Dec
04

Weather & Weddings + a Mixed Tape V2 – Jordan

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Happy Monday to all my lovely friends in the future (NZ). It is only Sunday here, but since we have been listening to this mix whilst attempting to make pancakes – I figured it would be wonderful to share it with you in time for you to enjoy it for your entire Monday.

It’s a sunny 22 degrees here in Obregon – not too much different from the 21 degrees in Auckland today (but apparently Auckland has thunder and lightening storms!). Interestingly however, the low here is THREE degrees and in Auckland the low is 17. Crazy. I honest-to-goodness did not expect to be wearing socks and trackpants to bed at night and then stripping down to shorts and singlet or sundress during the day. It’s like the best of both worlds! Aren’t cold nights so much better than hot ones? And aren’t hot days so much better than cold ones? Oh yes.

Last night I got a chance to do some serious wedding thinking. I avoid the word ‘planning’ because at this stage it’s more just brainstorming (read: dreaming) than actual planning. I read about a beautiful little wedding with only 16 people that had all the decoration and thought and catering of a big wedding. How beautiful!

As Ivan and I have quickly discovered, keeping a guest list small is like trying to do a small shop at the grocery store: ‘oh just one more!’ and it ends up being huge. And we’ve decided that it’s actually the mid-sized weddings that are the hardest lists to create. The small ones are easy – just immediate family and closest (hand) friends. The big lists are easy too – all family and all friends (the ones who you’d want at your fiftieth, a wise piece of advice I received lately!) And so you see, it’s the medium lists that are tricky. Past the hand friends it starts to become a game of ‘well, if we invite him then we need to invite her. And if we invite her then we need to invite them.’ And pretty soon a list that began with 50 people has doubled. We still have a bit of thinking to do I think… And in the meantime if you’re curious about my inspiration and dreaming, follow my wedding board on Pinterest.

Less talking, more music. Here ya go, courtesy of the much-missed Jordan. (He’s not dead, he’s just on the other side of the world now)

jens lekman – black cab
modest mouse – baby blue sedan
casiotone for the painfully alone  - i love creedence
clinic – distortions
billy bragg – a new england
the chills – frantic drift
eels – hey man (now you’re really living)
the brunettes – your heart dies
the mountain goats – thank you mario but our princess is in another castle
radiohead – lozenge of love

(If you can’t see the widget below, click here to view and play the music!)

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Oct
31

Mixed Tape V2 – Pete

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Despite having a little girl who won’t sleep, leaving us as two zombie-like-barely-functioning-when-will-this-madness-end adults, we totally enjoyed the sun this weekend. It was seriously sunny. And the lack of sleep/2 glasses of wine on Saturday night left me feeling completely hungover and awful as we lay like two basking (hungover) cats in the sun on Bethell’s Beach on Sunday.

We enjoyed a celebration dinner with friends & family on Saturday night for Ivan’s birthday (not til Tuesday). We hung out with 1-year-old Quinn in the park on Saturday morning (more birthday celebrations) and we spent the afternoon as I mentioned, almost-dead on the gorgeous Bethell’s beach.

I don’t want to complain, but then I also don’t want to trick you into thinking things are all happy dances around here right now when if I’m completely honest – they’re not. If there were to be any dances around here right now, they would be danced to the tune of ‘please go the fuck to sleep child‘ and they would probably involve less movement than the dances you’re used to.

Her tummy bug is just slowly coming to an end. We hope like crazy that her inability to sleep right now is somehow linked to this bug and once it has passed then sleeping will resume. We are starting to dread night time. This can’t be healthy.

Anyway – my friend Pete has curated a seriously delightful mixed tape today. It is the perfect weather for listening to it right now as I dream of our future train travel, our flights over oceans, our little cottage that we have booked by the sea, and our hopes for a peaceful night’s sleep.

I’m moving to a place called Scotland, London has pushed me away for a few months, so I’m going to explore a new place on my own for a wee while. I’m actually packing my bag right now, my train out of the capital leaves in a couple of hours, so I thought I’d share the playlist I made myself this morning. It’s full of songs that make me smile, and some that follow the theme of leaving somewhere. There is a lot more vocal stuff in here compared to last time, that’s because I like singing along when I’m occupied by something instead of just sitting down and listening ‘properly’. whatever.

The highlight of this mix is Maria Callas,WHAT A VOICE. Even though in French, there’s a line in the aria that translates “Far from a morose winter, let me slumber and breath in the rose before it dies”. My winter will be cold, but there’s room to chase Spring within the dark months and keep all faith in all things. I like that, yes I do. Her character wants to live in a dream that is eternal Spring, and I do too, yes I do.

any day now – elbow
our prayer/gee – brian wilson
heroes and villains – brian wilson
hit the road jack – ray charles
diferente – gotan project
la vie en rose – louis armstrong
je veux vivre dans ce reve – maria callas
creeque alley – the mamas and papas
look for the silver lining – chet baker
welcome – balam acab

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Oct
17

Mixed Tape V2 – Brad

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Mika doesn’t fit her bath tub anymore so it’s just as well that she can sit up unassisted now. We only have 41 days left in New Zealand so everything just needs to keep lasting a tiny bit longer!

