So a few weeks ago our good pal and frequent poster Aaron suggested that we have a Winter Mix-Off. The rules were simple. Create a 8-15 song mix tape that represented winter to you, whether it was through lyrical content, song vibe, or title. Each mix would be voted on by the readers of this blog and the person who received the least votes would have to write and record an original song about winter. (Yikes!!) So here we go.
Kevin: Mix For a Winter's Night
To choose a song for a winter mix, one would need to have either "winter" in song title, lyrical content and/or over-all wintery sound & feel. For the most part, I tried to hit all three criteria for every song - this is a competition after all. Yes, it might be cheap to throw on the Christmasiest Christmas song ever (Vince Guaraldi), but there's so little Christmas themed music that doesn't fully cause one to cringe in pain but rather evoke joy and legitimately the feeling of winter. With regards to the Canadianess of the mix, I suppose that truly few countries have any real understanding of winter and therefore would be unable to evoke that sentiment in song, and thus this mix is made up nearly entirely of Canucks - two of which are recorded by close Albertan friends (Brady Funchner and Jason Warden aka First Punic War) - again, only an Albertan could truly set down winter (a real Albertan winter) in song. Some of these evoke certain memories of winter's past for me. I have a very distinct memory of driving to Fernie on a whim and ended up in total white-out conditions, rolling around mountain passes unable to see 5 feet ahead and blaring both the Rick White and the Unintended albums - those could very well be the coldest records ever put to tape, and hearing them conjures those memories above and send chills down my neck. Ideally this is a driving mix, to listen to while staring through little a little square hole scraped from the windshield, mitts grasping the wheel, and the heaters on defrost full-blast.
Let's all be glad the winter is here.
ps. As if writing a winter song could ever be punishment, I recorded my winter song regardless and included it. I didn't want to be the victor and yet still lose, to not have the chance to set one down.
pps. - the songs also organized in what I felt was the narrative flow of the songs, beginning now in November and ending towards Christmas. ;)
Aaron: J'aime l'hiver
Unsilent Storms in the North Abyss - Immortal
No true winter mix is complete without kicking it off with some evil black metal. Immortal is one of those bands that I’m borderline obsessed with because I find them so funny, but also so incredibly appropriate for winter jams. Go for a drive on some prairie grid roads in -50 weather blasting this shit and fantasize about building snowmen with human heads.
First Day of Winter - Screechin Weasel
An unwritten rule for mixes: The first track has to be a banger. The second track has to be equally as pumping. And nothing gets me more stoked on life than Ramones rip-off music. Fun fact: Ben Weasel has written a “First Day of...” song for every season.
Jesus Christ - Big Star
Take lyrics from any church hymnal and they won’t be nearly as glorious as this 1974 ode to the Son of God. R.I.P. Alex Chilton.
Long Cold Lonely Night - The Yolks
Uppity garage rock which will put a skip in your step as you’re walking home from the bus stop, only to make you realize you’re trudging to an empty house to sit in the dark and drink hot chocolate by yourself.
Snowsuit Sound - Sloan
Memories are precious and I sure hope everyone has at least a few of being bundled up by their mother and sent out to into a winter’s afternoon full of hope and adventure. How does one even begin to describe that “snowsuit sound”?
Homo Christmas - Pansy Division
My favourite Christmas track. Bask in the FABULOUS irreverence of this gem.
The Snow Road - The Fjords
Slowing it down a bit with this incredible stoner-blues jam from Saskatoon’s The Fjords. This band is extremely underrated and should have toured more.
November - Christie Front Drive
Picking it up a bit with a song that takes me back to cute memories like holding hands on winter walks with a girlfriend. Also takes me back to other less cute memories...like weird winter break ups.
The Winter Wheel - Art Bears
70’s avant-garde always seems to rudely interrupt any flow a mix might have, which is hilarious to me. The lyrics to this song make me think of my grandparents’ farm and how excited I was at the prospect of so much snow in such a wide open space!
Snowed In - Joel Plaskett Emergency
Out of Plaskett’s massive collection of songs, this is the closest to what Thrush Hermit would have sounded like had they stayed together. Some of the best mornings I’ve had are finding out that the university is closed because of snow. PARTY TIME!
Andrew: Winter Sucks...Sort Of
I wanted my mix to represent my love/hate relationship with winter. Growing up in Alberta puts you against some pretty extreme weather...at times it's beautiful, at other times it makes you want to curl up and die. This is a musical timeline of winter for me.
It's Going To Be A Cold Winter - Ceremony
This song is like hearing the weatherperson say the forecast calls for snow. It's how I feel when I have to clean up the dog shit in the yard, put away my bike, and hang up my beat up hole riddled vans in preparation for the long cold winter that is coming.
Snow Falls In November - Julie Doiron (OH NO! We were bound to have at least one repeat)
Despite the initial rage I feel towards the season, the first snowfall is beautiful and you can't help but feel a bit in love with everything that morning you wake up and see the world covered up.
Make This A Holiday - Small Brown Bike
The great thing about winter in Edmonton is everyone goes into slight hibernation and makes beautiful music. You see your friends at basement shows and hall shows and everything is awesome. This is a song about winter friends. (Thanks Mark!)
Winter Wonderland - Cap'n Jazz
Christmas is coming! The most terrifying/weird/hilarious Christmas song ever recorded. Had to be included.
Tyco Racing Set And A Christmas Story Fifteen Times - Kind of Like Spitting
A great song about how INSANSE Christmas can make me feel. Too many people, too many family dinners, just pure craziness for a solid week. (My family really isn't nearly as bad as the one in this song is made out to be)
Merry Boxing Day - The Rocky Fortune
Boxing Day deserves it's own carol too.
New Year's Day - Waxwing
Good cover by Waxwing. Maybe not that lyrically appropriate, but still a great wintery jam and season specific.
She Has A Cold, Cold Heart - Orchid
This song makes me feel like I'm being buried alive. The weird muffled piano, the strange noise at the end...it's just awesome.
Nuclear Winter Wonderland - In/Humanity
Yeah...at this point I'm pretty tired of winter. Getting a little pissed.
Out for Blood - YDI
Fuck this season. When is summer coming?
The Longest Winter - Pedro The Lion
At peace with it. Winter's long, but I'll survive. Also, is it really a mix without a Pedro The Lion track?
So there you have the 3 mixes. Let us know your favorite by commenting. We'll announce a winner in a few weeks.