mix tape – part i.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while…in fact, it’s been sitting in my draft file, half finished, for more than a year, I think. I’ve been on a mad blogging tear lately, so here goes.

When I was a young lad, record albums were on their way out but CDs hadn’t yet gained wide acceptance. The 1980s and early 1990s were the time of the cassette. They were less expensive than records, smaller than records and could be played on the go.

In the 1980s film Say Anything John Cusack used a cassette (and Peter Gabriel) to say what he couldn’t.

NPR’s Frannie Kelley gave aEulogy for the Boomboxand NPR Music did a story on thedemise of the Walkmanand how someniche record labels are releasing new music on cassettes. Sony released theirWalkmanin 1979, the year I was born, and that ushered in a revolution that has (so far) ended with the iPod and other MP3 players. I’ve seen fashion accessories (belt buckles, purses, boxer shorts) made in the iconic shape of a cassette or with cassette print. Besides, everyone knowsSoundwaveandBlasterwere the coolest Transformers ever because they had the awesome little cassettes that turned into animals and whatnot.

The cassette tape’s lasting and most important contribution to western culture, however, isn’t portable music – it’s the mix tape. The mix tape is why the cassette is iconic. Despite popular belief, making a mix tape is not simply putting music you like onto a cassette tape. You shouldn’t even do that if you’re making a mix tape for yourself. There were rules…not hard and fast rules, mind you. I mean, they could be broken in rare cases but it was best to stick to them, fundamentally, unless you had a very good reason to break them.

Making a mix tape was significantly more difficult and more time consuming than simply pointing and clicking in your iTunes to create a playlist, then burning that playlist to CD. You had to think about who you were making the mix tape for, what the purpose of the mix tape was, what kind of mood you wanted them to be in while they listened to it and what the end result was. Were you making this for a friend? Someone you wanted to be more than a friend? Were you trying to make someone who was sad, happy?

The most important thing is that the mix tape start off strong. The opening track must encompass the main feeling or statement of the tape. This is a rule you can never break, for any reason. Your goal is to simultaneously let the person you made it for know exactly why you made them the tape and get them hooked in one song. This can be especially difficult if you have very different musical tastes from the person for whom you made the tape and/or you’re making it for someone you want to date but you don’t want them to know you want to date them. If you don’t hook them with the first song, or you send too strong a message, they may not listen to the entire tape, which would mean they would miss the more subtle clues and hidden gems buried deep within the tape.

Much like the spice inDune,the songs must flow. You can’t really have something Metallica flowing into Jewel, the songs sort of have to go together. The end of one song and the beginning of the next song sort of have to have a similar sound and tempo. They need to have a bond, like a water molecule. (Well, okay, maybe they don’t need acovalent bond,but they need to be in some small way linked, otherwise the spell of the mix tape will be broken.)

Also remember that cassettes have two sides and so you need to make sure that the song which ends side 1 flows into the song that starts side 2, but that side 2s initial song can stand alone. Also remember that it is never acceptable to end the side of a tape in the middle of a song. When I had that happen, I’d go back and tape over the song, then start side 2 with it, if the song was an appropriate way to start side 2. Songs should never be cut off part of the way through.

If you’ve kicked your mix tape off with a killer track and the flow and order are done correctly, the tape should take on an almost mythical quality. It may take several iterations to reach this rare space. For example, a mix tape I still listen to took two tries for my friend to get it right. And it was a collaboration of sorts. It started out as our crusing tape. In the first iteration my friend Jared made, it was an okay tape. It provided excellent audio accompaniment for our nights spent driving around dark country roads (again, at the time I lived in rural Missouri…there wasn’t much to do.) We, my friends and I provided some feedback for it, however it was ultimately Jared’s call what would be added and subtracted, what would be substituted and how it would be changed.

