Thursday, January 7, 2010

Boil It First 002: Retro Acid Green

OK, so our esteemed, cuddly, teddy-bear of an editor, Mr. Dan Majesky, posted an incredibly entertaining mixtape yesterday, so you know I had to get in on that business. Making mixes is one of my only talents, apart from run-on sentences and fanboy hyperbole, which you might know if you were following my blog, Random Old Records, and my stellar podcasts. Unlike his selection of what was rocking his face in the now, I decided to go way back! These twelve tracks come from a mix I made in 2007, and to be honest, it was for an ex-girlfriend. This thing probably contributed to me getting laid, so you know it's good stuff! It's called "Retro Acid Green" and it's all over the place, but it flows brilliantly, if I do say so myself. The original was 19 tracks and ran over an hour, so I cut out the duff tracks and left the pure gold. OK? Let's begin.

1. Rye Coalition - "Pussyfootin'"
If it's one thing I've learned, you gotta start a mix off with an absolute RAGER! A guttural screech from a genuine New Jersey dirtbag does the trick nicely. Rye Coalition was one of the best unknown rock n' roll bands of the early 2000s. Mixing primal MC5-style American cock-rock with pissed-off nerdy Jesus Lizard angularity, they put out a steady stream of albums that mixed the brainy with the brain-dead. This is a track from their major label debut, which dropped the atonal noise and odd time signatures and went straight for the throat. Dave Grohl produced this track and that dude certainly knows his way around a fist-pumping anthem. It's loaded with cheesy harmonized guitar leads, scandalous lyrics, and pummeling Bonzo drum beats. If this doesn't scream "COME GET SOME!" then I don't know music.

2. Half-Cocked - "Drive Away"
Another neat trick with making mixes is coming up with the title. I prefer to pick a completely random (you dont say?!) line from one of the songs that tries to sum up the overall tone or at least seems cool when written by a Sharpie. "Retro Acid Green" comes from this song, and it refers to a shade of car paint, I think? Anyway, this song is all about driving away obviously, away from the tired life and the messed-up scene, with fuzzy dice swayin' away in the rear-view mirror. Half-Cocked was a girl-fronted bubblegum hair metal band that seemed really out of place in 2001 when this song came out. Remember 2001? Nu-metal and post boy-band crud ruled the radio, and it was seriously depressing. This song made my heart thump like crazy and now it makes me sing along triumphantly and remember when I first got my driver's license. It's fun and colorful and epic and catchy as all hell.

3. Hot Water Music - "Paper Thin"
If there's one thing that makes a perfect mix PERFECT, it has to be the "fuck yeah" chorus. Ya see, you're working under pressurized circumstances and you have to impress in a hurry. If there's anything Bob Mould taught me, it's that the crucial song needs to be slotted in the three hole. Think about all your favorite albums: the third song is usually the best, right?! The hook is in the water, there's some interest, and then BAM! Reel 'em in, son. Reel 'em in. Speaking of Bob Mould, if you're one of the five people who haven't heard Hot Water Music, they are Husker Du acolytes through and through. "Paper Thin" is at once gruff and sensitive and has a holy mother of a "fuck yeah" chorus that evokes white white walls and hospitals. You can't go wrong with beardy dudes with hearts of gold.

4. Turbonegro - "Rock Against Ass"
So yeah, I'm not much of a sensitive rug-sucker type, so when I think of romantic music, I immediately think of a song about sodomy from a crew of gay pirates from Norway. Wait, what?! You can't be blatantly obvious when you're playin' your hand, so you've gotta throw in some slick misdirection plays for sure. But really, Turbonegro were some charming bastards. If there's anything an average American girl likes, it's a mysterious foreigner with a silly accent and a tenuous grasp on the English language. "Rock Against Ass" has a bunch of awkward lyrics that don't make a damn bit of sense, but it's packed with tambourines, handclaps, and ascending guitar riffs that point to the heavens. Any song that makes a girl drive around shouting "rock, rock, rock against ass!" has to make a red-blooded American male smile and swoon, am I right?!

5. Crybaby - "Saltshake Redemption"
In a way, 2010 isn't all that different from 2007. Back then, I was an over-caffeinated fool that spent most of his nights hanging out in sketchy dive bars listening to local music. Oh yeah, you don't say? Back then, Crybaby ruled the roost, and even before I appointed myself the mountaintop-shouting Cincinnati blogger prophet, I was singing their praises. They never went anywhere, even though they crafted an album called Lady Light Evolver that is absolutely perfect. You could blame it on their upbringing, but it was also their upbringing that made them so goddamn brilliant. This was a quartet of real, honest '90s babies who only had small-town boredom, music, bad TV, and the infant internet to keep them entertained. Boredom, ADD, and stimulation breeds talent though, and this song is a glorious mix of Nirvana, the Beatles, and late '90s indie space rock. It's not really as good as that comparison sounds, but what really is? "Saltshake Redemption" sounds like good friends driving endless country roads at 3 AM, smoking weed and talking shit. Plus, it has a "fuck yeah" chorus and an endless ending that fits in perfectly with the next track...

6. Cave In - "Anchor"
I threw this track in as a wry joke that undoubtedly went over the head of the intended recipient. Crybaby REALLY LIKED Cave In, the two songs sound a lot alike, and it seemed like a fantastic idea at the time. This is the kind of moronic logic that takes over when you're really trying to impress someone. Cave In and Rye Coalition had a lot in common when I think about it now, though. Both bands put out stellar records on the indie circuit and toured like marauding vagabonds, then put out albums that seemed like radio-ready classics, but left well-meaning A&R men shuffling their feet and looking awkward when the boss came around looking for the next Britney Spears, like YESTERDAY! "Anchor" isn't as complex as the epic Cave In blowouts from Jupiter, but it exists in an alternate universe of music history, where a juggernaut of a band plays ball, makes memorable songs with real intelligence, and ends up making a million dollars because I said so. I like that world much better than this one, for sure.

