I feel like I should be wearing a little party hat and drinking champagne. This is almost as momentous an occasion as blog post number 3,000. Unfortunately I don’t know where to find a little party hat, and there’s no champagne in my house. Looks like it’s just you and me, anonymous blog reader…
It’s hard to believe I’ve made nearly 6 years worth of mix tapes. Each and every Sunday (except for the brief period of time when I stopped compiling these things) I’ve put together what I believe to be a great mix of unique songs. By now surely there has been overlap, but I think when I first started the goal was to never use the same song twice. Researching new music to include on this compilations is one of the only ways I keep up with the modern music world. If it wasn’t for my weekly Sunday Mix Tape, I likely wouldn’t know a single new release. That would have a pretty big effect on the blog, as without knowing about new releases I wouldn’t be able to formulate my top albums list each year, nor would I be interested in seeing bands when they pass through town. You see where this is going? The Sunday Mix Tape is integral to the growth of the blog!
Checking back through the archives to find some of my favorite songs from past mix tapes was actually quite fun. I was able to chart the growth and expansion of my musical tastes. It was cool to see the first instances of songs recorded by some of my favorite artists. Like the first White Hills MP3 was posted February 18th, 2007 (just about two weeks after I saw them open for Titan at Lit Lounge, where White Hills blew me away and became my favorite band). The first Marissa Nadler MP3 was posted around that same time…probably shortly after I saw her at Tonic? I just remember crushing out on her…much the same as I have ever since.
Sunday Mix Tapes quickly became the best way to draw in new readers. Hell, any time a website posts ten or fifteen free MP3s it’s bound to get people’s attention. In fact, the first Mix Tape I ever made was soon after my friend Anthony added Swan Fungus to the list of music blogs his streaming music service would crawl. Without The Hype Machine, there’s absolutely no way I’d reach the amount of readers I have since 2005.
When I made my first mix tape, all the files were hosted by a third-party website called EZ Archive. I think, if I remember correctly, you could host 100 megabytes at a time, so each Sunday I would try to get as close to 100MB as possible while sharing as much of my LP, CD and digital music collections as possible. It wasn’t long before I realized I could host the files on my own and go beyond the 100 megabytes EZ Archive allowed.
The other “rule” of Sunday Mix Tapes (aside from length/size) was that each one had to have a theme. Volume 1 was called “Covers! Covers! Covers!” and featured what were — at the time — some hard songs to track down. The Secret Machines doing “Astral Weeks,” Calexico trying their hands at “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” and Magnolia Electric Co. covering “Werewolves In London.” Other themes included celestial events, the letter “g”, construction, the iPod shuffle, inner space, satan, and all manner of weirdness. It didn’t take long for me to give up on the weekly themes.
The third and final rule of the Sunday Mix Tape was that each one had to have its own title. There was always to be a message in the title, whether it was a joke (“Covers! Covers! Covers!” was the title for a mix tape that included Papa M covering “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by the Byrds) or a hint about a subliminal theme. My all-time favorite title for a Sunday Mix Tape came from an e-mail conversation I had with a reader who lived in Egypt back in February of 2007. It’s kind of poignant even now because the topic of conversation was “the future of Swan Fungus.” I told the reader, Tim, that “one of these days I’ll realize how to turn this enterprise into $$$, which can then be used to buy MORE webspace, and share MORE [slightly pirated] music, and become MORE incensed over MORE meaningless drivel! …but ‘one of these days’ could be a long, long ways away.” Tim’s response about my dreams being so distant was to quote an expression that was popular in his hometown of Cairo. He said, “‘One of these days’ can be translated as ‘bada schweya, mum kin bukra fil mishmash, insha’Allah’. Translated back it reads something like, ‘perhaps later, maybe tomorrow, in the time of apricots, God willing,’ which, in a country paralyzed by an inability to address simple issues like rampant racism and the true nature of a police state, is really ‘putting things off until later.’”
I’ve always loved that expression, and what it means, and I think it’s never meant more than it does right now as I’m on the precipice of turning this website into something entirely different than it has been for the past eight years.
So, for the first time in Sunday Mix Tape’s 300-volume history, I’m re-using the title of mix tape Tim provided in that e-mail exchange.
Thanks, Tim. I hope time of apricots is upon us both.
Sunday Mix Tape – Number 300
“bada schweya, mum kin bukra fil mishmash, insha’Allah”
01. Teenage Filmstars – Physical Graffiti
02. Shannon Wright – All These Things
03. Library Tapes – Cold Leaves For The Violent Ground – Originally posted to Mix Tape #3, which was right around the time of the Boston Beer Festival back in February 0f 2006. I went to stay with Ian for the weekend in Rhode Island and they got this brutal snowstorm that left me stranded for an extra day. We smoked a lot of pot. I remember it well because I accidentally posted this seasonal-themed mix tape on the wrong day, so I had to re-post it with some new tracks on the correct day. Sunday.
