Monday, March 05, 2007

Mixtape Monday: Through Being Cool, Side Two

(What is Mixtape Monday?)

So you’re a fan of Mixtape Mondays—being, as is only natural, dazzled by my eclectic taste, my keen ear for pop hooks, and my stethoscopic rendering of the very pulse of the zeitgeist—and you’ve wondered to yourself: As fulfilling as this experience is, might there be a way to make it (perish the thought) even better?

No? Even if you haven’t, I have. Which is probably for the best, since I’m the one in a position to actually, y’know, do something about it. My wishlist for improving the experience looked something like this:

  • Simplifying downloads. The biggie. YouSendIt has a couple of clicks built into its download process, and it’s kind of a drag. Also, its terms of service require that only registered users of YouSendIt can download huge files like mixtape mp3s. All you need is a valid e-mail address, but still—it’s kind of a drag. I considered setting up a dummy account to allow people to log in anonymously, but that seemed an invitation to abuse.

  • Keeping files up longer than one week. I’ve had requests for reposts—not many, but a couple—and reuploading and such is kind of cumbersome.

  • Actually being able to track usage. I have no idea how many times these things get downloaded, and I don’t feel like paying an annual fee to find out.

  • Previewing. With YouSendIt, Mixtape Monday is a blind download (maybe “deaf” would be a better word). Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to listen to a bit before committing your computer to what realistically could be an hour-long download?

  • A move towards an actual podcast model. And all that comes with it—centralizing all the files, automatic downloads, subscriptions, the whole nine.

Enter Podbean.

Specifically, enter Enter it into your browser. Or just click it. Bookmark it, visit it every Monday—or any other day. Or subscribe, if you’ve got iTunes or some other podcast-subscribing mojo. Plans now call for each mixtape to stay up for a few weeks, until I get some idea of how much bandwidth I’m actually using.

But even that’s not the coolest thing.

[ MP3 expired — so sorry ]

That. That’s the coolest thing.

But what about the music this time around? Well.

Let’s play “one of these bands is not like the others.” Before actually sitting down to write this, I was thinking of this mix as being mostly a gruel of dadrock with a dollop of alt-culture wildcards (which might have been true of Side One, actually): in that context, the Tindersticks are the odd band out. Their second eponymous record was probably the hippest CD I owned at the time. And “Sleepy Song” is one of the most brilliant dynamic bait-and-switch jobs in pop. Nirvana used to get a lot of press for their quiet-loud-quiet routine, but this, this—it’s practically subliminal, then it’s knocked you out of your chair. I know it’s coming and it still makes me flinch every time.

Anyway: looking again at the track listing, we’ve got a Church/Game Theory crossover; seminal underground rockers returned; Beck, just as he was becoming the arbiter of all things cool; Victoria Williams at the peak of her alternative credibility—hell, even U2 could still get college-radio airplay in 1997, and Pop was being hailed as anti-commercial (little did we know).

No, it is dadrock godheads Dire Straits who are increasingly looking like the ringers here. I am unapologetic; I’m still a sucker for the widescreen approach to songwriting and production they perfected on Love Over Gold the album (“Telegraph Road” probably being the finest example of this, like, ever). In fact, I came to “Love Over Gold” the song by way of Bill Forsyth’s wonderful film Comfort And Joy, which used its vibraphone outro as underscore for a couple of scenes.

Whatever happened to Bill Forsyth, anyway? He hasn’t made a film since 1999; the above-linked article seems to imply that his struggle to make Being Human soured him on the industry forever. That’s a shame, if it’s true. We need him and his movies now more than ever, us grown-ups.

No comments: