WARMER MIXTAPES #498 | by Matthew Gallagher (Wax Monsters) and Joey Migeed of Whitey & The Cadillac Franks

SIDE A | by Matthew Gallagher

1. Pharoah Sanders | Astral Traveling
One of my favorite Pharoah Sanders tunes off of the album Thembi. I first heard this track with friends on a road trip across New England. After listening to Thembi, our group stopped at a friends house in Burlington, Vermont. We were eager to stretch out and unwind and the atmosphere was generally that of a college party. As we began to unpack our instruments, however, the entire house turned into a huge jam session. Everyone participated, even if they didn't have an instrument. There was lots of singing. Eventually our friend Katie invited over her friends from Middlebury who happened to be a touring band. They were urged to play and we watched a Guerilla Folk concert take form. Pure magic. Pharoah Sanders has been some of my favorite journeying music ever since. He consistently reminds us that Music is beautiful in its spontaneity and its ability to bind us in that experience.

2. Aphex Twin | Alberto Balsalm
Aphex Twin was my first introduction to Beat based Electronic Music and a very significant influence. Ever since I heard Selected Ambient Works 85-92 in highschool I've been hooked on his eerily organic style. Alberto Basalm in particular embodies Aphex's uncanny ability to evoke moods of ecstasy, melancholy, and confusion simultaneously in a product that feels slightly unfinished, yet resolute in its quiet humility.

3. The Field | Over The Ice
I play in another group at Oberlin College that plays quirky Electronic Dance music called Wax Monsters. My collaborator, Luke Lovett introduced me to The Field for the first time last January. I remember at that time we were talking a lot about Minimalism, listening to a lot of Burial, and watching Koyaanisqatsi. Sometimes I'm not sad enough for Burial, and Phillip Glass can be too much at times. Yet, I never seem to get tired of The Field. He really nails the vibe of beauty and wonderment that I strive for in my laptop productions. Best listened to in a dark room, let yourself be guided gently deeper and deeper into the word of The Field.

4. Naked City | The Sicilian Clan
I was first introduced to Naked City while studying guitar at Berklee College Of Music during the summer of 2007. I remember at first feeling a little bit reviled by the insane musical ejaculations of John Zorn et. al. yet, at its core this shit is catchy. To this day Naked City remains one of my top albums.

5. Konami Kukeiha Club | Katrina's Theme
During the course of the recording of Shuckin' The Jive, Joey and I played through a Hideo Kojima game called Snatcher. Snatcher is a Cyber Punk RPG starring Gillian Seed who is charged with investigating a new bioroid life form called Snatchers that kill humans and take on their identities. At one point Gillian has to go investigate the house of another officer named Gibson. There he meets the officers daughter, Katrina who is very worried about Gibson's whereabouts. The player hears Katrina's Theme for the first time at this point. I chose this tune because it embodies a lot of what makes the entire Snatcher soundtrack so good. The material of each piece has to be so good that it can be looped infinitely while the player takes their time navigating through each section of the game. The game definitely left its mark and I still find myself drawing inspiration from it to this day.

6. Atlas Sound | Shelia
I'll never forget the first time I saw Bradford Cox live in concert. It was at Case Western--a college in Cleveland. The venue was called The Spot and was full of wasted college students getting freaky to the swirling, repetitive textures of Atlas Sound. Clearly it was not the best venue for Cox, who would routinely pull audience members onstage and assign them tasks such as chugging Smirnoff Ice, eating whole oranges (with rind), and eating the setlist all while playing manic carnival style rhythm guitar. I couldn't believe how willingly these young boys sacrificed their dignity for Cox. A true performer, the Deerhunter frontman has certainly made his mark on my life and my art.

7. Animal Collective | For Reverend Green
A very nostalgic song for me. Beautiful and terrible. Kind of like high school.

8. Countless Others | Song Of The Wonder Junkies
Countless Others released their album Fantastickal Worldz this summer and I have just been wanting more from them every since. They have awesome album art, killer songwriting and lyricism and are super DIY in all aspects of their production and promotion. They also bring it live--I played a show with these guys last Friday as Wax Monsters in Oberlin. The Dance floor was tiny and halfway through the set, the upstairs toilet overflowed. Toilet water slowly rained down on the party-goers as well as the band and their gear. Yet, Countless Others could not be stopped! They partied harder and despite the putrid rain, the Dance floor was getting pretty steamy by the end of the set--hilarious. If you like music that makes you feel shameless childlike wonderment this band is for you!

