Tuesday, November 20

CDP Mix-Tape Trade Wrap Party (Part 6).

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 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 sixth reviewed mix belongs to a Madison native, and one of only 300 people who are fortunate enough to own my band's first album, Julia Rubin. Here we go.

1. Gimme Some Motivation - Delta Spirit

The theme of Julia's mix is 'feel-good.' These are tracks that will lift you up, brighten your day and make you happy. In that regard, the mix is kicked off right proper with this Strokes-esque rock number. The shuffling drums and distorted vocals remind me of a Gap commercial, where every one is smiling and sporting fresh, crisp pantaloons.

2. Callin' Out - Lyrics Born

I already like Julia's style. This woman clearly likes to move. In fact, I hope I can meet up with her at an upcoming Madison concert so we can bust a move together. This is pretty much an old-skool hip-hop number, with a smooth flow, heavy bass line and breakdancing-on-cardboard nostalgia. I'm digging it, and wouldn't you know it, I feel good.

3. The Seed - Cody Chesnutt

Woah. I gotta say, right off the bat, this this is one of the dirtier songs I've had the pleasure to review in the last two weeks. This smooth, bluesy ode to an extramarital affair sounds downright pretty if you're not listening to the lyrics. If you are listening to the lyrics, you'll know that someone's about to get pregnant.

Speaking of which, that's a saying I like to shout around the house from time to time. "Someone gon' git' pregnant!"

4. Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town - Talking Heads

Why didn't anyone else throw a Talking Heads track on their mix? Also, where in the hell are all the Replacements songs? A dozen mixes and no Replacements? Weird.

I like how David Byrne basically got away with doing whatever he wanted to do in his songs, as long as it got him from Point A to Point B. If a new wave song required a steel drum, he'd throw it in without thinking twice. How cool is that?

5. Don' Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson

This is an ultimate 'Feel-Good' track. In fact, I think that scientists have proven it impossible not to dance when this track hits the speakers. It also reminds you of just how amazing Michael Jackson was before things got all wonky.

Sorry, I'm half-dancing in my office chair right now. Screw you guys. I like this mix a lot.

6. Quality Control - Jurassic 5

I saw Jurassic 5 at the Van's Warped Tour, of all places, many years ago. Their flow is unmatched, their intelligence keeps you smiling and the beats are tight. This track is the sound of a handful of MC's in perfect unison. I can't wait to get this mix into my car on the way home for Thanksgiving. It'll be 150 straight miles of head-nodding and posturing.

7. Lazy Fo Acre - Mofro

This track brings the mix down a few notches and chills everything out. This song would have also been at home in Domsar's mix; a smooth, smoky, bleary-eyed jam.

8. First In Flight - Blackalicious

I should probably overlook this, but I noticed that the first half of Julia's mix is heavy on black guys, and the second half is loaded with white dudes. I don't know if this was done on purpose or not, but it's actually kind of neat.

This track, if I can sound like a real douchebag, bumps. More rapid-fire lyrical delivery, more tight beats and more melodies that force you to move around. The only downside was an abrupt ending that really caught me off guard. It almost sounded like a disk error.

9. Out Of Sight - James Brown

Man, do I love the Godfather. I like to listen to James Brown when I'm cleaning my house on Sunday mornings. It keeps me going, and I do this thing where I half-dance and half-clean for a few hours. You were probably a lot better off before you knew that.

Julia has succeeded in making me feel good. Hot damn! Step back! Catch myself!

10. Never Too Late - Michael Franti & Spearhead

You can't out-funk the master, so this track smartly brings the tempo down to a smoother level. I can't say I'm a big fan of acoustic guitar hip-hop, but I understand the typically laid-back mood and uplifting message. Also, this track overstays its welcome just by a little bit.

11. My Doorbell - The White Stripes

If Meg White could drum, I'd love the White Stripes. As a 12-year drummer, I just can't listen to Meg without getting disgusted that she hasn't improved any. Also, you'd think that her arms would be in far better shape.

Gimme some effort, Meg! You have the easiest job in rock music! You're providing the backbeat for one of the most eclectic modern guitarists of all-time! LET'S FREAKING GO, HERE!

Seventeen tracks, one hour long. Just the right length for a good theme album. I have to say that I'm very surprised by this mix. Not to say I didn't think Julia could rock a mix, I just didn't think I'd like it so damn much.

