Holy Batman’s titanium nipples! I had a lot of fun making this mix. Much more than I ever would’ve expected. I probably haven’t heard some of these songs since I was an 8th-grader at St. Clare Catholic School in O’Fallon, IL. This mix is basically the reference material for my Top 5 from last week, Top 5 Bands I liked in middle school.
I’ve added on tracks by bands that are a bit more well-regarded than the ones that I discussed on the Top 5, and bands that I only knew one or two songs by (but really loved those songs). All in all, however, I’m surprised at how solid this mix really is; when you cut out all the garbage that was popular on modern rock stations in the mid-’90s, there’s some really great stuff to behold. Maybe I’m just too nostalgic.
In other news, friend and regular commenter Matt aka Crain Train has just started a new blog. He’s already made two posts that blow most of what I post here away, one about Arizona death row inmates’ last meals and one of some (semi) original Home Improvement fan fiction. Check it out at http://craintrain.wordpress.com. OK, on with the mix!
Read on after the jump for link and track list …
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01. Pavement — “Stereo” I remember taping this off a college radio station that I got in my room (I don’t remember what station, something that aired around the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis). It must have been around the time Brighten the Corners came out. It was the only Pavement track I knew other than “Cut Your Hair” (because of the video on Beavis and Butthead), but there was something catchy and weird that I grasped onto about Stephen Malkmus’ vocals and Spiral Stairs’ guitars.
02. Stone Temple Pilots — “Vasoline” Purple was one of the first albums I ever bought, and “Vasoline” was my favorite song on it. Short, quick and rockin’.
03. Screaming Trees — “Nearly Lost You” I didn’t know much about Screaming Trees (still don’t know that much), but I loved this song.
04. Soul Asylum — “Beggars and Choosers” I was into Soul Asylum’s hits, but I also really loved this song, which I had taped from the same college radio show that I got “Stereo” from. Wish I could still find that tape!
05. U2 — “Lemon” The first four CDs I ever owned (because I got them all for Christmas 1995) were the Goo Goo Dolls’ A Boy Named Goo (bleh, let’s not even discuss), the Batman Forever Soundtrack, and U2’s Achtung Baby and Zooropa. The latter was definitely the odd duck of the bunch; I didn’t really get into it, which is no surprise considering it’s the band’s weirdest album. But I did really like “Lemon,” and hearing it again makes me want to rediscover this album.
06. Smashing Pumpkins — “1979″ Probably one of the defining singles of 1996, “1979″ finds Billy Corgan at his most restrained and tuneful. I still love this song.
07. Nick Cave — “There Is a Light” If I could put the entire Batman Forever soundtrack on here (still awesome!), I would, but I’ll restrain myself and put some of the best tracks on here. I really did listen to the BF soundtrack a more than probably most any other album I’ve ever owned.
08. Beastie Boys — “Stand Together” From Check Your Head. The Beastie Boys were rappers, but they played them on the alternative station. Why’s that? I just don’t get it …
09. Elastica — “Connection” Did you know that Elastica’s Justine Frischmann encouraged M.I.A. to become a musician? It’s a true fact.
10. Radiohead — “Just” MTV used to play the instrumental breakdown in the middle of this song as an intro to their VJ segments, and that’s what got me hooked on it.
11. Oasis — “Supersonic” From what has become my favorite Oasis album, their first.
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12. The Chemical Brothers — “Where Do I Begin” There was a point in my life where I thought I would start getting really into techno music, right around the time Dig Your Own Hole came out. Luckily, that didn’t really pan out.
13. Spacehog — “Space Is the Place” From the band’s Bowie-esque, pseudo-concept album, Resident Alien.
14. Smashing Pumpkins — “Jellybelly” Absolutely one of my favorite songs after this album was released. I’m still surprised at how muddy and processed the guitars sound, and it’s those little production quirks that elevate Smashing Pumpkins above most of their popular modern rock peers.
15. Alice In Chains — “Them Bones” Alice In Chains always struck me as a bit morbid for my tastes, and listening to some of their songs now, what strikes me is how much they draw from Guns ‘n’ Roses and Black Sabbath and how little post-punk/alternative runs through the music. Not that that’s a bad thing; just interesting. They’ve still got some jams I can get into, including this one.
16. Soundgarden — “Fell On Black Days” Killer jam off Superunknown. It’s amazing just how far into the pit of douchebaggery Chris Cornell has fallen, considering how awesome Soundgarden was.
17. Jane’s Addiction — “Mountain Song” Speaking of falling into the pit of douchebaggery …
18. Sunny Day Real Estate — “8″ Another track off the Batman Forever soundtrack. Perhaps my very first taste of emo?
19. Afghan Whigs — “What Jail Is Like” I bought Gentlemen on a whim when I signed up for one of those CD clubs where you get 11 CDs for the price of one, and I ended up liking it a lot.
20. Pearl Jam — “Corduroy” I have no idea what Eddie Vedder is singing in this song or what it has to do with corduroy fabrics.
21. U2 — “Acrobat” Let’s be honest and admit that Achtung Baby is a totally awesome album. Just deal with it.
22. Green Day — “J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva)” From the fun, pop-punk filled soundtrack to Angus, which I never saw. Killer Green Day deep cut!
So that’s it. I’d be interested in hearing what some of your favorite songs and bands were in middle school. And remember that mixtapes from previous weeks are still available for some time after they’re down; just browse my two 8tracks.com profiles to get back to them: 1 and 2