Wednesday, November 14

CDP Mix-Tape Trade Wrap Party (Part 2).

CDP Mix-Tape Trade Wrap Party.

Ever since the CDP Nationwide Mix-Tape Trade ended a couple months ago, people have been harping on me about reviewing their mix. Time constraints were getting in the way at the time, but while I'm waiting for my book to go to publication, I have a week or two to really sit down and pick apart these works that CDP readers were kind enough to mail to me.

I set the rules for listening to and reviewing the assorted mixes as follows: I would write in complete stream-of-consciousness mode while each song played (hence the poor grammar and possible spelling errors), and stop writing as soon as the song was over. Any pausing or skipping tracks was not allowed. I was listening for songs that I liked, along with the general flow and mood you'd expect from a decent mix-tape. I listened to every mix through headphones and without outside distraction.

My second reviewed mix belongs to everyone's favorite New Englander, Blustacon. Here we go.

1. A Feedbag Of Truckstop Poetry - Lagwagon

It's hard to find a Lagwagon song that I don't have, but Blustacon pulled it off with his opening track. It's a good one, too. Actually, one of the more solid and catchy Lagwagon songs I've heard in a long time. This was a good opener by taking a well-known band and throwing on one of their more obscure songs.

2. Lazy Eye - Silversun Pickups

After the quick blast of Feedbag, the mix settles in with Lazy Eye, which is a very enjoyable (and popular) song. The tomboy-looking girl in this fantastic music video is borderline obsession-worthy. In all honesty, Lazy Eye has been one of my favorite singles of 2007.

3. The Sharpest Lives - My Chemical Romance

For a married dude with four(?) kids, Blustacon is certainly in tune with stereotypically 'younger' music, and that's a very neat and surprising thing for me (I mean all of that in a good way, Blu). My Chemical Romance doesn't bother me too much; they write memorable songs, know their demographic and rock a live show like nobody's business. I hadn't heard this mid-tempo track before, and it's not at all offensive to my elitist tastes.

4. Sound Of Pulling Heaven Down - Blue October

I bought the debut Blue October album when I first heard 'Calling You' a few years ago. And while that might have been a $16 mistake in retrospect, at least I enjoyed that single. This song reminds me that most Blue October songs sound a lot alike, and while over-the-top and trying very hard to be epic, I just know for a fact that me and the lead singer would get into a fistfight if we met.

5. Paralyzer - Finger Eleven

The bouncing guitar lick instantly reminds me of Franz Ferdinand's 'Take Me Out,' which isn't a bad thing at all. Woah, this song is pretty cool in that I'd rock out to it at a bar if I were trashed. It has a nice 'melodic rock radio station' feel to it, but the sarcastic lyrics are actually pretty funny and make the song very easy to lose inhibitions to. Not bad.

Already, I'm glad that I haven't heard too many of these songs (unlike Ben's mix). It allows me to form an instant and fresh opinion of the song and mix in general. The vibe of the mix so far is a melodic, modern rock edge, and that's not quite as bad as it sounds.

6. Promise - Eve 6

Here's another one that might have been better off placed further away from the previous track. It's a little too similar, wry and bouncy. Again, that's not a bad thing, just maybe a little overkill with the sugary rock. I think the Missus would like this song, as a side note.

Wow, 20 tracks? I'll be plowing through another epic, I see.

7. Cosmic Castaway - Electracy

I don't know where this song (or band) came from, but it's yet another catchy tune that's nostalgic for the 'Extreme' style of the mid 90's. Blustacon has a good ear for a hook and melody; he should be an A&R guy for a mainstream rock label.

8. Move Along - The All-American Rejects

Another track, another huge hook from a pretty popular radio rock band. Do I sense a theme? I remember the Rejects 'Swing, Swing' single from years ago, and I remember digging that a little more than I really should have. While I don't like this song due to the constant airplay it received, I can't deny it's popularity and worthy inclusion in this mix.

9. Whatever It Takes - Morley

Finally, something a little different. This female-fronted, Natalie Merchant sound-alike group again takes me back to the mid-90's. I think I would have hated this track back then, but today, it's a welcome and mellow halfway point to the mix.

10. Wave Of Mutilation - The Pixies

Oh, man. What a song. It seems like most of my readers understood that a Pixies song needs to be included in damn near every mix on Earth. Wave Of Mutilation is probably my favorite Pixies song, and has washed clean the taste of formula-oriented rock that littered the first half of this mix.

