There are less than two months left in 2012, so I figured I'd get to work at compiling Mike Mix 2012. Last year, I waited until literally the last week of the year to put together Mike Mix 2011, and I didn't want to scramble again this year. I sat down last week to see what music I had acquired since MM11, and was a little surprised to see that the only new music I had purchased was Metric's new album, a song from My Little Pony, and Nightwish's new album (that one was actually acquired by Avril, but I like it, too). There were some other songs that I had discovered, but hadn't purchased yet. So I asked my Facebook friends for suggestions, and sat down with iTunes to buy the songs I liked but didn't own. I only ended up using two of my friends' suggestions, but all of them were seriously considered. Even the dubstep. So let's run it down, shall we? As always, I link to videos in the title of each entry.
1. "Do It Anyway" by Ben Folds Five
I've been familiar with Ben Folds Five since they released the hit single about abortion, "Brick", in the '90s. After they broke up, I became a fan of Ben Folds's solo career. The Sound of the Life of the Mind is the first Ben Folds Five album in 13 years. The video for the song features Fraggles, so for anyone with '80s Jim Henson nostalgia, it's worth watching. I was torn between this song and "Draw a Crowd", but ended up going with "Do It Anyway" for the sake of my wife and kids. "Draw a Crowd" features a line in the chorus that goes "If you can't draw a crowd, then just draw dicks on a wall." While hilarious, I don't think Avril would have appreciated me playing it while the kids are in the car.
2. "Speed the Collapse" by Metric
Metric is no stranger to Mike Mix and perriferal MiKenzie Inc. productions, such as Chick Mix. They released a new album this year, and it's the only physical CD I bought this year. It's a great album with a lot of good songs, but "Speed the Collapse" really stands out in my mind. It's much better than the first single, "Youth Without Youth."
3. "Smile, Smile, Smile" by Pinkie Pie (aka Andrea Libman)
I've been very open with the fact that I'm a brony. Even though I have distanced myself from other bronies in recent months (they're starting to take it brony culture too seriously), I'm still a fan of the show. There are often musical numbers in some episodes, and they're usually very well-done and legitimately good songs whether you like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic or not. My two favourites are "Winter Wrap-Up" and this one, "Smile, Smile, Smile." They just make me happy.
4. "Serpentine" by Chris Bathgate
My buddy Brady Cahoon is indirectly responsible for introducing me to this song. He once posted a link to a song from the online music website Grooveshark, and I liked the site so much that I started visiting it often. I was listening to their indie station a few weeks ago, and this song started playing. I instantly loved it. So, thanks, Brady! I had never heard of Chris Bathgate before, but I found some stuff of his on iTunes dating back to the '90s, so I guess he's been around for a while.
5. "Transendence" by Lindsey Stirling
Noah and Heidi introduced me to this LDS musician who mixes the violin with electronic music. If memory serves correctly, this is the first instrumental music ever to appear on a Mike Mix. I usually like music on these compilations that I can at least try to sing along to, so that goes to show you how much of an impression she had on me. I wrote about her in my last blog post, so I won't gush too much more about her here.
6. "Away" by Die Mannequin
A few weeks ago, I posted a link to this band with the question "Am I too old to like this band?" I asked that question, because Die Mannequin reminds me of alternative rock music that I listened to as a teenager. They kind of stand out on this mix, because there isn't anything else that I'd classify as straight-up alt rock.
7. "Fineshrine" by Purity Ring
Avril discovered this song. She heard it on the radio, and figured that I'd like it, and she was right. Out of all the videos I'm linking to here, it's by far the strangest, but I like it. iTunes lists its genre as "electronica." I suppose that's true, but it's not what comes to mind when I think of typical electronica.
8. "Little Talks" by Of Monsters And Men
Okay, so this video is pretty weird, too. CBC Radio 1 introduced me to this song. On Sunday nights, the show "Night Stream" plays what they call "adult alternative music." I'm probably right smack-dab in the middle of their target demographic, so I appreciate the rare opportunity for good music on the radio in Lethbridge. It was listening to this show that I first heard "Little Talks." It's basically the epitome of my current taste in music.