9. Daveed (D'Greezy) Audel | Space Coastin (feat. Alexei Lunn)
D'Greezy aka. Daveed Audel is one of the most effortlessly gifted producers I know. His fusion of Hip Hop, Electronic Dance Music, and Jazz is as seamless as it is tasteful. And he's prolific to boot. Daveed has hours upon hours of unreleased material in addition to his three solo albums. If you want to look to the future of Hip Hop and EDM production, look no further.

10. Big Daddy Of The Rhythm | Dead Or Alive
I had a great moment with my Mom when we were driving in upstate New York when Dead Or Alive came on shuffle. I think it's hilarious that my parents danced to this stuff when they were young. Stock Aitken Waterman, who also produced The Story So Far by Divine, and hundreds of other Pop singles produced Dead Or Alive’s hit album Youthquake. This album is among the finest Dance Music ever made. I think more than anything I crave Hi-NRG on the Dance floor these days. Fingers crossed that there will be some sort of revival... Maybe for Wax Monsters II.

SIDE B | by Joey Migeed

1. Devo | Big Mess
My favorite song off my favorite Devo album, Oh No! It's Devo. People like to say that Devo lost it with this album but I beg to differ, and I present this song as proof. It was inspired by a series of mysterious letters from a person calling himself Cowboy Kim, who claimed to host a radio program, saying it was a super show. Devo saw it fit to pay tribute to him with this song. Big Mess also happens to be the best example I've ever heard of Rock And Roll done without any guitars at all. I didn't think it could be done, but Devo turned me into a believer.

2. Sparks | Angst In My Pants
A huge favorite of mine. My goal as an artist is to eventually produce music as good as this. It's another example of Rock And Roll done mostly with electronics instead of guitars, except this song does have some--but not much. It's mostly Russell Mael wailing over a tape loop of raucous drumming (lifted from the intro to a song on their previous album and slowed wayyyy down), while Ron Mael entertains himself on his synthesizer. There really isn't that much going on at all in this song, but it hits hard. Less is more, right? When the guitars finally come in towards the end, it all turns into pure sex.

3. Madness | Michael Caine
Ever since I discovered Madness back in high school, I've been surprised at how little respect they get for the music they put out after their transformation into a Stellar Pop band (Our House being the exception). Everyone seems to know about One Step Beyond and the second-wave Ska tunes; that's great stuff and I've heard it all, but the real magic started to happen once they started writing Pop songs instead of Ska songs. By the time they released Keep Moving in 1984, it sounds like they had their craft totally perfected at last. Michael Caine is apparently a song about an informant during the war in Northern Ireland, but why is it named after Michael Caine? Why do samples of Michael Caine appear in the song? Why is Chas Smash singing in such a spooky low register? What's with all the other weird sounds scattered all over the song? How on Earth did they get the chorus to sound so utterly faultless? I guess it doesn't matter too much. The perfect Pop song.

4. Barnes & Barnes | Scary Love
This is the band that got put on the map with their novelty SMASH HIT Fish Heads, in 1978. Four years later they were making songs like this--a dark, beautiful production about a relationship gone horribly wrong. Now that's artistic growth! Too bad that the album this song is from, Code Of Honor, never actually came out. Scary Love finally got released in 1986 on the Sicks album, which also happens to be my favorite album of all time, by anybody. It takes serious talent and skill to make a song like this, especially considering that it was recorded in somebody's living room on semi-pro gear nearly 30 years ago. These guys are practically my mentors. They're my favorite band. Barnes & Barnes like to joke that they're the best kept secret in show business, but you know what? They really just might be.

5. Hot Food To Go! | Streetcar Named Desire
What an AWESOME song! A true lost classic. Hot Food To Go! were a SoCal band from the early 80's whose music has largely been lost to the sands of time. They recorded a fantastic album called Adrenaline Drum in 1985 that was finished and mixed but not released until 2008. Streetcar Named Desire is what would have been the lead single from the album if it had come out. The song hits the ground running with a driving bass and drum line, with ethereal synths filling in space and painting dark, haunting pictures towards the back of the mix. The lead vocals are spot-on, with the shouts of romance! by the rest of the band punctuating the song's beauty with just the right kind of spooky energy. Perfectly executed saxophone stings hit the right spots at the right moments, and the song manages to sound melancholy and intellectual while being astoundingly hook-filled and memorable. As it ends, everything comes out of the mix to bend and twist around with everything else and the song ends on one last chilling refrain of romance, leaving you (and me) breathless.

