locals only.

There’s one thing that I have learned from countless hours reading Complex’s countless lists. If you don’t have a music video, you don’t really have a song out. The massive amount of cat pictures and image macros on the Internet is a clear indicator that people want something to look at. You can have the most compelling, well-written song/rant/Penthouse Letter/jury duty summons and no one will care until you stick a cat/soldier/person crying/entertaining video with it. That’s just how it is. Some people are born ugly and the Internet demands pics(still or moving) or it didn’t fucking happen. Reality bites.

This last week I was lying on the couch doing important stuff, like incessantly leaving snarky comments on Facebook, when I discovered pure gold. That gold was, unfortunately, not the kind you can pawn to finance a night on the town, but extremely valuable nonetheless. It was Universe People‘s video for “Druids”. It’s a fantastic video with a lot of nuance and clean editing that, most importantly, fits well with the song. It also didn’t hurt that the song is CATCHY AS FUCK. After that experience, I HAD to see what else Seattle bands are cooking up in the music video department. I was galvanized into action and the power of curiosity compelled me.

Initially, I was having an incredibly difficult time finding videos but armed with a keen memory and Boolean search terms I eventually prevailed. None of this stuff is Thomas-Jefferson-underground, but none of it is endorsed by VEVO so it took some digging. Surprisingly, the venture was actually so successful that I’m altering my posting schedule just so I can give this gift, these wonderful videos from fantastic Seattle bands, to you as soon as possible.

The playlist kicks off with Pony Time‘s “Lori & Judy” who have been getting some well-deserved attention lately. Like the aforementioned “Druids” video, it’s a simple concept with great execution. It’s a fine example of someone making a great product without re-financing their home or taking out another student loan. Right in the middle is King Dude‘s “The Black Triangle” which has some really majestic shots. If I didn’t know any better, you’d think that the director choreographed the snowflakes to fall in the appropriate directions. It really is that good looking. The belle of the ball has to be Nightmare Fortress‘ “Hang You On The Wall” hands down. Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of videos with stories that have been really hard to follow. That is definitely not the case here. The concept integrates seamlessly with the song and, frankly, it’s one of the best videos I’ve seen in a long time. If I ruled the world, it’d be a shitshow but I’d also make sure that their video recieved an award of some kind. Rounding out the playlist is Deadkill‘s “Oh God Help You”. It’s a classic punk rock wild-in-the-streets show video, but they really sell it well. They sell it so well that I even bought the vinyl EP and my record player has been broken for months. Without further ado…

seattle_bandwagon

Here’s the YouTube link:
Locals Only

Here’s the tracklist:
1. Pony Time “Lori & Judy”
2. Universe People “Druids”
3. King Dude “The Black Triangle”
4. Nightmare Fortress “Hang You On The Wall”
5. Deadkill “Oh God Help You”

Do you know of some videos I should have included in this playlist? Leave a comment!

live wire + live is life: the double album

Recently, some obviously crazy dudes asked me to sing in their band. I was honored, but it’s a little known fact that I hate doing lead vocals and writing lyrics. The super trooper lights of being center stage don’t do shit except blind me. I really enjoy being off to the side, with an instrument in hand, and supplying all the necessary hoots and howls. I play an online game called League Of Legends and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my favorite role is ‘support’. With all that said, I don’t like to shrink away from challenges so I accepted the offer. Along with not shrinking away from challenges, I also don’t like to do a bad job. Too many times people have to suffer through some egomaniac lead singer throwing a temper tantrum. A lot of times people will actually sit through it and like it. That’s just not who I am. I feel that even with the lights out and it being less dangerous, the people are saying, “Here we are! ENTERTAIN US, MOTHERFUCKER!” Real entertainment requires real effort, so I decided my first order of business was to look at some footage of lead singers doing their thing. As I went through YouTube video after video of wonderful live performances, I realized that in honor of Black/Blackout History Month it would be fitting to make a playlist showcasing African-Americans. This is where the strings/hard part comes in…

