Midnite Mixtape Massacre - Mark Gurarie - Galapagos Now! Print E-mail
Written by Mark Gurarie   
Sunday, 17 February 2013 04:00



Mark Gurarie, bassist with Brooklyn outfit Galapagos Now!, is the latest victim of Uber Rock's Midnite Mixtape Massacre. With a new album due in the near future the band plan a return to the UK, but not before Mark has selected for us his ultimate thirteen track mixtape...and apologised for including Radiohead......


1.) 'Moonage Daydream' - David Bowie (from the album 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars')


1. The arrangements, harmonic and structural, the song starts out hard hitting, but then tucks back into its own folds.


2. Bowie, lyrically, isn’t afraid of the old cut up method, a little linguistic fun in shoulder pads.


3. The cascading oohs and aahs in the chorus draw lunarscapes in eye-liner. Freak out. Far out.


4. Mick Ronson’s solo, the daydream that slices into the paisley fabric.


5. Bowie is, of course, punk’s painted old uncle, and  shall remain in the pantheon. Amen.

2.) 'Speed X Distance = Time' - Blonde Redhead (from the album 'In an Expression of the Inexpressible')


1. To the fourteen year old boy longing to escape his shitty Midwestern American town, Blonde Redhead, like Sonic Youth, charmed with this disaffected cool to its sound: these wonderful, sometimes fractured sound-scapes.


2. It is true that their take on art pop is imitated but never quite replicated.


3. Kazu Makino’s vocals tend to truly be in conversation with the drums.


4. The best selling album in 1998, the year this album was released, was the Titanic soundtrack, and the Spice Girls were the biggest selling ticket.


5. This, in contrast, seems an appropriate answer to the vapid bullshit of its time.

3.) 'Kill the Poor' - The Dead Kennedys (from the album 'Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables')


1. The DK’s are totally pulling a kind of J.S.M. - a Jonathan Swift Move - and in doing so are ironically appropriating the crude, the brutal, the absurd, by which I mean Punk capital P.


2. Whatever the hell California/America was like in 1980.


3. Think of New York City in the present day, or at least its wealthier sections: sanitized and heavily patrolled playgrounds, no loitering without spending, the bathroom  in the Starbucks location is locked.


4. Intended and unintended side-effects of this song: sweating, indignation, slight nausea coupled with sudden euphoria, latent desire to swing things at other things and/or put your cigarette out on a Neutron Bomb.


4.) 'Sugar Cane' - Sonic Youth (from the album 'Dirty')


1. Maybe the ‘best’ Sonic Youth song is the one you are writing.


2. A Sonic Youth song that is “perfect in a way.”


3. Guitars humming like goddamn space honey bees, crackles in the comb.


4. The difficulties resolving in a drone, the orderly runs become chaos. This shows of course, great cunning and control.


5.Thurston Moore goes to poetry readings in Brooklyn, towering over the hype surrounding while remaining entirely approachable.


6. The way the repetition of “I love you Sugar Kane” returns at the very end after a short trip to outerspace, or inside of a factory abandoned, or like the inner workings of a cherry red rotary phone.


5.) 'Wild Dogs' - Giant Peach (from the 'Callous and Strange' 7 inch)


1. In Brooklyn the roof is a holy place, a temple of contemplation; if and when Giant Peach is playing on a roof, consider me the dude with the ears on in the back.


2. This song is called 'Wild Dogs'. The extent to which this is a gutsy, kind of funny, kind of amazing move cannot be understated.


3. There is something stately and smart about the dueling guitars as they pounce, also, the kind of call and response of the vocals.


4. The sheer musicianship on display, intricate yet somehow still heart rate increasing arrangements.


5. Live they are completely unstoppable, a force of freaking nature and we are lucky to have them.


6.) 'Pale Blue Eyes' - The Velvet Underground (from the self-titled album)


1. It is best not to forget that to the Velvet Underground, you are in '60s New York, even though this is no longer possible.


2. Abstracted, minimal, existentialism rendered in affectations: “as strange as what I see/ I put you in the mirror/ I put in front of me.”


3. The guitar tone and the ever relevant question: What would John Cale do?


4. A celebration of that which is fleeting, that will become memory. Or perhaps a lament (see 2.).


5. “Isn’t life just a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?” – Andy Warhol    



7.) 'Working Class Hero' - John Lennon (from the album 'John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band')


1. We are trapped, and John Lennon  knows it, needing nothing more than his guitar to tell us.


2. Let’s forget the mop tops, the psychedelia, his boyhood: “you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.”


3. The barbed wire and batons, the dull glow of the TV, where you keep your dope with religion. Yes, a song can be an act of class war.