11. Missed The Boat - Modest Mouse

Some people were very upset when Modest Mouse exploded and became the huge band we see them now as. I beg to differ. I think that while Modest Mouse was always awesome, they've matured as songwriters and still haven't compromised all that much. Furthermore, James Mercer from The almighty Shins sings backups on this track, which is impossible to hate.

12. Sway - Bic Runga

Wow. Bic has one of those beautiful voices that, when heard through headphones, will give you the chills and make you sit straight up. What a surprise this song was; pretty as hell and placed in just the right spot in the mix. This is a great song, and I'll be listening to it again as soon as this album is over.

13. Weakened State - Sarah Harmer

I find it hard to care about this female-fronted acoustic rock track after being blown away by Sway just a few minutes ago. This should have been placed somethwere else in the mix, so it wouldn't have to go on after the greatness of Bic Runga.

14. Hey There Delilah - Plain White T's

God help me, I absolutely love this song. I never didn't love this song. Also, I saw a YouTube clip of a rigged Rockafire Explosion at a Showbiz Pizza doing this song, which almost brought me to tears with its nostalgic goodness. Screw you guys, I'm going home.

15. Face Down - The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Pretty standard fare from a newer 'emotional' rock band. Reeks entirely of Steven's Untitled Rock Show, but it's not their fault that they sound like everyone else. Oh wait, they do.

16. You And Me - Vega4

This is a sweet little number. It reminds me of driving through the city at night with the windows down, with a special someone over in the passenger side. Chugging guitars, monotone british warbling and a huge hook make for a harmlessly good few minutes.

17. Good Day - Angels And Airwaves

Being a former Blink 182 fan, I never got around to listening to any of their side projects. Now I remember why I didn't. Tom cannot sing for crap, period. Also, the song goes nowhere. Need I go on? I don't mean to be hard on them or anything, but they were never meant to be taken seriously.

18. You Are The One - Shiny Toy Guns

This track starts out with a rad, sawtooth synth line, then moves into a lo-fi dance groove. Dueling male/female vocals remind me of Bis, only a little less inspired. Meh, the second half of this mix is starting to hang around the house a little too much. Oh wait, the chorus to this song is pretty good; almost making up for the lackluster verses.

19. Uncle Johnny - The Killers

The Killers know how to bring the hits...well, sometimes. I always skip this track on Sam's Town, mainly because it drones along and attemps to make up for that with a sing-along chorus and sweeping third act. Not for me.

20. Ring The Bells - James

Good closing track here. This shows the old school/new school depth of Blustacon's album collection, and as always, sounds like the token artistic statement on the album.

While Blustacon stuck with the huge rock tracks that got the job done, it was the quick peeks into the fringe artists he enjoys that were the most interesting to me. The mix as a whole was a little top-heavy with the mainstream rock, but settled in towards the middle and end with some hit-and-miss chances. An enjoyable and fresh mix overall, good driving music and some fantastic gems. Time for some stats!

Total Number Of Tracks - 20
Number Of Above Average Tracks - 6
Number Of Average Tracks - 8
Number Of Below Average Tracks - 6
Number Of Tracks That I Own - 6
Best Track(s) - Wave Of Mutilation (classic), Sway (another out-of-nowhere surprise)
Worst Track - Good Day (sorry, Tom)
Total Score - 7.0/10

Tomorrow, I'll have another mix on the chopping block. Will it be yours?

Comments:
I should truly hate Hey There Delilah based entirely on the fact that I hear it at least two to three times a day, between driving for my day job, and the music in the bar at night.

I can't help it, still love this song. It reminds me of when I was a bit less cynical and didn't want to punch some people in the face based solely on the fact that they are wearing pink polo shirts.
 
Also, I should go ahead and mention the lack of a Pixies track on my mix. Not only would it have been sorely out of place, but I'm just not a big fan.

(ducks and covers)
 
nothing against Killer, but I think this one is what a Mix is supposed to be about -- interesting and eclectic mix of songs. Or maybe that's just what I like?

I've never told Julia that I looked for the Vaseline's "Jesus Didn't Want Me For a Sunbeam" on MP3 for months and then gave up. Years later, she put it on my mix. :)

The Vaseline's original is much better than Nirvana's version.
 
Your right about Harmer being a little out of place. i wanted to include her, but she really didn't fit in anywhere. I first heard her at a small club in Littleton, New Zealand. It was just her and a guitar. Her voice was so crystal clear and powerful. The recordings don't even come close to doing it justice.

This mix was meant to bring a smile. Most of the songs I like are upbeat or tug at a rare emotion. The order could have been a little cleaner, but I was generally pleased overall.
 
BLUSTACON - I was pleased overall, too. It's a positive mix with a few songs that have worked their way into my daily/weekly rotation. Like I said, you have a good ear for a memorable hook, which is something I have, too. We must cherish this gift, for one day, it will come in handy.

