Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Name!

I have renamed this blog "Hello Peppermint!!"

Please link to this new and improved URL:

Nature Appreciation

Yesterday after school I walked to the Potomac River with a friend of mine, and I hadn't been since summer, and I was reminded of how perfect it is, and how amazing nature is when it is just there. She had to write an English paper, so while I was there with her I just sat and appreciated everything around me. I had my iPod with me, but didn't end up listening to anything because the river and the trees had their own music, and that was more than beautiful enough to hear. It was freezing and gorgeous, and the water was so glassy, and the only noise was the wind and the occasional bird flying overhead. I usually only go in the summer, where there is a rope swing that we dive in the river with, but going yesterday brought to my attention the fact that while in the summer it is a social place, in the winter it becomes a subtly, solemnly placidly perfect sanctuary. And although I recommend not bringing music with you on your nature appreciation outings, my visit to the river inspired me to make a mix when I got home, so here it is. Along with some pictures I took while there. Enjoy.

The River & the Leaves- a mix. For best results, record on cassette tape.
  1. She's Half- The American Analog Set
  2. I Love NYE- Badly Drawn Boy
  3. Dust in the Wind- Daniel Walker
  4. I am a Man of Constant Sorrow (Instrumental)- John Hartford
  5. Walk On- Braddigan & Josh Garrels
  6. Birds & Ships- Billy Bragg & Wilco
  7. At Last- Neko Case
  8. Drift On- Butterfly Boucher
  9. White Daisy Passing- Rocky Votolato
  10. Kissing the Lipless- The Shins
  11. Either Way- Wilco
  12. Dead Duck- Badly Drawn Boy
  13. The Upper Peninsula- Sufjan Stevens
  14. Sybill- State Radio
Liner Notes:
  • "Going to Georgia" by The Mountain Goats was almost included as the first track, with State Radio's "Sybill" as the second, but I omitted "Georgia" because I found John Darnielle's voice too grating (don't get me wrong now, I love him), for the rest of the mix. Once I lost that, I switched "Sybill" to the final track, because I found it didn't start the mix off with the right tone, and left with a better finish.
  • You may notice there are two Badly Drawn Boy songs on the mix. There were I think four to begin with. This is because I connote The Hour of the Bewilderbeast with nature, and also because I think of About a Boy (soundtrack) as a very life-soundtrack-y album, which fit the theme of my mix. I recommend you buy both now if you haven't. Bewilderbeast is one of the best albums I own, and the About a Boy soundtrack is listenable everyday, and as a song for every occasion.
  • I put the instrumental version of "I am a Man of Constant Sorrow" on. On the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack (which is where I found this song), there are two instrumental versions. The one for this mix is not the violin one.
  • The song "Dust in the Wind" is from my friend's older brother Daniel Walker. He recorded it in his room with his friends talking in the background, and I think it sounds great. I don't know how to post MP3's on here, but if you like, leave your email address and I would gladly send you one.
  • I almost decided not to include "Drift On" by Butterfly Boucher, because I thought it might be too poppy, and clash with the rest on this mix, but I think it fits nicely between Neko Case's female vocals and Rocky Votolato's acoustic "White Daisy Passing."
And yes, I put a lot of thought in when I make mixes.

Here are the accompanying photos from my day out (click to see them bigger):

Monday, November 12, 2007

Paste follows Radiohead's example

Until Thursday, Paste magazine (a 11-per-year music magazine with an included mix cd in each issue) is letting customers choose the price of their one-year subscription. I just ordered mine today, I suggest you do the same!!
Click HERE to order your subscription, then tell me what you paid!

The iTunes Side of Indie

iTunes semi-recently started a playlist series called "The List," where a list of 20-or-so-songs are compiled that represent a theme. Past themes have been sports, money, and summer. Currently, the list's theme is "Independent Artists." The accompanying description:
Need a break from the onslaught of mainstream pop music? iTunes has whipped up a nice batch of indie pop/rock/noise/etc....drawing from artists who are just on the precipice of going huge, off the radar, or are just plain awesome. Take a big bite out of Band of Horses classic rock revisionism! Witness the preppie posturing and African highlife/indie pop hybrid of Vampire Weekend! Behold the power of White Williams minimal glam/electro pop! Dare to sing with the Fiery Furnaces elaborate wording! The List, as they say, goes on and on.
The playlist goes on to include such "obscure" and "off the radar" artists as Spoon, Iron & Wine, Animal Collective and Stars. If these iTunes folks paid an ounce of attention to blogs, or music periodicals, they would realize that these bands are no longer "on the precipice" of success. They are indie musicians, yes, but they are the mainstream indie musicians. These are the indie musicians that are everywhere, that could very well get radio play if only the radio weren't a dying creature. These are some of the most popular bands on sites such as, where many true-blue music fans flock. Not to sound like a music snob (and I can tell I am coming off that way, so my apologies), but I would appreciate it if companies like iTunes stopped acting like the discoverers of indie, "obscure" music.
When iTunes used Feist's "1234" for their new Nano ad, the song shot up the online charts. It became known, at least from what I heard at school and from friends who hadn't heard it before, "that iPod song." While I think it is great that Feist should get so much success (she by-all-means deserves it), it irks me when a song becomes known by the ad in which it appears. I don't want to think of a product when I am listening to a song, I want to think of my own, special, personal connotation. The same thing happened with Badly Drawn Boy's "All Possibilities" (Campbell's Soup) and Of Montreal's "Wrath Pinned to the Mist and Other Games" (which was annoyingly butchered and re-worded for Outback Steakhouse).
I do not oppose artists selling their music for advertisements, on the contrary I think it is a natural checkpoint of success for emerging artists, but I do not like when a band is pinned as "emerging" simply because never before had their song been playing in the back of a Volkswagen commercial. Feist is not a new singer, Spoon is not "on the precipice" of success, and Iron & Wine is not "off the radar" (unless by "radar" you mean Top 40 charts, in which case, I guess). Each of those artists is established, respected and quite successful in the music world, if not in the music business, by which I mean Top 40 charts, and ability to sell dolls of their likeness (actually, Wilco does...).
Anyway. By all means a great playlist, iTunes really irks me how it labels the bands on their "Independent Artist" list as breaking. "Just plain awesome?" Yeah in most of their cases. "Off the radar?" Not quite...