Winsconsin, a mixtape.

A few months ago the lovely Eric from the Nerdologues gang invited me to be a guest on his podcast, Blank Cassette. It may have taken way too long for the reciprocal invite to be actually sent out (especially since it had been in the pipes since before said pod went pretty public nearly 10 months ago!), but I finally got him to make you a playlist.

He didn’t exactly make it for you nor me, but Eric’s being kind enough to share the mix and inspiration behind it with us.

Read on for a High Fidelity-esque tale of break-up, travels and music. The basic trinity of pop culture!

*WARNING: do NOT look up “Door County” photos if you don’t have time to drop whatever you’re doing to plan a holiday.

Last summer my girlfriend and I had booked a weekend getaway to Wisconsin for the Fourth of July. For some reason, that’s a really common thing for people who live in Chicago to do – we live in one of the largest and most engaging cities in North America but, you know, the grass is always greener. So Wisconsin it was! Door County in particular – that’s an especially picturesque part of the state up north, near Green Bay (home of the Packers and cheese hats). It was going to be our first road trip together – always an exciting part of any relationship.

One of the things I did to prep for the trip was put together a playlist of artists that put me in the headspace of Wisconsin. The lady enjoyed listening to my playlists (one of my relationship Kryptonites) and it seemed like this was a great opportunity for one since we’d be in the car a whole lot. Usually I keep my playlists pretty tight – something that would fit on a blank CD if anybody still used those – but I made this bad boy open-ended to better accompany the long drive we were staring down.

By this point you’ve probably picked up on all the past tense here. That road trip never happened. A few days before we left, she broke up with me. We’d had a nonrefundable hotel room (booked via an insane deal on hotels.com**) though, so I was like “fuck it, I still want to go on this trip”. So I kept working on the playlist.

I didn’t end up going to Door County exactly – through the intervention of some very kind friends and the fact that I couldn’t bring my dog to the hotel we’d booked unless she was a service animal (you better believe I was bringing somebody to that hotel), I instead spent the weekend at my friend’s cabin in nearby Tomahawk, WI. The playlist was still in play. And you better believe I listened to it on the way up there and back.

The base of the playlist is a lot of power pop. There’re a couple reasons for that – the That ’70s Show aesthetic (check the first song) primarily, but it also just seems like Wisconsin needs a power pop soundtrack. All the heavy beer, cheese, and sausage of the state mixed with its beautiful airy scenery – the power meets the pop, right? That explains stuff like Big Star, Alice Cooper, and 1-800-Band.

Nestled alongside power pop what puts me in the mood of driving through an endless wash of Culvers are a bunch of artists I’ve seen perform in Wisconsin. Milwaukee and Madison are home to a number of beautiful theaters, and Milwaukee also hosts the annual Summerfest, giving me a bunch of tremendous musical memories – hence the appearance of acts like Rilo Kiley, Beatallica and Jakob Dylan.

Any time I visit some place, I make it a point to listen to local artists. Winsconsin includes a smattering of that as well; welcome the Violent Femmes, the Bodeans, the Chordettes and the like.

And finally, some songs appear because they’re tied to very specific Wisconsin memories – the time my friends and I were driving back from Milwaukee and spontaneously sang literally every word on Weird Al’s Bad Hair Day album, or the time we were heading to Minneapolis and, just past Madison, my friend Steve decided that if I really liked Van Halen, I should be able to listen to “Jump” nonstop for three hours without complaining (I made it maybe 20 minutes).

Memories of that particular weekend are, understandbly, still pretty bittersweet for me. But dang it, I really like this playlist. I think it’s a nice, varied collection from across my musical taste that puts you in the headspace of a pretty lovely state. I’m actually heading there this Friday for a work outing and you better believe this bad boy’s gonna be cued up on my Spotify.


-Eric Garneau
writer, editor, comic book retailer, Nerdologues member, alright guy I think?
www.nerdologues.com

 

**this post was in no way endorsed by hotels.com (although we’re totally open for that, guys!)

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Mixtape | Walk Idiot Walk…

I’m not the only one making mixtapes around here, Adam’s made you one too and #wednesdayhumpday sounds like the best time to dive in this one.

