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Made In Heights – Ghosts

The electrifying duo that make up Made In Heights have recently released this single, “Ghosts,” which is almost too catchy. Producer Sabzi and singer Kelsey Bulkin work remarkably well together, and this track is a case in point. The first time I heard it I did a double take.. “Who IS this?? I must know!” I love discovering music this way- an accidental catch. I love the app “Shazam” for this reason- I only Shazam songs I reallllly wish to pursue! The songs I don’t want to lose the chance to listen to again. And so many of the songs on my iPod originated in my Shazam “Tags” list!

Try listening to “Ghosts” in the morning; try to resist the urge to hop out of bed and move your feet. It’s the added motivation, the energy necessary to get you moving. It moves me right. And that cowbell! Please give me more ;)

There’s not much I’d like to say about this song other than LISTEN! It will surely heighten your happy mood, or just be a spark of good feelings. Need another excuse to smile? This could quite possibly be it!

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Blockhead – The Music Scene

The music scene has got me down, cause I don’t want to be a clown…”

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Busta Rhymes – Ill Vibe (Tom Misch Remix)

Stories are boring. We don’t watch stories, we watch the characters. Their characters, their drama and what they do. The story is a small part of it.”

I heard this at a dinner last week from Richard Ayoade as he addressed a room full of aspiring filmmakers and creatives. That bit just hit me like a brick. The value we put on our stories and the value we put on character are skewed, subjective. This reminded me about the quote “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” But I don’t buy that. Not really.

With an ever-peering eye on our social happenings, our likes and what we deem interesting to share and read and come back for – there is a new pressure to be interesting. To create a character. I love this idea. Stories are long and drawn out and usually predictable but a character surprises you. You can change and morph. You can harvest interests. You can study a new language. You can buy a ticket alone. You can surprise even yourself.

I never really thought about this concept, the character being bigger than the story but as soon as I heard him say this I got a new perspective. A new way of seeing, of valuing situations and traits. I thought about the best stories I had heard or even experienced, and all were made that way because of the people involved.

Ill Vibe has that edge, the bravado that makes someone like Busta Rhymes a character. You listen to you and feel it.

I put my best foot forward, when I play in life
Cause this world as I live it, chill’s like a double edged knife
In the jam we regulate, cause we organize
Logic-a-ly thinking when along’s enterprise”

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Billie Black — I Don’t Need Another Lover

Smooth Sade-esque vocals begin right after familiar Hip Hop boom baps of drum and bass that make our heads nod and fingers snap to this seductive tune.

From the conception to the close
I can see who I need most
I can see who I’ve been host to
And I can see who tries to compromise me,
and I don’t need another bother!”

Lately I’ve been reflecting a lot on relationships. I’ve been wondering why I don’t really have a desire for any new ones, aside from the ones that I already have: relationships with friends, relationships with family and the occasional mini-relationships that play out like small pieces of a Broadway play based on a much larger life still yet to be fully lived.

I don’t find myself needing the affection as much as the thrill of fresh connections. I guess my affectionate self is enough for me these days because sometimes I find myself bringing it to someone who either hasn’t had it in a while, or someone who completely has forgotten what true affection even feels like. I think it’s sad when anyone has either of the two and I feel as if the world is a colder place the more connected we are to the Devil’s Bibles, aka, these fucking smartphones that you all swear by and worship every five seconds of your silly little lives.

I’m not going to apologize for my tone, but you should apologize to the last person you had lunch or dinner with, or the last person that you spend time with and interrupted that precious moment to check your Instagram likes and snapchat messages..

Anyway, I don’t crave the redundancy of a marriage anymore. I don’t crave the systematic life of a robot-servant built only to please its master as if a piece of property made solely for selfish demands and commands. No. I have been there and vowed to never go back. So yeah, “I Don’t Need Another Lover” either, the same exact way this prodigious songbird: Billie Black belts out loudly with her irresistible vocal chords. Instead, what I will take are the small moments in life that are least expected the way new songs that you will love are. I’ll take the moments of laughter that you couldn’t see coming even if you were a psychic, the kisses that make your stomach flip upside down, and those moments of fresh and new loves that excite you to your toes and make you sing little love songs all day long inside of your head.

It isn’t that I am afraid to commit to something new and long term. It’s more that I am afraid of the bottle of wine going stale before I can finish it all.

