Mixtapes for Modern Life 

Songs To Wake Up To

By Dan Friel and BJ Warshaw of Parts & Labor


Parts & Labor's new album, Constant Future, is due out on March 8, via Jagjaguar.

1. Liars - "Rose and Licorice"- Listen here
Beautiful Oneida cover from the Liars/Oneida 2002 split. Listen and be healed.

2. Albert Ayler - "Omega"- Listen here
Three minutes and twenty seconds of ecstatic horns and harpsichord. Harpsichord kinda nails the whole waking up thing.

3. Sunroof - "Machine"
Twinkling synths, bubbling drones, sunny chimes (BJ used this with an MP3 alarm clock for a while to fantastic results.)

4. Th' Faith Healers - "Sparklingly Chime"
Sweet, underrated, 90s shoegaze/kraut rock from the UK, emphasis on rock.

5. Can - "Future Days"- Listen here
Slow building, peaceful, classic, hugs.

6. Kemialliset Ystavat - "Kajastusmuseo" - Listen here
Playful Finnish psych experiments. Sounds like a brain starting to work.

7. Terry Riley - "A Rainbow in Curved Air"- Listen here
Mystical 60s electronic jams. 18+ minutes long. Possibly the perfect choice.

8. Chet Atkins - "Swedish Rhapsody" - Listen here
Try and have a bad morning. Seriously. Step out of bed into a puddle of cat puke. It's cool.

9. Godflesh - "Spite" - Listen here
90s industrial riff destruction. The day cowers before you.

10. Deerhoof - "This Magnificent Bird Will Rise" - Listen here
One of my favorite opening tracks of any record. Use it to start anything.

11. Rashid Ali and Frank Lowe - "Duo Exchange - Part 1"

12. James Brown - Any of the high speed instrumental interludes from Live at the Apollo
Well, or any of the rest of it.

13. Swans - "Half Life" - Listen here
Possibly the strongest recorded argument ever for just staying in bed. Ambition is senseless. Learn from Experience.

Songs to Listen to While You're Folding Clothes at Your Retail Job

By Shilpa Ray of Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers


Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers' Teenage and Torture is in stores now; the record release show is January 21 at Brooklyn Bowl.

1. LCD Soundsystem - "Get Innocuous" - Listen here
Hell, any LCD Soundsystem works because it's fast, mechanical and the lyrics are witty. Best for the Saturday rush.

2. Siouxsie and the Banshees - "Helter Skelter" - Listen here
La La La La La La La La [Ed: Impressively, this is the correct number of notes in that one guitar lick that repeats itself throughout.]

3. Rick James - "Give It To Me Baby" - Listen here

4. Ariel Pink - "Menopause Man" - Listen here
You'd be surprised at how many male customers ask the question, "Does my ass look too big in these?" You'd also be surprised at how many of their mommies still shop with them.

5. The Stooges - "Down on the Street" - Listen here
When you want to feel like a bad ass after rejecting a return.

6. CAN - "Vitamin C" - Listen here
I'll never forget the day I brought CAN into the store. We went through a heavy psych period between them and 13th Floor Elevators a few years back.

7. Dan Melchior's Broke Revue - "Smile"
Cause when your on the floor you gotta SMILE SMILE SMILE, for everyone.

8. Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam - "Head to Toe" - Listen here
This just works.

9. Grandmaster Flash - "The Message" - Listen here
Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge. I'm tryin not to lose my head.

10. The Blue Rondos - "Little Baby" - Listen here
My boss and I went through a huge Joe Meek period, much to the distaste of the rest of the staff.

11. Magnetic Fields - "Strange Powers" - Listen here
For when your customer's an asshole.

12. Delta 5 - "Mind Your Own Business" - Listen here
The title says it all.

Songs to Run By

By Katy Goodman of La Sera and Vivian Girls


La Sera's self-titled debut is out on February 15, via Hardly Art

1. Minor Threat - "I Don't Wanna Hear It" - Listen here
There's no better way to run fast than to get angry doing it.

2. Jay Reatard - "Not a Substitute" - Listen here
Short, fast, and beautiful.

3. Mika Miko - "I Got a Lot" - Listen here
It has a great energy, and when they say "Get off it!" I like to think they are talking about my coach. I also like to think they are yelling "Too many tacos!" at me, which would be correct.

4. Government Warning - "No Moderation" - Listen here
I tend to gravitate towards the fast and angry songs, and this is one of the best of them.

5. No Bunny - "I am a Girlfriend" - Listen here
This song always makes me smile and is great for jogging.

6. Girls - "Lust for Life" - Listen here
The egg shaker helps keep your rhythm.

7. Fucked Up - "Police" - Listen here
Angry and fast, one of the best running songs around. Plus when you run by a cop car while listening to this, it gives you an extra sense of satisfaction.

