Archive for the ‘Playlists for Emotional Occasions’ Category
What’s better for studying for finals than some ambient music? Probably actually studying, to answer my own question, but listening to Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II is good enough for now. This selection, “Matchsticks”, is perhaps one of the most terrifying bits of music ever written. Honestly…
Listening to Elliott Smith again is like a deep conversation with an old friend. As one of the first “modern” musicians that I started listening to, along with Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and Eminem, he holds an incredibly dear spot in my heart. Especially his album Figure 8 which was on repeat through most of middle school and early high school. I’ve included on our playlist an outtake from the album that I recently discovered. Though the title of the album is derived from this song, “Figure 8″, it was not included. Regardless, still embodies the sound and aura of the album [kudos if you recognized it from Schoolhouse Rock].
Next on the playlist I put on another sad song from the album, “Everything Means Nothing to Me”. I’m not in a bad place now but these slow and low songs just feel pretty right right now. Also, Smith’s death was only 8 years and 10 days ago to this day.
listen to the songs by clicking the player image on the right or right here.
Choir of Young Believers – “Why Must it Always Be this Way”
The simple yet beautiful melodies pulled through the strings of violins are similar to those heard in Wye Oak’s The Knot. Choir of Young Believers is a largely overlooked band. Their 2008 album, This is for the White in Your Eyes, may lack cohesion (especially with songs like “Action Reaction” included in the repertoire), and some songs are a little too reminiscent of Fleet Foxes. However, the beauty and creativity of this band should not be discarded – now more than ever, since Kid Cudi has suddenly made them relevant.
Animal Collective – “Cuckoo Cuckoo”
I wrote off Strawberry Jam a long time ago. However, when I by happenchance heard the melancholy piano sample that begins “Cuckoo Cuckoo” I was taken back to the days of learning “Clair de Lune” on my piano at home. It also, strangely enough, reminded me of George’s sample in “Not So Visions Fugitive”. They say familiarity is likeable.
Choir of Young Believers – “Claustrophobia”
Speaking of sampling, let’s talk about Kid Cudi. He samples “Claustrophobia” in his song “Mojo so Dope”. I can’t decide which version I like better.
Aphex Twin - “Avril 14th”
While Kid Cudi is sampling obscure indie, Kanye is sampling the 21st century schizoid man… Sampling is fun when it’s a competition to see who can dig up weirder stuff. Props to Kanye though for upping the ante by using this Aphex Twin sample in “Blame Game”.
Maximum Balloon/Little Dragon – “If You Return”
The Maximum Balloon album is all about collaborations. In this song, you may recognize Little Dragon’s sizzling voice from Gorillaz “To Binge”.
St. Vincent – “The Strangers”
Kid Cudi samples this song at the lyrics, “Paint the black hole blacker”. Although the lyrics fit perfectly into Cudi’s “darkness” theme – “Make it darker, give me a marker” – this piece is, stand alone, mystical enough without Cudi’s maudlin interjection.
Avey Tare – “Oliver Twist”
Who needs drugs when you have Avey Tare’s solo album? It’s trippier than standard Animal Collective. More importantly, it raises two questions. Is Animal Collective separated forever? Is Avey Tare actually the mastermind behind Animal Collective?
LISTEN by clicking on the player on the right
click on player on the right to listen
Belle and Sebastian – “I Didn’t See it Coming” “Expectations”
You may recognize this indie pop group from their contribution to the oh-so-loved Juno soundtrack. Their sound is upbeat, tween, but always paired with darker, sadder undertones. “Expectations” is from the Juno soundtrack whereas “I Didn’t See it Coming” if from their 2010 released album, Write About Love.
Twin Shadow – “Castles in the Snow”, “Shooting Holes”
Twin Shadow is a new group that just recently released their first album Forget, produced by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, and manages to keep all Grizzly Bear influence away from their final product. “Shooting Holes” is a disco song and “Castles in the Snow” is explained by P4K, “Tracks like these create a mood that is nostalgic, regretful, and even sinister.”
School of Seven Bells – “Iamundernodisguise”, “Heart is Strange (active child remix)”
Active Child will be doing a show with School of Seven Bells tonight at Otto Bar. Coming across this remix makes me think they might get on stage together to collaborate. “Iamundernodisguise” is a new age choir with tribal drums and electronic layering. It’s all about pleasure, mysticism and echoes of the past.
Click on the player on the left to Listen
Tamaryn – The Waves
At first, you may feel outraged – how dare someone try to sing like Victoria Legrand? But then you realize just how wonderful it is that there isn’t only one of her. Someone else out there can sound innocent, yet so sultry.
Tamaryn sounds like Teen Dream’s evil twin. Just as dreamy but on the dark side of the moon.
The Naked and Famous – Passive me, Aggressive you
Ever since MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular, it seems everyone is trying to recreate “Kids”. The Naked and Famous may have succeeded. And although “Young Blood” is the anthem of this album, there is no reason to ignore more somber songs such as “The Sun”. These give depth to what would otherwise be your typical 80s revival album with a “Kids” remake.
