Difference Engines It may seem a tad late to be posting a mix for January, but I sort of got busy and failed to do so last month. Yes, the CD Mix of the Month Club reconvened a few weeks ago to throw a going-away party for our member Josh McCuen, who's off now on an epic New Zealand adventure. A couple of us made mixes. Most of us didn't. I guess now we're more like the Used to Make a CD Mix of the Month Club, which makes perfect sense now that there are easier ways to share music than burning data onto aluminum discs.

Anyway, my contribution to January's shindig was called Difference Engines. This rather churlish and cheeky mix comprises mostly female vocalists, and the most if not all of the tracks are available on Spotify. Take a listen below.

(The story so far.)

Crossposted from Inhuman Swill
Five years ago today, Michael Brecker—one of my favorite saxophone players, and a pioneer on the instrument in many ways—passed away of complications from leukemia. He had suffered from the rare blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome, and never found a matching donor for a successful stem cell transplant.

Brecker was one of the most in-demand session players of his time, besides being a consummate jazz innovator in his own right. He was also instrumental in promoting and pioneering the use of the EWI (electronic wind instrument). Back in 2007, I put together a Michael Brecker tribute mix as my contribution to the CD Mix of the Month Club I used to belong to in New York. Called Tenor of the Times, it contained a sampling of some of his best work both as sideman and band leader. On this anniversary of his passing, I thought I'd make a zip file of the mix available. Grab it quick—I won't leave it up for long. Some liner notes are here.


Download (88 Mb)

Crossposted from Inhuman Swill
I want to offer sadly belated congratulations to friend and former CD Mix of the Month Club compatriot Francis Heaney, who made his Sunday crossword puzzle debut in the New York Times this past, er, Sunday. Way to go, Francis!

Now if only I were a subscriber so I could test my mettle against Francis's by-all-reports-monstrous puzzle.
My virtual contribution to April's CD Mix of the Month club was Out in the Streets.

(The story so far.)

I keep forgetting to post that my virtual contribution to March's CD Mix of the Month club was Life Is Good, an affirmation tinged with darkness.

(The story so far.)

My virtual contribution to February's CD Mix of the Month club was The Answers That You Want: Rockin' Straight from '70 to '74.

(The story so far.)

The CD Mix of the Month Club unofficially went out for karaoke Tuesday night, and I was there! My contribution, in regret at having missed their Chicago New Year's Eve show, was A Spoonful of Secrets: E.P.'s, Singles, B-Sides & Radio Tracks from Spoon.

(The story so far.)

Going home to New York City is as comfortable as slipping on an old shoe. I flew there Tuesday afternoon with just a backpack and the parka on my back, and I was immediately at ease and confident in a way I don't yet feel in Chicago. The only bad part was that I was alone, since Laura was on a concurrent business trip to Rochester.

But I wasn't solitary for long. I took a cab from Laguardia to my borrowed apartment in Astoria, Queens, dumped off most of the contents of my pack, and headed into the city. After a quick stop at my old office, I met John Klima, in from Iowa way, at the Tor offices in the Flatiron Building. I acquired an advance copy of Cory Doctorow's Little Brother, I chatted with Patrick Nielsen Hayden for a minute or two, and John and I hauled his bags back to Astoria on the subway.

We had a full evening ahead, but before I tell you about it I have to back up several months and remind you of the segment of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" that Laura and I caught back in July:

Kabab Cafe is our favorite restaurant on earth, and Ali El Sayed our good friend. John had eaten Ali's appetizers once before at a party at our place, but despite our best efforts we had never managed to get Shai and him out to the restaurant itself for a real meal. What's more, John had seen the above segment on "No Reservations." Since he and I were staying right there in the neighborhood, how could we not head over for dinner? I promised him, though, that we'd have fare other than sweetbreads and testicles.

My promise turned out to be half hasty.

Bill and John take Queens! )
I'm sure everyone in the universe is linking to this today, but I can't stop watching this YouTube video from The Beatnix, an Australian Beatles cover band. It's from an alternate universe where the young mop-tops wrote and recorded "Stairway to Heaven" in 1964:

Via the Tube Junkie blog at New York Magazine, via Brenda from CDMOM.
The CD Mix of the Month Club went bowling in Brooklyn for their December mixer, the lucky bastards. My contribution-in-absentia was We Are, and I surely wish we were.

(The story so far.)

My contribution-in-absentia to the November CD Mix of the Month Club was Good Head.

(The story so far.)

In New York City, they had a non-mix mixer. In Chicago, for Halloween, we had Vampires, Mummies, and the Goalie Host. These are the things that terrify me the most.

(The story so far.)

I'm not sure how good the turnout was at this past Thursday's CD Mix of the Month Club meeting in New York City, but attendance was 100% at the Chicago chapter—me. My mix, providing my own idiosyncratic take on Muzak programming, was Rock Paper Jazz, a collection of various jazz versions of rock songs.

I'll send you a free copy of the mix if you're the first to identify the provenance of the hand drawings in the album art.

(The story so far.)
I understand that the August CD Mix of the Month Club meeting had to be postponed until September. (They're now meeting every other month. CDMOEOM?) Still, I pulled a mix down off the shelf for August. Memories of the Reagan Administration is a distillation of the kind of stuff I was seeking out on alternative radio during my musical coming-of-age. Until my senior year of high school, I listened mostly to jazz and classical piano. This is some of the music that helped open my head to other sounds. It seemed an appropriate mix to accompany my 40th birthday.