With traditional music videos, it’s fairly easy to find an upload with both great audio and visual quality. Live performances are a totally different bag. There are a lot of videos with bad audio and shaky video. It’s like skimming through a whole bunch of soft focus self-shots on Instagram with a buzzy guitar blaring at you. Unfortunately, the pain didn’t end there. As I started finding some good videos, I noticed that they weren’t fitting neatly into a theme and I had way more videos than I needed. Revisiting the theme of not backing down from a challenge, I decided to do something unprecedented in this blog’s long illustrious history. TWO MOTHERFUCKING PLAYLISTS, BRUH.

Blue Note Records put out these great double disc compilations with fantastic titles like ‘Saturday Night/Sunday Morning’. The ‘Saturday Night’ disc would feature party songs and the ‘Sunday Morning’ would have some nice background music for you to get your lover some aspirin to. I wanted to do something similar so I made ‘Live Wire’ and ‘Live Is Life’. If you recognize those song titles, good for you. They vaguely have something to do with the composition of these lists.

The first playlist I made fast and exciting like its namesake “Live Wire”. To ‘S’ my own ‘D’ for a second, I think this playlist is the best yet. It transitions almost seamlessly, has some hidden gems, and most importantly goes hard in the motherfuckin’ paint. It starts out with some of the best dance moves ever seen (James Brown “The Payback”), has a sexual synth solo on a Moog Liberation (Kool & The Gang “Get Down On It”), and ends with one of the dirtiest songs I’ve ever heard (Marvin Sease “Candy Licker”). I recommend checking out the original version of “Candy Licker” so you can truly appreciate what a wild dude Marvin is. His schtick is DTMFA (Dump The Motherfucker Already) and call me up for oral sex. Obviously, I couldn’t include that in a playlist with Nina Simone and Dinah Washington. Although, I did put Bootsy Collins in the mix with those classy ladies.

The second playlist “Live Is Life” is also pretty good, but much more subdued in its tone. It’s more likely to give you goosebumps than those unexplained Valtrex-controlled ones. The musical genres are also more varied, but what they share in common are powerful statements about the lives we lead and emotions that come along with that. James Brown’s “Sunny” video is a little hard to see, but the performance is amazing even though it mostly looks like loose silhouettes. Funk connoisseurs will notice that Rick James’ “Big Day” is included. It’s easily his best ballad and unfortunately you can only hear it on the ‘Superfreak 1982′ DVD. If there’s one video you watch in this playlist, watch that one. Lastly, all you 90s enthusiasts will really appreciate D’Angelo “Lady” Live on the Chris Rock show. It might make you cream your JNCO jeans. Alright, nerds.

Here’s the beef…
Live Wire
1. James Brown “The Payback”
2. Sly & The Family Stone “Dance To The Music”
3. Billy Preston & Ray Charles “Double O Soul”
4. Arthur Conley “Sweet Soul Music”
5. Ohio Players “Skin Tight”
6. Earth, Wind, & Fire “Evil”
7. Isley Brothers “Who’s That Lady?”
8. Kool & The Gang “Get Down On It”
9. Bobby Womack & Peace “Lookin’ For A Love”
10. Marvin Sease “Candy Licker”

Live Is Life
1. Howlin’ Wolf “How Many More Years”
2. D’Angelo featuring Spanky, Saadiq, Ali Shaheed, and ?uestlove “Lady”
3. Dinah Washington “All Of Me”
4. Ella & Duke “Satin Doll”
5. Lightnin’ Hopkins “Lonesome Road”
6. Nina Simone “Ain’t Got No, I Got Life”
7. James Brown “Sunny”
8. Bootsy Collins “I’d Rather Be With You”
9. Rick James “Big Day”
10. Maze featuring Frankie Beverly “Joy & Pain”
11. Lenny Williams “‘Cause I Love You”

population boom

So… it’s that time of year where it’s impossible to throw a weekend rock ‘n’ roll hotel party because they’re all suffering from a pigeon/lovey dove infestation. Happens. Believe it or not, I’m not even mad. I know the popular thing for singles to do is rant about how stupid/corny/commercial/whatever Valentine’s Day is, but I’m not that person. Frankly, it’s amazing when two or more (no hate for polys either) people form an intimate bond. Everything amazing is a cause for a celebration and this is no different when it comes to love.

