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Nov 27

Ahoy!

It’s been a while, and I have lots to share. I’ll get right into it.

First, for old-school fans who now use Rdio, I’ve re-created what I could of the first five STG mixes on Rdio here (unfortunately many songs from that era are unavailable): #1, #2, #3, #4, #5

Second, my friends and I built something I think is pretty rad. It’s called Couch, and it’s essentially a jukebox for your TV, with YouTube videos as the content and Twitter as your remote control. Here’s how it works:

1. Go to AddToCouch.com on your laptop or TV. We’ll give you a hashtag.

2. Tweet any YouTube video @AddToCouch with that hashtag.

3. The video will start playing immediately. Any videos tweeted while that one plays will be queued up and play automatically.

We’ve been having fun with it at the bar and at parties, but it’s also pretty nice at home to queue up music videos that won’t play on phones (or to melt your girlfriend with an onslaught of cute puppy videos…).

What’s neat is that your friends can play along no matter where they are — if they go to the same URL, they can watch the same videos with you and add their own! I also made a cheesy demo video. I’d love for you guys to try it and let me know what you think. Try it with your friends and family after turkey tomorrow!

Third, well, I guess it’s time to get to the music, right? Ok, let’s do that. There are a lot of ups and downs in this one, so turn it up and hang on tight!

<3 | ∑>

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Listen on Rdio

Listen on Spotify

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1. Violent Femmes - “American Music”

Growing up in Milwaukee, I always assumed Violent Femmes were as famous as Nirvana or Pearl Jam everywhere in the world. It wasn’t til college that I realized few folks had heard of them, and even fewer new their songs beyond “Blister In The Sun.” Thank goodness we have an independent rock station in Milwaukee that still gives these guys the spins they deserve.

2. Oh Land - “Renaissance Girl”

Oh Land is always good for one or two top-notch jams per album, and this is the clear standout from her latest. Check out the equally awesome video, while you’re at it.

3. Music Go Music - “Love Is All I Can Hear”

I spent months last year trying to find the first Music Go Music album on vinyl (finally finding it in the Milwaukee record store where I used to buy all my tapes). I was convinced they were gone forever and never coming back. I was sad. They never got the recognition they deserved, and I never got to see them live. And then, one day, out of the blue, came this new track in my inbox. Back and better than ever!

4. Chromeo - “Momma’s Boy”

My officemates listen to a lot of hard rock, and it’s made me appreciate Chromeo’s lighthearted take on things a bunch more than I had previously. I mean, how can you keep from smiling when this jam comes on? 

5. Diane Coffee - “Hymn”

I got to see Diane Coffee on their first tour a few weeks ago, and they were the tightest, most energetic band I’ve seen in a very long time. Sure, the main guy is the drummer in Foxygen, so he knows a thing or two about energetic performances, but holy wow. These guys write amazing songs that are all over the map musically, then pull them all together into a coherent, cohesive, raucous live show. 

6. White Denim - “Come Back”

Something funny happened with this latest White Denim record: they took the epic mindf*ck jams they had been slaying for years and turned them into songs. We’ll see if it nets them any more commercial success (if so, it’s well earned), but it should make for an easier entry point to what is ultimately the White Denim experience: the incredible live show.

7. Simon & Garfunkel - “Fakin’ It”

I’ve spun “Bookends” on my record player far too much over the past few months. I’ve been a fan of Simon & Garfunkel since I was in kindergarten (and have the tapes bought from drug stores all over Wisconsin to prove it), but I never knew about this record. Sure, I knew some of the songs, but “Bookends” is full of oddities, pauses, and conversations that give it new dimensions to explore.

8. The Zombies - “Tell Her No”

The Zombies are near the top of my “most underrated bands” list (though they’ve received some critical acclaim, they’re not as widely known as they should be). They wrote incredible songs, performed them with zeal and emotion that was uncommon at the time, and yet only netted three Top 10 hits and no #1s (this song peaked at #6).

9. Surfer Blood - “Say Yes To Me”

Surfer Blood have taken their knack for a hook and added a great deal of skill and finesse for their second album, “Pythons.” I just wish they’d turn up more often in their new home town of San Francisco.

10. Phantom Planet - “Always On My Mind”

Phantom Planet, if remembered at all, are generally remembered for the theme song to The OC, or as “that band Jason Schwartzman was once in.” I’d just like to remind everyone that they had some other good songs, too.

11. Islands - “Hushed Tones”

I hope you guys like Islands, because I keep posting them on here and I don’t plan to stop. Their new album, Ski Mask, is great, as is their live show. Go!

12. Dan Croll - “In / Out”

A young brit with a knack for writing catchy, sincere tunes, Dan Croll will surely become a favorite for many.

13. Freedom Fry - “Friends & Enemies”

You know, sometimes I discover music from Venture Capitalists. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s not. Fred Wilson and many other VCs have great taste. And I suppose this song is pretty perfect for the VC/Entrepreneur relationship, right?

14. Haerts - “All The Days”

Haerts had St. Lucia produce their debut EP, and it certainly sounds like it. Not to say that’s a bad thing, in any way — it’s like getting an extra accompaniment to the St. Lucia record.

15. Matthew E. White - “Hot Hot Hot”

Speaking of extra accompaniment, Matthew E. White recently released an EP to accompany this year’s LP “Big Inner.” The songs are a little jammier, but just as rich.

16. A.R.E. Weapons - “F What You Like”

I wasn’t quite sure what I was listening to when my friend Kian put this song on, but I think I can get down with some synth-punk.

17. Lucius - “Hey, Doreen”

The ladies from Lucius are back again, with a slightly different production sound that works for this track, but frankly not all of them on the album. They’re still fun tunes, though.

18. The Chordettes - “Never On A Sunday”

I had heard this song as a kid, but totally forgot about it til my friend Kramer took me on a journey through various versions of the song “All My Sorrows,” starting with The Chordettes. They’ve got a few other classics you might recognize, but not be able to identify.

