songs for you – nathan rabin’s mix

You may not know his name off the top of your head, but you’re sure to know his work. Nathan Rabin, as head writer for The Onion AV Club, has undoubtedly shaped your pop-culture world. Last summer I had the pleasure of hearing him read from his memoir, The Big Rewind, and afterward approached him about making a mixtape for M|H. Lucky for us he didn’t call security, but instead committed on paper:

“I will happily make you the bestest mixtape ever. Most of the songs will be from Soft Cell.”

As it turns out, none of the songs are from Soft Cell, but we’re pleased nonetheless. We recommend enjoying this mix with a G&T and the paper (perhaps America’s Finest New Source?) on a porch or balcony.


01| Ghosts – Laura Marling
02| Be – Common
03| I Loves You Porgy – Diana Ross
04| Let’s Get Lost – Chet Baker
05| They All Laughed – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
06| Brass Buttons – Gram Parsons
07| Prairie Rose – Roxy Music
08| Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered – Ella Fitzgerald
09| Funny Little Frog – God Help the Girl (Stuart Murdoch)
10| I Believe In You – Frank Sinatra w/Count Basie
11| Black Rose – Billy Joe Shaver
12| Things Are Looking Up – Ella Fitzgerald
13| You Never Even Called Me By My Name! –  David Allen Coe
14| Another Girl, Another Planet – The Only Ones
15| Get Over You – The Undertones

The Big Rewind and My Year of Flops are both available now.

accordions make everything better

Madison, WI outfit Crane Your Swan Neck graced the stage for this evening’s Onion Area Band Tuesdays. Running the gamut from solo-acoustic to tambourine-shaking rock and roll, CYSN offered up mish-mash of genres that worked surprisingly well together.

Frontman Randall has made the rounds on the Madison music scene for years, and it’s no wonder why. His voice is that of a grizzled old troubadour hiding under a glossy indie-rock patina. Commanding the stage despite his soft-spoken manner, Randall delivers an engaging performance without the image of pomp and preening his mustachioed visage may evoke.

Of course, Randall isn’t the only thing to make CYSN worth seeing – without the group of multi-instrumentalists with whom he shares the stage, he’d be just another singer-songwriter. Incorporating accordion, violin, clarinet, and keys into the standard rock set-up, Crane Your Swan Neck often has an appealing Eastern European flair about it.  The band is at their strongest when taking this musical approach, though more standard fare like “Please Keep These Angels Away” and “Build Me Up” is rather pleasing as well.

The band will be taking a short hiatus, but will return to live performances at the Forward Music Festival in September.

For photos from the show, click here.