Episode 50 of the Mix Tape Radio show went up last Monday (you should go listen to it on Mixcloud and/or download it on iTunes if you haven't already), and today I finish up with the 'a few tracks at a time' ramblings about all the tracks that were featured on the episode. It's been a full on work week, so this post is coming a bit late & I'm putting it together before going back to work today, so apologies if it is a little lacking in anything to say (but, hey, the important part —and most satisfying for you part— is clicking the play buttons anyways, right?)…
If, like me, you still believe that Dan Mangan's 'Nice, Nice, Very Nice' was the real winner of the 2010 Polaris prize, it's important to make note that his latest album contains '+ Blacksmith' in the artist name (i.e. don't go into it expecting another 'guy on the road with a guitar and a journal' album). This one has a bigger and darker sound, but it's also a really excellent sound. This is one of those albums that you put on the headphones for your late night walk home (something I'll be doing later today). And I'd put good odds on it winning the next Polaris prize.
|| (00:21:14) Tycho - Awake ||
If the Dan Mangan + Blacksmith album mentioned above makes for a great late night walk home album, Tycho's appropriately titled 'Awake' is a great one for the walk into town at the start of the day (and if you're a fancy pants with a car, just substitute 'walk' with 'drive'). It can even make a 6:30 am bus ride to a full day of hard manually labour feel like something much more majestic and dreamy. Go pick it up on his Bandcamp page and try it out for yourself on the very next early morning commute that's begrudgingly penciled into your schedule.
My favourite Decemberists' cut is probably their version of Elliott Smith's 'Clementine, so with the very similar harmonica intro and overall vibe of 12-17-12, it makes quite a bit of sense that this track is my favourite off their recent release, “What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World”. In my search for a 'better than Spotify' embedding option —as you can see, I did not find one, sorry non-Spotify users— I discovered that this song is actually written about that tragic Sandy Hook massacre…
“Perhaps most notable is “12-17-12,” a song named for, and inspired by, the date that President Obama addressed the nation following the Newtown school shootings, and read the names of the victims. “I watched that speech and was hit by a sense of helplessness, but also the message of ‘Hold your family close.’” This bewildering, conflicted feeling came out in a phrase near the end of the song—“what a terrible world, what a beautiful world”—that gave the album its title.”
Knowing that makes this lovely song tug a little bit harder on the old heart strings (and it already was tugging plenty when I was ignorant to the back story).
OK, that's it from me for today. If you made it down here without pushing play or clicking on any of the things above, you should probably head back up and correct that. Maybe even buy the artists a metaphorical pint if you like what you hear. And while we're listing things you should do if you haven't already, you should also probably go listen to the episode that these tracks feature on. And then I'll maybe be back on Monday with a new episode… or maybe I'll postpone things a week so I can use my limited amount of free time for getting the 24hr radio station back up and running again. We'll see how productive I can be on my one day off tomorrow.