Posted by: cousinbrandon | June 14, 2012

The “Miscellaneous” Mixes: Circa 2011, Utopia and Dystopia

Today I’ve got yet another best of 2011 mix for you, and only 6 months removed from 2011. This one once again comes courtesy of my bestest pal in the great Northwest, Mike, who is situated somewhere between The Killing and the actual setting for Northern Exposure. (Ups to Maurice, Mike!) Mike has previously contibuted Circa mixes (here and here), as well as his John Locke mix. Well, he polished off yet another gem in 2011, this time offering up Utopia and Dystopia.

As I’ve pointed out previously our taste has only grown further apart over the years. (His has gotten considerably worse.) In reviewing this year’s tracklist, we shared five bands/performers (Crystal Stilts, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Wye Oak, Real Estate, and The Antlers), the same total as 2010. Of those five common bands, we have only three shared songs.

Like Cousin Matt, Mike opted to include an introductory note to his mixes. An Artist’s Statement, if you will. Enjoy:

While some see year end mixes as needing to be a “best of” be it song, album, EPs yes/no or LPs etc. I tend to move into another camp.  As someone who has studied and practiced fine arts, one thing that I always loved was curating shows.  Whether these shows came into fruition or remained hypothetical, I love the idea of bringing art work together in one place.  Often, there were artists whose work I loved.   Sometimes there were only a few pieces from an artist  that caught my eye.  Sometimes the artists work that I loved had pieces that were amazing, but I couldn’t necessarily see them fitting within the flow of the gallery space, or it didn’t jive with the other work in the show.  Had I only included work which I thought was the artists “best work”  it just wouldn’t have created a feeling of wholeness and would have instead been disjointed, random and unappealing to the eye.

Since stepping away from the arts, I still wanted to create something similar to those shows I helped to curate…thus CIRCA.  The CIRCA mixes are more of a curation of music that happened that year or close to it.  It is about the flow of each song, as they move in and out of each other.  My hope is that the songs work as a whole while also highlighting them as their own unique entity.  Like at a gallery or museum, one goes from work to work examining each piece, but in the end one leaves having an opinion of the show as a whole.  That is how I want CIRCA to be examined, as a whole, as a sum of the parts, as a curation.

Well said, Mike.

Utopia front cover.

Utopia inside art.

Dystopia front cover.

Dystopia inside art.

[Note: the cover art features the photography of our mutual friend, Louise Ingalls Sturges, whose kick-ass blog you can find here. Also, I have to apologize for the weird sizing of the images. Photobucket pretty much sucks ass.]

Circa 2011, Utopia:

1. Crystal Stilts – “Sycamore Tree” (In Love With Oblivion)
2. Atlas Sound – “Lightworks” (Parallax)
3. PJ Harvey – “In the Dark Places” (Let England Shake)
4. Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps – “Tanktop” (Little Wind)
5. Cymbals Eat Guitars – “Definite Darkness” (Lenses Alien)
6. Thee Oh Sees – “Carrion Crawler” (Carrion Crawler/The Dream)
7. Obits – “I Want Results” (Moody, Standard and Poor)
8. Black Lips – “Mr. Driver” (Arabia Mountain)
9. Ty Segall – “Imaginary Person” (Goodbye Bread)
10. Veronica Falls – “Beachy Head” (Veronica Falls)
11. Fungi Girls – “Hevrole” (Some Easy Magic)
12. White Fence – “Art Investor Collector” (Is Growing Faith)
13. Coke Weed – “Not My Old Man” (Volume One)
14. Shimmering Stars – “I’m Gonna Try” (Violent Hearts)
15. Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter – “Come to Mary” (Marble Son)
16. The Barr Brothers – “Beggar In the Morning” (The Barr Brothers)
17. The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp” (Departing)
18. Typhoon – “Summer Home” (A New Kind of House EP)
19. Wye Oak – “Civilian” (Civilian)
20. The Caulfied Sisters – “I See Your Face” (Two Songs from Mohawk Single)

Circa 2011, Dystopia:

1. Big Spider’s Back – “Secret Chiefs” (Memory Man)
2. Loch Lomond – “Elephants and Little Girls” (Little Me Will Start a Storm)
3. Real Estate – “It’s Real” (Days)
4. Toro Y Moi – “Still Sound” (Underneath the Pine)
5. Destroyer – “Chinatown” (Kaputt)
6. Nurses – “Fever Dreams” (Dracula)
7. Pure X – “Easy” (Pleasure)
8. Other Lives – “For 12” (Tamer Animals)
9. The Antlers – “I Don’t Want Love” (Burst Apart)
10. Panda Bear – “Slow Motion” (Tomboy)
11. Ravenna Woods – “Graves” (Valley of the Headless Men)
12. Craft Spells – “Party Talk” (Idle Labor)
13. White Denim – “Drug” (D)
14. Milagres – “Glowing Mouth” (Glowing Mouth)
15. Sports – “Prizefighter” (Sports)
16. Deerhoof – “The Merry Barracks” (Deerhoof vs. Evil)
17. Blood Orange – “Sutphin Boulevard” (Coastal Grooves)
18. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Ffunny Ffriends” (Unknown Mortal Orchestra)
19. Weekend – “Hazel” (Red EP)
20. Widowspeak – “Puritan” (Widowspeak)

Well, there you have it. Yet another year-end collection to grace these here pages. Thanks a heap to Mike for taking the time to put this beast together. Until next time, have at it, you vultures!




  1. I can completely appreciate the statement about curating a focused mix vs. putting together a best of… It really translates too. These are really great mixes that flow really nicely. I love Utopia. I really, really like it a whole lot. Honestly, it’s my favorite disk that I’ve come across yet (sadly, including my own). Distopia I didn’t bond with quite as much, but I do really like the way it is put together and I strongly suspect that as I listen to it a second, third, etc. time it will grow on me.
    For what it’s worth, we lined up on 4 bands and 1 actual song. Although, I didn’t know about UMO and White Denim when I made mine, and those specific songs may have very well ended up on mine if I had made it later than I did.
    Big, big compliments to your friend Mike on this. Thanks for posting all of them too.

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