8. Davila 666 - "Hanging on the Telephone" (Nerves cover) - Listen here
This is one of the best covers I've ever heard in my life. Has an incredible vibe, and it's in Spanish. Can't go wrong here.

9. Scream - "Came Without Warning" - Listen here
One of my favorite DC hardcore bands, always a good choice.

10. Bikini Kill - "Double Dare Ya" - Listen here
Having Kathleen Hannah screaming motivational messages in your ear when you're getting tired is crucial.

11. Gorilla Biscuits - "New Direction" - Listen here
Even though this is at #11, it makes the most sense to begin your run with this song. Listen to it and you'll know why.

12. Wipers - "Youth of America" - Listen here
It is fun to try and run a mile in the exact playtime of this song, which is 10 minutes long. It has a strong, driving drumbeat the entire time, so it helps you keep a constant pace.

Songs to Listen to While Drinking With Your Father

By Kevin Diamond of Shark?


"You Don't Love Me Anymore," the first single from the debut Shark? album will be out on 7" via Oops Baby Records on February 22.

1. Genesis - "Counting Out Time" - Listen here
You pour your father a scotch, and yourself the same. Take the first sip, and begin talking about women.

2. Cheap Trick - "Surrender" - Listen here
Your father used to get stoned to this song. He explains how differen ("better") weed used to be.

3. Harry Nilsson - "Jump Into The Fire" - Listen here
Your father needs another scotch.

4. The Kinks - "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman" - Listen here
A conversation about late-era Kinks vs. early Kinks ends poorly, much like last Thanksgiving's conversation on gays in the military.

5. Nick Lowe - "I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass" - Listen here
You explain to you father how Nick Lowe basically wrote Elvis Costello's best song. You need more scotch.

6. Stevie Wonder - "Boogie On Reggae Woman" - Listen here
It is agreed that everyone loves Stevie Wonder, and that those who say they don't are clearly assholes.

7. Warren Zevon - "Nighttime in the Switching Yard" - Listen here
More scotch.

8. David Bowie - "Golden Years" - Listen here
Your father tells you that story about the time he almost saw David Bowie in concert.

9. Big Star - "Feel" - Listen here
Your dad used to get stoned to this album. It seems like he's bringing this up a lot, but you really don't wanna share your stash with him.

10. Fleetwood Mac - "Rhiannon" - Listen here
More scotch.

11. Steely Dan - "Bad Sneakers" - Listen here
Dad's eyes are getting heavy. He's talking about some show on television that you've never heard of and you're pretty sure he made up.

12. Harry Nilsson - "Coconut" - Listen here
Take the bottle of scotch, and leave your father passed out on the kitchen table to by found by your mom in the morning.

Songs for Doing Your Taxes

By Matthew Dear


Preparing your taxes is about as fun as going to the dentist. I had four wisdom teeth pulled a few months ago, and the music playing in the office made the ordeal far more tolerable than it should have been. I imagine I should thank Pandora for that; and my Williamsburg dentist for having good taste. The following list of tranquil songs should help get you through both of these evil necessaries in life.

1. Peter Broderick & Machinefabriek - "Departure" - Listen here
We play this song just before the band goes on stage and it is such a wonderful way to relax the crowd and have them refocus their thoughts for the show. My favorite part of a concert has to be that moment just before the band takes the stage after the lights go out, when everyone is brimming with anticipation.

2. Porn Sword Tobacco - "En Ny Morgon"
Porn Sword Tobacco is my hidden gem. Everything Henrik Jonsson produces puts me at ease and makes me wonder what's really going on beneath it all. He is an extremely talented and versatile musician. His latest album is a departure from his previous style of ambient washes but in all the best ways possible.

3. Fennesz - "A Year In A Minute" - Listen here
Put all of your year's problems into a minute with fantastic and classic Fennesz.

4. Fourcolor - "2 Strings"
"2 Strings" is soft and beautiful, but at the same time wrought with tension. I guess it keeps things realistic. You're not fooling yourself and trying to pretend the work load isn't hard. You just want a better way manage it all.

5. Benoit Pioulard - "Ailleurs" - Listen here
Keep going, you are halfway there. Thomas Meluch will help you get through the mountain of work.

6. Goldmund - "Jones Beach Dunes" - Listen here
When you go in for a surgery, take some really good memories to escape on. I am not sure which Jones Beach prompted this song's title, but I have a few of my own in mind.

7. This Will Destroy You - "Ritual" - Listen here
Hope is where the heart is.

8. Brian Eno - "Zawinul/Lava" - Listen here
Another Green World is one of my favorite albums from Mr. Eno. It is placed perfectly between his change. Some songs have words and others do not.

