[Mixtape]: I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive


“Now the dark air is like fire on my skin, and even the moonlight is blinding.”

As far as country and americana goes, I’ve always preferred songs from the darker side of the road. Songs that carry with them some of the ancient sinisterness rippling below the surface of the American South’s expansive landscapes or the isolation of its satellite settlements.

This mix was part inspired after reading my way through Southern Gothic writer Flannery O’Connor’s short stories for an article I wrote commemorating her death fifty years on. Despite an early death, O’Connor’s output was formidable and her vivid, sardonic stories brought to life the conflicted and shifting American South of the mid-twentieth century. In a lecture on the grotesque she said, “I think it’s quite safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ haunted”. It’s this feeling of spiritual malaise that permeated the straggled communities and primeval swamplands of Louisiana in Nic Pizzollato’s HBO series True Detective, the other inspiration for this mix, and which I tried to recreate here.

So if, like me, you like your americana with a tinge of gothic desolation, this is for you. Plug in and enjoy.

Tracklist:
1. ‘Drover’ – Bill Callahan – Apocalypse
2. ‘To Bring You My Love’ – PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love
3. ‘Meet Me In The Alleyway’ – Steve Earle – I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
4. ‘Redemption Day’ – Johnny Cash – American VI: Ain’t No Grave
5. ‘Rake [Live]’ – Townes Van Zandt – A Gentle Evening With Townes Van Zandt
6. ‘The Way It Will Be’ – Gillian Welch – The Harrow And The Harvest
7. ‘Youngstown’ – Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost Of Tom Joad
8. ‘The Singer’ – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Kicking Against The Pricks
9. ‘Cold Irons Bound’ – Bob Dylan – Time Out Of Mind
10. ‘Algiers’ – The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast
11. ‘Fallen Peaches’ – The Handsome Family – Singing Bones
12. ‘Wings’ – Josh Ritter – Hello Starling
13. ‘Satellite’ – Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions – Through The Devil Softly
14. ‘Everything’s Fucked’ – Dirty Three – Dirty Three

Let me know what you thought of this mixtape, or post any mixes of your own, in the comments below. I’d love to hear them.

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[Mixtape]: Every Time The Sun Comes Up

“The mountains and the canyons start to tremble and shake / The children of the sun begin to awake”

A long hot summer is officially underway and nothing goes better with good weather than sultry jams playing through the long days and warm nights. I’ve kept this mixtape pretty current with choice cuts from the last year, but there are a few oldies in there too which are celebrating birthdays this year. Whether you’re on the move to sunnier climes, or simply lazing with no particular place to go, this mixtape will see you right wherever this summer takes you. Set off, plug in and enjoy.

Tracklist:
1.
 ‘Song For Zula’ – Phosphorescent – Muchacho
2. ‘Paris’ – Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband
3. ‘Red Eyes’ – The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream
4. ‘Fever’ – The Black Keys – Turn Blue
5. ‘Magnolia’ – Lee Fields & The Expressions – Emma Jean
6. ‘You’ve Got Nothing To Lose’ – Michael Kiwanuka – You’ve Got Nothing To Lose [Single]
7. ‘Going To California′ – Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
8. ‘The Sing’ – Bill Callahan – Dream River
9. ‘Last Goodbye’ – Jeff Buckley – Grace
10. ‘Love Is To Die’ – Warpaint – Warpaint
11. ‘Every Time The Sun Comes Up’ – Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

Got any summer mixes of your own? Link them in the comments, I’d love to hear them.

[Mixtape]: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Songs To Keep You Warm


“Then the snow started falling, we were stuck out in your car”

Time for another mixtape methinks. Autumn is officially in full swing where I am: the trees are nearly stripped bare, your breath hangs in the air and you have to go out fifteen minutes earlier in the mornings to turn the heater on in the car and scrape the windows. Following on from my post about confessional albums last week, I thought it would be nice to post this mix of songs designed to keep you warm inside as winter creeps in. Wrap up warm, plug in and enjoy.

Tracklist:
1.
 ‘Observatory Crest’ – Captain Beefheart – Bluejeans and Moonbeams
2. ‘Autumn Sweater’ – Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
3. ‘Sugar Mountain’ – Neil Young – Decade
4. ‘Don’t Want To Know’ – John Martyn – Solid Air
5. ‘Blood Bank’ – Bon Iver – Blood Bank EP
6. ‘Headlights Look Like Diamonds’ – Arcade Fire – Arcade Fire EP
7. ‘Obstacle 2’ – Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights
8. ‘So Here We Are’ – Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
9. ‘Norway’ – Beach House – Teen Dream
10. ‘Með Blóðnasir’ – Sigur Rós – Takk
11. ‘Once Around The Block’ – Kings Of Convenience – Toxic Girl [Single]
12. ‘Wildfires’ – Josh Ritter – The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter [Bonus Tracks]
13. ‘Harvest Moon [Live]’ – Pearl Jam – Live Portland, OR, 20/07/06
14. ‘Cherry Blossoms’ – The Horrible Crowes – Elsie
15. ‘The Trapeze Swinger’ – Iron & Wine – Around The Well

Cover Credit: Winter Story by Nayein

Got any winter mixes of your own? Link them in the comments, I’d love to hear them.

