WARMER MIXTAPES #219 | by Neil Sanzgiri of Soft Cat

1. Rita Lee | José (Joseph)
Unbelievable song by the queen of Tropicalia. I was introduced to Tropicalia starting with Os Mutantes by a good friend in high school and tried to dig up every memorable album of the genre. Most of it has faded for me, but this song has always stood out. Soft Cat has definitely been influenced by the sound of the production and use of strings and vocals; I just think we need more organ.

2. The Incredible String Band | Air
Like I said, I wish I had more organ in my songs! This is one of my favorite Incredible String Band songs. The progression is so simple and comforting. It wraps around you like a strange quilt. I remember buying Wee Tam on vinyl my senior year in high school and hating it, but I think that’s how some of the best things in this world are introduced.

3. Jan Johannson | Visa Från Rättvik
I found this album last summer and it will never cease to comfort me. Literally translated as Jazz In Sweedish this album really introduced me into a wide variety of jazz related music stemming from my interest in medieval and baroque sounds. Some of the tones and notes remind me of Erik Satie, but Johannson’s unique twist on jazz and the emphasis of upright bass make this triumph as a gem over Satie. Someday I would really like to experience this album properly in the Sweedish country side.

4. Donovan | Legend Of A Girl Child Linda
I didn’t think anyone else knew about Donovan except my friends, my mom and I until I got out of high school. Looking back on it now, I’ve realized how much I romanticized Donovan and that whole era. It is sort of hard for me to listen to this stuff now with my conflicted political views (maybe responsibilities is a better word?) and how to deal with moving on past the romantic and on to the real. It is a hard road to travel but one I feel well worth the effort when examined correctly. Excellent production on this song though.

5. Bill Callahan | Too Many Birds
This song, along with Lambchops’ Slipped Disolved And Loosed, directly influenced my song Blackbird. The beat of the drums fits so well and Callahan really paired every instrument down to what it needed to be instead of being too excessive with his arrangements, unlike I do sometimes. The revealing of the phrase If you could only stop your heartbeat for one heartbeat word by word building upon itself is pretty genius.

6. Bridget St. John | Song For The Waterden Window
The strings on this song far surpass any I’ve ever heard. Bridget St. John is pretty Nico-esque but I often prefer her for how genuine and uninvolved with anything else she is. It's hard following in someones’ footsteps like that. I found this one on some british folk-rock comp years ago and still listen to every song on that album. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like the son of a beautiful, legendary female folk singer like Bridget St. John or Sibylle Baier. I would probably hate this shit.

7. J. Tillman | First Born
J. Tillman is my favorite. Far superior to his band Fleet Foxes, this song has some of the best moral content. I was lying on my girlfriend’s bed one time listening to this and gathered every ounce of the song I could at the moment. I think I might have regurgitated a lot of this into Soft Cat, which is definitely a good thing. My boy Abacus just recorded a song with him and the flute player from Fleet Foxes. That shit is wild.

8. The Microphones | I Felt Your Shape
I’d rather not say too much about this song.

9. Scott Walker | In My Room
This song started Soft Cat in a really strange way. I was doing a really terrible alter-ego project for a class and came up with a mock personality called Nick Winter who followed the same life paths as Scott Walker… Anyway I eneded up recording Silver Babies Sun somehow trying to imitate the stylings of this song and ended up far from it. I really wish I could write progressions like this.

10. The Kinks | Waterloo Sunset
Still the best song of the 70’s. This song will never grow old. A girl put this on a cd for me once in like 8th grade and it has stuck with me ever since. It’s so straight forward. As long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset I am in paradise. I often find myself staring at sunsets and nothing else crosses my mind other than the face I am looking at a sunset, and I feel really dumb that I can have some large epiphany that coincided with the sunset. This song lets me know that’s alright.