter bearing down, I’m back to my old mix-tape trope of inadvertently packing in as many songs that may make you want to die, or at least escape to the mountains, as possible. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. And without further ado … Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ENB

November 23, 2008 at 10:10 pm

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Summer Mix-Tape Trilogy Project, 2008 Edition: Installment #3

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I promised a trilogy of summer mix tapes, so here’s the final installment, the end-of-summer mix. This one’s definitively FALL—I didn’t mean for it to be, per se, but that’s what happens when you have to grab a cardigan in the morning for the walk to the bus stop and Starbucks starts promoting pumpkin-flavored lattes. Happy end-of-summer, kids!


Installment #1: The Beginning of Summer Mix

Installment #2: The Mid-Summer Mix

Written by ENB

September 12, 2008 at 1:07 pm

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The Mid-Summer Mix (2008) // Carry On

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So I think at this point I’m aiming to make the perfect trifecta of summer 2008 mixtapes. Which brings us to: Installment #2, the Mid-Summer Mix (Carry On). Yes, I’m the sort of pretentious person who titles mixtapes, and titles them long and weirdly and with thematic intent at that. The beginning of summer mix was “Relentless,” because that was the word we coined Memorial Day weekend for what the weekend was and we hoped the rest of summer would be. And May & June did not disappoint, and all the music was super-frantic and manic and happy. But July has slowed down just a bit—or maybe not, maybe we’re just now accustomed to all the sunshine and late nights and little sleep—but regardless, it seems a little calmer. And so, so is the mid-summer mix (it even contains a Jason Mraz song [because—horrors!, I know—I’ve really been liking this Jason Mraz song, okay?], and “Stay Positive” by the Hold Steady, which is probably almost definitely the best song of this summer but doesn’t it feel a bit like a song that’s already nostalgic about summer passing?). Anyway, track list with links below. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ENB

July 29, 2008 at 4:13 pm

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Mix Tape completed (long ago)

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So a while ago I mentioned that I was taking suggestions for the Most Perfect Beginning of Summer Mix Tape Ever, 2008 Edition, and then utterly failed to follow-up update with the final line-up, since I have also utterly failed to post on or even log into this blog for the past month. Um, yeah. I pretty much rock at blogging.

So—not that it matters in the slightest, but just to maintain a cohesive blog narrative—here it is:

The-Most-Perfect-Beginning-of-Summer-Mixtape-Ever, 2008 Edition (Relentless) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ENB

July 10, 2008 at 4:14 pm

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The Most Perfect Beginning-of-Summer Mix Tape Ever, 2008 Edition

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Obviously, it’s too early to call the Official Song of Summer 2008 yet (4th of July Weekend is really the Super Tuesday of Summer Song wattage), but “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You” by Black Kids is, at the moment, the strongest contender (thanks).

I’m putting out a last call for suggestions for The Most Perfect Beginning-of-Summer Mix Tape Ever, 2008 Edition. Comment now or forever hold our peace.

And seriously, New York? “Take a Bow?” THAT is no “Umbrella.”

Written by ENB

June 9, 2008 at 2:23 pm

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