32 American months

I connect to my past through music [1]. So when I came to America I started to miss my other life and I looked for (and found) songs that expressed my feelings. Every four months I used to burn a mix tape to a CD and label it 4 American Months, 8 American Months and so on. I got up to 20 American months — a mix CD I made in April 2005 — before I stopped. One reason was that I had replaced my CD player with an MP3 player so there was no need to limit my mix tapes to 80 minutes.

But unconsciously I probably told myself I needed to stop counting because my longing had plateud; I had found that balance between here and there and it began to show in the songs I was picking — they were less aggressive and more cohesive as in terms of musical genres.

Today I decided to revive the mix tape process. It’s been 32 months since I stepped off a plane in Detroit, so it’s time for 32 American Months. The playlist I uploaded to my IPod is below. Scroll further to see my previous American Months.

1. The Arcade Fire – Born on a train

I have an obsession with songs about leaving suddenly and this Arcade Fire cover of the Magnetic Fields speaks loudly to that obsession.

2. Neutral Milk Hotel – The king of carrot flowers part 1

NMH were early pioneers of indie rock and this song came out in the late 1990s. It remains irresistible and it has some great creepy lyrics: “And dad would dream of all the dreams to day/Each one a little more than he could dare to try.”

3. Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins – You are what you love

I love Jenny Lewis. See my related post.

4. Tegan & Sara – Take me anywhere

Perky, melodic and easy to dance to. “So Jealous” came out in September 2004 but it still rocks. I’d love to see the Quin sisters live.

5. Arctic Monkeys – I bet you look good on the dancefloor

The new British wonder band. I was skeptical, but damn some of their tunes are catchy.

6. Snow Patrol – Hands open

These Irish dudes have been around a while. Recent discovery for me though.

7. Death Cab For Cutie – Soul meets body

If Death Cab released a record that had this song on repeat twelve times, I’d consider buying it. It think it’s for this part: “And if the silence takes you then I hope it takes me, too.”

8. Feist – Mushaboom

“Mushaboom” is one of those songs you’d like to see covered a whole bunch of times. Bright Eyes already did it.

9. Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins – Melt your heart

Ahh, Jenny.

10. Neko Case – Hold on, hold on

Ahh, Neko.

11. Stellastarr* – Love and longing
12. The Cardigans – I need some fine wine and you need to be nicer

Sometimes it takes forever for a European release to make it across the ocean. Still the best Scandinavian export — right up there with the Raveonettes.

13. Franz Ferdinand – Walk away
14. The Arcade Fire – Intervention
15. The Decemberists – The engine driver

“And I am a writer, a writer of fictions, I am the heart that you call home. And I have written pages upon pages, trying to rid you from my bones.” Beat that. The Decemberists might be my favorite band of the past couple of years.

16. Tegan & Sara – You wouldn’t like me
17. The New Pornographers – Twin cinema
18. Belle & Sebastian – Another sunny day
19. Band of Horses – The funeral
20. Rilo Kiley – Frug

This is Jenny’s other band.

21. KT Tunstall – Black horse and the cherry tree (2:52)
22. The New Pornographers – Broken breads (3:00)
23. The Boy Least Likely To – Be gentle with me (3:50)
24. The Flaming Lips – Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (4:51)
25. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Way out (2:53)

The Yeahs latest record “Show your bones” is much better as a whole than the position of the closing track would indicate.

Here are the track lists for my other American Months.

20 American Months (April 2005):
Something Corporate – Watch the sky
Garbage – Why do you love me
Bright Eyes – Another travelin’ song
The Raveonettes – That great love sound
Bright Eyes – Landlocked blues
The Decemberists – We both go down together
Hot Hot Heat – Goodnight goodnight
The Used – All that I’ve got
Le Tigre – TKO
Sum 41 – We’re all to blame
Muse – Time is running out
The Bravery – An honest mistake
Beatallica – I want to choke your band
Unwritten Law – Save me
CoCo Rosie – Terrible angels
The Postal Service – Such great heights
Green Day – Whatsername
Bright Eyes – Arc of time
Be Your Own Pet – Damn damn leash
Kasabian – Processed beats
Hot Hot Heat – Dirty mouth
System of a Down – BYOB

