WARMER MIXTAPES #1061 | by David and Michael Champion of Champs

SIDE A | by Michael Champion

1. Bob Dylan | Love Minus Zero/No Limit
My favourite song from from one of my all time favourite albums. For me, this is Dylan at the peak of his poetic powers. I don't think anyone really comes close to him in terms of lyrical flow and surrealism, but what makes this track stand out above the rest, for me, is that you rarely hear him being so expressive with melody as well as lyrics. When Dylan's this melodic it's hard not to be affected. A proper love song.

2. Mercury Rev | Goddess On A Hiway
This was the first song I heard which made me think man, I wish I'd written that!. My friend played it to me whilst sat around his kitchen table after a heavy night out. We were about 16 and it really captured that beautiful 3am, summer melancholia. Euphoria tinged darkness.

3. The Sleepy Jackson | Acid In My Heart
One of the greatest opening lines ever as far as i'm concerned. It's true, I never had no fun with you, now there's acid in my heart. The production's amazing on this entire record as well. Slightly wobbly, pitch shifted Acoustic guitars - deep analogue synths and loads of tape compression. It's modern, forward thinking Pop. Utterly timeless.

4. Laurie Anderson | O Superman (For Massenet)
I think this has to be one of the most unique pieces of Pop Music ever created. - There's something so haunting about the repetition. It's bleak, lonely and urban on the one hand, yet on the other you can feel yourself in the depths of a wood shrouded in desolate nature. It has the power to make me feel like I miss something, or someone, even if I don't at all. I think she tapped into something deeply moving and uniquely emotive with this track. It was there for the taking, somewhere... And she' took it. There'll never be another one like it. Laurie got it.

5. R.E.M. | Radio Free Europe
Our parents used to play Murmur a lot when we were young and this was the track that always stood out for me. I love the way certain R.E.M. songs tease you with a double verse before you make it to the chorus. They had such a killer energy in those early albums as well.

6.  Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash | Girl From The North Country
The second version. Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, drunk, singing about a girl from the North country with her hair hangin' down. Need I say more?

7. Neil Young | Heart Of Gold
I've not been lucky enough to visit America yet, which is terrible because most of my favourite records are American. Heart Of Gold, in my imagination, is the sound of America. The sound of endless roads, enormous trees, RV's, desert sun and burger bars.

8. Roxy Music | Take A Chance With Me
I only started listening to Roxy Music recently - take away the minute long intro and this happily sneaks into my top ten. It's a song that makes me want to drive all night with no fixed destination. I'm not sure if people write songs like this anymore. There's something striking in the way it flows so effortlessly into such an uplifting chorus you almost don't realise it's happened. It's really graceful with that sense of English class that you get from a certain few bands. Total masters.

9. Nick Drake | Pink Moon 
Certain songs actually capture their subject with an over all sound. I think Nick Drake does this perfectly on Pink Moon. It's incredibly vast considering it's just Acoustic guitar and voice. You don't picture him performing it in a studio, you picture him in the English countryside on a cool summer's night with the sound languid oars accompanied by flickering reflections.

10. Leonard Cohen | The Partisan
It's the lyrics on this one. Dark, and enchanting. When I was young I used to pretend that I was a soldier who had been separated from my regiment in World War 2, wandering through the French countryside, stumbling across old farmhouses. My imagination couldn't quite do justice to how that might feel, but I think Leonard Cohen does it perfect justice with The Partisan. Not necessarily in the lyrics, but in the over all feeling that emanates whenever it plays. The vocal of Sue (Susan) Mussmano (I think it was her?) toward the end pulls it in to a whole other realm.

SIDE B | by David Champion

1. R.E.M. | Half A World Away 
This song always has a really special place in my mind. We grew up listening to R.E.M.’s albums Murmur and Out Of Time on cassette in our mum’s car. It feels like we had both albums on repeat for my entire childhood and the memories and feeling of those days come back to me every time I listen to them, without fail. It reminds me of chilly autumn afternoons where we’d drive to watch our dad play Rugby. We’d then come home and watch Due South, the TV show about a Canadian mounted policeman, for some reason. R.E.M. are the kings of the chorus tease and that double bridge before the final chorus makes it all the more powerful and heart wrenching when the chorus, accompanied by those mournful violins, finally kicks in.

