As we approach those hours spent ironing, tucking, pulling and primping, those last minutes squinting at the television, huddling around friends of friends and that cheese plate on the coffee table, there’s a good chance some choice tunes will be on the stereo/computer. But in case that playlist just isn’t cutting the mustard or you’ve suddenly found yourself in need of something to soundtrack your own party, here’s five vastly different mixes to ring in the New Year.
1. For the lonely types: Marnie Stern, Demo
In 2006, guitar whiz Marnie Stern recorded a dozen sketches of songs to tape — little more than nervous, rapidfire squiggles of the electric and her squeal, sounding like measured questions and chants made for the schoolyard. Stern gloriously amplified many of these demos for her proper debut In Advance of the Broken Arm, but if you’re home alone, crank this up — it’s a sure fire way to forget about the past, present or the future.
2. For the non-offensive family situation: Sugar Hill Records, Sugar Hill Jukebox
Barry Poss founded Sugar Hill Records partly to help bridge the gap between modern and traditional roots music. As a result, this four-hour compilation scatters newer voices (20-year-old Sarah Jarosz, Decemberists side project Black Prairie) among seasoned voices and players (Dolly Parton, Robert Earl Keen, Union Station’s mandolin player Adam Steffey). If you’re soiree is G-rated and needs a twang slant, this will do you no wrong.
3. For the getting-ready-to-party situation: Aeroplane, Aeroplane – November 2011 Mix
Its first two minutes are a slow, even seedy build, thanks to voices echoing Dr. Frankenstein’s bug-eyed lab assistant Igor. But Vito de Luca’s mix soon grooves effortlessly — between nimble bass melodies of ‘70s disco, Latin American ball-change grooves and synth pop melodies reminiscent of, but not directly lifted from the ‘80s. It’s ideal, really, for the hours leading up to a club-night countdown. After all, such pampering deserves a setlist of its own.
4. For the impress-your-guests situation: SuperColorSuper, G’OLD KOREA VINYL MIXTAPE 1
Sean Patrick Malone is the California-born founder of SuperColorSuper, a booking and promoting agency that’s paved a South Korean touring circuit for acts like Dan Deacon, Toro y Moi and Mogwai. He’s also unearthed gems from Korea’s past: Oseja’s “He is a Fool” is fit for a blaxploitation film, Nami’s “Bingul Bingul” sounds lifted off a karaoke machine, and “I Think” is an unexpected nightclub cut from Shin Joong-hyun, still the country’s “godfather of rock.” If you’re looking for an alternative to Diplo or Girl Talk, but still want that energy boost, this is your pick.
5. For that need-to-rock party situation: HoZac Records, Fall 2011 and Late Summer 2011
HoZac’s latest compilations are a necessary reminder, of the Chicago label’s most promising acts (Davila 666, Wax Idols, Mickey) and the fact that trashy punk isn’t always scuzzy punk. Bonus: when played back-to-back, these inviting sets also make for a full-proof playlist for the most casual of countdown get-togethers.