You think you know your friends? Go spend spend a little time trolling through their music. Sure, you go to concerts together, talk music, send each other songs…and then BOOM: you see they’ve been shamelessly listening to K-pop for three weeks.
When you’re knee deep in the recesses of a friends music collection, you really start question how well you know them… Like, “Who the hell is this guy? Is he really listening to Rihanna right now?” It makes you wonder what else they’re capable of…
…JUST like in the film Universal Soldiers: Jean Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren were buddies in Vietnam…until Dolph went berserk and started cutting off the ears of innocent civilians. Paralyzed with confusion, JCVD watched in horror from afar.
Sometimes I feel like JCVD… just in shock on the sidelines while my buddies plow through Top 40 tracks like a gaggle of 7th grade girls.
But then again JCVD pulled it together and beat Dolph Lungdren’s ass in Vietnam, where they both subsequently died, were cryogenically frozen, woke up as robots, and fought again in 1992 (as robots).
Anyway, thats what this VDIF MixTape is all about: kicking ass, friendship and time travel. Happy Friday.
Today’s mix tape is a bittersweet one. My brother Marc passed away unexpectedly last week and turned the world temporarily upside down. I’m sure many of you can relate to having a brother or sister who made a profound impact on your musical tastes. Well, this couldn’t be more true in my case, yet our situation was a bit different. It wasn’t me, the older brother, leading the younger brother into new directions. Our music tastes were formed together. He showed me as much as I showed him, and it culminated with Phish solidifying our bond as musical peers. We shared some amazing memories because of the band.
The mix kicks off with one of our greatest triumphs and a stunt for which our mom will never forgive us. In the summer after my sophomore year of college and his sophomore year of high school, we told her we were running an errand to the sporting goods store. Instead, we drove 16 hours from Michigan to Lemonwheel and we didn’t come back for four days. I remember he called the Mike’s opener in the first set of the first day and we went bananas.
Another great time was Deer Creek ’99, where my friends and his friends mixed seamlessly despite our age differences, and we cemented some lifelong friendships. They also jammed happy birthday to Chris during Makisupa just a couple days before Marc’s birthday. More recently, we capped off the great run of southern shows in Alpharetta on the Fourth of July where we both got our first Harpua. He proclaimed that show the best he’d ever seen. Later that year, he visited NYC for the 2010 New Years run, where he proclaimed the Sand the “best ever.” He was a big “best ever” proclaimer in case you didn’t notice.
Our last show together occurred this past 4th of July at Jones Beach. We always had a running joke based on this video of a Sims dance party set to Moma Dance. Moma was definitely among his favorite Phish songs, and we had a blast mimicking the moves from that video (which I haven’t been able to find for years). Finally, the last text he sent me before he passed, in classic little brother fashion, was “I owe you ten bucks. I downloaded a show from your Live Phish account.” That was the second night of San Francisco run.
While Phish will never be the same without him, I’ll never forget all the great times. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” This one is for you, Marc.
This week, I decided to focus this installment of our Friday Mix Tape on the grand reopening of the historic Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York – a venue that is near and dear to my heart as I grew up about 10 miles away from it. For this compilation I have picked some choice songs by a handful of the acts that will play the soon-to-be-reopened theater in the upcoming months.
The most iconic and legendary performer that The Cap has on its bill is Bob Dylan who is reopening the venue on September 4th. While Dylan has thousands of songs that could be played here, I opted for one of my personal favorites, Visions of Johanna. The Roots appear on the calendar several times in the first few months, so I fittingly included their smooth hip-hop stylings in You Got Me, featuring Erykah Badu.
The blues legend Buddy Guy teams up with Jonny Lang, so enjoy their version of Midnight Train. A live take from 1972 finds The J. Geils Band crushing Whammer Jammer, led by a hard-blowing harp. Things slow down a bit and we catch our breath during Babylon by singer-songwriter David Gray, and Ne Me Quitte Pas by the angelic Regina Spektor, before the infectious and catchy funk stylings of New Orleans’ own Galactic with What You Need.
Closing things out, I wouldn’t be doing my 1990′s, Westchester County, jamband-fan self justice if I didn’t end with the one-two punch of Blues Traveler and The Spin Doctors. (Who, coincidentally enough are playing together on October 13). The Hook has always been one of my favorite BT tunes, showcasing what made these guys so popular back in the day. And to “cap” this mix off, the pop-infused hit by The Spin Doctors: Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong…one of the very first songs I heard at The Cap.