9. Talk Talk - "Wealth" - Listen here
Wealth, or lack of it, has gotten us into this predicament now hasn't it? Talk Talk can help.

10. Townes Van Zandt - "To Live Is To Fly" - Listen here
There are quite a few recordings of this song. My favorite is the live version from the Be Here To Love Me soundtrack. There is something so pure and honest about Townes' voice and his writing which draws people in for endless listens. There is hope within the hardships, and no one turns it into song quite like Townes.

Music to Kill the Boredom

By Marnie Stern


1. Z's - "Concert Black"
They make really challenging and complex stuff and the compositions themselves are amazing.

2. Male Bonding - "Pirate Key" - Listen here
I really like the repeating guitar riff in this song.

3. Arab On radar - "My Mind Is A Muffler" - Listen here
One of my favorites off this album, but the whole record is great.

4. Pterodactyl - "December" - Listen here
I like the way the guitar riff repeats in such strange time and the fact that they were able to build a good song around it.

5. Royal Trux - "I'm Ready" - Listen here
This song is just bad ass.

6. Animal Collective - "The Purple Bottle" - Listen here
This has been inspiring me a lot for the past few years. It's heartfelt and uplifting

7. Elvis Costello - "Pump It Up" - Listen here
His singing style on this song is just the coolest on this track.

8. Ex-Models - "Chrome Hearts" - Listen here
I love the repetition and trance vibe of this song .

9. T-Rex - "20th Century Boy" - Listen here
The opening riff couldn't be simpler, but remains one of the best .

10. Ponytail - "Celebrate the Body Electric (It Came From an Angel)" - Listen here
The way the guitars intertwine is beautiful and so energetic

11. The Rolling Stones - "Monkey Man" - Listen here
The barking at the end is the best. Attitude!

12. Van Halen - "Unchained" - Listen here
This is great to dance around to at a gas station when you're filling up.

Songs That'll Make Your Friends Cringe When You Insist You're Not a Hipster

By David Rogers-Berry of O'Death


1. Big Blood - "She-Wander(er)"
Big Blood hails from Portland, Maine, and is the newer project of some people who used to be in a great band, called Cerberus Shoal.

2. The Make Up - "I Am Pentagram"
I always thought these guys were on some fashion-mod vibe, until my girlfriend made me actually LISTEN to them and then my preconceptions went out the door. This song makes geometry sexy.

3. Morphine - "I'm Free Now"
Classic: no other word for a record that sounds even better than when I first heard it way back in, whoa, 1993.

4. Philip Glass - "Open the Kingdom" - Listen here
The lyrics for this track were penned by David Byrne in "New Music's" late 80s hey-day. Perhaps a bit over the top for this mix, but I love its grandiosity.

5. Curtis Mayfield - "Move On Up" - Listen here
I love big arrangements, with strings and horns and a five-piece percussion section—and Curtis Mayfield is the king of taking that recipe and making you shake your ass with it. At once thoughtful and funky, Mayfield is required listening, period.

6. The Isley Brothers - "Respectable" - Listen here
The background vocals on this track are so gruff! Did you know the Isley Brothers are the only artists to have number one singles in every decade since the 50s???

7. Babaloo - "Samba Formosa"
  I don't know shit about this band. I'm not even sure how this got on my high-pod. I guess the record is called Punk Mambo, and they are not actually from a Latin-American country?

8. Vashti Bunyan - "Diamond Day" - Listen here
I always try to rock this at DJ gigs, but apparently it's too chill for that... This woman is more popular now then when she made this, her most recognizable recording, in 1970.  

9. Van Morrison - "Wild Night" - Listen here
John Cougar Mellencamp can go to hell, but Me'Shell Ndegeocello is pretty cool.  

10. The Woods - "Night Creature" - Listen here
From their first album (as far as I know), At Rear House. This record really resonates with me. My band can't agree on any music that's not at least ten years old, but this record immediately wet into heavy rotation in our tour van right when I picked it up in 2007.

11. Tune-Yards - "Lions" - Listen here
Home-recorded goodness. I can hear just the right amount of the artists this woman grew up listening to (Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel, I'd venture), in the ingenuity of these tracks that come off somewhere between bedroom low-fi and giant studio productions.

12. Wilson Pickett - "Jealous Love"
Forget about it. If I have to tell you who Wilson Pickett is you should burn your record collection.  

13. Murder By Death - "A Masters in Reverse Psychology" - Listen here
Murder By Death and my band are best friends forever and I request this song when I see them.  

14. Lau Nau - "Plakkikanteletar" - Listen here
Songs for singing your weirdo baby to sleep.


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