CREATOR – Smedley
ARTIST – King Crimson
WHO ARE THEY? – The tippy-top of the Prog Rock pyramid.
200 WORDS OR LESS – ‘I love the way that they mix their drums.’ This was the first thought I had as soon as I put the first of FOUR discs into my computer (Smedley always comes through with the pain concerning the comprehensiveness of his Mixes). Not being a King Crimson scholar (or much of a prog-rock scholar at all), I really listened to the albums trying to understand the majesty, technical prowess and decades-long career of such a beloved group.
A child of the 80’s and 90’s, my attention span gets squirmy when I encounter a song that treads into ten-minute territory. That being said, they don’t necessarily jam in the typically boring way I usually abhor with, you know, Jam Bands. Like most people would probably agree with, I enjoyed their earlier work more than their later stuff, and the bonus Live disk was much appreciated (my goodness are they tight; they sound like one, insane, multifaceted super-artist). All in all, if there’s a gateway to prog-rock, Smedley delivered the goods with King Crimson.
CREATOR – Fiona
ARTIST – Within Temptation
WHO ARE THEY? – Dutch Symphony-Metal powerhouse. Female-fronted, epic as all get out, and oh yeah…they’ve sold over 8 million albums globally.
200 WORDS OR LESS – Europe does Metal better. Every kind of Metal, and holy shit, does Within Temptation come through on the most epic end of the spectrum. Halfway through the first song, I went and put a tie on, as I felt I was under-dressed. Every song sounds like Damien from The Omen is about to enter the room. Darkly beautiful, but not necessarily ‘goth.’ More like ‘Renaissance Fair on Ecstasy.’
The ballads, while beautifully sung by Sharon del Adel, took somewhat of a backseat to the huge, swelling masterworks of epic rock. How could they not? Every song on this album sounded like it should be in the trailer for the next superhero movie, and…well, that’s supposed to be a compliment. The production is super-polished (most of this genre is), the synths and multiple-instrumentation mixed wonderfully. It starts strong and finishes stronger. Good jorb.
CREATOR – Heather
ARTIST – Another straight-up Mix of ‘New Favorite Bands.’
WHO ARE THEY? – An eclectic Mix of up-and-comers.
200 WORDS OR LESS – As a bonus disk, Heather turned me onto a handful of ‘New Favorite Bands’ that she had been listening to recently, and I really appreciated it, because they were all really good.
A Camp is the side project of Nina Persson, lead singer of The Cardigans. Cocoon is an absolutely adorable French boy/girl twosome. Jens Lekman is a more notable name; a Swedish-pop guy that is seemingly incapable of writing anything that doesn’t stick in my head for days. Beirut is a folk and world-music oriented collective from New Mexico. The Radio Dept. is yet another Swedish group with dreamy melodies and lush choruses (the Swedes always import catchy stuff). Au Revoir Simone is an exclusively electronic (and exclusively female) New York group. Fun formed from the ashes of The Format and Steel Train, and they actually were honored by me last year as the #2 album of 2009 (I really dig their debut album).
What a cultured, eclectic, beautiful Mix; I sincerely liked every single song on it. Thank you.
CREATOR – Heather
ARTIST – Super Junior
WHO ARE THEY? – Can you say 13-MEMBER KOREAN BOY BAND? This contest is over.
200 WORDS OR LESS – Me and Heather have never met, but she knows what I like. Her tastes are so varied and International that she makes me feel uncultured. Her and Fiona are always sending me postcards and photographs, which I find beautiful and appreciative, but then I look around my quiet Madison neighborhood and secretly fantasize robbing a bank and disappearing for the shore. What are you going to do?
If you’ve ever listened to an Asian pop music, you’ll know exactly what this Mix sounds like. Sugar-coated, catchy like you couldn’t imagine, and a guilty pleasure that I stopped hiding well over a decade ago. Ever play Dance Dance Revolution? Yeah, like that. What I really like is that some of the lyrics slip into English from time to time, which I always admire from overseas acts. I will play this for my friends the next time I drive them to the Indian restaurant, and I will refuse to turn it off, no matter how much they bitch or complain. Within 30 minutes, they should be good and converted.
Whew, well that’s all 24 of them. Before I get into announcing the winner of the FREE CDP T-SHIRT, I want to once again thank you sincerely for making the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 7 the best one yet. Every Mix was awesome in its own way, and I never thought when I started this that I would be exposed to such awesome artists, songs and brilliant people (that means you, yo). I’ve received over 100 of these since we started back in 2007, and I cannot wait to do the next one (Late Summer). So again, thank you so very much.
Out of the 21 Mixes I received that were eligible for the contest, I honestly liked them all. Picking a ‘winner’ seems borderline insulting and exceedingly frustrating; indicative of a promise I made without fully thinking it through. However, a deal is a deal, so here we go.
BANDS I WAS ALREADY AWARE OF:
The Bran Flakes, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Sean Tillman, They Might Be Giants, David Bazan, The Untouchables, The Ergs!, Queen
HONORABLE, HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Lacuna Coil, Jimmy Newquist, King Crimson, Venus Infers, Two Cow Garage, Camille (I’ve referred Camille to the Missus), Beth Gibbons (also referred to the Missus), The Smart Set, Within Temptation
Super Junior – (Heather)
Andrew Bird – (Cargirl)
I couldn’t choose, so screw it, you both win! I’ll be contacting you this weekend with further instructions. Thanks again!
And just when you thought I couldn’t get any more charitable, Lost Friday arrives tomorrow. I dare you to tell me that you don’t love it here at the CDP. I freaking dare you.