9. "Wait So Long" by Trampled By Turtles
I hadn't even heard of this band before yesterday, but holy cow, I love this song! It's one of the two that I chose from my Facebook friends' suggestions. My 14th mission companion (second in Calbayog), David Prince, suggested it to me. Thanks, Prince! Our political views may clash, but there is significant overlap in our musical views.
10. "I'm Not Talking" by AC Newman
A.C. Newman is also known as Carl Newman of the New Pornographers, which have made an appearance on a previous Mike Mix. I think it was in 2003. Anyway, like Of Monsters And Men, AC Newman is another typical indicator of where my ageing musical tastes lie. This was another radio find, but this time from CKUA's "Notes From Home" show, which is devoted to new Canadian indie music. They love AC Newman on that show.
11. "I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons
Mumford & Sons almost made it onto Mike Mix 2011 for a different song, but was left off because of it's repeated use of the dreaded F-word. Maybe I'll add it to @#$% Mix. (Yes, I actually made a mix devoted to swear-filled songs.) "I Will Wait" is much cleaner, so it made the cut this year. I'm just a sucker for the banjo (see "Wait So Long").
12. "Atlas Hands" by Benjamin Francis Leftwich
This one was another song I was introduced on the radio to during a late-night drive home from work. I forget if it was "Notes From Home" or "Night Stream" that I heard it on. Oh, hey, I just looked Benjamin Francis Leftwich up on wikipedia, and it turns out he's from England, so that rules out "Notes From Home." Thanks again, Internet. What would I do without out you? Seriously, what would I do without the Internet? I'd have to listen to pop, country music, or classic rock.
13. "Madness" by Muse
This is, what, the third British band on MM12 now? Muse is another regular contributor to MiKenzie Inc.'s musical compilations. I usually go with their heavier songs, but this one is different. It starts kind of slow, with an electronic beat that kind of reminds me of dubstep, but a lot more subtle. It builds to a powerful, emotional climax. I'm as big a sucker for crescendos as I am for banjos.
14. "Holocene" by Bon Iver
I wrote about this song in last year's "Indie Rock Quest" just before I compiled Mike Mix 2011, but it didn't make it onto MM11. I love the song, though, so I'm including it this year. It's slow, melancholy, and beautiful. I come close to crying whenever I watch the video.
15. "Closer" by Tegan & Sara
My favourite Canadian lesbian identical twin sister duo. They're probably the best thing to ever come out of Calgary. I've included them several times in the past, and their latest hit is definitely worthy of Mike Mix.
16. "Games That You're Playin" by Kevin Calder
(Note: Kevin doesn't have a video for "Games", so that's a link to the video for "Everything Happens for a Reason".) This is the only musician on MM12 that I've ever hugged. I wrote about my former classmate and singing buddy back in August. "Games That You're Playin" is my favourite song from his album.
17. "Last Ride of the Day" by Nightwish
So, yeah. Metal makes its debut on Mike Mix. ("What about that time you used a Dream Theater song?" some of you aren't asking. To which I reply, "I'm told that Dream Theater is prog, not metal.) I'm pretty sure it's the first Finnish band to appear on a Mike Mix, too. It's pretty tame for metal, but this is as metal as I can get. My sister-in-law, Afton, is a fan of Nightwish, and she got Avril hooked on them, too. I don't like all of their stuff, but I do appreciate the female lead singer, and their latest album is amazing. The album is best experienced as a whole, which is rare in today's iTunes world. Avril and Afton like the former lead singer, who was more operatic, but this new lead singer is more my style.
And there you have it. Mike Mix 2012, the second Mike Mix to be available digitally only, is in the books. I heard an anecdote online recently about a guy who walked into Best Buy and said to an employee, "If I were blank CDs, where would I be?" The employee replied, "Probably in 2003." So, yeah. It's only on my iPod.