19. French Horn Rebellion - “Caaalifornia”

Leave it to some boys from Milwaukee, now living in Brooklyn, to write and record one of the best songs of the year about California. Granted, there’s a bit of a formula for California songs, but I’m not complaining about any of the results.

20. Born Ruffians - “Rage Flows”

I just can’t get these Canadians out of my head, and it’s really hard to pick the right song to put on a mix. I wanted to share Permanent Hesitation, but it has a pretty abrupt start that was just challenging to make flow with the rest of the mix. But you can still check out the sweet video for that tune, and enjoy this one instead!

21. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - “War Zone”

Dale Jr Jr are the hottest thing out of Detroit these days, selling out pretty sizable venues all over the country. And rightfully so — they’ve mastered the mix of blips and “ooh”s/”ahh”s that create the perfect backdrop for their hook-heavy, but still conversant songs. Plus, they’re just ridiculously fun.

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Aug 01

STG x Hearscene Mix

Howdy friends!

I wanted to let you know about a new project I’ve been working on that I think (and hope) many of y’all will like. I’ve begun a new music blog called Hearscene, focused exclusively on the best new music videos. I post one video per day, and you can subscribe via Tumblr or email, just like this blog. 

To help celebrate this new project, I’ve put together a mix of some of the tracks I’ve posted on Hearscene to-date. They tend to skew a tiny bit more electronic/dancey than Sum The Greater mixes, but that’s just a function of who’s making the most interesting videos today.

I would really appreciate any feedback y’all might have, be it on the site or the videos or the whole stinkin idea — I love you all for the feedback you’ve given on Sum The Greater, and hope to get the same for Hearscene. And of course, it would be awesome if you told your friends :)

I should note that I’ve started two other video blogs as well. Griio is focused on portraits and personal stories (most recent posts are a look back in time, but the topics are ever-changing). And for fans of internet humor (cats, trampolines, lasers, that sort of thing), check out Yeahmazing.

Finally, a couple songs from Hearscene weren’t available on Rdio/Spotify yet. I should tell you my favorite song from those is by The Preatures, and my favorite video from them (mostly because it confuses me) is from Norway’s Truls

<3 | ∑>

Listen on Rdio

Listen on Spotify

 

Watch the videos:

1. Outfit - “I Want What’s Best”

2. J. Viewz - “Far Too Close”

3. French Horn Rebellion - “Dancing Out”

4. Jagwar Ma - “Man I Need”

5. Sivu - “Bodies”

6. Coco Morier - “Hallucination”

7. Body Language - “Well Absolutely”

8. Classixx - “All You’re Waiting For (feat. Nancy Whang)”

9. Indians - “Magic Kids”

10. Maïa Leia - “Lance-toi”

11. Battles - “Ice Cream (feat. Matias Aguayo)”

12. We Were Evergreen - “Leeway”

13. Lee Fields - “Faithful Man”

14. Maps & Atlases - “Old Ash”

15. Lorde - “Tennis Court”

16. Deafkid - “Vigilante”

17. Until The Ribbon Breaks - “2025”

18. Glass Animals - “Exxus”

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Jun 25


Why hello there!

It’s lovely to see you again. Since we last spoke, I left my job of three years, drove 4,000 miles around the western states in three weeks by myself (ok, with a giraffe and a small, but growing, friend), and started a company (more on that in a separate post). Along the way, I’ve gathered quite a bit of wonderful music for you, so this mix is a few minutes longer than usual. I hope you don’t mind.

How about you? What have you been up to? What great tunes have I been missing?

<3 | ∑>

PS - Thanks for all the wonderful feedback on the last mini-mixtape! While Soundcloud is a great place to discover music, it’s still not a place where enough of you are spending your time on the regular, so it doesn’t sound like a good place for me to be publishing. Back to normal around here!

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Listen on Rdio

Listen on Spotify

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1. Born Ruffians - “Needle”

This record has been on non-stop repeat for me since it came out a couple months ago. Born Ruffians refined all their musical sensibilities and diverse songwriting abilities into a coherent record for the first time, without losing the wild variety and insistant hooks they’ve always been known for. I find myself calling almost every track on this album “my favorite song” at some point or another, but I keep coming back to this one — it speaks to me very strongly right now.

2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On The Dancefloor)”

I love DEJJ. They’re smart, humble dudes from Detroit who make some of the most consistently solid indie rock tracks today. They’re hearts are in it to have fun, and every song gives off those loving vibes.

3. Wave Machines - “Ill Fit”

I first posted about Wave Machines three years ago, and while they still haven’t made the splash I expected in the states (not sure they’ve even played a show over here yet), they continue to release innovative jams with incredible hooks.

4. MS MR - “Dark Doo Wop”

Many of you are plenty familiar with these guys by now, but if you haven’t listened to their whole record, I implore you to do so. They’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that their blowing up on Tumblr was no mistake (even if it confused the heck out of the labels).

5. When Saints Go Machine - “Love And Respect”

I’m curious to know what you guys think of this jam. I’m alternately drawn to it and repelled by it. I’ve been following When Saints Go Machine for years, after their 2009 release “Ten Makes A Face” became one of my favorites of the year (it’s still not available in the US, which bums me out). They’ve changed their sound dramatically, but they’re always on the cutting edge, sonically.

6. David Byrne & St. Vincent - “I Should Watch TV”

The David Byrne & St. Vincent live show is one of the best I’ve seen in quite a while. It brings elements of dance like Byrne had in his tour for his collaboration with Brian Eno, but this time the dancers are horn players who are aware of their shadows. He introduced this song as “a true story.”

7. Animal Collective - “Today’s Supernatural”

I don’t feel like the new Animal Collective record got a fair shake by folks I know, including me. It’s very strong, we’ve just come to expect game-changing things from these guys, so “better than most other things you’ll hear this year” doesn’t grab us. Well, I still salute them and hope they keep up the good work.

8. The Vogues - “Five O’Clock World”

The Vogues started out as The Val-Airs outside of Pittsburgh in 1959. They hit the charts sixteen times, though only twice as high as #4 — this track, and their previous single, “You’re The One” (a cover of Petula Clark). A slightly changed lineup still tours today.

