Old-Ass Mixtape Reviews, Volume 2: Late 90s Mix (Save): Side A

Welcome! Today I’m gonna I listen to an old mixtape for the first time in a long time, and I’m gonna write while I do it, just to make myself write. We’ll see what happens. I did this once before, and I don’t know if anyone else really saw it, but it was a fun exercise, so I decided to do it again, because I have a lot of shit rattling around in my think hole.

For Volume 1, I pressed play and wrote while the tape was playing, ostensibly to write a real-time “first listen”-type review, but also to just force myself to write for a set period of time. I kinda did that this time, but I also kinda didn’t. More “overdubs” this time, you might say.

Late 90s Mix (Save) is a 90-minute cassette, and frankly, I don’t have time to cover the whole thing right now. Instead you’ll get Side A, and you’ll like it. You should consider yourself lucky to get 45 minute’s-worth of recorded content. When I was your age we had to put tape over the holes on old Foreigner tapes or whatever and record over them, and we were happy to have 45 minutes of recording space for an entire tape.

Here’s a link to Volume 1, if you missed it, or just wanna re-live the magic.

Late 90s Mix (Save) hasn’t been around nearly as long as Beloved Songs, and as such, I believe most of the source material was recorded from compact disc. Plus it entered my life as an actual blank tape made for recording from compact discs. This is the real deal: Memorex CD2 90. We’re talking Type II High Bias, High Output, Wide Dynamic Range, baby! This is the kind of tape that has a spot on the label to indicate whether or not you turned on the Dolby Noise Reduction before you hit “REC” (it would seem I did not), whereas Beloved Songs was recorded onto a 10-year-old Bob Seger tape or something.

What I’m saying is that I suspect it’ll be much easier to listen to than the first one, but who knows? Anything can happen in this thrilling world of zero-stakes, esoteric personal blogging. You’ll just have to strap yourself in for the ride and find out along with me.

Actual footage of us finding out together.

Without further ado…

Side A

  1. Kickin things off with “7 Words” by Deftones. I’m into this, but so far, the sound is real in-n-out. Better than Beloved Songs, but let’s see how good you sound after you’re recorded over an old Bon Jovi tape or some shit. This song spoke directly to my angst in the mid-to-late 90s, and I still dig it, but where early Deftones is concerned, “Bored” is more my style these days. Lots of background noise afterward. If only I’d used that Dolby Noise Reduction.

2. Oh, shit, it’s “Collapse” by Brutal Truth! This song will surely have a place on the Official Soundtrack to the End Times. If you need convincing, listen to the song while ruminating on the fact that we are, in fact, living in the End Times. Not like in the Bible and shit, but for real. I’ve written about Brutal Truth some before. Some of it can be found on my other, even less-frequently-updated blog, but the rest is in notebooks that you’ll likely never see.

3. I suspected there might be another BT song, and then I got smacked upside the head by “Media Blitz”. This was my introduction to the caustic vocals of Mike IX Williams of Eyehategod (his is the voice you can kind of understand), and although I didn’t think much about it at the time, it was also my introduction to The Germs.

Here’s a blog-exclusive bonus track (!) – the original version of “Media Blitz”:

4. “Sunless Saturday” by Fishbone! I like Fishbone a lot, but not as much as I feel like I should like them. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it makes sense to me. I think I maybe saw them perform this on Saturday Night Live, but that might be some crazed fever dream. Or maybe it was on Letterman or something. At any rate, “Sunless Saturday” fuckin rips. This one brings back memories of a mostly-miserable summer in my late teens that had a few real bright spots. This song was one of those bright spots.

5. “Police Truck” by the Dead Kennedys. Holy smokes, that guitar! I don’t really know what else to say, other than that I’ll be surprised if “Too Drunk to Fuck” isn’t next. I used to always play those two back-to-back.

6. There it is. Do I know Late 90s Joel or what? “Too Drunk to Fuck”. I once sat (slumped, really) drunk behind a futon at a guy’s house and sang this chorus over and over again. It was sad, but it was also almost certainly true, and now I find it pretty funny. I also woke up the next morning while everyone else was still asleep and ate some Hamburger Helper that had been sitting out on the stove (at least) overnight, then threw up approximately 85% my soul about 30 minutes later. I haven’t drank peach schnapps since, and I tend to have better judgement in general.

7. One thing I absolutely did not expect to hear on this excursion was “Raise Hell” by Anthrax. This song is from their Armed and Dangerous EP, which was their first release with then-new vocalist Joey Belladonna. It seems odd that I included it here. While I love Anthrax, it’s never been a favorite of mine. It’s not bad, and I surely dig the gang vocals in the chorus, but the chorus is also goofy as shit, and rhymes “fire” with “desire”, which is not automatically a bad thing, but which is certainly not a desirable feature of an Anthrax song.

8. What a strange and wodnerful age we’re living in, when a man can play an old-ass mixtape that goes from Anthrax circa 1985 straight into “Someday I Suppose” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I definitely first became aware of this band from Clueless, which I saw three times in the theater. I still like Clueless a lot, but I most definitely had a thing for Alicia Silverstone back then. I even paid to watch Batman and Robin in the theater (more than once) just to see her on the big screen. Okay, I also saw it three times. You did dumb shit when you were a teenager, too. At least I can admit my mistake.

9. More Bosstones. I’m not surprised, but I have to admit I wasn’t sure who this was until the vocals kicked in. “A Man Without”, which I’ll also admit I had look up based on the lyrics. I probably haven’t heard this song since the last time I listened to this mixtape. I used to be real into the Bosstones, but especially the album Don’t Know How to Party.

10. Holy mother of fuckballs, it’s “Killing Time” by Obituary! This tape may be the actual nexus point for my divergent musical tastes. It took me a while to really get into/appreciate death metal, but for whatever reason, 1992’s The End Complete by Obituary was one of the albums that grabbed me back then.

11. Motherfucking “Silo” by Only Living Witness! This band was just utterly phenomenal, and I wish theyd’ released more than two albums.

12. And now here’s “Slug”, also by Only Living Witness. Yegods, what an incredible album Prone Mortal Form is. The Decibel Hall of Fame entry on it is one of my favorites in that series.

13. Well sumbitch, it’s “When the Shit Hits the Fan” by Souls at Zero! I completely forgot about this, but it fuckin jams. These guys were solid, both as Souls at Zero and as Wrathchild America. Their drummer/vocalist Shannon Larkin went on to join Godsmack, and while they’re not my bag, he’s still a great drummer. This is a cover of the Circle Jerks, and the original is also pretty dope, and quite relevant to today’s turbulent times. They made an acoustic version for (and appeard briefly in) the movie Repo Man, starring the late, great Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez.

Here are the Circle Jerks’ versions…

That’s all I got for now, pals. I’ll be back someday (I suppose)(ha!) with the exciting follow-up. Until then, be excellent to each other.

One thought on “Old-Ass Mixtape Reviews, Volume 2: Late 90s Mix (Save): Side A

  1. Pingback: Old-Ass Mixtape Reviews, Volume 3: Late 90s Mix (Save)(Side B) | Clockwise Circle Pit

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