Posted by: cousinbrandon | January 13, 2011

The “Miscellaneous” Mixes: Circa 2010, Smoke and Mirrors

Today I’ve got yet another best of 2010 mix for you, this one coming compliments of my bestest pal in the great Northwest, Mike. You might remember Mike from his previous Circa mixes, as well as his John Locke mix. (Again, have I mentioned how much I miss LOST?) Well, he was at again in 2010, this time offering up Smoke and Mirrors.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that Mike’s taste has grown more and more dissimilar from mine. I think he’s always leaned a bit more to the “electronica” than I have. What’s more, living in a musical mecca like Seattle, he’s been inundated with a slew of great local music. In reviews his tracklists from this year, we shared only five bands/performers (Best Coast, Wavves, Fang Island, No Age and Avi Buffalo), down from eight in 2009. Stranger still is that, despite having five common bands, we have none of the same songs on our mixes. Now, I have to take issue with Mike’s inclusion of Pomegranates’ “Everybody Come Outside” and The Antlers’ “Bear,” as both are technically 2009 releases. (And, yes, I already called Mike out on it via email, so he knew this was coming.) Nevertheless, give his mixes a whirl. I think you’ll find the (dis)similarities to mine pretty darn clear.

Photo by Louise Ingalls Sturges
Smoke cover art.

Photo by Louise Ingalls Sturges
Smoke interior art.

Photo by Louise Ingalls Sturges
Mirrors cover art.

Photo by Louise Ingalls Sturges
Mirrors interior art.

[Note: the cover art features the photography of our mutual friend, Louise Ingalls Sturges, whose kick-ass blog you can find here.]

Circa 2010, Smoke:

1. The Radio Dept. – “The New Improved Hypocrisy” (Clinging to a Scheme)
2. Warpaint – “Undertow” (The Fool)
3. Pomegranates – “Everybody Come Outside” (Everybody Come Outside)
4. Best Coast – “Goodbye” (Crazy For You)
5. Surf City – “Crazy Rulers of the World” (Kudos)
6. Thee Oh Sees – “I Was Denied” (Warm Slime)
7. Augustines – “Book of James
8. Yuni in Taxco – “King of Borneo
9. The Soft Pack – “Mexico” (The Soft Pack)
10. Wavves – “Baseball Cards” (King of the Beach)
11. Menomena – “TAOS” (Mines)
12. The Fresh & Onlys – “Waterfall” (Play It Strange)
13. Unbunny – “Winning Streak” (Moon Food)
14. Tame Impala – “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?” (Innerspeaker)
15. The Head and the Heart – “Sounds Like Hallelujah” (The Head and the Heart)
16. The Beauties – “Hearts Are Down” (The Beauties)
17. Pepper Rabbit – “None Shall Sleep” (Beauregard)
18. The Mynabirds – “Numbers Don’t Lie” (What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood)
19. Owen Pallet – “Lewis Takes Action” (Heartland)
20. The Walkmen – “All My Great Designs” (Lisbon)

Circa 2010, Mirrors:

1. Avey Tare – “Lucky 1” (Down There)
2. Caribou – “Leave House” (Swim)
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “Nothing But Our Love” (Horse Power EP)
4. The Antlers – “Bear” (Hospice)
5. Fang Island – “Life Coach” (Fang Island)
6. Wavves – “Green Eyes” (King of the Beach)
7. Quasi – “Repulsion” (American Gong)
8. JEFF & The Brotherhood – “Heavy Days” (Heavy Days)
9. The Absolute Monarchs – “Sharp” (The Absolute Monarchs)
10. The Lights – “New New
11. No Age – “Skinned” (Everything in Between)
12. Pomegranates – “Skull Cakin’” (One of Us)
13. Bear Hands – “What A Drag” (Burning Bush Supper Club)
14. Cloud Nothings – “Can’t Stay Awake” (Turning On)
15. Deerhunter – “Desire Lines” (Halcyon Digest)
16. Woods – “Blood Dries Darker” (At Echo Lake)
17. Plants and Animals – “Tom Cruz” (La La Land)
18. Highlife – “Tuareg Dancehall” (Best Bless EP)
19. Surfer Blood – “Neighbour Riffs” (Astro Coast)
20. Avi Buffalo – “Where’s Your Dirty Mind” (Avi Buffalo)

Well, that’ll just about do it for Mike’s Best of 2010 mixes. More importantly, a special congratulatory wish to Mike and his wife, who just had their first child, a baby girl, only two weeks ago. So until Cousin Matt gets me his Best of 2010 mixes, have at it, you vultures!



