So This Is the New Year

Out with the old, in with the new. This mix was a little tough to pin down. I scrapped probably four mixes before finally just deciding to start the artwork to try and figure out what kind of mix I wanted to make. So this hot mess is the responsible party if you don't end up loving this mix as much as I do:

I wanted a mix that sounded like putting the past to sleep while gettin' all Blade Runner up in this joint. Future soundz. Bleeding chrome bangin' robots and light trails across a neon skyline.

There are some jams on here, a few longer tracks, a couple weird things. It's a little spacey and silver. I had initially hoped to not reuse artists I'd used a lot on previous mixes, but the tracks from Hot Chip, the Zombies, Ganglians and the B-52's fit like astronaut gloves, so here they are. We've also got some Yeasayer, M83, Caribou, Washed Out, Stereolab, Tom Zé, Suburban Lawns, Os Mutantes, Cornelius, Akron/Family, Microphones, Beach House, Hum, Maps & Atlases, Gomez and Walkmen.

So sit back, put some headphones on and let's bury the decaying corpse of 2009. Bring on 2010. Let's make some 3/2/1 contact. Let's make this year our year.


01. "Last year was a hard year, for such a long time."
02. "It’s a New Year, I’m glad to be here."
03. "Blue Christmas lights tell us stories about ourselves."
04. "Concentrate, don't make a sound. We'll psychokinetically pull one down."
05. "And when I pray it's all begun."
06. "Sold my soul to pay the rent."
07. "The music's loud in your room; turn it down."
08. "You will not catch your unknown."
09. "…"
10. "Who's gonna take it like this? No way."
11. "One chance to leave it all and swim down."
12. "I hear voices from the outside."
13. "I love computers and hot tamales."
14. "Via this paradox that space can be attained."
15. "All in the name of what we're not sure."
16. "…"
17. "And I walked aimlessly around with a flaming pumpkin head."
18. "I'd like your face gone and in its place the sun."
19. "Twenty-ten."
20. "All your worried days are gone. This will be our year."


Download it here. I'm using a new service this time around. Let me know if you have problems with it. And as usual, feel free to share this with your friends, enemies, pets and house plants.



Tune For Tuesday

Here's a jam for you.

Jon Lucien's "Would You Believe in Me," from the 1973 album, Rashida. The whole album's like this, a smooth mix of tropicalia and soul. It's worth tracking down if you're into awesome stuff.


The 2009 Rundown

So a little while back, I Tweeted about how 2009 has pretty much sucked and how I was looking forward to a (hopefully better) 2010. Over on Facebook, my negative attitude sorta got called out, and for good reason. I was being a bit of a baby. 2009 wasn't so bad, right? I mean, besides some rather unfortunate events for our family, there have been some pretty awesome things this year.

For example:

In music, we got the Dirty Projectors' dizzying Bitte Orca, the stoner wail of Ganglians' Monster Head Room, the trippy and bouncy Merriweather Post Pavilion from Animal Collective and the pure pop perfection of Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. You can download my 2009 Favorites mix by clicking here.

In movies, we got the joybomb of the Bad Robot crew's Star Trek reboot, the touching and adventurous Up, the cool comedic caper flick Sparrow and the visceral and (yeah) mind-blowing Avatar. Whatever Works was Woody Allen's funniest in years, The Brothers Bloom was an indie globe-trotting con film with charm to spare and Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers' Where the Wild Things Are moved the heck out of me. But out of all that emerge my two favorite films: the gloriously grisly and giddy Inglorious Basterds and the immaculate messiness that is Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox. Both films reminded me why I love movies (and their respective directors) and left me smiling in the dark like a friggin' kid.

On the comics front, I made my way through Kirby's sprawling Fourth World opus and Grant Morrison's love letter to it, Final Crisis. I read the first three issues of Brandon Graham's King City and can't say enough good about it, hacked through Naoki Uraswawa's thrilling manga series Monster and explored the high seas with Kevin Cannon's Far Arden. David Mazzuchelli's Asterios Polyp will get some ink spilled over it's amazingness, and rightfully so. It's pretty much perfect in every way. I also read (and laughed a lot at) James Kolchaka's American Elf diaries and enjoyed the heck out of Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple's Omega the Unknown. And let's not forget that this year brought us Grant Morison and Cameron Stewart's Seaguy: Slaves Of Mickey Eye and the latest installment of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim saga: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe Oh, and Let's Be Friends Again published their first volume of strips, Under Pressure, which can be purchased here. Buy three.

Meanwhile on the internet, Ian Cognito's Zamboni Soundtracks continues to be the go-to place for amazing music. Seriously. And then there was the cosmic slop that is HOBODARKSEID, who, it turns out, was (is?) actually Matt Fraction in disguise. I also should give a shout-out to the great If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats, which is pretty much the epitome of cool.

I also read some great books: Haruki Murakami's Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World was pretty much awesome, John Hodgman's Areas of My Expertise and More Information Than You Require are hilarious and filled with facts you need to know. Richard Bushman's Rough Stone Rolling took me for-ev-errr to finish, but was definitely worth it and Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers dispels the myth of the "self-made man." I also managed to get my nerdy little paws on some Doc Savage paperbacks.