"I first heard her at a small club in Littleton, New Zealand."

Woah, how cool is that?

HOSS - Ben has told me more than once that he was just trying to squeeze as many tracks onto an album as possible, so I'm not going to bust on him too much about it anymore. You're right, though. This is a good example of a tight, modern mix with a fair amount of solid tracks and some gems sprinkled in good places. I hope that I don't come off as disliking the mix, because I've honestly loved them all so far.

JT - Not everyone can be a Pixies fan. The Missus can't stand them.

I became an unapologetic fan of Hey There Delilah when I found out that not only is this a true song about a real girl named Delilah, but the guy wrote it while she was in a relationship with another guy. The balls to do that are pretty tremendous, if you ask me, and isn't that what love songs are all about?
 
From Wikipedia:

The song Hey There Delilah was inspired by Delilah DiCrescenzo, a Columbia University graduate and steeplechase runner training for the 2008 Olympic trials.

There was never a relationship between songwriter Tom Higgenson and DiCrescenzo, but Tom was inspired to write a song about her soon after they were introduced by a mutual friend.

"There was never anything between us. It was kind of funny — kind of sad, actually. The story of my life... I thought she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I told her, 'I have a song about you already.' Obviously, there was no song. But I thought it was smooth."

It took over a year for Tom to write the song. However, the real life Delilah, who wasn't interested in Tom because she was already in a relationship, was not sure how to deal with the pressure of having a song written about her.

"It was so beautifully written. There was pressure to live up to this ideal. I didn't know how to be polite but at the same time, you know, ditch him."

DiCrescenzo also says of the song: "When I'm at the gym, it's playing; when I'm at the pool, it's playing. Part of me wants to scream at the top of my lungs that it's about me. Another part of me wants to cower and say it's not."

The song refers to New York City. However, the album cover is a scene from Chicago, the band's home base.

That's one of the coolest stories I've read in a long time. Poor guy.
 
Yep, right up there with Say Anything's song about grandparents doing it in the concentration camp.
 
Yeah, that was pretty uplifting.
 
Testing...testing...CDP, can you read me?

Internet is being crap today.
 
Caller? Caller, please turn down your radio. We're live.
 
Blogger is being glitchtastic.
 
Not only would it have been sorely out of place, but I'm just not a big fan.

JT=rock
 
Ha, poor Blustacon. For most of these songs, it seems like you're saying 'Well, I don't completely hate it.'
 
Well now it seems to be working...

If I hear 'Hey There Delilah' again, I may well kill myself. I loved it at first, but it quickly went stale.

I can't wait until next mix-tape trade. Chances are you'll all think of me as very shallow, but I'll still love.

UPDATE: Bloody Hell! Lucky I copied it so it didn't fall into the deep, evil grasp of Blogger.
 
Did you listen to mine? Will you mock my choices? I'm on the edge of my seat here.
 
I take no offense.

I know the CDP likes the thrill of the underground. He delights in a rare discovery and the taste of a raw talent.

I don't have time for that. I listen to a lot of radio. I like it being served to me medium rare with a side of butternut squash.
 
Hathery - JT=rock

Hmmm....drastically different than your opinion of me when you found out that I'm Ted Danson's lovechild.

Will- I'm also curious, as my mix is nothing like the two reviewed so far.
 
JT - As long as CDP listens to your mix as it was intended, he'll absolutely love it.

Blu - When you have kids (such as you and myself), finding indie bands is next to impossible. Whether it's lack of time or listening to the High School Musical soundtrack for the 184th time, it's simply doesn't happen.

Another great review, CDP.
 
I liked the mix, I really did.

Everyone kept asking me when I was going to review the mixes, so I thought it would be a disservice to just half-ass it and go, "Everything was splendid! Cookies and gold coins for all!" That's not how I roll. I used to get paid to be a music critic; I can't shut it off.

As far as Blogger goes, I think we're back on track. There were some comment glitches; a few of mine were lost, as well.

Will, I'm going to attempt to download your mix (with Halo Benders bonus track) tonight. If it's a go, then yes, you're on the list. I'm looking forward to it; I have 10 more mixes to review over the next two weeks.

I'm pushing for a February 2008 Mix-Tape Trade. I'll keep everyone posted.
 
I liked the mix, I really did.

Everyone kept asking me when I was going to review the mixes, so I thought it would be a disservice to just half-ass it and go, "Everything was splendid! Cookies and gold coins for all!" That's not how I roll. I used to get paid to be a music critic; I can't shut it off.

