Very often I'm asked by friends or relatives "hey, I like such-and-such band, who do you think I might like that I've never heard of?" I usually can come up with one or two bands, or I point them to Pandora or Last.fm or Slacker and tell them to try those out for some other opinions. But I've never charged for it...before now.
As part of Washington Improv Theater's recent silent auction, I donated my services as a mixtape DJ. The offer was this: you tell me some bands you like, and I try to compile a mix for you of bands I think you might enjoy. That's it. My friend Shawn ended up with the winning bid [a whopping $40!], so I made him the mix below.
Here's what he gave me in terms of guidance:
Recent stuff that I've come to enjoy: Bon Iver, The Hold Steady, My Morning Jacket, Sigur Ros, The Polyphonic Spree, Band of Horses.
Standbys: Radiohead, Ryan Adams, Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Coldplay (their latest album is friggin' fantastic), Oasis, Wilco.
I like just about anything, but I've never been a big fan of metal or punk. Not that I'm against power chords, I just like a little melody with them. If you're going to include something like that, think later Clash.
I didn't want to just fill it up with bands that sound exactly like the ones he mentioned, and I didn't want to force him too far outside of his comfort zone by loading him up with Slayer and Megadeth tunes. I also erred on the side of adding a few songs that are pretty similar-sounding, in the hopes of exposing him to more artists he might not already know (the guy is pretty well-versed in music already). So I took a dash of intuition and mixed it with a heaping spoonful of my own totally subjective taste, and came up with this:
I realized while making this that it's hard to mentally separate "songs I love" from "songs I think this person would like." What do you think? Was I way off the mark? What would you have done? [Editor's note: he didn't mention them, but Shawn is also a huge Steely Dan fan. Would that affect your choices?]