Lineup #101

thunder / fog / synth / sun

After a few weeks of long posts, I’m keeping this one short and sweet. Lineup #101 is a collection of tracks I’ve been digging on for the past few weeks, very loosely inspired by New England thunderstorms, the San Francisco Summer fog and the synthesizer. And while the weather I’ve encountered recently has been on the moodier side, there have been plenty of little sunny moments too – which I’ve been sure to include in this week’s Lineup for you.

Listen to this week’s Lineup below, or click here to find it on Spotify.

And click here to follow The Official Monday Lineup playlist, auto-refreshed with the newest Lineup every Monday morning.

Until next Monday.


Lineup #100

All about the Benjamins, baby.

We made it to 100! To celebrate, I present to you 2 gifts:

Number 1

With help from PH, I’ve created The Official Monday Lineup, one single playlist that I’ll drop the contents of the latest Lineup into every Monday morning. That way, all you need to do is follow this one playlist and keep it at the top of your Spotify sidebar to ensure you never miss a Spotify Lineup (be sure to sign up for email alerts at the top of this page so you have access to Lineups I post on SoundCloud!).

Click here to follow The Official Monday Lineup on Spotify!

Don’t worry, I’ll also be simultaneously creating the archived version of each Lineup as a separate playlist as I always have (and posting that version here on the blog), so you can still follow your favorites and hit up my Spotify account any time you’d like to revisit a Lineup of the past.

Number 2

Speaking of the past…

100 Lineups is a lot of playlists, and a lot of music. If each Lineup averages about 16 songs, or about 65 minutes, that means I’ve posted nearly 1,600 unique songs and over 100 hours of music since starting TML in September 2014.

In a world where access to music is seemingly infinite, I find myself spending an extensive amount of time scouring the Internet for new music every week. Personally, I think it’s one of the best addictions a girl could hope to be cursed blessed with, but sometimes I forget to take a step back and embrace past discoveries, and all of the beautiful, inspiring, hit-you-right-at-the-core music that came along with them.

Lineup #100 was the perfect excuse to do.

TML 100 done copy

Artwork designed by E. Scott

Thus, this week’s Lineup is a journey through the history of TML. Starting with Lineup #1 (not an actual playlist and now appears to have multiple broken SoundCloud links, oh the humble beginnings) and ending with current day TML, I went through every Lineup and chose a single song to feature in order from past to present. Instead of picking a favorite song from each one (that would have been absolutely impossible and is ulcer inducing just to think about), I went with my gut and picked the first song that stuck out to me – whether a forgotten favorite, an instant classic or one of those songs that immediately, vividly transports me back to another moment in time.

Normally I spend many minutes, maybe hours even, meticulously choosing the order of the songs in each Lineup to ensure maximum cohesion and flow. But this week, I let fate take control of the decks – which is why you’ll see things like Ariana Grande sandwiched between Beach House and Father John Misty, both the original version and the Soulwax remix of “Let It Happen” by Tame Impala in the same playlist and 5 appearances by my man Kanye West.

And while no single playlist can ever embody everything that TML has become (even this Lineup represents less than 6% of the music that I’ve posted), Lineup #100 turned out to be quite a fun and special way to celebrate 100 weeks of better Mondays together. Thanks for coming along for the journey.

And a special thank you to ES who designed the awesome Lineup #100 artwork to commemorate this momentous occasion.

Listen to this week’s Lineup below, or click here to find it on Spotify.

And click here to follow The Official Monday Lineup playlist, auto-refreshed with the newest Lineup every Monday morning.

Until next Monday.


Lineup #99

100 minus 1.

Okay, so Frank Ocean still hasn’t released his follow up to 2012’s Channel Orange despite making us think that this past week could actually be the week. However, in my music world, three other lovely things happened in the past 7 days that are worth noting despite Frank pulling at my heartstrings again.

