Music (and presents).

By Johnny Gordon, Mar 12 2012 03:29PM

We listen to a lot of music down here in The Basement. All kinds of stuff. It's not uncommon to hear anything from Frank Sinatra to Cake to Johnny Cash to The Beastie Boys blasting from any of the studios down here. What I've found to be the key is to make sure that you get to the studio before the flameworkers show up. This keeps us from having to listen to live shows of The Grateful Dead at incredible volumes or worse yet, NPR. (talk radio stomps out creativity. Even Science Friday, which I like- just not when I'm making stuff).

There was a time when I had given up on music. Angry with the classic rock stations playing the same 200 songs, the soulless autotuned drivel being pushed by the popular stations- awful. A friend of mine from college put together a best of mix (I think it was 2001) and I was amazed. Almost completely filled with artists I had not heard of, jumping around to genres I wasn't familiar with. I was amazed at what I had been missing and I began to read and search for stuff. I've been making these "Best of" lists since 2005- the results of looking out for new music. I just haven't given them out to anybody (so much for paying it forward). I always intend to- and the truth is that itunes really makes it a pain to give anyone a mixed cd. (or at least I haven't been able to figure out a good way to do it without losing song order. And song order is important). I think I finally figured it out and would love to give the tens of readers of this blog a copy of your very own.

There are three discs(!), each album fitting on a 80 minute cd. My rules are fairly loose in picking what goes on them- I try to use only songs from the current year (unless something slipped by from the previous year that was awesome or was released late in the year). I will allow reissues sometimes. I try to use only one song from an artist per mix (unless there were just two incredible songs or it just makes sense in the mix). These mixes usually jump across the board- I like a lot of different stuff. The family has input on what makes the mix because they have pretty good taste. They also let me know what's going on with popular radio as I don't listen to commercial stations much. (unless, of course, you're driving a teenager and her friends to the mall.) We're suckers for harmonies, enjoy a finely crafted pop song, love a good beat, excellent musicianship and great lyrics. They'll be stuff on here that you'll like and other stuff you won't. Hopefully it'll introduce you to some new artists to add to your collection.

So, here's what you can do to get yer hands on a copy. You can download it directly by clicking here. It's a zip file so you'll have to right click and save it and then uncompress it. If this doesn't work for you I will burn you a copy of your very own and send it to you. E-mail me with your address and specify whether you would like it as mp3 files (best if you are going to rip it onto your computer) or actual cd's that you'd play in your car. I do ask that you please listen to the songs in order at least once. (It matters to me). Let me know what you think! If you have any questions or comments I'd love to hear 'em.

As always- thanks for reading. Here's what made this year's list.


Disc 1

1- Bright Lights- Gary Clark Jr.

2- No Time for Dreaming- Charles Bradley

3- Booty City- Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

4- Guilty Filthy Soul- Awolnation

5- Little Black Submarines- The Black Keys

6- Mr. Driver- Black Lips

7- Two Against One (Feat. Jack White)- Danger Mouse & Daniel Luppi

8- Revolving Doors- Gorillaz

9- Badaboom- Tapes n' Tapes

10- You Ain't Alone- Alabama Shakes

11- Fire at the Pageant- The Felice Brothers

12- Rattled- The Sweetback Sisters

13- You- TV on the Radio

14- Wetsuit- The Vaccines

15- Burning Up the Sky- The Parson Redheads

16- Wonderful (The Way I Feel)- My Morning Jacket

17- Drinkin' Whiskey Tonight- Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three

18- The Bump- Deer Tick

19- A Devil Lay Here- Zomby

Disc 2

1- Inside My Heart- Diego Garcia

2- Santos and Ken- The Stepkids

3- You Can Run- Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80

4- Ice Cream (Feat. Matias Aguayo)- Battles

5- Someday- Middle Brother

6- Pay attention- Wood Brothers

7- It Takes Time to be a Man- The Rapture

8- Mary Ann- The Horrible Crows

9- Hard Times- Gillian Welch

10- Underneath a Blue and Cloudless Sky- Seasick Steve

11- Part Time Believer- Boy and Bear

12- Rivers and Roads- The Head and the Heart

13- Comfortable Home- Ty Segall

14- I Don't Get By- The Sheepdogs

15- In God's Waiting Room- Garland Jeffreys

16- If I get Old- Elliott Brood

17- I Gotta Go- Robert Earl Keen

18- Barton Hollow- The Civil Wars

Disc 3

1- Stone Rollin'- Raphael Saadiq

2- Don't Stop- The Dodos

3- Cigarettes and Coffee- Etta James

4- Something Goes Right- SBTRKT

5- Recollections of the Wraith- Shabazz Palaces

6- Season's Trees (Feat. Norah Jones)- Danger Mouse & Daniel Luppi

7- Winter Rose- A Band of Bees

8- Cherry Blossom Love- Wailin' Jennys

9- Hangnailed- Rob Crow

10- My Country- tUnE yArDs

11- Tragedy's a' Comin'- Primus

12- Pumped Up Kicks- Foster the People

13- Bang Bang Bang- Eilen Jewell

14- Assault on Precinct 13- Garage a Trois

15- Shell Games- Bright Eyes

16- Cannons- Little Scream

17- Cover Ears- The Rosebuds

18- Resurrection- Megafaun

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The beauty of working in your own place is that you can listen to what you want. Here are a few that we've been making stuff to.



Modest Mouse- Strangers to Ourselves


The Decemberists- What a Terrible World. What a Beautiful World


Houndmouth- Little Neon Limelight


Lord Huron- Strange Trails


Pokey LaFarge- Something in the Water


Alabama Shakes- Sound and Color


Toro Y Moi- What For?


Jose Gonzalez- Vestiges & Claws


Buit to Spill- Untethered Moon


Girlpool- Before the World was Big


The Dead Weather- Dodge and Burn


The Wood Brothers- Paradise




What we're listening to