A human curated ten-song mixtape in your inbox.

Sunday, February 4, 2018 

Mixtape #104: Music Is Worth Living For

February 4th, 2018

Side A

1. Music Is Worth Living For by Andrew W.K.
2. Mighty Wings by Cheap Trick
3. Jump by Van Halen
4. The Touch by Stan Bush
5. Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf

Side B

6. Summer Of ‘69 by Bryan Adams
7. Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty
8. Dreams by Van Halen
9. Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through by Meat Loaf
10. God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You II by KISS

Spotify | YouTube

Liner notes

“The only way that I'll survive, music makes me want to stay alive…”

It’s finally over. January. A month that lasted for years. It got pretty dark there for a while. And through it all there was music. So let’s start February (and the first edition of Mixtape on our new platform, Substack) off on a positive note.

When Andrew W.K. released Music Is Worth Living For in January, I dropped the track straight into a playlist and started building a Mixtape around it. Not only is it a triumphant ode to the power of music, it’s also a banger. If I had to sell it to you, it’s “KISS meets Judas Priest, but everyone is on ecstasy.” Not only that, it captures much of what this newsletter is about: music as medication.

In the lowest spiral of depression, music is the one constant. That and sleep. I don’t always have the patience for books, and can’t always stomach a film or a tv show. But I can wrap myself in a duvet, pull my headphones around my ears, and drown out the doubts and fears with sound. When I feel that low, I usually seek out songs and bands and melodies I’ve loved. Songs that remind me of what it’s like to feel. Sometimes sad, sometimes uplifting, always affecting. In those times, music is a panic room that nobody – not even the relentless voices in my head – can break into.

My earliest love was ‘80s rock music. It went hand in hand with my earliest experiences of film, in the soundtracks from Top Gun, Bill & Ted, Dirty Dancing, The Goonies, The Lost Boys, Rocky VI, everything by John Hughes, and, yes, Transformers: The Movie (Stan Bush’s The Touch is what I want to be when I grow up – see Track 4).

In my teens (1996–2002, RIP), I got into a lot of music that was beyond me as a kid in the ‘80s, music I’d missed the first time around due to youth and parents. Most of the new old stuff I discovered washing dishes at a local restaurant. Me and the chef had similar tastes, and to stay on his (mr b)right side I’d bring in whatever I was listening to, recorded to cassette so we could play it on the old portable stereo. One of the bartenders had lent me some Van Halen, and that became a staple, as did Meat Loaf. Nothing gets you through a couple of hours of hot kitchen like a bit of Bat Out of Hell; two chefs, three waitresses and the dishwasher belting out the chorus while the manager stood, hands on hips, trying not to be impressed. I was 17 and living my best life, elbow deep in grease and dish soap, singing like a headliner at Donnington Park.

It was in that kitchen I learned how to endure heartbreak for the first time; with good friends, alcohol, leftover fries, and Meat Loaf’s Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through. I can still taste that broken heart every time the song plays, but damn if it doesn’t make me believe that love is worth it, pain and all. Just to say well shit, I tried. And that maybe, yes, she did leave, but as long as there is still music, there is hope.

There’s always something magic, there’s always something new, and when you really really need it the most, that’s when rock and roll dreams come through…

These are songs that I’ve belted out drunk, karaoke’d sober, cried to, loved to, and clung onto from the wilderness of January (and other depressions). Thank you, Andrew W.K., for giving me the excuse to collect them here. Welcome to February. We might yet make it out of winter, and when we do, our hearts will be filled with guitar solos, our fists pumping the air, our vocal chords shredded. Just the way it should be.

*

Mixtape is still a free newsletter once a month. From now on access to the weekly newsletter will be with a paid subscribtion. Subscriptions are just $5 a month, or $50 a year. You can subscribe here. Thank you kindly. Payments are made with Stripe, which is easy to use and secure. The first subscriber-only Mixtape will be going out next week. Until then, wrap up warm, rock out hard, and be excellent to each other x

– Dan Dalton
Twitter | Amazon

Sunday, January 28, 2018 

Mixtape #103: One Day You'll Find A Home – Redux

Chill indie pop

January 28th, 2018

Side A

1. Outside by TOPS
2. Swinging Party by Kindness
3. Real Thing by Lower Dens
4. Heavy Pop by WU LYF
5. Untitled by Interpol

Side B

6. Two of Us On The Run by Lucius
7. The Night We Met by Lord Huron
8. Dye The Water Green by Bibio
9. Return To by #1 Dads & Tom Snowdon
10. Comes In Waves by Psychologist 

Spotify | YouTube

Liner notes

This is a copy of the final Tinyletter playlist…

So, friends, we come to the end of the side. This is the last Tinyletter Mixtape I'm going to send out. After 103 editions over the last two years, this little newsletter has grown to over 1000 subscribers. But don't worry, I'm not abandoning you to a future of mix free Sundays. As of now, Mixtape is moving to a new home. Next Sunday I'll be sending out the first newsletter of the new era on a platform called Substack

Substack is a platform that supports creators by allowing you to charge subscriptions for newsletters. Again, don't worry, Mixtape will still exist for free, with a new playlist going out once a month to all subscribers. But if you want to, you can subscribe to get the regular weekly newsletter. Subscriptions are just $5 a month, or $50 a year. You can subscribe here. I think that represents a fair deal for both of us. You'll be helping to support the work I do, and I'll be continuing to make Mixtapes. 

Since I started Mixtape my circumstances have changed – I had a novel accepted for publication, quit my job, and went freelance – and it's time for this project to change too. I put a lot of hours into Mixtape each week. From selecting tracks, making artwork, and writing liner notes, it can be 10 or more hours a week, which has thus far been unpaid. As a starving artist, I need to prioritise paying work. Over the last few months I've come close to shuttering Mixtape altogether as it became hard to justify the work I was putting in. Then I got an email from Substack, inviting me to try their new platform. It was just the thing I was looking for.

I know not everyone will wish to subscribe, and some won't be able to afford to, which is why I'm keeping a free tier. I'm also going to expand the guest mixtapes, inviting more cool people to come and make playlists for you, and interviewing them in-depth about their choices, and the music they love. I will also be writing more detailed liner notes on my playlists. I will move over the subscriber list from Tinyletter to Substack, so you don't have to do anything if you want to keep receiving free Mixtapes. If you want to support this project and start a paid subscription, Substack uses Stripe for payments, which is very simple and secure. You can do that at anytime to start receiving weekly Mixtapes. Here's the link again. I hope you decide it's worth it.

So yes, it's the end of the side. It's time to turn the record over, drop the needle, and enjoy. There are plenty of tunes and good times yet to come. 

I have lots of fun new playlists lined up for you, but I wanted to go out with a classic. This week's Mixtape originally went out in May 2017, and it's one of my favourites. Here are the original liner notes:

Lets leave the city behind and build a future of wide open skies, of space and wonder, of the kind of quiet that is never silent, where the world is alive with a low-level hum: the wind in the leaves, soil crunching underfoot. The birds, the bees, your own breath. A world where the weight on your shoulders is just the weight of the pack on your back, water sloshing. A world where the only stress is on tired knees, where strangers and trees wave good morning. A world of tracks and trails and dinners cooked by torch light. Let's get out of the city, the noise, the smog. Let's go where all we need is boots and a map, and get lost for a while. Let's make a home where we fall. Let's fall often. Let's stop and rest and breathe in the world. It's a pretty thought. But it's not an impossible one. 

See you on the other side x

– Dan Dalton
Twitter | Amazon

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