It’s so easy to get caught up in this endless cycle of keeping busy, keeping promises, and keeping up with the Jones’. That’s why it’s important that we have a celebration like Valentine’s Day. A nice reminder to get back to the basics of love and head for a vacation getaway in Luckenbach, Texas or wherever. Since this blog is all about the right playlist at the right time, I’ve coupled Black/Blackout History Month with Valentine’s Day to present you with a collection of 90s R&B hits for you to both spoon and fork someone to.

Personally, my idea of a sex/lovemaking soundtrack/scene involves tall cans of beer and Motörhead’s “Love Me Like A Reptile” pumping in the background while I’m pumping in the foreground. I’m also single. I’m not ruling out that the aforementioned scene might be a reason why. I’m not a narcissist, so I know that this isn’t about me. After a quarter of a century, I know that R&B is what people want to hear when two boots come together to make tasteful lust. When I put together this playlist, I wanted it to be mostly deeper cuts. The 90s is insanely popular right now and there’s a lot of surface skimming going on. Having experienced the 90s firsthand, I don’t want to hear any of that shit. Those tapes were worn out when tapes were actually relevant. After all that, I realized that some really popular songs are just too perfect to leave out. The songs I’m directly referring to are H-Town’s “Knockin’ The Boots” and Silk’s “Freak Me”. These songs are so R&B cool that they’re straight ice, baby. Too cold. I also put a slightly wacky one in there. Most of the songs are mildly graphic, but I just love everything about Ralph Tresvant’s “Sensitivity”. It’s a real cheeseball song with a equally cheeseball video, but I really love it. Like actual love between people, I can’t explain why but I just do. I know that some of you might be thinking, “What about us chronic singles?!?!”

Well, I didn’t forget about you. In a land far away (the Central District) during a time of high adventure (my late 20s), a friend told me that she liked to smoke weed and listen to R&B slow jams. Although I don’t partake in pot takin’, it sounds like a good time. If that’s not the recipe for a nice, dreamy evening, then I don’t know what is. Well… I’m feeling lazy again, but I just want to say my, my, my… my, my, my… you sure look good tonight. Stay sensual and stay safe, weirdos!

Here’s the YouTube playlist:
Population Boom

1. Subway & 702 “This Lil’ Game We Play”
2. Jodeci “Freek’N You”
3. Intro “Come Inside”
4. Ralph Tresvant “Sensitivity”
5. Total “Kissin’ You”
6. H-Town “Knockin’ The Boots”
7. R.Kelly & Public Announcement “Slow Dance”
8. LSG “My Body”
9. Silk “Freak Me”
10. Case featuring Foxy Brown “Touch Me, Tease Me”

in it to win it

It was recently brought to my attention that rap music is a terrible influence on people. Not the most profound thought, but I think it is a sentiment that is rarely vocalized. A large amount of rap music is “whole lot of thuggin’ and druggin’ and that’s it.” Once you get past that, you quickly run and faceplant yourself into a wall of sexism and homophobia issues. A person could go on all day about the negative aspects of rap music and never run out of relevant examples, but today we’re going to stay #based and embrace the positive. Personally, I can’t think of anything more positive than love. Since it’s Black/Blackout History Month and a week before Valentine’s Day, a hip-hop playlist of love songs is most appropriate.