Adele sings her heart out at Oracle Arena // 8.2.16

Like many others, Adele first came across my radar when “Chasing Pavements“, the second single off of her debut album 19, hit the Billboard Top 100 in 2008. I loved that song (and sang it hundreds of times while driving around in my car that Summer), but when Adele’s Sophomore album 21 was released in February 2011 when I too was 21 years old, well, everything changed. No need to explain that here, you get it.

Fast forward over 5 years later, and I finally get the chance to see Adele perform live at Oracle Arena in Oakland. The production and stage setup was elegant and tasteful, the 12 (16? maybe more?) piece band with 4 backup singers transformed the basketball arena into a concert hall, and her completely un-filtered between song commentary made us feel like we were hanging out with our childhood best friend. She managed to take a large format arena style show (frankly my least favorite type of venue) and make us feel like we were in a much smaller, more intimate environment – which is no easy feat. Neither is making me bawl my eyes out during a concert, another one of Adele’s achievements that night. 

IMG_9928 Image: E.Seidman

But all of that paled in comparison to the vocal prowess that was displayed for the duration of Adele’s nearly 2 hour set. Whether you’re a fan of pop music or not, there’s no denying that Adele Laurie Blue Adkins is one of the most legendary vocalists and singer-songwriters of our generation and I am still in a bit of a dreamlike state thinking about the fact that I had the opportunity to watch her perform.

Ronald Paris aka Porches performs a 4-song set in the East Village // 8.5.16

On the completely opposite end of the concert spectrum, Friday night in NYC, on a total whim, I ended up seeing Ronald Paris aka Porches (aka Aaron Maine) perform a 4-song opening set for his friends’ band Rivergazer. I was stuffing my face with Szechuan food with my girl CML and some friends and we had every intention of hitting the sofa hard to watch the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremonies after dinner. But then a friend clued us into the fact that this free Ronald Paris show was going down at Elvis Guesthouse in the East Village so we called an audible. Shout out to the other CL for the hot tip.

IMG_9967Image: H.H.Brown

I’ve been into Porches since they released Pool in February of this year, and happened to spend a lot of time this past week listening to their recently released Spotify Sessions, so getting to see Aaron Maine play up close and personal was the best surprise to end my week. However, I think what made the evening so delightful was thinking about it in comparison to the concert experience that I had at Oracle days earlier.

For one, I bought tickets to Adele nearly 9 months before the concert date, but knew only a mere 9 minutes before the Ronald Paris show started that I was even going to go. The first show was also at least 4x longer than the second. And similar math can be applied to the difference in ticket price points. But mostly, I love how in 4 days I went from witnessing one of this century’s greats in a massive arena, to watching what was essentially a very talented group of friends having a good time putting on a show together on a Friday night in a small, smoky bar with maybe 100 people in attendance (sadly Greta Kline aka Frankie Cosmos aka Maine’s girlfriend was not one of them). And how although these two live music experiences could not be more different from each other, they both brought me a tremendous amount of joy.

IMG_0263Image: H.H.Brown

Flamingosis enters my life and releases full-length album “Bright Moments” // 8.3.16 & 8.5.16

Speaking of a tremendous amount of joy…

a0242649480_10Source: Bandcamp.com

Every so often an album comes along and knocks me off my feet, and Flamingosis’ Bright Moments is one of those. I was having what was feeling like a particularly long, foggy and cold August week in San Francisco and was catching up on some monthly mixes from blog Gorilla vs Bear. I was working at my desk, minding my own business when “Flight of the Flamingo” started playing and all of a sudden I was transported directly to the beach, piña colada in hand, daily stressors nowhere in sight.

Maybe it was the fact that this album seemed to fall into my lap out of nowhere when I needed it most (and then released on Spotify for the world to stream the morning after JMS, RT and JJP and I spent the night gushing over it together), or maybe it’s the perfect blend of hip-hop/jazz/soul/funk that carries through this sample-based album start to finish – but aptly named Bright Moments is very very special and quite frankly has had me under a spell since my first listen. I even bought it on Bandcamp, and you should too.

