Lately, I have been craving new music. This always happens to me: right as the seasons change, I want my music to change, too. It’s as though turning over my wardrobe and cleaning out the clutter from the season just passed inspires me to clean out whole other corners of my life and make way for the new.
Also? I bought myself a shiny MacBook Pro for my birthday, and I can’t get over how much free memory space I now have to fill up!
And, of course, thanks to my commute into Boston and to my burgeoning triathlon training, I have whole chunks of time in which I can’t really do much other than listen to music while I drive, run, bike, walk, get from A to B to C and back to A again.
And? Yesterday, when I was looking through the list of upcoming shows in the area, I realized I didn’t recognize 95 percent of the bands out on the circuit right now. And that is just wholly unacceptable to me.
So, I have found myself scouring the depths of iTunes, independent music blogs, and the daily 88.9 WERS playlist for my next, great, yet-undiscovered handful of new (and by “new,” I mean new-to-me) artists whose music I can explore, put on repeat, and fall madly, deeply in love with.
The other—and ultimate—joy of uncovering new music is pasting it into various mixes for myself and for friends and dears. Remember, if you like someone well enough, you give them music. You share the genius with those you like best.
Yesterday, I finally finished a mix I’ve tinkered with for the past several weeks. I kept struggling with it because usually my mixes have themes. A collection of slow, folksy songs, or a mish-mash of strange, new bands, or a tried-and-true assortment of established, favorite artists. Or, I arrange by tempo: fast mixes, slow mixes, medium-paced mixes. Or by mood: happy songs, sad songs, love songs, break-up songs, running songs, sitting on the beach songs.
You get it.
This mix? Runs the gamut.
Some of these bands have been around for years but I only just stumbled upon them. Others just released their first album in the last 12 months. One or two of these songs are radio hits—and, as a rule, I try to avoid radio hit songs. (I hate my sister a teeny, tiny bit for playing Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know” so many times that it finally got under my skin.) A few of the tunes are “fast”; several are achingly relaxed. Two tracks even have the exact same title! Although, interestingly, they’re two totally different songs.
I cannot find one, unifying thing in the rhythms, the artists, the genres. I even broke my most cardinal mix-making rule of never repeating the same artist within one mix. (Massive no-no in my book.)
So, with all rules out the window and no clear sense of theme, the only thread I can find woven throughout these songs is that this collection, as a whole—lyrics, artists, tempo, tenor—represents how I’ve felt dragging myself out of this odd, unsettled winter and bounding, joyously, into the warm, wonderful arms of spring.
I hear my own heavy footsteps on some tracks and the happy, rowdy high heels of me and my girlfriends out dancing on others. Some of the lyrics, with their sharp thorns of truth, catch in my throat and cut and bleed—I feel I could have written them about my self, of my heart. Other songs I’ve listened to at least a dozen times and yet haven’t retained a single word; I’m too busy clapping my hands and tapping the steering wheel and staring out into the blue Boston sky and bopping my head with the beat.
But, each track…well, means something to me, trite as it may sound. I could cite the time and place I discovered each. I can immediately map the emotions I first felt upon that first listen. If I run my finger down the list, I know exactly why every song is there.
I won’t include that “why” for you. I’ll let you arrive upon your own “why”‘s when you give the mix a listen.
The one rule, however, that I am following is the real cardinal law of mix-making: Spread the music love.
So, here you go. Enjoy. I sincerely hope you do.
Some Nights — Fun.
In Your Light — Gotye
Where You Go — The Young Romans
Love Lost — The Temper Trap
Rock & Roll — Eric Hutchinson
Love Love Love — Avalanche City
Over and Over — Good Old War
That Moon Song — Gregory Alan Isakov
Natalie — BellX1
Somebody that I Used to Know — Gotye
Love, Love, Love — Of Monsters and Men
Death of a Decade — Ha Ha Tonka
Call Your Girlfriend — Erato
Banjo — Leonard Cohen
New Beginning – The Young Romans
If you have any musicians/songs to suggest, leave it in the comments or e-mail me at hannahjustbreathe at gmail dot com! I’m always eager to learn about new artist and good music.