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Stranger Music

Burned cds are a wonderful relic of the 2000’s. Done in by ipods, they’re now destined to landfills a few layers above the cassette tapes they had in a past life vanquished.

There’s something very personal about these modern mix-tape packages. They take an extra effort to make. They usually include an album… and also whatever else you could fit in the remaining time leftover. And of course, the blank cover provides a beautiful canvas to show off a 15 year old’s hand at Sharpie calligraphy.

Walking home a few weeks ago I passed by a house with a small box of things out on the sidewalk. Under a “PLEASE TAKE!” sign were some cleaning supplies, a few books, and a couple towers of CD’s. Looking closer, I was delighted that almost every cd in the collection was burned.

A month and 53 cds later, I’m almost halfway through the collection!

Before diving into the cd’s themselves, here’s a playlist of my favorites:

Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour

Hands down, this was the best. Bob Dylan did a radio show between 2006-’09! !!

This particular episode starts out with him reading Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”, and instantly I was hooked. Every episode features Dylan chewing up narration between the music he plays. Sometimes it’s interesting trivia about the musicians and tunes he’s playing. Other times it just him rattling off a list of things. And it’s all amazing.

Outside of Dylan’s raspy narrations, the show features a lot of 30’s-70’s American music. Every episode is based around a theme, and a lot of the choices are pretty inspired. Every so often he also throws in something more modern, such as in the ‘Mom’ themed episode, which includes LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out”.

I’m legitimately frustrated I spent a decade not knowing this show existed. Luckily for me (and you!) they have the archive of the whole show here: Treat yourself, listen to a few of em’.

La Scandal Disqoteche

This compilation album has one review on Amazon – five stars, and states that this album is a great to help set the mood of your cocktail party. They ain’t wrong!

La Scandal Disqoteche is a bunch of 70s funk, jazz, and orchestra rock you can’t help but picture people gyrating on colorful elevated circles to. But it’s good. Granted, I’m biased here. Listening to this album walking down New York streets makes you feel like a big time hustler in a period film.

At least one other person also digs this, as they put together a playlist of the tunes on it on Spotify. You can check it out here.

The United States of America

This one’s weird. And pretty perfectly 1968, partly because The United States of America as a band didn’t make it to the 70s.

The tunes on this album are pretty sporadic, but for the most part feature fields of synth, energetic drums, and lazer sound effects pew pew. On top of that you switch between Age of Aquarius vocals and typical pop choruses every three tracks or so. It’s strange and it’s rad.

It’s reminiscent of Olivia Tremor Control, so if you like them, or other Elephant Six bands, or just weird early electronic experimental stuff, give it a go.

These guys are also on Spotify here.

Minotaur Shock

Calming ’05 electronic jams. Like La Scandal, this benefits from being the perfect thing to listen to while being idle on a subway. That’s doing it a bit of an injustice though, as it just pairs well with a lot of things. I’ve come back to it a good number of times.

Kinda like a less dance club-focused Fatboy Slim or The Chemical Brothers. Good vibes, good tunes.

Also check out that adorable minotaur doodle. We need to figure out how to add illustrative labels to mp3s, and we need to do it stat.

Spotify link.

, and the rest.

Here’s what the rest of em’ look like so far:

  • 4 albums of Belle & Sebastian. I’ve been a fan for awhile of em’, it’s been cool to go back and listen to the albums full through.

  • ’70’s Arabic & Egypitan Rock. Only a few cds of these, but they’re great.

  • Only one rap album, aptly titled “Old Skool Hip Hop”

  • Lots of 2000’s pop rock bands. This stuff I’m less thrilled about. It seems to be a pattern for these bands that they write a hook and then spend 6 minutes just repeating it over and over again without doing anything interesting on top… and then it fades out.

  • Worst one: a compliation of Green Day b-sides. They’ve made good music, this ain’t it.

  • Lots of Ryan Adams. Maybe these are good, but before I had a chance to listen to em’ news of his sexual abuse broke. Pretty content skipping these ones over.

That’s it for now, but I’m only just under halfway through!

All in all, I’m digging this person’s taste. It’s been particularly fun trying to assume what the album is based on the artist name. I’m usually wrong.

Only downside has been how fast my cd player eats up AA batteries. I’m solely responsible for keeping Duracell in business at this point.

–The guy on the F train fiddling with a cd player at 10 in the morning

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