The second version of The Tape, as it was known, which he sent to me after I moved away, nailed everything a mix tape has the potential to be. It flowed perfectly, it contained a mix of tracks from different genres that somehow all fit together and it captured a specific time and place. It isn’t just music, it’s a time machine. Hearing that tape transports me back to those times, with those friends and I can relive them, in a way.

Not to mention the cover are, which Jared (I assume) spent a great deal of time creating in Adobe Pagemaker in our high school shop class. There are many iconic images from our youth represented on the cover but, and this is a very important yet often over looked addition, there are liner notes. Not just a list of the tracks included on the mix tape but a paragraph or two about each song and why it was/is important to us. Would The Tape be a great mix tape without the liner notes? Yes. But it’s so much better with them and there are things in the liner notes I might have otherwise forgotten (“dinosaur noises” during In A Gada Da Vida, for example) and that makes the entire experience so much better.

That’s all I’ve got for right now, later I plan on evaluating a few mix tapes I’ve been given and a few I’ve made in part ii, so stay tuned.

Mix tape
One of my favorite mix tape of all time, The Classical Companion

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proper flyer placement.

St. Vincent, who will be playingThe Bottleneckin Lawrence, Kansas on February 15th, has a new video on herMySpace pagewhich features Carrie Brownstein, ofSleater-KinneyandNPR’s Monitor Mixfame.

St. Vincent – “Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood”
st. vincent | MySpace Music Videos

This is your brain on Hogs.


I haven’t posted anything in a while. I had planned to post something about my trip to St. Louis to see Camera Obscura but finals kind of got in the way. (I know, that’s a wicked lame excuse but what did you expect?) I may still post one, more than a month after the fact, or I may just wait and include it in the post after their show at theBottleneckin Lawrence, Kansas April 7th. Tickets are on sale now and, given that the St. Louis show sold out, I purchased mine in advance.

Jealous? You should be.

Someone with the screennamesnivelttamuploaded video of every Camera Obscura song played at theOff Broadwaywhen I saw them. The Off Broadway, by the way, is an awesome venue. I would see a show there again if given the chance. (However, it’s 375 miles door-to-door from my apartment to the Off Broadway so it would have to be someone fantastic, like Camera Obscura, for me to travel that far again.)

Also coming to the Bottleneck areSt. Vincenton February 15th andThe Big Pinkon April 10th, the Saturday after the Camera Obscura show.

She & Himhave another album coming out, Volume Two, which will be released on March 23rd, 2010. The track list is as follows:

01 Thieves
02 In The Sun
03 Don’t Look Back
04 Ridin’ In My Car
05 Lingering Still
06 Me And You
07 Gonna Get Along With You Now
08 Home
09 I’m Gonna Make It Better
10 Sing
11 Over It Over Again
12 Brand New Shoes
13 If You Can’t Sleep

I’ve been reading a lot lately…that’s actually the one thing on my list to do over break that I kept to. While in the Charlotte, NC airport I finished Almost Green, which was written by James Glave while he was trying to build his eco-friendly, sustainableEco-Shed, which, it would appear, you can stay in.

Almost Green was an interesting read about trying to stay sustainable when it is expensive to do so and the battle we all face between wanting creature comforts and wanting to do right by the environment. The book was full of humor and relevant facts and it was a pretty quick read.

I also read Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip–Confessions of a Cynical Waiter, which is based on a series of blog posts atWaiterrant.netby Steve Dublanica. It’s pretty hilarious, an easy read but also a very, very true account of what goes on in a restaurant and it reminded me a lot of the things I’ve seen/heard/done, since I’ve worked in the service industry for many a year. Essentially, everyone should read this book. It not only holds your attention but might also serve as a guide for those of you who have no social graces for those who serve you. In Fight Club, Tyler Durden says “We do your laundry, cook your food and serve you dinner. We guard you while you sleep. We drive your ambulances. Do not fuck with us.” I kept thinking of that quote while I was reading Waiter Rant and most people would do well to keep it in mind. Do you really want to piss off the people preparing and delivering your food?