12. Get Myself Arrested - Gomez

This is a shuffling, faux-reggae tune that would probably sound a lot better if I were swaying a bottle of beer in the air with about 100 of my closest friends. It's not their fault that I'm actually sitting alone in my office, wearing an argyle sweater and playing Tetris.

13. Late In The Evening - Paul Simon

This song sounds like a jingle for an African-themed resort hotel. Sorry, I really cracked myself up with that one. Seriously, I really like Paul Simon. In fact, I was just listening to an old 33 of Kodachrome on my turntable. Seriously. Suck it, hipsters.

14. Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone? - Ted Leo & The Pharmacists

Ted Leo is one of my favorite indie rockers. He's a vegan, he can write a good song in every possible genre, he can sing like crazy and he rocks a live show like nobody's business. Tyranny Of Distance is one of the best start-to-finish rock albums I've ever heard, and it's more than worth your time.

15. 16 Military Wives - The Decemberists

Awesome track. In my book, The Decemberists can do no wrong, and this is a perfect example. Timeless songwriting being used to describe a modern problem. I put 'We Both Go Down Together' and 'O, Valencia' on a couple of my mixes. Oh, and this music video needs to be viewed by you on YouTube immediately.

This mix has completely taken me by surprise. I should have expected nothing less from a girl that liked my band.

16. Get Fly - Atmosphere

POS > Atmosphere. I mean, I like this guy, but as far as the Doomtree/Rhymesayers collective is concerned, my main man from Minneapolis has the market cornered. I'm using this time to suggest to Julia that she purchase POS's Audition album. Simply incredible indie hip-hop.

17. Getting Better - Bob Schneider

...And we've reached the end of the 'feel-good' mix. Wouldn't you know it, I feel pretty damn good! Something tells me that this album's sentiment might be heightened with the presence of a certain THC-laced substance, but I'll just have to assume that Julia knew I'm law-abiding. There are far too many 'feeling high' references to be a fluke.

Time for stats.

Total Number Of Tracks - 17
Number Of Above Average Tracks - 8
Number Of Average Tracks - 6
Number Of Below Average Tracks - 3
Number Of Tracks That I Own - 5
Best Track - Out Of Sight (James Brown bows to nobody)
Worst Track - Never Too Late (ruins the flow a little bit)
Total Score - 8.2/10

Great job, Julia!

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

(NOTE: Due to time constraints with the release of my book, I will only be reviewing 9 of the 12 mixes I received. Sherry, the Missus and TamaraZ have been bumped for the greater good, and the reviews will conclude on Friday.)

You're just scared of the backlash when you'd have to give my mix a perfect score.
Yes. And I want the reviews to end this week. One of those two things.

Wednesday - Mike Hoss
Thursday - Moe Greene
Friday - Will Betheboy
Judgment Day is tomorrow!

This seems like a great mix to get your body moving, tho HipHop isn't quite my cup o' tea.
Are you ready? I'm sure ready.
I was the guy picked to receive Julia's Feel Good mix and I never got around to thanking her properly, but this was a great one. Great flow. Good variety. A few surprises. Lot's of really fun hip-hop and luckily I'm totally down with that. Thank you, Julia!
There you go, more props from another mix-tade pro.
mix-TAPE, I meant.
Are you ready? I'm sure ready.

Thank you sir. May I have another?
Y2J! Y2J!
Welcome to CDP IS JERICHO!

Man, the crowd was eating out of his hand last night. Also, I will move Heaven and Earth to get that vest.

Okay, that's enough.
I'm pretty sure you had that vest in the sixth grade.
Hey, I had every vest in the sixth grade.
Nope, because I had quite a few of them. *shudder*
Ha-ha; we were ugly.
Nah, you were cute. I was homely as can be. We went through alternating phases of disgustitude.
Man...the more I read these reviews, the more I love the idea of us all finding a way to get copies of them all next time.
Indeed. Mix-Tape Trade #2 will be huge.
Seriously, I have been without the internet for 7 days, and to see this when I got back just made my day. Thanks for such an awesome review!

Also, my computer is stupid and it was a disc error with the Blackalicious song. So just imagine that song finishes out a lot better.

Also, also, my boyfriend pointed out that a lot of those songs mention that certain illicit substance AFTER I burned it. It was totally unintentional.

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