[Mixtape]: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out


“We set controls for the heart of the sun, One of the ways we show our age.”

Here is something I’ve been meaning to do on Tsar for a while now and I’m glad to have finally gotten around to it. I’ve been making mixtapes for the best part of ten years now and I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I enjoy making them. Keep your eyes peeled as I intend to upload more in the future, so watch this space.

This mixtape is intended to be listened to while driving around late at night, or maybe during a long drive home. I wanted to recreate the feel of driving in 80’s movies, because despite their cheesy quality they made driving feel really cool. So there’s a lot of synthy soundscapes in there, but there are also some quieter acoustic moments to be had as well. I originally made this mixtape for a friend as a sort of memento for those long nights we used to spend with others driving around with ‘no particular place to go’, as Chuck Berry would say. In fact, this mixtape was very nearly called Breadcrumbs in the Backseat, because whenever we’d stop off at Tescos for late night supplies he would always get baguettes which left breadcrumbs everywhere. It used to drive me insane, but I miss that stuff now. Nostalgia aside, this mix just seems more appropriate as the nights get longer and more sultry so I thought I’d share it with you folks. Relax, plug in and enjoy.

Tracklist:
1. ‘Untitled’ – Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights
2. ‘People Can Do the Most Amazing Things’ – Kisses – The Heart of the Night Life
3. ‘Castles in the Snow’ – Twin Shadow – Forget
4. ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ – Kid Cudi [Feat. MGMT and Ratatat] – Man on the moon: The End of Day
5. ‘Lay Your Cards Out’ – Poliça – Give You the Ghost
6. ‘Go Down Easy’ – John Martyn – Solid Air
7. ‘Daughters of the Soho Riots’ – The National – Alligator
8. ‘New York is Killing Me’ – Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here
9. ‘Bad Religion’ – Frank Ocean – Channel ORANGE
10. ‘Street Lights’ – Kanye West – 808’s and Heartbreak
11. ‘Under Your Spell’ – Desire – Desire II
12. ‘Your Blue Room’ – Passengers (i.e. U2 & Brian Eno) – Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1
13. ‘Tick of the Clock’ – Chromatics – Night Drive
14. ‘Kreuzberg’ – Bloc Party – A Weekend in the City
15. ‘All My Friends’ – LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

Note: On the 8track mix, the website autofills the Solid Air original of ‘Go Down Easy’ with a godawful revisit John Martyn did later. I’ve tried editing and re-uploading the track, but to no avail. So if you’re recreating this at home (remember: safety first kids. Get an adult to help you if needed), insert the Solid Air original for track 6 and the mix should make a lot more sense.

Cover credit: Galveston by ~road2infinity 

[Cheap & Cheerful]: ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror Mixtape

‘We used to sleep on the beach, sleep over night. They don’t do it any more.’

Well, the festival season is well and truly upon us and pretty much everyone has planned their summer around their chosen weekend of debauchery. If, like me, you were greeted the other day by your tickets to Alexandra Palace for 23rd-24th July then you are no doubt getting excited for the first UK All Tomorrows Parties sister fest I’ll Be Your Mirror curated by Portishead. I’ve been itching to see Portishead for a couple of years now, though they are famously reluctant to tour. So being able to not only go see them, but also go to a festival the band have organised and chosen the line up for is, pardon the phrase: ‘A Dream Come True’.

So for those who need a little something to get them in the IBYM frame of mind, or simply could do with a little Portishead, Godspeed, Grinderman, PJ Harvey and Doom (previously MF Doom) in their life, ATP have released a free mixtape from the official website. It’s an awesome and heady mix stitched together in a single two hour MP3 for old school mixtape style. However, for those who want to go to the effort of editing it down into its constituent tracks, or simply want to see what lies in store, I’ll post the track listing at the bottom. Get it while it’s free people!

See you in Alexandra Palace!

  • 00.00 “…They Don’t Sleep Anymore on the Beach…” / Monheim – Godspeed You! Black Emperor
  • 13.19 We Carry On – Portishead
  • 19.44 A Cold Freezin’ Night – The Books
  • 23.04 Gazzillion Ear – Doom
  • 27.15 You Fucking People Make Me Sick – Swans
  • 32.20 Yang Yang – Anika
  • 35.11 Real Love – Factory Floor
  • 42.32 Infinity Skull Cube – DD/MM/YYYY
  • 45.51 Untilted – Helen Money
  • 51.42 “Four Spirits In A Room” Excerpt – Alan Moore & Stephen O’Malley
  • 56.50 Plaster Casts Of Everything – Liars
  • 60.43 8 Steps To Perfection – Company Flow
  • 65.23 Written On The Forehead – PJ Harvey
  • 68.49 Arabic Emotions – The London Snorkelling Team
  • 71.27 Wulfstan – BEAK>
  • 77.28 When My Baby Comes – Grinderman
  • 84.09 Paris Signals – S.C.U.M.
  • 88.30 Lovers With Iraqis – Foot Village
  • 92.18 Gratitude – Acoustic Ladyland
  • 96.29 Violence – The Telescopes
  • 100.01 Hannibal – Caribou
  • 106.15 Walk In The Park – Beach House