Posts by Arjun
In his book Hit Makers, author Derek Thompson unceremoniously drops this gold nugget of wisdom: “The chaos of life is a chronic condition for which stories are the remedy.” First of all, whoa. Secondly, what, then, are the stories we tell ourselves? For me, the story I tell myself is that the myriad of little, daily decisions I make as a recent LA transplant will pay dividends in the long run. In other words, I convince myself that I’m working towards something, and there’s nothing particularly unique about my story. It is the same one that’s been sold to us by society: hard work pays off. But what if it doesn’t? This tape is about being new to a place, having self doubt, and being a tad bit delusional in the pursuit of your calling.
NOTE: SoundCloud is missing track 15 (“Hurt” by Eyukaliptus).
You know the music is good when it sounds fresh five years after it was created. That’s what you’ll find when you hit play on this brief retrospective from Austin singer-songwriter Bryan Ray, who took a break from his solo work as Lonely Child in 2013 to focus on producing for other artists. After a successful streak producing for the likes of Mobley and Marian Call, Ray has decided to dive back into the world of Lonely Child, and with this six-track EP, he is inviting old fans and new fans alike to enjoy the magic of his past work.
It’s sweetly ironic how an artist named Lonely Child can make you feel less alone. He lets the listener know that he or she is not the only one dealing with suicidal thoughts, depression, isolation, and, yes, loneliness. On these six songs, the human condition is expressed purely, concisely, and without judgement. You will dance, laugh, cry, and sing, and you will probably be damn glad you were alive to experience all of it.
Two weeks ago, I moved to Los Angeles. Admittedly, I did not have much of a plan of what to do once I got here. I just had an idea of a job I would be good at and a few friends willing to help along the way. These two weeks have been tough and rewarding; although, not as tough or as rewarding as my future days in LA will likely be. Happy Tears is inspired by the seeming irony of experiencing your highest of highs after your lowest of lows and how all opposites seem to depend on each other to exist.
In recent days, we’ve seen the nastiness of white supremacy and neo-nazism dominate the public consciousness and push the buttons of even the most tolerant among us, yet through this strife, we are once again reminded of the innate goodness of most people. The fringe elements don’t hold a torch (literally) to the mainstream consensus. Fuck Nazis, and I hope you enjoy this mix (unless you’re a Nazi).
- Ashley Koett – Hands + Toes
- Jody – Rainstorm
- Miquela – Not Mine
- Kasien – Heartbreak Kid
- Mariami – The Life I Always Fantasized
- Kadiata – The Surface
- EMI – Embob
- Ryan Yoo – From Umma
- Brockhampton – Lamb
- Tama Gucci – Move
- Freeman Young – Awreddy
- Jack Shields – Leaving California
NOTE: Original painting by Red Grooms.
A few things happened in the making of this mix: 1.) I got lost down a SoundCloud wormhole in which I randomly discovered a lot of British talent, and 2.) I started actively studying the so-called “classics” of modern music. The first point is just to explain all of the British accents you are about to hear on this tape. The second point has sparked a much more profound change in my music listening habits. Hearing the standards of a Joni Mitchell or a Stevie Wonder has made me consider the ingredients that go into “timeless” music, and it has forced me to reevaluate and recalibrate my thinking on current trends as I compare them with those of yesteryear. Of course, through all of this pondering, I got no real answers. I have yet to crack the full formula for timelessness, but I know a key ingredient is brutal and pure honesty that is representative of the time in which you live. GODSPEED is focused on delivering in that regard, and hopefully, the resulting mix captures the angst and unease you would expect from music in these uncertain times.
I was alright ’til they took me off my medication, started slagging off my generation, and I don’t know why
And now all night, sitting talking ’bout a revolution, c-c-coughing up the p-pollution, and I can’t breathe right
NOTE: Original image of Gustav Metzger. Edit and design by Arjun Grover.
Sturla Atlas is an Icelandic hip-hop/pop artist, who, with his 101 Boys crew*, has been making waves in the forward-looking corners of Western digital media. Well, he and the 101 Boys are some of my favorite artists, and simply put, they deserve more shine. Since 2015, Sturla has released 4 projects: Love Hurts (2015), These Days (2015), Season2 (2016), and 101 Nights (2017). Each of these projects contains hits, but understandably, that is a daunting collection for new fans to sift through.
To make things easier on the listener, I have created and sorted a compilation of Sturla’s best songs to date. Stream it on Spotify below, or by clicking here.
*The 101 Boys are Joey Christ, Logi Pedro, and Young Nazareth. I have seen Joey Christ listed as part of Sturla Atlas, but “Sturla Atlas” is literally the name of the lead vocalist, Sigurbjartur Sturla Atlason. I’m confused.
They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and that is the crux of “Conundrum,” the latest single from British singer-songwriter Hak Baker. Over mellow guitar plucks, Baker fondly reminisces on his perfectly imperfect upbringing in east London. What makes this song particularly special is the level of detail offered by Baker, as he effortlessly paints vivid scenes of selling weed (“to make your pocket money bigger”), running from police (“no, we don’t trust them”), and leaving his mom’s place (“I was tired of the beatings”), among other things. It’s a strange type of song that will either have you shedding tears on your keyboard or smiling stupidly to yourself as you remember your own degenerate youth.
Many moons ago, a wise prophet named Patricia Benatar proclaimed that love is a battlefield. Jumping off that sage conceit, I named this mix, War Games, after the tactical exercises the military conducts to test strategy without real combat (read about them here). So, if love is an actual battlefield/the real shit/total war, then what I’m saying is that everything prior to love is war games, and that’s what this mix is about: the infatuation, lust, and general stickiness that happens prior to love. Does that make sense? Should I have not used the word “stickiness”? Well, I hope it makes sense, and there’s nothing I can do now about the use of that word. Forget I said it! And listen to this playlist of immensely talented, largely undiscovered artists below.
