(compiled March/April 2011)
Spotify playlist (not all tracks show up…see full list below):
Generator 1st Floor– Freelance Whales
Everlasting Light– The Black Keys
Equestrian (Flosstradamus Remix)– U.S. Royalty
Love and Mathematics– Broken Social Scene
Runaway– Beats Antique
Starring– Freelance Whales
Janglin– Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Two Steps, Twice– Foals
World Sick– Broken Social Scene
Alone– Dan Black
Symphony 2 Was a Surprise– Emily Wells
Cause = Time– Broken Social Scene
Future Starts Slow– The Kills
Club Soda– Ghostland Observatory
*All songs available on my shared Dropbox and Spotify!
The first song in this playlist is by a band that I heard about from my music buddy, Nicole De Jesus. After hearing ‘Generator 1st floor,‘ I was immediately hooked…especially with the interesting elements of the banjo and the glockenspiel (a percussion instrument similar to a xylophone). The high energy vibe of the song ‘Starring‘ had me playing it non-stop in my car, hence the choice for the playlist title. “This is me, starring, in a stranger’s nightmare” was on repeat in my head for a while, as well. Just too damn catchy! Other Freelances Whales songs that I really like are ‘Hannah,’ ‘Location‘ and ‘Generator 2nd Floor.’
About a week after finding out about Freelance Whales, I saw that they were playing with the Foals (another one of my favorite bands who I found out about through my buddy Andy Bluhm) on the Thursday (April 14th) before Coachella in San Francisco. This could not have been more perfect timing! Two of my buddies from Austin, TX and my BEST BUDDY from back home in Philly were both planning to come visit me during that time! Overall, the show turned out to be AWESOME. The opener, Naked & Famous (from New Zealand), was really awesome. They kind of reminded me of an MGMT/Passion Pit mix, but with a chick singer (who reminded me of Metric, another one of my favorite artists)…and there’s a good chance one of their songs is going to be on my next playlist! Freelance Whales was not as impressive live as I had hoped they would be (with their singer being a little off rhythm), but overall they really do have such a unique sound (and probably will get better at their live performances the more shows they play).
Foals were INCREDIBLE, just incredible. There were so many layers of sounds that I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT PART OF MY BODY TO MOVE!! ‘Spanish Sahara‘ and ‘Two Steps, Twice‘ were both UNREAL. Mindblowing, in fact. Foals definitely know how to memorize a crowd. At one point, the singer even tried to climb up the side of the wall to get onto the second level balcony! (See picture below) I put the instrumental version of ‘Spanish Sahara’ on this playlist because I really enjoy the extra instruments that are required to replace the vocals. At about 4 min and 17 second into the song, you’ll realize why the build-up of all those layers of instruments was worth the anticipation. Same mindblowing reaction goes for ‘Two Steps, Twice’ at about 3 minutes and 12 sec in. OMG.
‘Everlasting Light‘ was one of the first songs on the Black Key’s album that really stuck with me. I saw them briefly at Austin City Limits (ACL) music festival (Oct 2010), and their sound reminds me a little bit of Spoon. Just recently, I met a music producer (Arik Blum) in Granada, Spain that was working on a collaborative track between Florence & the Machine & the Black Keys. It sounded SOOOOOO BADASS when he let me listen to it, and I have no doubt that it’ll soon be released to the public. I found out about Florence & the Machine from my friend Hillary Davis, and was IMMEDIATELY hooked. Her intense pipes (voice) juxtaposed with gentle layers of the loom and aggressive beats of the drums is unlike anything I’ve ever heard before- almost sounds mystical in a way. ‘Cosmic Love’ is one of my favorites of her songs and it will definitely be on one of my future playlists.
During my recent travels to Spain (especially Barcelona), I met some Europeans who gave me some great music suggestions, especially for electronic and drum & bass genres. One of these was a Scottish kid named Calum Alexander Horn who told me to check out the London dubstep producer named Skream. I started listening to his albums and was quickly drawn to the songs ‘Rutten‘ and ‘Emotionally Mute.’ I LOVE the flute element to ‘Rutten’ and really dig the overall badass beat. Most often I prefer electronic/dubstep tracks that don’t have vocals.