On the tube, we had the mind-blowing penultimate season of Lost, Parks & Recreation found it's legs and Glee hooked me despite the constant feeling that I really shouldn't be liking it. Community started kicking straight out the gate while 30 Rock continued to make me almost pee myself. Okay, so I peed a little. Okay, so I peed a lot. Anyway, this year also saw our family get all reTARDISed for Doctor Who, Star Wars: the Clone Wars, Marvel's Superhero Squad and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.

Creatively, 2009 saw the production of 12 Big Red Robot Montly Mixtapes plus some bonus ones (all of which are available via the Master List) as well as their covers. I did the album art for Numbers Like Pi and Time & Space's releases, the cover for the aforementioned Let's Be Friends Again collection, and had the honor of spearheading the image campaign for the 33rd Cleveland International Film Festival, all of which can be viewed at my revamped website or in my Flickr stream. I also opened my Etsy shop, Tuff Industries and we saw lots of success with Sparkle Power.

Personally, yeah, poop happened, but when you add it all up, I really don't have all that much to complain about. I have a beautiful wife, lovely girls, family and friends who love and support me my family and a half dozen Doc Savage paperbacks. I'm healthy, handsome and talented. I'm good enough, smart enough and doggonnit, people (hopefully) like me.

So yeah, I'm hoping for a better 2010, but 2009, you weren't so bad after all. You had some awesome stuff inside of you. So come on, let's hug. There we go. That's the stuff.


It's the Anthem

Getcher darn hands up.

The Beginning of the End

Damon Lindelof: But it makes you understand why some people go to church every Sunday and some people are atheists. Some people need Lost to have a scientific explanation for everything, and that's why our viewership now is what it is – because the people who needed there to be a scientific explanation for everything stopped watching. They were like, "Okay – the show has now proven my theory wrong." This is another joke masking a true terror for us – we're doing the last season of the show now, and this season is where you get your answers. And we're not waiting until the last episode – the answers start coming fairly fast and furious right out of the gate. But in a lot of ways, the storytelling this year is just us telling people that they were wrong. They've built up theories for five years. When a show like this gets to a certain point and then it's "Oh, man, we were canceled," people get to bring their theories with them to the grave. With us, it's basically like, "No – you're wrong." And some people may have been right. Who knows?

From GQ's Geekdoom's Council of Elders round-table discussion with the Bad Robot team. Part 1 here, part 2 here and part 3 here.

As long as we're discussing the last season of Lost here, is anybody else sort of terrified by the prospect of this show ending? Or am I just too emotionally invested in this thing? Because I truly love this show and I worry that there won't be anything to satisfactorily replace it once it's gone.


The Ghost of Christmas Presents, Part 3

Last, but not least, Volume 3:

So, what do you think? Are you ready for the holidays yet? Should there be a Volume 4 next year? Which track was the biggest surprise for you?


Download all three:

Volume 1: I Would Never Steal From Santa Here
Volume 2: Sleigh Bells In the Air Here
Volume 3: It's the Perfect Gift Idea Here


The Ghost of Christmas Presents, Part 2

Here's Round 2.

It's more subdued than Volume 1, more for cold, snowy nights when it's all quiet in the house. You can download it here. Hope you're enjoying the holiday season. Check back later this week for Volume 3.


The Ghost of Christmas Presents, Part 1

So here's the first of three Christmas/holiday/winter mixes from yours truly.

Download it here and feel free to leave a comment on how great it is. Or don't. Happy holidays, y'all!


It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The 2009 Favorites mix. Download it here.

As with las year, I'm not sure if these are "The Best" (say it like Nacho Libre would) albums I've heard this year, but they're the ones I've listened to the most. It was a tough process to get it down to 20 albums and some sad cuts had to me made (sorry A.C. Newman's Get Guilty, Throw Me the Statue's Creaturesque and Franz Ferdinand's Tonight), but I think it's a great mix of music for you to enjoy.

Think of it like one of those meat and cheese samplers you get at the holidays; eat a little bit of everything and come back for more if you like anything you try.



01 / "Cannibal Resource" / Dirty Projectors / Bitte Orca
Probably my favorite album of 2010. It's a dizzying mix of indie rock, world beats and, strangely enough, R&B; sometimes all at once. It may take a listen or two to click, but once it does, it really takes over.

02 / "I Start To Run" / White Denim / Fits
Wow, here's a slammin' psychedelic album. Like Jimi Hendrix fronting Led Zeppelin, played at double speed.

03 / "Heart Sweats" / Japandroids / Post-Nothing
Hooky, hopeful and noisy, Japandroids have the post-emo, Death From Above 1979 thing locked down. It's Fist-Shaking Rock of the finest vintage.

