mixtape

Guest Mixtape + Interview / COYOL “Farmers’ Almanac”

roomcoyol

To start with, I owe this band a huge apology.

They sent me their mixtape a year and a half ago. It took me months to set up the interview them, and (after briefly thinking the audio was lost with my stolen computer) finished transcribing it this past fall.  And now at long last it is now here for you to see/hear/read.  Thankfully, the songs are timeless and the theme is rather timely with the new year, making changes, etc.

I am not exaggerating when I say that this is one of my favorite mixes I’ve ever received. I mean, all of them have a special place in my heart, both because they were created for me, and I always appreciate how no matter what my musical horizons are challenged or expanded (often both).  The tracks included in “Farmers’ Almanac,” however, are probably the closest to my personal taste.  And not just a genre I’m partial to, but a genre that has a tendency to elicit strong emotions from deep inside my being.  At least three of the artists on here have moved me to tears with their songs.

It does make sense though, as the music COYOL themselves make is not unlike what you will hear on this mix.  Perhaps with a dash of the American Southwest, to spice things up.  A write-up in Black Book Magazine this past fall praises “the fantastic arrangement that seems just a little yet perfectly off and the oddly beautiful lyrics that stick with you long after each track.”
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TA Mixtape / A Mixtape For “The League”…Now Where Are My DVDs?

By Amanda DK

I’ve never been a football fan. Not a real one at least. I mean, I grew up watching the Giants and Notre Dame with my family. I made it to the occasional football game at Northwestern to support my alma mater. Now I guess I’m an Eagles fan, because I generally like it when my boyfriend is in a good mood Sunday evenings. However, I’m also innately attracted to anything that brings people together. So you know how some people are “social smokers”? They will only have a cigarette when out with friends, or after a few drinks at a party. I’ll call myself a social football fan. I usually won’t elect to watch a game on my own, but I do enjoy it with a group. Especially if I can provide the appetizers and craft beer.

All of that said, I do love fantasy football. I don’t play it – as you might guess from reading the above, I would likely fail miserably, or scramble my brain trying to learn everything I possibly could all at once – but still I find it way more exciting to watch the points climb for my boyfriend’s fantasy team than any real one. A battle between him and his old roommate feels far more important than two collectives of people I have no personal connection with.

It also increases the social aspect of football. You can connect with coworkers, friends and even strangers on a new level; now there are double, triple or quadruple the teams to commiserate with them about (depending on how many leagues you are in). It’s another common thread to bond over, like a favorite band or obsession with Greek cuisine. Fantasy leagues also have the power to create and maintain friend groups that otherwise may not exist – it’s amazing the bond some aggressive trash-talking can forge.

Which brings me to The League. I am woman, I am not a football fan, and I believe this is one of the funniest shows on television. Possibly the funniest. Yes, it features a group of friends who are all in a fantasy football league, but it’s more about their friendship and hilarious fumbles (pun intended) trying to pass off as adults. It never gets old to observe lawyers, married couples, doctors or divorcees, act like complete assholes win a trophy that was named after a high school nerd, in fact, it’s compelling television. Whether laughing or cringing, good luck trying to keep a straight face while watching.
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Guest Mixtape + Interview / Vanaprasta: Songs from Bands Who Have Thumped Our Skulls Live

By Amanda DK

Photo Credit: Dylan Bell

It’s no big secret that artists need to have solid live show to be successful. Similarly, it’s always a disappointment when a great album does not translate to a dynamic live show.Los Angeles quintet Vanaprasta does not have that issue.  For the past few years the band has built a strong reputation almost entirely by their larger than life stage presence. They are a fixture on the music scene here, turning heads at the Sunset Strip Music Festival in 2010 and impressing audiences at their Satellite residency this past November. Nor are they strangers to the national arena; Vanaprasta made waves at this year’s CMJ Festival and have played at least a couple shows at every SXSW since 2009, really taking the festival by storm in 2011 with a total of eight shows during their time in Austin.
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Guest Mixtape + Interview / The Barr Brothers: Songs We Are Thankful For

By Amanda DK 

Photo Credit: Andre Guerette

Music and setting have always been very closely linked. For example, it’s common knowledge that Bon Iver wrote For Emma, Forever Ago in a cabin in Wisconsin.  That isolated, icy sound translated into the music and now, who can listen to those songs and not be transported to a snowy forest?

Certain concerts are made that much more memorable or magical by the location too – TV On The Radio at the Hollywood Bowl, Milo Greene in a living room.

The combination of location and timing plays a role in the affect music has on us as well. I will never forget seeing Local Natives for free at Spaceland (now the Satellite) during their residency. I had barely heard of them and was totally blown away. Considering the venues they went on to play the following year (including Walt Disney Concert Hall) it’s an incredible memory to have seen them on the tiny, sparkling Silverlake stage.

I was in the right place at the right time.

It was a serendipitous combination of location and timing that led me to The Barr Brothers as well – not only my personal discovery of the band, but it’s very formation.  And the music itself even evokes a specific sense of place.

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Guest Mixtape + Interview / So Many Wizards: Songs That Make You Wanna Stay In

By Amanda DK

Photo Credit: David Uzzardi

Nima Kazerouni might be the busiest person in East LA.  Echo Park, Silverlake, Eagle Rock.  Actually, throw Long Beach in there too.  And San Diego.  At the core of a slew of local bands including Pulse Out, Snaggletooth, and most recognizably the frontman of So Many Wizards, Kazerouni plays in venues all across SoCal on an almost monthly basis.

So Many Wizards’ unique brand of hazy, bedroom pop with a quirky edge has taken hold of the local music scene – never more so than over the course of 2011.  They stole the show from Puro Instinct at one of the last Brand X LA Unheard concerts in April, and released a brand new 7”, a follow up to the band’s 2010 EP, Love Songs For When You Leave Me.  There have been line-up changes and additions the result of which is a new lush, bigger sound, and one that Kazerouni is particularly excited about.  Most recently, So Many Wizards has shared stages with a slew of other buzz bands, including Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Lord Huron, Real Estate and more.  It’s only a matter of time before audiences across the country are just as familiar with Kazerouni’s playful falsetto, bouncy melodies and the name “So Many Wizards.”

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