We set the clocks back an hour on Sunday. When I was younger that felt like getting an extra hour of sleep. As I get older, I still wake up at the same “time” on Sunday morning, meaning I’m actually up an hour earlier than normal and end up staying awake for an extra hour. It also means that my 2.5 hour round-trip commute happens entirely in the dark due to the 11 hour days I’m putting in on a project. And as icing on the winter cake, this morning I walked outside to get into my ride at 5:30AM only to realize that for the first time this winter I needed to scrape the ice off my car windows. It’s a glamorous life I lead, my friends.
Mrs. Life in the Vinyl Lane has been out of town this week for work, so it’s been just me and the Pup in the Vinyl Lane holding down the fort. It also means I don’t eat as well and often can’t muster enough momentum to actually do anything worthwhile. By time I was done with dinner and various odds and ends tonight I found myself with about an hour until I should hit the sack. The smart play would be to read for a bit and then go to bed early… but frankly I’m going to be just as tired at work tomorrow by lunch time whether I do it or not, so I figured screw it, I’m putting on some jams.
Calvin Johnson of K Records fame put out a whole series of homemade mix tapes a while back, and a local shop ended up getting a bunch of them in as apparently they’re being made again. Calvin is all over the place with this stuff – hip hop, new wave, funk, gospel, girl bands, reggae, you name it. Last weekend I grabbed about a half dozen of them. I wasn’t planning on writing about ’em, but what the hell; I’m hanging out on the sofa playing Get Into The Mix – Hip Hop / Dance / Electro 1979-’84 while the Thursday night NFL game passes me by silently on the TV, so I may as well rock the laptop keyboard too.
This is the third of Johnson’s tapes I’ve played, and I’ve enjoyed them all. You can tell most if not all these songs were played on vinyl – the music comes with all the requisite pops and clicks. The packaging is strictly handmade – stickers with handwritten labels on the cassettes, the J cards clearly printed onto paper and cut roughly to size. Exactly what you’d expect from a proper mix tape. The jams are well-curated, and I have to confess that I don’t think I’ve heard of any of these artists – Eartha Kitt, Dimples D, DJ Devine… no clue who they are, but I’m digging this early 1980s electro hip hop. It’s literally brightening my mood despite the fact it’s pitch black outside (the white icicle Christmas lights along the wall, which we keep up year-round, are also helping). Hell, I might even muster up enough energy to go pour myself a cocktail.
I have no clue if these things are licensed or what, but they exist, so if you can find ’em, they’re definitely worth snagging. Allegedly there are over 30 different tapes out there, and I’ve seen them going for anywhere from $8-15. There’s enough music on each one to make them well worth the price.