february 2017 mix

Posted on Friday 3 February 2017


[partial spotify version]

I’ve been a fan of British Documentary director, Adam Curtis, for about 12 years: since seeing his spectacular thesis on the correlation between the neoconservative and radical Islamist movements, The Power of Nightmares. His subsequent films, The Trap, All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace, Bitter Lake, and most recently, HyperNomalisation; have each provided incredibly compelling framing of how to understand the world in which we find ourselves. But as strong as the argument is in each film, the soundtracks are shockingly good. Curtis has an obvious taste for comedic irony in his juxtaposition of upbeat pop with the horrors of Western imperialism, but the films are almost all grounded by Curtis’ other interest in “really noisy (ambient electronic music), but turned really melodic.” A good deal of these tracks — but not all — have been featured in Curtis’ films. They seem apt given our full-throttled plunge into the abyss.

(Adam Curis voice) This mix will tell the story of the connections between these strange songs, and reveal the ever present unease hiding within them.

February 2017 Mix – “isn’t quite as it seems”

01 Pye Corner Audio – The Mirror Ball Cracked (2012)
02 LCD Soundsystem – Great Release (2005)
03 Pizzicato Five – Baby Love Child (1991)
04 The House In The Woods – Sunlight On Rusting Hulk (2013)
05 Brian Eno – In Dark Trees (1975)
06 Jenny Hval – Ritual Awakening (2016)
07 Burial – Come Down To Us (2013)
08 Worriedaboutsatan – A Way Out(2016)
09 Nine Inch Nails – 9 Ghosts I (2008)
10 Mittland Och Leo – Decades (2014)
11 Burial – Forgive (2006)
12 Thomas Ragsdale – To Send You Off (2015)
13 The Twilight Sad – A Million Ignorants (2012)
14 Yo La Tengo – Everyday (2000)
15 Cliff Martinez – Wrong Floor (2011)
16 Recondite – Levo (Club Edit) (2014)
17 Nine Inch Nails – Right Where It Belongs (2005)
18 Brian Eno – The Big Ship (1975)
19 Suicide – Dream Baby Dream (1986)

: FULL MIX DOWNLOAD (.ZIP) :

(Streamable version of the mix)

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START AGAIN | BAD VIBES | A LONG LOST DREAM

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favorite songs 2016

Posted on Sunday 8 January 2017

If this year’s mix of my favorites is any guide, 2016 was a good year for mainstream music. And I think that’s fair: Beyoncé’s incredible concept album signaled a shift in how high profile artists approach their audience as they move from roles as ‘top selling’ artists towards ‘most streamed’ artists whose exclusive content could make waves amongst the competition between streaming sites. So the music industry is still looking at music as ‘content,’ but at least there is an acknowledgement that art will draw people, where previously the industry looked to catchy hooks grabbing attention through repetitive play.

I’m happy with what I heard. Here are some of my favorites:

2016 Best-of-Mix Tracklist:
01. Frank Ocean – Nikes
02. Phantogram – Answer
03. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam – Sick As A Dog
04. Preoccupations – Anxiety
05. DJ Shadow feat. Run The Jewels – Nobody Speak
06. The Range – Copper Wire
07. Jamila Woods feat. Noname – VRY BLK
08. Mondo Cozmo – Plastic Soul
09. Psychic Twin – Lose Myself
10. RARI – Birth
11. The Avett Brothers – No Hard Feelings
12. Kanye West feat. Rhianna – Famous
13. Teleman – Glory Hallelujah
14. Operators – Space Needle
15. Mitski – A Burning Hill
16. Radiohead – True Love Waits
17. Beyoncé – All Night
18. DIIV – Waste of Breath

And again, I’ve posted my top 50, or at least as much of the top 50 that is on Spotify here:

Previous year mixes:
2015 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001

topomodesto @ 4:20 pm
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december 2016 mix

Posted on Thursday 8 December 2016


[sadly lacking spotify version]

I can’t think of any better way to send of this altogether shitty year than with a soulful obituary.

My love for soul music of the 1960s, particularly the (mostly) southern ballads that get called “Deep Soul,” is often peppered into my mixes, but it’s been a while since I did an outright soul mix. This one is essentially my ‘top 25’ soul cuts of all time. I mean, there are songs I love a lot that aren’t on here, but I’ve always been drawn to the drama, emotion, and those sometimes hard-hitting drums of ballads.

When the hurt is gone, it doesn’t sound so bad.

Oh, and that’s Little Richard on the cover.

December 2016 Mix – “I Use The Same Voice I Always Have.”

