WARMER MIXTAPES #1630 | by Emily Wryn

1. Cat Power | Metal Heart
When I was 13 I used to frequent the local Music shop to wander the aisles and browse for CDs. I was at the very beginning of my Music exploration and just starting to play open mics. Randall, who worked at both Morning Glory Music and Sugar Magnolias (a local coffee shop that hosted open mic nights) had seen me play out. One day I was struggling to find an album to bring home with me. I was looking for a few options to take with me on my trip across country to visit a friend who had recently moved. I knew barely anything about Music that I hadn't heard on the radio or stumbled across. I don't remember the exact interaction, whether he had suggested it or if he had just given it to me, but I came away with Cat Power's Moon Pix. It was my first trip alone; I managed to make it through all my flight transfers safely and finally to West Virginia. I had barely arrived - maybe a day or two, when suddenly a terrible stomach flu hit me. I remember climbing up the stairs and with great force vomiting all over my poor friend's guest bathroom. For the next few days I lay in darkness listening over and over again to Moon Pix. The Creativity and Strength in her choices were apparent to me even then. The vague lyrics that left me wondering what she meant, the delicate dissonance that rang when her guitar and emotion-fueled voice clashed, and the sloppy/sexy, I don't give a fuck of her playing was all something l had never heard before. It opened a door to The Power Of The Feminine in my young self. I chose Metal Heart off of her album because it was a favorite of mine then.

2. Elliott Smith | Son Of Sam
When I was 14 I went on a missionary trip to Scotland. I was an outsider among everyone there and had made a reputation for myself, as all young women do who aren't 'good girls'. That said, I had a lot of time to read, explore and listen to Music. I had borrowed some CDs before the trip and among them was Figure 8. I have a distinct memory of being on the train reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman and listening to the record for the first time. It was my first taste of international travel which sparked my never ending craving for new cultural experiences and love of the smell of old wet stone and Earth. I have such respect for Elliott as a songwriter and have other favorites tied to other memories, but this album is like a time machine. It jets me back to Scotland's ancient streets. I chose Son Of Sam because it's the first track off of Figure 8 and is the true beginning of my relationship with Elliott Smith's Music.

3. Leonard Cohen | Suzanne (Judy Collins Cover)
This song reminds me of my first apartment, of having my first space to be alone and call mine. The sweetness of having tea cross legged in the living room without furniture, sitting in the light that shone through the trees cascading on my floor. The strawberries on the white and mint green tile in the kitchen. The cinder block and plank made bookshelves with tea lights lit inside. The Christmas lights that hung carelessly on the wall. The movie nights with friends scattered across the floor watching VHS tapes on the small television in the corner. Songs Of Leonard Cohen and Brazilian Jazz filled the small space in the short time I lived there.

4. Sufjan Steven | Death With Dignity
It's hard to fully express what emotions Sufjan’s Carrie & Lowell brings up inside of me. It hits many strings of a complex chord. The nostalgic Eternal Love of a child and Disillusionment when we see our parents as just people for the first time. The eventual certainty of the death of my mother and myself. The memories I want to leave for my children. The raw and true child-like emotions that are hidden beneath years of trained containment. This is one of the truest works of Art I have ever experienced. I can’t help but cry and want to be closer to the people I love when I listen to it. I chose Death With Dignity off of the album: I forgive you, mother... I can hear you... And I long to be near you... But every road leads to an end.

5. Johanna Warren | There Is A Light
I had fallen for Johanna's Music during my yearly trip to Big Sur after a mutual friend lent me her album nūmūn. A lot of her Music resonates with me and my ever-undulating mental, emotional and spiritual states. This song, off of her album Gemini I is uplifting, but not in an overly positive way. There Is A Light doesn't brush The Struggle, Concern or Pain of Life away. Her songs are intense and can deal with the darker sides of our emotional selves - this gives a sense of Hope in that turbulent inner world. I should wake up to this song as my morning prayer. Well, we could lie down and collectively seal our fate. You know it's now or never, but it's never too late.

6. Neko Case | I Wish I Was The Moon
I had just descended the Big Sur mountain roads and was close to realizing that the real world lay in wait for me. Driving through the rolling golden hills with the ocean on my right I spotted a coyote out in broad daylight. I turned quickly and parked, watching it stare back at me with knowing eyes. As the song swelled and Neko sang God blessed me, I'm a free man with no place free to go, the coyote unlocked eyes and trotted into the hills. It was a perfect moment.

7. Still Corners | Strange Pleasures
Strange Pleasures is a newer discovery for me. I found it while listening to Pandora and walking my dog in the hills near my house. When it came on I felt transported to a different place, everything around me became colored by the song so that even the light seemed to change. The synth line puts me in a trance. It's also nostalgic in a weird way - a kind of throwback – it reminds me of movies I grew up with for some reason, like The Neverending Story. There is something very strangely beautiful about it and has become one of the songs I listen to on heavy rotation.

8. Sarah Jaffe | Defense
Defense is a song I discovered in 2016, but feels close to my own mind. I can relate to every line in an uncanny way. It feels like this was written about the constant struggle to fend off my Fight Or Flight. It captures that on edge feeling so well. It is also a great driving/dancing in front of my mirror song. Looking for a reason to provoke my inner demons, lately they've been fueling my fire.

9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs | Maps
The first time I heard this song was on MTV. Their video had come on and I immediately fell in love with Karen O's distinct voice, her style, and the way she moved. She showed me that being in a Rock band could also be a Performance Art. I'm pretty sure that's what influenced me to start my very first band.

10. Erik Satie | Gnossienne No. 1, Lent (Played by Stéphane Blet)
I'm not an expert on Satie's Music or life, but they are absolutely fascinating. The Gnossiennes are several piano compositions that are mostly in free time (lacking time signatures or bar divisions) that are highly experimental with Form, Rhythm and Chordal Structure. Meaning that the pianist who plays the composition greatly influences how the song is portrayed. I've spent hours listening to different versions of the same song trying to find the perfect performance. I'd invite you to go down a good Wiki hole and read about Satie while listening to his Music. I love how whimsical, strange and dark Gnossienne No. 1 is. I get the craving to listen to it on days while drinking tea on my porch staring into the fog, nights driving through the empty barely lit streets, or laying on the floor in my den after midnight when the house is quiet and my mind is open to Satie's curious delights.