04 / "Slap Dash For No Cash" / Art Brut / Art Brut vs. Satan
Frank Black produced it, but it's by no means a slick sell-out album. "Cool your warm jets, Brian Eno," indeed. Songs about love, rock, loving rock and an inability to grow up. In other words, an Art Brut album.

05 / "Aquarius Sabotage" / The Flaming Lips / Embryonic
Not to slight their last two albums, but this is the album I've been waiting for from these guys. Loose, weird and meandering, it feels less deliberate and polished than Yoshimi or At War With the Mystics and more in the vein of experimental work like Zaireeka or the Okie Noodling soundtrack.

06 / "Lasso" / Phoenix / Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Man, just when you think these guys have made the album of their career, they go ahead and top it. Every bit as solid as It's Never Been Like That. There isn't a bad track on here.

07 / "Little Girl (feat. Julian Casablancas)" / Sparklehorse + Danger Mouse / Dark Night of the Soul
The best album that didn't actually come out. Manages to play to the strengths of each guest vocalist (for example, the Jason Lytle tracks sound more like Grandaddy than anything off of his limp solo album, Yours Truly, the Commuter) while still sounding like a collaboration between two guys who really excel at what they do. It's an eerie, groovy record and definitely worth breaking Federal copyright law for.

08 / "Love Comes And Goes" / Lee Fields & The Expressions / My World
Daaang, this album is slick. Soulful, smooth and timeless, it's a great record for any occasion. Folding laundry? Check. Spending time with your special someone? Check. Bare-knuckle fighting a crazed mountain lion while wearing a fine Italian suit? Check and mate.

09 / "Helium Hearts" / Super Furry Animals / Dark Days, Light Years
More focused than their last couple of albums, SFA offer up another album of mutant Welsh space rock. If you're not already a fan, this one probably won't convert you, but if you like what they do, this is one to pick up.

10 / "One Machine, One Long Fight" / Lou Barlow / Goodnight Unknown
It's been four years since Barlow's last album under any name besides Dinosaur Jr. (and we all know that's pretty much J. Mascis' band), and that's a shame. Barlow's work - whether solo or with Sebadoh or the Folk Implosion - has always been really excellent and Goodnight Unknown is no exception. Lou Barlow, FTW.

11 / "Criminals" / Atlas Sound / Logos
A haunting, hypnotic waltz from Bradford Cox. It's the kind of music Ziggy Stardust would listen to if he got homesick for the cold vacuum of space.

12 / "My Girls" / Animal Collective / Merriweather Post Pavilion
I'm sure indie snobs will "like their earlier stuff before they sold out," better, but I firmly believe this is their best yet. Rich, textured and weird (while still listenable), it's an excellent little head trip and completely legal.

13 / "Courage" / The Whitest Boy Alive / Rules
Disco disco! Erlend Øye's other band (Kings of Convenience) may get all the girls a-sighin', but it's this band that gets me all lathered up. Dancey and laid-back, I dare you not to listen to this thing without catching yourself shaking something, anything whilst doing so.

Also, tell me the guy doesn't look like a slightly more hip version of Napoleon Dynamite.

14 / "Psalms 40:2" / The Mountain Goats / Life of the World to Come
More songs about desperate people facing down the inevitable. John Darnille has put together another set of moving, wry tales, this time with the Bible at the center of the stories. By no means a religious tract, it packs an emotional punch that can appeal to believers and heathens alike.

15 / "Cryin' Smoke" / Ganglians / Monster Head Room
Second favorite album of 2009. It's like some guys re-recording the Beach Boys' Smiley Smile in their shed. Druggy, smiling and goofy; real dumb angel stuff.

16 / "Lady Luck" / Richard Swift / Atlantic Ocean
A great collection of Harry Nilsson-esque singer-songwriter ditties, Richard Swift's sense of humor and solid songwriting earned him a place on the list. This track is especially good; it sounds like some lost 70's soul single.

17 / "Tender Torture" / Islands / Vapours
Last year's Arm's Way was a little too weird and inconsistent to land on my faves mix, but Vapours strips away the unnecessary in favor of hummable tunes, solid grooves and the expectedly obtuse lyrics.

18 / "If It's True" / Yo La Tengo / Popular Songs
Another set of classics from Hoboken's own Yo La Tengo. Seriously, these guys are the most consistently good band out there. I keep waiting for a dud of an album but it hasn't happened yet. If I have one complaint, it's that the requisite longer, droney songs are all sequenced at the back of the album, making it a little tiresome toward the end, but still, it's a dang good album.

19 / "More Of This" / Vetiver / Tight Knit
It was a tough call, choosing between this album and the Fruit Bats' The Ruminant Band, but in the end, this one won out. Really great mellow-ish folk from a really good band.

20 / "The Wizzzard" / Think About Life / Family
This one surprised me. It's like if TV On the Radio decided to start a Kool & the Gang cover band, which yeah, would be pretty radical. I've already used them twice this year on mixes (Warm Soundz and SMRJMZ), but here's another track because I think this album's super-dope.


And that's my 2009 Favorites mix. What knocked yr socks off this year? Let me know in the comments section and as always, thanks for stopping by.