7. Ride - "Making Judy Smile"
This song is really dumb. Ride was a bunch of awkward kids in love with pop music from the '60s, loud guitars, and I'd assume, lots and lots of drugs. Back in the day they called this shit "shoegaze," as it was made by awkward kids who stared at the floor when a pretty girl said hello, I think. It was noisy, colorful, and slightly beautiful. "Making Judy Smile" sounds like a classic Kinks song mixed with the rattling in your brain caused by passing out in front of the TV with white noise and static going on all night long. Did I mention this song is really dumb? Here's a sample lyric: "Your words they flatter me, you fill my head with tea." Yeah, Ride were a bunch of college-educated British kids, but what the hell does that mean? This song is just fun and uncomplicated and loud and obnoxious, so I don't really care. It's the one you throw into the middle that doesn't mean a thing.

8. Nada Surf - "Do It Again"
For the most part, I love silly, stupid, uncomplicated music. I do have a soft spot for a good old-fashioned epic, though. No one crafts epic pop songs like Nada Surf, and this is probably the best damn thing they ever did. This baby layers hooks on top of hooks until it nearly collapses under its own weight. It builds and builds and takes its sweet time getting there, but when it does, watch the fuck out! Plus, the lady in question was like, A LOT younger than me, and "Do It Again" has an ample dose of world-weary wisdom that I could really get behind. "I spend all my energy staying upright, and I like the masking noise quiet of your breathing nearby' is a fucking brilliant line and I wish I had written it. Like a wise prophet once said, "You're using someone else's poetry to express how you feel. It's a delicate thing." When it works, it works!

9. Maritime - "Birds Of Ireland"
The Promise Ring were the undisputed kings of pussy rock back in the late '90s, and Maritime is the even wimpier band the main dudes formed after they broke up. This tune is pretty, whiny, and damn catchy. Girls like pussy rock, and there's really not much else to say. Moving right along...

10. Drugstore - "Sugar Sugar"
Now this is more my speed when it comes to mackin' music. What is more romantic than a grunged-up Britpop cover of "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies sung by a sultry, sexy chick that sounds like she just woke up? Well, maybe that's just a personal fantasy of mine, but oh well, this song rips. "Sugar Sugar" is one of the most perfect pop songs ever written, and changing the lyrics to "you are my candy boy" just ups the swoon factor, I reckon. Drugstore put out three albums in the mid '90s, full of dusky Mazzy Star-style pop (if this mix gets you in there, the second LP, White Magic For Lovers, is essential late-night bangin' music) that are damn near impossible to find now. This was recorded for a Volume compilation back in '96 and it's a tried and true mixtape jam.

11. The Fruit Bats - "When U Love Somebody"
The sad love song is a mix tape staple, and "Retro Acid Green" is no exception. In essence, what you're saying is 'My last relationship was absolutely terrible and you're the only one that's gonna make me forget about it!" This one makes me think of being lazy and shiftless, driving along the backroads of Southwest Ohio listening to the last days of WOXY back when it was a real live radio station, smoking copious amounts of weed, and dealing with all kinds of drama and complex emotions that a dude in his early 20s REALLY isn't equipped to handle. When you love somebody, it's hard to figure it out. I mean, when you bite your tongue all you get is a mouthful of blood. It makes it even harder when a song like this is playing every hour on the hour on the only good radio station available within hundreds of miles. I'm glad this is the song that stuck with me instead of all that cutesy Flaming Lips-style bullshit!

12. Pansy Division - "Flower"
One of the old, sly tricks is to end a mix on a silly, confusing "what the fuck?!" note. Pansy Division was the outrageously gay band on the Lookout! label when I was a kid, offering up blissful pop punk and song titles like "Groovy Underwear" and "Bill and Ted's Homosexual Adventure." This is a cover of Liz Phair's blatantly sexual song which sounds fabulous as sung by a high and refined voice. The last line you hear is "I'll fuck you till your dick is blue!!" Which, if you really think about it, is really the point, right? Right?!

Well, I've rambled on for long enough. Just download it and listen with open ears, OK?!


  1. nice choice...i think this mix was my favorite!

  2. i'm buyin what youre sellin! this mix looks magic!

  3. 1. I'm old, because Rye Coalition first appeared to me on a 7" by "Rye and the Coalition" entitled "Teen-age Dance Session" sometime in the center of the 90s. The song "Algebra of Need" was a mix standard for years. "Kitty cat, where's the money at?" still runs through my head on a loop.

    3. When I need cool points, I'll tell you my Hot Water stories.

    12. The original of this was a mix centerpiece for years. I loved Liz Phair. [Sigh] What happened?

  4. My best Hot Water story involves m. Ayers. We both got whiskey drunk like 10 years ago and went to see them at Southgate House. He was scandalously underage and I wasn't, so we snuck in the back door during load-in. Some friends of ours came down from Dayton and they wanted to see the town, so we ended up marking our hands at a grocery store to get back in. HWM poured their freakin' guts out and my mind was blown. I remember some epic tour beards on display.

    OK, that story wasn't all that interesting. Oh well!

  5. Amazing show! What a great night.

    Thanks for all the RC singles, Danny.

  6. That site has a lot of really incredible out-of-print 90s vinyl up. It's fun to trawl through.

  7. Fantastic. One of the more interesting things to collect, however, which would make anyone envious of the collectibles.

    metal movie reel centerpiece