01 Bettye Lavette – You Killed The Love (1963)
02 Marvin L. Sims – Danger (1969)
03 Barbara & The Browns – Can’t Find No Happiness (1968)
04 James Carr – The Dark End Of The Street (1967)
05 William Bell – I Forgot To Be Your Lover (1968)
06 Clay Hammond – I’ll Make It Up To You (1968)
07 Barbara West – Anyone But You (1968)
08 Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum & Durr – You Can’t Blame Me (1971)
09 Aaron Neville – How Could I Help But Love You? (1963)
10 Danny White – Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1963)
11 Jarvis Jackson – Something I Never Had (1966)
12 Joe Tex – The Love You Save (Might Be Your Own) (1966)
13 James Brown – Lost Someone (1961)
14 Eddie Hinton – Cover Me (1966)
15 Tony Ashley & The Delicates – All Along I’ve Loved You (1967)
16 Little Richard – I Don’t Know What You’ve Got But It’s Got Me (1965)
17 Ben E. King – It’s All Over (1964)
18 Willie Small – Say You Will (1965)
19 Bill Brandon – Rainbow Road (1968)
20 O.V. Wright – That’s How Strong My Love Is (1964)
21 Toussaint McCall – Nothing Takes The Place Of You (1967)
22 Mickey Murray – Lonely Room (1967)
23 Howard Tate – I Learned It All The Hard Way (1967)
24 Wilson Pickett – If You Need Me (1963)
25 Irma Thomas – Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand) (1964)

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no love. | NEEDLES AND PINS

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november 2016 mix

Posted on Wednesday 9 November 2016


[almost complete spotify version]

Music is my release. And I needed release after yesterday’s election.

November 2016 Mix – “CAN YOU GET ME OUT OF HERE”

01 Heavens to Betsy – Axemen (1993)
02 Golden Triangle – Jinx (2010)
03 SLUTEVER – No Offense (2011)
04 Litige – Paranoïa (2016)
05 FIDLAR – No Waves (2013)
06 Chastity Belt – Time to Go Home (2015)
07 nancy pants – I Didn’t Say (2014)
08 TacocaT – The Internet (2016)
09 Cold Pumas – A Versatile Gift (2012)
10 Haybaby – New Friends (2015)
11 Gurr – No New Friends (2015)
12 Cayetana – South Philly (2014)
13 Ripped Jeans – Angelic Milk (2016)
14 Perfect Pussy – Interference Fits (2014)
15 all dogs – How Long (2015)
16 Cherry Glazerr – White’s Not My Color This Evening (2014)
17 Palehound – Easy (2015)
18 Jay Reatard – Nightmares (2006)
19 Big Thief – Masterpiece (2016)
20 The Beets – I Think I Might Have Built A Horse (2011)

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LET’S GET FUNKY | TAKE THIS WITH YOU | NEEDLES AND PINS

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the power of forgiveness

Posted on Sunday 6 November 2016

The act of forgiveness — true forgiveness from the heart — must be one of the most empowering actions that one can undertake. You can aim to forgive, but you can’t force it. Sometimes it takes time. Sometimes it takes emotional expenditure. Although I am not a person of faith, I admire the central understanding in Judeo-Christian faiths of the personal empowerment that the act of forgiveness affords us in releasing malice and ill-will. We forgive not for the forgiven, but to find balance in ourselves.

Forgiveness is the central concept of The Avett Brothers‘ “No Hard Feelings,” and it should come as no surprise that it’s lyrics are speckled with religious overtones. It’s a particularly calming and heartwarming song – whether used as reinforcement for finding forgiveness of others, or as mantra to help find forgiveness.

When my body won’t hold me anymore
And it finally lets me free
Will I be ready?
When my feet won’t walk another mile?
And my lips give their last kiss goodbye?
Will my hands be steady when I lay down my fears, my hopes, and my doubts?
The rings on my fingers, and the keys to my house
With no hard feelings?

When the sun hangs low in the west
And the light in my chest won’t be kept held at bay any longer
When the jealousy fades away
And it’s ash and dust for cash and lust
And it’s just hallelujah
And love in thoughts and love in the words
Love in the songs they sing in the church
And no hard feelings

Lord knows they haven’t done much good for anyone
Kept me afraid and cold
With so much to have and hold
Mmm, mmm-hmm

When my body won’t hold me anymore
And it finally lets me free
Where will I go?
Will the trade winds take me south through Georgia grain?
Or tropical rain?
Or snow from the heavens?
Will I join with the ocean blue?
Or run into a savior true?
And shake hands laughing
And walk through the night, straight to the light
Holding the love I’ve known in my life
And no hard feelings

Lord knows they haven’t done much good for anyone
Kept me afraid and cold
With so much to have and hold
Under the curving sky
I’m finally learning why
It matters for me and you
To say it and mean it too
For life and it’s loveliness
And all of its ugliness
Good as it’s been to me
I have no enemies
I have no enemies
I have no enemies
I have no enemies

I wouldn’t really consider myself an Avett Brothers fan, but I was immediately drawn to the song, and I think it’s partly for the message, and partly because the melody feels like it was appropriated from (or at least bears an uncanny resemblance to) Okkervil River‘s 2006 B-side, “Love To A Monster.”

