The Noise of Carpet

Stereolab – The Noise of Carpet

Another unmarked tape. This time it was in a soft plastic case with a small picture of Ralph Fiennes from the movie Strange Days taped onto the cover. I thought at first that it must have been a tape with the Strange Days soundtrack on one side but no. Chances are there’s another tape floating around with that on it and I just mixed up the boxes. After all, it hardly matters when there’s nothing written on the box.

I am pretty sure this tape comes from summer 1996 since a bunch of the songs were on albums released that year but it doesn’t have any songs from the Luscious Jackson release later that year so it only makes sense that I made this compilation before that came out.

1996 would put it at a time when I was living up in Maine, trying to save up money for my next move (which wound up being graduate school in Wales a year later). I worked at an insurance company, very boring work, and I didn’t have a lot in common with most of my co-workers. I had bought my first car to get back and forth to the job. It was the most bare bones model they had. It didn’t come with a stereo, not even an antenna, just holes for where the equipment could go if you paid for the upgrade. I figured a car company stereo was probably pretty shitty anyway and I would just go to a local car stereo store and set myself up.

Well, I dropped a huge chunk of change on the stereo at the local place. I got a six-CD changer installed in the trunk, which was controlled by the unit in the car that had a tape deck as well, and a detachable faceplate. This was the height of sophistication in car stereos at the time. I really liked the detachable faceplate feature because I tried to go down to New York, Philadelphia, and DC as often as possible to visit friends and go to shows. So popping off the faceplate made my otherwise very basic car look like it had already been stripped down and not worth breaking into. At least that’s what I told myself and, whether the lack of a noticeable stereo had anything to do with it or not, my car was left alone.

The drive from where I lived in Maine to New York is at least six hours, more if you stop along the way or hit traffic. Usually I would load up the disc changer with six discs that would help kill all that time. However, once you get right down into the heavy traffic area, you can’t be fiddling with the stereo and I would have already burned through all six discs on the way down. I needed a tape that was fast paced to match that last stretch of the drive. I’ve found that the key to driving in cities is to drive as the locals do. This means it’s usually a lot faster and more aggressive than you might otherwise be comfortable doing. Add in unfamiliar territory, frequent lane switches, pothole-ridden pavement, construction detours, and that’s just on the BQE. I made this tape for just those kind of drives.

Side A
Wrong – Everything But the Girl
Shu Zulu Za – Poi Dog Pondering
City Song – Luscious Jackson
Spark Plug – Stereolab
The Noise of Carpet – Stereolab
Stutter – Elastica
Surprise – Luscious Jackson
Waking Up – Elastica
Diamonds and Buttermilk (Matt Warren remix) – Poi Dog Pondering
Big Deal – Everything But the Girl
Flipside – Everything But the Girl
The Chain – Poi Dog Pondering

Side B
Carnival – The Cardigans
Here – Luscious Jackson
Hard Sometimes (M-Theory remix) – Poi Dog Pondering
Before Today – Everything But the Girl
Percolator – Stereolab
Cybele’s Reverie – Stereolab
Wrong (Todd Terry remix edit) – Everything But the Girl
God’s Gallipoli (Arqueen remix) – Poi Dog Pondering
Platetectonic – Poi Dog Pondering
Complicated (Berlin remix) – Poi Dog Pondering
Rise and Shine – The Cardigans
Zap Disco (House-O-Magic mix) – Poi Dog Pondering


  1. I haven’t hear most of these songs since…well, 1996! What a peppy mix you’ve got there. And Elastica! And Luscious Jackson! Wow. Takes me back.


    1. It took me back too! You’ll appreciate this, when I looked for this video, one of the search results was Pearl Jam doing Daughter which morphed into a cover of this song.


  2. I love that there’s so much Poi Dog on this one! And I forgot about Elastica. I want to hear some Elastica NOW! Great playlist Ellen.


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