Monday, December 31, 2007

Getting better - New Year's Mix

So here is a mix to bring in good karma, feel-good vibes, oppourtunities for nostalgic reflection, warmth, smiles and compulsive fits of dancing, for good measure.

Happy New Year, everyone! Here's to hoping that 2008 will end up being bad-ass enough to show up last year.

1. The Walkmen - New Years Eve
Smooth, sweeping piano melodies combined with slashing cymbals and gruff vocals provide a song for you to sway your way into the new year. Irresistable; you could even slow dance to this one all by yourself.

I'm so glad I found out about this band before the year officially ended! This British electro-rock outfit have been sneakily providing shouty, in-your-face dance music, reminiscent of their NY counterparts, The Rapture. This cheeky little song is one of my favourites. Seriously, I'm thinking it should be crowned song of the year. Listen, listen, listen!

I swear, this song is magic. I fell in love with it ever since I heard it over the closing credits of Empire Records whilst the cast was dancing away into the night atop the record store building's roof. The vocals are smooth and croony without being annoying, and the chorus is the sort you can sing along to out loud, waving your hands in the air, out the car window. And yes, it's okay if you look like a complete idiot - most probably everyone else is just insanely jealous of your impecable taste in music. This is the song that will start your year off in the best way possible.

I have this thing where I don't like Beatles' covers. I find it hard to believe that a singer/songwriter/musician who isn't someone from the actual band can really do justice to any of their songs. This is also probably why the Across The Universe soundtrack was such a major disappointment to me, even though I'd been really, really curious about how the film had turned out. But there is this guy called Fionn Regan and he is Irish and plays guitar and has a wonderful voice (kind of like a younger Damien Rice?) and did a lovely acoustic version of 'Getting Better' when he paid a visit to the BBC Radio 1 Studios. He retells the story of someone trying to make a concious effort to turn things around in hopes that they can put any and all douchebaggery to an end in a sincere tone, and the fact that this song is only accompanied by guitar makes the feel of the song all the more intimate. So I'm going to make a suggestion: listen to this song, and don't compare it the original, and you just might warm up to it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Post-Christmas Wind-Down Mix

I thought today would be a good day for a mellow, melodic mix for sleeping in, easing off headaches and hangovers, preparing for 2008 whilst recovering from the throttle of Christmas partying.

The Notwist - Consequence

I have been obsessed with this song lately - it is perfect in almost every way, from the soothing piano loop to Markus Acher's sleepy vocals to the sharp thump of the drums that are a constant throughout the song. Best for rainy days, falling asleep late at night, and day-dreaming and the ideal track-number-whatever in the soundtrack to your life. Listen to this song - even if it is the only one you listen to in the last week of 2007, it'll be worth it.

You Say Party! We Say Die - Apocalypse Meow

I feel this song is really appropriate with a brand new year just around the corner. Although it borders on dancey, I still feel like the vocals and consistent drumming are enough to help you wind down at the end of the day. As contradictory as it is, this upbeat, soothing song at barely one and a half minutes needs to be included in your life in some way.

Andrew Bird - Scythian Empire

I'd been putting off exploring Mr. Bird's music for a very long time, and I'm glad I came to my senses and introduced myself to this song. It's eclectic enough to hold your attention and yet calm your nerves the moment it begins to play - mixing whistles, the sound of a grand piano and folky acoustic guitars, echoes, the tinkle of metal and a myriad of other sounds, it reminds me of forests and sweeping landscapes. Perfect for playing on your headphones whilst going exploring or tumbling into good dreams at night.

Recommendations of things to do in addition to listening to the aforementioned songs: stay in bed all day, eat ice cream cake and watch lots and lots of Scrubs. I've tried it, and I have the following to report back: it's awesome.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's Christmas! Let's be glad.

Merry Christmas, everyone! I'm so, so excited about starting B&J - the countless inspiring blogs out there that have been paving the way for awesome music, mixes literature, film and other nifty things have meant that this paticular brand new blog has been a long time coming.

Cue the hot chocolate, fairy lights, carols, obligatory Sufjan Stevens christmas CDs, and of course, ridiculously delicious food.

A recipie to make your Christmas all the more merry:

Captain Morgan's Ice Cream Cake

1/2 cup of Captain Morgan's Jamaican rum
A whole carton of Cookies & Cream ice cream
2-4 large squares of ready-made spongecake

Use a tablespoon to evenly distribute the rum onto the surface of the first large slice of spongecake. Wait 2-3 minutes to allow it to soak. Use a large spoon to spread the ice cream across the top of each slice of cake - it's okay if the ice cream ends up a bit lumpy because of the cookie bits, you can always squish the ice cream down later with the next layer of cake. Keep repeating this method until you've added as many layers as you want, or possibly can - the higher it's able to stack, the better!

Now a quick last-minute Christmas mix:

The Weepies - All I Want
Jimmy Eat World - Christmas Card
No Doubt - Oi To The World
Joey Ramone - Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)
Friends - Pheobe's Holiday Song
Sufjan Stevens - Sister Winter