The lyrics of “Love To A Monster” are written from the point of view of the monster – a self-absorbed and manipulative man-baby of a womanizing rock star. Expressing the perspective of the villain was a common theme to Will Sheff‘s mid-2000s writing. And so while I actually slightly prefer the Okkervil River’s Memphis-like arrangement of “To Love A Monster” to the more Nashville “No Hard Feelings,” it’s rewarding to be able to sing along in eschewing the concept of “the enemy,” and without having to wince at the inner dialogue of a toxic personality. But empathy for that wounded and troubled soul is a commonality to the songs.

Empathy is a powerful concept.

Forgiveness is its even more powerful act.

topomodesto @ 2:26 pm
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october 2016 mix

Posted on Wednesday 5 October 2016


[almost complete spotify version]

Suuns‘ 2013 album, Images Du Futur, ended with the droning and mesmerizing track, “Music Won’t Save You.” The lyrics are delivered empty and dejected, as if the comes as a disappointing realization from a place of wisdom. We want them to be false, though. We want to think that the music will save us, and so time and again, in places of joy and in pain, we return to it: those songs we love to dance to; those songs we fell in love to; and those songs that expressed our sorrow when it seemed like no one else understood.

Music won’t save you. It won’t get you a good job. It won’t provide you shelter. It won’t bring her or him back to you. It won’t unbreak your heart.

But it will take you back to a moment that you don’t want to let go of. It will help you let it out when no one else is around. It will pick up your spirits. It will make you move. It will help you lose yourself. Ben Shemie of Suuns is wrong. Music will save you.

October 2016 Mix – “Lose yourself”

01 Owen Pallett – In Conflict (2014)
02 Expensive Looks – Nothing More (2012)
03 Alias – Dahorses (2011)
04 Psychic Twin – Lose Myself (2016)
05 Dyan – St. James (2016)
06 Ian Sweet – 2soft2chew (2016)
07 Low – Words (1994)
08 Houses – Medicine (2010)
09 COOLRUNNINGS – Fool Moon (2011)
10 Vitalic – Trahison (2005)
11 Teebs – Red Curbs Loop (Stuff I Dream About) (2011)
12 Cold Cave – Life Magazine (2009)
13 Suburban Living – Club Kids (2013)
14 Porches – Underwater (2016)
15 Porcelain Raft – Tip of Your Tongue (2010)
16 Sylvan Esso – Uncatena (2014)
17 Saroos – Týden Divu (2010)
18 Suuns – Music Won’t Save You (2013)
19 Stars – Undertow (2008)

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i rise. | A LONG LOST DREAM | COLORS. | YOU ARE LOVED | TOO LATE TOO SLOW | REGAIN CONTROL | Do you hear like I hear? | COOL SUMMER.

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september 2016 mix

Posted on Tuesday 13 September 2016


[almost complete spotify version]

I can’t stress enough how underrated Duster is. And Forest Fire. And Okay.

Perfect for a slow weekend morning, staying in.

September 2016 Mix – “I have sunshine.”

01 Beach Fossils – What a Pleasure (2011)
02 The Ghosts – Go Out On The Streets (2007)
03 Day Wave – You Are Who You Are (2015)
04 CASTLEBEAT – Falling Forward (2016)
05 Mac Demarco – Only You (2012)
06 Duster – Unrecovery (2000)
07 Havergal – Lungs for the Race (2001)
08 HOOPS – Any Day Now (2015)
09 That Ghost – Never Have Fun (2008)
10 Helvetia – Another Ice Age (2012)
11 Mazes – Explode Into Colo(u)rs (2014)
12 Good Morning – Cab Deg (2016)
13 The Archivist – Signs & Symbols (2007)
14 Wild Nothing – Take Me In (2010)
15 Alphatra – La Fuite (2015)
16 Craft Spells – You Should Close The Door (2011)
17 Lab Coast – Helen Bach (2016)
18 Thunder Tillman – Exact Location of the Soul (2016)
19 Papercuts – Poor and Free (2004)
20 Forest Fire – Sunshine City (2008)
21 Okay – Mind (2005)
22 Bee & Flower – Twin Stars (2001)

: FULL MIX DOWNLOAD (.ZIP) :

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YOU ARE LOVED | A LONG LOST DREAM | COLORS. | COOL SUMMER.

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august 2016 mix

Posted on Tuesday 2 August 2016


[abbreviated spotify version]

August’s mix is mishmash of sources: Soulection-type instrumental hip-hop, 99pi background favorites, and various instrumental electronica I’ve found myself listening to. There’s a bit of singing here and there, but this should probably be my most work-friendly mix to-date.