9. Foxygen - “San Francisco”

My god, where to start with Foxygen. Their artistic maturity, honed by writing, releasing, and performing more songs before they could legally drink, shines beautifully throughout their latest record. Yet they themselves are still kids, and their spastically playful shows embody that youthfulness. The combination is a winner.

10. Marlena Shaw - “California Soul”

While she’s gotten more love from the hip-hop community in samples than she got in her singing career, Marlena Shaw has a deep catalogue of jams.

11. Lee Fields - “Cutting Out (On Me)”

Lee Fields is *still* making amazing music, but he’s got decades of classics already in the can. This is one of the best.

12. Shugo Tokumaru - “Katachi”

I first learned about this song from its incredible video, and it turns out its just the beginning of an aural amusement park of an album.

13. French Horn Rebellion - “Girls (feat. JD Samson and Fat Tony)”

I went to school with these dudes, and first learned they were making music when I saw them play next door to our office at SXSW several years ago. They’ve continued to bring the hits.

14. Luca Vasta - “Cut My Hair”

Just catchy. Ya know?

15. CHVRCHES - “Recover”

I’m not sure what triggered CHVRCHES breakout success, but they are playing ridiculously large venus for a band with only a few tracks out. Granted, tracks like this should make me wonder less.

16. Wallpaper. - “Good 4 It”

Homie Wallpaper. is workin his butt off on Warped Tour at the moment, trying to stir the country up for his new record out July 23rd. Respect.

17. Generationals - “Put A Light On”

Y’all know the love I’ve got for Generationals. Just rock this one out with me.

18. Dan Croll - “From Everywhere”

Can you help but be put in a good mood by this track?

19. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - “So Good At Being In Trouble”

The guys in this band were absolute dicks to me (and everyone else) when we had them play a party, but I still love their music. Argh.

20. Toro Y Moi - “Cola”

I can’t tell you how awesome it is to know that one of my favorite records of the year was produced two blocks from my apartment by a friend. I would love the music anyway, but I cheer extra hard for the home team.

21. Mr. Little Jeans - “Oh Sailor (feat. The Silverlake Conservatory of Music Youth Chorale)”

Mr. Little Jeans came back to herself a bit on this one, though the kids almost drown her out. Maybe someday we’ll even get a full length from her? Pretty please?

22. Kurt Vile - “Wakin on a Pretty Day”

The last couple Kurt Vile records have showed an incredible maturing in singing, songwriting, and production. It makes the music more approachable, and allows Kurt to tell his wandering tales more fluidly.

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Mar 18

Mini-Mixtape #1 - Babes

Trying something new here. SoundCloud has been coming a long way as a platform, and they’ve begun to be a destination for consumers as well as creators. I’ve decided to give them a shot, and am starting with a sort of mini-mixtape.

I noticed that a lot of what I’ve been listening to lately has been female pop vocalists. There’s a surge of talent right now. Thus, I’ve reduced the best to a mini-mixtape named “Babes.” 

This is the first in many years that I’ve missed SXSW, and I hope some of you had the chance to see some of these lovely ladies.

<3 | ∑>

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Nov 26

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Hello again friends!

I built and rebuilt this mixtape several times. A few were due to technical issues with Rdio, but many were because I just wasn’t happy with it. I set out to make a mixtape that in some way represented the emotions of making it over a year with my girlfriend, having never dated anyone more than two months previously (and yes, I’m 27, I know that’s a bit nuts). But the mix kept coming out as a dance party (including several songs Kristine would never listen to). And while a dance party is definitely part of every good relationship, that’s not the whole picture. 

In the end, not everything here is tied to that theme. But it’s close in some way or another. At least for me. 

I appreciate your patience in waiting for this one, and of course for your time with these mixes! I’ve tried to write more liner notes than usual, but I’ll warn that many are still just me rambling :)

<3 | ∑>

1. Here We Go Magic - “How Do I Know”

Here We Go Magic is a band who make some of my favorite songs, and a lot that I forget easily. But man, when they get something right, they REALLY get it right, as evidenced here.

2. Gayngs - “Faded High”

I’ll admit, I was the last kid on the block to find out about Gayngs (the Minneapolis indie super-group that include’s Bon Iver). I hadn’t checked them out til Poliça came around. And then I let them sit for a while. But this song recently came back to me through a great live recording, and I had to post it.

3. Matthew E. White - “Big Love”

My buddy Kramer had been talking up Matthew E. White for a couple weeks before I gave him a listen. It’s not that I don’t trust Kramer — in fact, we met and became friends through common musical taste long before ever meeting in person — it’s that he was focused so intently on the story behind the music, rather than what it sounded like. Once I listened, however, I totally understood why — this guy reeeeeeeally cares about crafting great music, and understands that takes hard work and collaboration. His epic live band accompaniment reflects that as well.

4. Wintersleep - “Nothing Is Anything (Without You)”

Wintersleep’s first album, Welcome To The Night Sky, was one of my favorite records at the time (“Weighty Ghost” was the jam). But their follow-up, New Inheritors, was lackluster, and I wrote them off entirely. Then my friend Chase played it for me in his car several times, and I liked it (without knowing it was Wintersleep). I thought “In Came The Flood” was the hit of the record, until my friend Britti played this jam in her car with me in Nashville. Sold.

5. The Byrds - “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)”

I always loved this song growing up, but never knew who it was by, and so never knew how to look for it when I was older and back into this era of rock n roll. Thankfully, I found it again while in Milwaukee, on a Byrds record I found at an antique store.

6. 1, 2, 3 - “Scared But Not That Scared”

Back in July, I shaved my head for children’s cancer. This was my theme song. Both for the lyrical content, and because watching the video for the first time was the sign I needed to go ahead with something I had been contemplating for a while. Thanks to all my friends who helped us raise several thousand dollars in a week, and to the friends who got drunk and did the snipping with me. I feel lighter :)

7. Menomena - “Moms”

As I told my friend Edmund today, the two records that have really made me care about music lately have been Matthew E White and Menomena. The raw emotion is so meticulously channeled without losing any of its energy. The band has been through a lot, both collectively and individually, and they’re not afraid to hold that back in their music.