Wintersleep – Welcome to the Night Sky
Not their most recent album, however, it manages to stay green. Acoustic and emotional, these guys are a weepier version of R.E.M. I’m also really partial to the piano in “Dead Letter and the Infinite Yes”.
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
The subject: glorifying hipsters still living at home in the suburbs. The substance: really good music composed of unfinished cadences, traditional big band instrumentation and story unfolding in the music not just the words.
click on player to the right to listen
1. Absofacto “Synthesocietal” 2010
2. Toro Y Moi Remix “Alligator” 2010
3. Snowden “Anemone Arms” 2010
4. Kid A “Trampled Youth” 2009
5. Portugal. The Man “All My People” 2010
6. Best Coast “Moody” 2009
7. Radiohead “Palo Alto” 1998 - you know it’s good when it still sounds novel 12 years later
Oh West Coast Best Coast – I’m not sure if I’ll ever seriously embrace your granola ways. I’m not gonna lie, I love sipping on kambucha and smelling soy candles, but it’s too much to offer me flaxseed pancakes and locally grown organic eggs for breakfast. I kid you not, this stuff is on our hotel breakfast menu.
George and I are excited, however, to sneak away from family obligations in granola-town to check out the San Fran Indie scene. I’m hoping that a few Coachella leftovers wandered up to the North. Having done some research, I found we’re lucky to be there on the same days that Yo La Tengo is playing… but I’m thinking we’ll try some smaller venues such as Amnesia. Who knows, this is my first time doing San Fran Indie.
I feel like songs are almost like smells in that they can elicit memories otherwise rarely recalled. You know that summer fresh cut grass smell that, when present, calls forth images of running around outside, picking dandelions, or waking up early for elementary school? At least that’s what I see.
Songs have a similarly powerful effect for me . Play Dan Black’s
“U + Me =”
and I’m transported to South Beach Miami. Brett and I are leaving our hotel room, overly happy, and refusing to turn off the music. So, we decide to listen to Dan Black through my iPhone’s speakers, holding it up to our ears and laughing as we walk down the street to Bambinas, then Mansion, a pizza joint and a club respectively. I’m sure we looked ridiculous.
Play Death Cab’s
“Bixby Canyon Bridge”
and I’m in California staring out the window of my family’s rented minivan. This was during my obsession with Jack Kerouac. When I found out that “Bixby Canyon Bridge” was a tribute to Kerouac I decided it was only appropriate that I make it my theme song for our trip to California that summer.
puts me on a commuter train from my Grandparents’ place to my work in downtown Philadelphia. I’m tired because it’s eight in the morning and I play “Golden Skans” to wake myself up while I read the newspaper.
Andrew Bird brings me back to last spring when I spent every spare moment studying, often in my room, playing
“Not a Robot, but a Ghost”
with the window open. The humid Baltimore air blows through my room while I stared at psychopharmocology power points.
Well it seems somewhat that Pitchfork has stolen our idea for a playlist. No hard feelings; in fact I’m honored (or am I giving the Aphera Team too much credit here? *cheeky laugh*). Regardless of our ability to influence the indie powerhouse, their new feature at the very least inspired me to update our playlist. My sister is away on her spring break and she’s traditionally the one who’s really on top of the new music of today so I won’t attempt to fulfill where I know I can’t; thus, I present a spring time mix with the average age of the songs being 10 years old (jeeeeez I really need to get with the times).
Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse (RIP) – Little Girl (featuring Julian Casablancas)
Beck – Tropicalia
Battles – Rainbow
Lole Y Manuel – Bulerías De La Pena
Devendra Banhart – Carmencita
The best lyrics state the obvious. It’s the fact that artists can express in words what barely reaches our own consciousness. Bob Dylan profoundly sings in ‘The Times They Are A-changin” a simple law about the passage of time (in the title above), that when brought to light, can bring one comfort or distress. Similarly profound yet obvious is Benjamin Gibbard’s lyric, ‘The glove compartment is inaccurately named,’ in Death Cab’s ‘Title and Registration’. And finally, my favorite lyric of all time, from Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’, ‘Yes, they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness, But it’s better than drinkin’ alone.’
I’m not saying anything about the lyrics below, in fact, I don’t know these songs well enough to have dissected their lyrics. However, I am saying that music can console. It can tell us that, ‘the present now will later be past’ when the immediate is not looking so good, it can be upbeat when we are happy, it can be somber when we are sad. In other words, it makes good company. Enjoy the tracks below on this Sunday afternoon.
Click on player to listen to tracks- since the Broken Bell’s track is so new and hyped we did not add it to our player but linked below
Ok Go ‘Skyscrapers’
Here We Go Magic – ’Fangela’
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Heads Will Roll’
Bon Iver – ‘Blood Bank’
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