The Serpico Mixes: Themeless Vol. 2

In a joint collaboration with my weekday roommate and Bronx ally Skip Serpico, I’ll be discussing a mix CD a week. He makes them, I listen to them and provide my in the moment commentary. You, hopefully, read said commentary and maybe open up your musical horizons. You can come here every week for the Serpico Mixes. And you should also visit Skip’s site, Fission Spaghetti, for his musings on food and Saturday Night Live (and more!)


Mix #22

Theme: The Return of Themeless

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Beaumont’s Lament from JACKIE BROWN- A classic bit of film monologuing that perfectly cuts into the next track.

Future Starts Slow by The Kills- A big, loud sound that launches the disc well. A solid slice of rock music to perk the ears up and get increase the heart rate just a touch.

Hey Lover by Blake Mills- Bright and splashy from the moment it starts, it does not offer much musically that you will not get in the first 30 seconds or so. And yet, there was not a moment that I thought about turning it off or rushing through it. In the middle of this brutally cold week, it felt like summer music warming the cockles of my heart.

Pieces by The Bridges- If I know anything about the Bridges, I forgot it. And my life has been poorer for it. I love the moment when you discover a new song from a band you don’t know and you just immediately crush on it.

I Wanna Know About U by The (International) Noise Conspiracy- There’s a lot of The Hives or other bands of that brief garage band resurgence of the early 2000’s. I bought in wholesale to all that so this sound is a-ok with me, but I know plenty of people who felt very differently and this song….would not be for them.

Phoenix by Martina Topley-Bird- Topley-Bird sounds very fragile here, but I don’t know why. I love what she’s doing with her voice but I can’t figure out why, how it reflects the content of the song. Perhaps it is because my attention kept wandering. If only there was a little more build or drop off to give some texture to the largely electronic tune.

Everything for Free by K’s Choice- A few mixes ago, in talking about PJ Harvey, I quietly lamented the loss of women fronted rock acts of the 90’s and K’s Choice would certainly be one of the bands I was thinking of. I think it must be about 15 years since I heard a K’s song and after hearing this one, I’m not sure why I let that happen.

I love the quiet contemplative opening giving way to loud anger before settling into a solid rock song. It does great work with vary tone and volume to draw in the listener and hold their attention.

Wide Open Space by Mansun- There’s something familiar about the song that I’m having a hard time putting words to. I know the song is new to me, so that’s not it. It is something about it musically that is reminiscent of something else I just can’t place. I hope I can think of it before I lose my mind.

Anyway, the song itself is a pretty mediocre one for me. Neither great nor particularly bad.

Charlie Big Potato by Skunk Anansie- First of all, can we just take a moment to say “good show” on the title of this song? That’s pretty great.

Second, the music here is not something I am a fan of, but the vocals I really like. There’s something almost Frou Frou esque in the lead singer’s voice and that’s something that just really works for me.

Mary by Supergrass- Not one of my favorite Supergrass tunes. Not at all.

Another Morning Stoner by …And You Will Know Us by The Trail of the Dead- This has too much momentum for a stoner, in my opinion, but I could be wrong.

The music and the vocals are both fine are their own, but in the mix they are at almost identical levels which makes the whole thing a bit muddy.

Guys Eyes by Animal Collective- I like the layering of the voices over an effect that sounds kind of like a fish tank bubbler. Just a very creatively produced and engineered song.

Come Here Boy by Imogen Heap- Yes. Love. Beautiful voice paired with good lyrics over a simple but well chosen music track.

Hell Bent by Kenna- The song uses a sort of hymnal-esque musical track to start which is a nice bit of musical irony I appreciated in light of the song. I also appreciate that this is another song that opts for builds and drops rather than a malaise of sameness.

The Bike Song by Mark Ronson & The Business Intl- I was onboard at first but by the time the first chorus refrain hit I was jumping off. I just don’t go in for this kind of 70’s influenced modern dance-y music I suppose.

Work It Out by Brassy- While I appreciate the bratty tone the lead singer effects here, the rest of the song does not carry me beyond that initial good first impression.

Scratch Your Name by The Noisettes- Shave about 25 seconds off this song and it’d be a great radio ready rock song. Now though, just a shade too long.

My Tortured Soul by Probot- There’s nothing wrong with this song, per se, but this is my “I don’t like it and I don’t have much else to say about it” track of this mix. Actually, scratch that. Like Queens of the Stone Age, this Probot song is smart hard rock which I respect and sometimes enjoy. I just don’t enjoy this example of it.

I Get My Beat by Richard Ashcroft- Wow…this song seems so out of place on this disc. And not in a good way. Also, six minutes long? Too damn long.

Hideaway by The Weepies- If Wes Anderson could bring himself to be more modern in his musical choices, this would be a perfect fit for one of his movies. Quirky, fun, and well structured, I think he’d love it.