8. Haïm - “Send Me Down”

Haïm are a relatively new entrant to the music scene, but they sound quite mature. They draw strongly from 90’s influences, but do so far more confidently than most others these days. I’m sure we’ll hear more from these three girls.

9. Fiona Apple - “Hot Knife”

When a brilliant musical talent has decided she’s taken herself too seriously too long and decides to say “ah f*ck it, let’s have some fun with this one.”

10. Kishi Bashi - “It All Began With A Burst”

Kishi Bashi is another relatively recent find, which apparently many were hip to when this record came out in April. And they recently received a pretty nice placement in the Microsoft Surface commercials. While I’m still torn on the staying power (it at least seems possible), I’m highly entertained by this record — there’s not a dull moment on it.

11. alt-J - “Breezeblocks”

A coworker sent me this record a few weeks before it came out, and man what an earworm. This song stuck out to me on first listen, and has remained my favorite. That bridge. Man.

12. POP ETC - “Back to Your Heart”

Hand it to Chris Chu; the man is willing to take big risks. He’s taken The Morning Benders from poppy surf-rock to orchestral indie darlings, and thrown it all to the curb in favor of pure pop and a new moniker. And while many of their fans from the indie world feel betrayed, he’s done a heck of a job making a pop record. Particularly a debut.

13. The Happenings - “See You In September”

This was another that I loved growing up, but never knew who sang it. I found it online, added it to this mix, and got a record of The Happenings Greatest hits for free (in that order) in the course of two weeks. It wanted to come back to me, too :)

14. Barbara Lewis - “Call Him Back”

I was listening to a random 60’s northern female soul compilation (you’ll find three tracks from it on this playlist) on the ride down to Chase’s apartment in the suburbs. This song came on as I was driving down a 25 mph road that sprouted caul du sacs on either side. Perfection.

15. Boogaloo Assassins - “Mi Jeva”

Nick Waterhouse said that the band he most wanted to collaborate with right now was Boogaloo Assassins. Naturally, I tracked them down immediately, which was no small feat — this is the only track they’ve recorded, and they only have a couple live videos. I can’t say I’m generally a fan of this type of tune, but for whatever reason, this one worked. Maybe because I now get to call my (Honduran) girlfriend Mi Jeva.

16. Generationals - “Lucky Numbers”

Generationals have been one of my favorite recorded bands since I first heard them. Their blending of influences perfectly matches my taste. However, when I saw them live a year ago, I was disappointed. Sure, I still bought a t-shirt, because I still loved them, but they didn’t sell their songs to me at all. It didn’t help that Gardens & Villa were opening for them, a few weeks after they got a great Pitchfork review, and only about half the house stuck around for Generationals. A few weeks ago, they completely redeemed themselves. Back to the top of my list, fellas. Thanks very much!

17. The Essex - “Don’t Fight It Baby”

The Essex were a bunch of marines, some of whom knew each other from their service in Japan, others they met at a base back in North Carolina. They released “Easier Said Than Done” (which was recorded in 20 minutes) as their first single in 1963, and it went to #1 on the charts.

18. Chicha Libre - “Muchachita del Oriente”

No idea how I found this song or why (or if?) I like it. Just throwin it out there. Do with it what you will.

19. Patti Drew - “Tell Him”

Oh man, Patti Drew. She was only in the industry for a short time (heading back to Evanston, IL in 1971), having released this song as her first single in 1967 (charting at #90), but she left quite a mark.

20. Lord Huron - “She Lit A Fire”

This was the first song that made me care about Lord Huron (having already seen them live twice). It was a live track from a video shoot homie Rollo Grady did down in LA. A few months later, they finally released it on their new record, which is significantly better than previous efforts — they’ve taken their great sound and put real songs behind it.

21. Rhye - “The Fall”

One can only hope that the rest of Rhye’s debut is this evocative. 

22. Dirty Projectors - “Impregnable Question”

I’m sorry, April. I promise this is the last Dirty Projectors song for a while. But I couldn’t not put it on here. As a friend recently noted, Dirty Projectors songs will cover very well. I look forward to finding some covers of this one.

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Aug 28

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Well, this one took a minute. Honestly, it was ready to go when I posted the last one. But you don’t want to hear that. You want to hear that we have GREAT MUSIC! This was the first mix I made in a while with an ear towards a run, or other sort of workout. And it’s been my running mix for months (with a few days off here and there).

To be fair, I’ve been to North Carolina, Costa Rica, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and Nashville since we last spoke, amidst a day job and blah blah blah. Ok, I get it. Music. More music. Here it is, and here’s hoping the next batch comes out a little quicker :)

<3 | ∑>

1. St. Lucia - “We Got It Wrong”

Every single song of St. Lucia’s is a hit, and they pull out all the stops live. Look for major things from these guys in the next year or two.

2. The Shoes - “Cover Your Eyes”

I’ll admit — when I started to research this band for this post, I thought they were way more popular than they are. It’s actually kind of tricky to find out much about them, apart from the fact that they’re french. Unless you speak french. Which I don’t. But you should check out the whole album, as this is far from the best track, it just fit really well.

3. Lucius - “Turn It Around”

Lucius’s debut EP is a hidden gem, with a wide range of songs that climax in this sing-along anthem.

4. Mr. Little Jeans - “Runaway”

While I can’t say I agree with the direction Mr. Little Jeans has taken — from delicate vocal pop jams that pack a tender punch, to more straightforward beat-driven pop — her talent is undeniable, and even her disappointing songs are better than most anything else out there.

5. Porcelain Raft - “Drifting In And Out”

I had listened to this track as I fell asleep for a month when Peter (aka Ears Of The Beholder) played it at our SXSW brunch, yet I still didn’t recognize that. It’s that smooth. But don’t make my mistake.

6. Frankie Rose - “Moon In My Mind”

I haven’t been a huge fan of Frankie Rose’s past projects, but I’m fully bought into her new direction. It’s friendly and evil, revealing and mysterious, all at the same time.

