Lost Friday – "The Last Recruit."

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Season 6 – Episode 13: “The Last Recruit.

Another Lost Friday is upon us; we have much to discuss. I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is twofold. First off, there is no new episode of Lost next week. For the first time this season, they’re going to re-air the astounding ‘Ab Aeterno’ on April 27, in preparation for the final four episodes of the…well, ever. They’ll be back on May 4.

Also, I’ll be taking a little vacation of my own. Two weeks, actually. The next new CDP post will be the Lost Friday on Friday, May 7. That’s a long time in CDP terms, but I can assure you it will be worth it in the end.

Which brings me to my good news, which is also twofold. Today’s Lost Friday is the first of at least 10 Lost-related posts in a row, taking us right up to the final Lost Friday ever on May 28. The entire month of May will be dedicated to Lost; in addition to the last few Lost Fridays, I’ll be counting down the Best Lost Episodes Of All-Time, along with a ton of other surprises. It’s going to be fantastic, and considering that this is our last hurrah with Lost, I think we all deserve it.

More good news? I’ve got 17 captions for you this week. ‘The Last Recruit’ was a great episode that set everything up wonderfully for the finale. Let’s go.

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(Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you your Chosen One.)

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(“Don’t get me wrong, I like you and all, I just think you’re too short to be my stunt double.”)

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(Much like a salmon in heat, Jack springs out of the water and into the boat.)

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(“B-but, you can’t be my sister! I got you pregnant!”)

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(I’m just going to go ahead and say it; he’s fatter than ever.)

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(If I had a nickel for every time a woman looked at me like this, I’d be eating nickel chowder.)

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(“Christ, you run one Korean chick headlong into a tree, and she treats you like the Antichrist.”)

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(Sawyer went to the Wile E. Coyote Police School.)

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(“Do you believe in fate? No? Well, do you believe in SEX?”)

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(Rodin’s sequel to ‘The Thinker,’ ‘The Drinker.’)

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(Sawyer accidentally sits on his badge.)

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(“MUFFIN PENIS!”)

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(When you’re Locke, this is pretty much every day off the Island.)

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(“Don’t…forget to…TiVo…Mad Men…for me…”)

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(“Woah. I’m the Devil. Just became acutely aware of that.”)

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(Here’s a brain-teaser for you: which one smells worse?)

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(Aaugh! Blurry Floating Hurley Head Of Doom! Right behind you!)

That’s it; I’m out of here for two weeks, preparing for the Biggest May In CDP History, as we celebrate the final curtain of the greatest television drama ever. Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your weekend and keep yourself company while I’m away with the following links. See you soon.

Season 6 – Episode 1/2.
Season 6 – Episode 3.
Season 6 – Episode 4.
Season 6 – Episode 5.
Season 6 – Episode 6.
Season 6 – Episode 7.
Season 6 – Episode 8.
Season 6 – Episode 9.
Season 6 – Episode 10.
Season 6 – Episode 11.
Season 6 – Episode 12.
I’m On Twitter.
I’m On Facebook.

CDP Mix-Tape Trade 7 Wrap Party (Finale).

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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

WINNERS:
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.

CDP Mix-Tape Trade 7 Wrap Party (Part 5).

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CREATOR – Sherry

ARTIST – The Ergs!

WHO ARE THEY? – Nerdy and funny punk rock for intelligent and jaded punk rock fans. It’s the Mensa version of MTX.

200 WORDS OR LESS – Ben and Sherry initially turned me on to The Ergs a couple of years ago; they were playing their final show ever at Riotfest in Chicago, and we were in attendance. For a guy raised on the golden age of pop punk, The Ergs represent the best of a faded genre; a band that sounds like their influences (The Descendents/ALL being one of them), yet creates a style their own.

The most accurate comparison I can make for The Ergs would have to be the Carter Peace Mission, a group of Harvard-educated brats that made ultra-literate (and ultra-nerdy) punk rock well over a decade ago. If you think that you’ve officially grown tired of this genre, The Ergs might make you change your mind.

CREATOR – Benjamin

ARTIST – Two Cow Garage

WHO ARE THEY? – Once again…A hard-living, constantly-touring group of ‘Alt-Country’ misfits from Columbus, OH. Their pop and punk sensibilities have served them well, spanning four albums and countless shows over the last decade.

200 WORDS OR LESS – You can pretty much read Wallrock’s write-up from Monday if you want my full opinion on Two Cow Garage, but it’s pretty evident that these guys are turning heads and making fans based on their popularity in this Mix-Tape Trade alone.

To me, this seems like just the right band at just the right time. Just the right age. Just the right mood and worldview. And hey, should Two Cow Garage hit you at the same exact moment in your life, they just might become your new favorite band too.

