The month of April marked the return from a hiatus for the sOUNDTRACK tO mY lIFE. While there were a number of forces that conspired to keep the soundtrack out of your hands over the last six months the primary culprit was a lack of motivation. Apparently digging through the blogs and podcasts for new music was just too much effort for me. But, I’m excited to announce that last month the spark returned. I found myself making notes about the ear catching songs I heard on the radio, searching through a pile of unplayed podcasts, and listening to 4 gigs of new Mp3’s given to me by my good friend BDR – who is more of a music snob than I am. He won’t listen to a song unless he can hear it in it’s intended context – while listening to the entire album.
This months soundtrack is loaded with the usual goodness you’ve come to expect from thesOUNDTRACK tO mY lIFE. But instead of telling you about the music I’d like to take some time to tell you about what’s going on with the landscape of online music services.
Due to unfair licensing fees set earlier this year – it costs online music services almost 4 times as much as satellite radio and nothing for typical radio stations – online music services such as Pandora are on the brink of shutting down their sites. In fact the great retro music mix site Muxtape has already been forced to shut down – although not exactly from the costs of licensing. You can learn about how the RIAA created legislation which charges outrageous fees to online services while letting traditional terrestrial radio pay just a small fraction of those same fees. In an effort to save pandora and bring online music fees inline with typical radio stations please take a bit of time to do one or more of the following.
Being a music snob I’m always disappointed when one of the songs I’ve selected for the soundtrack to my life ends up in a commercial. It’s even worse when the commercial appears before I introduce the song to you – my faithful listening audience. I feel as though I’ve let you down, Madison avenue beat me to the punch. Unfortunately that is exactly what happened to this soundtrack. Now I know what you’re thinking, crap, I’ve been waiting around for almost two months for this release and now he’s just recycling songs from a Target Commercial. Well if it makes you feel any better I promise to do better next month. So here it is, two months together as one.
As the snow melts in Whistler the equipment racks around town switch from storing skis and boards to storing mountain bikes. And like every other action sport, mountain biking has adrenaline packed movies filled with athletes doing incredible tricks. Of course these movies have a soundtrack and what do you know one of them had one of the best I’d ever heard – previous favorites include Robot Food’s Lame and the Moonshine Conspiracy’s Shelter. Seasons, a movie by the Collective, premiered in Whistler this spring during the ski and snowboard festival. It took some time to track down each track but it was well worth it. With tracks by Damien Marley, Cat Empire, and Citizen Cope it’s been a big influenced in this months sOUNDTRACK tO mY lIFE. Take a listen and let me know what you like, and if you’re into Mountain Biking go out and pick up Seasons.
Looking back on the songs I compiled for the month of April I can see I was all over the place. I’m not talking about musical styles I’m talking about geographic locations. I remember hearing MGMT and Joe Dassin while watching movies back in San Mateo at the beginning of the month. Then getting recommendations for Cut Copy from Double A back in Vancouver. And the rest of the tracks were found back in whistler, I might have heard them in my ear phones while skiing or on the car ride to the mountain while listening to CBC 3. These found musical treasure have been compiled and I now submit them to you as April’s soundtrack to my life.
I’m often asked where I find all the music for each month’s soundtrack to my life. It used to be a pretty straight forward process; I spent most of my day in a cube working on my computer and jamming away with my headphones on. I was a regular reader/listen of a handful of music blogs and podcasts such as; Daytrotter, Sterogum, Gorrila vs Bear, KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, KEXP’s Music That Matters, and the KEXP Live Performances. But lately I don’t spend much time in a cube which has made it harder to keep up with these great sources.
Another great source for music are the soundtracks of TV shows and movies. Showtime’s Weeds has provided me with at least a half dozen songs over the past few seasons. And while Weeds is a great show – and if you have not seen it I highly recommend dedicating an entire weekend to watching the first three seasons – my favorite song from this soundtrack comes from a moment of TV weakness. I stumbled upon MC Solaar’s La Belle et le Bad Boy while watching MTV’s the Hills……it’s freaking embarrassing to admit that I was watching the Hills but I heard this song playing in the background and it was sooooo good I had to add it. I feel a bit better getting that off my chest……a bit of cathartic healing…..now onto this months combined February and March sOUNDTRACK to mY lIFE.
What’s it take to get the first track on the sOUNDTRACK tO mY lIFE? Songs usually have to make an emotional connection or just plain get me movings. Which is what happened to January’s soundtrack. MGMT seems to psychedelic hippies (see their video for Time to Pretend) living in the hipster ground central city of Brooklyn that was formed at the yuppie school of Wesleyan University. Their song Kids has been in heavy rotation in my iTunes and every time I hear it I start tapping my feet or bobbing my head. And that’s what it takes to get the first track on January’s sOUNDTRACK tO mY lIFE.
As for the rest of the tracks in January they seems to have jumped out of the 70’s. An abundance of synthetic keyboards and funk seems to ooze all over this edition. Take a listen and let me know what part of the ooze you liked.
A dash of Manu Chao, a pinch Gabrielle & Rodrigo and top with Thievery Corporation – bake at 400 degrees and 20 minutes later you have Federico Aubele. The Argentinian musician has been dominating the speakers in our Whistler apartment which earned him two tracks on December’s sOUNDTRACK tO mY lIFE. The music feels very international with Aubele’s guitar mixed into stylish lounge beats and enticing vocals. The smooth sound is no coincidence as the album is actually produced and distributed by Thievery Corporation’s ESL Music label.
While Aubele was my favorite artist of the month my favorite song of the month goes to M.I.A’s Paper Planes. M.I.A. is another artist who combines a variety of different musical genre – I don’t know if I’m listening to indie rock, dub reggae, hip hop or something in between. However you want to classify it, it’s one of the best songs I’ve heard all year.
You can listen to both Aubele and M.I.A below. Let me know what you think of all the songs for this month’s soundtrack.
p.s…did you notice that December soundtrack was released on time?!?!?
As is usual the soundtrack to my life is a couple months behind. October’s soundtrack received allot of help from friends as family. My good friend Austin helped us out with a few track suggestions and my cousin Darren (aka – DJ Do You) created a Jack Johnson + Dem Franchise Boyz mash up that was good enough to make the list.
We are also playing around with a new playlist courtesy of Project Playlist. Leave a comment to let us know if you like the new playlist or if you have suggestions for better solutions (I tried Imeem but found it cumbersome to add tracks and they did not seem to have many of the artist in this months soundtrack). And now onto the music…
Back in September when I was putting together the Soundtrack to My Life I was excited to see new songs by Manu Chao (and a whole new album) as well as new music from Beirut, Rogue Wave, and a live song by Jose Gonzalez. Along with the past favorites I came across some great new artist that I’m excited to share with you. I won’t bore you with much chatter for this release instead look a bit lower and start enjoi-ing the music.