Ladies, gents and binaries, here’s Adam:

I’ll cut to the chase, the moral of the story is that whilst you should totally go on a 20k walk exploring an new city with great company, be prepared to pay the price if you’re doing so in flip flops!

The day in question was almost two weeks ago on a trip to Portugal and having soldiered on things haven’t been healing as I might have hoped (don’t improvise surgery on blisters with nail scissors kids 😉). Having arrived home in the UK at 4am I was struggling for motivation to get up and out for a friend’s birthday in Tufnell Park. So whilst I was soaking away some aches and pains I started to fill a playlist with motivational tracks to get me back on my feet.

Some, like Walking on broken glass and Hole in my sole, have titles that perfectly captured the Pain I was feeling, whilst Walk idiot walk captured my general mood having only myself to blame. Walk This way takes me back to the van rides to the beach, in the Land Rover with no stereo, where I was the DJ singing along with so many new friends that I look forward to seeing in the waves again. Others catch me looking forward to when the recovery is over and I’ll Run back onto the Softball pitch on October 1st (hopefully 🤕). We round out with one of my all time favourites, a track I’ve heard live 20+ times, Look what happened indeed ‘we’ll walk in circles around this whole block/ walk on the cracks in the same old sidewalk/ then we’ll talk about leaving town…’

I’ll heal up soon and forget about the injury but the memories of catching waves, beautiful sunrises with beautiful people and nighttime ponderings of penguinologists will stay with me forever. 

Thanks to Liv for letting me play in her space for a bit and to you for reading this far. Enjoy the music.

Adam

Instagram: adamsmith3d
Twitter: adamsmith3d
Spotify: adsmith85

Mixtape | Summer Daze

I don’t know where you guys are but it was a holiday Monday here in the UK and there’s not much better than an extended weekend. Except for a hot and sunny extended weekend, which this one so happened to be.

As I was lying in the sun with two books to catch up on, I couldn’t carry on with either. Not because they weren’t interesting or because some dudes were playing ball way too close and I had to concentrate on not being hit. But because my Daily Mix of choice was so, OH SO chilled and the books were one about business, one about 90s grunge, so….as I found myself in a, well, summer daze!, with the soundtrack that was playing in my ears I figured I’d turn it into a playlist and share it with the world. Or at least with my 3 or 4 readers.

I don’t always make playlists – even though it’s what I set out to do here! – but, when I do, it’s usually summer-related…I swear I have completely different ones in the pipeline and I promise I’ll, er, try to post them in the very near future but, for the time being, as this may or may not have been the last we’ve felt/seen of hot sunshine, behold, Summer Daze.

Mixtape: roadtrippin’

It’s SuperBowl Sunday, but one team beat my Seahawks out of the playoffs and the other is a Trump-supporter, soooooo…it’ll be Playlist Sunday instead!

I mean, this is pretty self-explanatory, I don’t need to say it’s a playlist filled with driving tunes and that most of it lays around classic rock, right?! Sadly it only has around 3 or 4 tracks by a lady or female-fronted band so, if anyone wants to send some suggestions to add to it, please, by all my means!

Send nudes!

You heard right, we want to see your naked…well, playlist! This a music website! What were you thinking??!!!

Global advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy challenges you to bare all in new Spotify campaign. It’s really easy to look cool on the internet but let’s see who you are in real life…

Ok, ok, it’s not exactly a challenge. We here are not really keen on the “guilty pleasure” terminology. After all, why guilt in listening to music that makes you happy? And also, what exactly constitutes a “guilty pleasure”?! Judging artists by genre, looks or whatever it is that gets you worked up is only keeping you from finding what could be your new favourite song.

It’s this unfounded prejudice from pseudo-music snobs that has people in 2017 still saying things like “wow, I didn’t know Lady Gaga could actually sing!” – no shit, Sherlock! If only you hadn’t judged her for the fact she makes pop music. (as if pop music was Satan’s invention or something…and I’m saying all this while drafting a post condemning shit lyrics…oh, sweet hypocrisy!)

The finest music snob in the galaxy!

The finest music snob in the galaxy!