CREATOR – Hilbelink

ARTIST – Queen

WHO ARE THEY? – An Arena Rock, operatic juggernaut helmed by one of the most dynamic and mind-blowing frontmen in music history.

200 WORDS OR LESS – Most of us are aware in some capacity of Queen; the legendary arena rock band that took melody, harmony, symphony and musicianship to a completely different level back in the day. However, I can assure you that none of you love Queen more than Hilbelink. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one. Inside and out, back-and-forth, nobody I know has studied and dissected the catalog more than Nicole.

It’s because of this that her Mix, a collection of deeper (yet awesome nonetheless) cuts from Queen, is so wonderfully paced and thought-out. I mean, I always knew that their singles and mainstream hits were stellar, but it seems as if everything they’ve ever done could have been released to commercial success, a talent I used to think was only possessed by The Smiths. I was constantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed this Mix, the rock barely stops, and I had almost forgotten how absolutely mind-blowing Freddie Mercury was. Right on.

CREATOR – Kenny

ARTIST – This was a straight-up Mix; no ‘New Favorite Band’ necessary.

WHO ARE THEY? – A smattering of the undisputed heavyweight champions of Indie rock.

200 WORDS OR LESS – Me and Kenny have been friends for a long time, but I cannot recall ever having a conversation about music. Furthermore, up until last week, I guess I hadn’t any idea what her musical tastes entailed. As it turns out, they’re exactly like mine.

This Indie Rock compilation features some of the best tracks by April March, Blitzen Trapper, Camper Van Beethoven, Loli & The Chones, Mates Of State, The Mountain Goats, Neko Case, Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal and The New Pornographers, all bands that I adore and celebrate in one fashion or another. With a Mix like this, I was more than willing to ignore that she went rogue with the theme. 🙂 Fantastic stuff; next time we’re in the same car together, you’re in control of the stereo.

See you tomorrow.

CDP Mix-Tape Trade 7 Wrap Party (Part 4).

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CREATOR – Reese

ARTIST – The Untouchables

WHO ARE THEY? – Since 1981, they’ve been one of the undisputed kings of the Soul/Mod/Ska movement.

200 WORDS OR LESS – Due to my age, I became obsessed with Ska at around the time of the Third Wave (the punk influence of the 3rd Wave has made it one of my favorite genres ever), but eventually got into the two-tone and Soul roots, where The Untouchables reign supreme. It’s absolutely impossible to listen to The Untouchables (or any type of ska-influenced music) without dancing, and I was half-skanking in my office chair for the duration of this fantastic compilation. Even the downtempo numbers have a groove that’s ridiculous to ignore.

Nowadays, if you want to get into The Untouchables, The Specials or Fishbone, the genre has been relegated to VH1-Classic territory, but it’s always worth the extra work. Reese has done a terrific job spotlighting a beloved (if not a current, commercially mainstream) style, and as a longtime fan, I’ve found myself listening to The Untouchables more so than almost any other Mix I’ve received.

CREATOR – Emily

ARTIST – Beth Gibbons

WHO IS SHE? – Best known as the songwriter and frontwoman of Electronica/Trip-Hop powerhouse Portishead, but venturing into solo work as well.

200 WORDS OR LESS – In the liner notes, Emily remarks that Portishead ‘manages to transcend any of the various genres into which they’re often placed and labeled,’ which is totally true. Like Bjork or…hell, even Cake, they create a sound all their own; an amalgam of influences and natural, original talent that conjures up a sound (and devoted following) all their own.

Naively, I’ve often avoided trip-hop or more ambient-sounding acts because of my punk rock obsession; I’m not looking to daydream with my music, I’m looking to spazz out. And while the bulk of this Mix is totally mellow, it’s still plenty captivating, thanks to the diversity and beauty of Gibbons’ soaring vocals and melodies. She could do an acapella album and it would be just as interesting, which is a compliment. I don’t know what caused me to shy away from Portishead so long ago, but I’m goose-stepping back, more than willing to admit I was wrong.

CREATOR – Caitlin

ARTIST
– Camille

WHO IS SHE?
– Beautiful, timeless, French, Pop juggernaut. Or as Caitlin says, “She’s French, and she’s awesome.” Well put.

200 WORDS OR LESS
– A modern artist (32 years old) releasing four albums since 2001, Camille’s work had a worldly, timeless quality to it, while still sounding very modern and (French) radio-ready. Sometimes alternating between French and English vocals, the smoky lounge nature of the tunes is often offset by electronic beats and multiple tracks of beatboxing; like an army of Camilles are providing background support in the most randomly awesome of ways.

