WARMER MIXTAPES #718 | by Megan Diane Wyler [Megan Wyler] of Little Owl

1. Baby Dee | Small Wonder
I first saw Baby Dee when I was 18 years old and had just moved to NYC. She was riding around the East Village on a Giant Tricycle that had her Harp Strapped to the Back, and She Wore Vast White Angels Wings. She would Occasionally Stop, Turn Round, and Play her Other-Worldly Heartbreaking Music to passer-by’s and sidewalk diners, Anyone Who Would Listen. I was an Instant Fan. Many years later I was asked by my friend Sxip Shirey to sing in a Fundraising Tribute Concert for her, Singing Her Music, when she was having a Tough Time. Small Wonder was the song I sang, with four other ladies (with a GORGEOUS Arrangement by Ms. Rima Fand), and it was the First Time I Had Heard It. The Lyrics are Totally Magic. As is the Melody and Everything Else About the Song. It's on her First Record, produced by Bonnie Prince Billie and Matt Sweeny, a Great Version. Baby Dee Rocks.

2. Sparklehorse | Spirit Ditch
I’ve Always Loved the First Line of This Song: I want my records back. We’ve all been there... It’s a song that is So Forlorn, So Starkly Beautiful. I first heard this song Driving from NYC to Maine on a Very Grey Rainy Day in the Autumn, all the Leaves Were Turning, and that Smell/Feeling of Change Was in the Air. Very Apropos for this tune. For me there is a Deep Melancholy in all of Mark Linkous’ songs – and Always a Good Bit of Humour Behind It All which makes the Music all the More Delightful. Massive Loss when he passed. I’ve wondered if that Answering Machine Recording in the middle of this song is Something He Really Received… His mum?

3. Guided By Voices | The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory
I got this album from a friend who knew someone at the label, before it was released. I Vividly Remember that the Mad and Brilliant Imperfection and Lo-Fi Quality of this recording made me Grin when I heard it, and I got so Excited it made me want to do the same in my own recordings. It’s Rebellious and Raw – and it's all about Bob Pollard's melodies, which are Genius. This song (and most songs on the album) feels like an Idea That Came, Got Recorded, and Went – so Un-Precious. But at the same time it's got a Lovely Chorus with Great Harmonies, and a Wonderfully Chunky Guitar Sound. It all just Works and Feels Complete, a Great Listen.

4. Sam Amidon | Sugar Baby
I heard this song on a Wintery Day Drinking Red Wine Next to a Big Fire in a Creaky Old House Built Three Hundred Years Ago, in East London. Couldn’t have been a more Appropriate Soundtrack for the Blustery, Cosy Occasion. An Effortless, Soulful and Dignified Rendition. So Simple and Honest. Lovely.

5. Serafina Steer | Shut Up Shop
Heard this song whilst Laying in Bed on a Lazy Sunday Morning on French Radio London and literally sat up to listen, it was So Beautiful. Something about the Loop-ey Repetitiveness and Spacey Sounds, within a Totally Haunting Melody, and the Clarity and Boldness of her Vocals – it's Transporting and Unique, Something Very Much Her Own and Timeless, Not An Easy Equation To Land! I met Serafina briefly through our mutual friend Adem, when he asked a group of us to Sing for an Improvised Vomposition he was trying out at London’s Vortex, for an Experimental Composers Night. I heard what a Gorgeous Voice she has that eve, but hadn’t heard Her Own Music. What a Wonderful Connection to Make when I heard her song that Morning, and later, her Lovely Album.

6. The Reindeer Section | If Everything Fell Quiet
Always been a bit Skeptical about ‘supergroups’ – but this one is a Total Winner in my opinion. An Incredible Mixture of Artists from Loads of Great Bands. This song is So Romantic. It's What Every Girl Wants Her Man To Say To Her. I associate this song with a Particular Unrequited Love from Many Moons Ago – and Every Time I Hear the Song it Takes Me right Back to the Season, the Smells, the Characters, that Were in the Picture at That Time in My Life. That is What is So Incredible About Music; it's like a Life-Soundtrack-Time-Machine, Instant Recall of Times Gone By, in Sensory Technicolour. I Love the Drum Sound they got on this track, it's So Heavy Hitting and yet also Allows The Kind of Lazy Feeling of the Song to Sink In. And the Vocals are Sexy and Quiet. A Killer Tune.

