I’ve been writing for Popdose for what, maybe three years now and not once have I stepped up to the plate to do a Friday Mixtape. I’ve been threatening people with this for a long while so it was about time to get this thing moving.
There are points when I get a little nostalgic for the way it was back in the day. There’s only one thing that got me through my college years and that’s WTSR, the radio station at the College of New Jersey. Sometime in the mid-90s we became a pretty well respected college radio station in the U.S. and when I became music director in 1998 we were running at the top of our game. These were the days when I used to sit in my office and get hundreds of discs a week and also reviewed probably at least 50-60 every week alone. In my time reviewing music for the station (probably 1995-2002’ish) I listened to something in the ballpark of 8,564 CDs (not like I kept track or anything *cough* geek *cough*). We had a sound back then. A real good one that I didn’t start but definitely kept going with tweaks here and there to fit my style which was far different than it is now. Through the station I met some great friends and still do a radio show called Destiny’s Bastard Children (Tuesday nights 9pm-Midnight. Stream it at the ‘TSR link above) with two of them — my buddy Andy (aka Bastard #2) and Sean (aka Bastard #3) — I’m Bastard #1, the founding father of the DBC and now semi-retired weekly commentator. Andy took over as MD after me and did it for two years and Sean followed for three more years after that and while we all have different tastes in music, we all were one brain when it came to a musical vision for the station. Today we may not agree on what’s good, but we usually agree on what’s bad.
Usually about once every six months or so, I get on the air and reminisce about those days. Today, I listen to ’80s music and metal almost exclusively and if it wasn’t for some of the brilliant writers on Popdose, I’d have no clue what’s going on in the world of indie rock anymore. But the part I miss the most is opening the packages and seeing the music hit my desk and being able to weed through the good and bad and mold the sound of a station myself. I always wanted to run a radio station doing one of those hip things where I’d mix the popular and the underground to bring new cool music to the world but it just didn’t pan out. But I still have those ‘TSR memories to go back to so this mixtape is a culmination of tracks that have some meaning for me from my time at the radio station; mostly good memories, some bad but meaning either way.
I dedicate this to the people that I shared a station and a bond with for many years; #2 and #3, the morning crew (The Ryan Brothers, Vinnie, Milk), Pat & Chris, Paul & the Paragon, sportscaster Mark Simon, Brennan (without him, Bottom Feeders wouldn’t exist), Ms. McKay (who I think hated me but taught me everything I didn’t want to know about twee pop), the Local Noise crew, Peabo Bryson and even Dildo Clumpo.
5. Helicopter Helicopter – Gay Porno, from Squids and Other Fishes (1998)
8. Jude – I Do, from No One Is Really Beautiful (2000)
(Jude’s live EP after this album lists me as the second thank you. To date, I’m pretty sure it’s the only time my name has appeared in liner notes. That still makes me smile. Thank you, sir.)
15. Swimmer – Dumb, from Surreal (1999)
(Still to this day I regret walking away and not getting my knuckles bloody. If I had a chance to do it all again there would be a particular singer with a steel plated jaw right now. If someone wasn’t such a total d-bag, this would have easily been the next great band).
18. The Turncoats – Further Than Right Here, from The Turncoats (1998?)
(Kick-ass local PA group. The day jobs took the band separate ways but we were always hoping to be the station that broke them into the spotlight. We made a good effort.)