St. Bernard's Pass

My name is Brandon Bernard. I'm a graphic designer, storyboard and layout artist, and writer. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM, and lived in Los Angeles for 12 years, then in Austin, TX, for about a year, and I'm now in Brooklyn, NY. This blog is a virtual scrapbook of things that inspire me. Unless otherwise specified, the work here is not mine. Anything else you'd like to know? Feel free to hit up my "ask" box!


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    13 posts tagged mix

    The Brian Setzer Orchestra - Americano

    The ol’ US of A celebrates its independence in July, and so this month’s mixology is as American as the Beatles. (Okay, it might be even a smidgen more American than the Beatles…)

    Chuck Berry is “Back in the U.S.A.,” while the Fab Four are back in old Soviet Russia. If I have my lore correct, the Beach Boys were the group the Beatles felt they had to out-do if they were to make it in the U.S., and “Back in the U.S.S.R.” was their tongue-in-cheek homage to songs like “California Girl.” I think it’s safe to say that particular British invasion was a success. But the Beach Boys, not to be forgotten, are in this month’s mixology, too, sharing their dream of surfing all over the United States.

    Two of the U.S.A. tracks are actually odes to American rock’n’roll in the ’60s, and became guideposts for much of the rest of this playlist’s content. John Mellencamp’s salute to ‘60’s rock, “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.,” mentions the likes of the Rascals (represented here with “Good Lovin’”), Franky Lymon (giving us “Little Bitty Pretty One” with the Teenagers), and Jacky Wilson (treating us to “Reet Petite”), among others that I simply ran out of room for. Mellencamp also implores us not to forget James Brown (as if I would!), and sure enough, the Godfather of Soul pulls into the station aboard the “Night Train.”

    Jonathan Richman waxes nostalgic for block parties of an era gone by, the sort that might have played songs like “Louie, Louie” and “Hang On Sloopy,” both of which are included here (by the Kingsmen and the McCoys, respectively), so you can now throw your own retro block party. (Don’t forget to invite poor Jonathan Richman.)

    In addition to rockin’ block parties, summer is all about travel. James Brown gives us a pretty thorough tour of the U.S. on his “Night Train,” and Chuck Berry recommends getting your kicks along Route 66. You might be able to thumb a ride with Creedence Clearwater Revival. While Ray Charles hits the road, Steppenwolf prefers to travel by magic carpet. Canned Heat is “Going Up the Country,” and might even leave the U.S.A. You have to listen hard for it, but the Kingsmen and Wreckless Eric take us to decidedly more exotic locales, such as Jamaica and Tahiti, and in fact the whole wide world, in search of that one true love.

    Finally, B.B. King’s “Lucille” does double duty as something of a travelog, as well as another litany of great musicians from days gone by, one of which made this compilation’s cut (did you catch it?).

    Here’s wishing you safe travels and a wonderful July, no matter where in the “Whole Wide World” you happen to be. And if you’re an “Americano,” as I am, happy 4th!

    Grab this month’s mixology here!

    The Modern Lovers - Pablo Picasso

    Another month, another mixology!

    June’s mixology features not one but two Sinatras, and Nancy isn’t the only one who brought her walking boots: we also find Fats Domino and Spoon’s Britt Daniel in walking moods.

    Thanks to Frank and his Rat Pack chum Dean, a letter-writing motif pops up. The motif is obviously there in Joe Cocker’s cover of the Boxtops’ song, “The Letter,” in which said correspondence sets in motion a desperate homecoming trek. But you’ll have to download the mix and give a listen to discover a more subtle invocation of letter-writing.

    Like Joe Cocker, Mel Tormé is intent on getting home, but the Beatles seem happy never to have left it in the first place, reminding us that the farther one travels, the less one really knows.

    That answer apparently doesn’t satisfy The Who’s “Seeker,” who also gets no help from Timothy Leary or Bob Dylan. (And by listening to “Ballad of a Thin Man,” you’ll quickly see that Dylan is full of more confounding riddles than answers; poor Mr. Jones doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere with him, either.)

    Jonathan Richman delivers two thirds of a painterly triple-play, first on his own with the charming “Vincent Van Gogh,” then as the Modern Lovers’ front man on the piece above.

    The Sachal Studios Orchestra gives us the Indian-inflected version of Dave Brubeck’s jazz classic, “Take Five,” that we never knew we were so desperately missing in our lives. Paul Desmond rounds off the mix with another nod to Brubeck, on “Take Ten.”

