Ramblings from the Juanster

"In 1990 I was going through a dark time and was on anti-depressants.. I started dating this girl, who was a medical student. When she found out I was on this medication she said ‘You don’t need those tablets my love will make you feel better’. A month or so later things weren’t going so good in the relationship and she said to me ‘I think you should get some stronger tablets’.. Although it was sort of tragic I could see the humour in the situation. That’s the great thing about writing songs, you can turn something painful or sad into something positive or even beautiful."
                                                         -Duglas T. Stewart of the BMX Bandits


Lovely song. Too many shit indie bands these days, don’t know why there’s a lack of guitar pop or good songwriting. That’s why I love these 90s Scottish pop groups. Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits, The Soup Dragons, The Trashcan Sinatras, The Delgados.

Rules for 30 day song Challenge

30 Day song challenge’s rules:

day 01 - your favorite song
day 02 - your least favorite song
day 03 - a song that makes you happy 
day 04 - a song that makes you sad
day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event 
day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
day 09 - a song that you can dance to
day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep 
day 11 - a song from your favorite band 
day 12 - a song from a band you hate 
day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure 
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love 
day 15 - a song that describes you 
day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate 
day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 - a song from your favorite album
day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry 
day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a song from your childhood 
day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year

30 Day Song challenge


Day 1, favorite song: There’s no such thing as the end all favorite song. If I have to pick, definitely Spiritualized’s “Anyway That You Want Me”. Anyone who has come across my mixtapes I often include this song. I think the song truly captures the freewheeling nature of life. The cacophony of violins, loud reverb, etc. pretty much captures that freewheelingness. I get chills whenever I listen to the last three minutes. Anyway, I could listen to this song many times and could never be tired from repeated listening. Without a doubt on my desert island mix.

Watched this game two days ago and can’t believe how amazing this was. Lionel Messi going past Real Madrid’s defense=classy. Unfortunately, his teammates are dirty cheats. 

From the website:

"As part of our creative partnership with Coachella, we’ve commissioned several artistic collaborations between some of today’s foremost musical and creative talents. Their task was to conceive of new audiovisual experiences to enhance and re-imagine musical performance, creating new ways of interacting with and enjoying the musical art form. In addition to working with bands like Interpol for the project, we’ve teamed up with J. Spaceman of beloved UK-based “space rock” band Spiritualized and UK filmmakerJonathan Glazer on a major new interactive installation that will be unveiled on the Coachella festival grounds.

The duo are creating a physical manifestation of the Spiritualized track “Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space.” In a cathedral-like space, designed by Graft Architects, isolated pools of light will appear, each containing a different component of the original track.

Above is a brief trailer giving you a taste of what’s in store at Coachella, but stay tuned for Part 1 of our mini-documentary on Glazer and Spiritualized’s creative process, coming soon.”

OH MY GOD!! This might be the most exciting thing to come out of this year’s Coachella. If there is any way to die a happy man, it’d be anything relating to Spiritualized’s “Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating In Space”

"In Total Football, a player who moves out of position is replaced by another member of the team, thus retaining the team’s intended organisational structure. In this fluid system, no outfield player is fixed in a nominal role; anyone can be successively an attacker, a midfielder and a defender. The only player fixed in a nominal position is the goalkeeper.

Total Football’s tactical success depends largely on the adaptability of each footballer within the team, in particular the ability to quickly switch positions depending on the on-field situation. The theory requires players to be comfortable in multiple positions; hence, it places high technical and physical demands on them.”

Some of the most fluid footballing I’ve seen. Unfortunately, what the Dutch team employed during the 70s cannot be replicated to today’s game. Players on the pitch today have become far more aggressive and faster. Thankfully, I could enjoy this clip without having to listen to fucking Yanni.

How I make mixtapes

"To me, making a tape is like writing a letter — there’s a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You’ve got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention (I started with "Got to Get You Off My Mind", but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightaway, so I buried it in the middle of side two), and then you’ve got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can’t have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can’t have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you’ve done the whole thing in pairs and…oh, there are loads of rules."
                                                                     -Nick Hornby


He’s got a good point, but let me add some more rules to the art of creating a mixtape:

1) The first song off a mixtape has to be motherfucking epic. It has to be a song that will catch the listener’s attention. For quite some time, I’ve always used New Order’s “Ceremony”, which I think is a great way to start off a mixtape.

2) Afterward, throw in a song that’ll be different (sonically) from the epic opener. For this one mixtape I made for a girl a few years ago, I put in David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”.

