Monday Music: August Favorites

What a month it’s been! The whole city lights up with wild and happy energy during the dog days of summer, and happy music is in order. I’ve been to a few shows (including a massive one in Grant Park, you know the one), so here are a few picks that I’ve been digging this month.

The Tallest Man on Earth, “The Darkness of the Dream”

He was a sheer delight to behold at the ‘Palooza (ugh, whatever, that’s what I’m calling it. Feel about it as you will). Layered, lovely, catchy country melodies played at lightning speed. Country for those who often find themselves in the category of “liking everything but”.

Sylvan Esso, “Uncatena”

I fell head over heels for this duo after seeing them live. Amelia Meath is a small wonder on stage, dancing it out with silly glee. DJ Nicholas Sanborn is a magnetic presence with limbs seemingly constructed of silly putty. Great grooves, a blissfully cool presentation…there’s a lot to adore with these two. “Uncatena” is a track buried deep in their self-titled release, but it’s sweet unfurling of a would be long-distance love affair makes the heart twinge in precisely the right way.

Skylar Spence, “Can’t You See”

Saint Pepsi is no more. Well, sort of. My DJ crush forcibly switched monikers earlier this year (natch, corporate America) and re-emerged as the ever-suave Prom King, Skylar Spence. This cheeky ode to a little self-adoration is pure delight. Get on board. He’s a fun one.

Throwback: Oasis, “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory”

Say what you will about these British rockers, this 1995 record is rollicking, smart, arena rock complete with perfect soaring choruses, riffs for days, and the classic single that justifies the bravado of the Gallagher brothers, “Wonderwall”. The re-mastered edition has 40 tracks. It’s a tall order, but a thoroughly gratifying one.

That’s what I’ve been loving lately. How about you? Lemme know (comment away).

Monday Music – The Electric Beach/French-Language EDM Remix Magic

It’s been a long time. Yeah, it really has. But, there are forever a million tunes to develop grade school-level intense crushes on, so let’s get to it.

I’ve been on a shameless EDM kick lately. It started with the Electric Beach Event at theWit downtown a few weeks ago, and I’ve been scouring the web for beat-heavy tracks to keep the momentum going. A few happy highlights are below.

I met LoveTaps and had a cool conversation with them at Electric Beach (more to come). Their sound is thoughtful, cool and fast enough to keep an EDM crowd on their toes.

On to the Frenchie stuff. I have a few mixes, old and new, from Yelle and Stromae below. Yelle is a badass French rapper I’m sure I’ve gushed over before. Her songs are wildly funny, aggressively catchy and unabashedly strange, in the very best way. Madeon’s mix of “Que Veux Tu” is sparkly, pretty dance music taken to the hilt. I adore it.

Stromae. Where to begin? This 30 year old Belgian singer/composer/rapper has taken my music-loving heart hostage. I first heard of him in France – his breakout hit, “Alors en Dance” was everywhere when I lived in Grenoble a few ears back. He’s a mega star in Europe and elsewhere, for very good reason. Listening to these re-imaginings of his already innovative tunes is beyond delightful. Get to it!

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Monday Music: What I’m Loving Lately Edition

Chicago’s been brighter and sunnier this past week or so, a very welcome reprieve. Sunnier weather calls for a change in song selection, so here’s what I’ve been enjoying of late. Hope you’re enjoying winter! And as always, let me know what you’re listening to.

“Cheap Sunglasses” by RAC ft. Matthew Kona

I’m a huge fan of RAC remixes, especially Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zero’s “Home” and Phoenix’s “Armistice”. This bright, poppy tune is synth pop gem.

“Instant Crush” by Daft Punk ft. Julian Casablancas

I’m not entirely sold on Random Access Memories, I’ve fallen for this track very recently. The fuzzy, auto-tuned vocals mixed with a criminally catchy chorus makes for a perfect “yearning for spring” single.

“By the Throat” by CHVRCHES

Ah, CHVRCHES. This is serious pop with a winning hook (“All that’s golden is never real…”). It’s moody, perfect break-up music, lifted up by some Casio-esque synth piano magic.

 

 

New Year, New Monday Music

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written here. Many exciting things occurred in the interim between this post and the last. I’ve drafted a few posts, but nothing seemed quite right. The drama, the drama. I’ve pledged to myself to write more in 2015, and blogging falls squarely in the “writing” category. So, I’ll infuse this little home of mine on the web with love when I can. And it will be wonderful!