    That orchestral version of Scott Joplin’s mellow ragtime ballad, “Solace,” is courtesy of Marvin Hamlisch’s soundtrack for the film, The Sting, and is the perfect tune to let waft down from open windows on summer evenings while sipping lemonade — or sipping on an ice-cold beer and lazing on a summer afternoon, if you want to live the life of luxury the Kinks describe!

    Either way, you can get the first mixology of the summer right here. Enjoy!

    Arcade Fire - Month of May

    The mixology for the month of May is here, and it’s a bumper crop: 26 tracks in all!

    For some reason, a lot of tears are shed in this compilation. Question Mark and the Mysterians number them at about 96, while others suggest it was enough to form an actual river. The Black Keys do their crying alone (alone together?), so an exact tear-count is difficult to make.

    Speaking of aloneness, this mix sports a flamenco/mariachi-tinged cover of Love’s “Alone Again Or,” by the southwestern rock band, Calexico. It’s the perfect oddity for any Cinco de Mayo party, but especially the one you have…alone. If you’re expecting a crowd, you might be better served by “Chicas Patas Boogie,” by Lalo Guerrero y Sus Cinco Lobos.

    Female vocalists are out in force this month. I’ve just discovered Angel Olsen (thanks, NPR!), and her “Hi-Five” is a lonesome lament couched in a pretty up-tempo garage rock sound. At times, she has this near-yodel that calls to mind Roy Orbison — y’know, had he been a woman. Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald ponder the depth of the ocean and the height of the moon, respectively. (Ella gets a bit lost in the words, but what’s a lyric when you can scat like that?) Holly Golightly gives us some jazz-infused garage rock, declaring her love to be a mountainside. Meanwhile, both Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye agree that neither Holly Golightly’s towering mountain of love, nor Billie Holiday’s deep ocean, nor even Joe Cocker’s wide river of tears, can keep them apart.

    As May brings us to summer’s edge, Peggy Lee (backed by George Shearing) assures us that there will be another spring. But, as Sammy Davis, Jr. (backed by Sam Butera & The Witnesses, who are usually found backing Louis Prima) cautions, there will never be another you. Sammy’s Rat Pack buddy, Frank, brings us the second of two tracks on this compilation entitled “Blue Skies” (Noah and the Whale give us the other, but the title of the songs is their only common DNA).

    The Who and The Kinks serve as our unlikely guides to spring fashion, and Jonathan Richman covers the Kinks, telling us that it’s time to put a stop to all that crying.

    I’ve saved a couple of surprises (after all, there are 26 tracks here!), so go ahead and download your copy of Mixology 201415 right here, or I’ll give you something to cry about!

    The Main Ingredient - Everybody Plays The Fool

    No joke! April’s “Mixology” is ready to download.

    This one is laden with oldies — and I’m not talking about the Main Ingredient or even Chuck Berry. No, I’m not even talking about Tommy Dorsey, although his inclusion isn’t helping the musical age of this mix any. But I’m referring to an atypical preponderance of classical music. Mendelssohn’s “Spring Song” was a must, especially after being alluded to in the Tony Bennett number, “Life is a Song.” Also a must is Vivaldi’s “Spring” from “The Four Seasons,” “recomposed” here by Max Richter.

    The monumental final movement of Beethoven’s 9th symphony, the “Ode to Joy,” takes up nearly twenty minutes of the mix. But it’s completely worthwhile, from its thunderous percussion (following directly from OK Go’s “Let it Rain”) to the unstoppably jubilant finale. But no, I didn’t put it on here twice: that very similar piece you hear later on is actually Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C Minor. (Brahms’ First is sometimes referred to as “Beethoven’s Tenth.”)

    While some songs may specifically mention spring and/or April (“Dear Miss Lonely Hearts” from the Cold War Kids, and “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most” from Ella Fitzgerald), others are more difficult for me to justify. Alt-J’s “Breezeblocks” was a recent discovery for me, and “These Days,” by Luxury, got randomly stuck in my head the other day, despite the fact that I had not heard it in a long while. I took it as a sign that it belonged in the mix somewhere.

    Click here to download the entire mix, and hear what other oddities I didn’t even find a way to mention here!

    Arctic Monkeys - I Want It All

    It’s a little bit delinquent, but here’s the Mixology playlist for this month! “I Want It All” is one of two tracks from the Arctic Monkeys’ “AM” album that found their way into the mix. Also heavily represented is Mose Allison, the super-hip jazz vocalist who sounds like he can’t be bothered to actually sing, he’s just going to sort of jive his way through the song. There are two directly featuring him, and a third, “I Love the Life I Live,” which is actually covered pitch-perfectly by Royal Crown Revue (anyone remember when swing music made a brief comeback in the 90s?).

