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I got this cassette tape image at http://says-it.com/cassette/. It’s pretty cool. You put what you want on the label.

I like songs with multiple parts or nice, abrupt but well executed shifts. It’s like getting two or more songs for the price of one. And while going through my music library to make a playlist of my favorite “medley” type songs, I decided I had more than enough to make a nice mixtape out of it. It’s been a while since I made my last mixtape (BDJ Volume 2 is nearly ready!), and I’m long overdue for another one.

So I am pleased to present to you all the first volume of the Melodious Medlies compilation mixtapes. This inaugural volume is culled from music mostly made in this millennium (there were a couple favorites I had to include). All of the tracks are filled with smooth and exciting transitions and bridges that connect their various parts. These multi-faceted songs will make you laugh, they’ll make you cry, and they’ll make you want to hug your loved ones — then dance with them.

As I usually do with mixtapes, I tried my best to arrange the songs so they flow together as smoothly as possible. This one proved difficult because I didn’t know it was going to be a mixtape while I was compiling the songs in a playlist. But I’ll make no excuses. This mixtape is still bloody brilliant. I’m a pretty stingy guy when it comes to my iTunes song-rating system…but ALL of these songs are no less than 4 out of 5 stars…yeah…these songs are gooood.

Update: I just realized that the program I used to calculate the run-time of this mixtape is a piece of crap. The whole thing doesn’t fit on a CD (by about a minute)…which was a big disappointment to me. So, of course, I had to re-work the songs and make it fit. I eliminated a track (to be sneaked into a later volume) to make it fit on one CD, then I decided to take this opportunity to adopt the true cassette tape limit of 12 songs by making the last 2 songs bonus tracks that fit on the “B-Side.”  Those of you who downloaded the first, now discontinued, edition of Melodious Medlies – Volume 1 have a real gem in your hands. I’m sure 20 years down the road, it will be worth thousands, maybe millions, of dollars.

So from now on, Melodious Medlies will be made up of 12 main “A-Side” tracks with a “B-Side” of a couple bonus tracks. Both A and B-sides combined will still fit on a regular burned CD.

Now, wouldn’t it be awesome to make a mixtape with both the A and B sides filled to the brim? I agree…so I’m going to make my bigger “Bomb Diggity Jams” mixtapes 24 tracks, split evenly into A and B sides. A more relevant question would be: Does anyone but me care about all this? In a word, no. But I’m excited about it.

Tracklist for Melodious Medlies – Vol. 1

A-side:
1. The Beatles – “You Never Give Me Your Money”
2. The New Pornographers – “The Bleeding Heart Show”
3. The Postal Service – “Brand New Colony”
4. The Rolling Stones – “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
5. The Format – “Dog Problems”
6. Sufjan Stevens – “Come On! Feel the Illinoise!”
7. Belle and Sebastian – “Your Cover’s Blown”
8. The Decemberists – “The Crane Wife 1 & 2”
9. Radiohead – “My Iron Lung”
10. Anathallo – “Hanasakajijii (Four: A Great Wind, More Ash)”
11. The Polyphonic Spree – “Section 24: The Fragile Army”
12. The Beatles – “The End”

Bonus B-Side:
13. Franz Ferdinand – “I’m Your Villain”
14. Silverchair – “Those Thieving Birds”

Download them all in a .zip file by going to the Divshare download page.

If you can’t download at the moment, or are too lazy and/or want to hear a sample first, here are the first 12 tracks streamed at my Muxtape page.

Why not stream the whole thing at Muxtape? ‘Cos 12 is the maximum number of tracks allowed on Muxtape — that being, more or less, the limit for one side of an actual cassette tape. I made my compilation with the CD-limit in mind…but I kind of like the retro cassette literal mix-tape concept. I might consider that for my future volumes…to pay homage to the mighty cassette tape.

Bonus Songs:

And just so no one rolls over in their graves or anything, I guess I have to give some representation to the O.G. experts at this multi-part song business:

Ludwig Van Beethoven – “Symphony #5 In C Minor, Op. 67 – 1. Allegro Con Brio”
Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky – “Piano Concerto #1 In B Flat Minor, Op. 23”

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Random Numbers (#1)
“Random Numbers (#1)” 2002, by Mel Bochner

This is a post of randomness.

I was surfing the Internets recently (like I do for most of my waking hours), and I came across this nugget of wisdom:

Writing is 1% inspiration and 99% not being distracted by the Internet…

I cannot emphasize enough how true that statement is for me (and too many others). When I have something important to do (usually a big paper, or story, or article, or report, or something related to my increasingly useless-looking major), I freakin’ waste time in every way imaginable — everything from blogging, music, driving around after I convince myself I have to go somewhere, doing laundry and not folding the clothes for hours, etc.