It’s a bit hard to describe, but it’s addictive, sultry, jazzy and pretty as all get out. The beauty of the Mix-Tape Trade is getting introduced to artists I probably would have never stumbled across (or thought I would enjoy) if it wasn’t for the brilliant tastes of CDP readers, and when CDs like this show up in my mailbox, I’m eternally grateful. Right now, there are so many Mixes that I consider to be my ‘favorite,’ that picking a winner is torturous.

CREATOR – Wallrock

ARTIST – Two Cow Garage

WHO ARE THEY? – A hard-living, constantly-touring group of ‘Alt-Country’ misfits from Columbus, OH. Their pop and punk sensibilities have served them well, spanning four albums and countless shows over the last decade.

200 WORDS OR LESS – First and foremost, nobody writes liner notes like Wallrock. His passion for bands and the positive effect they’ve had on his life is spectacularly optimistic and beautiful. His musical youth was similar to mine; extremely influenced by punk and ska. Then sometime around legal drinking age, folks like us start to get into more songs that…well, make us want to get hammered. Songs about how difficult life is. Songs about lost love and good friends.

Music like…(gasp)…Country music.

But hey, the country landscape isn’t necessarily what you hear on the radio. Punk-influenced Country is everywhere nowadays, and Two Cow Garage is just feel-good, catchy, solid stuff. Their influence and dedicated following even made its presence known in the Mix-Tape Trade: Two Cow Garage is the only band this time around that was the focal point of two different Mixes (the second one is still on the way). And I love it (‘No Shame’ is an amazing song). In fact, I think I’m going to fix myself a drink right now.

More reviews tomorrow. They’ve all been fantastic.

Lost Friday – "Everybody Loves Hugo."

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Season 6 – Episode 12: “Everybody Loves Hugo.”

Another Lost Friday is upon us. We have very little to discuss.

So, I’m calling a quasi-audible this week for a couple of very good reasons. First off, ‘Everybody Loves Hugo’ functioned in a mainly utilitarian function, which is to say that it set things up more than it answered anything tangible. These episodes happen with frequency as Lost nears a season (or in this case, series) finale, so we’re left to play it as it lies, knowing that they have something fantastic in store for us next week.

Secondly, I attended a Q&A with Lost Co-Executive Producers (and UW alums) Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz on Wednesday night, for which I was asked to write an article for Dane 101. For Lost fans, this was a rare and special opportunity, so I’m digging in this weekend to poop out the report proper (I’ll link to it on Monday when it goes live; HERE’S a pretty good news video of the festivities).

Before anyone asks, I was indeed drunk when I attended, so I hope that you didn’t try to talk to me if you ran into me that night. I took legible notes, though.

So, this week’s Lost Friday might be meager, but I have a good excuse and you’ll get a neat story out of it next week. Let’s go.

ALTERNATE TIMELINE (2004):

Hurley’s using his lottery money in a humanitarian fashion. Libby runs into him and tries to convince him that they know each other from an alternate life, but she’s a mental patient, so the conversation doesn’t sink in too well. Desmond, who’s on a mission to show the 815’ers the light, convinces Hurley to give Libby another chance. On their date, Hurley and Libby kiss, to which Hurley begins to remember his alternate life. Meanwhile, Desmond attempts (but doesn’t succeed) to kill substitute teacher John Locke, assumingly because he realizes what he will become.

PRESENT-DAY TIMELINE (2007):

Hurley’s Group:

Ilana and company heads to the Black Rock for dynamite to destroy the Ajira plane. Ghost Michael appears to Hurley and tells him not to do such things. Ilana insists that by destroying the Ajira plane, the Black Smoke will be unable to leave the Island. Just then, the unstable dynamite explodes and kills Ilana. Before anyone notices, Hurley goes through Ilana’s things and takes Jacob’s ashes.

As the group is headed back to the Black Rock for more dynamite, Hurley sabotages the mission by blowing up the Black Rock entirely. He claims that by doing this, he’s protecting people. Richard throws an honest-to-God spazz fit and heads off to the Dharma barracks for whatever explosives he can find. Hurley, Jack, Frank and Sun go to speak with Locke. On the way, they hear the whispers, to which Hurley finds out what they mean. According to Michael, the whispers are of those who ‘cannot move on.’

Locke’s Group:

Locke is waiting for Hurley, Jack and Sun to show up, as they’re not able to leave the Island unless everyone is together. Later on, Locke and the newly-acquired Desmond go for a walk. They go to a well, where Locke talks about how the builders were looking for answers. Locke states that Widmore isn’t looking for answers, but power. After Locke questions as to why Desmond doesn’t seem afraid, he goes and tosses Desmond into the well, just for the hell of it.

Back at camp, Hurley, Jack, Frank and Sun show up, to Locke’s delight.

Smash cut; blah-bloo-blee.