    Allison’s lazy-feeling approach to singing is something of a motif throughout this compilation. Tom Waits is doing his bluesy piano bar thing here, with “New Coat of Paint.” Belle and Sebastian give a very talky account of a “Space Boy Dream,” and “Columbo’s Car” by Looper sounds more like a Scottish-inflected reading of a detective story than a song. The beat-poetry atmosphere is carried through by Donovan, with “Lord of the Universe,” from his aptly-titled album, “Beat Café.”

    The universe is another running theme here. Mose Allison has been doing some thinking about the nature of the universe, the Beatles go across it, and the Rolling Stones treat us to “2,000 Light Years From Home,” a song which is specifically mentioned in the Arctic Monkeys song above.

    Because we get St. Patrick’s Day in the middle of this month, I was trying to infuse the mix with a bit of a Celtic sound here and there. That’s the reason for the selection from the soundtrack for The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain — I know that movie took place in Wales, but that’s close! The soundtrack selection by John Williams from Spielberg’s 1941 brings us a bit more in range, as it includes a setting of the Irish folk song, “The Rakes of Mallow.”

    And there’s a third soundtrack entry here, the theme from Kelly’s Heroes, which is very martial, because, you know — March!

    Without further ado, here’s the link to the .zip download.


    Aimee Mann - One

    I’ve decided I’m going to try to put together a playlist each month of stuff I just happen to be into that month. I put this together in January, so we’ll call it the February mix. This month I’ll be putting together one for March, etc.

    In January, I watched a documentary about Harry Nilsson, so I had “Everybody’s Talkin’” and “One” on the brain. Toward the end of the month, Pete Seeger died, so I put “Turn! Turn! Turn!” on here, covered by the Byrds, in tribute to him. In general, this playlist was taking a very singer/songwriter turn, so I felt like Paul Simon, Don McLean, Randy Newman and Lou Reed (also recently passed) were all obvious choices.

    Then there’s a the third movement from Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto number 1 in B flat minor, because the other day I randomly started whistling that in the shower. So… you know. It’s a mixed bag!

    Download all 19 tracks as a .zip file, here.

    Today is the first day of my favorite season of the year, and I’m thrilled to have recently moved to New York, a city that actually gets autumn: for so many years, I’ve lived in cities with summer temperatures that extended deep into October, sometimes as far as November!

    To commemorate the season, I’m offering up this link to “Little Ghost Blues,” a mix of fall-inspired tunes.

    If this year’s summer mix was rock heavy, the fall collection is jazz-infused. Of course, there’s Louis and Ella singing “Autumn in New York.” But I’ve also been interested recently in how often Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” is used to capture New York life, whether in cartoon form or in classic celluloid. Here, Duke Ellington kicks things off with a distinctly burlesque rendering, while a more traditional version of Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” closes out the mix. In between, Tegan and Sara walk with a ghost, Jack White makes it with a ghost, poor Billie Holiday doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance with the object of her desire, and Sam Cooke blows smoke rings into Clifford Brown’s and Max Roach’s eyes. In addition to the White Stripes, this year’s collection features one half of the Black Keys (Dan Auerbach). Norfolk and Western turn up with “The Longest Stare” (last year’s fall mix featured their “Shortest Stare”). Rounding out the collection are Cab Calloway, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Frederic Chopin, and the Cold War Kids. It’s a menagerie as mottled and colorful as the autumn leaves themselves — sung about here (in French!) by Nat “King” Cole. Talk about an American in Paris.

    I hope you enjoy listening to the mix as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

    Is July 31st too late to offer up my Summer Sessions mix CD? Perhaps. I intended to finalize the track list and get this link posted on the first day of summer, back in June, but at the same time I was in the process of moving from Austin to New York. I’m now in Brooklyn, and finally able to spend a few minutes thinking about this mix, and felt it was better to offer it late than not at all.

    I call this one “Sea & Sidewalks,” and you might notice a bit of tension between the mellow surf sounds on tracks like “Following Waves” by the French Kicks, and the more taut urban (and suburban) soundscapes on tracks like the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City.” Still, for the most part, everything on this mix lilts along at an easy-going pace, which is somewhat surprising when you see artists listed on here with boisterous names like Shout Out Louds and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (whose “Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood” contains some of my favorite lyrics).

    There are actually two tracks from the French Kicks, three from Arcade Fire, and two from film soundtrack composer John Williams, whose themes for 1975’s Jaws and 78’s Superman: the Movie are as inextricably bound up with summer as the blockbuster hits from which they hail. (Superman was actually released in the winter of 1978, but this summer saw an ambitious reboot of the superhero with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, so the musical callback seemed appropriate.) Even in the John Williams selections, we have the tension between the open (shark-infested) sea, and the bustling (crime-ridden) sidewalks of that city of cities, Metropolis.

