August 8, 2012

Mixtape Wars

Endless Summer: Sarrano vs. Morales

Javier Morales and Thayer Sarrano

It's right around this time, the front end of August, when it starts to feel like summer is truly without end. The sweltering humidity, the swarms of vampiric insects and the 18-odd hours of blistering sunlight per day—to get my Movie Dope on, it's as agonizing as Batman & Robin and as interminable as The English Patient.

Respite comes, as it often does, in the form of music. For local musicians Javier Morales—who plucks the bass in Grass Giraffes and also gets his kicks playing deconstructed pop with The Dream Scene—and Thayer Sarrano, whose warm, vaporous Lift Your Eyes to the Hills stands as one of the finest Athens rock records of the first half of 2012—music is not only a way to deal with the heat, but a reason to embrace the season.

The songs these two artists chose for their respective mixtapes are shimmering and dilapidated, raucous and sweet. Morales' predilection for busted synth melodies and anti-pop experimentation stands distinctly at odds with Sarrano's classic-rock tendencies, yet somehow the two playlists work well together, two sides of the same heat-warped coin. Read, listen and melt away. Fall will be here before we know it.

Thayer Sarrano's Mixtape

1. "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses

Why Thayer Sarrano picked this track: The beginning of summers in the South is a scary time for me, due to my phobia of an insect not to be mentioned… So, this one seemed like the most appropriate opener for my summer mixtape.

Javier Morales' reaction: Summer, safari-style. Mosquito-net stockings under some ripped jeans.

2. "When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin

TS: Wouldn't be summer without crazy storms, floods, hurricanes, Led Zeppelin, etc.

JM: Bonzo making waves. Aqua fudge.

3. "Shooting Star" by Bob Dylan

TS: I'd listen to this song on a blanket in the yard on a nice summer night. Or doing anything, anytime, any season, actually.

JM: Shimmerin’ Zimmerman. Bobby yearnin’ up on re-entry.

4. "A Hundred and Ten in the Shade" by John Fogerty

TS: Literal interpretation of theme.

JM: Sweaty shadows where the dobro grows.

5. "Weightless" by Brian Eno

TS: I love this whole record, and Daniel Lanois' pedal steel really shines on this track. Makes me want to take a long summer drive, or nap.

JM: Water wings as far as the eye can see.

6. "Home for the Summer" by Eddie Hinton

TS: This song makes me like summer. And it's also for you, Javier, because coincidentally, we share our first home of Jesup, GA.

JM: Home for summer would be hotter, but flatter for my auto-less odysseys. Cherry Street struttin’.

7. "Call Me the Breeze" by Lynyrd Skynyrd

TS: Yes!

JM: Florida biker bar barometric tomfoolery.

8. "Under the Boardwalk" by The Drifters

TS: Obvious and awesome. This is also one that reminds me of summer nights as a kid with my parents and their friends: they'd let me call in requests to “Oldies 98.3 Savannah” on their portable phone that [worked] all the way out at their swimming pool.

JM: Leiber and Stoller before they went all Brecht and Weill. Shemale mermaids on the castanets.

9. "Some Summers They Drop Like Flys" by Dirty Three

TS: I hear this one as a kinda nostalgic, end-of-summer song. Also, I like the way Warren Ellis' violin parts mimic the pesky flies that bombard us in summer.

JM: Séance by citronella candlelight.

10. "Country Home" by Neil Young

TS: I've been listening to this perfect record again this summer, and this has become my theme song. I'm so grateful for where I live, and am fully enjoying summer out at my house this year.

JM: Thayer’s got a real nice place out in the country. Frodo-style digs.

Javier Morales' Mixtape

1. "Lemme Take You to the Beach" by Frank Zappa

Why Javier Morales picked this track: Yes!

Thayer Sarrano's reaction: A giant bird just smashed into my window while I was listening to this.

2. "Sunrain" by Ashra

JM: K.I.T.T. rolling through a sunshower. No Michael. No voiceover.

TS: I like this hypnotic, afternoon-nap-with-sunshine, spaced-out-daytime-driving adventure.

3. "Summer Breeze" by The Isley Brothers

JM: Nosin’ on some screen door thinking about a Summer’s Eve commercial. Wishing for some sprinkler splash.

TS: I love this song. I had it on my mix originally, as well.

4. "Firecracker" by Yellow Magic Orchestra

JM: Fourth of July in Jason’s room.

TS: This is the song that plays every time Javier walks into a room.

5. "Refill" by Elle Varner

JM: C.I.G.A.R.? Diet Cherry Pepsi, please.

TS: I think this song has too many calories.

6. "Isi" by Neu!

JM: Hiding out in a darkened dorm room with endless air conditioning.

TS: I do not know what time it is, but we are going swimming.

7. "Tug of Love" by Dennis Wilson

JM: Venice Beach at sunset with some screwdriver stains on these white shorts.

TS: I can see that.

8. "The Eighth Wave" by Suzanne Ciani

JM: Tripping out on all that blue blah blah blah.

TS: Hot yoga, electrolytes, the beach.

9. "Graceland Played All at Once" by Paul Simon

JM: Riding through St. Simons in an invisible Jeep on an imaginary July morning.

TS: The humidity does this to me, too.

10. "Is the Summer Really Over?" by Chris Rainbow

JM: No.

TS: I can't wait! I dream about fall. It's my favorite time of year, when summer is FINALLY over.