Can’t wait to get back in there! Enjoy the weekend everyone, and go check out The Cap! It’s sure to add another chapter to their already historic legacy.
If you made it to your local cineplex this summer, odds are you probably saw one (or if your like me, all), of the following big budget super hero movies – The Avengers, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spiderman. With that in mind I thought we’d dedicate this week’s Mix Tape to all those DC and Marvel comic book heroes that we grew up with, and that I spent much of my allowance on each week. So sit back, enjoy and play it loud!!!
We kick things off with The Who’s take on the surf-rock inspired theme from the 1960′s Batman television show, that can be found on their sophomore album A Quick One. Then we’ve got indie-jam act moe., with the studio version of Captain America, the lead track from 2001′s Dither. From there we’ve got recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Donovan with Sunshine Superman - the jangly title track from his third studio album, that also happens to name check another DC super hero: Green Lantern.
Next up is The Ramones tackling the theme to the original Spiderman cartoon series from 1967, which originally appeared as a hidden track on Adios Amigos, and was also included on the alt.rock compilation Saturday Morning Cartoons’ Greatest Hits. Up next is Suicide with a live take on Ghost Rider; the synth act actually took their name from the title of Ghost Rider comic book titled Satan Suicide. Finally, we close things out with Iron Man from Black Sabbath’s stoner-metal classic Paranoid.
Next weekend marks the 5th year of the Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. 2011 marked my first year as a resident of the state of California and I had an incredible time at my first OSL. For this Friday’s Mix Tape, I wanted to focus on my must-see bands that are hitting the stage well before the sun goes down. Certainly you don’t need anyone telling you that you should go see Stevie Wonder, Jack White or that you need to ponder the drastic differences that are the conflicting sets of Metallica and Sigur Ros.
Leading off is the track Tell Me a Tale off Michael Kiwanuka’s 2012 release Home Again, a shoe-in for my Top 5 Albums of the Year list. Kiwanuka sadly only gets 40 minutes on the Panhandle Stage on Saturday but he’ll be returning to San Francisco to play The Independent on October 7th. Despite winning album of the year honors from Hidden Track in 2011, White Denim only drew a Noon time-slot on Friday at the always beautiful Sutro stage – we listen to their track Burnished. If that 45-minute set leaves you wanting more, White Denim plays a night-show later on Friday with Futurebirds at Brick and Mortar Music Hall.
Former Fleet Foxes drummer turned mushroom-taking bad-ass singer songwriter Father John Misty plays the Pandhandle stage Saturday at 2:55 – we listen to his tongue-in-cheek Writing A Novel from his 2012 release Fear Fun. While Fitz & The Tantrums surely thrive better in a sold-out-club atmosphere, they are guaranteed to get any festival crowd moving with tracks like Moneygrabber, even if it is at the main stage (Lands End Polo Field) at 3:10 on Friday. Fun fact about those guys, they have perfected that soul/funk feel without having a guitar player in the band.
Alabama Shakes are having quite a year and they are playing the Sutro Stage at 3:50 on Saturday. You’ve probably already heard their hit Hold On, this tune – I Found You – is another catchy one from their album Boys and Girls. And finally, if you’ve never heard Tame Impala’s 2010 record Innerspeaker, aka what John Lennon would sound like if he was an Indie Band, you should fix that. Their new album isn’t out yet, but the first single Elephant is taking the blogosphere by storm. You can catch them at the mainstage bright and early at 1:50 on Saturday.
With the Olympics about to start, and another basketball “Dream Team” ready for action, I couldn’t help but think about one of the best summers of my life – the Summer of ’92. I was 15 years old and starting to discover classic and indie rock, while still keeping a foot in the pop world. For this week’s Mix Tape I put together a compilation of tunes that captured my attention that fateful summer.
If you listened to rock radio during the Summer of ’92 for an hour, odds were you’d hear Tom Cochrane’s incredibly catchy one-hit-wonder Life Is A Highway. You’d also be likely to hear the Nine Inch Nails classic Head Like A Hole. GN’R were still a top the rock world that summer thanks in part to the epicness of November Rain which showed the band’s range. From there, we’ve got L7′s most famous tune, Pretend That We’re Dead, the song that introduced Cracker to the world, Happy Birthday to Me, and the Beastie Boys “comeback” hit So What’cha Want.
One group I discovered that summer which I still love is Toad The Wet Sprocket and for me it all began with All I Want. I also started to listen to the Grateful Dead in ’92 thanks in part to the release of Two From The Vault, so I’ve included the memorable Saint Stephen from that set. Finally, I’ll end with two radio staples – Give It Away by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bobby Brown’s Humpin’ Around.
