Mixtapes 2015

Mixtapes 2015 and the Return of the Cassette

Jim and Greg share their favorite songs of the year through their 2015 Mixtapes. Plus, they talk about one of the year's most surprising musical trends: the cassette comeback.

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The Return of the Cassette: 01.01.2016

On this mixtape-centric episode of Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg confess they haven't recently listened to an actual cassette tape. And in this age of instantly downloadable music, the real question is: has anyone?

As it turns out, yes. Much like vinyl, cassette tapes are peeking out from obsolescence to make a significant reappearance.

The National Audio Company – the biggest of the few audio cassette producers that still exist – reported upward of 10 million cassettes sold in 2014 and a 20% increase in profit. In recent years, big-name bands like Dinosaur Jr. and MGMT have put out cassette tapes to a widely positive response. In fact, the best-selling release of Record Store Day this year was not a vinyl record at all but a cassette—Metallica's No Life Til Leather, selling close to 3,000 copies. Despite the convenience of mp3 files, cassette-tape listeners value the sound and sentiment of this old-fashioned music medium. Jim and Greg talk to Steve Stepp, the owner of the National Audio Company, about this surprising comeback.

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The Best Songs of 2015: Mixtapes

Before we fully jump into 2016, let's say goodbye to 2015 with the year's best singles.

Featured Songs

  1. Metallica, Hit the Lights, Kill 'Em All, Megaforce, 1983
  2. Bow Wow Wow, C30, C60, C90 Go, The Best of Bow Wow Bow, RCA, 1996
  3. The Soup Dragons, Pleasantly Surprised, Hang-Ten!, Sire, 1987
  4. Redbone, Come and Get Your Love, Wovoka, Epic, 1973
  5. Eleventh Dream Day, Go Tell It, Works For Tomorrow, Thrill Jockey, 2015
  6. Sleater Kinney, Surface Envy, No Cities to Love, Sub Pop, 2015
  7. Torres, Sprinter, Sprinter, Partisan, 2015
  8. Protomartyr,“Why Does It Shake?”The Agent Intellect, Hardly Art, 2015
  9. Raury, Devil's Whisper, All We Need, Columbia, 2015
  10. Seinabo Sey, Younger, Pretend, Virgin, 2015
  11. Jill Scott, Closure, Woman, Blues Babe/Atlantic, 2015
  12. Blur, Go Out, The Magic Whip, Parlophone, 2015
  13. Glenn Mercer,“Here Come the Warm Jets,”Incidental Hum, 2015
  14. Le Butcherettes, Oil the Shoe If the Critter Knew Any Better, A Raw Youth, Ipecac, 2015
  15. Alessia Cara, Here, Know-It-All, Def Jam, 2015
  16. The Decemberists, The Singer Addresses His Audience, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, Rough Trade, 2015
  17. Alabama Shakes, Shoegaze, Sound & Color, ATO, 2015
  18. The Beatles, Any Time At All, A Hard Day's Night, Parlophone, 1964
  19. Wilco, Random Name Generator, Star Wars, dBpm, 2015
  20. Fraser A. Gorman, Shiny Gun, Slow Gum, Kobalt, 2015 1, The Bad Doctors,“AC,”Burning City, P. Trash, 2014
  21. Iggy Pop, The Passenger, Lust for Life, RCA, 1977

Footnotes

washingtonpost.com Cassette revival stereogum.com Record Store Day 2015 soundopinions.org Low on SO soundopinions.org Sleater-Kinney on SO soundopinions.org Wire on SO soundopinions.org Protomartyr on SO soundopinions.org Screaming Females on SO soundopinions.org Alabama Shakes on SO soundopinions.org Death Cab for Cutie on SO soundopinions.org The Decemberists on SO soundopinions.org Lupe Fiasco on SO