What I’m reading right now isCunt, by the fabulousInga Muscio, which was loaned to me by a good friend. (Thanks, Blake!) More than just a feminist womanifesto, this book discusses things about our life and culture that are rarely written about, especially with such honesty and conviction. It is a truly life-changing read and I’m only on page 193. Everyone I know should read this book…hell, everyone you know should read this book.

And now, a brief Lou Reed interlude.

In addition to reading, I’ve also been watching a lot of movies. If you trust my opinion you should rent The Baxter, starring Michael Showalter, ofThe Statefame. The State, of course, is out on DVD. I urge all of you to at least rent and watch every episode. I happen to own the series, myself, and it is truly great one of the great sketch comedy shows of all time.

To take a brief break from talking about movies I’ve seen, another former MTV show Dariawill finally be released on DVD this year. Now, if we could only get Viacom to release The Adventures of Pete and Pete season three on DVD…but I digress.

Back to movies…a friend of mine introduced me to(500) Days of Summer, which I thought was a great film, if a bit trendy. Zooey Deshcanel (of She & Him, of course) was very good in her role of Summer and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (he was Cameron James in 10 Things I Hate About You and, more recently, Cobra Commander) was fucking brilliant as Tom Hansen.

Gordon-Levitt also directed a short, entitledSparks, which was written byElmore Leonardand featured on wonderful publishing houseMcSweeney’sDVD magazine,Wholphin. Do yourself a favor and check out pretty much anything they’ve ever produced. BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG props to my friendMeglet for introducing me to the wonderful world of McSweeneys…and for watching every episode of the first three seasons of Mr. Showwith me. Prior to my excursion to Ft. Lauderdale, I had only seen one or two episodes of Mr. Show, which is a travesty.

I’ve also been watching movies about Manchester/Factory Records/Joy Division. The first of which was theJoy Divisiondocumentary, directed by Grant Gee. I also watched the fictionalized account of Joy Division’s rise to fame and Ian Curtis’ subsequent suicide,Control, which was directed by Anton Corbijn, who directed, among other videos, Nirvana’sHeart Shaped Boxand U2’s One.

Last, but certainly not least, is24 Hour Party People, starring Steve Coogan (Hamlet 2) asTony Wilson, the brilliant Manchester TV host, record label owner, club owner, etc. He foundedFactory Records, which released records by Joy Division and New Order, among others.

And speaking of Joy Division (how about that transition, folks?)PitchforkisreportingthatXiu XiuandDeerhoof(why do I always want to call them “Deerhoff“?) are joining forces at theDonaufestivalin Austria to cover Joy Division’sUnknown Pleasuresin it’s entirety. Interesting. I hope there will be a recording of that floating around at some point.

While I was visiting the aforementioned Meglet, we happened upon a pretty badass record store calledRadio-Active Records, which is located in Ft. Lauderdale. I bought a few records but the most amazing thing I found was a small, yellow and blue enamel pin that said simply “FAC 51.” I was flabbergasted. FAC 51 was the designation for Tony Wilson’s Manchester club,The Ha├žienda. The design is a reissue of a design from a badge issued in 1984. It’s a great badge…isn’t it wonderful what nostalgia will do?

Like I said, Radio-Active is a great store. I managed to find records byThe Micronotz(The Beast That Devoured Itself, 1985),House of Large Sizes(One Big Cake, 1989), and U.S. Bombs(Garibaldi Guard, 1996) as well as a Madness album for $2 and Belle and Sebastian’sTigermilkon 180 gram vinyl. I also picked up a 45 from none other thanThe People’s Poet‘s favorite, Sir Cliff Richard. Oh, yeah, Rule Britannia!

That was a completely random reference but Rule Britiannia is pretty cool, even if it’s basically about colonialism, which is not cool.

This, on the other hand, is one of the greatest renditions of the greatest anthem in the world. (And I’m not Canadian.) If you don’t get goosebumps watching that, you don’t know the meaning of life.

