WARMER MIXTAPES #269 | by Jordan Lee of Mutual Benefit

1. Del Shannon | Runaway
As an adult, I had little interest in singing in a rock band for a variety of reasons. That all changed when I sang this song at the diviest karaoke bar in Dallas.

These ladies are an offshoot of The Boredoms. I am in awe of how talented they are. It's like tropical punk jazz or something. Even the way they use their voices amazes me. The opening song on this album is pretty much them chanting for three minutes but it hypnotizes me every time. It sounds like their throats are going to fall out.

3. Pere Ubu | Life Stinks
Jay, the guitarist in the live version of Mutual Benefit, turned me onto these guys. They play amazing, arty, punk rock. When we played our first show my amp decided to mess up in between sound check and when we were supposed to play. For some reason Jay started playing the riff to this song while I was trying to figure out the problem. I figured out what was up and we ended up starting our first set ever with this song. For some reason that is hilarious to me.

4. Beat Happening | Teenage Caveman
When I was just out of high school I landed an awesome job at this hip small business in a converted garage. At that point of my life I was an indie kid that pretty much just listened to Arcade Fire and The New Pornographers. My coworkers were older and cooler than me and spent everyday showing me bands and movies that I should know about. Those two years feel like that scene in the Matrix where they would just keep loading new skills into Neo's head. This song was on the first mix cd they made me. I miss those girls.

5. Sam Cooke | Cupid
I can't get enough of this song lately! Sam Cooke is one of my all time favorite singers. I recently learned this on the banjo so I could croon it to cute girls at my house.

6. Neutral Milk Hotel | In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
I remember being on acid and feeling like the musical saw that keeps rising during this song was a laser piercing my ego/soul and making me a new person. I was reborn. How strange it is to be anything at all...

7. Elizabeth Cotten | Freight Train
I was listening to a lot of early American folk music when this song came flying out of left field. Elizabeth Cotten wasn't discovered until she was in her 60's so it pretty much sounds like my grandma singing. It is so disarming, it makes me believe every word she is saying. One of the things I enjoy about this era of songwriting is how squarely they look death in the face. This is a song written by a women who has made her peace with the world.

8. Taken By Trees | Too Young
I had the first Taken By Trees album on repeat for probably a month straight last winter. The melodies sung are so beautiful and there is almost no instrumentation behind it. Everything has so much space! This song in particular strikes me because of the seemingly random piano noodling that happens in the last half. I think this song more than any other on the list has really changed how I write music.

9. Teenage Reverb | Damp For A Good While
The sounds in this are incredible. It's another case where the minimalism really gives you room to appreciate everything that is happening. I remember thinking that the distorted guitars in this particular recording sound just as beautiful and rich as a whole symphony. It is so enveloping.

10. Lau Nau | Painovoimaa, Valoa
I could easily say that this record changed my life. Lau Nau is a town librarian in Finland, I believe. She wrote most of these songs with folk instruments and children's toys laying around her house. Each part had to played quietly enough to not wake up her newborn child. This album was bought on a total whim at a record store. I knew nothing about it but I just had a weird feeling. To me this song transcends traditional song structures and chord changes. It is just a beautiful sound for five minutes. It just is which, of course, is perfect.