So... let's give this a whirl?
Just in case you're falling off the resolution wagon here at the end of January, I thought I'd share my latest gym mix. It's an hour and a half long and designed for the elliptical - in that you should be able to work out to the beat throughout the whole thing (it starts out slow and slowly builds, then lets up a little, then builds again, then cools down).
Don't give a shit about the gym? Then it's an hour and a half of great dance/electronic delightful awesomeness. It'll sound just as good in the car or on your stereo as it will while you're working out. Happy weekend, y'all.
[ download .zip ]
1. Ellie Goulding - Anything Could Happen
2. Daphni - Yes I Know
3. Holy Ghost - It Gets Dark
4. BB Brunes - Stereo (Jupiter Remix)
5. Simian Mobile Disco - Cerulean
6. St. Lucia - We Got It Wrong
7. Bag Raiders - Shooting Stars
8. Pnau - Lover
9. Icona Pop - I Love It
10. Modeselektor - German Clap
11. Todd Terje - Inspector Norse
12. Cut Copy - Future
13. Slice & Soda - Moments In House
14. Empire of the Sun - Walking On a Dream
15. Plustwo - Melody
16. Pnau - Come Together
17. Calvin Harris feat. Example - We'll Be Coming Back
18. The Gossip - Move In the Right Direction (Classixx Remix)
19. Sam Sparro - Shades of Grey (Plastic Plates Remix)
20. Giselle - Silk (Cosmic Kids Remix)
It's almost Christmas!!!! Just in case you've worn yourself out on Christmas Cocktail Dreams, here's part two - just in time for the last batch of weekend parties and the big day itself.
[ download .zip ]
1. The Border Brass - We Wish You a Merry Christmas
2. The Big 18 - March of the Toys
3. The Three Suns - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
4. Joe Bushkin With Rhythm Accompaniment - Everyday Is Christmas
5. Jo Harnell And His Trio - Sugar Plum
6. Richard Maltby And His Orchestra - Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year
7. Percy Faith And His Orchestra - Be A Santa
8. Slam Stewart Quintet - Jingle Bells
9. Enoch Light And The Brass Menagerie - My Favorite Things
10. Jose Marcello Orchestra - Stille Nacht
11. Neal Hefti And The Band With The Sweet Beat - The Toy Trumpet
12. Hal Mooney And His Orchestra - I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
13. Yuji Takizawa And His Blue Bones Orchestra - White X'mas
14. David Rose - The Christmas Tree
15. Helmut Zacharias And His Magic Violins - Skaters Waltz (Schlittshuhlaufer)
16. Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra - Winter Wonderland
17. Xavier Cugat - Danse Des Mirlitons
18. Billy Vaughn And His Orchestra - The Chipmunk Song
19. Sy Mann At The Lowrey - Winter Weather
20. Jan Garber And His Orchestra - Sleigh Ride
21. Lester Lanin And His Orchestra - Christmas Night In Harlem
22. Billy May Orchestra - Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Mambo
23. Booker T & The MG's - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Time for another Christmas mix! (You've already downloaded Christmas Cocktail Dreams, right? Okay.)
Bygone Christmas Classics dances between three decades, dodging all the Christmas super standards and collecting an hour of little gems from the '40s, '50s and '60s. Songs that SHOULD still be standards, but that you've probably never heard, and that you'd certainly never hear in the mall. It's still so early in the season that you may not be sick of hearing "Frosty the Snowman" yet, but trust me - it's going to happen. And when it does, you'll have Molly Bee's "Where Did My Snowman Go?" to fall back on.
"Where Did My Snowman Go?" is one of my favorites on this mix; Bee was 15 when it was recorded, and she's a little powerhouse of a teenager that sounds like what I can only assume Zooey Deschanel thinks she sounds like. A 12 year-old Brenda Lee pops up as well with "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus" - EASILY one of the greatest tunes I've ever discovered via my Christmas song spelunking.
While you'll hear Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Dinah Washington here, they probably won't be crooning anything familiar (though once you hear these songs, you'll wonder why you've never heard them before). And I'll never say I'm sorry once "The Mistletoe Kiss," "Ring Those Christmas Bells" or "Snowy White Snow And Jingle Bells" is stuck in your head.
