What is this?
Another year has passed and, as tradition would have it, I’ve collected some tracks for my annual Mixtape.
Significant music from the course of the year is curated into a playlist and shared with friends. Some of it may be new, some old, I might have been to a gig, missed a gig, seen a film, heard something on the radio, or I have a special memory associated with a song. The Mix is always eclectic and although not all of it will be to your taste, you might just find something you like.
I design a cover and annotate each choice of track. As with any form of diary, sometimes it only makes sense to me.
My year of 2017
While world events were almost as turbulent as last, the shock seemed diminished. For me, 2017 has been quite serene. I've gotten on with my life and been more settled in many ways - starting the year with a new job at AnalogFolk. Some of the highlights have been: a trip to South Africa for my Dad's 70th, running a second Boston Marathon, New York City, a long weekend to Warsaw, Matt's 40th in Greece, Vinfest, Chateau de Lalande, Dublin, Amsterdam and finishing in Timisoara, Romania. I've been plagued by injury since the start of summer so running has taken a dip. However, it's been a fantastic year for gigs, notching up around 25 shows. Some of them make the mixtape cut.
There are many people that have contributed to the experiences and good times. You might also have some memories on RORY's SERENE 2017
How do I get it?
The mixtape exists as a Spotify playlist, CD, or digital download (only friends with my contact details can request the last two formats).
You can listen to the Mixtape from Spotify:
01. It’s time to wake up (2023)
You still sleep by my side
The two suns have risen
Like every other day, I am lucky
I have both my kidneys and I am alive
Always together for the daytime
You're my survivor
02. Harrison Ford
Whimsical and dream-like:
“With all due respect I’m only 6 minutes late,”
He doesn’t say a thing,
Just nods, and pulls out a sword.
03. Have You Been Good to Yourself
A few years after an obscure gospel musician’s death, home-made cassette recordings were unearthed from a crate in a Memphis thrift store. Johnnie Frierson’s lonesome, soulful songs were released in 2016.
04. Rita Mae Young
The Record Company
Good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll blues that gets the foot stomping.
05. Wait in the Car
Kim Deal and her sister are back with with their distinctive combination of vocal harmonies and dirty guitar: “Good Morning!”
06. Velvet Gloves & Spit
Having missed his last tour, I was determined to see the show at Bush Hall this year. I witnessed the mesmerisingly haunting crooner in all his Lynchian sleaze. Pure delight.
07. Diamonds, Girl
El May is the nom de plume of LA-based Australian musician Lara Meyerratken. I found myself Shazaming this track from the radio multiple times. Catchy indeed.
08. Something for your M.I.N.D.
Another multi-Shazamed earworm from an eight-piece group that Dazed describes as “part-pop group, part-cult, full hivemind” and NME touts as "2017’s buzziest, and most mysterious new band".
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band
This infectious cover from a German funk ensemble got a lot of welcomed airplay on BBC 6 Music this year. Perfect summer vibes.
10. Bike Dream
The former Vampire Weekend musical lead and producer puts his sexuality front and centre in this song. He featured twice on Extreme 2016 so I was thrilled to see him live this year, promoted by none other than Parallel Lines.
De La Soul, David Byrne
An unexpected, but successful collaboration to produce a peak-David-Byrne-sounding track. I’m a sucker for this.
12. Kiss You on the Cheek
Desmond and the Tutus
Having been back to SA this year, I was surprised to hear this song playing on Anna’s playlist at her supper club in Bristol, UK.
13. Love on the Brain - Los Felix Blvd
Cold War Kids
Lenny Struanberg visited London in the summer and we went to the Kids’ show. A nice reminder of some of their great song writing.
14. The Pilot
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
I was going to select "Visiting Hours" for this mixtape but was convinced to change my mind when told how this track was Sophie’s first CYHSY love.
"I know, I know, I know, I know better than to think at all
A tough-love motherfucker who was born a clown”.
15. Hold on to Me
One of those songs that digs deep and uplifts you when you need it. The music video is beautiful too. "What is one more night for us to give?"
16. Into the Great Wide Open
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Tom Petty has always been in my life. Whether it was my Dad playing the Traveling Wilbury’s or this song at the start of high school (watch the music video again - you might spot some familiar faces ;-). We were fortunate to see him play in Hyde Park on the 40th Anniversary tour shortly before his death. Legend.
17. Holy Mountain
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
A banging tune from Noel, paying homage to many classic pop rock influences. "Woooo-hoooo-ooooo!"
18. God Only Knows
The Beach Boys
We made a trip to The Royal Albert Hall to hear some of the greatest songs ever written. They filled the venue with California vibes and harmonies. Goosebump stuff.
