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T / happy monday / hot thoughts

Photo Credit: Feist.

Some really good albums from a couple of my all time favourite bands came out over the past month.  And I got to spend a lot of time in a car with them this past weekend.  These bands were the soundtrack to my late teens and early 20s and are so telling about my early millennial status.  I discovered Spoon while watching The OC.  Then I found The Shins when I fell in love with Zach Braff and his Garden State.  I met Dirty Projectors when I moved to Cambodia and met all the young things from Brooklyn.  And the story of Tennis fell into my lap while I was living the hipster wannabe story in London.  Don’t you love it when music comes with a time and a place?  True story: I catalog all of my music by the month and year it came into my life.  There is indeed a soundtrack to my life.  Not joking.  I might actually be John Cusack from High Fidelity in the multiverse.  Or Kevin Smith.

Oh right, Feist is coming out with her new album next month.  22 year old Tiff is going nuts.   Here are the faves from everything I am spinning this week!


Spoon – Hot Thoughts, from their album of the same name.

The Shins – Name for You, from Heartworms.

Dirty Projectors – Cool Your Heart (ft. Dawn) from their self-titled album.

Tennis – Ladies Don’t Play Guitars, from Yours, Conditionally.

Feist – Pleasure, from her forthcoming album of the same name.


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T / happy monday / cool your heart

Photo Credit: D. Morrison.

Photo Credit: D. Morrison.

When a song features the lyrics: “gonna cook you with pepper and lime,” I know it’s going on heavy rotation.  That would be from Paris chanteuse Mai Lan.  And then there are all the new things from Dirty Projectors and their collab with Solange.  Good music is blowing up right now.  And with efforts like the 100 First Days, I cannot wait to see what the subversives come up with.  Also, Moonlight just won Best Picture at the Oscars. I don’t care what people say, the arts are responding.

Hearts are ALL on fire right now.  And it’s definitely not from all the good heat coming from Valentine’s Day.  So I thought I’d put together a playlist of some very new faves and some old spins that have kept my cardiac sounds in check.  New faves like Bay Ledges, and stalwarts like Animal Collective, Clap Ya Hands Say Yeah, Spoon (because I’m a 39 year old guy who went to school in Austin at heart) and Sondre Lerche all have new tunes the kick the year off with.  So this playlist is mostly filled with some old geezers.  But I’ll get the babies to you soon.



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T / happy monday / top tunes 2016

tiffs-top-tunes-2016-header

Photo Credit: Eric Cahan

2016 was weird right?  I’ve been making my year end music lists for the past ten years and looking back at the process, it’s always fraught with so many feelings.  This year there were so many feelings. Looking back at the year, Lemonade and all the excitement that came with it, feels like it was eons ago.   There was an attempted musical movement.  David Bowie released one of his best albums,  and past away shortly after.  We lost so many lions of pop.  Why did everything released after July sound like it was auditioning for the Stranger Things soundtrack? And I grew into a curmudgeon thinking that no one had rose up to replace them.  But hopefully the little eggs, like Anderson .Paak, will grow up to be icons.

But at least everyone’s soundtracks got better?  Magical Cloudz made it into a magical moment in The OA.  Have you watched (and listened to) millennial mystery Search Party?

I’m excited for 2017.  Because ladies will be marching. From turmoil comes innovation.  If 2016 was a moment of pause, then 2017 will be lit on fire. In the meantime, here is everything I had on repeat.

tiffs-top-tunes-2016

PS – Check out my lists for 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.


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C/ The Get Down

the-get-down

Photo via Tube Filter

With the advent of Netflix in Cambodia, a whole new world has opened up to people that sometimes just want to stay inside. Sometimes, those people are me. My current Netflix bright spot is The Get Down, a music-laden series on the beginnings of hip hop, life in the 1970’s Bronx, and of course, love. Everybody loves love.

The characters are raw, imperfect, beautiful, and silly talented. The lead love story is between Ezekiel and Mylene, played by Justice Smith and Herzien Guardiola. The two of them make me feel like I have accomplished nothing in my life. Most of the cast members are new names for me, with the exception of Jimmy Smitts, who I have loved since his days on LA Law, and Jaden Smith, the prodigal son of never-aging beauty-robots, Will and Jada.

