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!)

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

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!

We’re on iTunes!

Nope, I haven’t taken the shower singing up to the next level just yet – and never will, rest assured.

The very first day of the year started out for me with a really exciting email from Eric Garneau, host of Chicago-based The Nerdologues’ podcast Blank Cassette – every week he asks a guest to put a mixtape together and talk about it. And, on that day, he asked me!

He asked me for about 20-24 tracks so I couldn’t really use any of the existing mixes as they’re all about an eternity-long and, at the time, I’d been listening to a lot of my favourite female rockers and thinking that old “Badass Chicks” playlist needed a bit of updating…so I ended up making vol.2 (with a few repeats because…classics.).

You can listen to my goober self right here but you can also check out much superior episodes in the Nerdologues’ Blank Cassette archive.

 

 

 

 

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:

All hail, queen Madge!

It’s 16 August, which can only mean one thing: Madonna’s birthday! While I might not be nearly as obsessed with her as I used to be in the 80s, I’ll always have enormous respect and admiration for the queen of pop.

 

So, to honour the day Miss Reinvention came to the world, here’s a playlist featuring her greatest classics: