This, my final year-end mix, comes more than a week into the new year, which means I got to steal two tracks off records from other people’s best-of-2013 lists. A big thank you to all the list-makers then, and to those making music - whether hip-hop, noise pop, or radiantly plain old pop. A more riotous, jubilant mix than the previous two, this one ranges from Pusha-T to David Bowie, hitting up some extreme lo-fi and Avril Lavigne in between. Happy New Year!
My second best-of-2013 mix provides a danceable overview of what made my year fun. It’s heavier on the Miley, sure, but it’s also a touch more political and features Lorde, DJ Snake, CHVRCHES, Beyoncé, and more: http://buff.ly/1fAbkt7
Now that the year is almost over, I’ve compiled some of my favorite songs of the year on a short series of mixtapes. This, the first one, is a tad more reflective, solemn. There’s thoughts of Schubert and Johnny Cash, traditional hymns, and songs I’ve been enraptured with when Nick Cave, Laura Marling, or Trixie Whitley performed them live in a theatre, an abandoned boarding school, a church. Like Inside Llewyn Davis, it ends with a visit from Bob Dylan, a man whose work I’ve consumed in bulk this year (alongside that of Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac). Like Davis’ Ulysses, the cat in the picture above, I’ve spent much of 2013 on trains, rolling across Europe like so many clouds. 2014, I promise, will be the year of the boat.
More than halfway into 2013, I thought it was time to pour my favorite songs so far into a mixtape. Aside from big live favorites like Laura Marling, Nick Cave, and the Knife, there’s also a few less than new demos by the likes of Stevie Nicks and Sandy Denny (not to mention indistinct echoes of Elliott Smith and Soul II Soul). Opened and closed with the honeyed vocals of Aoife O’Donovan, the mix attempts to mimic a Berlin summer sky, bright and open for hours on end, then quickly gathering menace and rain, only to break again into majestic gloaming by day’s final hours.
Not just Otis or Ike & Tina, but countless one-hit wonders, blues obscurities, and rap obscenities—for more than 17 years I’ve been making mixtapes for a dear friend who liked to dance. And although she died very suddenly late last summer, I still keep dragging newfound tunes into the running playlist I keep for her. To stop doing that would be too sad, so I figured I should keep making her mixtapes but now share them with her family and friends, as well as with anybody else who’d like to celebrate life with some old-school funky grooves. Download here.
This second mix plays host to some of my most favorite pop artists of the year, starting with the great Frank Ocean and Lana Del Rey, all the way through Jessie Ware and Solange. Mixed in are some perhaps less familiar tracks, remixes, and appearances by, among others, PM Dawn, Tame Impala, and Nico Muhly (twice! if you count his arrangement of Climax). Download your 2012 dose of tap-dancing therapy here.
I’ll provide one brief warning: there’s a slightly poppers-o’clock bit made up of one K-pop tune and two ‘heightened’ UK radio mixes, all three of which might contain trance breakdowns and/or saxophone solos. Consider yourself warned; as well as wished the happiest of holidays.
The lovely Stil in Berlin blog asked me to mix up a summer mixtape for them, something to help balance out Berlin’s rather schizophrenic weather this time of year (sun! storm! sweater weather!). The result is part nineties nostalgia (Neneh Cherry, Saint Etienne), part best-of-first-half-of-2012 (Fiona Apple, Diiv), and definitely part silly summer jams (Usher, Aviicii). Click on the image above to download my mix.
It’s a new mixtape! Click that cover above to get a nice 80-minute dose of Janet, Whitney, and apocalyptic gloating. Full tracklisting’s in the comments.
These are 23 of my favorite songs from 2011. I’ve mixed them all together in one file for soundtracking walks, drives, and flights to and fro wherever you call home in the upcoming holidays. Though I cannot guarantee there won’t be a part two, I just wanted to share this with you now, before the year is over for good. Enjoy, the tracklist is below.
Beginners snippet/Ewan McGregor
Trust Issues (Remix)/Justin Bieber
I’ll Take Care Of You/Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX
Living Like I Do (Feat. Sampha)/SBTRKT
Two Rings/Ice Choir
Emergency Room/Ford & Lopatin
Call Me Tonight/Active Child
Too Tough/The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths cover)/Dum Dum Girls
Change the Sheets/Kathleen Edwards
Heste (Tristan and Isolde)/City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Till The World Ends (The Femme Fatale remix feat. Nicki Minaj/Britney Spears
Psychic (Club Mix)/SSION
Fashion Of His Love/Lady Gaga
Songs For Women/Frank Ocean
The Glorious Land/PJ Harvey
Our Prayer/Beach Boys
Hymn for the Heartbreaker/Corinna Rose
Equipoise/Justin Vivian Bond
Beth/Rest (Live on NPR)/Bon Iver
This latest mix has been lingering on my harddrive for a few weeks in the hopes that I could cure its schizophrenic nature. Now, realizing that my energy is perhaps best spent elsewhere (best of 2011 lists!), I’ve decided to put it up in its current, slightly bifurcated form.
If the first half is like an organic meal enjoyed at home, followed by some mild dancing by the fire, the second is a fluorescent binge on fast-food, followed by a slow drive home through the city. Download here.
Stephin Merritt/Plant White Roses
Richard Buckner/A Goodbye Rye
Doc Watson/Walk On Boy
Bruce Peninsula/As Long As I Live
Warpaint/Billie Holiday (Steve McKey Radio Edit)
The Jesus & Mary Chain/Deep One Perfect Morning
The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation/Watch ‘N’ Chain
Bob Landers with Willie Joe and his Unitar/Cherokee Dance
Shankar Jaikishan & Rais Khan/Raga Bairagi
Serge Gainsbourg/Le Poinçonneur des Lilas (demo)
Alvin Robinson/Whatever You Had You Ain’t Got No More
Mary McCreary/Singing the Blues (Reggae)
Candi Staton/Jolene (Dolly Parton cover)
Comet Gain/You Can Hide Your Love Forever
Sugar/If I Can’t Change Your Mind
Beyoncé/Best Thing I Never Had (DJ Albyy remix feat. Yungkiid)
Le Kid/We Should Go Home Together
Unicorn Kid/Boys Of Paradise
Class Actress/All The Saints
Penguin Prison/Don’t Fuck With My Money
Joe Jonas/Just In Love
2AM Club/If It Isn’t Love (New Edition cover)
Flash And The Pan/Walking In The Rain