Sunday, August 28

Beautiful Oregon - A Roadtrip Mixtape

I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown; for going out, I found, was really going in.
- John Muir

This past year I have been fortunate enough to live in the great state of Oregon.  Portland has an intoxicating vibe of idealism and creativity, but for me the best part of the state has been the unparalleled access to stunning nature areas.  Nowhere else can you get dense old-growth forests, fog-drenched coastal cliffs, clear blue lakes and majestic mountains all within a few hours drive.  The further you get from the city the more it seems like Mother Nature is the one in charge and man is merely permitted to stay on the property.

Of course in order to reach the wilderness you are required to traverse narrow, winding roads where the only sign of civilization is the skeleton of an old barn and a Datsun pickup with weeds growing through it. 

            And on these roads you need music.

Below are many of the tried and tested songs that have made many of these roadtrips special.  Hopefully you can find a way to enjoy them too.  I tried my best to capture the vast and epic quality of Oregon's landscapes.  The first half is all about the open road and the excitement of what is to come.  And the second half is for the night ride home.  Nothing but headlights on the road.  All the windows are down and everyone in the car is trying catch a glimpse of the moon in between the trees. 

  If you want the full experience check out my flickr page for some of the
year's better pictures while you listen.

  1. Paul Simon - Dazzling Blue
    There is a certain spaciousness to this song - like there could be so much more going on, but he keeps it simple to great effect.
  2. Junip - In Every Direction
    Jose Gonzalez's side project is not to be missed.
  3. My Morning Jacket - Circuital
    Great songwriting, americana vibe and raw power make MMJ the obvious go-to on a roadtrip (at least in the States).
  4. The Wood Brothers - Luckiest Man
  5. The Benders - I Can't Wait
  6. The Clean - In the Dreamlife You Need a Rubber Soul
    This is the best song I've heard all year.  I must have been asleep at the wheel, because the Clean have been around since '78.   Very excited for their new release, Mister Pop, on 9/8.  They remind me of The Waterboys
  7. Tapes 'n Tapes - Freak Out
    Great chorus.  Not to mention a clever video.  I gave these guys another shot after Outside called them one of the finest garage rock outfits around.
  8. Phish - Golden Age (TV on the Radio cover, Gorge Ampitheatre 8.6.2011)
    TV on the Radio got the Phish treatment at the Gorge this month.  Personally I think they do it better than the original.  They tease out the subdued funk and know how to make the chorus really hit.
  9. Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon - Middle of the Road
    Suntan lotion. Shades. Snacks - check.
  10. Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood - Can't Find My Way Home
  11. Bon Iver - HoloceneIn part named after a Portland club.
  12. Great Lake Swimmers - River's Edge
    Great Lake Swimmers know how to set an atmosphere.  If the lyrics alone don't get you, the way Tony Dekker sings them will.
  13. Bibio - Saint Christopher
    Bibio knows what I'm talking about.  His video for The Ephemeral Bluebell was filmed along the Oregon Coast Highway.
  14. Geotic - Beaming Husband
    Will Wiesenfeld of Bath's has an ambient side project called Geotic.  Definitely some gems in his catalog so far.  Get them for free here.


images: Noel

Thursday, August 11

Washed Out - Rough Trade Mix

Ernest Greene aka Washed Out released this sneak attack mix to be packaged as a bonus disc when you buy his new Within Without from Rough Trade.  It's hitting the spot right now.  I've heard the Todd Terje Horse with No Shame edit before but the DJ Steef edit is what makes this mix special.  It makes sure your foot keeps tapping while you get some work done.

Stream it here.

1. JJ Cale – Wish I Had Not Said That
2. Shuggie Otis – Strawberry Letter 23
3. America – Horse with no Shame (Todd Terje aka Wade Nicholas edit)
4. Black Sabbath – Planet Caravan (DJ Steef Edit)
5. Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere (Psychemagik Edit)
6. Alan Parsons Project – I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You (The Twelves re-edit)
7. Kate Bush – I’m Not Here (Fred Palakon Edit)
8. Bread – Make it with you (Appo Edit)
9. Ace – How Long (Discolexia Edit)
10. Electric Light Orchestra – Letter from Spain

via Pitchfork

image: Dominique Saks

Tuesday, August 2

Get Weird

Occasionally there is a need to bust out some stupid dance moves. 
When that time comes you need stupid music to dance to.  
This is that music.