Yeah, our hands will get more wrinkled
And our hair will be grey
Don’t think I could forgive you” —Prayer in CLily Wood and The Prick

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Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Inspiration Information

Just having fun, just laughing smiling having fun…”

Here I am sitting by the beach curating the music for a steakhouse in the 49ers stadium. My dad came from the smallest of small towns in the Dominican Republic, I mean small like they just got a full electrical system a decade ago man. The Playlist Generation has  software that can run on WiFi so I can take my Air and do my job from anywhere in the world. My dads town didn’t even have a phone man. When they finally got a line, we use to have to schedule phone calls with my grandmother in advance because there was only one person in the town with a line. Ask my sister, our Grandmother had to be there at exactly that time for us to speak with her.

Now I’m sitting by the beach in California using wireless software on a computer the size of an envelope curating music for the world, helping one of my best friends build a company. Do you know what that means to me? I swear man, it makes me cry sometimes. I’m thankful for my grandparents, dad, my mom, for Dr. Walter Turnbull and for Michael Smith…

You, making me happier,
Now I am snappier while I’m with you.”

Saying that we’ve come along way doesn’t do it justice. I hope anyone around me understands why I don’t wanna ill or have little sympathy for first world problems. Ask my little brother, when we first moved to New York we lived in a studio apartment for like a year before we got a proper place. Thankfully we we’re little midgets back then, that was 3 kids to one bed. I sung for Nelson Mandela when I was 13, I sung Blackbird with a Beatle man. I could go to Paris tomorrow, curate amazing list and bring my mom with me if I feel like it. Do you know what that means to me? Don’t talk to me about nonsense man, talk to me about lovely things.

My perspective is deep-rooted and I’m thankful for those who came before me, your lives are what make mine and I’ll do everything I can to show how much I appreciate it. Everything you tell me, everything you’ve done is my Inspiration Information. I’ll never disrespect that progress by taking it for granted or being unappreciative or indulging in any wackness.

Jumping, laughing, smiling, having fun.
Laughing, smiling, loving, get on down.
Smiling, laughing, loving, get on down.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Inspiration Information

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Rodriguez – Sugar Man (The Goldfish Remix)

Often we become so comfortable with our opinions and cognitive biases that our thoughts become escape and coping mechanisms for our weaknesses. Through these mechanisms we become addicted to defining things that happen in our lives and consequently create a world in which those definitions become horse blinders for our perception of life and it’s events. For example, a person who only see’s the world through darkness or sadness will never be able to fully understand another perspective because everything in their mind starts at sad and dark and then defines itself from that perspective.

A lot of these problems arise from people forgetting that we are first and foremost creators. The world is nothing but a projection of your thoughts – life is a movie of your thoughts. We create what happens based on the aggressive and receptive principals, laws of attraction. Where you chose to direct your aggressive energy will in turn create those very thoughts and because you’re manifesting those thoughts you will also receive like energy in return. I’ve struggled with this so much in my life but as I focus on meditation and looking at life from the view of energy, vibrations and frequency I’m noticing the contradictions in my actions as well as those around me that could be detrimental to progress. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to play both sides. Jay-Z once said “I’m like Che Gueverra with bling on, I’m complex.” Some would argue he’s confused. You can’t live the darkness and then go around saying you’re about the light. Another much more inspired line from Jay in his earlier times sums it up nicely…

Leave my friends in a circle pouring out Henny
For Jesus is Heaven bound so how I’m gon’ receive anything y’all pour to the ground? 
Next time throw it up…” – Jay-Z

In this age of gluten-free everything and world changing health awareness we can’t forget mental health and the power we have as creators. An unhealthy mind can do more damage than most recognize and in this world of marketing you can’t just sit there in arrogance thinking it hasn’t been corrupted in one way or the other. Mindfulness is essential to that health because…

“The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.” – Robin Sharma

Meditation is the answer here, don’t be your own Sugar Man. Enjoy.

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Oliver – Light Years Away


My music taste lately has been skewing old. Lot’s of New Orleans blues, 60’s live rock recordings, and of course Cambodian surf rock from the Vietnam era. Friends and family, who constantly ask me for new music, have been disappointed of late when I weakly shrug.

So thank goodness for my favorite radio DJs spinning late night on KCRW. Friday nights with Travis Holcombe are a crash course in the newest bangers from across electronic genres, and after attending an intimate Chris Smither concert, I needed a dose of upbeat happy.

Mr. Holcombe obliged. I’d heard of Oliver before, but hadn’t delved into the duo’s discography. They are leading electro away from nu-disco and into a post-nu-disco era (only half facetious…) I compare them to Fake Blood, but able to reach the pop sound that he never did (or never wanted to), and group them with producers like Breakbot and Aeroplane. However, their latest EP, “Light Years Away,” throws in a hefty dose of Gestaffelstein for good measure, bringing a much-needed grit to the often sugary nu-disco formula.