Randomly flipping through channels the other day I came across a commercial on HSN for the Chic Geek, at which point I stopped flipping channels (Hogs, you see, has a thing for nerdy girls) and watched for a minute. As it turns out,Katie Linendollhas a degree in Information Technology New Media, which she earned at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and she in Wired and Fortune, among other publications.

New music I discovered, direct fromemilymphocyteisThe xx. Check ’em out.

The lovely ladies over atAM 180, another ofThe Wildcat 91.9’swonderful shows (11PM-1AM Thursdays) told me aboutVampire Weekend, who I hadn’t heard of and now I really like. I do think it’s odd, however, that the lead singer sometimes sounds British, yet he is from New York. Well, whatev, Vampire Weekend is good, good stuff.

I will, incidentally, be guest-co-hosting AM 180 this coming Thursday (February 4, 2010) with Nikki, as Gloria will be out of town. Super excited about that. (I brings the K-Pop!)

Here’s some other stuff I’ve been listening to lately:
The Lovers
Insound.com’sFebruary Mix Tape
Really oldR.E.M.

I have aTwitter account, which I use to promote my radio show (Bacon in the Morning, live from 9:30-11:00AM onThe Wildcat 91.9) and this blog. I also like using it to follow people (likeIra Glass) and organizations (likeNPR). I know people use Twitter for myriad other things but I still think it’s weird that someone invented theTwoddler, which, as you might expect, allows toddlers to tweet. Dios mio!

Long before Dora, Barney and Blue, we had Sesame Street. Luckily, after forty seasons, we still have Sesame Street. Sesame Street is awesome because it doesn’t treat kids like morons and it has badass musical guests, Smokey Robinson, por ejemplo. I love this song and video.

Then there’s the Teeny Little Super Guy, who sounds like he smokes two-and-a-half packs a day and lives in a cup which can disappear through counters and sinks. I’m fairly certain drugs and/or alcohol may have been involved in his creation. He’s still amusing, however.

Finally, we haveUnhappy Hipsters, a website which juxtaposes photos of modern homes with snarky comments resulting in a humorous effect. Since I love modern architecture and making fun of rich people, it’s one of my new faves.

This post created entirely onAuntie Mae’sfree WiFi. (Thanks, Jeff.)

This is your brain on Hogs.

wu-tang clan ain’t nothing to fuck with.

Before I drop mad science and go off on a tangent, the likes of which even god has never seen, let me just hit you up with this: M.Wardin concert.

Moving on…

I discovered this on NPR’s Music Interviews & Profilespage, it’s “the story of a sample” of Wu-Tang Clan’s C.R.E.A.M.. I love stuff like this, it basically tells you every song used to create C.R.E.A.M. and stuff like this, to me, anyway, is like a musical hand grenade. It blows shit up and sends you off in a million directions. Think of the music you could discover based on C.R.E.A.M. and six degress of separation. It boggles the mind.

Have you ever thought about how, musically, you get to some of the places you get and end up listening to some of the things you end up listening to? I can attribute several bands I listen to now to friends turning me onto them but I mean, you hear a song, start listening to it and either follow the same trail (as illustrated by C.R.E.A.M. above) or start listening to related artists, or guest artists or both.

I started listening to Rilo Kiley after I found their CD at the library, my friend started me listening to Death Cab For Cutie (although, having watched the first two seasons of The O.C. with all it’s Seth Cohen-DCFC love didn’t hurt, I suppose) which led to The Postal Service, recommended by the same friend who introduced me to DCFC saying “It’s Ben from Death Cab and this DJ guy,” who is Dntel, aka James Figurine, aka James Tamborello, not to be confused with Danny Tamberelli, aka Little Pete Wrigley.

