Posted by: cousinbrandon | August 26, 2009

“The Mixes” Series: Play and Work, 2003

There really is something to be said for looking back – for taking stock, so to speak. I know they say our sense of smell is strongest in terms of triggering memory, but I contend that our sense of sound might be equally powerful. I can still hear a track or think of a record and know exactly where I was the first time I heard it. For instance, I still associate three records with my freshman year of college (‘93/’94 school year) at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh:

Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville
311 – Music

Before you give me shit, let me just say that, yes, 311 is a pretty horrible band, but when Music came out I was absolutely struck by it. For its time, it was different, fun, and even smart. In fact, I’d say it probably holds up even now. Sure, they’ve released flaming heaps of awful over the past decade, but that debut was strong.

Now in terms of Play and Work, I can safely say there was plenty of good music released in 2003.  If I had to narrow it down to three records, I’d go with Do Make Say Think’s Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn, The Unicorns’ Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, and, above all else, Songs: Ohia’s Magnolia Electric Co.  

Just a note on one of the songs in particular on Play. “Show Me Your Heart” by Need New Body may be one of the greatest songs you’ve never heard. I’m not praising them as a band (despite the fact that UFO, the record from which this song came, is solid), but there is no denying how strangely infectious this track is. I mean, it’s a weird, catchy, strange and wonderful math-rock type of single. The version below is a live video of the band playing in what looks like someone’s living room. I dare you to tell me they don’t look like they’d be an absolute blast to see in person!

With that, here’s 2003 in a nutshell:

Play (The Best “Fast” Tracks of 2003):

1. Do Make Say Think – “Horns of a Rabbit
2. Aereogramme – “Yes
3. Need New Body – “Show Me Your Heart
4. The White Stripes – “Hypnotize
5. TV On the Radio – “Satellite
6. The Constantines – “On to You
7. Single Frame – “Post Daydream Forecast Endeavor”
8. Radiohead – “2+2=5
9. Stephen Malkmus – “Dark Wave
10. Exploding Hearts – “Rumors in Town
11. New Pornographers – “The End of Medicine
12. The Unicorns – “Les Os
13. Guided By Voices – “Secret Star
14. Broken Social Scene – “Cause = Time
15. Songs: Ohia – “Farewell Transmission
16. Outkast – “Hey Ya!
17. The Shins – “So Says I
18. Cat Power – “He War
19. Clem Snide – “Action
20. The Wrens – “This Boy is Exhausted
21. Ween – “If You Could Save Yourself (You’d Save Us All)

Work (The Best “Slow” Tracks of 2003):

1. Summer at Shatter Creek – “Home for the Holidays
2. Super Furry Animals – “Liberty Belle
3. Stephen Malkmus – “Fractions & Feelings”
4. The Notwist – “One With the Freaks
5. The Shins – “Saint Simon
6. The Wrens – “Boys, You Won’t
7. Kingsbury Manx – “Creature of Habit
8. Single Frame – “Comm. Jet
9. Mink Lungs – “Sad Song of Birds”
10. Sufjan Stevens – “Romulus
11. Cat Power – “I Don’t Blame You
12. TV On the Radio – “Mr. Grieves
13. Baptist Generals – “Going Back Song
14. Low Skies – “Sad Hymn
15. Ween – “I Don’t Want It
16. Grandaddy – “The Warming Sun
17. Songs: Ohia – “Hold On Magnolia
18. Do Make Say Think – “Ontario Plates

That’s all for 2003.  Get after it.

Disagree with any of my picks?  Are there any horrible oversights?  Can’t live without your own copy of my mix?  Whatever the case, feel free to send me your comments, questions, quips and complaints.

Until next time, have at it, you vultures!




  1. Great stuff! I would put “Scatterbrain” by Radiohead on there somewhere (I guess on the “work” mix)

  2. Hey Couchman, I’m such an old fossil – the only band I even recognize on this list of yours is Ween, who I like because they are so silly. Otherwise I think you should probably give up on all this post-adolescent schlock and move on to some music that really rocks – Mahler. Yeah, that’s right, Gustav Mahler, the Austrian jew who more skillfully than anyone conducted the operas of Wagner, the loathsome Nazi. Anyway, I would recommend you try his 2nd, 4th or 9th Symphonies, or his song cycle “Das Lied von der Erde”. All of them rock! Love Dirt

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