The task of putting a decent playlist this week was a little harder than I expected. I wanted to have good songs that were positive, but at the same time have some integrity. By integrity, I wanted to exclude songs that have lyrics like “You never riff, when I call you a bitch/ ‘Cause you know it’s just a figure of speech/ Some ghetto terminology you learn on the streets.” Almighty RSO’s “You Could Be My Boo” is still a hit in my book, but that may be one of laziest justifications ever. There’s some lyrics in this playlist that are equally dumb, but nothing quite so uncomfortable and juvenile. That line has always made me cringe and these days I’m all about the hnnggggggg, not the cringe.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot hnnggggggg going on in this playlist but what it lacks in attractiveness it makes up for in beautiful sentiment and personality. The most heartfelt song has to be “Baby” from Ghostface Killah featuring Raheem DeVaughn. I spend exactly 0 seconds a day thinking about having kids, but when this song comes on I all of a sudden grow a biological clock. My absolute favorite of the bunch is Whodini’s “One Love” by far. The song is killer, but the goofy choreography is what really brings it home. Aside from that, I couldn’t tell you what’s so special about it. Just like actual love, it’s the intangibles that really bring it home. I decided to order this playlist with no particular gimmick in mind other than that the music flows well. So without further ado…

Here’s the YouTube link:
In It To Win It

1. Fabolous featuring Ne-Yo “Make Me Better”
2. Ja-Rule featuring Vita “Put It On Me”
3. Drake “Best I Ever Had”
4. Plies featuring T-Pain “Shawty”
5. The Jealous Guys “First Sight”
6. Slum Village featuring Kanye West & John Legend “Selfish”
7. De La Soul “Eye Know”
8. Whodini “One Love”
9. Steady B featuring E. Jones & DJ Tat Money “Going Steady”
10. Ghostface Killah featuring Raheem DeVaughn “Baby”
11. The Roots featuring Erykah Badu “You Got Me”

big day coming

#YOLO.  It seems like everyone over the age of 25 has universal disdain for the phrase.  Unfortunately, if you’re the type of person that cringes at the sound of it you might be a redneck… actually you’re probably an old asshole or someone who takes themselves much too seriously.  Ain’t nothing wrong with a little bump & grind or wanting to take advantage of the short time we have in this mortal plane.  #YOLO is ‘carpe diem’ being appropriated for the current generation.  It’s like the kids transcended book learnin’ and got all Emersonian on us or very specifically tapped into his speech ‘The American Scholar’.  The kids ARE alright. With that said, I realize that there’s no better time to adopt this mantra than now.  Doesn’t every philosophical change deserve a celebrationg though? Well…

Some of you may know that February is Black History Month which is met with very little fanfare.  More importantly, a select few of you know that it’s also Blackout History Month.  If you forgot, that’s fine.  No one ever remembers.  Blackout History Month was started because I like beers and I also have grown tired of explaining the significance of Black History Month to people that don’t care or have already decided that they are never going to give it any legitimacy.  The same goes for all other cultural heritage months. The real travesty is Hispanic Heritage Month which isn’t even an actual month, but I digress. Blackout History Month is about embracing your fellow human beings, forgetting about your prejudices and what happened the night before.  This year to mark the 5-year anniversary I’ve decided to have a bachelor party because no one deserves a wild day of fun more than an actual single man.  As of right now, no one knows what the events are but it’s fairly certain that at some point some music videos are going to get watched. That’s where this weeks playlist comes in.

