I like making mixes. It started with a Christmas music obsession and snowballed from there. I'm not a DJ, but I get obsessed with themes. I readily admit my thematic mixes are indulgent and perhaps even a tad autistic, but I know—or maybe hope?—that at least one other person digs each obsessive attempt at theme-casting.
Last year, I made a balloon-centric podcast to celebrate the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. When you start searching for balloon-themed tunes, you find yourself running into a lot of children's music and a couple of songs smack you in the face over and over again. Jimmy Webb's “Up, Up and Away,” as performed by The Fifth Dimension, is the classic balloon song. German pop-rock quintet Nena's protest song “99 Luftballoons” and its English-language version, “99 Red Balloons,” are catchy, imaginative and overplayed.
My Balloon Fiesta mix showcases 12 lesser-known songs from bands like Twin Shadow, The Kills, Spell, Ween, Beastie Boys and Matmos and a sprinkling of stand-up comedy, vintage educational radio and spoken word. Stream it above or visit my blog for the full track list. Happy ballooning! (Depending on where you work, the opening Mitch Hedberg excerpt may qualify as NSFW.)
Despite last year’s joyous release of an incredible live show from 1992 [Live at The Cat’s Cradle, 1992, Chocodog Records], all those early years when Ween consisted of Dean and Gene—two young, talented and hilarious Pennsylvania kids—and a drum machine seem like ancient history. Seeing a Ween show without drummer-extraordinaire Claude Coleman behind the kit has been impossible for the past 15 years, but that could change soon: Rumors have been spreading all over the Internet this summer about Coleman—a multi-instrumentalist who also leads the band Amandla and teaches at the Paul Green School of Rock in NYC—taking a break from Ween to make sense of a life that has perhaps appeared too fast and fun since his near-fatal auto accident. He even confirmed it in a heartfelt statement. However, when asked about Coleman’s departure, Dean Ween (born Mickey Melchiondo) told the Alibi, “Claude is still in the band the last time I checked.” In a follow-up e-mail, Ween’s manager Greg Frey told the Alibi, “Mickey's answer regarding Claude is spot on. Anything else is hearsay.”