So, a little over a year ago, I discovered this magazine, Paste. I stumbled across it because it had Fiona Apple’s darling mug on the cover. As if that wasn’t enough it was also a “Best of ’05” issue, and it came with a free CD. Honestly, how could I pass that up?
I’ve been buying Paste ever since. Sadly, it’s near the bottom of the reading list. I also pick up Scratch, XXL and The Source every month, plus the occasional issue of Mass Appeal, Complex and Spin.
What’s even worse is that, until recently, I’d completely neglected the free CDs that came with the issues of Paste. But in fairness, I’m not really a fan of the compilation. An odd mix of artists, thrown on a CD as a sort of mixtape of “this month in cool” just seems a bit pretentious for me. I mean, it used to seem that way.
But given the lull music that I want to hear being released thus far this year, I’ve turned to those compilations and actually found some gems.
Basically what I do is I pick a disc (I’m already up to November 2006) and I listen to it, all the way through. Then I cull the tracks that I’m really feeling and put them together on a mix. Generally it takes two and a half Paste discs to get enough songs for an entire disc of songs that I digâ€”in terms of culling, I’m through August 2006.
But one thing that I don’t do is look at the track listing. I mean, if it’s obvious who the artist is (like someone I’m already into) they don’t make the cut. But I figure these compilations are about exposing artists, so I should judge them on the music, right?
Anyway, after I’ve fully digested a mix that I’ve made I go back and find out the song title and artist name. Sometimes it’s rewarding (“Wow, Neko Case does indeed rock”). Other times it’s surprising (“Interesting, I didn’t even know Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians had something new out”). But mostly it’s just artists that I’ve never heard of, like Wrinkle Neck Mules.
What kind of sucks is that now that I’ve been exposed to these artists, I really want to hear more, and at this point that would mean buying over 40 albums. Like I said, I’m only up to last August.
It’s kind of torturous knowing that (a) I can’t afford to buy all those albums, and (b) even if I could afford it, I don’t have enough time to really give those albums a thorough listen. I’d end up having to continue my New Year’s Resolution into next year with all of the albums that I neglected this year, creating a vicious cycle that would end with my dying a year behind on my music.
Still, those Paste picks are on my mental cluttered desk and there’s a chance they’ll graduate to “rainy day musical purchase.”