7. Maps & Atlases - “Fever”

Maps & Atlases are true musicians — they’re in it because they love music and want to create something interesting. Their results span the gamut, though usually circling around a more acoustic Minus The Bear sound, with mathy rhythms and swirling guitars. Their latest record, Beware And Be Grateful, is a long-awaited collection of gems, including this, arguably the most straightforward (and I’d say cohesive) track.

8. Jukebox The Ghost - “Somebody”

This East Coast trio has been pounding the pavement for years, bringing their emotionally packed songs to high-energy live shows around the world. Pick up any record, just make sure you see them live.

9. El Guincho - “Novias (feat. Javiera Mena)”

It’s amazing what a difference a voice makes. This track was originally released on El Guincho’s last LP a few years ago, and I passed it over as mediocre. This time around, though, Javiera Mena brings a whole new sound and energy to the song, making it one of my favorites of the year. Here’s hoping we see more collaborations between these two!

10. Electric Guest - “Waves”

This much-hyped crew has put together a mightily impressive debut album, garnering them plenty of great festivals and opening slots. They’ll be hitting the road as a headlining act this fall — don’t miss them! (At The Independent, for those of you in SF)

11. The Kuf-Linx - “So Tough”

I’ve found little information about The Kuf-Linx, but did find another band from the same era called The Cuff Links, who had a hit with “Tracy” in 1969. 

12. Zeus - “Are You Gonna Waste My Time?”

Zeus is Free Energy done right. Instead of being a contrived replication of the bands of the past, they own a classic, crunchy sound and bring it up to date.

13. Magic Wands - “Warrior”

I can’t believe how long it took to release Magic Wands’ debut LP, Aloha Moon, but it was certainly worth the wait. It contains classic like “Black Magic,” alongside new gems like this one.

14. Dirty Projectors - “Gun Has No Trigger”

Dirty Projectors have proven themselves once again as capable purveyors of complex pop. The lyrics, rhythms, and hoots are sporattic on their own, but come together cohesively.

15. Wave Machines - “Counting Birds”

The first Wave Machines record, with hits like “I Go I Go I Go,” was full of fanastic pop songs, but was not an accurate depiction of the weirdness of the band members. This track is much more in line with their personalities, and it still comes out quite lovely. Keep it up, gents!

16. Korralreven - “Honey Mine” (not available on Rdio - sorry!)

Sweden’s Korralreven could have you believe from their sound that they’re from somewhere far more tropical. Instead, it’s just three Swedish dudes, some guitars, some keys, and some computers. Wherever they come from, though, they know how to write a jam.

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Apr 23

Listen on Rdio

Listen on Spotify

Welcome to a (somewhat belated, but what do you expect from me at this point?) SXSW edition of the Sum The Greater playlist! SXSW has definitely gotten out of control over the past five years I’ve attended, but it’s still unparalleled for the sheer volume and quantity of music in a small space. I had to throw two events for work, which were great fun. We had an afternoon arcade where we literally brought in arcade games and a wheel of prizes (plus the usual free booze and such). We also had Chairlift (swoon), Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Gardens & Villa, Rubblebucket (I only haven’t posted them because the recordings don’t do the live show service — my god are they amazing live), and Young Magic play. All were incredible, and it was a fun time throwing my first ever concert event. The next morning, we got up and had an industry-focused brunch with Alpine, G-Easy, and Dana Buoy, along with DJ sets from homies Ears of the Beholder and Rollo Grady.

Since then, I’ve been traveling the country in support of my product and our fancy new card reader and printer — it’s kinda fun to carry a box office around the country in your backpack :)

Anywho, I should probably get to the music.

<3 | ∑>

1. Django Django - “Default”

I had fallen in love with this record a month or two back, and lucked upon their first show outside Scotland at SXSW. It was a showcase of all Scottish bands, and there were lots of Scots in the audience. Fascinatingly, that was a trend — foreigners going to see bands from their own countries. Anyway, Django Django plowed through a perfectly executed set, with little flair but lots of power.

2. Electric Guest - “This Head I Hold”

I was very excited to see Electric Guest, but when I got to the venue (they were the first band of the night, which rarely means a crowd), the line was all the way down the block. Turns out Jack White was playing a couple hours later, so folks had turned out in droves. Ah well. I’m sure they’ll be touring extensively after this debut comes out. My friends built a cool website where you can check out a couple more tunes by dropping some puzzle pieces in place.

3. Nick Waterhouse - “Some Place”

I’ve been trying to hunt down a Nick Waterhouse show for ages, but always seem to find out about them the day after they happen. Thankfully, I tracked him down on the east side of Austin after an outstanding dinner at East Side Showroom (perhaps my favorite restaurant/bar in the world). He brought the heat with three backup singers, and epic keyboardist, sax, etc. I danced! I danced!

4. Bobby Darin - “Minnie The Moocher”

Bobby was not at SXSW (for obvious reasons), but I did find out about him through a post on our brunch DJ Rollo Grady’s blog. He’s amassed an incredible list of favorite records of 2011 from a wide variety of artists. This one came, appropriately, from Nick Waterhouse.

5. Poliça - “Violent Games”

I skipped Poliça at SXSW, because I had just seen them play perhaps the most epic show of the year at Bottom of the Hill a few weeks prior and I didn’t want that to be spoiled by the notoriously faulty sound systems in Austin. I was lucky enough to catch them again a few nights ago at Brooklyn Bowl, and it was a totally different experience — gone were the vocal effects, in were some new tracks, but the show was just as powerful, if not more-so. This is undoubtedly one of the best records of 2012, and I can’t recommend the live show (with two drummers) highly enough.

6. Young Magic - “You With Air”

With any SXSW showcase, I find it’s best to include at least one wild card — a band whose live show you know nothing about, who hasn’t released a ton of music, but who seems to have something good going on. Young Magic was that for our party, and they brought the heat. 

7. Yalls - “Settle Down”

No SXSW connection here, but gotta give this SF local some love — he’s been putting out good stuff for a minute, and this is an absolute jam. I’m sad to say I haven’t seen him live yet, but I’d love to book a show with him opening for St. Lucia (you know, in all my free time).