So put on your Daniel Boone hat, cape and bowling shoes and lets get to this.
Inspired by
The dancing in Stop Making Sense
The fan dance move that Phil Collins does here at 1:25
Moving Like Bernie
any music video from the tracks below

  1. Shannon - Let the Music Play (The Best of Shannon, 2004)
    Well, no use beating around the bush. Might as well get this started...
  2. Tensnake - Get It Right (Get It Right, 2010)
    It was a mistake to listen to this on the plane.  I was shaking the seat in front of me and leading conga lines down the aisle.
  3. Nu Shooz - I Can't Wait (Poolside, 1986)
    I always imagine the synth player when I listen to this.  He isn't jamming nearly hard enough.
  4. Toro y Moi - New Beat (Underneath the Pine, 2011)
    The weird is most definitely catching on these days.
  5. Madonna - Holiday (Madonna, 1983)
  6. B.B. & Q. Band - Imagination (Imagination 12", 1982)
  7. Daft Punk - Short Circuit (Discovery, 2001)
  8. Fantasy - Move to the Groove (He's Number One, 1985)
  9. Howard Jones - Things Can Only Get Better (Dream Into Action, 1985)
    Like really?  Sometimes I feel like people were asleep at the wheel in the 80s.  The video is ridiculous too.  The piano jam at 2:40 is money.  Almost as money as his orange suit.
  10. Banarama - Cruel Summer (Banarama, 1984)
  11. Polygon Palace - Tokyo Getaway (Tornado Wallace Remix) (Tokyo Getaway, 2010)
    Can't get enough of this one.  Head to Polygon Palace's bandcamp page to name your price.  Thanks to Headup for this.
  12. The Funkmasters - It's Over (It's Over, 1983)
    Tensnake samples this in In the End

Get Weird Mix by SNDTRKDLFE
Click the arrow on the right to download.

Monday, August 1

If A Tree Falls: The Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Have you heard about The Earth Liberation Front?  They are a international environmental action group that use (in its own words) "economic sabotage and guerrilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the environment" through non-violent means.  Originally founded in the UK in 1992, ELF opposes activities charged with exploiting the environment like genetically modified farming, urban sprawl, McMansions, SUVs, energy production and deforestation.  To carry out their opposition ELF groups will often burn or destroy companies and housing developments that contribute to natural degradation.  Some attacks have included the arson of a $50 million dollar housing development in San Diego in protest of urban sprawl and the torching of a Hummer dealership costing the owner $450,000 in damages.
   The group claims they are non-violent by saying that no living thing has ever been hurt in one of their attacks.  Regardless in 2005 the FBI said ELF was "the greatest domestic terrorist threat" pointing to the tens of millions of dollars in damages.  I will not get into the particular politics and categorization of such an organization other than to say it would make for a great documentary.
   Which is exactly what filmmakers Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman have done.  I haven't seen it yet but if this trailer (see below) is any indication of the finished product then I'm excited.  It reminds me of another activist documentary about the controversial radical group The Weather Underground of the 1960's.  If A Tree Falls follows the story of Daniel McGowan who was involved with one of the more active groups in Oregon that argued amongst itself about whether or not to cross the line into physical violence and go after captains of industry.
   So before I get on an FBI watch list for this post I will get to the music...
The trailer uses Cherry Tree by The National from the fantastic Cherry Tree EP.  Besides Fake Empire I have not listened to too much of their catalog although I have heard great things about their live shows.  Has anyone seen them? They have a knack for covering real world problems with poetic flair and an anthemic tone.  For example, I can't think of better lyrics for a environmental action documentary:

Dont look at me
I'm only breathing
Dont look at me I'm indiscreet
Can we show
A little discipline
Can we

These lyrics confront the uncomfortable truth that it is easy to ignore environmental degradation when it does not interrupt our immediate lifestyles.  The vicious thing about environmental destruction is that it slowly but steadily increases until oftentimes it is too late to reverse the pervasive forces of Mother Earth.  Aggressive timber logging could lead to more dangerous flooding for years to come.  Risky hydraulic fracturing to mine natural gas may yield terrific economic benefits in the short term but seriously pollute the water systems of thousands of towns in the long run.

Can we show a little discipline?

(p.s. For more information on fracking and it's implications for our water visit
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