Half the time, the internet and my computer are what keep me occupied. And I’m either blog-hopping, reading about music and bands ad nauseum, or going on a never-ending train of “Hmm…I’ve always wondered about that, I’ll look it up!” Then I go to bed cussing myself out for wasting the whole day away, and I vow never to do it again. The next night usually ends the same way.

* * * *

On another note (pun most enthusiastically intended), are there any songs with “Michael” in the title or lyrics? (more…)

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“I sometimes get this strange and sort of uncontrollable urge to want to go home.

-Georg Hólm, member of the band Sigur Rós

Majestic, grand, expansive, surreal, breath-taking, stunning, arresting, inspiring, beautiful, staggering, personal…and I’m already out of words to describe the fairly recently released film by the Icelandic band, Sigur Rós. (Okay, it was released back in December of ’07. I just hadn’t gotten around to checking it out until a couple weeks ago.)

Sigur Rós is a band that has been making their other-worldly, alien, and powerfully intimate music for close to a decade. They sing in Icelandic and a lyrical non-language that is roughly translated from the Icelandic name for it as “Hopelandic.” It is not a Tolkien-like “language” per se, as its “words” mean nothing in a literal sense but, in many ways, it serves some of the same purposes as language. I don’t happen to be fluent in Icelandic, so I can’t tell the difference between the two anyway — and it doesn’t matter. Each album they’ve released has found them making music that breaks beyond the barriers of language to get as close to communicating feelings and emotions that language can only hope to convey, or struggle to give an idea of.

Yet for most of their careers, the band members themselves have remained enigmatic and closed-off, buffered from the world by their ethereal music. Heima, which means “at home” or “homeland,” takes us beyond that barrier and uses the music to immerse us in the things that make them who they are, where they come from, what their “home” is.

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I came across the topic of this post on Strange Maps last week at work, lost track of it, then found it again today.
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Several years ago, rapper Ludacris released a song that was a big hit, titled “Area Codes,” in which he rapped about the various “hoes” he supposedly has all across the United States. The title of the song comes from the fact that he utilizes area code numbers to pinpoint exactly what regions all his hoes are located in. It’s an absurdly hilarious song.

A studious geography major, Stefanie Gray, apparently couldn’t let this opportunity to inform and educate pass her by. So she collected data from the lyrics of the song and mapped it out. Her diligent work produced this result (click to enlarge):

ludacris_area_codes_big.gif

And here are some of the interesting things she found by analyzing the data:

  • “Ludacris heavily favors the East Coast to the West, save for Seattle, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Las Vegas.”
  • “Ludacris travels frequently along the Boswash corridor.”
  • “There is a ‘ho belt‘ phenomenon nearly synonymous with the ‘Bible Belt’.”
  • “Ludacris has hoes in the entire state of Maryland.”
  • “Ludacris has a disproportionate ho-zone in rural Nebraska. He might favor white women as much as he does black women, or perhaps, girls who farm.”
  • “Ludacris’s ideal ‘ho-highway’ would be I-95.”
  • “Ludacris has hoes in the Midway and Wake Islands. Only scientists are allowed to inhabit the Midway Islands, and only military personnel may inhabit the Wake Islands. Draw your own conclusion.”

Go back to the post on Strange Maps for more details — and the very entertaining comments that are posted there.

Songs of the Day:

Ludacris (ft. Nate Dogg) – “Area Codes” /  (album link)
John Mayer – “Area Codes (Ludacris cover)” /  (live/unreleased)

I think John Mayer gets a lot of undeserved bashing. He’s really a decent artist. Here’s another cover by him.

John Mayer – “Kid A (Radiohead cover)” /  (live/unreleased)

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I love going to concerts. There’s nothing like seeing the artists you love performing their songs right in front of you. And one of the best parts of going to concerts is audience participation. When the artists reach out to the audience, connect with them, and get them involved in the music.

There are many parts of Ben Folds’ concert album, Ben Folds Live, that bring a smile to my face. There is one specific section of it that is downright magical…it is his performance of “Army.” The song itself is enough fun as it is on the studio album, but the performance of it on Ben Folds Live is awesome. Well, first of all, the studio version of “Army,” recorded with the band Ben Folds Five, is all sorts of fun and has horns, drums, xylophone, the works. But all of the material on the live album is just Folds and a piano — no backing band or anything. So, being limited to just the piano, he thought it would be a great idea to split the audience up and turn them into a “bitchin’ horns section.” One half is turned into saxophones and the other into trumpets…and everyone performs brilliantly. I envy that audience every time I listen to the song.

You need two tracks from the recording to get this experience. Towards the end of “Narcolepsy” — which is a pretty good, somewhat quiet tune — you hear Folds splitting up the audience and setting everything up for his performance of “Army.” So it is essential you have both tracks for this. With that, I leave you with the songs of the day.

