The Mysterious ‘Frank/Francis’ Mix

by Andrew Patterson

Today I woke up early, though I didn’t have much to do. After checking my e-mail and throwing a load of laundry in, I struggled to find direction in my day. I chopped some potatoes and put them in the oven for roasting. I’ve been using my little handheld cassette player/recorder as a stereo in my tiny kitchen. I keep a little stack of tapes on rotation. Right now there is:

  • Jeru The Damaja‘s debut The Sun Rises In The East that I found at Value Village last week. I’d never heard anything by him before, but had heard him referenced by a few hip-hop-heads over the years. It’s great!
  • A promo tape featuring The Icicle Works, The Go-Betweens, Pierce Turner and Passion Fodder that came free with purchase of their LPs in the late 80’s. I bought it for 50 cents at a thrift shop this summer for the Go-Betweens content and don’t really care about the others.
  • A split tape featuring Edmonton’s Sans AIDS and Victoria’s Lake Country. Sans AIDS is the solo project of Peter Sagar (who used to play in the venerable Outdoor Miners), most everything he touches is golden. Lake Country was a pleasant surprise for me.

All  of the aforementioned tapes had been in and out of my little Sony player a few times in the last week, so I went in search of something new.

I went looking in the depths of my desk drawers and unearthed a handful of unlabeled cassettes. I put some onions in the frying pan and tucked one into the player. Fast-forwarding through the tapes, I found all sorts of things: some overblown recordings of jam room jams, the sounds of my friends and I splashing into a lake this past summer, the first interview I did with a musician nearly six years ago… a whole slew of unlabeled nostalgia.

I also found a tape that I didn’t recognize. On one side it’s labeled ‘Frank Mix’ and on the other, ‘Francis Mix’. When I pressed play on the end of side B, the song ‘Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?’ by Lloyd Cole came on. I got so excited: it’s been one of my favorite songs in the last couple of years; it’s made it’s way onto more than a few mixtapes I’ve made recently. I actually had the chance to interview Lloyd Cole this year, which was sort of surreal. He was super nice and we talked a bit about that song in particular (and it’s offspring).

As I added more and more veggies to my omelet, I heard songs from Galaxie 500, Elvis Costello, John Cale, Aztec Camera and The Triffids. It’s as if I had made the tape myself! Not only were the artists incredible, but the songs were all the right ones, the deep cuts I adore.

I sat down with my breakfast, salted my homefries and steeped my tea, and (as if I didn’t love you enough already Frank/Francis) the song Corduroy by The Wedding Present came on. Surely this was a sign that we were distant soul mates, unknown to each other. I was introduced to The Weddo’s fabulous, Albini-produced LP Seamonsters a few years ago by my good friend Shawn. I kept trying to convince him that ‘Corduroy’ was the best song on it. I fell head over heels with the track; I even convinced my band at the time to cover it live.

Francis/Frank, if you’re out there, we have so much to talk about.