Brad’s Best of 2008 (so far) Mix
I’m a huge music nerd and it has been said in the past that I have pretty awesome tastes. It’s also been said that I have horrible tastes, but those people really like Jack Johnson and Dave Mathews, so they obviously have no credibility. Anyway, since I’m a total loser, I make mixtapes and I figured I’d post the latest one I’ve made.
Now fair warning; you’re probably not going to like all these songs, but I guarantee that you’ll like some of them. Click below for the tracklisting and descriptions. Yeah, I’m a dork. Whatever. You’ll thank me later.
1. The Hold Steady – “Constructive Summer” I’m trying to kick things off with something a bunch of people will like. These guys are like Bruce Springsteen turned up a notch. I just saw them last week and I cannot express how great it was. Let me put it this way; at one point, the guitarist brought out a double-necked Gibson SG. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go Google it. Pure awesomeness.
2. Able Baker Fox – “Stuttering” All you really need to know is that this band is made up of members of Small Brown Bike and The Casket Lottery. If you haven’t heard either band, look them up, you poor bastard.
3. Hot Water Music – “Home” This band was legendary, then they broke up, then they decided to start playing together again and I drove to Orlando for a weekend in January to see their first show back. Best show of my life, and even though I say that a lot, I really mean it this time. One of the guitarists spontaneously dropkicked a beer can into the audience. Coolest thing I’ve ever seen.
4. The Melvins – “The Kicking Machine” The Melvins are old as dirt, but they keep putting out killer records. If I had to make a comparison, I’d say to think of Zeppelin riffs, weird time changes and two drummers. They were Kurt Cobain’s favorite band, but that guy obviously had some problems so he might not be the best endorsement.
5. The Loved Ones – “Pretty Good Year” Really catchy, easy-to-listen-to punk rock, with more of an emphasis on “rock” than “punk.” You can tell these guys listened to the Replacements a lot when they were younger. This is the kind of stuff that punk rock kids listen to when they’re in the car with people who hate punk rock.
6. Lil Wayne – “Mr. Carter” Not that much good rap so far this year, and although everyone’s taking a big shit over The Carter 3, I’m not as psyched on it as I thought I would be. This song is pretty good though, and Jay-Z is on it so it makes the list.
7. Paint It Black – “Past Tense, Future Perfect” This is some good, old-school hardcore with a little melody added to it. That’s usually a recipe for disaster, but I have to say it ends up sounding pretty cool. The singer for this band is a psychiatrist. That has nothing to do with the song, but I didn’t really have enough of a description, so I felt like I needed to add something to it.
8. Tokyo Police Club – “Your English is Good” I’m a sucker for sing-along gang vocal stuff and this song has it right from the start. All the hipster douchebag kids seem to be all about this band, which is usually the kiss of death for me, but for some reason, these guys get a pass. My principles are going right out the window in my old age.
9. Torche – “Across the Shields” Record of the year. I’m calling it right now; this shit is on point. Heavy, but not too heavy. Catchy, but not annoyingly so. This is one of the few records of ’08 that I would totally get naked with. If you listen to this record and don’t like at least a few songs, you’re either a terrorist or Helen Keller.
10. Torche – “Healer” Goddamn, this is such a good album.
11. Rick Ross – “Speedin’” Let me break it down for those people that like “intelligent” hip hop like Swollen Members and shit: hip hop shouldn’t be intelligent. It should be flashy, over the top, and ridiculous. Bitches and money, people. Here’s a simple equation that will be true every time: R. Kelly cameos + cheesy synths + lots of drug and money references = Awesome. Any song with the line “I’m worth 15 million, baby; I’m trying to blow it all in one week!” is going to make every list I ever make.
12. Why? – “Simeon’s Dilemma” This song is super creepy and doesn’t really sound like the rest of the record, but whatever. I was obsessed with this CD for a good month or two this spring and I recommend it for anybody who liked that band Cake back in high school. It’s kind of like Cake, just not lame as fuck.
13. No Age – “Eraser” This band is kind of like a musical version of that show Survivor; you have to make your way through a bunch of shit and noise to get to the good parts, but once you get there, it’s pretty rewarding. I have a feeling that this will be the most hated song on this whole mix, but one kid will be really pumped on it and I will have done my job.