We watched the All Blacks walk over Australia yesterday and my friend kept admiring how much Ivan has gotten into rugby since we’ve been here. It’s true, he’s a fan, but not just of rugby, but actually of everything about New Zealand. He’s pretty much part Kiwi now and it’s a beautiful reminder to me that adapting to and embracing new things is much more pleasant and enjoyable than drama and resistance. It’s so easy to see the things that annoy us or the things that are different to what we are used to. But the wonderful things are always there too and are so much more fun to focus on.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

As you think about all the beautiful things in your life right now, enjoy this new mixed tape monday from Brad.

music for traveling indonesia

musings to myself – el michels affair
pretty little ditty – red hot chili peppers
i’ll believe in anything – wolf parade
civillian – wye oak
jolene – white stripes
strawberry swing – frank ocean
i wish – skee lo
gospel song – black rebel motorcycle club
reckoning song – asaf avidan and the mojos

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Aug
15

Mixed Tape Monday #10 – Pete

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I met Pete in a pub on my first night in New York. Pub? Bar? I’m not sure what I’d actually call it, but I’d just checked into the mother of all hostels and a very chatty australian girl asked if I wanted to borrow her hair straightener before inviting me out for a drink with ‘a group of people’. So we went somewhere that served very cheap alcohol and friends were made.

Pete and Noah became my friends in New York and I’ve never seen Pete since. His words are like a drug however, and I can easily spend an afternoon living vicariously through him and his exciting adventures (what do you do exactly Pete?).

The only other real thing I know about Pete is that he loves music. He makes and mixes music. And he is here with us all today (from London!) to introduce us to some of his latest favourites.

So, I’ve put together some songs that have been in my ears recently. They may illuminate me, my mind, or at least my temperament in regards to where it is now; like the flash of a camera, perhaps even bleaching my image a little and picking out some faults that I’d rather not admit to myself.

This is hard.

I am attaching a graph to go with this mix. It illustrates the lack of continuity throughout the selection. Erratic moods? Perhaps.

Interesting results from the graph though, if you are to believe it, apparently the faster the music, the less you think about it. According to me, hungover on a Sunday morning.

Babble….Breakdown.

1- Final Fantasy: This is the dream of Win and Regine

I had no intention of including Montreal based tracks as some sort of weak poke in the ribs to either you or Ivan, but there are two in here.

A loop pedal, a violin, and an honest voice, this man has worked with so many amazing musicians, and contributed to so many records that when he makes his own you know it’ll be nutt’n but GOOD. A song for his two Arcade Fire colleagues this one, its a sober singalong, and that’s why I put it on this morning.

2- Leonard Cohen: The Future

The groove, the backing vocals, the lyrics. Pretty much everything about this song makes me want to run my fingers through my hair and squint into the distance whilst sipping something from a bottle. It oozes the wisdom of a man who only knows the world so well because he’s never ever committed to something properly, aka ‘absolute dude’.

3- Debruit: Nigeria What?

Words do not. They can’t. All I want to say are terribly weak adjectives, one’s like ‘bouncy’. Pathetic. Loads of fun this chewn though, wrap it round you and spread something on some toast.

4- Panda Bear: Take Pills

Totally dreamy. The first couple of minutes of this tune wash over you in a sun drenched, late afternoon mess. They almost wash over you enough to alter the way you feel about whatever it is you have been thinking about and however it has been making you feel for the past however long. Then one of the sweetest vocal lines rolls through the door and you feel like you’re back at school again, uniform half off, caring about all the things you no longer care about anymore because they are “trivial” or because they don’t make any money for you.

Its a shame, because if we were as happy as this vocal line, then we’d probably recognise what the really trivial things are, and the fact that most of them involve money.

5- MachineDrum: The statue

This album is stalking me. I hear this track in my sleep. Some of the effects inside this track make me think of sunburn (the good kind), and in its entirety, it makes everything I’m doing feel BIG. Be it pouring a glass of juice, sipping a glass of juice, walking onto a bus, they all feel BIG when these percussive sounds etc are tumbling around in my head. Truly nice. Truly storming for the Summer of 2011.

6- Venetian Snares: Szamár madár

I couldn’t put any classical music on to this list. If I were to, everything would have collapsed and I would have woken up in November. Luckily, this tune is not only an absolute gem, but it also samples one of the best pieces of cello music ever written, Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto. (Listen to that if you can’t be bothered with your heart anymore and you’d rather just pull it clean out of your chest and wash it in tears).
It may well be a little heavy on the percussive side, but if you drag your ears towards the orchestra//soloist samples, you begin to feel hugely relaxed. It gets me every time, the expectation that my beaty heart inside is going to make me want to turn the music off, only for it to be overruled by my head and ears and their obsession with all those sounds going on inside.