Since I believe in propriety almost to a fault, I made a playlist of music videos that show ‘big days’ because bachelor parties are some of the biggest of days.  For some reason, the span of a day is the perfect timeframe for a music video storyboard.  There is some really extraordinary work in here.  Although the music is diametrically opposed in every way except tempo, Delta Spirit’s “California” and The Bucketheads “The Bomb” are two of my favorite videos and I was really happy to be able to put them in the same playlist.  Dom’s “Living In America” isn’t the best video, but it works well with the song and some of the editing is pretty spot on.  I’m puzzled that the song never caught on and why it never was used in an advertising campaign for alcohol.  How perfect would that song have went together with the rollout of the American flag Budweiser cans?  That should have been the video or at least who should’ve paid for it. That’s enough with the time wasting and blog writing, because #YOLO but you already know though…

Here’s the YouTube link:
Big Day Coming

Here’s the tracklist:
1. The Smashing Pumpkins “1979
2. Delta Spirit “California”
3. M83 “Don’t Save Us From The Flames”
4. NERVO & Hook N Sling “Reason”
5. Dom “Living In America”
6. The Bucketheads “The Bomb”
7. The Prodigy “Smack My Bitch Up”

bands 101

Bands. When hard-pressed, it’s basically impossible for me to say anything good about them. The most base and vile things about humanity are typically found in the more lawless regions of the world, but if you want a low-calorie, no carb version you can get it by joining a band. The worst part is that bands are also incredibly fun just like doing sketchy drugs. Also like doing sketchy drugs, if you get too deep into it you’ll find yourself poor, lonely, unable to have healthy relationships, and with neglible job skills. One of the few good things about being in a band is that most people, including those who have been in bands, don’t view band membership in a negative light. That’s good because you can indulge in them for a short time and not have to hide it. In fact, people WANT you to talk about your band (just not a lot and as long as it involves minimal engagement on their part). Most people like to see other people doing something creative and productive. So what could be so bad about a couple friends getting together and making music, right? Inherently nothing, but unfortunately that’s not how things end up. You’ll be able to witness that through this video playlist of bands making videos about being in bands.

The mix starts out with one of my personal favorite videos and a great summation of the band experience. After that I decided to order the playlist in a fashion that follows the timeline of a band’s existence. You’ll see the humble teenage beginnings (“Get The Keys & Go”), learning how to rock (“Sugarcube”), the kicking out of the first member (“Perfect Situation”), making a video (“Wires”), the tragic end (“Painted Soldiers”), and the reunion of sorts (“Girl Panic”). This is pure entertainment, but hopefully some of you can view these videos as cautionary tales. Despite what weirdos may try to convince you, learning from someone else’s experience is fantastic and a hell of a time saver. Plus, spending 1-2 hours, several times a week, with degenerates that are terrible at time management is not making the most of your fleeting time on Earth. Gotta go, band practice started an hour ago…

Here’s the YouTube link:
Bands 101

Here’s the tracklist:
1. Paint Fumes “Waste Of Time”
2. Llama Farmers “Get The Keys And Go”
3. Yo La Tengo “Sugarcube”
4. Weezer “Perfect Situation”
5. Red Fang “Wires”
6. Superchunk “Watery Hands”
7. Pavement “Painted Soldiers”
8. Duran Duran “Girl Panic”

dancing with tears in my eyes

Well, it seems as if it’s been about a year since I made my first post and it’s been a wild ride of inactivity.  Luckily for no one, I’ve been watching more music videos than ever.  With all that music video watching I’ve noticed that a lot of dance music hits are secretly total bummer jams.  I put together a pretty small playlist, but there are a lot of tearjerkers being hidden behind those ‘four on the floor’ beats especially if you delve into trance-y stuff.  Since appearance is everything, I picked songs that won’t make people think you’re just having a bad comedown from some glowstick rave.  There’s a few covers in here, but they’re tastefully done and don’t reek of Eau d’Eurodance.  I ended the playlist on a less dour note because it’s always important to stay #based and embrace the positive.

Here’s the YouTube playlist:

Dancing With Tears In My Eyes

Here’s the tracklist:
1. Barry White & Funkstar DeLuxe “Let The Music Play”
2. Stardust “Music Sounds Better With You”
3. Deep Dish Feat. Stevie Nicks “Dreams”
4. Benjamin Diamond “Little Scare”
5. Phats & Small “Turn Around”