16 American Months (December 2004):
Green Day – Holiday
The Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies)
The Shins – New slang
The Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
My Chemical Romance – Helena
Coheed and Cambria – Blood red summer
Metric – Combat baby
Straylight Run – Your name here (Sunrise highway)
Green Day – Boulevard of broken dreams
The Killers – Somebody told me
The Arcade Fire – Crown of love
William Shatner – Common people
The Pixies – Gigantic
Frou Frou – Let go
Death Cab for Cutie – The new year
Marilyn Manson – Personal Jesus
Interpol – Slow hands
The Shins – Caring is creepy
Me First and the Gimme Gimmies – O sole mio
The Used – Take it away

12 American Months (August 2004):
Something Corporate – I woke up in a car
Dashboard Confessional – Vindicated
Franz Ferdinand – Take me out
Modest Mouse – Float on
The Shins – Saint Simon
Taking Back Sunday – Cute without the “E”
Alkaline Trio – Warbrain
Strylight Run – The tension and the terror
Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah
Leningrad Cowboys – Delilah
Brand New – Good to know that if I ever
Ozma – Wake up
My Chemical Romance – I’m not okay (I promise)
The Pixies – Debaser
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps
Von Bondies – C’mon c’mon
The Shins – So says I
Death Cab for Cutie – The sound of settling
The Raveonettes – That great love sound
Courtney Love – Hold on to me
The Hives – Walk idiot walk

Eight American Months (April 2004):
The Pixies – Here comes your man
Brand New – Sic transit gloria
The Distillers – Beat your heart out
Story of the Year – Sidewalks
Guster – Medicine
Lostprophets – Last train
Guster – Demons
Staind – So far away
Story of the Year – Falling down
The Distillers – The young crazed peeling
Guster – Amsterdam
Lucky Boys Confusion – Broken
Something Corporate – Ruthless
Evanescence – My immortal
Sublime – Santeria
Guster – Careful
Straylight Run – It’s for the best
The Distillers – I am a revenant
Thursday – Asleep in the chapel
Taking Back Sunday – You’re so last summer
Guster – Two points for honesty
Matchbook Romance – Tiger lily

Four American Months (December 2003):
Lucky Boys Confusion – Hey driver
The Ataris – Boys of summer
Story of the Year – Anthem of our dying day
Dashboard Confessional – Hands down
Straylight Run – Existentialism on prom night
Something Corporate – Space
Fountains of Wayne – Stacy’s Mom
Sugarcult – Memory
Dashboard Confessional – Age six racer
Good Charlotte – Hold on
Story of the Year – Until the day I die
Muse – Thoughts of a dying atheist
The Strokes – Automatic stop
Less Than Jake – The science of selling yourself short
Dashboard Confessional – Again I go unnoticed
3 Doors Down – Kryptonite
Glasseater – Alone in the world
The Distillers – City of angels
The Raveonettes – Heartbreak stroll
No Doubt – It’s my life
Matt Nathanson – Laid
The Distillers – Drain the blood
Blink 182 – I miss you

One Response to “32 American months”

  1. Ameroman, I could not agree with you any more about DCFC & 12 tracks of SMB. I, too, would buy and listen to that album. In fact, I’ve virtually done so thanks to the repeat button on my iTunes.

    Other great tracks are We Looked Like Giants, Brothers on a Hotel Bed, Coney Island, What Sarah Said, Bend to Squares, et cetera. You probably know them all already.

    What strikes me most from these lists is your apparent evolution. Music tends to draw strong opinion, so here goes: The first mix CD looks like a mostly terrible collection of “alternapop” (that is, mostly soulless pop which is marketed as not being soulless pop). The latest mp3 playlist looks positively fantastic, from the names I know… and definitely makes me curious to explore the names I don’t.

    If I might be so bold, I might recommend anything (and everything) by B! Machine to persons who enjoy electronica. B! Machine goes best with a drink, preferably by yourself.

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