This thing reminded me of a friend who once told me she watches “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” but, when I brought it up in front of other people, she denied like she feared for her life as if anybody actually gave a rat’s ass that she liked it!

Just love what you love and consume whatever entertainment makes you happy! As long as it’s not hurting anybody…sometimes music is art, sometimes it is what it is: entertainment. It’s true it makes me sad that something like the Chainsmokers are chart toppers while so many super talented people struggle, but hey, it’s a big world andryanadams1989 there’s space for everyone. We should be glad to have such diversity catering for everyone.

I mean, if Ryan Adams can cover a whole Taylor Swift album, who are you to judge anybody’s taste?

Anyway, my “naked playlist” is pretty much on par with everything I’m always posting: lots of Pearl Jam, Brian Fallon, Wolf Alice, Lissie and Ryan Adams. The two surprises were: the lack of Backstreet Boys – not even ONE track! – and the presence of an Usher song I had on idea existed! If anything, I’d say I’ve listened to “You Remind Me”, “Confessions” and “U Got It Bad” more than any other song by him, but oh  well!

What’s in yours? Get it here. Play it loud and share it proud!

Mixtape | Wicked jams 👻

I don’t know about you guys, but Halloween is my favourite celebration of the year – it really should be a holiday!

It’s a shame London doesn’t celebrate it properly but fortunately not too far, about 4:30hrs by train from us, Edinburgh does an incredible parade of the yearly battle between summer and winter. If you ever get a chance to see it, I HIGHLY recommend it!

img_0016Anyway, Halloween is not just a time to dress up in spooky costumes, scare your friends without guilt (as if I felt guilty any other time of the year!), work on your pumpkin art and stuff your face with chocolate. It’s also a time to binge-watch classics such as Hocus Pocus and The Craft. I mean, it’s also an excellent excuse for a playlist!

Obviously, we’ve got all of those anyone expects in a respectable Halloween mix: Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, Ramones, Black Sabbath…even “I Put a Spell On You” (I know, so predictable!) with its million covers makes an appearance and of course we chose the Marilyn Manson version. I mean, only because Spotify doesn’t have the Bette Middler one from Hocus Pocus…now THAT is a true Halloween classic.

weirdos

But anyway, besides covering the pre-requisite and adding half of The Craft soundtrack, we also added a shitload more tracks from, as usual with a playlist like this, a mix of genre but, funnily enough, with a majority of 80s sounds…what happened to the chilling, dark music of the past?! Maybe people should take a break from making wrist-slitting music and get back to the haunting themes.

 

Mixtape | Discover Australia

oz-flagRemember Jet? You know, Are You Gonna Be My Girl?, Cold Hard Bitch…I don’t know if you guys are aware but, last week or so, they kind of teased everyone with a post saying “Come around again…?” and everyone thought they were reuniting or something, especially as this year would be their 15th anniversary as a band.

One or two days later, however, they revealed the big secret and, although nothing about a proper reunion nor new music was announced, they did confess to be getting back together to support none other than Bruce Springsteen during his tour down under.

Pretty exciting news nonetheless – maybe that’ll inspire them to give us new music (please, thank you, Jet!).

Anyway, this piece of news alone was enough to inspire a whole Australian revival in my Spotify. The last time I had done a playlist with nothing but bands from Koalaland had been over three years ago, so here’s a more current version of it.

Australia has a big soft spot for all things rock, especially the 90s-sounding alternative kind and some country-ish stuff, so expect lots of guitar with a bit of synth here and there – ya know, Empire of the Sun and the likes.

Here’s about 15 hours of music to keep you going and it’s still missing some key artists and bands. I actually think there aren’t enough female voices so, if you’d like to suggest some (or any voice whatsoever!), please do get in touch!

You’ll find classics such as AC/DC, INXS, Men at Work and Silverchair as well as the latest import hits The Jezabels, Birds of Tokyo, Guy Sebastian (you might remember him from Eurovision) and Boy & Bear.

Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself thinking several times “What? These guys are aussie??” You’re not alone. I mean, Savage Garden, The Temper Trap, er…Bee Gees?!

Heads-up to Powderfinger, possibly Australia’s biggest band, yet for some reason I’ll never understand, they never really took off elsewhere having played a few times around these British shores mainly to the antipodean crowd.

