16 December 2014

2014 Best of Mix

2014 Best of Mix - Hear it on 8 Tracks

2014 Best of Mix - tracklist and run down

I racked my brain to think of a theme that defines this year's list. I couldn't think of one other than the artists are from several different countries: alternative hip hop from Edinburgh, electro-pop from Iceland (FM Belfast), Tinariwen from Mali, my favorite MC Ana Tijoux (Chile), and we kick things off with New Zealand's most famous chanteuse:

1. Yellow Flicker Beat / Lorde - I was late to the Lorde party. There was so much hype I didn't give her music a chance. Then I listened to Heroine for basically six weeks straight in January and February.

So just like they gave Judy Dench the Oscar in 1999 for Shakespeare in Love  when it was really for Mrs. Brown in 1998, I give Lorde the #1 spot in my 2014 mix for her work in 2013. Though I do like this song...

2. Somos Sur / Ana Tijoux (feat. / Shadia Mansour) - my beloved Ana teams up with the first lady of Arabic hip-hop for a very political song that is also the most catchy on Ana's 2014 release Vengo. Read the lyrics (when page loads, scroll down for English translation).

3. The Devil In Me / Pony Boy

4. Soon Come Soon / Young Fathers - putting Edinburgh alternative hip hop on the map, Yo!

5. Everything / FM Belfast - Here's the twee song with a male and female vocalist you've come to expect. Who new that first Belle and Sebastian record would have such long term effects on my musical taste?

6. Neuromancer / EMA - I really like the way this song starts. I really dislike that she uses the word selfie.

7. Go (Blank Sea) / Zola Jesus - If this song had come out when I was sixteen it would have been my anthem for this lyric alone, "I go downtown where they don't know my name." The atmospheric 4AD sound is just icing on the sweet cake of darkness.

8. Two Weeks [Explicit] / FKA Twigs - the 2013 mix included the first ever inclusion of a slow jam (Rhye's Open). 2014 follows in its footsteps with another baby-makin' tune.

9. GIRLS (cover) / Sizzy Rocket - My choice for best cover song of 2014 - this chick covers / re-writes the famous Beastie Boy ditty.

10. These Days (cover) / Chris Hansen, Matt Pond, Laura Stevens - In case you missed it, an album came out this year with covers of songs used in Wes Anderson movies. It's called I Saved Latin. I like this version of the Nico / Jackson Brown tune the best out of all of them. Matt Pond's guitar sound gives it a different flavor without compromising the overall feel of the tune.

11. Every Other Freckle / Alt-J - If you get a chance to see Alt-J in concert - go! This is my favorite track (so far) from their new album, which you'll probably like if you were a fan of the first one.

12. Suspiro / Rafi El 

13. Imidiwan Ahi Sigdim / Tinariwen - For better or worse, about a third of the artists on this 2014 mix have appeared in previous "Best of" mixes. Tinariwen is another repeat, but this is their first appearance since 2007.

14. From The Night / Stars - Here's another repeat offender. You know I love Canadian depress-pop. That said, the latest Stars album is, surprisingly, a dance record!

If you're keeping track of the typical elements of a Megan mix, this is where you'll find the handclaps.

15. We Only Come out at Night / The Sugar Stems

16. Bury Our Friends / Sleater-Kinney OH MY GOD THEY'RE REUNITING.

Well, that about wraps it up for this year. No banjos or mandolins this year, sorry! Also no really bass-thumping songs. If you're jonzing for Check out Best of Mixes from previous years. .

13 December 2014

I'm Kind of Older Than I Was When I Reveled Without a Care

The stationary bike I use at work makes you enter your age during start up. The age defaults to 35 and then you can move the number up or down and hit enter. When I first started I thought nothing of toggling it down, down, down to 24. In a few weeks, I'll be leaving that number to its default position and next year, well, I'll be toggling it up.

This, among other things, have given me pause for reflection. It happened earlier this year at a music festival.

In 2001, was too cool to dance to the grooves of Outkast's Sorry Miss Jackson (Oooo! I am for real). Back then I swore I didn't care what other people thought. Yet, I wasn't about to put my hands in the air and wave them like I just... didn't care.

Then, at some point I emerged from my 20's. This year I saw Outkast's reunion tour and danced and sang along to all the words I knew. I also spent last Friday night eating cereal for dinner and watching UHF. So there you have it. Not moving the maturity toggle up or down either.

The guy who sits behind me at the hockey games (Gene) told me about a conversation he had with his dad when he was a little kid. He said to his dad one year, "You're 35? Your life is half over!" So his dad waited years and years until Gene turned 35. Then called him and said, "How does it feel to be 35? Your life is half over!" I kind of love this guy for waiting almost 30 years to deliver a joke.

Anyway, I'm not feeling morbid or pensive about my birthday later this month. Maybe that comes next year when I have to hit the age "up" button. I'm kind of waiting for it to happen so I can use it as a reason to quit my job and travel the world like my friend Carmel and her husband.

On the other hand, I kind of like that I'm finally old enough to get respect at work. Some might say I'm doing a better job presenting my ideas or arguing my points, but I really think age and tenure has more to do with it. Funny thing.

We're finally getting some rain here in SoCal. As my mom says,"Rain is God's car wash." So I'm off to drive around in Little Red so I can scream along to Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You. Because I'm not too cool not to...