Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And the winner of the sixth and final Holiday Mix-Off Series 2011 is...


Me and Hams, Record Store Day, 2011.
Allow me to explain: For those not privy to the inane minutia that comprises my life (and again I ask, "why not...?"), the Holiday Mix-Off Series (or, "H.M.S.") was an annual yuletide event that  Mark Hamilton (good friend, adopted brother and Best Man at my wedding) and I would engage our mastery of CD mix-making in, asking our friends to judge which mix was better. What started out as a simple and cost effective way to provide those we loved with handmade gifts eventually devolved (as most things between us do) into a contest of betters, with Mark taking the prize of bragging rights each and every year (admittedly, his knowledge, mastery and collection of fine music is quite impressive; he's a cunning opponent).

Six years into this contest and I had yet to win one. For the last  Holiday Mix-Off Series events, we instituted a ballot system; a self addressed and stamped postcard wherein all the voter needed to do was circle either Hamilton's name or mine in a series of five questions. Citing a lack of enthusiasm and feeling that our little contest elicited little to no interest or appreciation from those we selected to judge our compilation CDs (we only received five of the 20 ballots we sent out), Mark choose to "retire" after 2010's Mix-Off event, which he won by five points.

Ham's 2010 HMS collage cover.
After much cajoling, I was able to convince Mark to participate in one final Holiday Mix-Off Series. It should be said that in addition to his exemplary taste in music, Mark is also an accomplished collage artist, and the cover of his Holiday Mix-Off Series compilation was amazing. With this in mind, I decided to draw my own cover and make it semi-interactive: when you lift up the inner sleeve, the curtains on raise to reveal the tracklist (see below).

S.A.S.P.? Yes, it was that easy.
This time we would whittle our jury of peers down to 10 and make it clear on the ballot that they must be turned in by February 1, 2012. Of the 10 Holiday Mix-Off packets (Mark's mix, my mix and a self-addressed and stamped postcard ballot), we received four ballots back (plus another one submitted electronically), which, admittedly, is a much better average than last year.

So, it is with great pleasure that I am  able to declare-that after six years and no wins-that my Holiday Mix-Off CD compilation finally won. It is with a mix of gratitude and heartfelt elation that I am able to say, "In your face, Hams!"

Not that the battle wasn't hard-won. Here are our mixes:

Too Old To Die Young front cover.
Back cover w/ tracklist.

Too Old To Die Young by Mark Hamilton

  1. Campfire Talk I
  2. The Siddeleys "Are You Still Evil When You’re Sleeping"
  3. Girls at our Best! "I’m Beautiful Now"
  4. Television Personalities "The Glittering Prizes"
  5. The Clean "Tally Ho"
  6. My Teenage Stride "Creep Academy"
  7. The Mare "Sad"
  8. Burning Hearts "Lost My Colour Vision"
  9. The Cure "M"
10. The Wake "Plastic Flowers"
11. Brilliant Corners "Meet me on Tuesdays"
12. Reserve "Tender Young Believer"
13 Magnetic Fields "Meaningless"
14. Pulp "My Lighthouse"
15. Campfire Talk II
16. OMD "Souvenir"
17. Computer Magic "Found Out"
18. Care "Whatever Possessed You"
19. Washed Out "Feel it All Around"
20. Blood Orange "Bad Girls"
21. Young Galaxy "Cover Your Tracks"
22. TV Girl "On Land"
23. Endless Bob Brown "Take Your Time"
24. The Flatmates "Shimmer"
25. The Go-Betweens "Lee Remick"
26. The Sods "No Pictures of Us"
27. Wire "Dot Dash"
28. Adam Green "Cigarette Burns Forever"

Curtains front cover.
Tracklist (front cover open).
Curtains by Tony King

  1. Intro/Bare Wires “Seeking Love” 
  2. The Soundcarriers “There Only Once” 
  3. Black Tambourine “Lazy Heart”
  4. Lower Dens “Tea Lights” 
  5. Would-Be Goods “Emmanuelle Beart"
  6. Toro y Moi “Leave Everywhere”  
  7. Big Boss Man “C’est Moi”     
  8. Bandana Splits “Sometimes”  
  9. The Mantles “Raspberry Thighs”
10. The Fresh & Onlys “Garbage Collector”
11. The Go Find “Everyone Knows It’s Gonna Happen Only Not Tonight”
12. Intermission/The Halo Benders “Phantom Power”
13. Crayon Fields “All the Pleasures Of the World”
14. Gigi Feat. Kurt Blau “Strolling Past the Old Graveyard”
15. Colorama “Candy Street”
16. The Lucksmiths “The Golden Age Of Aviation”
17. Allo Darlin’ “Polaroid Song”
18. Golden Leaves “The Ornament”
19. Beach Fossils “What A Pleasure”
20. Dream Diary “Young Veronica”
21. Action! “Sandpiper”
22. Ducktails “Hamilton Road”
23. Outro/The Superimposers “Chasing Christmas”