The playlist also features a ton of old school, pre-David Guetta Sia which is my favourite Sia. But have a listen and judge for yourself.

If there’s anything you’d like to see here, any artists/genres you’d like to know more about, do hit us up! We’d love to do some research for you. =)

 

Mixtape | Discover Chill

If you’re not familiar with Spotify‘s Discover Weekly, I’ll give you a brief explanation: everyone who has an account with them gets this personalised playlist that is updated every Sunday night and it’s filled with 30 tracks recommended exclusively for you based on what you’ve been listening to.

Now, I don’t know what’s been playing on mine that made Spotify give me all these chill tracks – and I am definitely not complaining!! This past week’s playlist brought me a pristine collection of tunes that transports me straight to Jamaica, or maybe Costa Rica, and if I close my eyes while listening, I’m on a hammock under a palm tree sipping coconut water. beach-hammock

Because the playlist changes weekly, I couldn’t just share it here (or on my Facebook page where I often share tracks, albums and playlists if you’re interested!), so I made one myself with a selection of tunes Spotify sent my way and a couple I thought would fit in.

Are you stuck at work in need of a break? Trapped in a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes? (cough, Reality Bites, cough)

Close your eyes and crank it up:

Brazil with Michael Palin: the soundtrack

In honour of the Rio Olympics kicking off today, I thought I’d “repurpose” this old post about Brazilian music.

While I was working at Far Out Recordings back in 2012, the BBC broadcasted the 4-episode travel series Brazil with Michael Palin.

The show consisted of the comedian/actor/writer/TV presenter (!!) travelling around the country showing what a highly diverse place Brazil is.

In each episode, Palin showed a different region in Brazil and, at Far Out, every morning after, I wrote a text about the musical scene’s history of that particular region and put together playlists to illustrate.

It was probably my favourite thing to do during my time there and it was pretty successful. I tried to find an old tweet by then Telegraph writer Rob Fitzpatrick saying something along the lines of “loving it!”, but I couldn’t.

Either way, the purpose of the project was not only to raise awareness to the label’s long-standing status as reference for Brazilian music outside of Brazil, but also to promote some of the label’s catalogue through the playlists.

You can read all four texts below with their respective soundtracks:


 

“BRAZIL WITH MICHAEL PALIN – BBC1 24/10/12

How can I have claimed to have seen the world if I haven’t seen Brazil?”- Michael Palin gives you the insights to Brazil; Far Out gives you the soundtrack.

Not just of samba and football is Brazil made of. And Michael Palin’s new series shows it from the very first minute of its premiere on BBC1.

As obvious Brazil fans, while we’re much appreciating the new show, we thought we’d add a soundtrack to it by commenting on the local music of some of the places Michael explores.

Last night’s show (24/10) was all about the Northeast, the region where PedroAlvarez Cabral, the dude who accidentally discovered terra brasilis, first set ashore.

As Michael showed us, the region is rich in African culture inherited from the slaves who came with the European bourgeoisie to set up camp and a lot of different music genres were born from that mix.

Like the music from Jorge Ben, for example, who was born to an Ethiopian mother and whose songs have a lot of African influence. He is actually from Rio, but we thought we’d mention him as his 1963 tune ‘Rosa, Menina Rosa’ featured in last night’s show and, coincidentally, last week at Far Out’s HQ!

Also born in the Northeast of Brazil, most precisely in the home to the baiana cuisine Michael had the pleasure to taste, the superstitiously religious state of Bahia, were some of Far Out’s favourites: Hyldon, who recently recorded with Azymuth’s man Alex Malheiros and Raul Seixas.

Father of Brazilian rock ‘n roll in 70s dictatorship-dominated Brazil, Seixas’ work was also influenced by Northeastern rhythms such as baião and forró. The latter, which spread to the rest of the country in the early noughties in a somewhat softer, slightly poppy version and was a big hit among young people from Rio to São Paulo to Rio Grande do Sul with its fun and sexy dance moves at nightclubs and even gyms that introduced forró dance classes as workout sessions.

Londoners can actually find forró nights at Guanabara on Sundays and Forró do Galpão at Corbet Place on Thursday nights.

