How to Be a Mixtape Master

Get advice on finding the latest tracks, creating just the right blend, and using the latest old school throwback—cassette tapes.

This post is in partnership with Pepsi Refresh Project

Summer’s here, and it’s time to roll down the car windows, drag the sound system onto the deck, and blast out the tunes. But who wants to listen to yet another amped-up mix of the same top twenty songs? Instead, create your own unique blend of personal favorites and hot new talent.

Make it your mission to scan the radiowaves (or online streams) and find great new sounds. “When I make a mixtape, it’s all about music I like and want other people to hear,” says Chris Joseph, whose nonprofit music label, Threadhead Records, in New Orleans won a Pepsi Refresh grant in 2010 to support their work in music. “I also make sure to mix in different styles of music, artists, ethnicities, and sexes.” Check out Threadhead’s online music site called Bandcamp, where you can download all the label’s forty albums for free, including pop, jazz, and folk to rock and hip-hop. One of Joseph’s personal favorites is John Boutté, who “speaks to all that’s come out of New Orleans in terms of its culture, politics, and history.”

Also check out the recommendations of Vincent Markesino (a.k.a DJ VTEC) and his sister, Jennifer Roberts, Pepsi Refresh 2010 winners of a $5,000 grant to create Camp DJ VTEC, where kids of all backgrounds learn to bring together diverse kinds of styles and instruments to make music outside the mainstream. Roberts likes Pandora as one of the ways to find new music: “Simply put in a fave artist or song and it will pull similar ones for you to listen to as well,” she says. “We are obsessed with Trombone Shorty & The Orleans Avenue Band, The Roots, and Dwayne Doopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers.”

Don’t forget your local scene, either; sometimes you can uncover the most interesting stuff close to home. Kevin Erickson is head of the nonprofit All-Ages Movement Project which hosts a national network of all-ages venues and music organizations that won a 2010 Pepsi Refresh grant for its work. To find the best bands in your area, Erickson recommends talking to the staff at local independent record stores who are usually in on the scene, stopping by community music festivals where sounds are happening at the grassroots level, or even volunteering at local venues to hear sounds before they hit mass market. “You have to dig a little, but if you do the work, it ends up being incredibly rewarding,” he says.

Start with your local college radio station with their fresh sounds, then hit Hollow Earth Radio, and the great music at Dublab. And don’t forget to check out the All-Ages website to find venues in your area—as well as great sounds like Angelo Spencer, who Erickson says “is totally awesome and plays a mean Moroccan-inspired guitar.”

Then take it back a couple decades to finish off, and listen to the latest on cassettes. Thought they were forever gone? Nope, they’re still around, stronger in some circles than ever. Ariel Pink, a cassette artist, likes that “they are cheap, expendable and durable, and when recording at low speeds the sound degrades, but you can fit up to 2 hours worth of music on one cassette.” He checks out new tunes from friends and family, and also scours YouTube and radio station WFMU’s archives.

Mike Sniper, of Brooklyn-based label Captured Tracks, releases (and reissues) music on cassettes. “They’re tactile. You can go to a shop and hold it. Bands can sell it on their merch table and the fan can remember they bought it at the show,” he says. “You can't have that experience with a download.” Off-label he likes Kurt Ville and Future Islands and also thinks there’s good music to be found on the artist-made mixes at FACT.

And that is truly the makings for a well-measured mix well worth listening to and sharing this summer.

Read more from the GOOD Guide to Arts and Culture here.

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News