So this might very well be the last installment of the “Music for the Ex” Mixes. At least, I think it might be. I’m sure if I rummage through a couple boxes I’ll find a ton of mix tapes I made for her, as well, so no promises either way. I know I’ve made this point before, but just looking at the tracklist for Music in Stereo is like some sort of visual/audio reminder of very specific moments in my life.
In fact, I’m going to quickly scroll through these mixes and tell you exactly which location or memory I associate with each song, as noted after each track below….
It’s strange, really, that music can do that. Put you in a place, I mean. For instance, looking over the list below, if I think of, say, “Sapelo Sound” by Seely, I’m immediately transported to Zephyr, a bar I used to manage and sling drinks in located in downtown Harrisburg. Every night I’d show up with a stack of tapes in order to “set the mood,” so to speak, and Seely’s Winter Birds was among my regular rotation. “Doin’ the Cockroach” transports me to 39 Cuesta Road in Santa Fe, NM, a home I shared with three of my college pals in a too-affluent neighborhood where we once (allegedly) gave our neighbor’s husband a heart attack following a party we had one evening. So sue me. I distinctly recall walking out of Reckless Records’ Milwaukee Ave. location in Chicago with Kingsbury Manx’s self-titled debut, on which “Fanfare” appeared.
The best thing about these songs, though, is that despite appearing as part of my “Music for the Ex” series, they don’t remind me of my ex. Rather, they just hold up (for the most part) as great songs – as audio landmarks, if you will, that help me in some sort of unwritten autobiography. In that sense, I guess a mix tape is just like a journal, something I never considered until just now.
Music in Stereo cover.
Music in Stereo inside art.
Music in Stereo (Vol. 1):
1. Archer Prewitt – “White Sky” (Chicago, IL)
2. Bright Eyes – “If Winter Ends” (Harrisburg, PA)
3. Modest Mouse – “A Life of Arctic Sounds” (Harrisburg, PA)
4. Beck – “Fuckin’ with My Head (Mountain Dew Rock)” (Santa Fe, NM)
5. The Apples in Stereo – “Allright/Not Quite” (Harrisburg, PA)
6. Silkworm – “Never Met a Man I Didn’t Like” (Harrisburg, PA)
7. Pavement – “No Tan Lines” (Halifax, PA)
8. Death Cab For Cutie – “Bend to Squares” (Chicago, IL)
9. Silver Jews – “People” (Chicago, IL)
10. Grandaddy – “Summer Here Kids” (Harrisburg, PA)
11. Quasi – “Me & My Head” (Chicago, IL)
12. Belle & Sebastian – “I Don’t Love Anyone” (Chicago, IL)
13. Chris Mills – “Stakes is High” (Chicago, IL)
Music in Stereo (Vol. 2):
1. Seely – “Sapelo Sound” (Harrisburg, PA)
2. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “Get Down Lover” (Harrisburg, PA)
3. Ween – “Bananas and Blow” (Boston, MA)
4. Supersuckers – “Bad Bad Bad” (Boston, MA)
5. Modest Mouse – “Doin’ the Cockroach” (Santa Fe, NM)
6. Superchunk – “Low Branches” (Harrisburg, PA)
7. Swearing at Motorists – “No More James Dean” (Chicago, IL)
8. Clem Snide – “I Love the Unknown” (Harrisburg, PA)
9. The Halo Benders – “Your Asterisk” (Chicago, IL)
10. Home – “Burden” (Chicago, IL)
11. Radar Bros. – “Shoveling Sons” (Harrisburg, PA)
12. The Kingsbury Manx – “Fanfare” (Chicago, IL)
13. Richard Buckner – “Polly Waltz” (Chicago, IL)
Well that’ll do it for this time, but hopefully not for good. Again, I’ve got some old boxes to sift through, so who knows what I might find. Provided it’s something more than the first tape I ever bought (Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack, incidentally), we should be fine.
Until next time, have at it, you vultures!