If you know me, you know I love to make music mixes (and there’s a good chance I’ve made one for you). In an effort to post on a more regular basis, here’s the first in what will (hopefully) be a regular series where I present a mix I’ve made and comment on it. This isn’t exactly a bold new innovation in blogging; the idea is borrowed from Seattle Weekly, which runs a weekly column called CD-R Go! As for “Kriofske Mix”, well, it was what I called one of the first mixes I ever made for a friend. Nearly a decade later, I’m still making mixes for her, and those very words tend to find their way onto them in some fashion. To inaugurate this feature, however, let’s start off with something brand spanking new:

OLD SCHOOL (October 2005; Format: CD-R)

1. Nico, “These Days”
2. Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, “Twisted”
3. Dionne Warwick, “Walk on By”
4. Frank Sinatra, “It Happened In Monterey”
5. Blossom Dearie, “Rhode Island is Famous For You”
6. Dusty Springfield, “Breakfast in Bed”
7. Nina Simone, “Either Way I Lose”
8. Charles Mingus, “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”
9. Spanky and Our Gang, “Like to Get to Know You”
10. Al Green, “Let’s Stay Together”
11. Billie Holiday, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”
12. Ike and Tina Turner, “He’s The One”
13. Louis Jordan, “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie”
14. Cannonball Adderly, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”
15. Vince Guaraldi, “Peppermint Patty”
16. Ella Fitzgerald, “Swingin’ Shepherd Blues”
17. Keely Smith, “Don’t Take Your Love From Me”
18. Laura Nyro, “Eli’s Comin’”
19. Stevie Wonder, “Creepin’”
20. The Supremes, “It’s Time to Break Down”
21. Julie Covington, “My Silks and Fine Arrays”
22. Chet Baker, “My Funny Valentine”

A quick glance at the artists here and it’s not too hard to figure out the theme: yep, all of these songs were recorded before I was born. One sticky night over the summer, I was thinking it’d be cool to have a mix of older music to play now and then—not necessarily for nostalgia’s sake (or just to see if I had enough good stuff in my collection to do it). Sure, there’s admittedly something cozy and soothing about songs from this thirty-odd year period, but oldies and easy listening radio formats always seem to get it wrong, playing the same, well-worn once-hits into the ground.

That’s why this mix opens with a Nico song, arguably one of the greatest of its era, even though it took THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS to bring it to most people’s attention nearly 35 years later. Obviously, Nico was just a little too unusual (and off-key) for top 40 consumption at the time. In that spirit, I’ve mostly shied away from massive hit singles, apart from Al Green and Dionne Warwick, both of whom will never sound overplayed to these ears.

The remainder shifts between jazz (Mingus, Charlie Brown music from Vince Guaraldi), vocal jazz (Frank, Ella, Billie, Keely), jazz novelties (Lambert, Hendricks and Ross’ still-fresh “Twisted”, Blossom Dearie’s definitive take on an endearingly goofy Broadway chestnut), soul jazz (Cannonball Adderly, Nina Simone), soul (a delirious must-hear number from Ike and Tina, a smooth, underplayed one from Stevie), blue-eyed soul (Laura Nyro, Dusty (in Memphis, of course)) and some dependable, middle-of-the-road pop—although “Like to Get to Know You” has that neat, unexpectedly psychedelic final minute, as if someone had begun listening to Jefferson Airplane all of a sudden.

Some selections, like “Walk on By” or “Breakfast in Bed” have been favorites since I can’t remember when; others I’ve rediscovered within the past year, like “Creepin’” and especially Holiday’s ebullient reading of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”. I confess that three selections are discoveries from this music mix; one of them, the Julie Covington song (ice princess rather convincingly asks you to bring her an axe and a spade over a snaking, sinister arrangement) lends a thrilling, ominous edge to Chet Baker’s “My Funny Valentine”, which follows, closing things on a decidedly creepy note. So much for innocuous nostalgia.