We’ve gotten plenty of feedback asking us why we dedicate our friday mixtapes to JCVD. And here we were thinking it was obvious! Out of the many reasons we lionize Lion Heart, here are three:
1. He’s open-minded and ahead of his time. Van Damme’s first film role in Monaco Forever is credited as “Gay Karate Man.” In 1984? Hat’s off to you trailblazer.
2. He is literally immortal. Long after the “Muscles From Brussels” passes on in his tangible form, he will live on as the inspiration for the legendary kickboxer Johnny Cage in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series. You can never FINISH HIM!
3. He has fucking standards. Jean-Claude turned down the lead role in The Expendables during a personal phone call from Sly Stallone. He knew that movie was going to be hacky drivel and he would never have his name attached to bad taste. True, he has signed on happily for The Expendables 2, but they must have, like, a sick screenplay or something. Honestly.
Crank up this mixtape, enjoy your Friday, and don’t be afraid to comment with your own reasons why you love our tank-topped testosterone-toting trooper.
To all you hopeless romantics out there, this mix is dedicated to a new brother of mine Tom DeCoursey. I believe in your victory. ALL OF YOU.
1. Slow Runner – Love and Doubt
2. Phosphorescent – Tell Me Baby Have You had Enough
3. Whiskeytown – Under Your Breath
4. Number One Fan – It’s Happening
5. This Will Destroy You – I Believe In Your Victory
6. Beach House – Take Care
7. Ani Difranco – You Had Time
8. Umphrey’s McGee – The Weight Around
9. Tom Waits – House Where Nobody Lives
10. Radiohead – All I Need
11. Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticsm
The year 2012 is shaping up to be a great one for new music, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the realm of acoustic music. From traditional bluegrass to neo-folk and everything in between, great new acoustic albums are turning up on what seems like a daily basis. For this week’s mix tape, we’ve compiled of few of the must hears thus far.
First up, we have Walt Whitman, the rocking barn burner on an otherwise mellower album from Tramped by Turtles called Stars and Satellites. Then we hit the ubiquitous hit song Hey Ho from the Lumineers as performed for their Daytrotter session (performed in 2011, but the album just came out in April 2012). From there, it’s the single off the Tallest Man on Earth’s latest album, There’s No Leaving Now. I love this guy and can’t help thinking that there there is literally no ceiling for the trajectory of his music career.
Next, the Punch Brothers’ Clara shows a catchier side of the boundary-crossing bluegrass super group off their release Who’s Feeling Young Now? The tune One of Many gives a taste of Joe Pug’s third album, The Great Despiser. And finally, the exploding band Of Monsters and Men takes us home with the King and the Lionheart off their album My Head is an Animal.
While Memorial Day Weekend signifies the unofficial start to summer, this week we are declaring the official start to the summer road trip season, as Phish once again descends upon the seaside town of Atlantic City for a three-night run at Bader Field. With that in mind, we’ve put together a playlist that is made up exclusively of New Jersey born artists who aren’t ashamed to be from the Garden State. So sit back, enjoy and play it loud!!!
We kick things off appropriately with Atlantic City, a jangly piece of instrumental surf-pop from Ridgewood’s own Real Estate. From there we’ve got Beach Party Tonight from one of the original indie-rock bands, Yo La Tengo, who call Hoboken home. We’d be doing you and this mix a great disservice if we didn’t dip into Bon Jovi’s 1988 classic New Jersey, so we kick things into high gear with Homebound Train. Next up, we’ve got Pete Yorn, with Strange Condition from his 2001 debut album Musicforthemorningafter, which arguably may be one of the best titles going. Finally we close things out with two of the Garden State’s most celebrated sons. First up, we’ve got The Boss, with Atlantic City, from his 1982 stripped down acoustic record Nebraska, and then it’s Old Blue Eyes himself – Frank Sintara – with the title track from maybe one of the best break up records of all time, In the Wee Small Hours.
This has been a tough year for losses in the music world. For this week’s Friday Mix Tape, Marc Millman has selected a song a piece from many of those who have passed over the first five months of 2012.
Robin Gibb (1949-2012): The Bee Gees – I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You
They became the Kings of Disco. But that was in what was really their second career. The brothers Gibb started out as a soulful acoustic trio consisting of Robin, his fraternal twin Maurice and their older brother Barry. And if you aren’t familiar with the early years, you are missing out on some of the sweetest harmonies in the history of rock.
