Song Mix Sundays #3: A – Z

January 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Despite my good intentions last summer, it’s been a long time since I’ve compiled my last themed Sunday mix. To compensate for lapsed time, here is a mix 2.6 times longer than my usual 10 track selections, an alphabetical compilation of some of my favorite songs and artists.

1. All I Want (London Session) – LCD Soundsystem, London Sessions (2010) This was my favorite song of 2010 (don’t believe me? Check it out here, under Bek Henson). I first heard it around October or November of last year while driving to the Boy’s house late at night after we resolved a fight over the phone. I turned the radio on and tuned into a rebroadcast of World Cafe featuring frontman James Murphy. He had a lot of interesting things to say about touring, making records, playing festivals when you’re past the age of 40, and why experimenting with various substances in college isn’t necessarily and evil thing if you have the right support system. He also discussed his creative process behind This is Happening and striving for perfection on every track and the final track listing for the album. Apparently he worked for days to get the piano part for “All I Want” just right. Then he played this song live, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I sat outside the Boy’s house with the car running for the whole 6 minutes and 29 seconds of the song. (You can listen to the whole World Cafe broadcast here.) [download]

2. Back In The Saddle – Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Let It Sway (2010) This song sounds like it belongs just before the closing credits of a victorious coming-of-age film, when the main character realizes that all his friends have been there for him the entire time and he finally gets the girl. Slow-mo shots of the last day of class, graduation with caps and gowns, a huge house party where everyone is smiling. Maybe that kiss he always wanted. And scene. [download]

3. Cath… – Death Cab for Cutie, Narrow Stairs (2008) I always have the urge to loop the intro several times every time I hear this song. It hits my soul in just the right spot. [download]

4. Dead Hearts – Stars, The Five Ghosts (2010) “They were kids that I once knew, they were kids that I once knew / Now they’re all dead hearts to you…” As the opening track to an album inspired by the band members’ encounters with ghosts and the supernatural, “Dead Hearts” is quiet, haunting, and heartbreakingly gorgeous. And like every good ghost story, it has just the right element of spooky. [download]

5. Emblems – matt pond PA, Several Arrows Later (2005)  “Like ideas or emblems we’ve been had / The way that ghosts watch themselves go down…” This is one of my favorite mpPA songs ever, partially for the metaphors he constructs like the one quoted above. Placing two songs about ghosts back-to-back was completely unintentional when I first arranged this mix. [download]

6. Favourite Colour – Tokyo Police Club, Champ (2010) “Tell me what’s the first, the first record you owned / Cause I’ve got no plans if you don’t, no plans if you don’t…” I just love everything about this song. [download]

7. Get Better – Mates of State, Re-Arrange Us (2008) “Everything’s gonna get lighter / Even if it never gets better // Kill your politics for a while / Let the color schemes arrive…” This is my go-to song when I’m down and discouraged. It’s a great reminder that even though circumstances might not instantly improve, the gloom won’t last forever. Plus, it’s a killer track. [download]

8. Heartstopper – Emiliana Torrini, Fisherman’s Woman (2005) I first heard this song in my sister’s car while we were sitting in my driveway talking about who-knows-what for several hours. In the cold. In the beginning of January. After we’d spent all night at a diner. I love the dichotomy in the lyrics between what she imagines herself doing and what she actually does. I’ve imagined plenty of confrontations myself that I was never brave enough to carry through. [download]

9. I’m a Cuckoo – Belle and Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2003) I recently re-listened to this album and forgot how great it is. And I re-discovered this song. It’s everything that’s perfectly catchy about Belle and Sebastian. [download]

10. Janglin – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Up From Below (2009) The sound of carefree summertime, community, hope, and happiness. Also featured in my first Sunday song mix. [download]

11. KC – matt pond PA, Emblems (2004) “The truth is under the water / And finally silent I can hear you speak / About the leaves and killing me / Shaken by the Saints River / There’s nothing that we’ve done that could be wrong / It’s the only way we’ll ever understand…” Those last two lines are probably my favorite lines from any song. To me, they speak powerfully about the human tendency to lie to ourselves and make excuses to cancel out a sense of guilt. [download]

12. Let’s Get Out of Here – Les Savy Fav, Root for Ruin (2010) Time for an embarrassing admission: I don’t really know anything about Les Savy Fav. I’ve only heard one other song of theirs, which was included on a free mix from Urban Outfitters. I just think that “Let’s Get Out of Here” is so damn catchy. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. [download]

13. Million Miles – Mirah, You Think it’s Like This But Really it’s Like This (2000) “I lie awake and think of you / The floods and fires might be coming through / But you would know just what to do…” A sweet and simple song with lyrics that read like a letter to a long-distance lover. [download]

