Discover more from AHB's Goodies
for today's active lifestyles (memory edition)
another mix for running, jumping, pumping, cycling and making the blood flow
A reminder that you can support this mixtape delivery service by paying me actual money. Learn how at this subscription page. It’s not required! However, paid subs get access to a handful of additional paywalled mixtapes. And, for me, the consistent growth in paying subscribers is…encouraging. Thanks for listening folks!
# of Tracks: about 35
Length: 2 hours & change
Themes: recordings that keep the body moving ~ the magic of prioritizing the rhythm part ~ optimistic tunes for moderately-paced physical activity ~ no jock jams ~ songs from the memory hole, most of which are at least 10 years old
First a warning: there are a dangerous quantity of bangers on this playlist. Unlike the challenging, conceptually rigorous, or politically ambiguous nature of some of my mixtapes, this edition was compiled entirely with pleasure and propulsion in mind.
It was inspired by a prompt I was given: to make a mix suited to physical activity and mental health.1 Given my free associative2 nature, I translated that to mean songs of an upbeat nature that are firmly lodged in my memory banks.3 These are songs that have stuck with me over many years and are guaranteed to lift my mood when I hear them. I avoided recent discoveries and current enthusiasms4 in favor of comfort listening—songs I return to when I want to feel good. I’ve loved the vast majority of these recordings for a decade or more. They are proven quantities.
Coincidentally they’d make a great soundtrack for a not-overly-ambitious exercise sesh. They aren’t exactly jock jams, but if you’re looking for music that could substitute for that next cup of coffee, this playlist might be for you.
The playlist includes songs such as…
^ Talking Heads: “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”
^ Lous & the Yakuza: “Dilemme”
^ Orange Juice: “Rip It Up”
^ Christine & the Queens: “Tilted”
Extra credit: a history of pop ~ high energy tunes from the Brassland catalog ~ new ways to watch the concert doc I made
• A twenty year survey of contemporary pop music’s origins: If this month’s installment of AHB’s Goodies only whets your appetite for positive jams, may I recommend this recent mix from prolific playlister Matthew Perpetua: “A chronological story of how POP became codified as a hybrid genre distinct from R&B, rock, disco, hip-hop, etc.” The vibe: Madonna, Janet Jackson, and the world they created. Listen on Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube or read more about it on Matthew’s Substack.
I first listened during a long road trip at the end of summer, and was struck by the deep familiarity I had with so many of these recordings. It was like a time machine back to the MTV-driven, peak monoculture of my younger years. I’m no good at creating scholarly or historically-rigorous playlists because I prefer chance encounters and random walks. But I have endless admiration for folks who take the opposite approach, and anyone who wants to learn while listening, should find a place in their streaming queue for Matthew’s curatorial work.
• for today’s active lifestyles (Brassland edition): I posted another new mix a week ago but the email only went out to paying subscribers so I’m re-sharing it here. It was inspired by a prompt from the I think I’m hittin’ a wall Facebook group—to create a soundtrack for physical activity and mental health. However, this secondary mix uses music exclusively from Brassland’s back catalog. Click here or on the cover art below to check it out and read more about it at this link.
• Buke and Gase film in wide(r) release: The concert film/documentary I made is now available on Amazon Prime Video’s “free” tier for those who subscribe. And it’s even easier to access5 via the ad-supported Tubi site/app. Or go ahead and check for it on your preferred video service. It’s been fun doing in-person screenings to celebrate the film this autumn—and we hope there’s a few more in the months ahead.
People Who Died: Brian McBride
Late August brought news of Brian McBride’s early death. He was 53. Many say his project Stars of the Lid made some of the most significant and beautiful ambient music since Brian Eno. I don’t do ‘best of’ lists but I would not argue with those people.
In tribute, I re-posted an interview I did with Brian 15 years ago. It’s not super thorough or definitive—just a quick chat we had back when alternative weeklies were a primary way to promote live music and offered folks like me the chance to pursue our curiosity in print.
What struck me upon re-reading the interview was the humility and generosity of Brian’s attitude toward music-making. This excerpt gets at it:
…neither of us are entertainers per se. Both of us still have a desire to put out a record that is tear-jerkingly beautiful…and I don’t think we’ve come to that point, so that’s our inspiration. Ultimately…we do it because it’s a way for us to maintain our sanity and decompress from other things going on in life.
If I was a tattoo-getting person and his quote was more pithy, I might commit those sentences to my flesh. However, if you’re more of a listener, let me just suggest you dig into Stars of the Lid’s discography which is pretty much the polar opposite of the propulsive music in this month’s AHB’s Goodies playlist. This evocative live set from SotL’s early years is even a decent place to start:
This month’s playlist was inspired by a request from a Facebook group devoted to [checks notes] physical activity, mental health, and the music of The National. They call themselves I think I’m hittin’ a wall and the ITIHAW abbreviation in the title of this mix is a nod to their community. I went on at greater length about ITIHAW in my subscriber-only mix a few weeks back. Visit that post to learn more about them. Or maybe just stare with puzzlement at this picture which I considered using as the cover for this month’s mixtape. Eventually I decided I didn’t need to take the I think I’m hittin’ a wall theme quite so literally.
Here’s a picture of me in a party hat. No, it’s not my birthday. Maybe it’s yours?
I’m old enough now that defining what memory is and contemplating its eventual decay has become a bit of a pastime. For example, I was struck by this passage in the novel I’m currently reading:
I made an exception for 2019 tracks by Lous and the Yakuza and Rosalía, and a pair of 2023 songs by Everything But the Girl and Olivia Rodrigo, whose very new and culturally ubiquitous album GUTS is guaranteed to make my list of favorites this year.