The Mixtape Project 006. “Mixtape #1″ with Talia Miller of The Brixton Agency
This is The Mixtape Project. The goal of this project is simple, ask the people responsible for creating, facilitating, or just overall being involved with the music we love to share the music they love. This month, we’re talking to one one of the secret backbones that helps keep the website afloat, Talia Miller of The Brixton Agency.
There’s always been something undeniably stressful about making a mixtape for me. Not only is it a very personal endeavor where I worry about being judged (not punk enough! too serious!) but there’s also the fear of realizing too late the songs you’ve forgotten to include. Which may be why I procrastinated and agonized over this for the past several weeks. But here it is! Twelve tracks that I think represent my musical tastes and influences, with a special focus on what I’ve been listening to over the past few years and a few old school ones thrown in for good luck.
I’m not quite sure what the common thread between these tracks is – some of them, like Waxahatchee’s “Bathtub”, Solange’s “Losing You” or Sharon Van Etten’s “Every Time the Sun Comes Up” have lyrics that I felt a strong connection with the first time I heard them, that resonated with the point I was at in my life. PJ Harvey’s “Man-Size (Sextet)” blew my mind the first time my 14 year-old self heard it. The way she entirely deconstructs her own song, adds strings, strips it down and it still just resonates in a wild, primal way. The sheer power of it still bowls me over to this day, the way she builds tension midway through gives me chills.
There are other tracks on here that kind of go together in my brain – like Priests and Team Dresch. Team Dresch is probably the most under-appreciated punk band associated with the riot grrrl scene. All the women in that band are such complete badasses! In addition to being excellent musicians they ran record labels and put out zines and even brought a self-defense instructor on tour with them to teach women how to defend themselves before performances! It blows my mind that they aren’t celebrated in the music press like Bikini Kill or Sleater-Kinney. Since riot grrrl is still my first musical love, it’s not surprising that Priests hold such a special place in my heart since they were so clearly influenced by riot grrrl and have a fierce DIY ethic. The first time I heard them it felt like someone had looked inside my head and created a band specifically for me. Feminist, socially conscious, outspoken and smart as hell, they make me want to be more critical, more thoughtful and just better every time I listen to them. I don’t know if we deserve a band this awesome but we sure need one who isn’t afraid to speak the truth like they do.
I think every mix should end with Joyce Manor’s “Constant Headache”. It’s the sort of song that leaves you satisfied but wanting more in just the right way. It’s one of those tracks I’ve gone back to and listened to on repeat many times over the years. Similarly, Stan Getz’ “Desfinado” (which certainly stands out on the mix) is a song that I can listen to on repeat as well. It has such a soothing effect whenever I feel overwhelmed, the musical equivalent to sleeping in and laying around in bed on a lazy Sunday. The Marked Men, who start my mix off, are definitely the exact opposite of that, but they’re a band that gives me such incredible energy that there was no other way to start things!