7- Enablers: And last night?

Nothing could ever go wrong when a Bay area band decide to collaborate with a poet. Experienced guitars, patient drums, and stories spun by a voice born for story telling. Thanks to all those involved.

8- Seekae: 3

Quite simply one of the most beautifully crafted songs you will hear this year. A blend of noises taken from across a huge sonic horizon, sat down together and all told to get along and play nicely with one another.
There is a nostalgia to this tune that is truly genuine, I don’t know where it comes from, but when I hear it I am elevated and forced to never ever consider anything mildly negative or fearful. How a song can capture the sentiment of being reflective and full of love, whilst also being an absolute BOOMER is beyond me. This pulls it off though.

9- Tropics: Moves

I know little of this man. I know he’s a man, and he’s young. I’ve only heard a few of his tracks, though this morning one of them came on, and so he has been included here. I know it’s Winter where you are, right? But the shimmery, synth pop from a person recording in their bedroom may well warm those goosebumps of yours. Nice keyboard sounds nestle between a myriad of beats and niceties, allowing you to drift around and get on with whatever you’re doing feeling a little bit more smiley. Very much a Caribou thing going on, spose it ain’t no thang to have more of that though.

10- Of Montreal: Lysergic Bliss

Nothing more than a masterpiece this song. I love it all. The vocals, the harmonies. Everything. Too much of a feel good track. Playful, but in no way twee. Not to me anyway. It is bold, and very honest, I like that.

11- Portico Quartet: Dawn Patrol

These Scottish people know exactly what they are doing, and that’s all we can ask for. They really ought to be writing soundtracks for movies that don’t get shown in multi-screen theatres. Maybe they are? The double bass on this gets me everytime. Every.single.time. When it begins, when it returns. Every.single.time.

12- Joni Mitchell: A Case of you

Pretty much included only for the line “Just before our love got lost you said I’m as constant as the northern star and I said, constantly in the darkness where’s that at? If you want me I’ll be in the bar”.
Joni Mitchell, not soppy, too cool to be soppy. This song allows you to look at all those things you think are so fucking serious in your life, take a step back, apply some salt, laugh a little at them, and then step back towards them and keep on giving.

13- Mogwai: Kids will be skeletons

More people from Scotland. Call it “post-rock” call it whatever. Mogwai absolutely kill it every time, have done for years now. I remember being bought a ticket to see them for my birthday a long long time ago. It was enchanting. I don’t think I blinked from start to end, and still managed not to have dry eyes. Never melancholy, but always ready to cushion you as you sink into oblivion for whatever reason.

FIN.

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Jul
04

Mixed Tape Monday #6 – Geoff

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My dear friend Geoff, currently chasing waves in South America, has provided me with a very Geoff-like mixed tape. He’s introduced me to a few artists in the past who have become huge staples in my musical diet (Gillian Welch comes to mind and more recently Des Ark) but he also likes some bands/genres that I just can not get into. I’m just not a huge fan of punk. But never fear, this mix is awesome and I only skipped 2 songs. Enjoy!

Mix tape, right-o, from the top of my head. In no particular order at all.

Des Ark – two hearts are better than one
Great little track by my new favourite female artist, kinda dark and moody.. Very cool.

RVIVR – tallest tree
Awesome melodic rock / punk band who release all their music for free or donation.

Pelican – A delicate sense of balance
Flipping amazing acoustic instrumental song, proves that you dont need words to convey emotions.

The Menzingers – Chamberlain waits
Very cool band from Philly(?) this song is about delaying the inevitiable and small towns.

Cult of luna – Dim
Kinda prog instrumental metal from scandanavia, epic crescendos.

Lagwagon – Laymens terms
Old personal fave from an old favorite who singlehandedly turned me onto punk and all the derivatives of punk.

Gillian Welch – Dear Someone
Probably my most favourite country alt song.

Hot Water Music – At the end of a gun
Simply brilliant song with lyrics that pretty much sum up my perspective on life my friends too, classic singalong.

Against Me! – Tonight im gona give it 35%
grungy dirty honest acousticy punk song from one of my favourite bacds of the last 10 years.

The Hold Steady – Stevie Nix
Just rad.

Frank Turner – Sunday nights
Amazing sonwrriter musician who also sings lyrics that speak to me at all levels.

Built to Spill – Carry the zero
90´s alt rock band, soaring guitars and awesome vocals.

Blacklisted – Canonized
Philadelphia hardcore, gets my blood pumping, singer never wears shoes on stage and is manic depressive. Sings solely about being angry and unhappy, but killer aggression.

ISIS – Backlit
Cool slow grungy heavy cool.

Restorations – Linear notes
Rad, grungy, rocky, get on it!

Dr Dre – Bitch Niggas
Probably the funiest song ever.

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