Also, and I understand that my focus might be different that others, but the clothes are amazing. Some of the disco suits are hilarious and cringe-worthy, but there are so many pieces that I want to snag for myself. You could pull a lot of these outfits and wear them now, and my affection for the high-waisted, booty loving, denim culotte is only growing.

I highly encourage watching this show. It has had mixed reviews, but if you are into hip hop, the historical side of the greatest city on earth, and Donna Summer, get down on it.  (Sorry.)

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C / this mix

I am constantly searching for things that make my days brighter and a little bit more fun. Because I often work alone, I try to keep music upbeat and often turn to embarrassing pop to keep the day moving. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly times when the only option is putting on the Les Miserables soundtrack (the 1992 live cast version, not the movie version, don’t be ridiculous) and singing Eponine’s parts poorly and loudly. Lucky for me, Tiff is able to rescue me from myself and has far better taste than I do. She also has the patience to constantly hunt for new cool tunes and share them with me.

She sent along this mix on Sunday and it has been my soundtrack for the last three days. It’s a fun one, with mostly remixes from the 80’s and 90’s including, but not limited to: Listen to Your Heart, Just One of Them Days, and the King of Wishful Thinking. I honestly don’t know what else I need.

It’s so good. Perfect mix of chill and fun and OH MY GOD ITS THAT SONG I LOVE THAT SONG!!!!

I hope it helps you through your Tuesday.

caitsig


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T / happy monday /

Photo Credit: Prue Stent

Photo Credit: Prue Stent

So I just woke up from my old-man phase when it came to music in 2016.  Sometime in March, I had given up.  The world had succumbed to Ariana Grande.  I was a mega curmudgeon. The medium was dying, everything that was being produced sounded the same and it was futile to expect anything more than what would satisfy the addiction algorithms.  But I’ve had a slow rebirth that wound up with a crescendo of music love this past weekend.

But enough of those meditations.  I had a slow morning.  The snooze button was pressed multiple times.  This means I wasn’t in the mood for any sort of high intensity exercise either.  So I’m all about the fancy pantsy dancey this morning.  And I’ve declared Biggie as my spirit rapper this week.  So I have to open the mix with a little millennial remix.  Enjoy!

PS – To our international friends, we’re currently exploring new music platforms as 8tracks has reconfigured its policies to be in line with international streaming regulations (mega huge frownie face!).  If you are unable to reach our playlist below, try this link, where you can play on your desktop!


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T / happy monday / rock (sort of) on

Photo Credit: David Bonazzi

Artwork Credit: David E Bonazzi

I’ve started to fall in love with music again.  Gone are the days I spend grumbling about how pop music all sounds the same.  I’m not that curmudgeonly yet.  But ever since I started a project to help re-brand these guys, I’m getting back to my roots.  Last week, I spent an evening with all the new stuff.  And they are goodies.  This mix starts like any commute in the twilight of winter should.  Slow and early with the wandering beats of Sun Seeker.  The beats move a bit faster as the day edges on, with Kevin Morby and then a Duran Duran cover by Shamir.  And finally we hit up Anderson .Paak, a newbie on the hip hop-soul scene that I’m beyond digging.

I hope this little mix gets your Monday going swell.

PS – 8tracks is currently down. You can access the mixtape here!


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T / happy monday / tiff’s top tunes 2015

Tiff's-Top-Tunes

Photo Credit: Eric Cahan

We’re supposed to be slacking this week and getting our friends to do our work, but it turns out I forgot to schedule this thing I have to do every year.  So I’m sliding it in while I’m supposed to be not doing much but eating my weight in seafood on the Cambodian coast.  

