Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Anatomy of a Mixed Tape, Track the Third

3. San Fran—Kitty Craft*

This bit of ephemera dates back to the fall of 2000. I was back from a year away at Oxford for my senior year at Arkansas, and joined the newly formed KXUA college radio station as a DJ. My first shift was from 2 to 4 in the morning. I loved it. My DJ name was Spaceman H, a nod to the frontman of Spiritualized and Spacemen 3 co-founder, J. Spaceman. I figured whomever “got it” wouldn’t mind my semi-rip-off.

We had to play around 10 tracks from “heavy rotation” albums and a handful of tracks from “light rotation” albums each hour. I enjoyed DJing because it regularly exposed me to new music in a structured, weekly way. I continue to seek out new music, and have more luck and success than most, but I’m just not as likely nowadays as I was then to land on that wholly random, out-of-nowhere album like the one this cut’s from: Kitty Craft’s Catskills.

“Hey San Fran.” There’s not much to the song, but it takes me back to two specific times and places: one, Thanksgiving, November 2000. I’d ordered this CD, along with a couple of others, and received them just before my family and I left for our traditional Thanksgiving in Memphis with my mom’s family. I’d been away at Oxford the year before, so it was my first “real” Thanksgiving in two years. My brothers and I listened to this album on the drive up to Memphis the day before Thanksgiving.

The song also reminds me of, duh, San Fran. But specifically North Beach, and The Green Tortoise Hostel, where I’ve stayed the couple of times I’ve been in San Fran. Both times it’s been alone and at the end of a long trip … and both times the town’s refreshed me with its coolness (temperature-wise) and its lack, at least for me, of memory. Much like this song and this album—which makes for a lovely fall day, windows-open listen. I highly recommend it.

*Note—Again, this one’s not on iTunes. But go to this page and click on the sample for the song, just down the page a bit.

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