Dizzy Heights #73: Songs About Songs

Features Ben Folds Five, Dan Wilson, R.E.M., The Candyskins, Joe Jackson, and more

*wakes up from three-month slumber* So, what did I miss?

You know what, don’t answer that.

This is an idea I’ve been knocking around for years. I’m sure my friend Ed came up with it, but Mike is the one who reminded me. I’m also sure that The Show About…did this, and better, but I’m too scared to look. Maybe I’ll take a peek at his library now that I’ve finished my show. Can’t cheat off of him after I’ve turned in my test.

Thank you, as always, for listening.

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Dizzy Heights #72: Good/Better/Best

Features Basement Jaxx, Utah Saints, Was (Not Was), Stardust, Daft Punk, and a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t remotely resemble those five acts. Like, Arctic Monkeys are after that.

Aaaaaaaand we’re back! Well, for now, anyway.

I’ll be honest, I don’t think I will be keeping any sort of reliable schedule while we’re in lockdown, but this idea, surely given to me by my friend Ed, was too good to sit on for long. I had some free time, so I went for it. I am clearly out of practice on a mic, though, that much is clear. So why didn’t I just re-record the bits, then? Excellent question. *walks away*

Thank you, as always, for listening.

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The Karen Mixes, Part 4: More Beats

Includes The Cure, Thomas Dolby, Captain Sensible, Tom Tom Club, Sinead O’Connor, and more

You might recognize some of the segues here. I’ve used several of them before in other mixes for other people (my wife’s high school reunion mixes, mainly), but I’ve never done them for Karen, so they seemed like fair game.

If you liked Karen Vol. I: Beats, odds are you will enjoy this one, too.

There will be a Volume 5, but I may not finish that one for a while, ‘cuz, you know.

Thanks for listening!

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Dizzy Heights Live 6/6/20: The 1985 Show

Dizzy Heights has been quiet, but it has not been idle.

In late April, I received my own Zoom account through work, and hatched a plan: I will host a night of music, take requests, and spin tunes. The first night was a free-for-all (I’ll be posting it soon), but the most fun shows so far were time-specific. First I did 1987, then I did 1981-1983 (but cheated like crazy). Then I thought about 1985, and what a dramatic shift it was for modern rock. I had another 90 minutes worth of music to play when I ended it.

The requests are what made this show so good. My friends threw fantastic ideas at me, things that were not at all on my radar.

The set list here is the same, but I used different mixes in some instances (and added Ian McShane to the front of the Grace Jones track, where he belongs). This is far better than what I did live.

Thank you, as always, for listening.

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Dizzy Heights Live 5/16/20: The 1987 Show

Features The System, Frozen Ghost, Bourgeois Tagg, Rock & Hyde, Julian Cope, The Other Ones, and more.

Hang a sign up on the door, indeed.

This was the third live show I had done, and the first one to be time-specific. The original plan was that I’d start in 1987, and see where it went from there. But after a while, I committed to the idea, which would explain why the end gets a little weird.

I also had to get creative. A few of these songs were released in album form in 1986, but not released as singles in the US until 1987 (ahem, Level 42). I also used a mix of a song that wasn’t released until 1988. Following on the heels of the previous song, it would have been negligent to do otherwise.

Thank you, as always, for listening. Next up: 1979-1982. Think First Wave, but adjacent to First Wave, mostly.

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The Karen Mixes, Vol. III: Chill

This is the first of two mixes (so far) that were made for this year’s (postponed) get-together at the Cabin in the Woods. I made this specifically for Saturday morning, as we recover from the night before and plan the next day’s adventure/day drinking. I was sitting on a ton of downbeat songs that I knew Karen would like, but worried that they might kill the vibe, so I thought, “Morning, when this IS the vibe.” Towards the end, I started to ramp things up a little so the next mix wouldn’t be so jarring. Or at least that was the plan.

Artists include Le Flex, Dubstar, Howard Jones, Ellie Goulding, Jagwar Ma, Hatchie, Metric, Bryan Ferry, Duran Duran, Massive Attack, Arcade Fire, Icehouse, Heaven 17, China Crisis, Immaculate Fools, The Bluebells, ABC, Lightning Seeds, Aztec Camera, Franz Ferdinand, Trashcan Sinatras, The Feeling, Prefab Sprout, Romeo Void, Propaganda, Everything but the Girl, White Lies, Tom Bailey, Spandau Ballet, a-ha, Florence + the Machine, and Sheppard.

Thank you as always, for listening. Next up: Vol IV: More Beats.