3) Follow up with a fun song. If there’s too much serious songs like New Order or Bowie’s “Life on Mars”, the person will think you’re some depressed motherfucker who only listens to serious music. For example, I used Patrick Wolf’s “Magic Position” or The Smiths’ “This Charming Man”

4) Creating the fluff (the middle) has to be the most hardest part of making a proper mixtape. You have to make sure you have a good balance of the fun and the contemplative music, otherwise the listener cannot distinguish songs separately. If possible, throw in a whammy song that can be the apex of the middle section of the mixtape. For instance, I used LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends”, The Replacements’ “Unsatisfied”, or David Bowie’s “Heroes”

5) Be careful in throwing “black sheeps”. If you have a very heavy alternative rock/pre-1980s rock, do not throw in like say…an Aphex Twin, Portishead, or a Radiohead song in the mix. It’ll throw off the flow of the mix. I learned my lesson when I put Portishead’s “The Rip” between The Smiths’ “Ask” and Spiritualized’s “Soul on Fire”. I realized after listening for the second time, Portishead doesn’t fit well with the mix. (2011 update: if you can pull it off, then more power to you. Lately I’ve been including these “black sheeps” in people’s mixtapes and they’ve worked wonders)

6) The last four songs has to be on the same level of epic or contemplation as the first song. I believe that these  songs has to send a lasting impression to the listener. If you fail at this last rule, then this mixtape fails completely. The momentum starting from the first to the last has to be stronger as it progresses.

Here’s a good example of such:

Beck- “Some Things Last a Long Time (Daniel Johnston cover)”
Flaming Lips - “Race for the Prize (remix)” (or) Belle & Sebastian - “Lord Anthony”
Spiritualized- “Any Way That You Want Me (Troggs cover)”
Van Morrison - “Astral Weeks” or Joy Divison - “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (note: These songs are what will make or break the mixtape’s impact)

7) Lastly…for the final song, make sure it’s either offbeat or reflective. Think of it as a way to tie in or conclude this work of art. However, make sure the song’s length is short and that it does not overbear the epic impression of the last song. I usually use Velvet Underground’s “After Hours”, Vashti Bunyan’s “Iris’ Song (version 2)”, Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”, or The Beatles’ “Her Majesty”.

note: OK…I cheated. I basically took the last songs from the album of the respective artists I mentioned. But be creative if you want.

8) Try to diversify the mix if possible. To me, it shows that the compiler has a very eclectic taste, that he/she is an open-minded individual.




Final thoughts:

A lot of people take the art of mixtaping for granted. I’ve seen quite a few people throwing songs in just for the sake of putting as much songs as possible. Quite frankly, I think that’s just embarrasing. People…save yourself the trouble and take the time and effort into putting a proper mixtape. Like what Nick Hornby has said earlier, a mixtape is a letter. It reflects your personality and what you want to say to that particular person. If I want to make a mixtape to a girlfriend, I would be sure to include a lot of songs refecting her personality as well my thoughts on our relationship.

A lot of people buy expensive things for people, but yet they do not realise how great of a gift a mixtape can do. But if you’re going to make a mix tape, make sure it has some sort of theme or at least a sense of ebb and flow. Each song has to be distinctive but yet  has to be constructed as a collective whole. Anyway, think of making a mixtape as a way of making a work of art. The more you put thought and creativity, the stronger the mixtape as a gift can be.

I’m done. Feel free to suggest new rules and such. Making a mixtape is not limited to the rules I proposed.

Mixtape example:

1) “4” - Aphex Twin
2) “Plash” by Takako Minekawa
3) “You Got Yr Cherry Bomb” by Spoon
4) “Green Shirt” by Elvis Costello
5) “Reflections After Jane” by The Clientele
6) “Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison
7) “Cowboys” by Portishead
8) “Winter” by The Fall
9) “Winter 2” by The Fall
10) “Ce Matin La”
11) “Roygbiv” by Boards of Canada
12) “Come Wind Come Rain” by Vashti Bunyan
13) “Stockholm Syndrome” by Yo La Tengo
14) “Hang Your Head Down” by Tom Waits
15) “Sometimes I Don’t Need to Believe in Anything” by Teenage Fanclub
16) “Everything Merges With the Night” by Brian Eno
17) “Olsen Olsen” by Sigur Ros
18) “Chaos” by UNKLE
19) “Cybele’s Reverie” by Stereolab
20) “From the Morning” by Nick Drake 

Alex Chilton with Teenage Fanclub covering a Rodgers and Hart standard “My Heart Stood Still”

Your music means a lot to me Alex. In loving memory of Alex Chilton 1950-2010.

Will be writing a piece on Alex Chilton. So check tonight or tomorrow.

Teenage Fanclub - Ain’t That Enough


I just bought a copy of “Songs From Northern Britain” and thought it was a nice and pleasant album. The Gerard Love-penned song “Ain’t That Enough” sums up with all the pleasant changes in being twenty-four. The song epitomizes on why life is grand, taking the beautiful sunshine and people around you regardless of whatever shit is thrown at you.

Joy Formidable -Whirring

The Joy Formidable can be redundant sometimes. “Whirring” is the exception. What a delightful track from the Welsh trio.