I hope you'll click the album cover and check out it and the back cover at full size. Of all the many disc covers I've made, I think I like this one the best.

Oh, by the way, this disc is on its way now to the four of you out there who were runners-up in my mix disc giveaway from a couple of months back. Watch your mailboxes!

(The story so far.)
Even if I could have attended, there was no July CD Mix of the Month Club meeting. Still, I had a mix for July—Welcome. I made this mix last year, and while it wasn't intended as a welcome-to-the-new-home mix, I have nonetheless deployed it in that context.

I remain in touch with the CDMOM gang, and in fact my birthday dinner at Morton's was a result of their kind largesse. Thanks, folks, and I'll keep those mixes coming!

(The story so far.)

Fire sale!

Jun. 26th, 2007 04:23 pm
Okay, not a sale, really. A giveaway!

I'm cleaning out my desk here at the office, preparatory to the big Chicago move, and I find I have a handful of extra recent CDMOM mix discs.

To the first person who emails his or her street address to me at feedback at [mylastname] dot net, I will send three mixes: From Gotham to the Windy City, Children of the Beatles, and The Bestiary.

To the next three people who email me, I will send The Bestiary. (Yes, I have four copies of that one to unload in all.)

Hurry! These won't last! (I hope.)

Update:  I had to be away from my desk for several hours, but now all mixes are claimed. Thanks for writing!
Here's most of the CDMOM gang:

We're not exactly in even rows, but if we start at the bright orange shirt and go right from there we have Nuno, Brenda, Robyn, Eric, Alan, Ben, and Francis (half-hidden). Then if we start from Eric's beer and go right, we have Brooklyn Brown Ale, Lisa, Ali, and Ken. And then if we start at the shocking pink cleavage and go right we have Carrie, Joy, me, and Cindy. What a handsome crew!

And here's CDMOM mom Lisa's official account of the evening.
My main contribution to last night's June CD Mix of the Month Club (for which I'm still importing discs into the database) was From Gotham to the Windy City, a fantasia in which a girl and boy console themselves upon leaving town.

Since this was my last CDMOM mixer as a New Yorker, almost the whole gang turned out. It was a fun and gratifying evening, despite the fact that our first-choice bar was so packed that we had to move the festivities to an alternate location. I was dubious about any bar on that once-sordid-but-now-tourist-friendly stretch of St. Mark's Place between Second and Third Avenues, but Grassroots turned out to be a perfect dive bar for our purposes, not too crowded and not too loud. The gang surprised me with a card and a Morton's of Chicago gift certificate, Lisa brought homemade chocolate chip cookies, Ali brought cupcakes from Billy's (though sadly her bellydancing plan did not come to fruition), and people kept pouring me drinks. Everyone tried to egg poor Nuno on into giving me a lap dance, but to his immense relief they let him off the hook.

I will miss this crew, though maybe a few of them will move to Chicago themselves someday! If so, maybe there will be a Chicago chapter of CDMOM waiting for them to join.

In which bodily functions intrude on our lovely story )

Oh, I almost forgot. As my going-away present to the gang, I brought as a bonus mix a replica of the first and only mix disc I made for [livejournal.com profile] crabwalk's original CDMOM, complete with full-size jewel case and back cover lay-in card: Children of the Beatles a collection of songs that, for whatever reason, seem to my ears to contain Beatlesesque elements. Since that disc was the ticket that earned me a place at the inception of the New York CDMOM club, it seemed a fitting farewell gesture.

(The story so far.)
It was a historic occasion last night. I was the only person who brought a contribution to the May CD Mix of the Month Club. (It was a charming collection of animal songs called The Bestiary.) I was also very nearly the only person who showed up at all! But after an hour of solitary Johnnie Walker Black Label and Guinness (not in the same glass), my self-proclaimed stalker Ali showed up, and we were later joined by her friend who's in town driving the tour bus for Earth, Wind & Fire. It was a good time, and I didn't go home empty-handed because Ali brought a copy of her mix from last month that I hadn't gotten.

But one has to wonder if CDMOM is beginning to die. That would be sad, but understandable since we've been going almost three years already. Next month will be my last meeting, though, in any event, and with luck a big crowd will show up to bid Laura and me farewell. I already have my mix ready, and it's called From Gotham to the Windy City. But no preview yet of the track listing!

(The story so far.)
Once again, I will have to miss this this evening's CD Mix of the Month Club meeting, owing to previous commitments. But I'll try to find someone who can bring my mixes, the third and fourth entries in my "Four Letter Words" series: Two by Four: Four Letter Words Double Down and The Only ____ in ____: Four Letter Words of Puzzlement.

Yes, Gentle Readers, I am not posting a track listing for that second mix. Why not? It's a puzzle! The track listing consists of two chains, the first 11 tracks long, the second 8. The title of each track consists of two four-letter words, the first of which is the second word of the previous track title. (For instance, "Aces High" by Iron Maiden might be followed by Men at Work's "High Wire," or by Juno's "High Noon.") In addition, each chain itself has a title that can be derived from the track titles.

The two puzzles follow. I'll mail a copy of the mix to the first person who can email me with the titles of the two chains. I'll mail copies of all four "Four Letter Words" mixes to the first person who can email me with the complete track listing for both chains. Send entries to puzzle at shunn dot net. (Answers posted here in the comments section will be deleted.)

Click front cover for Puzzle #1  [sound]
Click back cover for Puzzle #2  [sound]

Good luck, and thanks for playing!

Solutions )

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