4. We have all smiled as we have killed.


5. We want to be heroes, and we will just follow.


8.) 'Sunny Afternoon' - The Kinks (from the album 'Face To Face')


1. Sometimes, it is best to do nothing, Davies seems to be telling us, even if everyone needs saving.    


2. The stately descending bass and keyboard scale that brings us back home.


3. The Kinks were barred from  touring the USA because they got into a stage fight, a distinction that did not land on the Rolling Stones.


4. So basically without the Kinks you do not have the initial class of punk bands. Whether or not this is a good thing depends, but regardless there will always be room for a well dressed musician with a sneer.


9.) 'Someone Is Waiting' - David Shane Smith (from....errr...here http://soundcloud.com/davidshanesmith/sets/snake-v-owl/)  


1. Let’s forget genre for a moment, what we have here is bizarre and wonderful and strange and unsettling.


2. We’ve never asked David how he might describe his music (“what do you guys sound like?” is of course to very many an extremely annoying question), and it is better this way.


3. Where so many aspire to draw in an audience, to appeal to them, to give them what they want in a package that they recognize and can easily categorize, David Shane Smith, it seems, prefers to mystify and confuse and delight.


4. This is the hallmark of a true art and a true artist.


5. One tall, gangly man with his many robots: a painter whose toolkit is electronic.


10.) 'Clap Hands' - Tom Waits (from the album 'Rain Dogs')


1. For every schlocky and pointless piece of pop trash, there is a rusty underbelly, there is a truth rising like steam from a broken radiator in a divey tenement apartment. It’s name is often Tom Waits.


2. Tom Waits is probably the only musician who, having made a name for himself in the '70s, actually got better in the '80s. Even his latest album, 'Bad As Me', released in 2011, is just as relevant as anything he’s ever done.


3. This is not the case for so many: the '80s swallowed up David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, you name it while cringing or wincing.  


4. The combination of strange percussion which sounds like tapping on pipes, the lingering, austere upright bass notes, the acoustic guitar, a broken fan inside.


5. It’s a machine he’s built to tell the story: “hanging out the window with a bottle full of rain/ clap hands, clap hands.”


11.) 'I’ve Been Loving You Too Long' - Otis Redding (from the album 'Otis Redding Sings Soul')


1. There will always be room for a beautiful lament, for a man with a gorgeous set of pipes who can, with a smile, cry for you.


2. As much as he may be singing about a lover, Otis Redding may well be singing about America, itself.


3. The horns become threatening waves, pangs of a bittersweet, a tragic and wonderful circumstance. This dynamic, restraint and control versus passion, underlies some of Redding’s most powerful work.


4. Upon careful listening, your knees may grow weak, you may find yourself melancholy, you may pull your lover closer, you may push him/her away, you may sway, you may sway.


12.) 'Jesus Met the Women at the Well' - Dave Van Ronk (from the album 'Sunday Street')


1. Dave Van Ronk held dominion over the New York folk scene in the '60s, teaching Bob Dylan how to play 'House of the Rising Sun', and then watching the young Minnesotan rise to define a generation.


2. How to sound like you are a three hundred year old miner, a prospector, or a share-cropper from the backwoods of Appalachia while living in and defining the Village? Ask Van Ronk.


3. A singular, kind of frightening vocal delivery, even his sniffing has a menacing quality. The spikiest haired punk poser would claw his eye-lined eyes out for that kind of effect.


4. This is a traditional tune, and as much as Van Ronk makes it his own, you can also hear, somehow, that it’s been sung many a time.


5. Reinvention, then, is the most sincere form of flattery.   


13.) 'Paranoid Android' - Radiohead (from the album 'Ok Computer')


1. Greenwood’s guitar lines become a commentary, an answer to the fact that “your opinion is of no consequence,” like the robot voice it precedes, a counterpoint to the layers and spaces.


2. Which is to say “when I am king, you will be first against the wall.”


3. Yes, you, headphone jockey against the walls of sound.


4. “From a great height,” in the breakdown, like a leaf or plastic bag or like some detritus drifting down, the playback a slowly descending, “God loves his children” Yorke screams.


5. And by the time everything kicks in again you simultaneously forget and remember everything you’ve ever heard about Radiohead.