WARMER MIXTAPES #174 | by Kevin Greenspon

This mix features a variety of songs that have affected me personally and that range from limited cassettes made by friends to some more well-known major label releases. Everything here and all that branches from it has influenced the music I make as well as the small label I run, and I'm glad to share it with you.
For a downloadable zip file with these words and mp3s of all of the songs here, please visit my
site or get in touch.

1. John Thill | The Pill Book [from Girls of Meth cassette tape on Unread, 2007]
I miss you but I know that you're in the right place. Heaven ain't for everyone, it's only for the saints.
When my friend John moved away from the Inland Empire in 2008, he took the long-held title of best performer in Southern California's underground and left a hole that has yet to be filled. While this song was only played live 3 or 4 times, I have to nominate the balance of heavy subject matter (regarding the habits of his fiancé's grandmother in Utah), bipolar double tracked vocals, and beyond blown out guitar of this song as being even better than his crowd-pleasing hits, which he had no shortage of. His Girls Of Meth cassette on Unread is an essential document that takes me back to an unforgettable era of Socal weirdness that reigned from 2006-2008 and that some of us wish never ended.

2. Vehicle Blues | Changer [from Changer CD on Bridgetown/cassette tape on Lillerne, 2010]
Move to LA and never go outside. Pack up all your things and make your parents cry.
Gabe Holcombe has been writing amazing songs that very few people have heard for a couple of years now, and the first time I heard this one just floored me. He has this unique method of bottling up intense levels of loneliness and alienation into the pure pop song form, getting you addicted and making you wait months for the next 2 minute fix, which is always better than the last.

3. Terrors | God Bless The Child (Billie Holiday Cover) [from split cassette tape with Infinite Body on Cavelife, 2009]
Mama may have, Papa may have, but God bless the child who's got his own.
Another friend who moved away. The day before Elijah left for a tour that would eventually leave him in Baltimore, he gave me a tape with this beautifully depressing cover of Billie Holiday on it. The sparsity of his guitar playing is pushed to the limit, every single note absolutely necessary for maximum effect. This one is a significant reminder to me of independence and not being able to count on people when you should be.

4. Juno | Magnified And Reduced By Inches [from Magnified And Reduced By Inches 7" on Jade Tree, 1997]
Blast it, you can't outlast it and if you ever got what you asked for you'd never be able to have it.
5 years ago I picked up this dirty old 7" single for two bucks because it had really goofy art and I liked the handwriting on the insert. Little did I know that Juno was an emotional and musical force to be reckoned with that I could immediately relate to. Rich layers of introspective lyrics and complex guitar work lay under the seemingly standard 90's indie rock disguise, reminding me of why I hated things but telling me I didn't have to, that something lies beyond the surface.

5. DRT | Take Me Away [from Clubland 16 on Universal, 2009]
Take me away, a million miles away from here.
Shortly before my last tour, I got an amazing 4 hour mix of club house and tons of European dance music that immediately took over my stereo for longer than I can accurately measure. It was just so sad and upbeat that I couldn't stop listening to it. Tour came at a time when I really needed to get out of California for a while because I wasn't enjoying the amazing community we have here, and actually feeling completely crushed by it. Take Me Away is optimistic and had me covered in the simplest terms possible .

6. Meneguar | Kids Get Cut [from I Was Born At Night on Magic Bullet, 2005]
We're not friends, we're guiltless thieves, awkward in mixed company.
When this album came out, it was the perfect soundtrack to everything being really carefree and positive. Skating for a few hours almost every day of the week, tons of shows and no concern. Hanging out with Brently, Travis and Tyler. I have this distinct memory of the 4 of us going to my old high school to skate after a Deep Jew show a few summers ago. It must have been mating season for the roaches because they were everywhere, crunching under wheels and marring concrete. I had this unavoidable fall where I descended in slow motion and tons of roaches just exploded all over my body when I hit the ground, but the vibes were so heavily positive that I just didn't even care.

6. Cheap Girls | Through To Me [from Find Me A Drink Home on Bermuda Mohawk, 2008]
We came to the party to wait in the car and watch all the smokers clutter the yard. Twiddle your fingers back and forth and write it all off like we've done before.
A near-photographic memory of all the times I didn't want to go out and did, or was looking forward to something only for it to fall apart in front of my eyes, which I'm far too familiar with. This song also reminds me of my friend Crow that I haven't seen in nearly a year.

7. Trudgers | Moist Mouths Eject [from The Family Time 12", 2010]
The Sun never sets, it just waits to delight me.
Brently Mitzner has been a close friend of mine for going on 5 years now, and I've seen every progression in his musical output meet a brutal indifference from the rest of the world. The first time he played this song live, my bones froze over and and I was glowing with pride, giddy and excited about what he had created. I couldn't believe that a teenager I had known for so long could twist and transform words into something so much darker and poppier than ever hinted. Sharing a record with this song of his is probably one of my favorite things about releasing music into the world.

8. Heart | Alone [from Bad Animals on Capitol, 1987]
Till now I always got by on my own. I never really cared until I met you.
It's so hard to pick just one Heart song, but this one is a strong choice that condenses the loneliness and aching of all of their albums into less than 4 minutes of sincere desperation. They make me want to be able to make music or create something that just puts myself on the line without inhibition or self-consciousness.

9. Talk Talk | It's My Life [from It's My Life on EMI, 1984]
I've asked myself: How much do you commit yourself? I would tell myself what good you do. Convince myself it's my life.
Another oldie that is so empowering and offers a new level of self-realization, that you can do and are the only person who can make it happen. I think this song is so encouraging and energizing when in the right mindset, even though the rest of the album is such a downer

10. The Velvet Teen | Gyzmkid [from Cum Laude LP on Pandacide, 2006]
Have you made your peace with fate? Have you resolved all of those hated mistakes?
The Velvet Teen reminds me of younger, lighthearted, confused days and puts me in a strange place where I feel harshly disconnected from everything but completely comfortable with it. For years I've found incredible inspiration in their ability to embed secret weirdness and discontent under and within a veneer of flawless pop/rock. I have always found their work immediately relatable as a weirdo, but in a way that made me feel normal rather than emphasizing a disparity.

+11. Chauchat | Depart [from The Cough Of A Crane LP on Unread, 2006]
I'm damaged by departure and not permanance. So I write thank you cards for the time we might spend at a table, silent.
Tyler Whitney's voice is among the sweetest and most pleasing I've ever heard. Just hearing the pretty song arrangements about his depressing experiences getting bathed in filthy 4-track hiss is painful. It's like reading a self-destructive diary entry where the ink has run and bled. Though I'll never know quite exactly what is tearing him up, I can't help but join in and extend his attitude towards myself. This one in particular reminds me of unhappy drives that probably could have been more bearable, but sometimes it's necessary.

+12. Earn | Their Simple Nature (Part 2) [from Their Simple Nature cassette tape on Ekhein, 2009]
This short little tape from last Spring is probably my favorite of Matt's Earn recordings. While I've found an optimistic sadness in his other tapes, there's no light at the end of the tunnel for this one. The cyclical nature of being knocked down repeats once again. A crushing finale and perfect closer for this mix.