WARMER MIXTAPES #855 | by Stephen Black [Sweet Baboo] of Group Listening

1. H. Hawkline | Black Domino Box
This is a very nepotistic first choice, but, hey ho, you have to start somewhere. H. Hawkline is a man from Cardiff in Wales called Huw Evans. I’m also a man from Cardiff and am good friends with Huw. Cardiff is a pretty small place; Huw has been in my band for a good few years and I have been in his. I play bass on this record. I’d never automatically pick a song I am involved in for a top 10 list, but there are a lot of reasons why I have done so this time. For one, it’s a brilliant Pop tune and I think everyone should hear it. Two, I’m pretty pleased with the bass line and three, I was away a lot last year (2012) touring and this is one of the songs I would always go to either to cheer me up or soundtrack an experience. Sometimes I just played it to impress the people I met on my travels. It’s a big tune. I think I also had to pick it as Huw, over the last year, has borrowed my computer a few times for one reason or another and Black Domino Box seems to be on my iTunes about 10 times. I took it as a sign and thought it was a good and apt first choice.

2. Paul & Linda McCartney | Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
Every list should have at least one Paul McCartney or Wings song on it. I was tossing up whether to put this or Maybe I’m Amazed on the list, but because of the reason below I ended up choosing Uncle Albert. I’d just moved house, turned thirty and thought it was time to get a decent record player and speakers. I think it happens to everyone. Anyway, Ram, was the first purchased record for the new house and the first new (as in I bought it from a second hand shop down the road not new new) record to be played on the record player. It’s hardly been off since. Hands across the water, Hands across the Sky.

3. The Exciters | Blowing Up My Mind!
My brother made me a copy of a Northern Soul compilation he had and it’s soundtracked many a car journey this year. This is my favourite song on it, it’s kept me from falling asleep at the wheel more than a few times. It was also a big influence on how I wanted my new record to sound like. When you turn this record up loud it sounds like there’s mud all over it. It’s messy and distorted and makes you wanna dance. So when we were mixing and mastering the album, that’s what I wanted my songs to sound like with more mud over them.

The lyrics to this song are amazing too. This is my favourite verse:

It’s like placing a canon underneath my chin
Then declaring war on me oh how can I win
It’s like sitting in the oven after turning on the gas
Then lighting up a cigarette then how can I last

You’re Blowin’ Up My Mind

4. John Lennon | Oh Yoko!
I’m trying to write new songs at the moment and they all seem to be a rip off of John Lennon’s Oh Yoko!. I might have got it wrong, but if you take the lyrics at face value, which I do, the sentiment, honesty and simplicity of the song is very poignant. The meat and potatoes arrangement only adds to the poignancy of the lyrics.

5. Super Furry Animals | It’s Not The End Of The World?
This is another car song for 2012. Waaaaaaaa, wwwww waaaa a Waaaaa Waaaa Waaaaa... Etc. Being Welsh, I was brought up with the Furries. I hadn’t listened to this album for at least five years until two summers ago when it mysteriously turned up in my car. I’d forgotten how good the album is and I could have chosen any number of songs from it. Juxtaposed With U, Rings Around The World, Presidential Suite, Receptacle For The Respectable or Run, Christian, Run to name a few. I chose this song as it’s a big sing along moment for me and my friends. The same could be said for another SFA song from their Phantom Phorce album called Venus And Serena. That CD is lost somewhere in the ether of the back of my car.

6. R. Seiliog | To Be A Sgerbwd
I could have easily chosen 10 songs all from Wales, and I know I’m biased, but I genuinely believe, as a nation, we make the best Pop music. Anyway, I haven’t chosen 10 Welsh songs and this is my last. R.Seiliog is my friend, Robin. He’s been playing music in and around Cardiff in other people’s bands for years. He’s the drummer on Black Domino Box in fact and he also makes an amazing Electronic Krautrocky mess under the name R.Seiliog. He released his first EP on the Peski label called Shuffles and this is one of the songs from it. When he and his band play live, it’s glorious and loud. I hope we’re going to be doing something together in the new year.

7. Eleanor Friedberger | Roosevelt Island
The Friedbergers, either in their Fiery Furnaces and their Solo projects, deserve to be U2 or Muse massive. This is a Funky bastard song from Eleanor Friedberger’s album Last Summer, it’s my album of choice to run (waddle) to.

8. Woods | Is It Honest?
I pretty much love everything on the Woodsist label, but I like Woods (they run it) best. Their albums have been another big influence on the way I want my music to sound. All warm and fuzzy and like there’s mud on them. This song is my favourite from their new album Bend Beyond. It’s a perfect Pop tune and sound tracked my trip across the American desert this summer. It would be a dream come true to release a record on the Woodsist label.

9. Air Waves | Knock Out
OK, we’re getting towards the end, hurrah! Have you noticed how my answers are getting progressively shorter as the list goes on? Anyway, Air Waves toured with us (Slow Club) at the beginning of the year across the East Coast of America and Canada. I love them, I do. Another song that reminds me of good times, touring and playing gigs with my friends. Being in a band is a pretty good job when you think of it.

10. Arthur Russell | Habit Of You
The best, never fails to make me smile.