Shazam; we’re outta here! Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your weekend and cuddle up with the following links while we’re apart. More Mix-Tape reviews next week, too!

Season 6 – Episode 1/2.
Season 6 – Episode 3.
Season 6 – Episode 4.
Season 6 – Episode 5.
Season 6 – Episode 6.
Season 6 – Episode 7.
Season 6 – Episode 8.
Season 6 – Episode 9.
Season 6 – Episode 10.
Season 6 – Episode 11.
I’m On Twitter.
I’m On Facebook.
Surviving 815.

CDP Mix-Tape Trade 7 Wrap Party (Part 3).

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CREATOR – Cargirl

ARTIST
– Andrew Bird

WHO IS HE?
– A one-man, Indie-Chamber-Folk-Pop-Orchestral band. Full-time multi-instrumentalist. Part-time noble beast.

200 WORDS OR LESS
– Cargirl sent me a jam-packed two-disc set, covering essentially all of Bird’s career. The Chamber-Pop moniker is cringed upon at times, but the plucking strings, swelling choruses and tinkling backgrounds leave you with no other suitable descriptor (a style I feel that Matt Pond has nearly perfected over the course of a decade). Carly had told me that there were large amounts of strings (especially violin) in Bird’s work (while I was familiar with him, I hadn’t dug too much into his body of work). She was more than right; I’d venture to say that Bird’s work is ‘violin-driven,’ which is more of a compliment than anything (you can almost smell the stained oak). The music perfectly suits his soaring vocal melodies.

It’s depressing music. Uplifting music. Chill-out music. Music to fall in love to. Music that’s open to interpretation. It’s beautiful music, plain and simple.

CREATOR – Brian

ARTIST
– Venus Infers

WHO ARE THEY?
– A very modern, new-school band that draws upon the boozy, guitar-soaked pop of the past.

200 WORDS OR LESS
– When I receive a Mix from Brian, I feel as if I’m being passed sensitive information. Unmarked packages, no jewel case or liner notes; just the facts, and nothing more that could possibly tip off the fuzz and send us all to the clink. While I usually find this cool, it was a hindrance because I was really digging Venus Infers, and I have absolutely no idea what the names of any of these songs are.

The sexual energy, Arctic Monkeys-like verses and Mando Diao-esque earworm hooks are absolutely everywhere; this is a band that knows how to write a universally-ass-shaking tune. The alternate male/female vocal duties blend seamlessly, and the production is squeaky clean. This is music that makes you want to call up your friends, make some drinks and turn it up as loud as possible while playing Scrabble with all the windows in the house open until eventually nobody can spell anymore and we all crash in the living room until Sunday morning.

Too specific?

CREATOR – Mike Hoss

ARTIST
– David Bazan

WHO IS HE?
– Singer/Songwriter, former lead singer of Pedro The Lion and Headphones, now an on-the-rocks Christian going at it alone (professionally and spiritually).

200 WORDS OR LESS
– I’ve always liked David Bazan. Former CDP Alumni Let’s Eat Paste recommended Pedro The Lion to me back in 2004, and it was a worthwhile discovery. Like Hoss says, Christian or Agnostic, “Bazan’s songs remain the same–honest, gritty and full of indie self-examination.”

What Hoss may not know is that, when me and the Missus started seeing each other back in late 1999, we were both self-described ‘Christians.’ In fact, one of the main things that we did together was attending the annual LiFest in Oshkosh (still the best festival I’ve ever been to; pizza and soda were always a dollar a slice/can and everything was always really clean, one girl got killed on one of those slingshot rides, though, so that was sad).

Sure, we got older and our views changed, but that was an era of some really, truly, seriously good ‘Christian’ music; Bazan and Pedro The Lion being near the top of that list. I’d recommend Bazan’s work to damn-near anyone.

CREATOR – Reese

ARTIST
– The Smart Set

WHO ARE THEY?
– A wild supergroup of brilliant minds from all over the pop music world (Emma Burgess, The English Beat, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Specials).

200 WORDS OR LESS
– Wow, this is NOT what I had expected. Considering what I had heard about The Smart Set, the pedigree of the musicians involved and what I’ve seen concerning Reese’s taste in music, I was expecting something in the Two-Tone, Second-Wave Ska, Mod vein. And I was excited about this; don’t get me wrong.

However, what I got was the beautiful voice of Brandi Emma drifting elegantly over trip-hop, electronica, lounge and alt-country from all directions. On one track, she sounds like Dusty Springfield, on the next, I could swear she was Madonna. The interweaving of genres is phenomenal, all while retaining their sultry, highbrow mood.

It’s always great to be taken by surprise by music, and due to my somewhat-incorrect preconceived notions, The Smart Set did just that. I really enjoyed this Mix.