The next song on this playlist, ‘Equestrian (Flosstradamus remix)‘ by U.S. Royalty, I heard about from my friend Alby Adame. For some crazy reason, this song makes me feel like I’m on a beach in Australia…Kind of strange considering that the main chorus is “I come down from the mountain” (which is quite catchy and hard to get out of your head!) Also, I love the the whistle toots that are threaded throughout the song…I laugh every time I hear them (even when I’m out running).
Broken Social Scene was a band that I heard about from a friend (Alexis Loulier) and I also saw that they were going to be playing at Coachella. I chose to put three of their songs, ‘Love and Mathematics,’ ‘World Sick,’ and ‘Cause = Time‘ on this playlist because they all captured very distinct sounds (regardless of being from the same band). This is not surprising though, considering that the band has up to 19 members, and is often labeled a “supergroup” based on the size and/or ubiquity of their members. The steady, monotonous beat of ‘Love and Mathematics‘ makes it a good background song for things like studying AND possibly mathematics. I love the opening beat to ‘World Sick‘— SO GOOD. I also really like ‘Cause = Time,’ and I think it’s funny that I used to think the singer were saying “They all wanna f*ck the COPS” until I looked at the song title and realized they were saying “They all wanna f*ck the CAUSE.” HAHA, oops…
I saw Beats Antique at ACL and was seduced (yes, for reals) by their electro-acoustic, heavy bass, and belly dancing elements. They are an electronic/world roots/dubstep group that emerged from the San Francisco’s eclectic performance art scene (SF pride, YAY!), and is composed of producers David Satori and Tommy Cappel and world-renowned belly dance performer and music producer Zoe Jakes. This trio creates a unique spectacle of raw and provocative blurred with spiritual and elegance…think of a marching band groove crashing into bluesy folk chords, only to be layered in with electronic beats and Middle Eastern melodies. (YEAH, my jaw was dropping too.) Aside from ‘Beauty Beats,’ (on a past playlist) ‘Runaway‘ is one of my favorite of their songs. I love it’s aggression and anticipation of different sounds….SO GOOD. Gets my adrenaline flowing so hard I feel like I could “runaway” from a cougar! 😉
Thanks to a recommendation from my buddy, Austin De La Cruz, I stayed to watch Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros at ACL. I’m so glad he convinced me to because I ended up really enjoying their overall sound and live presence. ‘Home’ and ’40 Day Dream,’ (on my previous playlists), and ‘Janglin‘ were just some of my favorites, to name a few.
‘Alone‘ was a song that I heard at ACL and really liked so I decided to put it on this playlist. It turns out that the British singer, Dan Black, has collaborated with Kid Cudi on a song called ‘Symphonies.’ Maybe that will end up on my next playlist!
‘Symphony 2 Was a Surprise‘ was a song that Nicole De Jesus put on a mixed CD for me. I was immediately enamored by the musical genius behind this sound. Her name is Emily Wells, and her ability to merge hip-hip and classical with a violin and synthesizer is pretty impressive. What’s even more insane is that she creates her own loops for live performances and does not use any pre-recorded loops. Nicole saw her live at a festival and said she was le siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick.
The Kills was another band I found out about through Nicole De Jesus. ‘Future Starts Slow‘ is off their new album, Blood Pressure, and has a really aggressive vibe that I really like. It’s definitely the kind of theme song you should play to get your confidence up and make you feel all badass.
Ghostland Observatory is a band from Austin that I found out about through my buddy Tyler Tratten and some of my buddies from Austin. After a quick listen through some of the albums, I chose to put ‘Club Soda‘ on this playlist since it was one of my immediate favorites and since it didn’t have any vocals…(again, I tend to prefer electronic/funk/dubstep without vocals). They are playing soon (Mayish) in the Bay Area and I can’t wait to go!
If you dig these songs then just shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your home address and I can send you a CD! 🙂