We’ll try to put a playlist together with our posts too so it’s easier for our readers to follow.”


 

“BRAZIL WITH MICHAEL PALIN – BBC1 31/10/12

Another week, another episode, another playlist.

I have to say, putting the music aside for a moment, I found it very opportune to see Michael asking about the Yanomami tribe’s relationship with the government just as the Brazilian press has been all about the Guarani Kaiowa tribe’s threat of committing collective suicide due to a territorial dispute and following the Belo Monte issue which Michael mentioned too as he visited the Xingu tribe.

Now back to music matters, Manaus: Teatro Amazonas. What a beauty!

Unfortunately there’s no original version of “O Guarani” (the opera the orchestra was rehearsing) but here’s a video someone kindly posted on YouTube.

Wish they could’ve sent that stock of Guaraná Antarctica UK to Far Out’s HQ instead!

Moving on to Belem, what did you think of the Amazonian Beyonce, Gaby Amarantos and her tecno brega? We’ll leave you with your own thoughts on that one…

Brasília, Brazil! Brasília, Distrito Federal.

A mecca for Brazilian rock ‘n roll back in the 80s where not just Capital Inicial came from, but many others like Aborto Elétrico (the one who originated Capital) and one of the most influential bands in the Brazilian rock scene, Renato Russo‘s Legião Urbana, which we add to our playlist twice: “Indios”, considering last night’s show’s theme, seems pretty suitable but we couldn’t leave out one of the greatest rock operas of all time, “Faroeste Caboclo”, which also touches on the subject of caboclos talked about when Michael visited the rubber tappers.

We also add Cássia Eller, who was one of the most distinctive and fearless singer-songwriters in Brazil, Zélia Duncan and Raimundos, a slightly hardcore-ish band with their funny, innuendo-filled lyrics.

It’s a shame the show only dedicated 5 minutes to Brasilia, but I suppose it’s fair considering the city, having been built in the 1950s, is just a little baby compared to the indigenous tribes that have been there for over 500 years.

You, Far Out audience, however, will hear plenty more of the city in the sounds of Sexy Fi, our latest release hailing from the modernist capital which has already been catching the ears of our friends across the pond in the US.

We got quite some good feedback on last week’s post. Do keep them coming, guys! We’re happy to hear your thoughts and suggestions on this.

As per usual, playlist below. This week’s one a bit rockier than usual.”


“BRAZIL WITH MICHAEL PALIN – BBC1 07/11/12

I don’t think it was BBC’s intention, but the fact they placed the second pop-rock state right after ending last week’s episode with Brasilia, the first, fits in really well with our musical journey.

Minas Gerais is one large state in the southeast region of Brazil and one can find several different music genres from pagode to country and the in-betweens. But, while Brasilia was the pop-rock capital in the 80s, Belo Horizonte (or, more commonly known as BH) took over in the 90s bringing popular acts (to this day) such as Skank, an often Beatles-influenced band (from songs to haircut); and Jota Quest, whose rise to fame came around the early 90s with their funk-rock version of one of Hyldon’s classic, As Dores do Mundo.

Fast-forwarding to Rio…”cidade maravilhosa cheia de encantos mil

The Marvelous City, as it is very well-known, is very close to our heart. It’s the birthplace of bossa nova, it’s where our very own Joe Davis fell in love with the Brazilian music he so dearly shares with the world and it’s where yours truly comes from. So, with a great deal of homesickness, it was very heart-warming to see Michael portraying such a special place in the best of lights: stunning scenery, happy people, incredible social developments and all that warmth. Unfortunately, Rio and, well, Brazil, is not entirely open and liberal, but it surely has come a long way.

As we learnt, not just of beaches and football is Rio made of.

Bossa Nova was one of the movements which influenced Brazilian Popular Music (MPB) the most. A fusion of samba and jazz, it was made popular around the mid to late-50s by some of the greatest Brazilian musicians: João Gilberto, Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes.

It was around the 60s that some of the musicians who had joined the movement, like Marcos Valle and Edu Lobo, started questioning the heavy influence of American jazz and proposed that bossa nova incorporated more samba, a sound closer to home.