Rilo Kiley to Little Pete Wrigley…everything is connected. And now, one of my favorite episodes of The Adventures of Pete and Pete, featuring Iggy Pop as Mr. Mecklenberg and Luscious Jackson, who I adore. This episode also features the term “gut fludge,” which I find useful in so many social situations and the phenomenally gorgeous Larissa Oleynik of The Secret World of Alex Mack and 10 Things I Hate About You fame as a nurse. This episode also features such as notorious villains as Drawstring, Hairnet and, of course, Pit Stain.


I wish Paramount would hurry up and bring season 3 out on DVD already.

This is your brain on Hogs.

the best dressed band on the planet.


How phenomenal is Carrie Lander’s outfit in this video? And, as always, my main man Kenny McKeeve is dressed to the nines.

Camera Obscura’s most recent appearance on NPR’s World Cafe is archived here and their other appearance is archived here. Anything having to do with Camera Obscura on NPR can be found here. Lots of stuff on Pitchfork as well.

This is your brain on Hogs.


I haven’t posted an entry since July 28th. The reason for that is quite simple. I’m ridiculously fucking busy. So busy, in fact, that I’m not even doing my beloved radio show this semester. It’s very sad, I know, but never fear loyal readers/listeners, I’ll be back next semester with a vengeance, better production, more music and, of course, more Bacon. Just because I’m not on air, however, doesn’t mean you can’t listen to the other awesome DJs here.

Now that the sort of housekeeping issues are taken care of, we can dive into the meat and potatoes of the blog.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are the reigning Stanley Cup champions. I never get tired of saying that.

They raised their Stanley Cup banner at what will be the final home opener at Pittsburgh Civic (Mellon) Arena. How unreal is Dennis Miller as a narrator?

If you’ve read this blog before you’re probably well aware that Camera Obscura is my favorite band in the whole world. They’re going to be playing some US dates later this year, one of which happens to be at Off Broadway in St. Louis on December 1st. I’m going, of course, and I’m so excited that sometimes I lose feeling in my extremities.

Camera Obscura have a blog on their website and they posted a video of some live acoustic performances they did while on tour in France. My favorite song from the new record, James, is included. Really amazing stuff. It looks like a beautiful day.


Fall has finally reached Kansas and I am loving it but I know it’s only fleeting. By the end of October it’ll be winter so I’m enjoying my month of autumn while I can. Yesterday, I hooked my MacBook up to my stereo, selected the Magnetic Fields, put the nine albums of theirs I have in iTunes on shuffle and opened my windows. I suggest you do that same (or do what I did today, which was the same thing except with Camera Obscura.)

Coming to you from Jeph Jaques of Questionable Content fame is a link to a very strange, yet quite cute website Asian Poses. There are probably people out there who enjoy sites like this a little too much. I’m not one of those people. I don’t have an Asian fetish or anything but the cute poses (such as the cat-inspired Nyan-nyan) are amusing and adorable enough to provide relief from boredom in much as the same way as my other guilty pleasure websites, Texts from Last Night, People of Wal-Mart and Stuff White People Like. Anyway, Asian Poses is weird but cute. Just don’t get too into it, know what I mean?

Speaking of weird but cute, Little Boots has a remix of Earthquake you can download here.

The Paper Raincoat is releasing a CD tonight which I’m excited to hear.

My beloved NPR has a first listen of British band Noah and the Whale which isn’t really my cup of Earl Grey but if you’re into that sort of thing you may dig it. NPR also has a Sunny Day Real Estate concert up as well as Death Cab For Cutie who were on World Cafe last week. (They also have an app for iPhone, incidentally, if you’re silly enough to sign up with AT&T whose 3G deployment is pathetic, but I digress…)

My wonderful friend Meglet knows an author she refers to as “Augie” but whom the rest of the world refers to as August Kleinzahler. His book, Cutty, One Rock is one of the most exposed, honest, beautiful books I have ever read. Meglet was nice enough to loan me her copy (I’m mailing it back next week, Meglet, I swear) and after I finished it I immediately bought my own copy. I urge everyone to read it. Now. Do it now.

