Tuesday, 16 September 2008

[44] Nick Catchdubs and Mr Ducker - 'Radio Friendly Unit Shifter'

I was browsing on Drowned in Sound the other day, and came across a (terribly written) review of a mixtape by Nick Catchdubs and Mr Ducker, called Radio Friendly Music Shifter.





Some musical know-it-alls will immediately notice the nod to Nirvana in the mix's title. This is fitting, as this mixtape (more in the hip-hop mould; tracks are spliced, tracked and edited as opposed to merely sequenced) focuses on 90s alternative rock as its basis.

The effect is fun, revealing and uneven. Undisputed classics mix with forgotten gems and duff tracks; samples from films and television shows (including Natural Born Killers, Ren and Stimpy, Clerks and The Simpsons) work as segues and punchlines, but the 'mashup' aspects of the mix are too infrequent and do little to arrest the listener. In place of a plaid-shirted Radio Soulwax is a nostalgic look back at a different time in popular music which is just crossing the threshold into 'classic' status (expect the obligatory 10 disc Rhino-released retrospective boxset soon).

As a compilation, it has its highs and lows. Canon-classics (Nirvana, Sonic Youth, The Breeders, Smashing Pumpkins) are no-brainers, but the nods to side-projects (Folk Implosion, Body Count), one-hit-wonders (Harvey Danger) and slipped-through-the-cracks (L7, Toadies) are more than welcome. The mix highlights the collective amnesia of the music business. It expresses disappointment that Soundgarden and Pearl Jam are huge and unavoidable (and, in the case of 'Black Hole Sun', overplayed), whereas the brilliant 'Hunger Strike' by supergroup Temple of the Dog is a mere curiosity - a footnote for the rock trivia crowd. Or shame that The Meat Puppets are remembered as 'the brothers Meat', from Nirvana's MTV Unplugged, when they wrote such barn-stormers as 'Backwater'.

This is obviously a personal compilation, as the lesser choices break the mood (diversions involving Rancid's / The Offspring's Californian punk, or the cockney rock of Supergrass, are a little jarring). Nevertheless, it can be excused. Compilations should be daring, subjective and eye-opening. Radio Friendly Music Shifter is all of these. And best of all, it is free. Check it out.

For Mishka's blog/press release for the mix, including download link - click here
For Nick Catchdub's myspace - click here

Tracklisting:

1. L7 - Pretend We're Dead
2. Sonic Youth - 100%
3. Folk Implosion - Natural One
4. King Missile - Detachable Penis
5. Beck - Beercan
6. Dinosaur Jr - Start Choppin'
7. Meat Puppets - Backwater
8. Pavement - Cut Your Hair
9. Nirvana - Sliver
10. Foo Fighters - I'll Stick Around
11. Porno For Pyros - Tahitian Moon
12. Temple Of The Dog - Hunger Strike
13. Tripping Daisy - I Got A Girl
14. Primus - Wynonas Big Brown Beaver
15. Body Count - There Goes The Neighborhood
16. Offspring - Come Out And Play
17. Rancid - Roots Radicals
18. Supergrass - Caught By The Fuzz
19. Weezer - El Scorcho
20. Green Day - Longview
21. Harvey Danger - Flagpole Sitta
22. Rage Against The Machine - Bulls On Parade
23. Bjork - Army Of Me
24. Soundgarden - Outshined
25. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Suck My Kiss
26. Tribe Called Quest - Oh My God (Live @ The Tibetan Freedom Concert)
27. Cypress Hill - How I Could Just Kill A Man (Live @ Woodstock '94)
28. House Of Pain - Shamrocks and Shennanigans
29. Cibo Matto - Know Your Chicken
30. Breeders - Cannonball
31. Smashing Pumpkins - Today
32. Butthole Surfers - Pepper
33. Sublime - Doin' Time
34. Soul Coughing - Super Bon Bon
35. Faith No More - A Small Victory
36. MC 900 Foot Jesus - If I Only Had A Brain
37. Everclear - You Make Me Feel Like A Whore
38. Toadies - Possum Kingdom

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