2. Coldplay | Spies
This is another song that I fell in love with whilst being driven around in mum’s car. I was 10 when Parachutes was released and as far as I can remember it was the first album I bought. I got it on cassette and it was my bible for a couple of years. I remember being so struck by the range of Chris Martin’s voice and I never knew a man could sing like that. Jonny Buckland’s soaring, delay soaked guitar lines coupled with Champion’s pulsating drum beat completely blew my young mind.

3. David Bowie | Sound And Vision
I was quite late in discovering this song. A friend of ours used to play it in his DJ set at parties when we were younger and I was always amazed when I heard it. Because I was usually drunk when I heard it, I always forgot to ask him what it was called until the next time I heard it. I finally remembered to ask him later when we were both sober, but all I could do was to try and sing that crazy guitar line to him. He was totally confused and had no idea what I meant and it was left at that. He then rang me in the middle of the night to say It’s David Bowie - Sound And Vision! and from then on I’ve been hooked. I love the sound of that main guitar part and I’m always intrigued by the strangely repetitive structure of the song. I love the way his voice switches back and forth from high to low as if it’s two different people conversing. It’s a song that has really positive associations in my mind.

4. The Beatles | Rain
As I’m sure is the case with most people, The Beatles were always there in the background when I was growing up. I was aware of them for as long as I can remember in the same way that as a child, you’re always aware of World War 2 without necessarily taking the time to actually look into it properly – it’s just there as a presence from the moment you’re born. It was only when I was about 15 that I really started to listen to them attentively. I got really into them and dug a bit deeper. This is when I discovered Rain which was the B-side to Paperback Writer. I feel that this song was used only as a B-side because nobody knew what to do with it, purely because it was so ahead of its time. I love how it’s kind of a bit grittier and more sinister than a lot of the stuff they were doing at the time. I love the grinding, swelling guitars and the BVs. I also feel that Paul McCartney isn’t celebrated enough as a bassist, and this song really showcases his class. It’s also the first song to ever use backwards vocals which you can hear at the end.

5. Neil Young | After The Gold Rush
I got into Neil Young when I was 13. I can remember the age so specifically because I first heard it the summer before I started High School. That summer mum used to give me and my mate lifts to the beach and we’d listen to that album there and back every time. For this reason that song evokes memories of late summer afternoons and the feeling of never wanting a holiday to end. That song is frozen in that time in my mind.

6. MGMT | Time To Pretend
I got home from a really shitty day at school and Mike said You’ve gotta hear this. He proceeded to show me Time To Pretend and it blew me away on the first listen. That poppy synth line combined with the melancholic lyrics and melody really hit me hard. That album is an absolute modern classic. The mix of completely genuine and heartfelt lyricism with Pop accessibility is a pretty rare thing to come across. Dave Friedman has also got to be one of my favourite producers.

7. The Velvet Underground | Pale Blue Eyes
This is just one of those songs I never get sick of. Any time I hear it I’ll listen to the end and it still has the same effect on me it always has. It’s just completely timeless and delivered with such sincerity that its charm is permanent.

8. Kurt Vile | Never Run Away
I wouldn’t say this is one of my all time favourite songs, but it is my favourite song right now. I can’t stop listening to it. There’s something about his melodies which I can’t get enough of. The rhythm he conveys with his vocal is incredible and the way the melodies swirl and change throughout his songs. He is also one of my favourite lyricists and I love the fact that he’s not scared to open an album with a song which is nearly 10 minutes long.

9. The Sleepy Jackson | Good Dancers
Luke Steele’s Sleepy Jackson is the most underrated band of the last 20 years in my opinion. This song is the opener on his 2003 masterpiece Lovers, and it sets the tone for this album perfectly. Again it’s an accessible Pop song at the same time as being incredibly sad and sincere. I love the rollercoaster beauty of his melodies and the production on this album. I was introduced to this album by Mike and we listened to it on repeat on family holidays to Cornwall as teenagers.

10. Devendra Banhart | A Sight To Behold
This is just a real beauty of song. I’ve always really liked Devendra Banhart, he’s a real creative powerhouse, consistently writing absolutely killer songs. I love how moving this song is and how cyclical it is, always moving and swelling. The string part on the final chorus is genius and gives it even more power and emotion.