8. St. Lucia - “All Eyes On You”

I didn’t know quite what to expect from a St. Lucia show — either they would be hipsters going through the indie rock motions, or they could maybe possibly be solid and fun. Little did I know, they bring the house down. We were at a small, awkward bar (the oval-shaped bar took up most of the space, and the stage was in the corner, so anyone who wanted to see was crowded right in front), but they made it feel like an arena rock show. Every song was a hit, and played with such power and energy, you couldn’t help but sing along and get sweaty with everyone around you. Expect big things from this band.

9. Korallreven - “Sa Sa Samoa”

Sadly, the Korallreven show we went to suffered from some of the standard SXSW pitfalls — loads of technical glitches meant they went on 30 minutes late, and even when they did go on, the lead singer’s mic barely worked. Yet they were still awesome. And like the Django Django set, the crowd was made up largely of their countrymen (Swedes in this case).

10. Michael Kiwanuka - “I’m Getting Ready”

We were front row center for Kiwanuka’s tragically short church performance. He played earnestly and perfectly, and will certainly be playing to much larger crowds in no time.

11. Jimmy Hughes - “Steal Away”

This Muscle Shoals, Alabama native wrote and recorded this  epic soul classic in 1964, and it rose to #17 on Billboard. He had a few rough years, dropped from his label and such, but had a few more bright years starting in 1966. By 1970, though, he quit singing (beyond his church choir) and got a job making parts for nuclear power plants.

12. Randy & The Rainbows - “Denise”

This classic came on when I got my last haircut. Hadn’t heard it since I was a kid. Blondie later had a hit in Europe with it, changing the name to “Denis,” but it doesn’t compare to the original. Funny enough, they’re still together, just in two different bands with the same name. Not confusing at all.

13. Alpine - “Hands”

We were honored to have Alpine play their first American show at our Eventbrite Brunch, and they rocked it hard. They showed up jetlagged and amused by how their stereotypes of America were both confirmed and dispelled, but they looked totally comfortable in this new setting once they were at home on stage. Even a broken kick drum pedal couldn’t stop them.

14. Charlotte Gainsbourg - “Paradisco”

I don’t have much left to say about Charlotte Gainsbourg. She’s lovely.

15. Evan Voytas - “Feel Me”

Sadly Evan wasn’t at SXSW this year, but his new EP is as good as ever, and I still think back to his SXSW performance last year.

16. Audra Mae - “Eli, The Barrow Boy”

I’m not a Colin Meloy hater, but I’ve gotta believe his songs could sell a lot more records if they were sung by someone else. This is a perfect example.

17. Low Roar - “Just A Habit”

There’s something in this song.

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Apr 23

Listen on Rdio

Listen on Spotify

Welcome to a (somewhat belated, but what do you expect from me at this point?) SXSW edition of the Sum The Greater playlist! SXSW has definitely gotten out of control over the past five years I’ve attended, but it’s still unparalleled for the sheer volume and quantity of music in a small space. I had to throw two events for work, which were great fun. We had an afternoon arcade where we literally brought in arcade games and a wheel of prizes (plus the usual free booze and such). We also had Chairlift (swoon), Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Gardens & Villa, Rubblebucket (I only haven’t posted them because the recordings don’t do the live show service — my god are they amazing live), and Young Magic play. All were incredible, and it was a fun time throwing my first ever concert event. The next morning, we got up and had an industry-focused brunch with Alpine, G-Easy, and Dana Buoy, along with DJ sets from homies Ears of the Beholder and Rollo Grady.

Since then, I’ve been traveling the country in support of my product and our fancy new card reader and printer — it’s kinda fun to carry a box office around the country in your backpack :)

Anywho, I should probably get to the music.

<3 | ∑>

1. Django Django - “Default”

I had fallen in love with this record a month or two back, and lucked upon their first show outside Scotland at SXSW. It was a showcase of all Scottish bands, and there were lots of Scots in the audience. Fascinatingly, that was a trend — foreigners going to see bands from their own countries. Anyway, Django Django plowed through a perfectly executed set, with little flair but lots of power.

2. Electric Guest - “This Head I Hold”

I was very excited to see Electric Guest, but when I got to the venue (they were the first band of the night, which rarely means a crowd), the line was all the way down the block. Turns out Jack White was playing a couple hours later, so folks had turned out in droves. Ah well. I’m sure they’ll be touring extensively after this debut comes out. My friends built a cool website where you can check out a couple more tunes by dropping some puzzle pieces in place.

3. Nick Waterhouse - “Some Place”

I’ve been trying to hunt down a Nick Waterhouse show for ages, but always seem to find out about them the day after they happen. Thankfully, I tracked him down on the east side of Austin after an outstanding dinner at East Side Showroom (perhaps my favorite restaurant/bar in the world). He brought the heat with three backup singers, and epic keyboardist, sax, etc. I danced! I danced!

4. Bobby Darin - “Minnie The Moocher”

Bobby was not at SXSW (for obvious reasons), but I did find out about him through a post on our brunch DJ Rollo Grady’s blog. He’s amassed an incredible list of favorite records of 2011 from a wide variety of artists. This one came, appropriately, from Nick Waterhouse.

5. Poliça - “Violent Games”

I skipped Poliça at SXSW, because I had just seen them play perhaps the most epic show of the year at Bottom of the Hill a few weeks prior and I didn’t want that to be spoiled by the notoriously faulty sound systems in Austin. I was lucky enough to catch them again a few nights ago at Brooklyn Bowl, and it was a totally different experience — gone were the vocal effects, in were some new tracks, but the show was just as powerful, if not more-so. This is undoubtedly one of the best records of 2012, and I can’t recommend the live show (with two drummers) highly enough.

6. Young Magic - “You With Air”

With any SXSW showcase, I find it’s best to include at least one wild card — a band whose live show you know nothing about, who hasn’t released a ton of music, but who seems to have something good going on. Young Magic was that for our party, and they brought the heat. 

