The concept for this playlist was built around the line in the opening track by Chance The Rapper that says “I woke up this morning / I woke up this morning / Gotta smile when I say that shit / I woke up this morning!”
I’ve been thinking a lot about that line since I first heard the song. I could go into a long monologue about ‘what a time it is to be alive,’ but honestly I don’t feel like sharing all of that today in my own words. I’ll share a few, but mostly I wanted to put together a playlist of songs old and new that sum up my feelings about the world.
It’s funny – I think I get a certain way at the end of every year as my team is putting together our Best Songs of the Year playlist; I think it makes me pause and think about what music really means to me. It’s weird to be able to connect so deeply to the words and art of people you don’t know at all. But when you do feel that sense of connection, it’s a really beautiful thing.
This is a collection of songs that I feel a connection to. It’s a mix of all-time favorites, recent favorites, and songs by some new artists I’m into. For one reason or another, each song gets me excited to wake up each morning. And I’m thankful to be reminded of what a gift that is.
Billie Eilish has come out of the woodwork to bring one smashing piece with the dreamy pop tune “Ocean Eyes”. It’s a tender, sweet track that is bound to get pop fans falling in love. So, it’s definitely no surprise that fellow artists would want to jump at the chance of reworking the infectious sounds of Billie Eilish. First in line is Astronomyy, who’s now released the “Ocean Eyes” edit. It’s not unrecognizable from the original, but it has an extra spark to make it just a bit more special. Listen to Astronomyy’s edit of Eilish’s gorgeous track “Ocean Eyes” below.
On the first Tuesday of
every month most months, Arjun (pictured above) graces us with a free mixtape of songs he collects from all corners of the Internet. He calls it Tape Tuesday, because alliterations are tight. Anyway, along with the music Arjun includes original artwork and words that inspire, make us laugh, and sometimes—on rare occasions—words so beautiful that they make us cry (or at least that’s what I hear). Last month he wrote about how he feels he doesn’t do enough with the ideas he has. I think we can all relate to that. It’s so easy to brush aside ideas and come up with excuses as to why our lives are just too busy to follow through on creative pursuits. I mean, there are eight seasons of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia on Netflix to get through. That screenplay you always wanted to write can wait until tomorrow. Or next month. You’ll get to it sometime, right?
After reading through that post, I was driving to work and had an idea: What if I put together a mixtape called “TAPE WEDNESDAY” the day after he posted his monthly “TAPE TUESDAY” mixtape? I’d put his face on the cover and post it here without him knowing about it first, so he’d discover it on his own along with the rest of you. Basically, the whole purpose of the post would be for that singular moment when he randomly checks the site and sees his face staring back at him from the cover of a mixtape. It would be a weird way of using a very public platform for what is essentially a stupid joke between two people. It just seemed like a funny, simple moment and I wanted to make it happen. Plus, you guys would get two full mixtapes of awesome music within 24 hours of each other.
Then the more I thought about it, the whole thing started to feel like a pretentious meta art project that the corny philosophical guy who makes my coffee every morning would come up with. The little voice in my head that keeps me from turning ideas to reality was speaking up again: “This is dumb. You’ll look stupid. Don’t do it.” I was ready to scrap the idea.
Then I realized this was turning into another one of the hundreds of ideas I have every week that I never actually end up executing. Or even attempting to execute. As horrible/uncomfortable/awkward as this turned out to be, it feels good to see an idea materialize. Arjun was right. Now I won’t regret not doing this, which is the worst kind of regret there is.
Here’s some music.
Astronomyy finished 2013 with a perfect record. After following up his phenomenal debut track “Don’t Need U” with two singles that only improved on his lush guitar-heavy r&b style, he was 3 for 3. We couldn’t wait to see what he had planned for 2014 — only to see him disappear for the next nine months. I mean, he kept posting really pretty pictures on his instagram account and let us know he was recording an EP at legendary Abbey Road Studios, but his Soundcloud page stayed frustratingly silent. Until now.
Is it safe to say he’s 4 for 4?
This summer was a miracle. I started off with almost no plans and ended up going to London with my dad, spending the Fourth of July at the beach with my best friends, and interning with my aunt in Washington (D.C.). I think the biggest lesson I learned from these travels is that it is not about where you go, it is about who you’re with. “Beach Is Better” is not saying that weekend at the beach with my friends was my best trip. It is saying that you can make a “beach” wherever you go. And that’s always better.
- How Sad – Indian Summer
- Run the Jewels – Sea Legs
- Netherfriends – Uptown Boys
- Step Rockets – Kisser
- Jay Z – Beach Is Better
- Astronomyy – Things I’d Do for U
- Left Boy – Laying in the Snow
- Dewy Sinatra – I Need Love
- PARTYNEXTDOOR – Right Now
- Boy/friend – SOTL
- Shadow Shadow – Riviera
- Tor Miller – Headlights
- Sam Smith – Safe with Me
- Austin Paul – V V
- Dylan Owen – The Window Seat
- Noah Slee – Can’t Stop
- Bartoven – Domestics
- KYLE – Sex & Super Smash Bros
- denitia and sene. – stupid world.
Damn, I think this shit’s gonna hit the fan.
The “Best of Series” is a playlist generated every month providing you with quality, sounding music across all genres that were released during that month. Whether you’re too busy to visit daily, or just need some music, this is our way of helping you stay current.
July came and went, while music entered our computers to stay. Here’s the best songs from the month of July. Download link, my top 5, and track list all below!
Jordan’s Top 5:
He’s going to blow up. He will be a name that everybody knows. Sam Smith is setting himself up nicely to be a recognized singer in this industry.
A last minute addition to Best of July because it deserves it. This is the first new sound we’ve heard from Dylan Owen in a long time, and damn, it’s great to hear him again. #pause
This is just music done right. Andy Bull gives us one of the catchiest hooks this month, and will keep you singing along. Be on the lookout for this being in Best of 2013 because I have a good feeling it’ll be there.
The things I would do for an as†ronomyy EP, or LP right now. I’m thirsty for it as he’s 2/2 with only two songs making “Best of” top 5, not once, not twice, not three times, four, five, six, or seven. Okay, it’s actually twice, but I suspect that he’ll be here at least another five times.
Hit the jump for the track list Continue reading “Best of July 2013” »
The whole “lonely space-obsessed musician” thing isn’t exactly the most rare commodity in 2013. After Kid Cudi referred to himself as the man on the moon and wrote songs about being a lonely stoner over dark/atmospheric instrumentals, a steady stream of similar bedroom recording artists have tried to ride that wave. It’s actually come to the point where my gut reaction to seeing anyone with a space-themed aesthetic and loner vibe is: “We get it. You had problems with a girl, went home, and smoked way too much weed. Then you looked out at the stars and opened up your laptop to make what you thought was deep and emotional music — but was actually just a depressing amateur version of everything we’ve already heard.”
Then I listened to this demo from newcomer as†ronomyy. Sure, his website features galactic imagery, he promises sounds of “space guitar”, and his only song is called “Don’t Need U” – but this is one you shouldn’t overlook. Over nearly six sprawling minutes of warm guitars, hip-hop inspired drums, and beautifully composed vocals, this guy demonstrates a sense of musicianship that separates him from the majority of his forgettable peers. The fact that this is just a rough demo made in a home studio blows my mind. Keep an eye on this guy. Anyway, listen below and make sure to stick around for the guitar solo at 3:10 (or if you’ve convinced yourself your life is too busy to wait — just skip ahead to it. It’s that good).