6. Falco | Wiener Blut
Apparently the title translates to Viennese Blood. Man, I have no idea what this song's about since I don't speak German, but it sure sounds like whatever he's talking about is really important, right? The video is even more confusing. I'm not a huge Falco fan, but the guy sure was a cool motherfucker, wasn't he? The World remembers him as the Rock Me Amadeus guy; he was an Austrian bassist and rapper who sang like Ric Ocasek. He loved the Cars so much that he ripped off TWO songs from Heartbeat City on his best album, Falco 3. I read on Wikipedia that Wiener Blut was recorded during the Falco 3 sessions, and if that's true, it means that none of the Falco songs I like were written after 1985. But who cares? This song kicks ass and there's nothing else out there quite like it. Listen to that synth hook. It's genius.

7. Thomas Dolby | Screen Kiss
It's hard to pick just one Thomas Dolby song, but this one has been the most influential to me lately. A painfully delicate production that's also rather bombastic; Dolby just barely manages to pull it off with the song's beauty intact. From my favorite of his albums, The Flat Earth, which is certainly not for everyone. It's rather sedate and moody (and oh so groovy), but you'd be hard pressed to find more commercial-sounding eccentricity than the music on this album, and Screen Kiss certainly is no exception. Beautiful, sad weirdness, with a chopped-up weather report at the end.

8. The Human League | Mirror Man
One of my favorite songs ever, for all the right reasons. Martin Rushent, the producer of this song, recently passed away, and I think it's more important than ever to emphasize that it was his influence that turned the Human League into World Superstars and changed the course of Music History. To this day, Dare is the definitive Synthpop record and it was all thanks to Rushent's production; I honestly believe nearly all Electronic Pop music ever made since 1981 can be traced back to that album. Unfortunately, the band wasn't able to finish another album with Rushent; they only got as far as a handful of tracks done before he famously walked out on them during a heated session, sealing their fate. Mirror Man is the last great song that he produced for the Human League, and it's utterly magnificent. Danceable, memorable, and sparkling with those girls' vocals. Can you imagine if the follow-up to Dare sounded like this? We can only dream.

9. ABBA | The Day Before You Came
I could fill up this entire list with songs by ABBA that influenced me. I've stolen my entire production technique from them (though I'm hardly the first). The Day Before You Came is the one that fascinates me the most, however, because it's the beginning of a new chapter of ABBA's career that never actually happened. This song contains the sound of ABBA transforming into a true Synthpop band ready for the 80's, after dominating the 70's with their music. But it was not to be. This actually is the last ABBA song ever recorded, just as they were on the verge of perfecting a new sound. It's sad, brooding, melancholy, and jawdroppingly immaculate. You can hear a kind of weariness in the songcraft here; it's almost as if they had nailed their sound so perfectly that there was nothing more to do except pack it in. The highly theatrical sound of this song foreshadows what Bjorn and Benny would end up doing after the band broke up--writing musicals. That's all well and good, but I wish they had put out that last Synthpop album that they were halfway through making. But all we got was this song. Just a little taste.

10. Michael Jackson | Human Nature
Maybe it's a bit of a cop-out to pick a song off the biggest selling album of all time as one of my 10 most special songs ever, but I've got to hand it to them. I don't think it's an accident that Thriller is the best selling album ever; it's got the perfect combination of Soul and wide appeal. Human Nature is a great example--in the wrong hands, this could have come out as a rather boring ballad. I've heard covers of this song that have reduced it to background music. Obviously, the original is nothing of the sort, and it's one of the prettiest songs that you could ever hope to hear. It's Jackson in top form; he never managed to record a better ballad than this, even though he sure tried. I also encourage anyone who really loves this song to seek out Steve Porcaro's original demo version--it's actually even better than MJ's version (even more emotionally raw), but MJ gets my nod for this list because, frankly, nobody sings this song like he could.