  1. Thanks Brandon. It sucks that “Bear” was a 2009 release because, I have have to say, that transition into “Life Coach” kinda kicked ass in my opinion. Thinking about an addendum to this one. Stay tuned…

    My take on 2010:

    Top 5 Albums
    5. Aloe Blacc – Good Things
    4. Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
    3. Waaves – King of the Beach
    2. Thee Oh Sees – Warm Slime
    1. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – I Learned the Hard Way

    Top 5 Biggest Let Downs:
    5. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
    4. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
    3. Dr. Dog – Shame Shame
    2. Wolf Parade – Expo 86
    1. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record

    Top 3 Cover Art:
    3. The Budos Band -III
    2. Thee Oh Sees – Warm Slime
    1. Future Islands – In Evening Air

    Not From 2010 but… Artists and/or Albums Ive been listening to in 2010:
    Althea and Donna- Uptown Ranking
    Dike and The Blazers
    Fleetwood Mac – Then Play On
    Brian Eno – Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy
    Ike and Tina – Workin’ Together

    • I think your lists, particularly your “Biggest Let Downs,” speaks to exactly how it is we disagree these days in terms of taste. I mean, The Suburbs was my album of the year, man! What’s more, I got my hands on the Tame Impala record and didn’t really care for it.

      Nevertheless, thanks for sharing, both this and the mix.

    • Crotch – I love the inclusion of Sharon Jones, that album (and her sound) is transcendent, as any music that I can like AND my parents appreciate shouldn’t really exist in the same world.

      I also agree with LCD. Not sure why so many people thought this was such an essential release. I think both of his other full lengths are better, by far. I also completely agree with the Wolf Parade. Those guys have been my go-to for a few years now, and I can’t believe how disinterested in the new album I was. The big let down isn’t really the album itself, but in the realization that it didn’t live up to my expectations. Hell, it barely lived up to half my expectations.

      I have to say, I’m surprised at BSS pick – I actually thought this was a great return to form for them. A mish mash of sounds and styles that ended up being an extremely cohesive listen. And very chill, in all the right ways.

  2. Man, there is a lot of food for thought here. A ton of stuff I’ve either never heard of or that I’ve only heard names in passing. Looking forward to plowing through some of the links. How is the Menomena album? I’ve never heard anything by them but iTunes and Amazon keep telling me to buy Mines. I’ve also had the Budos Band one on my list for a while but I’ve only heard a snippet of them. A really good snippet, but that’s it. How is III (if you don’t mind my asking)?

    I like the Tame Impala record. It’s definitely mood listening, and it’s a mood that I’m not necessarily in a whole lot, but on the right day it’s definitely a good listen. Shame, Shame was a big disappointment to me too. I still liked it on the whole, a couple of really good tracks, but after Fate I was so hyped for that record. I guess I was destined for a let down.

    Nice pick with the Sharon Jones record as well. I enjoyed that one.

    • If you’re looking for a Menomena record, pick up I am the Fun Blame Monster. I liked Mines, but couldn’t manage to pull out a track for my mix. Nothing stood out enough for me.

      I’m kind with you both on Shame, Shame. I mean, it actually has a couple of really good songs, but Fate just blew it out of the water. I heard a recent critic say that Dr. Dog just keeps on getting better with every album, but I totally agree that Shame, Shame was a step backwards.

      • Thanks man. I’ll take a look at I am the Fun Blame Monster.

        Yeah, aside from a crisper production, which I think actually kind of hurt the album all in all, I think it’s definitely a step backwards. Aside from the couple of stand outs, I just felt like the songs weren’t nearly as interesting. I’m also a sucker for the album being an album, and that one really had more of a collection of songs feel. They had that same Dr. Dog quality, and I bet that if it was Shame Shame by Random Band I’ve Never Heard Of, I probably would have been much more impressed, but I listened to it a few times out of the gates, then a couple more times after a bit of time went by, but nothing really motivates me to toss it on since then.

        • I’m with you on the production value. I have nothing against clean production, but I don’t see how it was helpful in their case. And your point about Shame, Shame being “less of an album” is dead-on. Fate just works really, really well in that sense. Still, “Later” and “Mirror, Mirror” are both solid tracks.

  3. Yeah. I tend to appreciate good production, but I think they found a good pocket for their sound with Fate. I think they got clean to a point where it detracted from what is charming about them. Fate was such a good culmination of all of that.

    Those are definitely good tracks, particularly Later for me. I also liked Unbearable Why a lot.

    • Robots – I know I’m late in responding, and I’m not even sure if you’ll be checking back, but I can wholeheartedly endorse Friend and Foe as Menomena’s best. That album was my #5 album of ’07 and produced my #1 song of that year. Mines is decent, but if you’re looking for the best parts of Menomena, check out Friend and Foe.

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