[mix tape] Thrillist LA Editor Likes Jam Bands!

June 24, 2009


I haven’t been much of a betting man ever since my first trip to a casino where I ran up against a table full of unemployed hold ‘em enthusiasts who played to pay the bills, but even I’d find it hard not to wager that Jeff Miller made quick work of this mix tape.

After all, his job as editor of L.A.’s Thrillist.com involves making recommendations every day.  For those of you who don’t know, Thrillist.com is a daily e-mail and online magazine aimed specifically at guys.  The publication maintains its local focus by creating twelve metropolitan-specific editions in addition to its national – best of the web – edition.  Again, Jeff is at the helm in the City of Angels.

Plus, Jeff began his career as a music journalist writing freelance reviews and in-depth artist profiles for Variety, the LA Times, and Relix. When he’s not publishing new or relatively unknown facets of LA’s landscape for Thrillist.com, he continues to write music articles/reviews for various other outlets. Talk about an expert.

And not just the douche-kind of music expert who can answer – er, write – trivia questions.  (Ever play Shout about Music?”)

Not the kind of expert who has unfounded opinions either.

Though I imagine taste-making and knowledge-sharing take up a decent chunk of Jeff’s time, somehow he still manages to play in the LA-based band City Museum.  If you’re in the area, stop by City Museum‘s upcoming gig (with Jake Busey!) at King King on July 2 and/or their annual CityFestockaroo MuseumAchellaPalooza (Man) festival over Labor Day weekend.  (You can also buy their EP from Amazon.)

Jeff spends a ton of time in his car, so for his nonpretentious mix tape, he decided to give us 12 songs that make him want to roll his window down and sing to his neighbor on the 405.

Perfect for summer.  Listen up.

1. Henry Clay People, “Working Part Time”

This sibling-led band’s my favorite local club band, though they’re on the way up right now — they’re playing Lollapalooza later this summer, and are constant tourmates of The Airborne Toxic Event. My friend Kevin Bronson, who runs BuzzBands.LA, describes them as “Pavement Meets Petty,” and he couldn’t be more accurate; they’ve got the countrified soul of Tom and the f-em-all attitude of Steve Malkmus.

2. MGMT, “Time To Pretend”

I feel stupid for even thinking about this song — it ruins my best-new-music kinda indie cred — but what the hell. I love it, no matter how ubiquitous it may be. The only problem with it is that every time I hear it I think about quitting life, heading to the hills, and becoming a hermit, ’cause I’m never going to write a song that good.

3. Jurassic 5, “Concrete Schoolyard”

I grew up in LA and when I was young I was something of a hip-hop head; this song’s got all the elements that made west coast the best coast, back in the day.

4. Cold War Kids, “Hang Me Up To Dry”

Before they broke, I’d go see the Cold War Kids at the Echo or Spaceland. I’m a big guy, and their shirts only were available in small or medium. Eventually, I got upset, and made my own shirt: “Cold War Kids Don’t Make Shirts In My Size.” The guys loved it, and eventually a picture of it ended up on one of their European tour fliers.

5. Wilco, “Heavy Metal Drummer”

Wilco are my favorite band on earth, bar none. I just saw them in Pomona and am planning on seeing them at least three more times this summer. This song captures the feeling of rock-band innocence better than any other I can think of.

6. Portugal. The Man., “People Say” (N/A on iTunes)

This one’s a cheat; I’ve never actually listened to it zipping around in my car. Just saw them at Bonnaroo, though, and to say my mind was blown would be an understatement; they take the proggy aspects of The Mars Volta and take away Cedric’s sometimes-annoying yelp to make it more accessible. Fantastic.

7. Louden Swain, “Rock Song”

OK, this whole tape is ending up being just a bunch of shout-outs to my friend’s bands. So what? This is 4:22 of power-pop perfection.

8. moe., “Plane Crash”

I’ve tried to hide the fact that I’m a jam-band guy (as well as a punk-rock guy, and an indie guy) for far too long, but now that I’m bearded, its much harder. So screw it: this song wails, and live it can go on for 20 or more guitar-helixing minutes.

9. Green Day, “She”

“American Idiot” and “21st Century Breakdown” have gotten all the attention recently, but it’s easy to forget how classic (and consistent) “Dookie” actually is, too: I could have picked any song off that record, and it would be equally applicable.

10. Ben Lee, “Catch My Disease”

So dumb. So clapalongable. So perfect.

11. Steel Train, “Alone On The Sea”

I spent 10 days on the road with this New Jersey band for a story many years ago, and I broke the cardinal rule of rock journalism: I became friends with the rock stars. If Henry Clay People are Petty Meet Pavement, they’re Petty meets Arcade Fire — broad and rootsy, reaching for the stars and for deeper meaning at the same time. This song somehow manages to reference the loneliness of coming home from tour, the devastation of 9/11, and the passing of time while still feeling imminently hopeful.

12. City Museum, “Telephone”

What kind of shameless self-promoter would I be if I didn’t name-check my own band? This song sounds like the Foo Fighters, and takes their place on this list, so instead of it you can swap in just about anything from “One By One” or “The Color and the Shape” and it’ll work.


http://nonpretentious.com publishes mix tapes every Wednesday in its [mix tapes] column. Our goal is to create a digital version of trading mixes, sharing music, etc. AND also publicize the work of “common people” (i.e. not superstar celebs but celebs nonetheless) who are doing cool things around the globe.

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3 Responses to “ [mix tape] Thrillist LA Editor Likes Jam Bands! ”

  1. Michael on June 26, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Hey, have you seen this news article?
    New details about Michael Jackson’s Death Emerge
    I was wondering if you were going to blog about this…

  2. Buy Backlinks on December 15, 2010 at 5:54 am

    Neat blog layout! Very easy on the eyes.. i like the colors you picked out

  3. Kurtis Minniti on February 16, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Lol,I admire Michael Jackson! He was the best to ever sing! We will never have someone like Michael Jackson! Rest in Peace to the GREATEST!

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