You might be thinking - "waaaaaait a minute, the last track on here is 'Jingle Bells.'" And yup, it is. But with Leo Watson, it might as well be a different song - trust me.
Go ahead - give it a spin! And let me know what you think!
[ download .zip ]
1. Art Mooney And His Orchestra, Vocal By The Art Mooney Choir - The Mistletoe Kiss
2. Loretta Lynn - To Heck With Ole Santa Claus
3. The Caroleers - When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter
4. Bing Crosby With Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires And Orchestra Directed By John Scott Trotter - Sleigh Bell Serenade
5. Lawrence Welk - Ring Those Christmas Bells
6. The Three Suns - Ding Dong Dandy Christmas
7. Ferlin Husky - In Santa's Bag
8. Molly Bee - Where Did My Snowman Go?
9. Ella Fitzgerald - The Secret of Christmas
10. Frankie Yankovic And His Yanks - The Merry Christmas Polka
11. Burl Ives - Santa Mouse
12. Swing And Sway With Sammy Kaye (Vocal Refrain By Tommy Ryan) - When Winter Comes (Cuando Llega el Invierno)
13. Helmut Zacharias And His Magic Violins - Skating Princess (Eisprinzessin)
14. Peggy Lee With Orchestra And Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires - It's Christmas Time Again
15. Tommy Tucker And His Orchestra, Vocal By Don Brown, Sally Sweetland And Group - Looks Like a Cold, Cold Winter
16. Brenda Lee - I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus
17. Les Brown And His Orchestra, Vocal Chorus By Jack Haskell - When You Trim Your Christmas Tree
18. Primo Scala And His Banjo And Accordion Orchestra With The Keynotes - Snowy White Snow And Jingle Bells
19. Bill Pursell Orchestra Under The Direction Of Grady Martin - Our Winter Love
20. Dinah Washington - Ole Santa
21. Ruby Wright With Cliff Lash And His Orchestra With The Dick Noel Singers - Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Xmas
22. Hugo Winterhalter And His Orchestra And Choir - You're All I Want For Christmas
23. Billy May - Snowfall Cha Cha
24. Count Basie & The Mills Brothers - December
25. Leo Watson With The Vic Dickenson Quintet - Jingle Bells
I miss being a DJ on almost a daily basis, but I have to say, it stings a little bit more during the holiday season. I'm not sure exactly when it happened during my tenure at WRVU, but one Christmas season I was planning a theme-y holiday show and thought to myself, "what if I played Christmas music that no one is sick of, because they've never heard it before?"
From that point on, "new" Christmas music became a seasonal obsession of mine. And since actual new Christmas music (stuff that's been recorded in the last decade or so) isn't reliably listenable, I started exploring my way into the past. Digging up forgotten standards, dipping into lounge-y or big band twists on the ubiquitous classics, falling in love with The Three Suns, Herb Alpert, and almost anyone who had the words "And His Orchestra" tacked onto their name.
The result of years of collecting is a lengthy list of holiday tracks worth sharing. And here I am without a radio show on which to share them. Sooooo perhaps it's time for a seasonal mix. Or two. Or a few?
First up is Christmas Cocktail Dreams, which should help ease you into the holiday season. It's an hour of instrumental tracks from 1959 - 1968 that won't wear out their welcome immediately. Perfect background music for anything festive that you can do while drinking a cocktail - trimming the tree, hanging lights, wrapping presents, baking cookies or playing the perfect party host or hostess. Mix yourself a fancy drink and give it a spin.