19. Sorry You're Sick
An alcoholic love song from this Mississippi-born singer songwriter who spent most of his life performing on the streets.
20. Devil Rides Backwards
2017 marked the 25 year anniversary of Automatic for the People and the band released some archived material. This previously unreleased demo captures some of the raw beauty of Stipe’s lyrics.
21. Creature Comfort
A new album with some material that takes me back to their anthemic best. Can't wait to be chanting in unison at their show next year.
22. Corduroy - Live
One of the best gigs of the year wasn't actually a live show per say. It was watching a screening of the incredible documentary "Let's Play Two" featuring Pearl Jam's show at Wrigley Field. The doc also tells the story of the Chicago Cubs fascinating journey to winning the 2016 World Series, as featured on last year's Mixtape. Byron would've loved it.
23. Can't Nobody Love You
This 60's pop song has been on the 2017 playlist since early in the year.
From my Spotify weekly Discover playlist, this song from the "Detroit trap pop" captivated me. I guess algorithms can work.
25. Writer in the Dark
Sounding so much like Tori Amos in parts of this song, anyone who uses the word "rue" effectively in their lyrics deserves praise.
26. Memories Are Now
Jesca's music was nurtured by Tom Waits when she was a nanny to his children. He once described her as "like a four-sided coin. She is an old soul, like a black pearl, a good witch or a red moon. Her music is like going swimming in a lake at night". It made a beautiful Union Chapel gig in December.
Still in his dad's shadow, Baxter manages to conjure up an electric fascination of oddity. It also happens to be the first gig I ever saw with the Omm.
The Brummie lads pull no punches with their intensity and lyrics. I couldn't wait to see them support the Stone Roses and they were arresting.
29. Spent the Day in Bed
The miserable bugger is back with this catchy number that doesn't stray from his existential angst.
30. Song for a Secret
The Jesus and Mary Chain
The first new album in 19 years and this track harkens back to some of the material of the past. I managed to see them for the first time alongside Spinelli and Dunn and I was reminded of their brilliance.
31. Tearz (45 Mix)
El Michels Affair
Take a Wu Tan track that sampled Wendy Rene's 60's pop song and lay over her original vocals for a very meta outcome.
32. Broken Record
You might incorrectly know him as Edward Sharpe, fronting the Magnetic Zeros; but that was just the band name. He manages to capture the same elating feelings in this new solo work.
33. Ten Storey Love Song
The Stone Roses
Having assumed I would never see them play, I finally got the opportunity with their comeback show at Wembley Stadium along with the Baarrrs. Bucket hats and weathered fans helped the Mancunians create a magical show.
34. Your Best American Girl
From a critically acclaimed album, this young Japanese American sound reminds me of a more tender early Weezer. I love the grungy guitar riffs that offset the gentle vocals.
35. Semicircle Song
The Go! Team
The Brighton collective’s title track from their new album is an "ecstatic rogue marching band romp” featuring the Detroit Youth Choir. Super fun.
36. Seasons (Waiting on you)
Probably the most passionate indy pop performance in the world right now. The raw power and passion at The Dome was super special. Thanks JD!
37. Only God Knows
I finally got to see the Scottish Mercury Prize winners at the Royal Festival Hall this summer. Supreme energy levels in their performance.
38. 95 Radios
Open Mike Eagle
I love the laid back comforting feeling from this indie rapper.
"Give what you can and take what you need. Don’t lose your faith in humanity."
40. Die Young
The duo have been a regular on the playlist with their new album this year. A great show at Sheperds Bush Empire in November.
41. Oh baby
There's only one person who likes this track more than me. Thanks to Selby for organising the surprise show for Lina and all the c****
42. Trump Talkin’ Nukes
Who would think one man’s anti-Trump album could be so beautiful. The most beautiful.
"They say be with the one that you love."
44. Tonight Tonight
The Smashing Pumpkins
"You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth." Thank you Billy. Let’s play on.
Mungo’s HiFi, Eva Lazarus
Three school friends reunite in Amsterdam for a weekend. Dave, Matt and I. What could possibly go wrong?
46. Turtles Have Short Legs
Sophie sent this song to me: “I think you’ll love this!” Oh yes! And so I discovered the influential Kraut Rockers and a new silly dance.
47. Float On
It was a particularly bad day on the tube and I read the utterly bleak world news with despair. As I got out of the station, I heard this version from the Su Kil Moon front man for the first time. I felt an enormous sense of relief.
48. Where is my Mind
Every year there would be one person who made an extra effort to share his excitement and thank me for my mixtape. It made all the effort worth it - to know that it mattered. Russ, this one’s for you. You are missed, my friend.