WARMER MIXTAPES #150 | by Lisa Milberg [Milberg] of The Concretes

1. Patti Smith | Redondo Beach (demo)
I read Patti's book /Just Kids/ recently. It's about her in her late teens and twenties when she moves to New York and she meets Robert Mapplethorpe and they become inseparable. I've never cared for her music much but the book on the other hand blew me away. It's so beautifully written and such a wonderful, sharp recollection of that larger than life friendship and love that I think can really just happen to you once. It hits your heart like thunder and it leaves you with a little dance in your step. Then a friend of mine sent me her demo of Redondo Beach. It's such a simple and perfect song. It's lyrically very sad but at the same time it's got this fabulous rawness to it (nothing beats demos) and the most genius basic groove. So amidst all the sadness I find it's really quite a flirty song. And I love flirty.

2. Allesi Brothers | Seabird
All the sounds are cheesy, the production is questionable, it's a shitty old drum machine and the frequencies are all funny, like listening to lovesick bees in summer. Yet I wouldn't change a thing. I can listen to this song for days on end and taste the ocean on my tongue. I'd like to think that Seabird could fly over Redondo Beach.

3. Steve Mason | All Come Down
This is the first song taken from (former Beta Band singer) Steve Mason's upcoming solo album, and it is a really beautiful thing. I would only be a little surprised if I put my ear to a seashell and heard this. Whenever I hear his voice I see him standing on the top of a green Scottish hill crooning under a two-rainbowed sky. Also Richard X has helped out with the production on the album so there's a really fabulous slickness to it which adds an interesting dimension. It works so well. Mason is the thinking woman's popstar. As well as my dream producer for my Milberg music.

4. Marshall Hain | Dancing In The City
Oh man, just the thunder that opens the track makes me weak in my knees. And if you watch the video she's got this excellent reluctance to her whole appearance as well as her vocal delivery...Like she knows they're onto something with that song but she's really gonna do everything in her power to fight it. Grumpy slow disco. This and the Bee Gees Love You Inside And Out are perfect in tempo and mood. So many big songs are too fast I find. And so many disco songs are too cheerful. Disco needs to sulk a little to matter to me.

5. Rah Band | Clouds Across The Moon
Heartache and space. Heartache in space even. What more can you ask for? This has been a really central song for my band through the years. Along with (fellow space enthusiasts) ELO and, from the top of my head, Colin Blunstone/Rod Stewart/Karen Dalton/Moondog/Dr Dog/McCartney/Paul Simon and a few others, this is one that never leaves our tourbus mixtapes for long.

6. Pure Ecstasy | Easy
I originally found this band through the excellent Friendship Bracelet blog. I could have picked any one of their songs, they all got lovely little broken melodies that are dripping of reverb. For me it's always about the melodies. And the tempo and sometimes the trousers but my point is that you can't hide a good melody and you can't disguise a bad one either.

7. Jill Jackson | I Will Love You For A While
I will love you for a while, just how long I can not say. But long before love grows old I'll be on my way she sings in a voice sweet of innocence. It sums up the dark side of love so painfully accurately. Whoever loves the other one less calls the shots. Goffin & King, I bow my head before you for turning that cynical message into something I find myself humming in bus stops.

8. Robert Wyatt | Shipbuilding
This is the greatest man, and beard, in the world. I love Robert Wyatt deeply. This song (about the Falklands war, written by Elvis Costello especially for Wyatt) still moves me to tears every time I hear it. He did this on Top Of The Pops and at first they didn't want him to come on in his wheelchair. Every time I see that clip I think about that and I'm so deeply ashamed on behalf of some people on this planet. I've been to Robert's house once. He opened the door, took one look at my black fingernails and said What are you trying to kill an old man?!...Then we listened to jazz and talked and ate sandwiches, that his wife Alfie prepared. It was the best afternoon ever. Listening to the song now I think it's an outrage that he didn't get the Nobel Peace Prize for it.

9. Frida | I See Red
Frida, Anni-Frid Synni Lyngstad, one of the two A's in ABBA, recorded this for her first English-language solo-album in 1982. It's produced by Phil Collins and it sounds so good right now that I'm starting to think if there's a God it might be Phil Collins. Now that'd be a surprise. Also the song opens with him doing a real I mean business-drum fill and I have to say it's up there with those 4 sloppy drum notes that open Squeeze's Up The Junction. Frida makes me very proud to be Swedish and I used this song as my walk-on-stage-tune for my little Milberg tour I did last year.

10. Procol Harum | A Whiter Shade Of Pale
This is probably one of the two most famous songs in the world and there are one thousand good reasons for that...I hear everything in this song. My childhood, my first dance, my teens, my broken heart, my mended heart, first kisses, summer nights. And Bach and Percy Sledge of course. In Scorsese's Life Lessons, one of the three New York Stories, Nick Nolte plays an abstract painter struggling with his work and with his relationship with Rosanna Arquette who plays his assistant and former lover whom he still craves. Through the whole film he spends most of his time in his big loft, frustratingly painting away and playing this song on repeat over and over and over again. It's the best soundtrack to any film ever and the repetition makes it so very powerful. (I can't even say if the film is good anymore, they had me at fandango. And I seem to recall Nolte is quite hot in it too).