14. North by North – Faded Paper Figures, Dynamo (2008) I have StumbleUpon to thank for introducing me to this band. They’re an electro-pop-indie band with a sound that falls somewhere between Stars and The Postal Service. They released their newest album, New Medium, in May 2010 and it would have made my Top 10 Albums of the Year list if I had known about it before three weeks ago. This song is the first track from their debut album, and the first track that got me hooked. [download]

15. One More Song – The Vinyl Addicts, One More Song (2005) “She always wants what she already needs / One more song for the way she moves me / I’m so caught up in what I can’t believe / One more song for those nights when I can’t sleep / At all…” Another band that I can thank my sister for introducing me to. They’re from New York and heavily influenced by Ben Folds. As far as I can tell, they recorded this one album in 2005 and haven’t done anything since, which is sad, because this song is awesome. [download]

16. Put Us Back Together Right – Headlights, Kill Them With Kindness (2006) Like many good songs and artists I’ve discovered in the past several years, I have Pandora to thank for this one. Another electro-pop-sometimes-shoe-gazey band. [download]

17. Queen of Everything – Haley Bonar, Big Star (2007) I didn’t know anything about Haley Bonar when I downloaded this album in 2008. I think she was another StumbleUpon discovery of mine. This country-alt-rock influenced song filled with attitude got me hooked from the first chords. [download]

18. Recessional – Vienna Teng, Dreaming Through the Noise (2006) “And the words, they’re everything and nothing / I want to search for her in the off-hand remarks: / Who are you, taking coffee, no sugar? / Who are you, echoing street signs? / Who are you in the stranger in the shell of a lover / Dark curtains drawn by the passage of time?” Apparently, Ms. Teng was inspired by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind when she wrote this song. It’s achingly beautiful and I want to learn how to play it myself. [download]

19. Sidedish Friend – Rachael Yamagata, Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart (2008) Attitude. Rock. The thrill and anger of using each other for a shallow, back-up relationship. Turn the volume up and yell out the chorus when you’re feeling bitter. [download]

20. Tell ‘Em – Sleigh Bells, Treats (2010) Sleigh Bells blew me away out of nowhere last year. The first time I heard this song, it kind of made my ears bleed. The second time I heard this song, it wouldn’t leave my brain. The third time I heard this song, I had to keep it on repeat all afternoon. Then their album became my #2 favorite of 2010. [download]

21. Us – Regina Spektor, Soviet Kitsch (2004) I believe that this is the most perfect Regina Spektor song ever. Plus (500) Days of Summer is one of my favorite movies. [download]

22. Valley Winter Song – Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers (2003) “Remember New York / Staring outside / As reckless winter made its way / From Staten Island to the Upper West Side / Whiting out our streets along the way…” I just featured this song in my snow day mix. My sister (a different sister this time) included this song on a Christmas/winter mix she made for all of us in 2006. I love everything about this song, including singing harmony every time I listen to it. [download]

23. We End Up Together – The New Pornographers, Together (2010) According to front man Carl Newman, he wrote this song about all of the times he had run into his wife before they started dating without realize that eventually, they end up together. [download]

24. X-mas Song – fireflies, Goodnight Stars, Goodnight Moon – I don’t know anything about this band and haven’t been able to find any information about them besides this song, which I downloaded from a music blog a few years ago. It’s short and sweet and begins with the letter X. [download]

25. You! Me! Dancing! – Los Campesinos!, Sticking Fingers into Sockets (2007) The most epic and vibrant and alive song you will ever hear. It’s everything that being young and energetic and full of dreams and ambition feels like. (And yes, it’s being used in those Budweiser commercials). [download]

26. Zak & Sara – Ben Folds, Rockin’ the Suburbs (2001) I saw Ben Folds live for the first time last November. He played this in his set and it ruled and I got to yell, “Asshole!” with the rest of the audience. Concert magic. [download]

Bonus Tracks:

A few tracks I would have included if I hadn’t limited myself to one song per letter:

1. Black Sheep – Metric, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Soundtrack (2010) [download]

2. Fixed – Stars, The Five Ghosts (2010) [download]

3. Girl and the Ghost – KT Tunstall, Acoustic Extravaganza (2006) [download]

4. I Hate Everyone – Get Set Go, Ordinary World (2006) [download]

5. Something Good Can Work – Two Door Cinema Club, Tourist History (2010) This was my theme song for 2010. [download]

6. Your Ex-Lover is Dead – Stars, Set Yourself On Fire (2004) [download]

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