13 December 2008

Whoopee in Hell Mix #1: There's Nowhere to Hide in Tacoma

Since I’m still trying to get the hang of this blogging thing, I figured I’d post something that might bring some people in—something that might have a little more appeal than the blues stuff (although I’ll be talking about a real interesting fellow named Josh White in a few days, and I want to talk about a Richard Thompson album that’s new to me). Every couple of weeks or so I’m going to try to throw up one of the mixes I make for my own use (as a way to bring some of my piles and piles of music into my iPod rotation). They’ll sometimes have a theme, sometimes not. One of my favorite bloggers, A Truer Sound (the finest alt. country blog in all the land, I reckon), did something similar for a while (although I think he said he’s taking some time off the mixes), and I always enjoyed checking them out.

When I make mixes for myself, I tend to start with a single song I’m really digging, and then try to work with things I associate off that track. For this mix, it was “Thrice All-American,” by Neko Case, off her Furnace Room Lullaby record (Bloodshot, 2000). Without going into too much irrelevant shit, I love her take on her “hometown” (she wasn’t born in Tacoma, just raised there)—a place she’s deeply ambivalent about (and would

almost certainly not enjoy living on a permanent basis). I feel very similarly about my own hometown—also a fading industrial city of little culture but a certain amount of innate beauty (if you cock your head a little to the right and squint, at least). Normally, I don’t love most of Neko Case’s work (with the exception of her New Pornographers tracks, which I almost always like best on those albums)—I find a lot of Blacklisted tedious and samey-sounding, for example, but the poppier songs (this one, “Hold On, Hold On,” a couple others on Fox Confessor) really show off her voice (her oft-backing band, the Sadies, are much the same for me—a few great tracks, not as great in full album form).

There’s some other stuff on here that’s big on the blogs—“Lost Coastlines” by Okkervil River, which I had picked for this mix back when I first got back to the States without knowing it was the “big” song off the album (and I saw them this fall—they really have become a great live band—much better than when I saw them in ’06). There’s some old R.E.M., a song off my favorite Pavement album, some Louvin Brothers, and in closing, some Willie Nelson off The Red-Headed Stranger. Think of it as an early Winter mix—I’ve been rocking it while walking up State Street in Madison, at dusk between the University and the Capitol, all lit up in pale blue for the winter season. in With the fresh snow of the last few days, it’s been a great listen. Enjoy!

Whoopee in Hell Mix #1: There’s Nowhere to Hide in Tacoma

  1. Thrice All-American - Neko Case
  2. Then He Kissed Me - The Crystals
  3. Holland, 1945 - Neutral Milk Hotel
  4. Lost Coastlines - Okkervil River
  5. Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod? - The Mountain Goats
  6. (Don't Go Back to) Rockville - R.E.M.
  7. The Late Greats - Wilco
  8. Gold Soundz - Pavement
  9. Mad at a Girl - Robbie Fulks
  10. Satellite - The Replacements
  11. A Dame with a Rod - The Juliana Hatfield Three
  12. Angel - Rod Stewart
  13. Eli, the Barrow Boy - The Decemberists
  14. Layin' Around the House - The Gourds
  15. Moonlight Mile - The Rolling Stones
  16. In the Pines - The Louvin Brothers
  17. Pushkin - Bonnie "Prince" Billy
  18. Hands on the Wheel - Willie Nelson
Or, for those willing to commit, here's the whole thing here. (And, given our hosting limitations, do grab the whole thing from Mediafire. It's a very fast download, and it gives me time to figure out hosting for some more tracks!)

Posted by Brandon


Lin said...

I feel much the same about Neko Case; Fox Confessor being the only album I'd say I like.

Where's that Replacements's track from?

Good looking mix, despite the Okkervil River and Willie...

Vestal Vespa said...

I adore Neko, though I recognize your criticism as valid. The samey-soundingness brings me a certain comfort, and the first song I can claim ever to have truly learned on guitar is her "Chimney Falls." There's a simplicity to her take on that classic C-Am-F chord that I actually enjoy practicing.

It's the best road trip music I've found for the long hauls up and down the big roads- I-25 and I-80.

And here I am, up till 2:30 a.m. loading my Neko Case CDs onto my computer to make a mix CD that has, you guessed it, "Thrice All American" on it...