The Winter Wonderland Mixtape For Headphones

It’s been a long time coming, but my newest mixtape is finally ready! Officially I started working on this mix the second after I finished the last one, Lazy Mountains, but a variety of different factors kept me from releasing it until now. Not only was I getting the feeling that I might be releasing new mixtapes too frequently but I also never felt great about how the tracks I had chosen for this one worked together. I’ve spent more time tinkering with this mixtape than all of the others combined, adjusting song placement and adding/dropping songs for maximum cohesion. I’m actually really happy with how the end result turned out and I hope you enjoy it too. You can download it here.

As time went on and summer turned into fall and fall into winter, I found that a lot of the musical themes I kept coming back to felt very wintery in nature. There’s that crisp feeling of cold winter air and a haunting quality of a dark winter night, but all the songs also have a warmth and joyful feeling attached to them that’s associated with the season. When I figured out my theme the present tracklisting you’ll find here just came together for me.

I’ve downloaded a lot of new music this year and I’ve discovered a lot of great gems. This mix really showcases some of 2010’s best of the best for me. And it also just happens to be some great headphone music.

Highlights include:

The oddest entry to this mixtape is its first track, Riz Ortolani’s main theme for Cannibal Holocaust. There is just something so beautiful about the movie’s soundtrack that helps make the film more than just another Italian cannibal flick. This song has stuck with me longer than any of the film’s horrifying images.

Restless People’s ‘Days Of Our Lives’ may sound familiar to anyone who remembers the video for Underworld’s ‘Scribble’ that I gushed over this summer. The melodies are nearly identical in both and I might have thought that somebody ripped someone else off if the songs hadn’t come out within a week or two of each other. I love both songs, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is better.

The Knocks’ ‘Something I Can Dance To’ has one of the most infectious dance floor hooks I’ve heard in a long time. In fact I had a hard time putting just one Knocks track on this mix. Check these guys out. I think they might become uber-producers in the future.

There’s some great remixes on here. Grum takes Marina & The Diamond’s already fantastic ‘Oh No’ and makes it even better. Oli Chang gives the same cinematic remix treatment to M.I.A.’s ‘XXXO’ that he previously did to Beyonce’s ‘Naughty Girl’. Fred Falke somehow turns indie darling Grizzly Bear’s ‘Two Weeks’ into a really upbeat, happy dance track. And just try not to get swept away by CFCF’s remix of Owen Pallett’s ‘Lewis Takes Off His Shirt’. It’ll give you goose bumps.

This mixtape has so much good stuff on it that I’m going to stop writing about it and let you start listening to it.

And as an added treat, after the regular mixtape has ended with a excellent Fear of Tigers remake of Orbital’s ‘Calling Your Name’ I added a little 5-track Christmas EP to get you all into the holiday spirit. I normally hate Christmas music. Hearing those same “classics” play over and over and over everywhere you go drives me insane, and any “new” Christmas music that comes out is really just a schlocky remake of the old stuff.

Very little Christmas music sounds like stuff I would actually listen to any other time of year, which is why I was extremely surprised to recently find 5 brand new Christmas songs by contemporary bands that you would expect to see on this blog anyway. All the songs have come out within the last month, the highlight of which (to me anyway) is Summer Camp’s pitch perfect cover of the Waitresses’ ‘Christmas Wrapping’. My all-time favorite Christmas song is covered by one of my favorite new artists of 2010. Plus enjoy Christmas songs from Röyksopp, Saint Etienne, The Pipettes and The Golden Filter. Sweet baby Jebus, it’s a Christmas miracle!

Well, happy holidays. This is my present to you. Oh, and you wouldn’t believe it but I talked with Oprah and she has a present for you too:


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