Sound Exposure: The “Commute” Mixtape

by Helen Grant

I usually surf SoundCloud for new music on my way to anywhere I need to go. But always with my hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road! That’s my tip, because this afternoon I saw a lady hit a bicyclist at a 4-way stop. No joke. He was fine, but still watching a dude roll over the hood of someone’s car is not cool. Don’t skip through playlists! You may have to wait out a song you might not care for when streaming, or a few, but in the end it’s more often than not worth the effort of practicing good driving skills. Plus you might discover music that might have turned you off at the start go onto surprise you because you stuck it out.

I listen to a lot of music via a handful of platforms. The deal with SoundCloud is that it has many fine indie labels to follow and their streaming service is free unless you upload over 2 hours of content, which is when you have to go Pro or start deleting old files. This means nothing if you’re just using the service to reblog your favorite songs. For the people that go pro, like the indie labels and others uploading new music, I would say most do a fair job of getting the word out about things you might not have ever heard of but will be on the market soon, either as a new album or sometimes as a limited special re-release on an older format like tape or vinyl.

This is all fine and good depending on your musical tastes. Overall it seems easier to make playlists on SoundCloud given that I prefer their free streaming service vs the limited-use free streaming options available to me on a mobile app such as Spotify. Plus I tend to find newer material on SoundCloud more often than Spotify.

Anyway, Colin wrote a great article about making mixtapes. I probably didn’t follow any of his rules other than to create a list that wasn’t 8 hours long. Mostly because I was more amused by laying out songs that shared common themes to tell a mini story of sorts than using specific rules of order. So if you like psych rock and with hints of indie folk quirk, and want to hear a mini-story of sorts, this might be your jam.

A little bit about these artists on this mix:

Jib Kidder’s “New Crimes” might fool you into thinking his whole album sounds this way. It does not, it’s more varied than that, but the vocals remain the same, but if you don’t mind it, then you might like other songs on IV.

I like the sardonic, but earnest humor of Jonathan Rado, who I’ve met before through his work with Foxygen this past Spring, but his song “Faces” is from his solo project with the band Woods, who are putting Rado’s solo album out on their own label Woodsist.

From there we move into Goat territory.  I saw them play earlier this year because when I talked to a few bands I liked at Austin Psych Fest, it turned out Goat was the band most said they wanted to catch that weekend. They’re a weird bunch of Swedes, but completely bonkers enough to be thoroughly enjoyable.  “Dreaming Building” is world music, psych rock, and overall just a weird kind of gleefully shamanistic ball of fun. This is why King Khan and the Shrines should not come as a shock after Goat. Their song “Born to Die” is just wah-wahs, horn sections, strings, oh, and attitude.

Dead Ghosts I don’t know that much about other than their Vancouver Canadians, and like everything I enjoy about Canadian indie rock, they blend elements of my guilty sonic pleasures into a sort of jaded, yet some how happy go-lucky sounding tune. Woods’ re-release of “All Be Easy” gives you a nice finish by the time you have to park. Maybe. I limited this mix to a little under 20 minutes. And “All Be Easy” is a nice stopping point for the tunes you’ll hear as it kind of takes you to a happy place.

Without further ado.

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