Songs of the Day:

Ben Folds – “Narcolepsy”
Ben Folds – “Army” / (album link)

Bonus:
Ben Folds Five – “Army” / (album link)

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I have to get something off my chest and my conscience won’t be cleared until I set this right. I have been selfish…blatantly, wickedly, and immorally selfish. You see, there is this band that I adore and cherish very dearly.

First, let me introduce you to the band. You may have already heard of them, since the debut was released back in 2006. They’re called Quiet Company and they hail from the great musical mecca of Austin, Texas. The band’s actually comprised of just singer-songwriter Taylor Muse and a sort of revolving door of guitarists, drummers, bassists, etc that surround him (sort of like Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, except Muse isn’t as “solo,” I guess).

Quiet Company
From left to right: Thomas Blank, Taylor Muse, Michael Delaney. Oh, Mrs. Taylor Muse, aka Leah, who took this and many other photos, happens to be a pretty good photographer.

After the first release, which Muse recorded almost every facet of all by his lonesome, there seemed to be a set, stable band lineup for tours and future releases. But from what I’ve read, they’ve been looking for a new drummer as well as a bassist. I think the guy on the left in the picture above, Thomas Blank, has been in the band a while though. (Going off their Myspace, the guy on the right, Michael Delaney, is that new drummer.)

But yes, Taylor Glen Muse writes well-crafted, soaring, complex-yet-pure pop music that leaves you smiling and feeling all kinds of elevated emotions. Yet, I’ve pretty much kept it all to myself ever since discovering him two years ago. I don’t know why I did it; I’m usually very open to share and discuss music with anyone.

The songs on the debut just draw you in. When I first heard the record, I hadn’t felt such a connection with an album for a while. It was sort of like my Precious… Well, I guess it wasn’t that I was being selfish…it was more me being very selective with who I shared this music with. I didn’t want to let just anyone know about the band only to have them simply disregard and forget about them, not loving/appreciating their music as much as I do. But that was stupid.

Now I am repenting of my wayward ways, and I am letting anyone who has been so unlucky as to be unaware of Quiet Company to find out about them. Here are some tracks from the 2006 debut album, Shine Honesty:

“Fashionabel”The build-up intro for this song is really nice.
“The Emasculated Man And The City That Swallowed Him”A coming-of-age anthem.
“Love is a Shotgun”This will be a small litmus test for my future relationships. I’m almost 100% sure that my future wife (if marriage is in my future that is) will love this song.

They are supposed to release a new album titled “Everyone You Love Will Be Happy.” I don’t know much more about it, but here are a couple of unreleased tracks I’ve found floating around the Internets that may or may not be on the album:

“Golden (master 12)”May be just a working title.
“It’s Better to Spend Money Like There’s No Tomorrow Than Spend Tonight Like There’s No Money”Long title, fun song.
“Our Sun Is Always Rising”I like how the most sentimental, mushy lyrics are masked by loud guitars and drums in the beginning…like they’re balancing it out. I found it a little funny, because I imagined that it was them almost sneaking the lines through to whoever the song was written for.

I remember reading on the band blog, back in November of 2006, that Taylor hated his day-job — especially the fact that he had to “stock dogfood and clean rodent shit.” I don’t know what the job was/is (pet store employee/exterminator?) but this is a travesty to me. Someone who made one of my favorite albums in recent memory should not have to “stock dogfood and clean rodent shit” while guys like Soulja Boy, Ashlee Simpson, or K-Fed make all the music they want and live it up like crazy.

You can buy the album HERE — I guarantee it will be one of the best investments you’ll make. You can also check out their Myspace to listen to more songs and find out tour dates and stuff. I leave you with the music video for “Fashionabel,” directed by Cameron McCasland:

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cans

Now THIS Is What I Call Music.

I was sort of getting tired of listening to the new Radiohead album (I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to it about 60-70 times now), so I decided to make a little mix-tape for my car (I left my cd’s in my non-rental car, which is being repaired at a shop that is kinda far away…and I’m lazy). I went through my iTunes library and put about 60 songs that I felt were “bomb-diggity” and put them in a playlist. Then I whittled that down until I felt I couldn’t cut anymore. Then for the final stage, I took those songs and rearranged and forced myself to cut a handful more of them so the compilation would resemble some form of “flow.” I did this until I had a group of 20 songs that would fit onto one audio cd (mp3 cd’s don’t work in the car). This got me the most select of the bomb-diggity jams I’m feelin’ at the moment. And then I was done and saw that it was good.

But I decided it was so good that it would be a sin not to share it. Hence, this post on my blog. (The download link is at the end of the entry, for you lazy people.)

Here’s a breakdown of the compilation:

(more…)

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