To get started, I’m including some links and things of what I’m enjoying lately, and as always, if there are any of you out there, let me know what you’re listening to of late!

Hypem Zeitgeist 2014

I’ve been listening to Hype Machine’s year-end wrap up since 2008. It’s one of the few year end lists that aligns closely to my musical tastes. The concept of the site itself is fantastic – a collection of songs trending on music blogs around the world.

New (to me) Music Blog – The Wild Honey Pie

This Brooklyn-based company/blog is an indie-pop paradise. They’ve got a cache of Daytrotter-esque live sessions, mix tapes and more. Their list of Top 100 songs of 2014 is pretty solid…and streaming on Spotify to boot.

Current Jam: “This Year” by The Mountain Goats

There’s something about that John Darnielle. That’s about all there is to it. That, and “twin high-maintenance machines”.

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The Art of Arrival: Rebecca Solnit on Travel and Friendship

Ashley:

This is majestic.

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

Rebecca Solnit | Orion | Summer 2014 | 20 minutes (4,780 words)

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[ 1. ]

The word “journey” used to mean a single day’s travels, and the French word for day, jour, is packed neatly inside it, like a single pair of shoes in a very small case. Maybe all journeys should be imagined as a single day, short as a trip to the corner or long as a life in its ninth decade. This way of thinking about it is a;rmed by the t-shirts made for African-American funerals in New Orleans and other places that describe the birth date and death date of the person being commemorated as sunrise and sunset. One…

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New Band Crush: Wannabe Jalva

CMJ Music Marathon is just around the corner. While not in New York to enjoy the jam-packed craziness of new bands and shows, I’m happy to keep up from afar through the magic of social media, press releases and music blog coverage. Sifting through the sea of STUFF constitutes as a hobby in and of itself. Discovering a new great band to listen to is more than a little exciting.

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Wannabe Jalva is a Brazilian band set to make their US debut at CMJ. Their sound is straight-up, happy, appealing rock. They remind me of the Arctic Monkeys.  Take a listen.

Going to CMJ Music Marathon shows? Excited about any new bands? Lemme know in the comments.

Reason to Love My City: CHIRP Radio

Over the past couple of years, one booth at the myriad craft shows/street fests of Chicago stood out to me time and time again. Searching for the latest homemade wares or perhaps a glass of sangria, a little red bird would catch my eye. At many a local event I wondered, what is CHIRP radio? And how can I get involved. It turns out…pretty darn easy. What’s better? It’s pretty darn cool as well.

I made my way to the Conrad Sulzer Library this past June for my CHIRP volunteer orientation. I was met by a room of enthusiastic people who run the ship who genuinely cared to learn why each and every prospective volunteer showed up. I have minimal radio experience (what’s up, 93.9 college internship!) but I remember loving the radio community and having boatloads of fun. Boatloads, I say! Anyway, I left feeling more excited about CHIRP radio than I’ve been about an organization in quite some time. It’s entirely run by people who REALLY care about the station, it’s future, music, local Chicago bands and are, from my brief interaction, kind and caring individuals intent on sharing their passion with newbies like me.

So here’s my plug.
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If anyone in the blogosphere tumbles upon this fair article, CHIRP is in the midst of it’s 12-day Fall Campaign Drive. Just a few bucks makes a HUGE difference in the day-to-day and big picture of this really deserving organization. Put my name in the “How did you hear about CHIRP” and I’ll love you forever. Questions, comments, want to get involved? Just leave me a note in the comments. Y’all are the best. Donate now!

Hump Day Treat.

It’s the Ambition Panda, courtesy of the wonderfully darling My Zoetrope blog. Check out her whimsical blog full of warm and fuzzy delights like this one.

I’ll be damned if this cute little panda doesn’t inspire me to dive headfirst into plotting out great things for the future. Go panda! (Did I say “panda” enough times? I hope so. Panda!)

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Two new goals for the fall season:

1. Run another 5k
2. REALLY write a novel this November as part of NaNoWriMo. Last year I put forth an effort, but fell short. I am determined to get to 50,000 words by November 30. It WILL happen.

Any big or small ambitions inspiring you this fall? Let me know in the comments!