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Editors note: this is a guest post from my amazingly talented from Russ. I'm so excited to share this mixtape with you and encourage you to check out his music - A Place Both Wonderful and Strange

It’s not often that I get to take the genres of pop and dark electronic off the table when I DJ, because on the whole those are the genres that I’m known for playing and that whatever event I’m at is probably themed to. And, sure, I’ve painted myself into a corner of being whatever the opposite of a rock-ist is. “I’ll Beyonce over Billy Corgan and Carly Rae over Radiohead any day” I scream from Twitter/Facebook/my actual face, basically 24/7.

The thing is, though…that’s not entirely true.

There’s a weirdly formative period for me in terms of my taste in music, and it happened the first year or so of being in college. It was my first real time away from home being forcibly exposed to the musical tastes and whims of others, and though I’m sure I came across as a closed-minded rave-addled ass, a lot of the music I was introduced to ended up staying with me.  I’m thinking in particular of a college roommate of mine who was completely obsessed with the Smashing Pumpkins. Experiencing him staying up to all hours of the night to find whatever sites had the MACHINA II files to download them on our godawfully slow ethernet (by today’s standards, but miraculously fast for college internet) caused me to work my way backwards through the Smashing Pumpkins catalogue in what I’ve come to learn was a really odd way. Thusly, I can cite you Adore b-sides til the cows come home but have never heard Mellon Collie more than, maybe, twice.

I had the opportunity recently during a brunch set at Jify’s in Williamsburg to dig a little deeper into my own personal virtual crates to do a sort of “Back To Mine” set, playing music that’s been in some way formative to me. So I decided to challenge myself and attempted to avoid entirely playing anything that would come across as too “obviously me”, or anything that would really be a “Russ” song. What I ended up with is, I think, a really solid, albeit weird, look inside my mind when I allow guitars. It’s important for me to stress that there’s an alternate version of this that has stuff by Tori Amos, The National, Placebo, The Knife, etc etc etc on it, but those bands, bands so close to my heart that they’re basically my blood, are glaringly obvious for me. These? Not so much.

Track listing:

Kate Bush: Running Up That Hill

I like Kate, quite a bit. She’s never registered emotionally for me on any album other than this one, though, and the second side of this record is definitely the best thing she’s ever done.

10,000 Maniacs: Scorpio Rising

People don’t realize that 10,000 Maniacs were a weird, heavy band in their early days. They were doing the hipster grandma “chest in the attic” aesthetic in 1981. This is definitely my favorite song by them—they were the first band I developed a cult-like fanaticism about. I initially only started really digging into R.E.M. because Michael Stipe often did songs with Natalie Merchant.

Bruce Springsteen: Rosalita

BROOOOOCE. Bruce is the hopes and dreams of an America in shambles that need a leader. Bruce is Hulk Hogan.

Concrete Blonde: Bloodletting

Apply my comments about Kate Bush to Concrete Blonde. This album, though…usually when I pull this record out, someone needs to get on the phone and make sure I’m ok.

Jean Grae: Before The Summer Broke

Jean Grae is heads and tails my favorite rapper.  This is an absolutely beautiful song about how fucked music is, losing someone you love, and trying to exist day to day. And it damn demanded to be on this mix.

Against Me! : Teenage Anarchist

I’ve only this year become an Against Me! fan, which is great for me because there’s so much music to get into and I’m obsessed. Laura Jane Grace is the other side of my Bruce Springsteen coin, they’re both heroes out to save the world and punch it in the face at the same time.

Smashing Pumpkins: Perfect

 Russ and his amazing dog, Mr Frito. 

Russ and his amazing dog, Mr Frito. 

The Adore re-issue was really the seedling that germinated into this mix. As I pirated the entire six f-ing discs (one of which is just the album in mono? Wtf?), I thought “I’m 99% sure no one who is into my music or DJ stuff would have any idea that I’m sitting here pirating a damn mono version of the least popular Smashing Pumpkins album of all time because it’s my favorite.” So bam. This song rips my heart apart and lifts it to the sky. The whole damn album does. Why can’t all Smashing Pumpkins songs sound like this?

Radiohead: Street Spirit

Apply everything I said about Pumpkins to Radiohead. I was a teenage Radiohead fan, but the politics were too convenient.

Today The Moon Tomorrow The Sun: Single-Hearted

TTMTTS is an Atlanta band I fell in love with right before I moved from there to New York, and watching them grow and blossom into this rocking monster has been hugely inspirational to me. I got to DJ opening for them years ago at a gig at the exact same place I made this mix.

Garbage : When I Grow Up

There’s no reason Version 2.0 isn’t experiencing some sort of Tumblr-aesthtic post-#seapunk renaissance. It’s the greatest concept album about the internet ever.

Pretty much obsessed: GEMS "Sinking Stone" video

Turn this up: Mating Ritual "Toxins"