Kleinzahler was featured in an episode of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. (Note: at about the 1:50 mark in that video, you can see Meglet listening intently. Love it!) But seriously, read Cutty, One Rock now or I will come to your home and set fire to your pets.

I saw Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, Whip It last night and it was great. It was well cast, funny and heartwarming, which sounds like a vomit-inducing romantic comedy, however, I assure you, it was well worth the price of the ticket. Andrew Wilson was wonderful as the team’s coach, Razor.

If you’re interested at all in the recording industry, Tape Op magazine is a good read. In the US & UK you can get subscriptions free, because the magazine is heavily supported by advertisers and they have some good articles about the recording process some of which I find interesting and some of which are so full of technical jargon that I have no idea what is going on but they also have album reviews and interviews with artists. The Sept/Oct issue features a great article on Moby and an interesting interview with Snuff Garrett, who produced more number one hits than Phil Spector and, to my knowledge, hasn’t murdered anyone.

Canadian twins Tegan and Sara have a new album and book box set Sainthood & ON/IN/AT. You can preorder them via the provided links.

I’m going to try and cook more and post pictures of the things I cook and recipes and whatnot. This is a little ambitious, so we’ll see if I actually accomplish this. I guess I hope to be a less awesome version of Not That Anyone Cares with less talk about NIN and NASCAR.

Regardless, I have obtained a flat iron steak and, at the urging of the aforementioned Meglet, I shall be preparing it au poivre with a red wine reduction as a sauce. Meglet suggested I serve the steak with frites but I’ll probably go with mashing the potatoes I got from the farmer’s market recently. I do love good mashed potatoes.

My friend Elam suggests the following for a sauce, I figure I’ll follow his instructions to the letter because the man knows food and I rarely cook anything French.

“Basically, you want to pour about 1 cup of red wine into the hot skillet after removing the big hunk o’ meat, and reduce the liquid on high heat until the result is a thick, syrupy mixture. Gently stir everything so the fond (what’s left from the meat) combines evenly with the wine. You’ll probably end up with about 1/4 cup or a little less. You can even season it to taste with additional salt, pepper, and maybe a little garlic powder, but it’s not necessary. I should add that it’s really important not to let the meat burn, because your reduction will then be full of nasty charred bits.”

Mmmmm…charred bits.

This may be my longest blog post to date, I had a lot to catch up on. I hope to be doing this more often now so they won’t be as long or scattered in scope or subject. I leave you now with one of my favorite artist, Tori Amos.

This is your brain on Hogs.

P.S. – Holy shit, I can’t believe I forgot this in the original post.

My friend Jamie told me about a web program called Yacht Rock and it is bloody hilarious. Do yourself a favor and watch every episode now.

Step One: Ask Nicely
Step Two: Make Him An Irrelevant Joke
Step Three: Loggins

bacon bits for 6.17.09

Here are some random bits for you today.

The new Moby album, Wait for Me is available to listen at NPR.org. Tomorrow night at 9PM CST Metric will be performing live from Washington D.C. and, also tomorrow, the new Regina Spektor album Far will be available for online listening.

Barrel Monster creator Joseph Carnevale was arrested in Raleigh recently for larceny. Weak. I can only hope he has to pay for the barrels ($120 apiece) and doesn’t do any real jail time. If I were the owner of the construction company, I would have kept the barrel monster for my office.

My friend Rip sent me a text message a while back that said “Mt Dew in retro cans is made with real sugar…and it is delicious.” And he’s right. Mountain Dew Throwback is delicious.

My friend Meglet sent me a link to My Milk Toof which is cute and amusing. Something to read when you don’t have other stuff to do. I also enjoy Bad Paintings of Barack Obama and Texts From Last Night is my new addiction. It shouldn’t be, but it is.

Those are your bacon bits for now. This is your brain on Hogs.