I hope that Lineup #99 brings you a little bit of joy and brightness this week. It’s a true mix tape of various tracks I’ve been into over the past few weeks, with some good ones from JMS and AR. And the last Lineup before TML turns 100 (!).

Listen to this week’s Lineup below, or click here to find it on Spotify.

Until next Monday.


Lineup #98

Despacio.

This year when I got back from Coachella and people asked me who my favorite act was, I had to consistently try to explain that it was not in fact an artist, but a sound system slash immersive musical experience that I felt was impossible to put into words.

It was Despacio, a 50,000-watt sound system developed by James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem), Stephen and David Dewaele (of Soulwax/2ManyDJs) in partnership with high-end audio manufacturer McIntosh and audio engineer John Klett. In short, it’s a musical experience unlike any other.

despacio03_390From L to R: Stephen Dewaele, David Dewaele, James Murphy; Image: Ellis Reid, Despacio

In the days after Coachella ended, I waited patiently for my favorite music sites and news outlets to publish articles lauding how spectacular Despacio was in the desert, but I found just two articles, neither of which were able to quite capture my feelings. Last weekend, Despacio made its second ever appearance on US soil at Panorama Festival on Randall’s Island in New York City. I expected the Internet to be flooded with articles about this magnificent sound system, but mentions were short and few and far between compared to the coverage of the other acts.

So, I decided that it was time for me to finally attempt to put the splendor of Despacio into my own words, despite previously deeming it impossible. And, given the lack of photographic evidence that my friends and I managed to collect as a group, on a personal level it felt necessary to try to document this transformative musical experience.

Here goes nothing.

Let’s start with some basic facts. Despacio is made up of seven, 11-foot speaker towers that surround the intimately sized, circular-shaped room and the crowd – typically less than 1000 people. It’s a vinyl-only sound system with 4.5 tons of amplification. It means “slowly” in Spanish. It’s beautiful.

despaciao-1Image: Rod Lewis, Despacio

Instead of your usual club set up where the DJ spins on a highly visible stage as people dance (but mostly watch the DJ), Despacio itself is the main attraction. Murphy and the Dewaele brothers remain nearly out of sight in a low lit space on the outskirts of one side of the room. They’re back there, rummaging through crates of records, drinking wine, and doing their thing (for hours on end, back to back) while the audience is focused purely on the music and people around them – a dance party in it’s truest, purest form.

despacio_coachella_booth-0
Image: Goldenvoice

When we walked in for the first time, we were immediately transfixed by the sheer physical beauty of the speaker towers.

Image: Jenna Starkey

Then of course, there was the sound. Every noise, rhythm and instrument was crystal clear and perfectly balanced in a way I never thought could be possible in a room filled with hundreds of people. It was loud in all the best ways, but with none of the ear-ringing that happens after exiting a regular night club. For a more technical explanation on how the speakers were engineered to perfection straight from Despacio’s creators, watch this short video.

I could hear every sonic detail – with percussion, guitars riffs, vocals and certain electronic instrumentations being particularly out-of-this-world vibrant. Songs like Paul Simon’s “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” (which I’ve heard hundreds of times before) sounded like completely new pieces of music while emanating through the Despacio speaker towers. I was nearly hypnotized during the sections of the set that were literally just bongo drums – it was as if someone was playing the drums right next to me, only with more richness than seemed possible in real life. And in the middle of a not too overly crowded, climate controlled dance floor with a massive disco ball that was undeniably Coachella’s best kept secret. For lack of better words, I was in heaven.

And the music. I could go on for hours – and we did stay in Despacio for hours on end throughout the weekend. Everything felt like it was chosen with such care and craft, to delight and surprise us song after song after song. The eclectic mix of music showcased just how impressive this sound system really is, and the depth of sound it creates. Genres ranged from disco, soul and 70s/80s dance tracks (and a seemingly constant homage to the Talking Heads) during Murphy’s components, to techno, acid house and electronic styles during the Dewaele brothers time on the decks.