Last year, I wasn’t what you would call crazy about the selection of tunes that were being churned out.  Increasingly, I find myself non plussed by how mechanical and inorganic sounds are becoming in the sphere of popular music.  Almost as if an algorithm is pumping them out, aware of what beats per minute will most stimulate our repeat listens.   There was a bunch of swiping to the left basically.  This year, I’m a hella more optimistic.  There was reinvention and cross ocean collabs. I can’t get the K-pop dub smash intermix out of my head. It just works so well.  Then, Blood Orange took us back to the old days while confronting very current issues with Sandra’s Smile, which I’ve had on repeat for the past couple of months.  Great people came back to us and made even better music (I’m looking at you, Jamie XX, Beirut and Animal Collective).  And a whole bunch of new kids on the block made a scene (baeb rxxth, Class Actress).  Basically I was happy this year.  The same kind of happy that comes with watching the opening credits of Master of None.  And looking back on it, there were a lot of favourite songs, so I couldn’t name one.

And there was so much good stuff, I made a list just for remixes and covers.  Because being a music geek knows no bounds and a member of Janelle Monae’s Wundaland crew reinventing Radiohead is more than inspired.

Enjoy and happy holidays!

PS – Here they are in alphabetical order, and you can even listen to them if you keep scrolling down.

Tiff's-Top-Tunes---full-list


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T / happy monday / back to school mixtape

Photo Credit: Nina Leen for LIFE, 1956. Via Tomboy Style

Photo Credit: Nina Leen for LIFE, 1956. Via Tomboy Style

How did I forget to put together a mixtape for the back to school season?  Oh right, it’s perpetual summer over here.

Most of us probably aren’t in school anymore, (though one of our favourite contributors is!).  But when the sun starts to wane at an earlier hour, the temperatures start to drop (sort of, kind of, not really over here), that’s my favourite time of the year.  The transition seasons are the best.  One’s mixtape might also switch over to slower, less poppy, more thoughtful beats.

I had the chance to catch up on the tunes of the new season during the week of quiet in an empty Phnom Penh.  And to be honest, I was a little spurred on by Condé Nast’s recent acquisition of my music bible, Pitchfork Media, with the sole purpose of bringing “a very passionate audience of Millennial males into our roster.”  I should also mention that I’m a fairly dedicated reader of Wired and Esquire magazines and a regular audience to All Songs Considered.  Guess that makes me a Millennial male.  Or a manic pixie dream girl.  I can’t wait for 2 Brown Girls to jump on this.

Gender-inflamed paragraphs aside (which sounds like an STI), this is all about the tunes.  I’m loving some of the new kids on the block who hail from the southern hemisphere. I start the mix off with Love Ssega all the way from South Africa and cap it off with Slum Sociable from Melbourne. There’re also some old faves jumping on the bandwagon with the cool kids (I’m looking at you Ryan Adams, new member of the Taylor Swift entourage).  These tunes are the ones I’d be plugged into, tubing to school in London or pounding the pavement in Toronto.  Enjoy!


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T / happy monday / millennial eighties baby

Photo Credit: The Hood Internet

Photo Credit: The Hood Internet

I am filled with positive energy these days.  A month in Myanmar, a five day respite in Bangkok and now back home in Phnom Penh. Meeting new and incredible people in places that are just starting to emerge.  But I can’t help but remember that we are living in the best and worst of times.  Old economies continue to be in turmoil. Migrants fleeing conflict continue to find violence no matter where they go. It’s a weird time to be.

But so were the 1980s.  The Cold War bubbled along through the decade that Cait and I were born in.  Nuclear disaster at your doorstep.  I’ve been watching this fantastic new television drama Deutschland 83. Have you seen it yet? It’s a German political drama set in…when else, but 1983.  I won’t give anything away if you’re looking for quality television with a great soundtrack, sink your teeth into this one.  However I will leave you with a mixtape.

I wasn’t very aware of things in the 80s. I spent a chunk of it either non-existent, in the womb or toddling around.  But I do know that if there was any other decade I could be a teenager, it would have been then.  The music, the enthusiasm. Teetering on the brink of greatness and destruction.  The neon and the shoulder pads. Maybe the 1980s and the 2010s aren’t so different.  So I wanted to make an energy-filled enthusiastic mix to start the week off with.  Can you pick out which tunes are a throwback to the synth-filled 80s and which ones are the real deal? I hope you enjoy and have a happy Monday!