7. Yalls - “Settle Down”

No SXSW connection here, but gotta give this SF local some love — he’s been putting out good stuff for a minute, and this is an absolute jam. I’m sad to say I haven’t seen him live yet, but I’d love to book a show with him opening for St. Lucia (you know, in all my free time).

8. St. Lucia - “All Eyes On You”

I didn’t know quite what to expect from a St. Lucia show — either they would be hipsters going through the indie rock motions, or they could maybe possibly be solid and fun. Little did I know, they bring the house down. We were at a small, awkward bar (the oval-shaped bar took up most of the space, and the stage was in the corner, so anyone who wanted to see was crowded right in front), but they made it feel like an arena rock show. Every song was a hit, and played with such power and energy, you couldn’t help but sing along and get sweaty with everyone around you. Expect big things from this band.

9. Korallreven - “Sa Sa Samoa”

Sadly, the Korallreven show we went to suffered from some of the standard SXSW pitfalls — loads of technical glitches meant they went on 30 minutes late, and even when they did go on, the lead singer’s mic barely worked. Yet they were still awesome. And like the Django Django set, the crowd was made up largely of their countrymen (Swedes in this case).

10. Michael Kiwanuka - “I’m Getting Ready”

We were front row center for Kiwanuka’s tragically short church performance. He played earnestly and perfectly, and will certainly be playing to much larger crowds in no time.

11. Jimmy Hughes - “Steal Away”

This Muscle Shoals, Alabama native wrote and recorded this  epic soul classic in 1964, and it rose to #17 on Billboard. He had a few rough years, dropped from his label and such, but had a few more bright years starting in 1966. By 1970, though, he quit singing (beyond his church choir) and got a job making parts for nuclear power plants.

12. Randy & The Rainbows - “Denise”

This classic came on when I got my last haircut. Hadn’t heard it since I was a kid. Blondie later had a hit in Europe with it, changing the name to “Denis,” but it doesn’t compare to the original. Funny enough, they’re still together, just in two different bands with the same name. Not confusing at all.

13. Alpine - “Hands”

We were honored to have Alpine play their first American show at our Eventbrite Brunch, and they rocked it hard. They showed up jetlagged and amused by how their stereotypes of America were both confirmed and dispelled, but they looked totally comfortable in this new setting once they were at home on stage. Even a broken kick drum pedal couldn’t stop them.

14. Charlotte Gainsbourg - “Paradisco”

I don’t have much left to say about Charlotte Gainsbourg. She’s lovely.

15. Evan Voytas - “Feel Me”

Sadly Evan wasn’t at SXSW this year, but his new EP is as good as ever, and I still think back to his SXSW performance last year.

16. Audra Mae - “Eli, The Barrow Boy”

I’m not a Colin Meloy hater, but I’ve gotta believe his songs could sell a lot more records if they were sung by someone else. This is a perfect example.

17. Low Roar - “Just A Habit”

There’s something in this song.

Comments (View)
Mar 01

Ahoy mateys!

This little puppy came together incredible fast, then got released incredibly slowly (you can tell by the number of songs that you’ve probably already heard). My apologies. I got distracted by a number of things, but probably the most relevant to this crowd is the development of hearts.fm. It started at Music Hack Day, but we want to release it to the world in the next week or so. The idea is that we listen to music all over the web, and most sites have a handy little heart button to let you favorite a song. But no single place lets you listen to all those songs you’ve favorited. We do that, and we also let you select collections of those songs and turn them into a beautiful playlist to share with the world. Let me know what you think!

Oh, I also booked all the bands for my company’s SXSW Party — you’ll see almost all the bands on this or the next mix. I’m incredibly excited, and hope some of you will join me there! Mmmmm…Chairlift…

<3 | ∑>

​LISTEN ON RDIO

LISTEN ON SPOTIFY

1. Races - “Big Broom”

I would put these guys in a similar category with 1,2,3 — capable of big rock anthems, generally writing catchy blue collar blues-rock jams, occasionally mixing in more modern sounds. I’m stoked to hear their full-length!

2. The Shins - “Simple Song”

What can I say? It’s The Shins.

3. fun. - “We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monae)”

I’m glad fun. is blowing up the way they are. Nate has been screwed by the music industry as many times as anyone, and always finds a way to overcome and keep writing great songs. This track has been out for months and just keeps growing. The band sold more of their last record over the last month or two than they did when they were first promoting it. Don’t miss their new record (just released).

4. Miniature Tigers - “Female Doctor”

Miniature Tigers are a band who write some of the most infectious tunes you’ll ever hear, but are just that tiny bit too weird to catch on in a big way. Whatever, I still love them.

5. Nite Jewel - “One Second Of Love”

Cute? Check. Good voice? Check. Solid songwriting? Check. Slightly unique sound? Check. Game on.

6. POLIÇA - “Lay Your Cards Out”

I’ve had this album on repeat more than any other in recent memory. And to make things even better, I saw them live last week. Hooooooooooly wow. I never thought I’d like vocal effects live, but everything about their show was perfectly executed and visceral.

7. Blouse - “Into Black”

I know little about this band apart from the fact that they’re from Portland, play alluring tunes, and are rather attractive people. Straight out of Vice. I’m sure they’ll have a bunch of fans all over.

8. Gotye - “Somebody That I Used To Know”

Gotye (aka Wally) once again proves he’s capable of BIG pop jams with an emotional edge. I can’t walk three feet without hearing this tune, but it doesn’t make it any less awesome.

9. Good Old War - “Calling Me Names”

Good Old War is finally starting to sound like the folk band they want to be, shirking their emo roots and writing their best song yet.

10. Chairlift - “I Belong In Your Arms”

OMG CHAIRLIFT. It’s funny that I used to not like these guys (when they didn’t have a drummer live; it irked me; but I still had a great time at the show and met the folks who became my best friends in LA at the show). Love them now (in case you couldn’t tell from the last three playlists).

11. Pat Clayton - “You Gotta Share”

I first discovered Pat Clayton from a mix that Nick Waterhouse made from his personal vinyl collection. Alas, this is the only track of hers on Rdio or Spotify. It’s still rather awesome, but I want to find more of her stuff!