7. Iron And Wine | Upward Over The Mountain
I Remember Vividly When I First Heard This Song. I was Sitting in a Lovely Sunny Garden in Brooklyn in Late Spring - a Sunday Brunch Scenario, Post Night Out. I was Feeling that Melancholy Mixed with Contentment Type Feeling. This song came on in a playlist, Drifting Out to Us from Inside the Kitchen, and it made my Toes Tingle. It hit a Perfect Nerve for the Way I Was Feeling and It Is, in my opinion, an Ideal Anthem for That Feeling of Melancholy Mixed with Contentment. Such Sweet Buttery Harmonies, and the Slide Guitar gives it its Particular Personality.

8. Pavement | Stop Breathin’
This song speaks to the (Indie) Rock And Roll girl in me that loves Loud Guitars and Slightly-Out-Of-Tune Abandon. I still listen to Crooked Rain at Full Volume on a Great Set of Speakers Whenever I’m in the Mood. It’s a Feel Good Album for me, and this song is a Narrow Favourite as there are so Many Great Ones. But it has that Gorgeous Sweeping Chorus and Fantastic Lyrics. Some friends of mine got signed to Atlantic Records awhile back and as part of their Wooing Process were given a bunch of tickets and a Really Cheesy Stretch Limo to take them to a Pavement gig at Hammersmith Ballroom. I went along for the Ride. Fortified by Cheap Limo Whiskey we watched a packed out gig that was One of Their Last, I believe, and the Whole Place Exploded when they played this song – which was Spectacular.

9. PJ Harvey | Grow Grow Grow
I think PJ Harvey is such an Incredible Artist, and for me has been an Inspiration and Influence for a Long Time. Her album Rid Of Me was a Staple in the Headphones for Many Years. I heard White Chalk and Loved the New Territory It Hit, a Departure from Her Previous Stuff. Somehow Grow Grow Grow got the Number One Spot for me. It makes me feel like I’m watching a Beautiful Black and White Silent Film with a Female Character Who is Drunk and Crazed with Love, and Totally Driven to the Edge By It – Riding the Wild Emotional Waves of Her Lovestruck State. This song feels like a Whole Image-World In and of Itself, as well as the Soundtrack.

10. Vic ChestnuttBug
I was introduced to Vic Chestnutt by an Old Boyfriend from Atlanta who had a Crappy VHS Copy of a Great Documentary made about him, a Kind of Meandering Cool Film that Gave Real Insight into His Extraordinary Will to Continue Playing Music Against All Odds and Physical Restraints due to Being Paralysed in a Car Accident. He was playing a few weeks after I saw the film, at the Knitting Factory in NYC, and it was One of Those Life-Affirming Shows. It was just So Brilliant. He played Bug, and he seemed So Lifted By The Song, We All Lifted With Him.

+11. Jeff Buckley | Last Goodbye
The Voice of an Angel. Its been said many times before I know, but it's Because it's True. Jeff Buckley had a Voice that Graced the Earth for a Very Short Time, but it was Monumentally Beautiful. I saw him play at a little spot called Arlene's Grocery in the Lower East Side in NYC and he did this song. It was Packed and Sweaty and a Mediocre Sound System, and the Place was Electrified. I was Totally Enthralled. I Love the Drums on this song, Driving It. It’s A Slow Song Dressed Up Like A Fast Song. Oh, and That Voice

+12. Crosby, Stills & Nash | Wasted On The Way
6 Years Old. VW Van. Mom at the Helm. Me in the Passenger Seat. Speakers at Full Distortion-Level Volume. Singing at Top-of-Lung Capacity. Windows Down. Colorado Mountain Sunshine. Heeeeeeeeeee…

+13. Emmylou Harris | The Boxer (Simon & Garfunkel Cover)
Emmylou Harris is The Queen. I Love This Song. I Cannot Believe How Gorgeous Her Voice Is. I heard her version of The Boxer again recently while I was in Thailand. We were Driving Down the Road in a Super Loud Tuk Tuk Sucking In Huge Amounts of Exhaust Fumes. Suddenly this song came on – my guy was playing it thru his iPhone on Speakerphone, Grinning. It was so Out of Context , so Barely-Audible, such a Random Choice of Soundtrack for the Occasion – but it was Perfect! We all just sat back and Drank It In, and Thoroughly Enjoyed Her Sweet Serenade.

+14. James Blake | Lindisfarne 
Heard this song in a Big Cold Warehouse in Stoke Newington. I was Grabbed By It Immediately, such a Fresh Sound. He manages to Keep The Tune Very Accessible and Rootsy whilst Incorporating his Signature Electronic Beats and Synth Sounds. It's an album I put on in the Winter, somehow it's got a Wintery Feel for me. I think he has a Very Special Voice that Cuts Through all the Production and Grounds Me Into a Mellow Listen.