For years now, every time I go home to Buffalo, New York, I make a mix CD. It’s the only time that I get to drive, which is one of the most special times to be listening to music (in my opinion). Not only do you need the right amount of perk and pumped up volume, but you need those select songs that will go exactly to the scenes around you. Sometimes it’s just you and the music. Sometimes it’s something you can use to engage your friends and family in about your life (if they care enough).
One thing I’ve learned through the years is how the songs need to mesh into one another. Usually it’s just me listening to them, and I guess I’m kind of picky, but I can’t go having a hardcore song next to a soft acoustic song (unless there’s just some kind of magic goin’ on). The energy needs to be around the same level, but the entire mix won’t have just one level.
As part of one of the new features of RoundLetters, I’m going to share with you the mix that I made and give you legal free downloadable means to as many of the tracks that I can (or at least links to where you can hear them).
October 2010 — Autumn Confidence Booster:
- “Gentlemen’s Club” by First Rate People (feat Luke Lalond and GenerationFK)
Putting this song as the opener was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only was it happily stuck in my head for more than a day after I first started listening to it in the car, but it started out every drive on a strange but perky note. The song isn’t all that positive in meaning, but it adds a sense of acceptance, which pushes you on in your journey.
- “Society” by DVAS
Party. Time. Ever heard of car dancing? This is it. Right here.
- “Black Sheep” by Suckers
Aaaand now it’s time to rock out to lots of different tempos and vocal ranges.
- “Clocks & Spears” by Bravestation
There’s a chorus part in “Black Sheep” that reminds me a lot of Torontonian pals Bravestation, so I saw it fitting for them to be comfy next to each other.
- “Blue Blood” by Foals
And Bravestation love Foals just as much as I do (this conversation has been had 2319873249 times already). The newest single from my favourite Brits is one of the best on their album, and though it is the first track and absolutely perfect there, I wanted to put Foals with their closest musical cousins on this mix as well as try out where it would feel somewhere else.
- “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” by Arcade Fire
Oh Regine dance songs, you’re lovely. Especially when you’re actually driving through the suburbs and cursing that very fact.
- “Stillness is the Move” by Dirty Projectors
As I was listening to this yesterday I thought on the appeal of the Dirty P’s. They’re able to combine crystal clean experimental indie hooks with soulful female pipes. They have numerous genres mixed into something nobody else has been able to make, and thus why it can stand out on any album. This is one of my favourite songs of theirs, and one of the few that would work with keeping energy high and mighty.
- “Takeover” by Dryer
When I reviewed this album a month or so ago now, this was the obvious stand out song to me. It embodies confidence born out of something on a lower plane, and that’s exactly what this mix stands for. Plus, I thought fitting it between Dirty Projectors and BRMC would enhance the pretty vocals and fast guitars on both ends.
- “Need Some Air” by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
This is one of my all-time favourite songs and possibly the song I’ve played the most in my car. It’s gritty, it’s sexy, it’s got so much strength that it can get you from 0 to 45 (mph, folks) in seconds.
- “Jump Back” by !!!
Though it’s one of the sadder songs on the new album, it’s got one of the most delicious beat frames attached. It’s undeniable. This is one of those songs you can put on to impress your friends when they’re starting to get a little car-dance antsy from all the rock.
- “Arrows” by Rah Rah
Though it might not seem like it fits after “Jump Back,” it does. Rah Rah can get you fully back into the mood after any kind of situation. I’m not advocating for you do crash your car and then be all “bada ba da! do do do dooo” but it might lighten up the scene’s mood a little…
- “Green River” by Hooded Fang
Hooo boy, is this a catchy song. I’m not entirely sure what they’re singing about but I don’t care. This song can put a smile on anyone’s face. In my head, I imagine a clan of friends doing certain dance moves that I could never explain, but it’s one heck of a party up there. “The river runs greeeen just for meee…” Oh yes. Let’s advocate nasty water! Party! (Cough, video idea you guys, cough) You can’t get around the accordion, whistles, drums, guitars and keyboards on this one.
- “Rose Garden” by Shad
There’s a certain ripple effect that happens in the very beginning of this song. It’s after the first round of Lisa Lobsinger’s part, when the beat kicks in. Be careful, your speed in the car or the spring in your step will jump a notch when this happens. From there, it just keeps going.
- “In Every Direction” by Junip
This was an interesting choice to put after Shad, but I decided to go for it. This song is one of my absolute favourites this year, I can’t even describe in full here, but the greatness of it always leaves me with my breath caught in my throat after singing terribly along with Jose (seriously, cannot be done well) no matter where I am. It’s also one of those songs that I remember where I was and what I was doing when I first heard it. As my mixes also serve as a little something I can bring home of what I listen to at the moment, this reigns strong in that category.
- “North of Superior” by Charlotte Cornfield
This is one of the best songs off Charlotte’s Collage Light EP, with its’ story of moving out of the city and finding peace somewhere else. It’s easy to sing along to. It’s also the one track that got my mom’s attention. “What’s this girl’s name?” “Charlotte Cornfield.”What a name!”
- “Bright Glow” by Little City
Another stand-out track from an EP by Torontonians Little City. The first time this song came on in my car from this mix, when I heard the harmonica, I broke out into a wide smile.
- “Astronomers” by We Are the City
You might be able to tell that the mix is now cooling down. Sometimes I like the make mixes that are just all dance or all rock, but this mix was to be different, more like a regular mix CD I make for people. “Astronomers” may be a slower ballad, but it allows for nicer parts of long stretches of road, but don’t get too dreamy, there!
- “Own Stunts” by Breathe Owl Breathe
This is the last part of cooling down, and what a song to leave it with. While you’re stuck in traffic, it will calm you while you sing about moustaches. Or even if you’re not driving, you’ll hopefully be taken away into a new place where you can do your own stunts.
- “Stand in the Water” by Wildlife
Might as well leave this mix on a high rockin note like we found it, right? It’s not dancey, but the energy in this rock boost by Wildlife is always itching to get out, break free, into the open air. I find it’s a great finish to a confidence boosting mix, and I hope you agree.