    Also in the nautical camp, we have AWOLNATION’s “Sail,” and “Wave of Mutilation” by the Pixies (the UK Surf Mix presented here is way more sweet and listenable than the song’s title might lead you to imagine). On the metropolitan side of things, we have Unit 4 + 2’s “Concrete and Clay,” and “I Feel Free,” by the old Eric Clapton band, Cream.

    While we’re on the subject of cream, the Divine Fits treat us to the frozen variety, with “Like Ice Cream.” Mumm-Ra’s “She’s Got You High” is borrowed from the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack — and if there really are that many days of summer, this mix isn’t too late after all! It’s good for another year, at least!

    There are so many versions of the classic Cole Porter song, “Summertime,” that it’s pretty much a guarantee I’ll include it on every Summer Sessions mix that I put together, and this year’s is no exception: here, the Zombies seem just as inappropriately concerned with your father’s financial status while singing about the time of the season for easy living, as they were when they sang about the time of the season for loving.

    Providing another time-tested summer standard, and also inordinately interested in dad’s dollars, is Mungo Jerry with “In the Summer Time.”

    Last, but not least, to take us into that sweaty purgatory between summer and fall that are the months of August and September, there’s Coleman Hawkins blowing a very chill “Indian Summer.”

    I’ll see you again very soon with the 2013 Fall Collection!

    Click the link to download a zip file with this year’s spring music mix, “Spring Sermon.”

    Hold on tightly, because this one really is a mix-up: Duke Ellington plays Grieg, while Itzhak Perlman plays Gershwin. Arcade Fire and the Turtles wax nostalgic and satirical (respectively) on the theme of suburbs. Sister Ella preaches on the topic of sin (in case you’re wondering, she’s again’, not for) and Sister Dusty expounds on the decidedly worldly allure of a certain preacher’s son. Meanwhile, ol’ Rev. Blue Eyes advises us to turn our umbrellas upside down to accept blessings in disguise, while Brother Louis takes us way back to the Old Testament with the story of Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego. Brothers Bobby, Billy and Bruce each get their turn at the pulpit, and even the Beach Boys get into the spirit of things, purporting to know The Answer — although one suspects it has more to do with bikinis, deuce coupes, and waves than it does with that other Trinity. And, no, that’s not Bernard Herrmann’s score for the opening title sequence from Psycho, but the equally savage and blood-soaked sacrificial dance from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. As jarring as it may be, the award for most surprising track on here has to go to the Temptations (and what collection of sermons would be complete without those?) singing “My Girl” auf Deutsch — I bet you can still sing along, though! Even the Fits on this mix are Divine. So whether this season means Passover, Easter, or Cancun to you, the perfect musical accompaniment is a click away…

    "Holiday Mix" might be a bit of a misnomer: in fact, I specifically stripped this mix of any Christmas-specific songs. No carols or hymns; no secular Santa songs. Ok, there is "Baby, It’s Cold Outside," but that doesn’t really reference a particular holiday. It’s probably better to think of this as a winter mix that is simply being offered to you in the spirit of the season.

    The musical selection here ranges from old school rock to new school rock, from big band jazz to a track from Star Wars (because I’m a dork like that). You’ll hear Radical Face and Faces on Film. You’ll hear two Matts: Matt Costa and Matt Pond PA. You’ll hear Arctic Monkeys, Dr. Dog, and two mononymous artists — Beck and Feist — as well as a dozen others.

    So hurry up and download this before the world ends! And if that doesn’t happen, these tunes are meant to accompany your winter long after “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” has become passé.

    For Kristopher Louie, who pointed out that you have to have a pro account with MediaFire to download the whole folder of tunes. This .zip file is pretty large, so MediaFire may still restrict access to pro accounts. Let me know.


    I chose MediaFire sort of at random… Does anyone suggest a better alternative for sharing future mixes with my followers?

    The 2011 Spring Collection from St. Bernard Records. Get it (for free!) here.

    I like making mix CDs, and I generally try to issue four a year, one for each season. This endeavor usually culminates in an ambitious “holiday mix” that I foist upon family and friends around the end of December. But probably my favorite of the four mixes I make each year is “The Fall Collection,” perhaps because autumn is my favorite season.


    Click the link to download!


    (P.S., this is the first time I’ve done this, so let me know if it doesn’t work — or if there’s a better way!)

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