Donna Summer (1948-2012): Dim All The Lights
In 1979, I was eleven years old and supposed to be in my “Disco Sucks” phase. But secretly I wasn’t. My parents were taking Hustle lessons in the living room with all their friends and going to Studio 54 on the weekends. And the music was infectious. Donna was the Queen of it all. Dim All The Lights was the third single off her amazing Bad Girls album. It is also the only song she ever wrote by herself (Trivia: she originally wrote it for Rod Stewart before changing her mind). And as of May 17th, the lights of every dance club the world over should be dimmed in her honor.
Chuck Brown (1936-2012): Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers – Bustin’ Loose (Part 1)
In the late 70s, funk music was big but the mainstream had seen it mutate into disco. Around Washington D.C., a sub-genre named go-go developed. And Chuck Brown was considered the Godfather. Today most people will recognize the funky break that made Nelly’s Hot In Herre a hit in 2002. But shakin’ yo’ ass to the original was a right of passage for anyone clubbing it “back in the day.”
While Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer and is thought of more as a weekend for fun than a weekend of remembrance, we can’t help but think of all the sacrifices those in the armed services have made over the years to keep us safe and free. With that in mind we’ve put together a mix of six tunes that pay tribute to those who gave their lives for their country.
We start with Born In The U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen’s ode to the difficulties those who served in the Vietnam War had to deal with upon their return. Iron Maiden’s The Trooper comes next and discusses the Crimean War. From there, we give you The Rooster by Alice In Chains about guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s relationship with his Vietnam Vet father. After that, Dropkick Murphys give us Last Letter Home, a tune detailing the correspondence between an American solider and his family before he died in Iraq. Our penultimate selection comes from Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son is about a youngster who was drafted for Vietnam because he wasn’t from the world of privilege. Finally, Dispatch delivers their anti-war homage The General.
The past few months the music community, the country and even my circle of friends has been inudated with the subject of death. It is often the center of art, ranging from morbid and morose to glittering tributes to visions of the after-life. It is the inevitable for which we all wait. People’s view on the subject often ties into their belief structure, which garners another whole world of emotions and subjects. In short, death is heavy, and this mixtape is a smattering of songs on the matter.
I went for a few that everyone knows, a few everyone should know and some under the radar sketches of the next life. This mixtape is dedicated to Adam Yauch and Maurice Sendak, two gentleman who made my youth and so many others that much more magical.
2. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean-Blind Lemon Jefferson
3. Do You Realize?-Flaming Lips
4. Happy Phantom-Tori Amos
5. 0 Death-Ralph Stanley
6. What Sarah Said-Death Cab For Cutie
7. Funeral For A Friend-Elton John
8. Blowin In The Wind-Bob Dylan
9. When The Roses Bloom Again-Wilco
10. I Shall Be Released-The Band
11. Black Muddy River-Grateful Dead
It was 2001, and we were spending a lot of time at a place called “The Clubhouse” – it was my friend Dan Wolf’s long-abandoned poolhouse at his parents’ house – and we were in the summer after our freshman year of college. Phil Lesh was touring with what I considered at the time (and what I still think to be true), the best post-Jerry Garcia Grateful Dead related lineup of musicians. Warren Haynes, Rob Barraco, John Molo and of course – Jimmy Herring. We had three sets of CD’s in heavy rotation, 10-1-2000 from Memorial Auditorium in Burlington, Vermont; 10-6-2000 from The Orpheum in Boston and 10-27-2000 from the Las Vegas House of Blues. I don’t know how we picked those three – I’m sure we downloaded them off of GDLive because they were officially released free soundboards. It is with great excitement that I can say I am going to see that lineup once again tonight in San Rafael, Calif. As you may have read, this lineup played their first live show since 2003 last night.
For Friday Mix Tape, I have thrown together seven covers, and sometimes the ensuing ridiculous jams, from those three shows that I seem to know by heart. While I apologize for any abrupt transitions, (I recommend listening to these shows in their entirety for uninterrupted listening) the playlist goes…
Broken Arrow (Robbie Robertson) – 10/1/2000 Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (Bob Dylan) – 10/1/2000 Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (Traffic) – 10/6/2000 Into The Mystic (Van Morrison) – 10/6/2000 She Said, She Said (The Beatles) – 10/6/2000 Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic) – 10/27/2000 Strawberry Fields Forever (The Beatles) – 10/27/2000