Music Director: Paul aka Richie Tenenbaum
1. Coastguard – The Young Knives
I originally wanted to put this song from the Young Knives on PDP4 but it didn’t make sense anywhere in the mix; although, I did have it in my ‘Vicious Headbutt to the Chest’ playlist I was making as a bonus CD. Anyways, I don’t actually know that much about this band from the Midlands of England but they have a dirty, gritty sound that I really like. I think I got them off my favourite music blog, which I have to give shout outs to Shawn for telling me about but I won’t do the same to you for fear you’ll find the source of my power. But I have an EP of their’s, Junkymusicmakemyheartbeatfaster and it’s fuckin’ aces! (Click here to read a review.)
2. Save Me – Jem
If the Young Knives represent indie rock on this album, then Jem is definitely where the coffee table music comes in. Middle of the pack in a row of singers that have dabbled on the edge of being edgy but inevitably are only that way to mainstream music listeners. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I have a very ‘Lillith’ music history of the mid-90s. Ani DiFranco, Natalie Merchant, Sarah McLachlan, Sarah Slean, etc. I like the story the choruses of these two songs tell; it’s very Greek, I think.
3. Oh Mandy – The Spinto band
The Spinto Band opened up for probably my favourite concert of the year – We Are Scientists headlining, Art Brut co-headlining with the Spinto Band opening. Unfortunately I got there a little late and so only caught one song by the Spinto Band and sadly it wasn’t my favourite one, ‘Oh Mandy.’ This was the second of three songs I got from that blog. I’m still not that familiar with them but if they’re around I might check out their next disc. I didn’t know this before just now (because I didn’t check this time when making my playlist) but Kristen had a Spinto Band song on her PDP4 CD, We’re Number One. Spinto Band.
It also completes the little triptych at the beginning of my mix.
4. Tell Me In the Morning – Cold War Kids
One particular group whose newest album I’m eagerly awaiting to get my hands on is the Cold War Kids. Cold War Kids help make California – with its return to an increasing progressive state (for the US) – cool again. You can listen to cuts from 2006’s Robbers & Cowards, on their MySpace. The track ‘Hang Me Up To Dry’ is particularly good and it seems Kaylin agrees since she put it on her PDP5 PB + J Forever mix! This is also one of two bands that Erin has put me on to that are on my mix.
The cut that I chose came their With Our Wallets Full EP, which they recorded in November 2005 on Monarchy Music. You can check out some of their limited releases and download some covers they did (including ‘The Littlest Bird’ by the Be Good Tanyas, awesome!) for some benefit show at their website.
5. Mirror In The Bathroom – The English Beat
For the longest time I was having trouble figuring out how to move from my triptych at the beginning of the mix into the rest of the story I was trying to tell. I was out at a restaurant one night and ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’ came on and I instantly thought this could totally work. I changed out track four, one that I thought I was forcing, for the Cold War Kids and put in the English Beat and felt like I’d really turned a corner with getting the CD into a final polish.
I don’t have much else to say except that I ripped this song off a Grosse Pointe Blank Soundtrack I have. John Cusack rocks! We even have the same birthday, twelve years apart…
6. Still Fighting It – Ben Folds
I really gave up a lot of my self-imposed ‘rules’ on this PDP mix. Like not checking more stringently to see that the Spinto Band had appeared before (I requested Carmen’s permission when I repeated Wolf Parade on my PDP3 because I have ‘issues’). Or having a problem with repeating a band I’d used before. In fact, if you count the limited edition bonus PDP3 CD I made, monochromatic neuroses, then I’ve used Ben Folds three times. Coffee table music but good coffee table music. Everyone knows Ben Folds but mostly because of an abortion song.
Oh sweet, sweet irony.
7. Super Bon Bon – Soul Coughing
My friend Kate mentioned one time via correspondence that she was listening to a lot of 90s stuff she’d been into, including Soul Coughing. I must confess I’d never heard of them before but when I downloaded a bunch of songs to check them out, this was one of the tracks that I came up with.
Some of their songs sound like something from Everlast’s Whitey Ford Sings the Blues album of 1998, which definitely qualifies them as coffee table music but on this particular cut you get the edgy hint that makes you think that maybe they’re cooler than you think. I’m not sure, I don’t know them that well.