14. Russian Circles – “Harper Lewis” Hard-hitting instrumental rock at it’s finest. I use the word “epic” to describe stuff way too much, so I’ve been trying to refrain from using it in this list, but that’s exactly what this whole record is. If Explosions in the Sky were knocked up by Nuerosis, Russian Circles would be their baby. There are some really chill, moody parts, then all of a sudden they’re melting your face off with monster riffs. Epic soundtrack music.
15. Clouds – “Year Zero” This band was apparently born about 30 years too late; they’re a bit of a throwback to 70’s hard rock. Not that I was there or anything, but that’s what other people are saying and I sometimes take other people’s opinions and pass them off as my own so I sound smart.
16. Harvey Milk – “Barnburner” Long hair, jean jackets, a twelver of Schlitz, a Trans Am and a heaping of hot licks. That’s pretty much what you have here. This is another one of those bands that are old as shit, but somehow still manage to put out good records. The full length they released this year isn’t this rowdy all the way through, but it’s all quality. Some of the best southern rock of 2008.
17. Gaslight Anthem – “Great Expectations” These guys are another one of the hot-shit younger bands that came out of nowhere last year. Kids go bonkers for these guys, and although I like it a lot, it’s a little on the cheesy side. As long as you’re not expecting the next “Pet Sounds” or “White Album,” it’s a pretty fun time. Again, they’ve got some southern style twang in there; they’re from Jersey or something, though. Go figure.
18. Okkervil River – “Lost Coastlines” This band is seriously so good. They’re a great choice for when you have to hang with your parents or chicks or dudes that are total pussies and don’t like the heavy stuff. This is how singer-songwriter stuff should be; it’s deep and thought provoking and melodic, but you don’t think the singer is a douchebag. I don’t see why anyone who is into stuff like Bright Eyes or Modest Mouse wouldn’t like this band.
19. Nas – “Hero” Okay this is rap, but I think it’s rap that written for 15 year old chicks. Having said that, I have to say I’m really into it. In the past, Nas has been accused of picking lousy beats, but this one is bad ass; it sounds like the music at the end of each level in Super Mario Brothers 3. There’s a Destiny’s Child backup singer wannabe singing all over it, which kind of sucks, but whatever. Between you and me, when I’m alone in my car, I’ll sing the girl parts in a really high-pitched voice. I sound so pretty.
20,21,22. Verse – “Story of a Free Man: Parts 1, 2, and 3” This is technically three songs, but they make up one saga, so get off my case. Imagine if the singer from Rage Against the Machine was in a hardcore band and didn’t care so much about world issues and politics and other shit like that. Just a fair warning: these songs will make you want to go out and quit your job, dump your girlfriend, move out of your parents house, or something like that. I will not be held responsible for any damaged relationships or lack of money resulting from this mixtape (but in all reality, you probably should have already done it anyway, you big pussy.
23. Annuals – “Sore” Okay, lets slow things down a bit. If you’re a wakeboarder, you might know these guys from the opening sequence in Oakley’s movie Push Process. They’re from Raleigh and you’ll be hearing a ton more from them in the future. This is one of those songs that just builds and builds and then hits you where it counts. It sounds like there are a million people playing at once, which I’m a huge fan of; this is another good pick for a dinner party or something quiet like that.
24. Polar Bear Club – “Convinced I’m Wrong” This is another song that comes really close to being a little too cheesy, but after the lame ass acoustic intro, it’s pretty cool. This band is pretty much the second coming of Small Brown Bike, which is probably the biggest compliment I’ve ever given. I’ve read that some people think these guys sound like Third Eye Blind, but you know what? Third Eye Blind sucks and some people are fucking retards.
25. Sigur Ros – “Inni mer syngur vitleysingur” I have no idea what that title means. I have no idea what kind of freaky deeky language they’re using. I have no idea why these guys don’t just suck it up and learn English like everyone else in the world. I do, however, know that this sounds like a good closer to the most
unfuckwithable mixtape you guys have heard all year. Even if it is in some made up, fictitious language.