Mixtapes 2015 and the Return of the Cassette

Mixtapes 2015

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

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.

The Best Songs of 2015: Mixtapes

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

Greg Kot’s 2015 Mixtape

  1. Low, "The Innocents"
  2. Blur, "Go Out"
  3. Courtney Barnett, "Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party"
  4. Eleventh Dream Day, "Go Tell It"
  5. Sleater-Kinney, "Surface Envy"
  6. Torres, "Sprinter"
  7. Miguel, "Leaves"
  8. Grimes, "California"
  9. Raury, "Devil’s Whisper"
  10. Seinabo Sey, "Younger"
  11. Jill Scott, "Closure"
  12. Kendrick Lamar, "King Kunta"
  13. Wind Burial, "Crown of Bones"
  14. Wildhoney, "Slow Motion"
  15. Wire, "Split Your Ends"
  16. Torche, "Loose Men"
  17. Wolf Alice, "Moaning Lisa Smile"
  18. Mac McCaughan, "Box Batteries"
  19. Protomartyr, "Why Does it Shake?"

Listen to Greg’s Mixtape

Jim DeRogatis’s 2015 Mixtape

  1. Glenn Mercer, "Here Come the Warm Jets"
  2. Screaming Females, "Rose Mountain"
  3. Le Butcherettes, "Oil the Shoe If the Critter Knew Any Better"
  4. Wire, "Joust and Jostle"
  5. Alabama Shakes, "Shoegaze"
  6. Fetty Wap, "Trap Queen"
  7. Death Cab for Cutie, "The Ghosts of Beverly Drive"
  8. Local H, "Mansplainer"
  9. Shamir, "Hot Mess"
  10. Low, "The Innocents"
  11. The Dead Weather, "Three Dollar Hat"
  12. Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment, "Sunday Candy"
  13. Snooty Garbagemen, "No Such Thing as Superman"
  14. Alessia Cara, "Here"
  15. Vince Staples, "Street Punks"
  16. Miguel, "Hollywood Dreams"
  17. The Decemberists, "The Singer Addresses His Audience"
  18. Summer Cannibals, "TV"
  19. Lupe Fiasco, "Madonna and Other Mothers in the Hood"
  20. Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, "Bad Blood"

Listen to Jim’s Mixtape

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