I like the clashing aural qualities of a soft Ben Folds song into this track that has a pounding base line straight out the their New York hometown. This is some badass 90s! And then into my favourite track of the CD…
8. The Idea Of Growing Old – The Features
So here is the proof that I didn’t give up all my ‘rules’ of making a mix CD. I’m not sure when it started but sometime over the past few years I’ve slowly been moving to the opinion that track number eight of a playlist should be the best track on the record. ‘Rulers and the State’ by data Panik was track number eight for PDP4 and was my single of the year for 2006!
I can’t remember what I was searching out when I downloaded a few tracks from the Features 2004 album, Exhibit A but I liked it so much that I ordered the CD to get it all and support a great band. Take that RIAA! I hate you DRM!! Anyways, the CD doesn’t disappoint as there are a bunch of great tracks on the album.
Their website says they’re working on a forthcoming release but I might think about getting the new EP Contrast to tide me over.
9. Love Tragedy – I Am The World Trade Center
I think that I found I Am The World Trade Center by accident when I was investigating I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness. No, wait… It was Chin Up Chin Up. I had used their song ‘We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers’ on PDP4 and, well, you can see connection… Really though, you should check out both these other bands if you don’t know them yet.
I think I might like the quieter song ‘Metro’ or the much more Euro-club song ‘September’ (my friend James would really like that track – think Le Disko from Since Leaving Rome PDP4) but I think ‘Love Tragedy’ worked better as bridging to the second half of the CD. I’ve got The Cover Up and Tight Connection on order.
10. Autumn Sweater – Yo La Tengo
Yo La Tengo is the second song by a band that Erin told me about. I really like their mellow sound. We went to the show in the fall but that was at the end of some hellish days for me and I was very feverish at the concert.
That said, you should check some of this band’s catalogue. Especially ‘The Weakest Part’ on 2006’s I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass or perhaps ‘You Can Have It All’ from 2003’s And Then Nothing Turned… I love bands where people change instruments and the lead singer role changes back and forth.
11. Dirty Business – The Dresden Dolls
Ah, the Dresden Dolls. Bizarre cabaret-punk stylings straight out of Boston but you wouldn’t be surprised hearing that it was out of a traveling carnival. Anyways, I find the Dresden Dolls appealing to listen to once in a while but I’m not sure that I really like them. I thought they made a good bridge here and almost serve as a jolt of espresso and help illustrate that line between indie and coffee table.
The jangling piano and the casually graphic and unvarnished honesty of the lyrics makes for a good song, at least in small doses.
12. Oregon Girl – Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Here we move back into indie rock. And another band that plays to my love of Russian names, just like ¡Forward, Russia! on my Opposite of ‘A Vicious Headbutt to the Chest‘ PDP4 mix.
I think I might have found Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin on some neighbour’s page on Last.fm and downloaded it for the name and bought their album Broom for the music. I also started seeing their record up on some blogs and mentioned in a couple year end lists. It was something that I was toying with being on mine. So check it out if you have the chance.
13. Sailing Seas – Abandoned Pools
This CD certainly is about my friends and how I tend to base a lot of a person’s merit on music. Did I ever tell you that story about the quasi-blind date that I went on years ago? She worked for big-pharma and wasn’t really into music. I can’t see why that didn’t pan out…
I heard this band while listening to WOXY.com, a former broadcast radio station in Ohio that has since become an Internet-only station. My friend Lavena was always talking about WOXY and the efforts to save the beloved indie rock station and it sounded so appealing that eventually I started tuning in. It’s now my primary Internet radio station. For info on WOXY, check out their website. While there you can listen to some new music. It plays a lot of good indie rock and quasi-indie rock/coffee table music like Abandoned Pools.
I heard ‘Sailing Seas’ one day and I knew that I had to figure out how to make it go into my mix.
14. Tricycle – Psapp
One of the drawbacks of having so much music at your easy disposal – iVincent is sitting at just under 6,000 tracks – is that you can really lose things easily. Especially if you’re like me and always trying to check out people’s suggestions, reading/listening to blogs or industry magazines, listening to promo CDs from NME, etc. Well, I used to do it a little more when I worked at HMV but we all do it… It’s why we’re in a mix CD club!
