The theme for this mixtape is difficult to articulate but pretty simple to recognize, I think. It has something to do with the combination of rocksteady and dub (no reggae) with pop. But there’s more to it than that, I think. Uh, so think of this as a solid, nearly hour-long jam.
Tracklist after the jump
1. Alton Ellis – Rocksteady
He’s the “Godfather of Rocksteady” (wikipedia) and this is The Song.
2. Cornershop – Sleep On The Left Side
A great late-90s song with the, at the time, ubiquitous Dan the Automator production. The beat is hypnotic.
3. Amanaz – Khala My Friend
I found this on an mp3 blog. It’s pretty lo-fi because it is a vinyl rip from a vinyl-only album recorded in 1975. Google “Amanaz africa” for more info.
4. No Doubt – Rock Steady
No Doubt turn out a pretty dubby “rocksteady” song. No complaints here, though. I think that ND is one of the more critically-underrated bands around. Sure, they’ve got pop hits, but they’ve really moved a long way from their ska-band roots. Plus, their album Rocksteady pretty much predicted the electroclash craze of the early 90s.
5. Dirty Projectors – Stillness is the Move
This is, as far as I can tell, the best alternate-universe Mariah Carey single ever recorded.
6. Mulatu Astatke / The Heliocentrics – Masenqo (Radio Edit)
Mulatu Astatke is the “father of ethio-jazz”, best known in the states for his work on the Broken Flowers soundtrack. The Heliocentrics are a British psych-jazz group. Two great tastes, taste great together.
7. Gorillaz – 19-2000
Here’s another Dan the Automator beat from around the same time as that Cornershop track. A perfect summer track. “Get the cool”
8. Janet Jackson – Miss You Much
I realized that my mom had the Rhythm Nation 1814 cassette when I was a kid. Subsequently, I know all the words to this song unconsciously. The moral of this story is: watch what you listen to with your kids because in 20 years they’ll have that music ingrained in their subconscious.
9. Bat For Lashes – Pearl’s Dream
Indie promo-speak description: This song sounds like a Kate Bush mashup with a metal rhythm section, as lightly remixed by Boards of Canada in roygbiv mode.
Regular person-speak: this song is awesome.
10. Prince – Take Me With U
I never saw Purple Rain, but this song sounds like a makeout song if I ever heard one.
11. Basement Jaxx – Raindrops
IPS: Basement Jaxx combines their typical maximalism with a filter house bassline, setting phasers from stun to kill.
RPS: Turn this loud. It is great.
12. Mariah Carey – Emotions (DJ Copy Remix)
Mariah Carey’s hit backed with some solid electro beats. Light and perfect.
13. Major Lazer – Hold The Line (DJ Edit)
Warning: possible objectionable content, if you can understand what’s being said. This is from Diplo and Switch’s forthcoming dancehall project. This song, like the next song, features santi(formerly santo)gold.
14. Mark Ronson – Pretty Green (Ft. Santigold)
Mark Ronson produces a raucous cover of The Jam’s hit. I love his percussion and arrangements.
15. Noonday Underground – You Keep Me Holding On
I know next to nothing about this band, but I do know that this song is quite enjoyable.
16. MeWithoutYou – Every Thought a Thought of You
I had to extend the mixtape to fit this song. It’s, I think, the perfect closer. MewithoutYou takes their hardcore roots and applies it to a post-punk, Police-esque rocker.