Makeup For The Silence

The digital home of music writer Jesse Richman

Makeup For The Silence

Tag: Zebra katz

Makeup for the Silence – Best of 2014 Mixtape

Makeup for the Silence - Best of 2014 Mixtape

It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been doing this as long as I have, and yet here we are for the fifth year in a row* with the annual Makeup For The Silence Mixtape.

The 2014 edition of my yearly mixtape feels darker, tetchier and more ruminative than last year’s compilation. Partly that’s deceptive: this year’s picks are angrier in their loudest, brightest moments, and more quiet when soft and sweet. Indeed, 2014 was my most blissful in recent memory, full of both personal joy (getting married) and professional success (my first print features in a decade), But as they say, energy flows where attention goes, and the tracks here that demand the most attention rage loudly enough to nearly eclipse the more subtle sweetness in between.

Only nearly, though. Part of the challenge of making the yearly mixtape is in the curation – there were more than 200 songs that made my running Top Tracks Of 2014 longlist**, and paring them down is some combination of making a CD-length document that actually flows as a well-sequenced album would without excluding anything absolutely essential to the year. I spend far more time than any human should working toward hitting the sweet spot each time out; hopefully, I managed it here.

The “no big radio hits” rule wasn’t really an issue this year (sorry Taylor); while I felt like 2014 was much more of a singles year than an albums year for me personally (more on that soon), it wasn’t because of anything on pop radio, which had a seriously down year compared to 2013. I feel like we’re headed toward an interesting intersection – it’s clear to me that the pop-EDM bubble has burst, and there’s definitely renewed interest in music made with traditional instruments, but nobody seems to quite know what to do with them yet (other than sample saxophones, ubiquitously). In the past that’s led to tremendously interesting and diverse years for pop music (think 90-91), but for some reason this year’s casting-about turned up little in the way of interesting experiments – at least not in the Top 40.

And yet the 23 tracks here barely tap the surface; there was tremendous breadth, if not depth, just below. This year’s mix features a pair of refugees from collapsed bands, each digging out of the rubble and starting anew in their own way; two tracks from the best band in the world you’ve never heard of; four minutes of guts-searing #emorevival; and four more of glorious, gossamer #softshread. It’s all in there, Frankensteined together into one rather dapper monster, if I do say so myself.

Enough talk. Download***, listen, enjoy.

Makeup For The Silence – Best Of 2014

  1. Free – Brent Walsh
  2. Royals (Remix) – T-Pain ft. Young Cash
  3. Tongue Talk – The Holidays
  4. Canyon Moon – Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
  5. Coming Of Age – Foster the People
  6. Unconditional Love – Against Me!
  7. Queen of Hearts – Darlia
  8. Don’t Die in Yr Hometown – Antarctigo Vespucci
  9. American Beauty / American Psycho – Fall Out Boy
  10. Exclusive Coupe – MYRONE
  11. Long Night – Guster
  12. Nervous Kids – Tigers Jaw
  13. Brutal Truth – Foxy Shazam
  14. Your Deep Rest – The Hotelier
  15. Dear Diary – Darlia
  16. Giving Up – Allison Weiss
  17. I Told You So – Dazy (The Girl) ft. Derek Sanders
  18. Tear The House Up (Edit) – Herve & Zebra Katz
  19. Digital Witness – St. Vincent
  20. Eyeshadow – No Devotion
  21. Erosion – Cymbals
  22. Come Alive – Rachel Taylor
  23. XO – Roy English

click image to download

Stay tuned, The yearly Top Ten will begin in just a few days!

*you can always find the complete collection of mixes which have appeared on Makeup For The Silence, as well as all the playlists I’ve contributed to elsewhere, right over here.

**if you’d like to get a headstart on 2015, feel free to follow my running Top Tracks Of 2015 So Far playlist on Spotify. It’s barren right now but that won’t last long.

***just like the past two years, there’s a Spotify version of 2014’s mix available, but also like those years, there are a handful of tracks on the mix which aren’t currently available on the service. I love Spotify’s convenience, but I recommend downloading if you want the real deal – otherwise, you miss out on a few great songs, and also the sequencing. If you’re a Spotify user, it’s easy to import downloaded files into Spotify, I promise.

Makeup for the Silence - Best of 2012 Mixtape

Makeup for the Silence – Best of 2012 Mixtape

Makeup for the Silence - Best of 2012 Mixtape

For each of the last two years, I’ve posted here a copy of the CD I had made for that year’s mix exchange on Skyway, the long-running Replacements email list. Unfortunately, through some sort of mix-up, I didn’t end up participating in the exchange this time around, but the year doesn’t feel complete anymore if I haven’t made my mix*!

This year’s was the hardest I can remember, in terms of making my final cutdown; when I took my first pass, I ended up with something like 150 tracks. As with previous years, I’ve left off any big radio hits. That proved much more painful this time out than it did last year – there were a bunch of chart toppers I absolutely loved in 2012 (fun., I’m looking your way; you too, Bieber). But I still had such a glut of tracks to choose from that I don’t feel like I’m losing much by leaving off songs that will still be ubiquitous a decade from now. (OK, maybe we won’t be listening to “Gangnam Style” much in 2022, but we certainly won’t have forgotten it!)

The end goal for me is always to wind up with a mix of tracks I love which both flow together well and paint a reasonably accurate picture of what I was listening to during the year, accounting for genre and style and taste, while also highlighting songs that might have not gotten the notice they deserved during the year. I feel like I managed it well this time out**. But in the end, you get to be the judge: download***, listen, enjoy!

Makeup For The Silence – Best Of 2012

  1. Everyone Knows – Vacationer
  2. The Descent – Bob Mould
  3. I Guess We’re Cool – Cassadee Pope
  4. Happy As Fuck (feat. Pat Brown) – MOD SUN
  5. Deadheads (Demo) – Cold Crows Dead
  6. Timelines – Motion City Soundtrack
  7. As Good As It Gets (Rollerskate Remix) – States
  8. Find Our Way – Our Lady Peace
  9. Nothing At All – Steven Padin
  10. Scarlett (Tokyo) – William Beckett
  11. Ima Read (feat. Njena Reddd Foxxx) – Zebra Katz
  12. Head In The Ceiling Fan – Title Fight
  13. Maybe Our Days Are Numbered – Happy Body Slow Brain
  14. Oh. Hi. – Now, Now
  15. 25 To Life – Masked Intruder
  16. Street Spirit (Fade Out) – The Darkness
  17. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – Citizen
  18. Good Love – The Maine
  19.  –

click image to download

Stay tuned; the yearly Top Ten will begin on Monday!

*you can always find the complete collection of mixes which have appeared on Makeup For The Silence right over here

**There’s one noticeable gap this time out; I spent a lot more time listening to pop-punk this year than shows up on this mix. Unfortunately, for as much as I heard, not much of it really stood out to me; I feel like this year the genre reached a plateau, with a large number of decent-to-good releases that sounded a little too much (or a lot too much) like each other to really stand out. Some of those will still get a nod on my Albums list, but it felt like there was a dearth of great singles among them.

***Just like last year, I’ve also gone ahead and made a Spotify version of the playlist; unfortunately, this time around a few of the tracks aren’t available, so you won’t get the full experience that way. But hey, if you really want to go that route regardless, who am I to stand in your way?

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