For today's installment of 'Bromantic Interludes', Illogical Contraption is honored to welcome Illogical Bro and gentle giant Asa to the fold. Asa is a frequent contributor over at the beautiful and talented icoulddietomorrow, as well as being the mastermind behind the Trappy Award-nominated Blog Bodies. In addition, he has a palindromic name (bonus points) and an IC-approved fascination with cephalopods.
Today's guest mix subject is "V-DAY". Read, download, listen, swoon, repeat.
Oh, and did I mention that Asa is SINGLE and READY TO MINGLE?
So all the single ladies, all the single ladies: if you could please PUT YOUR HANDS UP.
Lovelorn - A Bummed But Hopeful Mix of Love Songs
by Asa E
I have no bones about admitting who I am. And who I am, among other things-- a giant, a longhair, a lover of cephalopods-- is an unabashed hopeless romantic. I've been single for way too damned long at this point and I yearn for the day when a stable girl who loves stuff like squids and Slowdive and Nocturnus and long walks on the beach enters my life.
Valentine's day doesn't really bum me out because of its totally Hallmarkized nature, but more because I have no significant other to share it with. Incidentally, I was kinda blue the other week and made this mixtape of bummer/solemn/estranged love songs. In retrospect, I guess I wanted to put on total bummer songs, but also songs that offer hope for good things in the future. Here's a rundown for ya.
1. Red House Painters - Down Through
Shelby and all other San Franciscans reading the 'traption and...well, everyone: why don't you already worship the Red House Painter's first self-titled release? Mark Kozelek's portrayals of exactly how fucked up his life, mind and especially relationships are executed with aching melody and zero pretention. "Down Through" is the first jab of a one-two song punch that follows up with "Katy Song," an eight-minute heartbreaker that will haunt you like a dark cloud.
But I digress-- whereas "Katy Song" is wonderfully long and drawn out like many of the great Painters songs, "Down Through" hits you like a grey dawn and and gives you all you need to know in just over 2.5 minutes. Initially, the song resonated with me because it opened with the kind of longing I felt I knew well: "I walked down the hill/Sluggishly, and frail/The wind blew hard, hard on me/I imagined it your ghost-white body/Making love with me." Okay, Mark's bummed about a girl. I totally feel you, bro.
Then Mark hits you with a curveball: "I still feel the sting in my hand from when I hit you." Wait. What. This is where Kozelek's honest nature becomes undeniably clear. He opens up the wounds of his life with no fluff, just tremendous regret and hopeless hope, pleading that he wishes for "a house, down by the shore/That showers my soul, washes away/the violence that runs in my blood/Drains the pain I've caused you/Down through."
Long-winded, I know, but this song is a tearjearker.
2. Northern Picture Library - Truly, Madly Deeply
I like a lot of pretty pretentious music, admittedly. But a little straightforwardness goes a long way. Which is why, amidst an otherwise so-so dream pop record, NPL drop this total crusher of a piano-based love song. The chorus is just "I love you/I love you/Truly, madly deeply." What more is there to say? Can't wait until I can play this for someone special. I hope maybe you can.
3. Slowdive - When The Sun Hits
You know when you gaze at a girl you only know kinda well, but are still really attracted to despite the consistent thoughts that things would never work out between you two? That's what this song feels like, with some of the lushest, sweepingly beautiful guitar sounds ever laid to tape.
4. Smashing Pumpkins - Crush
Everyone loves Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, many folks (self included) see Siamese Dream as Corgan's masterstroke, but Gish doesn't really get much love. Among a wonderful handful of garagey rippers comes this nice lil' tune, complete with an ascending bassline and dreamy guitar strums. The chorus is pretty self-explanatory: "Love comes in colors I can't deny."
5. Adam Franklin - Ramonesland
Swervedriver were and are one of the best and most underrated '90s guitar bands, but even more underrated is the solo band of their frontman. Maybe his newer tunes don't have the same pedal-to-the-floor rush of the Swervies' crusin' tunes, but that's not really the goal. Instead, Franklin opts for a tastefully psychedelic approach that floats pleasantly by. "Ramonesland" is a simply-told tale about hanging out with a wonderful, unattainable girl. "And even when you've got her, you don't feel you'll ever get her," sighs Franklin with the opening verse. Later, he even adds that she "plays the Red House Painters/And it sounds fuckin' depressing." Unintentional mixtape self-referencing-- I love it!
6. Vashti Bunyan - Winter Is Blue
I'm a sucker for 60s and 70s folk. Vashti entered my life through one Mike Gehenna, whose blog isn't really updated anymore but after he posted her Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind compilation I immediately became hooked and went right out and bought it. Her guitar skills are impressive in their own right, but what immediately shines is her crisp, melancholy voice. "Winter Is Blue" is one of many lost-love-focused tunes she penned when she was in her late teens. Winter is quite white here in snowy Baltimore, but this has been a fitting soundtrack to walking through two-plus feet of powder.
7. Ride - Dreams Burn Down
The rest of ICDT, despite our collective shoegaze boner, really doesn't dig Ride. This disappoints me. Sure, they were more a guitar-heavy pop band than a true "shoegaze" band, but that doesn't mean that they weren't capable of some great sounds. "Dreams Burn Down" is six minutes of desperately wishing that things will work out, anchored by some of the most manic and noisy riffing on the group's breakthrough Nowhere record.
8. Massive Attack - Dissolved Girl
In The Matrix, Keanu Reeves prefers to fall asleep hacking and then wake up to "Dissolved Girl" playing. I prefer to come back to my dorm after a drunken night around campus, put the song on and crank the bass, letting the sexy-but-wounded voice of Sarah Jay lull me into a further state of lovelorn zoning out.
9. Mazzy Star - Fade Into You
One of the best makeout songs ever. Real talk.
Editor's Note: There were some issues with the original MediaFire link on this one, it has been moved to Badongo and all appears well now. Thanks for your patience.