As far as Blogger goes, I think we're back on track. There were some comment glitches; a few of mine were lost, as well.

Will, I'm going to attempt to download your mix (with Halo Benders bonus track) tonight. If it's a go, then yes, you're on the list. I'm looking forward to it; I have 10 more mixes to review over the next two weeks.

I'm pushing for a February 2008 Mix-Tape Trade. I'll keep everyone posted.
 
Thanks, Moe!

And yes, I'll be drinking when I pop in JT's mix. It's only fair to play by the rules.
 
So far CDP's been pretty honest. I hope no one holds that against him. I'm interested in everyone's mix because they are so different. I'm interested in how much they have in common too.

Besides:

"Your favorite band sucks"



I love that.
 
BTW- I only have three kids. I'm not a Mormon.
 
Haha. That's why I put the question mark there; I couldn't remember if you just had #3 or #4. How's the baby thing going, by the way?

Yeah, I'm just trying to be honest and stream-of-consciousness. People need to remember that I'm not going back and editing these things; I'm just writing what I'm thinking at the time. It's kind of raw, and may sound blunt at times.

That's being said, I'm not an asshole. This mix-tape trade was a fun thing to do, and I want to do more, so it's completely unnecessary (and rude) to tear apart something that someone did as a cool blog activity. Furthermore, I wasn't sent a single 'bad' mix. Nope. Not even one, and I mean it.
 
Everyone kept asking me when I was going to review the mixes, so I thought it would be a disservice to just half-ass it and go, "Everything was splendid! Cookies and gold coins for all!"

And of that, I'm thankful. I'm fascinated by what music people listen to.

I'm pushing for a February 2008 Mix-Tape Trade. I'll keep everyone posted.

Just after I finished mine, I thought of a really cool theme and thought, "Well, I'll do it next time." I guess I need to get started now . . .
 
Damn, I took it down. I'll repost it and send you the link.
 
You got paid as a music critic? That's rad. How'd you get that gig? What was it specifically?
 
I think I speak for most, if not all, of the CDPeons when I say that we appreciate your honesty. I'm looking forward to the review for my mix and looking forward to the next Mixed-Tape trade even more...
 
HOSS - Thanks. Yeah, I think February would be a good time because it would be after the holidays and the whole "Promote the hell out of the CDP book" thing. I wouldn't have any time before that for something so communication intensive.

WILL - Okay. I'll be downloading it tonight, around 5pm Central. Rawk.

MOE - Thanks. I'm just trying to do something original and uniquely CDP. Anyone can read music reviews anywhere; to read about a particular mix is cool to me.

DOMSAR - There used to be a newspaper in Madison (through the Capitol Times) that I did album reviews for. I got turned onto it from someone at college, and I did it for a year before I quit (creative differences).

It was fun; you got free CD's and I got to interview Kevin Barnes from Of Montreal, so that was pretty amazing. In the end, I just got frustrated with routine, structure, authority, poor editing and style. I'm not meant to review music every single day; I need more free-form avenues and creative outlets.

The paper was great, I just had a freak out and left. A couple months later, the paper shut down for good.
 
CDP - You need to be drinking something vaguely cheap, and lots of it.
 
I'm on it. I'll try to write your review this weekend so I don't have to be hung over at work.

Man...the things I do for this page.
 
I like it being served to me medium rare with a side of butternut squash.

Please save some of that squash for me. Thanks.
 
Hmmm....drastically different than your opinion of me when you found out that I'm Ted Danson's lovechild.

Riiiight...forgot about that. Fine. Then you're back to pre-Danson status in my eyes. No rock, just average awesomeness.
 
Ha! I had Lazy Eye by Silversun Pickups on my original mix...followed by Telescope Eyes by Eisley. But then I never mailed the CD. Life got in the way of all of my best intentions (which are now being used to pave the road to that certain warm place known for its fabulous brimstone lakeside condos of eternal damnation)

Ah, well...I have it all set up for next time, maybe. Or maybe not. I'm not making any promises this time in order not to be a massive disappointment when I fail at delivering on said promises.

I saw the Plain White T's before Hey There Delilah was released...they're kind of crap live, although they do try really hard not to suck. A lot of those songs are staples of the local "alternative" rock station, so I hear them all the time on my way to and from the workplace of doooom.

I'm currently listening to Matt Pond PA while avoiding doing housework by photoshopping pictures of my pets. (There's one of Niki The Destroyer on my blog now, in all of her lolcat glory)
 
Matt Pond PA = Great.

The Missus absolutely loves that guy. Halloween is one of the best songs I've heard in a very long time.
 

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