A lot of other artists keen on that new ideology started mixing their music with those of sambistas, which saw that 50s bossa give way to its second generation: the mid-60s MPB, which highlighted greatly acclaimed artists such as Chico Buarque and Elis Regina.

This week’s episode already brought an extensive soundtrack filled with some of the most iconic tunes in Brazilian music history but, since it was so special to us, we thought we’d give you a treat and added loads more.

As usual, any comments or suggestions are welcome. Just email Liv.” [update: email Liv here]


 

“BRAZIL WITH MICHAEL PALIN – BBC1 14/11/12

Next stop: back to London. Unless, that is, you got ultimately inspired by the show and gave yourself a ticket to Brazil for Christmas!

As Michael Palin’s journey through Brazil ends, so does our soundtrack. Actually, not really. We’re a record company! Do keep up-to-date with our news and releases. Facebook, Twitter, website, DJ decks, airwaves…we’re everywhere! You might even find us on MySpace! Just go pass the spider webs and we’re just around behind the cloud of dust.

The thing with this last episode is that the deep south, for example, is not so deep music-wise so there’s not that much we can say regarding the music scene around that end. We can, however, provide a few mentions about São Paulo.

Not just of skyscrapers, traffic jams and Japanese colonies is São Paulo made of. Their nightlife is extremely popular not just in Brazil, but worldwide. There’s a big electronic scene, it’s a definite stop for international acts playing in the country and the home of various bands from every genre imaginable, from pagode to skater rock, boy bands, metal and even forró!

Non-Brazilians might actually recognise some house names like Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS), who had a strong presence in the British indie music scene a few years ago, the original Os Mutantes, with their psychedelic rock and their very own Rita Lee, who, among several studio albums and a MTV Unplugged under her belt, also released a collection of Beatles covers.

Let’s not forget the newcomer, Criolo, whose music has been enchanting not just Brazilians, but have crossed the ocean over to these shores where the poet-rapper has graced the pages of British mags and newspapers as well as the stages.

This last playlist will be, I believe, quite random.

You can find all the others on our Spotify account faroutrecordings plus many more that we’ve compiled dividing our catalogue to make it easier for our listeners to find their favourites. And speaking of favourites, we’ve got a collaborative playlist called “Far Out fan faves” where you’re more than welcome to add the best Far Out tunes in your opinion. Add away and feel free to subscribe to any of them, especially our “NEW RELEASES” one that we regularly update.

Now, would someone please let Javier Bardem know his long lost twin was found on the train with Michael?”

Songs for wallowing: Heartbreak Kid, a mixtape

I was watching a TV show earlier today which reminded me of this playlist I made a few months ago with a text and everything that I had never shared.

In the show, the girl, who had recently broken up with the dude, was trying to stay busy 24/7 in order to move on while people were telling her she should sit with a pint of ice cream for a little bit. She said she didn’t want to be that kind of girl who acts as if her life is over just because of a guy, which is a sentiment I’ve shared one too many times.

But anyway, this isn’t a relationship page, it’s a music one. And although music & feelings are forever intertwined, I’ll move on to the playlist bit now.

It was another Friday that inspired a playlist…we were listening to a re-worked track at work which had turned from a happy tune with sad lyrics to a sad tune with sad lyrics!

While the previous playlist had been all about happiness and inspiration, this one is pretty wrist-slitting, I’m afraid.

But that’s life, hey! Some days we eat salad and go for a run, other days we eat pizza and binge-watch Netflix. And there’s nothing wrong with wallowing in your sadness sometimes…if we were constantly happy, life wouldn’t be as exciting (although I’m pretty cool with some chilled times if life feels like sending some my way…#justsayin).
I could’ve just combined The OC and Dawson’s Creek‘s soundtracks and thrown in a bit of Coldplay with a dash of Iron & Wine. But I didn’t. This mixtape’s got all kinds of heart-wrenching lyrics and melodies to see you through your blue phase. Apparently Mars was retrograde when this came about. That explains!

 

Ps: if your “blue phase” seems to be lasting a tad bit too long, please seek help! ❤️
Ps [2]: if you just need a bit of cheering up after this, here’s that old booster playlist I mentioned before.