Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The (not really) annual OM BlogMix or: How a good of a mix can I make in 5 hours?

While drinking my coffee this morning, I realized that today was the fourth anniversary of my very first Octopus Motor post. There once was a time when I would post a special annual OM anniversary mix every year to mark the occasion (see, for real). Seeing as I actually remembered in time this year, I thought I'd give it another go. Because I decided this this morning, I couldn't really get started until I got home from work and it needed to be posted by midnight in order to be dated correctly. So how good of a mix can I crank out in roughly 5 hours? For the answer, join me, won't you, in this self-congratulatory, pointless (but hopefully fun) bit of wankery.

Scissor – Liars (Sisterworld, 2010)

I've written about Liars plenty already (they were even on the first anniversary OM BlogMix), so I won't belabor the point. I love Liars. Even though Liars and Sisterworld were both somewhat underwhelming compared to their first three albums, "Scissor" is a fantastic song that does a pretty admirable job of encapsulating everything there is to love about Liars. It's gentle, brutal, sparse, heavy, and, above all, weird and unpredictable. All in the span of about 3 ½ minutes.

Everyone Choose Sides – The Wrens (Meadowlands, 2003)

I remember buying this album, listening to it and thinking, "eh, that was OK, I guess…" I also remember putting the album on months later and immediately replaying it as soon as it ended. I guess it took a while to grow on me, but Meadowlands is easily one of my favorite albums front-to-back. Stylistically it might not venture too far from typical indie rock, but what the Wrens do, they do just so goddamned well.

Common People – Pulp (Different Class, 1995)

I have to admit, Pulp has always been one of those bands that I heard about but never actually heard. Up until recently when I got my hands on a copy of Different Class, they were always just one of those bands that I knew was a big deal without ever actually hearing them or knowing anything about them. I can't offer my verdict on whether or not Pulp are as worthwhile as I've been lead to believe, but Different Class is solid, and "Common People" is certainly one of the highlights.

Rid of Me – PJ Harvey (Rid of Me, 1993)

PJ Harvey is a woman who I find to be both incredibly sexy and absolutely terrifying. Rid of Me is an album filled with brutalizing songs filled with bitterness, anger, resentment, and heartbreak, all propelled by Steve Albini's razor sharp, stark production. The entire album drips sex, but not the sexy kind. The kind that will leave everyone bruised, bloodied, and filled with regrets. (Plus, it features the greatest song ever about a woman bragging about how big her dick is.)

In the Shadow of the Horns – Darkthrone (A Blaze in the Northern Sky, 1991)

As one of the preeminent members of the Norwegian Black Metal scene, Darkthrone has earned their place among bands like Emperor, Mayhem, and Enslaved in the pantheon of extreme metal. Darkthrone's music has always been more straightforward than their peers, but never any less unrelenting. They've definitely earned their legendary status with absolute classics like A Blaze in the Northern Sky.

Lux Aeterna – Clint Mansell (Requiem for a Dream OST, 2000)

Clint Mansell seems to have left pop music behind for good to focus solely on film scores, which is without a doubt a good thing. There's a reason that this song keeps getting reappropriated for excessively dramatic trailers over and over again. As the center piece of the score for the devastating (and excessively melodramatic) Requiem for a Dream, "Lux Aeterna" is a simply a stirring, powerful (and yes, dramatic) piece of music.

Jah War – The Bug, feat. Flowdan (London Zoo, 2008)

Confession: I don't like reggae music. At all. But I love the reggae-infused house music on The Bug's London Zoo. I love its grit, its bleakness, its dark paranoia. It's a suffocating and exhilarating album, and no songs fill me with the excitement and unease that permeate the entire thing quite like "Jah War." This was definitely the song that served as the gateway for me to appreciate the entire thing.

Secrets of Sumerian Sphynxology – Melechesh (Sphynx, 2004)

Originally hailing from Israel, Melechesh is the world's only (as far as I know) self-described "Mesopotamian metal" band. Over the past decade or so, Melechesh have proven themselves to be one of the most technically proficient and interesting metal bands around today. There's plenty to say about them, but I'll just leave it at the fact that they're phenomenal. ("Secrets of Sumerian Sphynxology" may be a great song, but it's certainly not my favorite. Just my favorite song title.)

The Mercy Seat – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Tender Prey, 1988)

Nick Cave (and the Bad Seeds) excels in his specialized heady mix of gothic, organ-grinding, post-punk, Americana, murder ballads with "The Mercy Seat." While his music is often infused with a drier than dirt wry wit, "The Mercy Seat" is unrelentingly bleak, and is one of Cave's best. A couple years ago, Amazon had a massive sale on Nick Cave mp3s. I have no idea why they did that, but that was an awesome day.

A Horse Called Golgotha – Baroness (Blue Record, 2009)

Apparently there's a kick-ass metal scene in the steamy, Spanish moss festooned town of Savannah, GA that I've only just discovered. Baroness and Black Tusk both play with an urgent driving force, combined with a certain sludgy, swampy, Southern-ness. Black Tusk may be more straight forward metal, with Baroness having a bit of a prog-y psychedelic bent to a lot of their music, but both bands hold their own in representing a (hopefully) growing Southern metal scene.

Squeeze Me Macaroni – Mr. Bungle (Mr. Bungle, 1991)

Just because I have to have at least one Mike Patton song in every mix. This was just about the least weird Mr. Bungle song I could find.

Odessa – Caribou (Swim, 2010)

I listened to this song exactly once before I put it in this mix. Yup, that's just how good it is.

B.O.B. – Outkast (Stankonia, 2000)

I don't really have much to say about "B.O.B." I'm guessing everyone has heard it before, and I'm guessing everyone loves it. As a matter of fact, I'm also guessing everyone loves Outkast just as a general rule.

Atlas – Battles (Mirrored, 2007)

An improbable supergroup of sorts featuring members of Helmet, Tomahawk, Don Caballero, and Storm & Stress, Battles is a mindblowingly good experimental instrumental band. Mirrored came my way in a massive music swap with a friend of mine over a year ago. It has not ceased to be in my go-to rotation of music ever since. (Life tip: Battles makes for excellent music for over-caffeinated all night work marathons.)

Center of the Universe – Built to Spill (Keep it like a Secret, 1999)

I remember being at a party a few years ago, talking to a guy from Boise. I had just found out that a band I liked was from Boise and couldn't remember who it was. The guy kept insisting that it was Built to Spill, to which I repeatedly responded, "no, it wasn't Built to Spill…who was it?" Turns out he was totally right, it was Built to Spill, and I wasted like 20 minutes of that guy's life debating him about it. There's really no point to this story. Built to Spill is pretty great, and Keep it like a Secret is a great album.

We Belong – Pat Benatar (Tropico, 1984)

I like Pat Benatar. I like this song. And I wanted to end on an uplifting note. You're welcome.