Saturday, January 2, 2016

Mike Mix 2015

I wasn't going to blog about Mike Mix this year, but people on Facebook were clamoring for this year's entry by MiKenzie Inc.'s music department.  So, here we go.

First, a reminder of the rules.  Each song must be newly acquired by me since the making of the previous Mike Mix, and only one song per album.  This means that there could be (and there are) multiple songs by the same artist, but I acquired two or more of their albums since last year.

The songs:

1) "Holding On To You" by Twenty-One Pilots

I discovered this band through the radio station I listen to, 98.1 The Bridge.  The song "Tear In My Heart" was a big hit, and was on my sister Emily's list of her favourite songs from 2015.  I liked the song enough to buy the album (Blurry Face), but I didn't expect to like Twenty-One Pilots as much as I do.  A week or two after buying Blurry Face, I went out and bought their first album, Vessel, which I like better than Blurry Face.  This song, "Holding On To You," is my favourite song from that first album, and Twenty-One Pilots is my favourite musical act of 2015.

2) "The Shade" by Metric

Metric are no strangers to Mike Mixes and other Mike Mix productions.  When they released a new album in 2015, it was a foregone conclusion that they would be on Mike Mix 2015.  The only question was which song.  I decided on the first single, which is nicely upbeat and catchy.

3) "Make You Better" by The Decemberists

The Decemberists make their Mike Mix debut with this song, which is from the first Decemberists album that I've ever purchased.  I like the mood of this song, and hey, the video has Nick Offerman playing a snooty German '70s TV show host.

4) "Flesh Without Blood" by Grimes

Grimes only very recently made it on my radar in the last few weeks.  "Flesh Without Blood" has recently started to get radio play in Lethbridge, and then Emily included "Kill V. Maim" on her favourite songs of 2015 list.  I bought the album today.  It's a nice change from the music I normally listen to, and a breath of fresh air on Lethbridge radio.

5) "Tompkins Square Park" by Mumford & Sons

I've known about Mumford & Sons for a while now, and one of their songs has actually made it onto a Mike Mix before, but I never bought one of their albums until this year.  It's funny, because I'm usually a sucker for music with banjos in it, and that's what Mumford & Sons is known for, but their latest album - the one I bought - has no banjo on it.  Still good, though.

6) "All You Sons and Daughters" by Matthew Good

Ah, Matt Good.  My favourite solo artist.  He's getting old, and his music reflects that, but I'm getting old, too, so I like the direction his music has gone in since Matthew Good Band disbanded after Audio of Being.  His latest album gives me a little added nerd joy because it's called Chaotic Neutral, a reference to the alignment system in tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder.

7) "Bright" by Echosmith

How Echosmith came to be on Mike Mix is kind of interesting.  They had a hit in 2015 ("Cool Kids"), which was good but didn't catch my attention enough to find out who sang it.  But then Lindsey Stirling did a cover of this song with the lead singer of Echosmith doing vocals, and I really liked that.  I looked up the original version of the song, and was pleased with it as well.  Both versions of the song have different feels to them.  This one is faster and happier than the Lindsey Stirling version, which will show up later on this list.

8) "Flesh and Bone" by The Killers

I have an on again/off again thing going with The Killers.  For a few years, I wasn't crazy about them, and during that time, they released the album Battle Born, which features this song.  Then one day I was in HMV, and they were playing a Brandon Flowers song, and it made me smile, so I picked up Battle Born.  Flesh and Bone is my favourite song from that album.  (Fun fact: another song from this album, "Here With Me," was featured on an older Mike Mix, but I only bought the single back then, so I'm allowed to feature another song from the album now that I own the whole thing.)

9) "Lights" by Ellie Goulding

Another song I heard on 98.1 the Bridge.  I don't have a lot to say about this one.  Just a nice, catchy tune with a nice beat sung by a pretty voice.

10) "Ansel" by Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse released their first album since 2007, and I was sure to pick it up.  My wife hates Modest Mouse, but that doesn't stop me from listening to them.  It was a good album with some interesting vocals at times.  This is one of the songs that is song in a normal voice.  And it's apparently a true story, which, if you listen to the lyrics, is really sad.

11) "Infinitesimal" by Mother Mother

Mike Mix 2014 featured a song from Mother Mother's most recent album, so I had to work backwards and choose a song from one of their older albums.  Something about him singing about physics while saying "bro" makes me chuckle.

12) "Hometown" by Twenty-One Pilots

Look, I explained the rules, and I already explained that I bought two Twenty-One Pilots albums this year, so don't be so surprised that they're showing up again.  I took quite a while deciding which song to use from Blurry Face.  The obvious choice was "Tear In My Heart," but it has been played to death.  I almost went with "Judge," or "Stressed Out," but ultimately went with this because, in my opinion, it's more representative of the duo.

13) "Molecules" by Atlas Genius

The Bridge really came through for me this year.  Another good radio find.  (By the way, one of the main DJs from the Bridge comes to my gas bar, and I was once on air because I phoned the station after he left his lotto ticket.)  I really like this song, and the rest of the album is good, too.

14) "Damini" by USS

So Mike Mix 2009 had two USS songs from their first two albums.  Mike Mix 2014 had a song from their fourth album.  And now Mike Mix 2015 has a song from their third album.  We don't necessarily do things in order here at MiKenzie Inc.

15) "Firefly" by Hollerado

Another Bridge find.  I just really like that guitar riff.  This is another song based on a true story, this time about when the house the lead singer shared with his wife burned down.

16) "Safe and Sound" by Capital Cities

I don't know a lot about this band.  I just know that I like this song, I like the video, and I love that beard.

17) "Bright" by Lindsey Stirling and Sydney from Echosmith

I told you it was coming.  And I told you it had a different mood than the Echosmith version.  This one seems more melancholy.  And those legs are really distracting.

18) "Remains" by Bastille featuring Rag'N Bone Man and Skunk Anansie

I don't know who Rag'N Bone Man and Skunk Anansie are, but I sure as hell know Bastille.  They are my favourite band of the decade so far.  This song is from their recent EP, and it's actually a remake of one of their earlier songs, "Skulls."  This new version is better, I just wish that Dan Smith was singing the whole thing.

And that's Mike Mix 2015.  Hope it makes you happy, EMILY!

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