While year-end lists are predominantly the province of journalists and critics, everyone can get in the act at the holidays with a year-end mixtape. These capstone compilations serve a very different purpose from the mixtapes you've made for girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses and - best of all - unrequited loves. Consider a year-end mixtape your opportunity to tell your friends and family (and, sure, unrequited loves) what you think they should be listening to.
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I recently received a brilliant mix from a good friend, music lover and colleague from one of the dailies. He's well into his second decade of making holiday mixes for all his friends, which started out on cassettes and have moved onto CDs. I'd argue it's time to move into the virtual world, but I don't think he'll hear of it. At any rate, his compilation, packed as it is with tasty cuts from recent releases - including local stuff by Everything Absent or Distorted and Andrea Ball - plays like his personal endorsements and recommendations for the music that mattered in 2008. He even confessed to me that some of the songs aren't his favorites, but are simply songs he thinks his friends should hear. I, for one, am grateful for his recommendations. I hear a lot of music, but I'm far from hearing all of it, and am always open to more, especially when it comes from a tastemaker like him.
On a related note, I've just started planning for my January 5th DJ set at the Larimer Lounge. The name of the night, previously described here, is New Music Mondays, so I'm trying to focus on my favorites among the music that has recently entered my life. However, I'm having a hard time leaving out old favorites and quirky recent discoveries that are far from new. I'm including a lot of local stuff (including new old finds, like Boulder electropoppers Renegades), a shocking number of covers (I'm a huge fan of Brian Ibbott's Coverville podcast), electro, singer-songwriter, a soupcon of hip-hop, a sprinkling of metal and punk, and a bunch of songs that I just happen think are fun-slash-funny. I might even play some stuff that hasn't been released yet.
In other words, I'm approaching this DJ set just as my friend approached his annual holiday compilation. It's my personal endorsements and recommendations for music that matters. It's my Mile High Makeout mixtape - especially for you. --Eryc Eyl