12. Nina Simone - “Mood Indigo”

A rare Nina song that is as clearly as much about the music as her voice. Sure, the music’s always good, but she usually overpowers it. Here, she plays a cat and mouse game with it. Gorgeous.

13. High Highs - “Horses”

More from this duo, and I still know nothing more about them. Maybe once they put out a full-length?

14. Islands - “This Is Not A Song”

After going all Lady Gaga on his last (amazing) record, Islands has toned it down a bit for his new LP. He’s a master, and shows it again here.

15. Diagrams - “Black Light”

I got really into a few songs from Tunng a few years ago, and was excited to hear one of the main guys had a new project. Diagrams is very different, but equally quality.

16. Evan Voytas - “When We Could All Float Away”

I doubt an Evan Voytas release will ever pass without me posting it, and they keep getting better and more fluid (here especially).

17. Cuckoo Chaos - “Jesus Flag American Ship”

These San Diegans write some simple but beautiful songs that wash your cares away.

18. Michael Kiwanuka - “I Need Your Company”

Be prepared for the invasion, America. Just sayin.

19. Extra Classic - “I Need Your Love”

I wasn’t particularly into this band til I saw their Yours Truly performance of this song. Damn.

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Jan 11

Happy newt, dear!

As promised, this mix contains a far crazier mix of songs — jazz from the good ol’ days to the modern times, soul from a similar stretch of time, chillwave from…ok, maybe not that one. But hopefully this scratches your itch for variety when the rest of the world is feeding you the same top records of 2011 (ok, that’s also not true…but you get the idea).

Not sure when the next mix will come — got some major projects I need to work on for Yours Truly, and that will be taking some time. I’ll keep my stockpile of mixable tracks building, though, and you may well hear from me sooner than I think :)

<3 | ∑>

PS - Buenos Aires ruled. Brazil didn’t happen. Mexico did. Music did. I wound up watching a friend from college (in NC) play in a hostel with his friends from Columbia (the country) and talking to a Brazilian who spoke no English and little Spanish.

PPS - For anyone new here, you can subscribe to the mixtape via email and get the mp3s in your inbox whenever a new mixtape is published.

1. Nick Waterhouse - “I Can Only Give You Everything”

Nick is one of my favorite artists to come out of SF in a while. He brings new life to soul music. Fingers crossed for lots more to come!

2. The Coasters - “Poison Ivy”

This, like many Costers tracks, is one of those songs I can barely believe got made, particularly in the era from whence it came. Perhaps most impressively, it’s a good song in its own right.

3. Audra Mae and The Almighty Sound - “Ne’er Do Wells”

I can’t tell you much about Audra (except that she has a distant family tie to Judy Garland), but I think her voice says enough for this Oklahoma City girl.

4. Summer Camp - “I Want You”

I’m hot and cold with blog darlings Summer Camp, but something about this track stuck.

5. Chairlift - “Amanaemonesia”

I was similarly hot and cold with Chairlift after their debut record, but their new tracks are blowing me away.

6. Keep Shelly In Athens - “DIY”

This is one of the more eclectic EPs to come out in a while, and it took me a minute to wrap my head around it, but in the end I think it’s highly promising and thoroughly enjoyable. Oh, and Athens is Greece, not Georgia ;)

7. Pyyramids - “That Ain’t Right”

An LA duo comprised of OK Go’s Tim Nordwind and singer Drea Smith, Pyyramids bring a sound they accurately describe as “underground pop” — there’s dirt in the keys and whiskey on the voice, but the songwriting is all there.

8. The Zombies - “She’s Not There”

I don’t think I need to write anything about The Zombies, but please enjoy this track if you haven’t heard it in a while. If you’ve never heard it, get your learn on.

9. Ernesto Djedje - “Lola”

This is the Ivory Coaster’s second appearance on a Sum The Greater mix. This isn’t his best song, by a long shot, but I was feeling in a Djedje mood and this was all Rdio and Spotify had to offer. C’mon guys! Get on those licenses!

10. Nina Simone - “Feeling Good”

I’ve been listening to a ton of Nina Simone lately. Just can’t get enough of that voice. Sadly, my mom’s reaction to this song was, “Ty, this is jazz…I HATE jazz.” She’s missing out.

11. Surfer Blood - “I’m Not Ready”

Surfer Blood’s latest EP, Tarot Classics, finds them growing up a bit from their plenty-good debut LP. They’ve lost the reverb on the vocals, they’ve gained some songwriting depth, and they’ve produced four songs that were very difficult to pick from for this mix. Can’t wait to see what’s up next for these guys, particularly now that they live in SF.

12. The Beach Boys - “Vega-Tables”

When you can do waaaaay too much acid, write a song about drugs that’s not-so-subtly veiled behind the metaphor of health and vegetables, and have it turn out this f*cking good, you’ve officially won at life. Congrats, Beach Boys. And thank you.

13. Beat Connection - “In The Water”

These dudes are from Seattle, but that’s about all I can tell ya. Sometimes they seem like a surf pop band, sometimes like electro pop. Naturally, it’s best when those two converge.

14. White Arrows - “Get Gone”

LA-based White Arrows have been getting significantly better with every release, and this is their climax thus far. I was sad to miss them playing with Races a few weeks back, but hope they’ll come around again soon.

15. High Highs - “Flowers Bloom”

These guys met in Sydney, but live in New York, and have a sound that seems to come from somewhere far away from city life.

16. Coeur de Pirate - “Someone to Watch Over Me”

I was introduced to Coeur de Pirate by this amazing Wood & Wires session video. She’s reasonably well known on the Montreal Jazz scene, but I’m a long way from that. Thank the internets.

17. Daughter - “Landfill”

I really want to post some of Daughter’s new stuff, but for whatever reason it’s not up for streaming on Rdio (though they have the artwork and track listing). Thankfully, any Daughter is good Daughter.

18. David Ruffin - “I’m So Glad I Fell For You”

I probably shouldn’t admit how much David Ruffin my friend Kramer and I listen to together. Oops.

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