P.S. Lydia, I am so sorry about the butt that is now on the homepage of this website you created. I feel like it’s probably unfair to you that there is a butt on your site’s main screen, but I like butts and this one looks particularly cool. Maybe we agree on this; maybe we don’t. Nevertheless, I’m sorry.
Wherever you are, no matter how far, no matter who you’re hanging out with, I hope you’re having fun
You might remember Prelow from their 2014 hit, “Mistakes Like This,” and their subsequent EP, Why Does Everything Happen So Much. Since then, the NYC duo has taken time to experience new things as they develop their follow-up project, and today, we are excited to premiere Prelow’s latest single, “I Don’t Wanna End The Night” — out for the first time in its final form after the demo circulated a few years back.
This is one of those songs that is so specific and rooted in detail that it speaks a universal truth, as it elucidates the empty feeling one is left with after the fun is over. Its intimate portrayal of carefree debauchery and 4 a.m. companionship will likely restore your own incomplete memories from similar nights out. With their fingers so steadily on the pulse of the city dwelling, twenty-something experience, Prelow is probably the closest thing we have to a modern-day version of The Strokes.
Listen to “I Don’t Wanna End The Night” below, and while you’re at it, also check out “Guitar Beat” which was released last month.
So I say, “Let’s get a drink at the bar downstairs”/ She said, “Hey, I’ll get a drink almost anywhere”
If you have been following this website for a while now, then you know just how special this artist is. We have been avid fans of Mikey Mike since his Chainsaw Love days in 2012. Now, almost exactly five years removed from that EP, he has returned with a new single, “Doin’ Me”, produced by none other than the legendary Rick Rubin. The song features everything we have grown to expect from a Mikey Mike release; it is cheeky, inspiring, rebellious, irreverent, and incredibly profound — full of the daily contradictions that make the human experience an interesting and challenging thing. Listen to the music below, and be thankful that artists like Mikey Mike fight to be heard because we need them now more than ever.
January is the first month of the year. It, quite reliably, presents the opportunity for change — a new year and a new you. Only, this year is a bit different, because, at the tail end of what was a particularly bleak year, we, collectively, lost faith. We lost faith in the system, in each other, and in the ability of new ideas to propagate change. I named the mix We Lost Faith (following the lead of ATL guru Nessly) to elucidate this fact. After all, we can’t combat a problem unless we know what it is. Our generation is one deeply affected by 9/11 and other random acts of terror, the Great Recession, and the most contentious presidential election in the past hundred years. A fundamental lack of faith in institutions is built into our DNA, yet this is clearly a losing point-of-view. We have to regain control of our collective destiny. Thankfully, we live in an era where it is easier than ever to communicate with one another and activate the fellow disenfranchised. So, yes, we lost faith. For a blip on the timeline, we fucked around and elected a megalomaniac into the most powerful office in the world. That… was not the answer, but I am confident we can contain the damage and begin rebuilding our faith.
I’m tryna tell you how it all restarted ’cause of Reagan / You walk out and the cops tryna shoot you like Cary Fagan
NOTE: Original image by Alessandro Ruggieri. Edit and design by Arjun Grover.
It is always exciting when a new president is elected in the United States. Between election day and inauguration day, speculation runs rampant, as the President-elect decides who will run the government with him or her for the next four years. During this time of great intrigue, people begin to get a feel for what their country will look like under this person’s leadership.
Earlier this month, Donald Trump was elected to the highest office in the land. Most people who voted for him did so in the hope that he will institute laws that will work better for them and their family. However, so far, during this transition period before taking office, Trump has put questionable people in positions of power, while tweeting thoughtless lies and failing to properly address the global conflicts of interest caused by his company (He has also suddenly reversed his position on many issues, making it seem like he previously never learned the details of, say, climate change.). Right now, the way his first days as President-elect have gone, it seems like Donald Trump will not work for the people who voted for him or for “all Americans,” as he claims; it seems like he will work only for Donald Trump.
That’s why I named this mix No Mans Land. It is a really, really dumb way of saying that I don’t think Trump is going to be a good president.
These lights sparkle but they might hurt you
NOTE: Original cover image by Natasha Jen.
I recently finished Ashlee Vance’s authorized biography of Elon Musk, CEO/founder of Tesla and SpaceX. The book paints a detailed portrait of an extremely smart and determined man, who cares less about making money and more about impacting the world in a positive way. His driving motivator, the one that causes him to work most hours of the day, is to make humankind a multi-planetary species and to give us the tools to shift our energy consumption to clean energy. The idea of working toward a larger goal, such as Elon’s, is fascinating to me: not working to live, not working to make as much money as possible, but, rather, working to improve the universe. And it is not about winning some make-believe competition of who can be the noblest lad in all the land; there’s a fundamentality to it.
We have “x” number of years to live and reproduce →
Our planet has a laundry list of unresolved problems, and our species is confined to it →
So, let’s improve Earth for future generations, while reducing our dependence on Earth (for future generations).
Ironically, I also learned that, with hard work and proper execution, big money often follows such ambitious purpose. There is not a shortage of big thinkers, there is not a shortage of money, but there is a shortage of people willing to assume large risk for an abstract but basic idea.
NOTE: The SoundCloud mix is missing track 12 (“O&D” by Louis Val). Original image by Spencer Tunick.