Friday, May 13, 2011

Mix Memories: Volume One

I don't listen to music as often or intently as I once did. These days, I typically have an audiobook in the car and a movie usually going in my room. At work, I sometimes have Pandora on or I listen to one artist's discography on my iPod. And I think I've realized why it's never one of the many playlists I've made over the years. When I listen to those mixes, they're a collection of my favorites and I find myself distracted with the memories the songs bring. So, I decided to put some of them down, if only as some self-preservation. Some memories mean more than others and some are just observations.

"The New Year" by Death Cab For Cutie
- I spent a lot of the summer of 2004 either playing music in my garage or hanging out in front of Bogart's. My friends worked there and the owner hated us loitering around the parking lot. I mean, we were 19 years old and our friends made sandwiches for a living, so obviously we were moochers. But it felt like you could stop by any time of the day and there was someone there doing nothing. I remember Rex showed me this song in his car in Bogart's parking lot once when we were bored and playing catch. You could spend all day there and it wasn't until the sun went down that you had to figure out what to do with your time.

"A Tender History In Rust" by Do Make Say Think - I don't remember why I was coming home from Los Angeles that night, but I remember Sarvas was driving and Jeff put this on. I watched the skyline fade behind the trees and the houses as we headed home.

"The Remains Of The Day" by Mono - Jeff showed me this song once and I told him that it was hardly a song. He gave me a copy of the album anyway, and I listened to it on my own a few more times and loved its airy sound. It was perfect music for sitting around my room.

"Digital Love" by Daft Punk - When Ryan and I visited Boston, Cousin Eric drove us to New Hampshire to see his friends and we listened to Daft Punk as we took our time through the the forested countryside. Once we arrived in that small town in New Hampshire, the three of us wandered along a river and then sat at an outdoor table at Eric's friend's restaurant. The patio was covered and we watched a heavy storm come and go, all while Ryan and I fell in love with the same girl we couldn't have.

"Don't Stop" by Brazilian Girls - Chris and I took a long bike ride around Old Towne Orange one spring afternoon, all while talking about how our relationships would soar or sink with no middle ground. We stopped by his girlfriend's apartment and she was cleaning her room with this song on. I demanded to know who it was and then listened to it for a week straight.

"Us" by Regina Spektor - I was watching Conan O'Brien one night I couldn't sleep and she was performing this song. I leaned closer to the television because I couldn't believe how good it was. I thought about lucky the guy was that the song was about (not so much the lyrics, but just to have such a good song about him being played on national television). I then decided to date a pretty singer/songwriter that could play the piano for me on Sunday mornings in our New York City loft with brick walls while I made her breakfast. I have since been unsuccessful.

"Die" by Carissa's Wierd - I remember finding out this band the summer I spent hanging with Bret and Randy at the hookah bar. This song gave me the chills the first time I heard it. Who could be this beautiful and broken?

"Road To Joy" by Bright Eyes - I remember driving up to Thanksgiving with my mom, my brother, my sister and my grandma one year. My siblings hated Bright Eyes and I couldn't stop listening to this song. I made them put it on and I either forgot or didn't care about the part where he yells "Let's fuck it up, boys! Make some noise!" Well, I'll tell you, nobody was happy. Except me. I was really happy. This song ruled then and it rules now.

"Old School Reasons" by Alkaline Trio - I can't think of a better song to blast while cruising around on summer afternoons with the windows down. I listened to it the entire summer of 2006 when all I recall doing was swimming, drinking and writing. I feel like I only worked at my restaurant job just enough to afford gas that summer.

"Twelve" by Forward, Russia! - I was sitting in a gas station with Jeff while Rex was getting gas and we were trying to figure out what the lyrics were as it was playing. I think we cheated and finally pulled out the album insert.

"Indian Summer" by Pedro The Lion - I love the phrase "Indian summer" and this song sort of puts the right vibe to those two words. Also, for a few-week period, Bret had to repeatedly ask me not to sing-talk like the singer. I couldn't stop. I had a problem. I was crazy addicted to sing-talking like the singer of Pedro The Lion.

"Bruised" by The Bens - This song makes me think of Julia, but not because of this specific song. I just feel like I got into each Ben in the band at her house (Ben Folds, Ben Kweller and Ben Lee). Actually, maybe I did listen to this song at her house when I went there every other weekend. I don't know. The more I think about it, I feel like this song reminds me a lot of the end of the summer after high school when everyone left for college. Ugh. What a cliche.

"West Coast" by Coconut Records - I first heard this at a party at the Columbus House and everything suddenly felt like some weird indie music video. Everything seemed to be moving slower and everyone was smiling all nostalgic. Or I think that's how it was. I'm not entirely sure. I was on drugs at the time.

"Every Direction Is North" by El Ten Eleven - Randy one gave me a heap of electronic and post-rock music. I didn't listen to it for a long time. I finally put one of the albums in my car and I remember this song standing out as I pulled out of a gas station. I put it on a mix for someone later that week. That's about it. Sorry. Not much on this one.

"We Have A Map Of The Piano" by Mum - I took this in a gigantic steal from Jenelle's computer. We had lunch at Jalapeno's and then went back to her apartment and she showed me all the music she considered for choreography. I didn't listen to Mum for years. Then, one night when I was sitting at my computer, I put it on and it put me in the weirdest place. It felt like a Bjork-like digital ghost was seducing me with opium and freaky slow dancing from the east. I think I laid on my floor and listen to the barely-there ambient music wondering what dance Jenelle came up with for this song.

"Swimmers" by Broken Social Scene - I listened to this song and it made my way into a dream one night. I think it was me, a girl I loved in the dream and didn't know in real life and our collective friends all swimming at some lake with a rope swing. It was in slow motion and it looked like my brained film it on an old video camera. My dream couldn't have looked more like a memorial video to play at some hipster's funeral if it tried.

"Suicide" by Eulogies - I have no idea how I scored this album. I found it tucked in my car's backseat when I was cleaning out my mess of an interior. There was no case. It was just the actual disc. I put it in my stereo when I got home. After I heard this song, I thought, "Well, it doesn't matter whose this was. It's mine now."

"Up On The Roof" by The Drifters - The summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I spent a lot of afternoons driving around with Sarvas and smoking cigarettes for the first time. We listened to a lot of oldies and he told me this was his cheer-up song. Everyone has their own cheer-up songs, but I don't normally adopt them. This one, however, I kind of lifted for myself. I listened to it once on an actual roof and I probably ripped a hole in the space-time continuum. Sorry, universe.

"Mood Indigo" by Duke Ellington - Some summer nights, the weather is perfect. You sleep with the windows open and maybe one blanket on top of you. And you almost don't want to fall asleep, because then it'll be loud and bright and you'll get distracted with the morning world. But for those minutes or hours you lay in bed, waiting to fall asleep in the cool breeze, you think of somebody. That's this song.

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