As they mention in their interview with B.Traits on BBC Radio 1, the Dewaeles play tons of their own edits of records they’ve amassed while traveling the world. So much of what we heard in Despacio doesn’t really exist anywhere else except in their personal collection. Thus the sets were a unique paradox of being some of the most memorable DJ sets I’ve heard in my life, while simultaneously some of the most elusive.

The sets were filled with some of my favorite tracks that I could barely believe were being spun in such an exquisite environment, mixed with hours of deeper cuts I’d previously never heard but sent me into soaring into euphoria. I’m fully convinced that these men are not only expert curators and song selectors, but potentially actual sorcerers. It was if they knew exactly what we wanted, better than we even did, and handed it to us hour after hour.

“We played all these tracks we can’t really play normally in clubs”,  David Dewaele told WIRED magazine in this 2013 interview feature. “You can’t really play Steve Miller in front of 10,000 people at a festival. It just doesn’t work. But if you are in the right environment and you have a Serbian disco track with an amazing percussion and the right sound system, then it works”.

And let me tell you, it really really works.

Lineup #98 does its best at bringing you Despacio’s eclectic mix of dance music. It consists of tracks that embody the spirit of this one-of-a-kind sonic playground and some of my most memorable Despacio moments, a particularly special one being Kraftwerk’s, “Computer World 2” which was the closing song for Saturday’s 8 hour set.

Men at work. 👔😎

A video posted by Jenna Starkey (@jenna.starkey) on

Video: Jenna Starkey

This Lineup would not have been possible without the Despacio mix that the Dewaele brothers did for BBC Radio 1 or this Spotify playlist that highlights even more of the music played in Despacio over the years (or at least the stuff that’s streaming digitally). Had I not had access to both track lists, Despacio would have only remained as that memorable yet elusive experience and not as the Lineup I’m posting today (although there’s still many, many songs we heard that I’ve yet to be able to identify and probably never will).

And while Despacio – immersive, live, vinyl-only and built with the highest quality audio equipment – is a pretty contrasting experience from listening to a digital Spotify playlist on your average pair of headphones, I’m grateful to be able to share pieces of it with you through Lineup #98. And no matter where or when you’re listening, I know you’ll be able to feel the magic.

But maybe try to snag a better pair of headphones for this one if you can.

Listen to this week’s Lineup below, or click here to find it on Spotify.

Until next Monday.



Sources used to write this post (and more reading/listening material):

Despacio: the 50,000-watt sound system designed for discerning audiophiles – WIRED, November 2013

Despacio: Powered by McIntosh – McIntosh Labs

Inside James Murphy and 2ManyDJs’ Insane Audiophile Soundsystem – SPIN, July 2014

Inside Despacio, James Murphy and 2manyDJs’ dance music utopia – The Verge, April 2016

Despacio soundsystem: James Murphy and 2ManyDJs in conversation

BBC Radio 1 Despacio Mix

 

 

Lineup #97

A Recipe.

Start with a good amount of this, stir in whole lot of this, add a pinch of this, then sprinkle in a few other delicious treats and voila! Out comes a perfectly mixed Lineup #97 to start your week.

Listen to this week’s Lineup below, or click here to find it on Spotify.

Until next Monday.


Lineup #96

A little light.

Lineup #96 is packed with feel-good, groovy tunes and disco jams to help the sun shine a little brighter this week. And the best part is that it just sort of happened that way, which, despite things feeling more than a little crazy in this world we live in, feels like really a good reminder to take a step back, appreciate the beauty, and just dance a little.

Listen to this week’s Lineup below, or click here to find it on Spotify. Thanks to JMS and SD for some inspiration on this one.

Until next Monday.


Lineup #95

Restoration.

Music cannot fix everything, but it is such a powerful healing mechanism. Whether you’re grappling with what’s going on in the world around us, trying to make sense of what’s going on in your own personal life or simply in need of something soothing on this Monday morning, I hope you can find some comfort in the music of Lineup #95 the way I have.

Thanks to JMS and RT for some good ones.

Listen to this week’s Lineup below, or click here to find it on Spotify.

Until next Monday.