And who can say no to a diva vocal disco bridge?!

“Light Years Away,” the song, is an all-timer at first listen. It is tonally dark, while maintaining an uplifting twinkle in its eye. The grimy snap bass tears a wormhole in the space time continuum, the sparkling diva break exposes us to the ecstatic gamma rays within. Both a militant, industrial shredder and a funky shoulderroller, this track will undoubtably worm its way into your rotation, and boom over dance floors around the world this holiday season.

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Birdy – Skinny Love (Fareoh Remix)

This remix captivated me. The song and the lyrics (listen to the original by Bon Iver) are amazing. It is popular because people see their hurt in it. The struggle in something. The definition of skinny love seems to take on many meanings. One being when two shy people like eachother but never act on it, crippled by their dilapidating interpersonal tendencies.

Come on skinny love just last the year,
Pour a little salt we were never here,
My my my, my my my, my-my my-my…
Staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer.”

The other way you hear this is when someone is hurting, they are without. The struggle of seeing someone you care about and they are hurting. Withering away in front of you. But you need them to hold on enough to keep going and trying. And sometimes it is hard and everyone feels guilty and sad and wanting to feel better.

And I told you to be patient,
And I told you to be fine,
And I told you to be balanced,
And I told you to be kind,
And in the morning I’ll be with you,
But it will be a different kind,
‘Cause I’ll be holding all the tickets,
And you’ll be owning all the fines.”

I hate fights and conflict. The danger of that being is you avoid all conflicts and issues until there is no room to brief. The weight of the decisions made have  crippled you. Every path is different and struggles are completely subjective but that doesn’t mean they are any less real, but the struggle intensity is how you see it. And sometimes you need someone to pull you out.

Skinny love to me is that. It is a plea with someone you care about to be ok. That is why this mix just spoke to me. It has this message and Fareoh made it into something that comes off as dancey and happier. A perfect balance or juxtaposition.

A perfect Friday release.

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Darkside – Gone Too Soon


Reclaiming the space. The space in my brain. The space which is integral to my creative endeavors (e.g., everything) and overall experience of the world, the space which is rightfully mine and enables me to gravitate towards the other cool-ass motherf@#kers oscillating on that higher wavelength.

Last night I got to catching up with one of my besties and our conversation oscillated around the theme of endings– or rather, lack thereof. What is it about this day and age that encourages such half-ass tomfoolery? Especially in the realm of *relationships*? How can you ever really break with someone when they’re constantly raping your news feed? It’s getting damn near impossible to cultivate any sort of healthy distance with one’s exes thanks to social media. Thanks for that, social media.

Sometimes you just gotta Shut It Down. Away with the has beens. So long to the ‘what if’s’. Delete, delete, delete. We are talking literal, metaphorical, and metaphysical deletion here. All I know is that you never really can know so what’s the point of pretending you do? Letting the words drown out the actual actions is a waste of time; fabricating bullshit only leads to more bullshit, even when you’ve got the best of intentions. So either you’re going to play an instrumental part in my universe OR you can piss off, dear sir. Cheers, thanks.

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Tom Misch & Carmody – We Used To Know

But we let it go, let it go, let it go…

Embrace your somber side by listening to Tom Misch & Carmody’s lovely track, “We Used To Know”. The pair has been working on an EP that will be released later this year. Both musicians are from South East London, and actually live down the road from each other!

There’s something about Tom’s music that is soothing to my soul. It’s not just this song that caught my attention. After hearing only a few of his songs, I knew he was an artist I should pursue. And I did! I downloaded his first album named “Beat Tape 1″ earlier this week and have been thoroughly enjoying it. In “We Used To Know”, his use of barely-there guitar strums and minimalistic percussion alongside his sultry voice captures me straight away. Carmody’s voice only amplifies the melancholy atmosphere conjured up by this song. The track is about breaking apart and drifting away; about the empty feeling that ensues after a breakup. The song carries soul, and the pair work well together to evince those familiar feelings of loss.

Be careful! This song isn’t forgettable. I’ve been humming it all day! Maybe it’s my current mood; it’s been dreary out, and my mood has been negatively affected by the sudden cold. We can’t be happy all the time! Life has taught me that a bout of sadness is natural and shouldn’t be ruminated upon. So let the blue songs speak to you; appreciate your varied emotions!

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