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.
The first playlist is our favorite picks from July. The second playlist is all of our picks from March-June (since the inception of our Spotify playlist). Be sure to subscribe to our playlists on Spotify as they will be continuously updated each month!
Celebrate your 4th of July with SITR’s Best of June playlist! Throw this playlist on as your soundtrack on your boat, at your bbq, in your backyard, wherever, whenever! Your friends and family will be impressed by how in tune you are with current music.
A lot of people who read Sunset have asked me where I’ve been; it’s been a long time since I’ve published an article. To start, I’ve been working at my day job. I’m not sure if people know that Sunset was never my full-time job. Earlier in my career, I just used to have more time to spend on it. For years, I would go to work, go home, and sit down to work on Sunset for several hours. Every day. Weekends were mostly full of listening and writing.
But after moving to San Francisco from North Carolina, this evening time started slipping away from me. The culture out here in San Francisco is very different. Work hours are longer, social calendars are more demanding, and weekends spent inside typing away on a computer are much more guilt inducing. There were a few years when I really resented that fact about my life in San Francisco. But I’ve grown into it. Two years ago, I found a job that I really care about (if you care to know, I work on the media partnerships team at Pinterest…a fancy way of saying I sell ads. And yes, somehow I care about that…), and I am devoted to advancing my career.
So what brings me back today, over two years later? Well, to begin with, I’ve still been here behind the scenes. I still contribute to the monthly playlists that Jordan puts together, help find new writers for the site, and, well, I still pay the bills. Yes, I do see the tweets and Facebook message from folks asking if I still accept submissions. I apologize for not responding to all of them; it’s just a shortage of time. But I still choose my own path of music discovery (often through my writers’ picks, honestly) and I often happen across a gem. I’ll almost always post them here. That happened for me recently, and that’s why I’m back here writing today.
I first heard of Jessie Reyez a few months ago as I was watching Pigeons & Planes coverage from SXSW. I’m pretty sure I was watching their Instagram story; funny to think that’s one of my ways of discovering music today. When I started this thing, I was using MySpace to discover most of the artists I wrote about. That’s a great reminder of how long this site has been around for (almost a decade!).
As I was watching the footage of Jessie for the first time, I saw this uniquely beautiful young artist with a stunning voice, a natural gentle strum of her guitar, and beneath those things, a distinct sense of anger, authenticity and emotion in her delivery that I couldn’t forget. I was hooked almost immediately.
I got the opportunity to see Jessie live in San Francisco this past Thursday night at Rickshaw Stop. For context, Rickshaw Stop is one of the smaller venues in San Francisco, but it packed a pretty good punch on Thursday night for the sold out show. First, let me just say that I was again reminded of my age when I saw the crowd lined up at the door. This happens at most concerts I go to, but as I stood there in the line to get into the venue in my work clothes with my laptop and all, I felt myself longing for my younger days when I could devote more of my time to my passion for music. This feeling crept into my thoughts again as I realized it was after 10pm and still no sign of Jessie. When is a girl to sleep?? Alas, I digress.
When she did come out on stage, I saw just what I hoped to see. A young artist with a hell of a lot of swagger who truly seemed excited to be up on that stage. She started the show with a hat covering most of her face while she sang “Fuck It,” and as the show went on, we saw a few different variations of her look. Hat went away, hair went up, hair came back down, sweatshirt came off – all matched the mood of the music. But through it all, we heard and saw Jessie telling her story of where she came from. She brought the attitude — and then some — that hooked me that day I stumbled across her as I was perusing Instagram. The common “fucks” she throws into her lyrics were delivered like a threat; Jessie was here to tell her story with a vengeance.
NBA Finals game starts in five minutes. As a result, I don’t have much to say other than here’s this months playlist! #GoCavs
Can we all take a second to realize that Frank Ocean has been dropping singles left, and right? We went years without new music before Blond became a reality. Does this mean more Frank in the near future? Who knows. Kendrick also took over the Billboard 100 with every track off of DAMN. April was good to us. We shared what was so good about it below.
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.
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”
The only important thing to mention here is that Chance The Rapper won three Grammy’s in February. I remember the days when I was bumping #10Day, which was five years ago, and thinking this guy just gets it. Five years later, he’s won three Grammy’s, has yet to sell any music (never will), and has become a public figure on social issues for Chicago by recently donating 1 million to public schools. You want to talk about a Best of February? New releases aside, that award goes to Chano. Incredible what this guy has done over the course of five years.
We also have a playlist of 30 songs for you, so check that out below.
A new year doesn’t always mean “new me.” It’s hard for people to change, however, a new year does mean new music! If you haven’t, check out our favorites from 2016. While you’re at it, listen to some of the tunes that has the SITR impressed in 2017 thus far. SoundCloud playlist below: