WARMER MIXTAPES #76 | by Colin Green and Justin Vassallo of Technoir MA

SIDE A | by Justin Vassallo

This is in chronological order of when I heard the following tracks.

1. Nirvana | Sliver
This song is really simple in the best possible way. I was 10 when I first heard it. Most songs associated with Nirvana are kind of epic in stature, but Sliver still sounds exactly like it was...A great little off-the-cuff pop song in the spirit of The Buzzcocks and The Vaselines. For better or for worse, Sliver is a real gift to all young bedroom guitarists.

2. Sex Pistols | Holidays In The Sun
I bought Never Mind The Bollocks just before I turned 13, shortly after moving and changing schools. Holidays In The Sun, with the jackboots and marching tom tom intro, Steve Jones' massive, buzzsaw guitar riff, and what is probably John Lydon's most impassioned vocal - after Swan Lake - really captured my imagination. I would blast it before I walked to the school bus every morning, as a way to tell myself there's a much bigger world out there.

3. Joy Division | Isolation
When I got Closer in the mail at boarding school, I didn't even know who Joy Division were. I ordered it from one of those archaic music house catalogues that had rather bizarrely sent me a post-punk catalog. I don't think any song has clicked faster with me than Isolation. The synth patterns were mesmerizing on first listen...All of it was hypnotic. It was like a piece of music telling you something about yourself...These things I could never describe.

4. Television | Marquee Moon
This list seems to be filled with obvious tracks, but Marquee Moon was one of those songs that made me want to be a better guitar player. The group of friends that Colin and I had in would trade records day to day, and Television was one of those bands that would be playing in someone's dorm room on any given weekend.

5. The Strokes | Barely Legal
Listening to The Strokes forced me to stop writing bad Clash knock-offs and try to go for something that went beyond bar chords. The Strokes were a good band to try to copy back when Is This It was released, before that whole guitar sound became de rigueur for indie bands.

6. Sonic Youth | Shadow Of A Doubt
The whole track is highly impressionistic. The soft, trance-like verses point to the sublime stuff that would be in full display on contemporary Sonic Youth records, which Colin and I love. Probably the best part is that the guitars sound like a piano at points. Unless that is a piano?

7. The Smiths | Cemetery Gates
Johnny Marr is one of my favorite guitar players. I mean, he made playing pretty sound massive. A really skilled arranger, too. He was like, what, 24, 25 during The Smiths? Jesus.

8. New Order | Thieves Like Us
Where to begin...I picked Thieves Like Us because it was the song that made me a full-on convert. This is synth-pop gone soul. Colin and I covered it in August for a John Hughes Tribute show in NYC. We transposed the synths to guitars in like a day before the show. I was really nervous, but very happy to have done it.

9. Telepathe | So Fine
I think Dance Mother is one of the best records of 2009. We saw them live in June in Cambridge, and Melissa shared the mic with me on this track. Probably 'cause I was the only drunken fool dancing and fist pumping at the front of the stage.

10. Saint Etienne | People Get Real
Saint Etienne do a really good job at making songs that make me feel serene and forward looking. Pop music is so often based around nostalgia, but Saint Etienne seem to take memories and depict them in a new light. I guess that's what makes them clever: they make you feel sentimental but kind of light and free at the same time.

SIDE B | by Colin Green

1. Mission Of Burma | Secrets
AND WE'RE OFF - more or less my initial reaction to hearing Roger Miller's tremolo feedback at the start of Vs. I can recall, in vivid detail, hearing this for the first time when I was 15 and being totally overtaken by this mental image of airplanes taking off from Logan Airport.

2. Mars | Helen Fordsdale
This track stood out to me the first time I listened to No New York, mainly because the droning bassline's intro hustle reminded me of Mission Of Burma. Once the rest of the band leaps in, the song absolutely pummels you. Not in a hokey hardcore way, either - there's no distortion effects or anything like that. There is, however, the sound of four people who, having devised their own unique techniques for their respective instruments, clobber the shit out of everything for a little over two minutes - exactly enough time for the song to say its piece before it just...Ends.

3. My Bloody Valentine | Sometimes
There are a lot of things to love about this track. The structure reminds me of a plume of smoke, expanding slowly out of its own ephemeral matter (affecting this grace through massive distortion makes Sometimes the perfect foil to Helen Fordsdale). It's also a brilliant choice to allow the strumming sounds of an acoustic guitar to be the sole source of percussion. Mainly, though, it's That Chord - the second one that sounds like its being torn apart to reveal something achingly beautiful behind the curtain. That Chord haunts me still.

4. Flipper | Ever
Best. Lyrical. Sentiment. Ever. Like the cliche goes, it's funny 'cause it's true. That wicked humor extends to the music - the goofy hand claps over that crude pop-garage riff that never changes (save for the way the guitars go further and further out of tune as they try to play it). Combine all of this with that wild feedback and those booming drum-fills and we have a true winner on our hands, folks.

5. The Stooges | 1970
When I say that Fun House is the greatest rock record in history, I'm not saying its my favorite, per se. It is definitely up there, though. In the shootout to make this list, 1970 beats TV Eye for the manner in which the former neatly sums up The Whole Thing (as much as we can use the word neatly in relation to a document as brutally inscrutable as Fun House). This is an apocalyptic song and Rock 'n' Roll is an apocalyptic mode of experience. Get loaded / get yr guitar / feeeeeel alright!

6. Brian Eno | Third Uncle
For the longest time, I appreciated/admired Brian Eno more for his ideas/influence than his actual music. While I definitely took Music For Airports for my blood pressure plenty of times in my youth, it was only within the last year that I took...Tiger Mountain (by Strategy). It was one of those situations where you put a record on one day, and never get around to taking it off. On a cheeky record chock full of great tracks, Third Uncle is the stand-out rocker. Keep adding dynamic layer upon layer of sound, all of it over a no-nonsense pulse of bass and back-beat...Until the guitar solo beams in from outer space and absolutely nails it.

7. Dinosaur Jr. | The Lung
Another propulsive rocker with limited and/or obtuse lyrical content. That heady cocktail of fast 'n' loose back-beat + divergent surf-guitar and fuzz-bass melodies - it reminds me of a car hurtling down a highway, liable to flame out in an instant. Somehow the whole thing manages to keep it together for the chorus, at once rousing and poignant. A lot of wide-eyed adolescent romance in this one - the repetition of the final figure (one more time...no....just this last once...okay...one more....and another after that) signals a refusal to end the same way a lot of us refuse to grow up.

8. Sonic Youth | Jams Run Free
My favorite song by my favorite band: groovy (in the most literal sense possible). Just about everything in the track is flawless - especially the way Steve Shelley's drumming drives the whole thing along while maintaining its laid-back cool. Then there's the requisite noisy breakdown, right before all of those epic guitars catch the coda with a big melodic hook.

9. Deerhunter | Vox Celeste
Deerhunter played at the ICA in Boston a few summers ago. I had never heard of them, but I went to the show on a whim and came home that evening reeling, my desire to play in a band acute. This specific track sounds like one of those dreams where you're falling forever, but re-contextualizes that experience into something pleasant. Three and half minutes later you still have to wake up in a cold sweat. Gorgeous stuff.

10. Beat Happening | Hey Day
If the last track sounded like falling, this one sounds like that moment just prior - running to the edge of some windswept cliff in order to raise a fist at the future. It's cool to hear a twee band sound this immense and exhilarating. Hey Day always sounded to me like it should have closed the lid on You Turn Me On, so we'll let it end this list as a consolation.