It Started With A Mix #2: And Another One Goes By – Matt’s Pitchfork Mix, 2009

26 06 2009

Pitchfork Music Festival is the second in the triumvirate of music festivals I attend every year. While this April marked my fifth Coachella, meaning I’ve now attended half of the festivals in Coachella’s 10 year existence, this year’s Pitchfork will be my fourth, meaning I’ve attended every year that the festival has existed. I’m still on the fence about Lollapalooza. I’ve been every year since the festival took up residence in Chicago, but this year, due to a combination of mediocre lineup and a hectic schedule, I may be staying home or only going for one day.

I mentioned in a previous post that over the past five years, I’ve made it a tradition to make a preview mix for every musical festival I attend. One of the keys to a successful mix is, of course, song selection. The centerpiece of a good festival preview mix is a collaboration that brings together two or more of the artists from the lineup, the kind of song that takes on a unique significance in the context of that particular festival. It may be a cover, like TV on the Radio doing the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Modern Romance” for my 2006 Coachella mix; a collaboration, like Kanye & Lupe (plus Pharrell, who wasn’t there) borrowing a sample from Thom Yorke’s “The Eraser” on “Us Placer’s” for my 2008 Lollapalooza mix, the year Radiohead played; or a remix, as is the case on this year’s Pitchfork mix with Final Fantasy’s string-heavy treatment of Grizzly Bear’s “Don’t Ask.” I almost threw in “Hey Dad,” a collaboration between Final Fantasy and Beirut’s Zach Condon, as well, but decided I didn’t like the song all that much.

The mix I ended up with starts off minimalist and mysterious with a piece from Tortoise’s TNT, but quickly builds towards increasingly noisy and spazzy rock tracks, climaxing with the Jesus Lizard’s pornographic classic, “Lady Shoes” and m83’s gorgeous epic “Don’t Save Us From The Flames” before leveling off for an eclectic jaunt through a variety of genres and ending on an emotionally bare but ultimately uplifting note with Frightened Rabbits “Modern Leper,” which goes out to a friend of mine who is deathly afraid of leprosy.

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It Started With A Mixx #1: Dance Dance Dance – Matt’s Coachella Mix, 2009

7 03 2009

In April 2005, I attended my first Coachella. Some of my friends in grad school had gone the year before and had a great time, and though I didn’t know much at the time about many of the bands beyond Nine Inch Nails (who proved to be one of the highlights of the weekend) and Weezer, I was tempted by the sense of discovery, and decided I wanted in. Coachella 2005 was in many ways the beginning of my current love affair with music. In the weeks prior the concert, my much better informed friends introduced me to groups like the Arcade Fire, Bloc Party, the Futureheads, Rilo Kiley, and Wilco, at least two of whom would currently rank among my favorite bands. We began what would become, at least for me, a tradition of sort – we would each make and share a mix tape featuring the artists we were most excited to see. Of course, at the time, I didn’t yet know enough of the bands to put together a mix of my own, but when the same idea rolled around the following year, I threw together a mix called “Goldenvoice is Gonna Tell Me Where the Light Is: Clap Your Hands, Say Coachella 2006,” and I’ve kept the tradition going ever since.

Nowadays, I attend at least three music festivals a year (Coachella, Pitchfork, and Lollapalooza, plus smaller festivals like the Hideout Block Party), and I make it a point to make a mix tape for each one. It’s a way for me to get to know the bands, to share my excitement with my fellow concertgoers, and in some cases, to provide a useful reference point for when I want to insist we head over to see some band my friends have never heard of. It also means I have a permanent record of my concert-going history, in case I want to look back at 10 years and see who I was looking forward to seeing at Pitchfork Music Festival 2007, etc.

This year’s mix is, in my opinion, one of my best, though through no fault of my own: it’s easy to make a great mix when you have this kind of material available, when you can start off with the Smiths and end with the Beatles! I’m also proud of this post for a second reason: in the past 24 hours, I have conquered the internets in a battle of wills over whether it would be possible to post a playlist of streaming audio on WordPress. As my previous post indicates, I figured out how to embed an imeem playlist last night, only to discover that imeem only allows you to play 30 seconds of each song. After a great deal of searching, I finally found an alternative that didn’t require me to have somewhere to host a music player. The songs are all hosted on WordPress, so if you really want links to individual songs, leave me a comment and I’ll probably oblige. In the mean time, I’m just going to post the whole mix as a zip file, along with the playlist below. Enjoy!

[Download the “Dance Dance Dance – Matt’s 2009 Coachella Mix”]

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