[ download .zip ]
1. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass - Sleigh Ride
2. The Border Brass - Tijuana Christmas
3. Booker T. & The MG's - Jingle Bells
4. Pupi Prado And His Orchestra - Toyland
5. Lenny Dee - Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
6. Leo Addeo And His Orchestra - June In January
7. George Feyer At The Piano With Orchestra Conducted By Dick Jacobs - Skaters' Waltz
8. David Rose And His Orchestra - Waltz Of The Flowers
9. Enoch Light And The Light Brigade - Baby It's Cold Outside Cha Cha
10. The Three Suns - Winter Wonderland
11. Eddie Dunstedter - Silver Bells
12. Ichiro Masuda Quintet - Frost Flowers
13. Vince Guaraldi Trio - Skating
14. Trombones Unlimited Featuring Mike Barone & Frank Rosolino - Holiday For Trombones
15. Lester Lanin And His Orchestra - Dance Of the Sugar Plum Fairies
16. Skitch Henderson & The Tonight Show Orchestra - We Need A Little Christmas
17. Jerry Murad's Electronic Harmonicats - March Of the Toys
18. Ramsey Lewis Trio - Christmas Blues
19. Dick Schory's Percussion Pops Orchestra - Parade of the Wooden Soldiers
20. Art Mooney And His Orchestra - Satin Doll
21. The Guitars, Inc. - Snowfall
22. Benny Goodman And His Orchestra - My Favorite Things
23. Esquivel - Blue Christmas
Last week I said to myself, "you know what I need? A mix of songs that are kinda like The Walkmen's 'The Rat.'" And so I made one.
[ download .zip ]
1. Liars - Clear Island (from Liars)
2. Tame Impala - Runaway, Houses, City, Clouds (from Innerspeaker)
3. The Strokes - Reptilia (from Room On Fire)
4. White Denim - Darksided Computer Mouth (from Workout Holiday)
5. Thee Oh Sees - Enemy Destruct (from HELP)
6. Sound Team - Orange Bird (from Work)
7. Sleigh Bells - Kids (from Treats)
8. The Black Angels - The Sniper At the Gates of Heaven (from Passover)
9. Spoon - All the Negatives Have Been Destroyed (from Telephono)
10. Death From Above 1979 - Black History Month (from You're a Woman, I'm a Machine)
11. Bear In Heaven - Wholehearted Mess (from Beast Rest Forth Mouth)
12. The Walkmen - The Rat (from Bows and Arrows)
Sorry no link for a Spotify or Mog playlist - both services are missing at least one track.
Part of it is that since I stopped doing my weekly show, I slowly gave up my state of constant musical vigilance. I no longer comb through weekly releases; I no longer listen to every new single that's blowing up on the Hype Machine. I was only tipped off to Kindness via Ed Droste's twitter feed - he mentioned the album the day of its release - and I have to wonder how many fantastic albums like this one have entirely eluded me in the last year.
But the bigger part of it is that I feel like I want to share this album with so many people that I think will love it as well. And that feeling was always the driving force behind me wanting to be a DJ. I can name ten friends off the top of my head that I think would be really into this record, for various reasons, and if I can name ten friends, who knows how many listeners would have liked it. It feels selfish to say I miss having an audience, but I miss having an audience because I miss having the opportunity to help people fall in love with something new.
Anyway, Kindness is one of the reasons I decided to give OtO a little facelift, a little reboot, a little fresh start. I can't promise I'll ever really be a blogger again, but I'm going to try to do a little online DJing, at least.
Kindness fits neatly into what I've already been listening to a lot this year - a slice of the musical spectrum that encompasses chill-ly electronic, low-key stuff that sounds great while working, and more dance-friendly fare that gets a lot of airplay while I'm working out. (Let's just say that if you could wear out digital music, the most recent Toro y Moi and Washed Out albums would be looking a little rough around the edges, and the entire LCD Soundsystem catalog would have completely disintegrated by now.) So this 10-song series of disco grooves inevitably became a go-to - it's funky enough to pick you up during an afternoon lull, and chill enough to cool things down at the end of the night. Having a rough day at work? It's perfect. Throwing a party? Perfect too.
I haven't heard whistling this catchy since "Young Folks." Of course that means ubiquity is right around the corner, but before the rest of the world completely catches on, slap on some sunscreen and soak up some sun while you stick this one on repeat.
And later on in the night, when you're all sun-kissed and ready to dance, Polaris at Noon has you covered with this remix. I think I love it even more than the original.