Let me know how I did.

August 2016 Mix – “START AGAIN”

01 Cristobal Tapia de Veer – Lucidity Gone (2014)
02 RARI – Birth (2016)
03 Set In Sand – Sifting In Sans (2014)
04 B. Fleischmann – Composure (2005)
05 AbJo – Kalimba Song (2011)
06 Four Tet – This Unfolds (2010)
07 Melodium – Dirty Reprises (2002)
08 Monster Rally – Black (2012)
09 Insightful – Gods Getting Drunk (2012)
10 Ta-Ku (2010)
11 Def Dee – Yeah (2012)
12 9 Lazy 9 – Tumbleweed (2003)
13 Plaid – Slam (2014)
14 Katie Dey – Fear O The Dark (2015)
15 Brian Eno – The Big Ship (1975)
16 Damaged Bug – Gloves For Garbage (2014)
17 S – Outro (The Agony) (2010)
18 OK Ikumi – Slope (2012)
19 Kate Simko – The Creative Part (2009)

: FULL MIX DOWNLOAD (.ZIP) :

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BAD VIBES

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july 2016 mix

Posted on Friday 1 July 2016


[abbreviated spotify version]

This one is real good. It’s for when you got the feels but are ready to land on your feet. Folksy/country-ish in the vein of February 2014.

July 2016 Mix – “I’ll be somebody.”

01 Dragging An Ox Through Water – False True Love (2014)
02 Townes Van Zandt – Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel (1970)
03 Gun Outfit – Legends Of My Own (2015)
04 First Aid Kit – Emmylou (2012)
05 Denny Lile – Hear the Bang (1973)
06 Sturgill Simpson – Pan Bowl (2014)
07 Bry Webb – Rivers of Gold (2011)
08 Tim Hardin – Reason To Believe (1966)
09 Bob Dylan & The Band – I’m Not There (1967)
10 Red Red Meat – Gauze (1995)
11 Angel Olsen – All Right Now (2014)
12 S.E. Land Otter Champs – Wolf Like Howls From the Bathhouse (2013)
13 Mitski – A Burning Hill (2016)
14 Sera Cahoone – Happy When I’m Gone (2008)
15 Marissa Nadler – Little Hells (2009)
16 Fulton Lights – Fire In The Palm Of My Hand (2007)
17 David Kauffman & Eric Caboor – Kiss Another Day Goodbye (1984)
18 Jessica Jalbert – Lack of a Lake (2011)
19 S – The Coffin of Your True Love (2004)
20 The Mountain Goats – Attention All Pickpockets
21 Carissa’s Wierd – Heather Rhodes (2000)
22 Valerie June – Somebody To Love (2013)

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Just be simple

topomodesto @ 12:00 pm
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june 2016 mix

Posted on Sunday 19 June 2016


[abbreviated spotify version]

I posted about this first track by Imperial Tiger Orchestra back in January, but the truth is that I’ve been aiming to do an Ethiopian Jazz-oriented mix for many, many years now. I wanted to celebrate my favorite melodies, but didn’t want to end up recreating the Broken Flowers soundtrack, or just pilfering the Ethiopiques series. So there are some non-Ethiopian curveballs in there to round it out.

I love this mix for today and the many more warm Summer days that we are bound to get. Play it at a BBQ and impress your friends with this tragically under-appreciated genre, or get down and jam all by yourself.

June 2016 Mix – “ENDENGENA”

01 Imperial Tiger Orchestra – Emnete (Live) (2010)
02 Mahmoud Ahmed – Bekifir Atkelidg (1974)
03 Akalé Wubé – Jawa Jawa (2010)
04 Alemayehu Eshete – Ayalqem Tedenqo (1970)
05 Muluqèn Mèllèssè – Tènèsh Kèlbé Lay (1975)
06 Hailu Mergia & The Walias – Woghenei (1974)
07 Woima Collective – Puno (2010)
08 Getatchew Kassa – Tezeta slow (1974)
09 Dengue Fever – Yègellé Tezeta (2003)
10 The Psychedelic Aliens – Blofonyobi Wo Atale (1970)
11 Alemayno Eshintay – Love is Love (1970)
12 Alèmayèhu Eshèté – Eté Hoy (1972)
13 Mulatu Astatke – Yèkèrmo Sèw (1974)
14 Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako – Mbouran Mousso (1976)
15 T.K. Ramamoorthy – Mohana (1969)
16 Mulatu Astatke – Emnete (1970)
17 Tèklé Tèsfa-Ezghi – Sèlam Tèmagwèt (1975)
18 Admas – Tez Alegn Yetintu (1984)

: FULL MIX DOWNLOAD (.ZIP) :

(Streamable version of the mix)

topomodesto @ 7:26 pm
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