The Artifact Series: April 15th, 2008
For the last 15 years or so, I’ve been making mixes on a semi-monthly basis. Through various moves across the country I’ve lost or broken most of them, but occasionally I come across one in a box or a pile or tucked into a book. They are never perfect; far from it. They are always works in progress, like small snapshots of what I thought I might like at the time. Sometimes I immediately hate them and never listen again. Other times they become well-worn favorites. I figured that enough time has passed that I could dissect a few here and there on the site. So first up we have an entry from April 15th, 2008.
Full track list below the jump.
1. Right and Wrong – The Muslims
The Muslims were my favorite band for a while. At the time all it took to be my favorite band was that you played in Los Angeles a lot at the Echo or the Smell or Pehrspace and I could see you for cheap.1 Once they made the transition to Kemado and changed their name to the Soft Pack I don’t think they ever recovered. But this is a great song and a perfect opener.
2. Eraser – No Age
From their first album on Sub Pop, right after I stopped being their publicist. I had a lot riding on them at the time, especially when they played live on MTV2. They did not become the next Nirvana, but this is still a great song from a great album and a great band. The whole aesthetic of the video and album is LA in 2008 to me. It’s unmistakable.
3. Tiger Mountain Peasant Song – Fleet Foxes
Saw them open for a now defunct Band of Horses side project and Blitzen Trapper at the Troubadour, and they totally stole the show. Just blew everyone away. What strikes me now is how stripped down it is. I’m more used to the five part harmonies from the second record. This one seems totally bare in comparison.
4. Do the Panic – Phantom Planet
I have no memory of listening to this at the time, but I like it. They’re a totally unnecessary band, but the lead singer does a great job of acting like a lead singer (especially during the live show, which was always a raucous good time). Great chorus, great verses. I’m into it.
5. Sultan- What Made Milwaukee Famous
Every time this one came on I thought it was Ted Leo. It wasn’t until I ripped the disk this morning that I realized it was What Made Milwaukee Famous. Does that say more about me or the song? I will tell you that it makes me want to dig into their discography a little more because this is a super fun 2000s-style power pop song. That’s normally not my first cup of tea, but this one really grew on me. It really dates the mix but that’s not a bad thing.
6. Self Taught Learner (Demo) – Lissy Trullie
Talk about dating the mix! Hoo boy. I had forgotten all about model-turned-singer Lissy, but at the time I loved this demo ep. I still love the rough production, especially the ramshackle piano and her spotty vocals. It totally works with the lyrical themes of the song. She also had a pretty fun cover of Hot Chip’s “Ready for the Floor” at the time. Her proper full-length kind of fizzled but this one still does it for me.
7. My Whole World’s Coming Apart – John Maus
I had totally forgotten about this mini-genre of frat dudes playing insane electro freakouts, but that was definitely a thing back then. Super dramatic, bass-heavy meltdowns from guys in button up Brooks Brothers shirts, with John Maus and Muscles and My Heart Between Us and a few others. What a world! This song is ridiculous and after six years I still don’t know if I love it or hate it. I guess that means I love it.
8. Gone Gone Gone – The Notwist
I feel like we used to hear about the Notwist all the time. Their albums are uniformly excellent, from the production to the melodies to the lyrics. Maybe they’re just too good? I don’t know. I was happy to hear this on here, as it’s a nice little breather in the action. And obviously if you don’t have their albums you should really track them down.
9. Eat the Prize – The Mae Shi
The best. shit. ever. Seriously. The best. Original singer Ezra reads lyrics out of old textbooks while the band explodes behind him. Jeff Bryon has some classic shreds with a nice breakdown in the middle before exploding again, all in 3 minutes. They just get the job done, and this little EP would presage the more melodic epic quality of their final full length / magnum opus HLLYH. Love every second of this.
10. Letting Go – Team Water Polo
I have literally no idea what this is. It is quintessential blog rock, which is fine3. Next.
11. Jaw of a Whale – The Accidental
A side project from Tunng and The Memory Band. Their full length There Were Wolves was a favorite of mine. Crisp and clean all the way through. It is super UK and not all the far removed from Tunng with all the hammered strings and noises, just a little more straightforward in execution and melody. It’s a beautiful song from a beautiful record. Totally worth tracking down and I’m glad this on here.
12. My Best Friend – Pink Mountaintops
This is not my favorite Pink Mountaintops song but I was a massive, massive Black Mountain fan at the time so I was devouring everything related to the Black Mountain Army I could4. There’s a couple different incarnations of Pink Mountaintops, and this is from the druggier, sludgier version of the band5. I still like it, especially the sentiment. And it’s totally a song that only they would write, which in itself is amazing.
13. War – Ladyhawk
What ever happened to Ladyhawk? I loved this band! Shots was a great album and the preceding Fight for Anarchy EP was a fun time too. I remember seeing them at the original FYF back when it was a very small clusterfuck called the Fuck YeaH Fest and happened at the Echo6 and just falling to pieces when they played “Ashtray” but that was a completely different time and place. This is a rollicking good time and I wish these guys were still around.
14. My Drug Buddy (Demo) – The Lemonheads
From the Shame About Ray reissue. I got obsessed with the demos from that one with this one and the title track as major standouts. But enough has been said about Evan Dando on this site, so we’ll move on!
15. Deep Water – Portishead
Another one that I had totally forgotten about. This is from Portishead’s “comeback” album and I must not have liked it very much if I only included the closing ukulele track that is not even remotely indicative of their overall sound. It does totally predate the current trend of ukulele twee stuff, so they get majors points for that7. I think this is fun, and a nice way to close out the record.
Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me. Expect more of these throughout the year, whether you like it or not!
1. see No Age, The Mae Shi for my other favorite bands at the time ↩
2. remember there was a Friday night live video showcase hosted by Pete Wentz? Me Either ↩
3. I would typically include a few tracks on every mix to see if I’d want to write them up on the site. This one obviously didn’t make the cut ↩
4. This includes the Blood Meridian albums which are… not great ↩
5. as opposed to the version of the band obsessed with romance novels and vampires from Outside Love or the one obsessed with speed metal from the new record ↩
6. as opposed to the current FYF which is a massive clusterfuck awkwardly called the FYF Festival happening at arenas in LA ↩
7. do they? ↩