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The Karen Mixes, Volume II: The Beast

I made this in early 2019. Karen had invited our crew to stay at a cabin she rented, and I wanted to make the music more personal. The previous year, I played a bunch of old Dizzy Heights shows with my talkie bits cut out, and that was fine because most of them covered the time period we shared together, but I wanted there to be something hand tailored to this group of people, particularly Karen, because she pays for this cabin every year, never asks us for a cent, and refuses to take money when we offer. This seemed like a small price to pay in return.

The first Karen mix was a beat mix. This one is a rock mix. I took two other mixes I had made for her (one classic rock, one alt rock) and threw them together, along with some newer stuff that either fit the vibe or appeased my kids for five seconds. There are dozens of songs from those two mixes that will appear on Volume 5. Wait, did you say Volume 5? Yes, I did. I’ve already made two others before compiling the unused tracks from those two mixes.

Artists include Icehouse, Donnie Iris, The Kinks, The Kings, The Tubes, Kim Mitchell, Honeymoon Suite, David + David, Bourgeois Tagg, Crowded House, The Call, Stabilizers, Art in America, Marillion, Rush, Pete Townshend, Robert Palmer, The War on Drugs, Daft Punk, The System, Simple Minds (twice), The Art of Noise, Electronic, Naked Eyes, Gary Myrick, Cheap Trick, ELO, Tears for Fears, Panic! At the Disco, Queen, Muse, The Producers, INXS, Pete Yorn, The Airborne Toxic Event, Ultravox, Gary Numan, David Bowie, Depeche Mode, The Ting Tings, Alphabeat, The Feeling, Attic Lights, The Divine Comedy, The Stranglers, The Damned, The Republic Tigers, a-ha, New Order, Duran Duran, Sinead O’Connor, Julian Cope, The Stone Roses, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Kirsty MacColl, Twenty One Pilots, and Talk Talk, because Mark Hollis had just passed away when I made this, sigh.

Thank you, as always, for listening. Next Up: Volume III, The Saturday Morning Chill Mix.

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The Karen Mixes, Volume I: Beats

Dizzy Heights is still on hiatus – those shows just seem really unimportant right now – but I wanted to post something, so I’m going to share some mixes I made for my friend Karen, because they’re upbeat and fun, and I figured those were both things we need right now.

This was mixed in 2010, when Karen and I first reconnected after not seeing each other for about seven years. Her house was the most centrally located to all of our high school friends, so she hosted all of the parties, and I brought the tunes. This one is admittedly mainstream, and by design; I wanted the songs to trigger memories and start conversations.

The lineup: INXS, Peter Gabriel, Level 42, New Order, Information Society, Depeche Mode, Camouflage, Julian Cope, ABC, Pet Shop Boys, Dead or Alive, Slade (you read that right), Gino Vannelli (see: Slade), The Cars, Real Life, and Duran Duran.

Next Up: Volume II, The Beast. This will make sense when you see it.

Thank you, as always, for listening. Be kind, and be safe.

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Dizzy Heights #71: Hearts, Vol. I

I have a list (actual piece of paper and everything) that currently features over 20 ideas for shows. This was not on the list. It just popped in my head, and had too much potential to do later. No, this must happen now.

The best thing about these themed shows is that I can spread the wealth musically (though a certain band appears for the fourteenth time), and so nine acts make their Dizzy Heights debut this week. Never thought that would happen three years into this experiment. I thought I would have used everything up by now.

I’m taking a small break after this to work on some non-DH mixes for friends, but I should be back in late April or early May. I highly recommend checking out the following shows while I’m away, and even after I return, obviously.

The Show About…: https://www.mixcloud.com/TheShowAbout/

Nutty Bearpaws: https://www.mixcloud.com/nuttybearpaws/

Tangled Tapes (I haven’t listened yet, but the shows seem right in my wheelhouse, and hopefully yours): https://www.mixcloud.com/tangledtapes/

Thank you, as always, for listening. See you soon.

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Dizzy Heights #70: Alt-Rock Songs About Boys

I apologize up front for all of the extra noise during my talkie bits (hopefully the music beds drowned them out). Between the daughter shooting up the stairs (only to stop dead when she saw me recording) to the cat trying to jump on the chair next to me (and missing), to my phone getting a text message, it was a banner week for live mics in the Medsker house. On any other week, I would have re-recorded all of them, but then again, the sound of the cat scrambling to climb up the chair is pretty funny to me now, so it stays.

It did not surprise me one bit that I was only able to come up with about half as many songs about boys as I was able to come up with songs about girls. We’re just not as fun, or interesting, to write about as women are, and the numbers reflect that. There will certainly be another show about girls, but this will mostly likely stand as the only song about boys, at least by name, anyway. Face it, we’re gross.

Thank you, as always, for listening.

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