04. Chris Brokaw – My Confidante
05. Calexico – All The Pretty Horses
06. Boards Of Canada – Hey Saturday Sun – Originally posted to Mix Tape #17. Earlier that day I’d gone record/comic shopping with Sam and Lindsey in the city. I made sure to note that while walking up 3rd Avenue near 12th Street, we passed Parker Posey. “She was smiling and talking baby-talk at [her] puppy and I thought, ‘Won’t you please, Parker, slip and fall onto my cock?’ She did not.”
07. The Besnard Lakes – Thomasina
08. The Aerovons – World Of You
09. Amber Asylum – Luxuria – Originally posted to Mix Tape #33. The night before, I saw a really good bill at the Mercury Lounge: Bottomless Pit, Shearwater, Magnolia Electric Co.. I described Bottomless Pit as “like a combination of Bedhead and New Order.” There was a very ominous, dark tone to this tape between World’s End Girlfriend, Sixteen Horsepower, Abilene and Amber Asylum. By the way, if any one of you EVER finds a mint-condition copy of Frozen In Amber I’ll buy it off you. Mine’s beat to shit, and not even the guy I know who used to be in the band has one to sell me.
10. Pajo – Who’s That Knocking
11. Russian Circles – New Macabre – Originally posted to Mix Tape #26. The theme that week was alienation. “Not because these songs have anything to do with aloneness…” Oh, really, August 2006 Evan? That makes absolutely no sense. That was a weird mix tape. Where else on the Internet are you going to see Kyuss, Davenport, Waylong Jennings, Miles Davis, The Kinks and Russian Circles all on the same compilation? Nowhere. That’s why I love myself so much. I’m a genius.
12. Quieting Syrup – Passwords To A Fort Full Of Pills
13. Godz – Ruby Red
14. Red Favorite – Wingshot
15. Angels Of Light – Evangeline
16. Adelaide – Games Without End – Originally posted to Sunday Mix Tape #29. This was smack-dab in the middle of the summer when I was obsessed with the gorgeous lifeguard who worked at the pool in my mother’s condo residence. I must have been striking out around this time, as the volume is called “A Fistful of Blues” and featured tracks by Low (“Shame”), Charles Manson (“Look At Your Game Girl”), Castanets (“You Are The Blood”) and Windy & Carl (“The Silent Ocean”) that all hinted at my unease. Oh, Evan. You’ve always been so transparent with the hidden themes.
17. Volcano! – Easy Does It
18. Reigns – Translating
19. Dreamend – Of Ravens And Winds
20. Ativin – When The Sky Turns Clear – Was the centerpiece of Sunday Mix Tape #32, a sadly unheralded band whose oeuvre contains several incredible songs, but this one is easily their best. It has a very cinematic feel to it, and it’s so perfectly math-y. I love it. The theme that week was about trying to feature bands “you probably haven’t heard of” (oh, Evan…) like AM/FM, Reek And The Wrecks, Autistic Daughters, Larsen, Sheriff, and Cheer-Accident. I was so naive back then.
21. Elliott Smith – Some (Rock) Song
22. France Gall – Baby Pop
23. Songs: Ohia – The Black Crow
24. Bark Psychosis – A Street Scene – Originally posted to Mix Tape #52. Although “Eyes & Smiles” is easily my favorite track on Hex, “A Street Scene” was the first Bark Psychosis song I ever posted to this blog. By the way, have you all picked up the reissue of Hex that was just released recently by the Spanish label Vinilisssimo? It sounds really good, and it won’t cost you nearly as much as an original. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it fifty million times. Bark Psychosis picked up where Talk Talk left off.
25. Greg Ashley – Apple Pie And Genocide
26. Part Chimp – Bubbles
27. Swirlies – Two Girls Kissing – Originally posted to Mix Tape #35. There are actually three tracks here from the same mix tape, which I guess means this was one of the best I ever put together. The Meads Of Asphodel track, the Chris Brokaw track, and this Swirlies ditty that closed the mix tape. I remember getting a few e-mails from readers who wanted to know which album this song came from, which I always thought was the mark of a good mix tape. If people asked where a song came from I felt like I’d done my job. Later I went back and added links to each CD so people could by them on Amazon. Then people stopped writing to tell me how much they liked my compilations. It’s been six-plus years of deafening silence.
28. The Meads Of Asphodel – Psalm 364
29. Whitehouse – Why You Never Became A Dancer – Originally posted to Mix Tape #7. This week, way back in the late winter/early spring of 2006, featured songs that were downloaded from the Electrical Audio forum’s shared GMail account. Isn’t it insane to think that just six years ago one of the best ways to share music with a large group of people was to give out the password to a shared e-mail account!? I guess there weren’t enough people using Soulseek at the time. Speaking of which, remember Soulseek? That shit was amazing. That program had to be almost entirely responsible for at least the first year of Sunday Mix Tapes. Now, here in 2013, I guess I have to give most my thanks to MediaFire.
