Tag Archives: The Very Best

Hip-Hop for the Whole Family

Apparently, Kanye and HALO have become standard fare amongst the grammar school set.  For many parents, this forces a musical Sophie’s choice: either let your young kids loose into a lyrical free-for-all, or censor them into corner of musical lameness.

Fortunately, this choice is unnecessary.  Just in time for my sister-in-law’s long car trip with her family, here’s a mini-mix tape that proves that cultural currency needn’t come with an R rating.

Home (Party Supplies Remix), Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

The Jackson Pit (Jackson 5 vs. Passion Pit), Xaphoon Jones

The Very Best & Cee-Lo – What Part Of Forever

17-04 Will Do (XXXChange Dancehall Mix), TV on the Radio

Rebel, Chiddy Bang

Kick, Push, Lupe Fiasco

Be, Common

Love Me Or Not, Dub FX

Cee-Lo, via Africa

Though the notion of taking pop hits and re-doing them with new verses sung in Malawi sounds like a disaster dreamt up in a drum circle, The Very Best manage to turn this unlikely premise into great summer songs.

In the stand-out track on their Mother’s Day mixtape that dropped today, The Very Best takes Cee-Lo and brings back this happy track via Africa.  Highly recommended as we try to reel in these tantalizingly warm temps.

The Very Best & Cee-Lo – What Part Of Forever

30 Words of Music, Day 2: Calm

As I head southwest (to, thankfully not on) for vacation, I thought an apt choice for the second of Thirty Words of Music would be calm.  There’s something about the chords and the cadence in this song that I find immediately calming, not to mention fantastic.

It’s true, I’ll grant you, that half the lyrics are about a post-war apocalyptic landscape and the other half of the lyrics are in Malawi.  While not necessarily a combination typically renowned for its calming properties, I assure you that something about this just works.

Dinosaur On The Ark, The Very Best Continue reading

Summer in Chicago Mix 2010

With back-to-back dinner parties this weekend, I of course had to spend a good chunk of time obsessing about the proper soundtrack for said soirees.  The answer I came up with is the collection presented here: 19 food and family friendly tracks you probably haven’t heard but will want to.

For loyal readers of this blog, this CD will serve as a nostalgic tour through the mellower tracks that have emerged as my favorites over the last year or so.  For the newbies out there, feel free to search the artists’ names on the blog so that you can learn more about them.  And do track down their commercial releases: there’s not a band on here that’s not worth the price of admission.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the track list and the link to the music. Continue reading

Here Comes a Star

How it is that we aren’t (yet) hearing this song in movies, car commercials, and episodes of the O.C. is beyond me.  Hailing from the UK and about to drop his first full-length record in September, Tinashe is a vibrant new voice and one that I think could have an absurdly broad appeal.  He manages to take the energy of the Arcade Fire, the anthemic appeal of the Arctic Monkeys, and the world music vibe of The Very Best (or, yes, Vampire Weekend) and put it all together into an infectious, nod your head along at first listen, mix.  Pull it down, turn it up, and enjoy.

Zambezi, Tinashe

And here’s a likably lo-fi performance of his song “A-Liar.”

Day 24.5: Fire Up the Grill, Turn Up the Music

Had some great friends over for dinner last night, and (as you might expect) I put together a mix of great new(ish) music for the occasion.  I thought I’d share some of the best of the best so that you can have a dose of fresh new tunes for your holiday hoe downs.

First up are The Cool Kids, Chicago-area purveyors of infections beats.  This past week, these guys did a fundraiser for the Off the Streets Club (pictured above, and one of the most awesome organizations I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of).  Great tunes for a great cause: now that’s cool.

Bassment Party, The Cool Kids

As I get ready to head over to Toyota Field to watch the Fire play AC Milan, and with the World Cup a week or so off, it’s time for a soccer song.  Here’s the official anthem of the World Cup, brought to you by K’Naan: a rapper from Somalia who currently lives in Canada (of course).  Highly worthwhile easily accessible melodic hip-hop– check out his album Troubadour.

Wavin’ Flag, K’Naan

When she’s not posting the cell phone number of NYT reporters who write unflattering articles about her, M.I.A. is starting to sign bands to her own label.  Her first signees, Sleigh Bells, are the it band of the minute.

Rill Rill, Sleigh Bells

I’ve talked about them plenty of times before, but The Very Best are coming to Chicago for a free show this Thursday night.  Don’t check your calendar, don’t track down reviews of their album to see if you’ll like them: just go.  If I’m not locked in the office prepping for a presentation, I’ll see you there.  When they’re able to take a Michael Jackson track from the Free Willy soundtrack and make it cool as hell, you know they’ve got it.

Will You Be There, The Very Best

Then, Now, Soon: Volume 1

After months of delay, here’s the most recent installment of the holiday mix series.

For the newcomers out there, I’ve been making mix CDs instead of holiday cards over the past several years.  It’s always a wide range of genres, with a focus on the unreleased, the re-mixed, and the under-appreciated.

For the old timers, you’re correct in pointing out that we’re a bit beyond Christmas, and this isn’t even a CD per se.  We’re going to give digital distribution a whirl, with one single track recording, and another version with rough track increments slotted in there.

I hope this mix brings some surprises, smiles, and artists that you’ll enjoy for months to come.

Feel free to drop comments in if you hear something you like.  Enjoy, y’all.

Here’s the link the the continuous mix.  It’ll take a while to download, no doubt.

01 Then, Now, Soon_ Volume 1

Here’s a jpg with the tracklist.  If I’ve done it right (?), you can print this and it should fold over for a CD insert.

The version of the mix that has track increments is coming soon, pending my crash course in compression software.