I got Psapp off Shawn’s source but for some reason I never gave them a real listen. I think this track started coming up on shuffle every once in a while and every time it made me sit up and notice. It’s a pretty rad track and it’s what makes me want to buy the full album, The Only Thing I Ever Wanted, from Domino – a label I really like. The only thing that makes me leery is the whole Grey’s Anatomy theme thing. It’s like purposefully buying a book that Oprah recommended. Shudder. But I’ll probably get over this particular neurosis and buy the CD.
15. Sleep Better – Pete Yorn
Oh, Pete Yorn! Definitely some coffee table music I was into about four-five years ago or so. Right around when musicforthemorningafter came out. I mean with a title like that, how could I not love him!? Well, his Spiderman OST song was okay but I never really got into his next album and never listened to his record from ’06.
But in 2002, I was really into his disc and I went to his show with Corey and saw/heard Grandaddy for the first time so it all evened out I guess. And this particular song really has some excellent cow bell – Christopher Walken would be proud. Coffee table music and indie rock, indeed!
16. Kate – Sambassadeur
Sambassadeur is a band from Gothenburg, Sweden and make up part of the current wave of Scandinavian bands that I’ve really been enjoying lately – Figurines, Shout Out Louds, Mew, Peter Bjorn And John. Kudos to Steve on his PDP5 concept album, Sweden Made Me.
I heard this song one night on WOXY and I loved it! It came out on an EP they put out last year, Coastal Affairs. I think I read somewhere they were working on a new LP for sometime soon. I’m looking forward to hearing it. That’s pretty much all I know about this band, for now…
17. Have You Seen Me Lately? – Counting Crows
Oh yeah, moving from indie rock back into some coffee table music. The Counting Crows were one of my favourite bands of the 90s though I don’t think their music has held up that well. I think August and Everything After is still a pretty decent disc and they have some other good songs but yeah, mostly in the past and when the nostalgia is rising. I do own four discs that I bought and one that someone burned for me though.
I was listening to my iPod on shuffle one day and this song came up. I’m not sure if it shuffled into or out of one of the songs surrounding it on my playlist but I remember thinking that it worked and I do think I enjoy it here.
18. Bouncy Ball – Ladyfuzz
I have no idea where Ladyfuzz came from. None. I look at the songs I was downloading around then and nothing rings a bell. Maybe it was a band Carmen told me about or wanted me to try and get? It sounds like a Carmen band!
I think I have one other song by Ladyfuzz but it is not as good. I have the feeling that this band will be a one hit wonder to me, something awesome if you’re doing high kicks with your friends but otherwise you never think of them. They’re one of those, ‘oh those guys, I love that song!’ kind of band.
Unless someone knows something that I don’t but should…
19. Keep Moving – Ivy
This is a song that I’m pretty sure I also caught on WOXY. Unless it was maybe Auralgasms. That’s another stream I sometimes listen to. A lot more electronic and dream pop, whatever that is…
Either way, I haven’t found out a lot more about Ivy. It was more like a song that got stuck in my playlist. I heard it and downloaded it and kinda threw it in somewhere to see if it worked with the overall feeling I was trying to create. And it stuck as track 19.
20. Givin’ It Up – Josh Rouse
Since I’m breakin’ rules in this mix, I’ll break two right here. Josh Rouse has shown up before on my mixes and for good reason. He’s one of my favourite artists and it was this review by the Onion in 2003 that turned me on to him. I’ve gotten his last few discs and seen his last two shows in Vancouver but need to go out to pick up his newest record, She’s Spanish, I’m American, a new side project featuring artist Paz Suay.
Here’s another rule I’m going to break. I’m actually going to talk about my hidden track somewhere. I heard this track come up on random one day, looks like I originally downloaded it some day when I was looking for some Placebo, another band I’m iffy on whether I like them in more than tiny doses. Anyways, right away when it came up it made me think of Carmen. If you take a peek at the PDP1 mixes you’ll notice that track 19 on her mix is ‘Running Up That Hill’ by Kate Bush. I decided to put the cover song that I use for my hidden track as a tribute to Carmen for founding the most awesomest club ever, Procrastination Dance Party! Thanks Carmen!