30. Marc Mundy – How Can I Marry This Language?
31. Jellyfish – I Wanna Stay Home
32. Machinefabriek – Color Rosa – Originally posted to Mix Tape #69. It’s really close, but I think Rutger Zuydervelt (aka Machinefabriek) has appeared in more mix tapes (10) than anyone else who is not named Aidan Baker. Aidan holds the record with 15 (!!!) tracks appearing on various Mix Tapes. And, because I’m a moron, there isn’t a single Aidan Baker composition included on this celebratory 300th mix tape. Whoops! Sorry, Aidan! I will always and forever hold you in my heart and mind. Get it!? SEE WHAT I DID THERE!?
33. Ted Lucas – Plain And Sane And Simple Melody
34. Rex – Jet – Originally posted to Mix Tape #41. Right after I posted this tape, Podcast Jack came over to pitch me on being a part of what would become The Best Podcast You Have: Circulations Amethyst. That was a pretty historic moment in the history of Swan Fungus, and it came during one of the most bountiful creative periods of my life. When we were recording music nightly, capturing field recordings, editing moving images together to make those audio and video projects…it was so much fun. I really miss working like that in a group of likeminded, artistic people.
35. Sonna – Frone Taj – Originally posted to Mix Tape #2! The theme that week was the best album-opening tracks, and this sat in between Stereolab’s “Brakhage” and Autolux’s “Turnstyle Blues.” Also included in this, the second Sunday Mix Tape ever, were songs by Slint, Can, Pinebender and Boris. Oh, also this was the night of Super Bowl XL. I predicted the Seahawks would win 27-24, but they lost to the Steelers 21-10. Wow. I wasn’t even close! I guess that’s further evidence of why I’m not a successful gambler.
36. Jorge Ben – Ponta de Lanca Africano (Umbabarauma)
37. Emery Reel – His Hammer Is My Axe
38. Ben Reynolds – Subtlety Is The I Can’t Remember What
39. Magyar Posse – Enemy Within
40. Pond – Happy Cown Farm Family
41. 40. Jasper TX – Blown Out To Sea, I’m Never Coming Back – This particular song was never included in a Sunday Mix Tape, but Jasper TX has appeared numerous times. I’ll Be Long Gone Before My Light Reaches You came out in October of 2005, and the following April when I drove to Chicago to interview Jason Molina and Steve Albini I listened to this for the entire 13 hour drive. There was no doubt in my mind that “Blown Out To Sea…” was one of the best instrumental “post-rock” songs I’d ever heard, and I think it’s still an outstanding, gorgeous piece of ambient music. Considering I was still listening to a lot of pop and rock music at the time, this could be seen as one of the first drone albums that really, really moved me. It might not have ever been included in a Mix Tape, but it’s supremely important in shifting my tastes towards experimental/drone-heavy music.
42. Jackson C. Frank – Blues Run The Game
43. Zoviet France – Ram
44. Zelienople – Boxes On Shores – Originally posted to Mix Tape #39. Zelienople has been so consistent for the past eight or nine years releasing amazing albums, it’s no wonder they’re tied with Aidan Baker for the most appearances on a Sunday Mix Tape with 12. This was the very first track of theirs I ever heard, and while it might not be as intense as some of the cuts from Stone Academy or His/Hers, it perfectly encapsulates their sound. I used to tell myself that if I could form a band, I’d want it to sound like this. There’s something dark and terrifying but beautiful about Zelienople. Also I was trying to fuck a girl who lived just outside the Pennsylvania borough that inspired the band’s name.
45. Four Tet – She Moves She
46. Loop – Black Sun
47. 90 Day Men – Too Late Or Too Dead – Originally posted to Mix Tape #5. I was at a record shop in LA last week and I saw a used copy of Panda Park for sale and it reminded me how much I miss 90 Day Men. Mix Tape #5 was dedicated to the band, because I’d just heard that they announced they were splitting up. Weird that on this day — just like the Boards Of Canada track above — I had just returned from record/comic shopping in the city with Sam and Lindsey. I guess I did that a lot when I lived in Jersey. I miss 90 Day Men!
48. Eric Whitacre – Sleep – Originally posted to Mix Tape #162. There was a lot of Eric Whitacre included in the mix tapes for a few years there between tapes number 100 to 200. I’m happy I was introduced to Whitacre’s music by my ex. One of, if not the only music recommendation that I got in three-plus years that I truly enjoyed. I went to see him conduct at the Disney Concert Hall downtown a couple years ago and it remains one of my favorite live music memories since I moved to Los Angeles.
49. Codeine – Broken Hearted Wine
50. Slowdive – Blue Skied An’ Clear – Originally posted to Mix Tape #4. What better way to conclude the 300th mix tape in Swan Fungus history than with a track whose title I think signifies the future of this website. It’s been a struggle at times to keep up with this hobby of mine, but I think I’m a better writer for it, I think I’ve learned more about music because of it, and I’m excited about how the future looks for this blog and I. Are there another 300 Mix Tapes still to come? Fuck no! But the sky is clear and blue, and anything is possible. If not today, perhaps later, maybe tomorrow, in the time of apricots, God willing.