Christmas Sweatz


Long time, no see! Sorry I’ve been absent from the Wednesday Playlists and the blog in general… sometimes life just gets crazy!

For the holiday season, enjoy some of these modern Christmas tunes in a special extended playlist.

  1. “The Baby” by Family Force 5
  2. “This Christmas” by Mary J. Blige
  3. “Carol of St. Benjamin the Bearded One”  by Sufjan Stevens
  4. “Christmas Sweatz (ft. Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart)” by Rhett & Link
  5. “White Christmas” by Panic! at the Disco 
  6. “Angels We Have Heard on High” by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  7. “Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday” by William Bell 
  8. “Awake, Arise Good Christians” by Kate Rusby
  9. “Christmastime (Oh Yeah)” by the Barenaked Ladies
  10. “Just Like Christmas” by Low
  11. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by the Raveonettes
  12. “Maybe This Christmas” by Ron Sexsmith
  13. “Christmas Scat” from the Muppet Christmas Carol

Have a great rest of the week, enjoy the holiday spirit!

Featured image credit: Christmas Sweatz by Rhett & Link

Kishi Bashi

Wednesday Playlists: A Few Songs

Have a quick, small, video playlist this week featuring some of my current favs!

First up is Brooklyn-based dream folk band, Wilsen — made up of Londoner Tamsin Wilson and American bandmates Johnny Simon Jr. and Drew Arndt. I can’t believe I haven’t written about them before! Their brand of folk is my absolute favorite. Enjoy this performance of “Dusk” from Brighton’s Great Escape festival.

Another current favorite: comedy duo Erin & MeLissa. They’ve been tearing up recent UCB shows and are about to go on tour and also just released an album. Check out one or all of these things, if you’re able! In the meantime, give “Almost 30″ a listen, though it might hit a little too close to home for some of us…

Speaking of slightly weird dreamy music, have you all met Kishi Bashi? With a violin and loop pedals, he creates something magical. Give these live performances of “Hahaha pt. 1″ and “Hahaha pt. 2″ a try. The second song has been on a lot on my writing playlists for a few months, now.

Wishing you all a wonderful week.


Wednesday Playlists: YOU CAN’T DO THAT

I felt like dancing this week, for the first time in a while. I have also been hiking more lately, sometimes as much as eight miles — which is a huge deal for someone who would much rather tool around on YouTube or Tumblr most of the day. So I made a playlist this week that is both dance- and exercise-appropriate, good for pump-ups when you might be feeling discouraged. Enjoy!

  1. “Classic (featuring Powers)” by The Knocks
    Don’t be shy, don’t be shy. Starting off with some funky beats from the Knocks. I wish I’d discovered this song earlier in the summer, because it’s so sunny. It’ll do for the fall, too.
  2. “Hourglass” by S U R V I V E
    S U R V I V E is an Austin-based full-analog-synth quartet. Head asplode! Their music is featured heavily in this year’s black comedy/actioner THE GUEST. See that movie this month (it’s got campy horror and action) and enjoy the 80’s-inspired soundtrack later. 
  3. “Every Other Freckle”  by Alt-J
    I got really into Alt-J over the summer, since they saw a lot of play on NPR. They’ve got a great mix of dreamy orchestral and rock sounds.
  4. “Good Life x Cecilia (Kanye West vs. Simon & Garfunkel)” by novokane 
    Stumbled on this mash-up through Reddit, randomly enough. It brightens up one of Kanye’s older songs.
  5. “Yemaya” by Chillum Trio Feat. Coki & Yeni
    Some Latino beats from the Havana Cultura Mix. Great for some impromptu dance parties.
  6. “Runners” by Teeel
    More cool, cool synth from New Jersey artist Teeel for you. It’ll make you feel like you’re in DRIVE, or maybe BLADE RUNNER.
  7. “Papaoutai” by Stromae
    Check out the great music video for this Belgian singer’s song if you get a chance.
  8. “God’s Whisper” by Raury
    I heard this one during the end credits for LUCY. (I know, I know.) Not sure why the filmmakers thought it fit as the film’s theme, but as a standalone song I think it’s really cool. 

Have a great week, welcome to October.

Featured image credit: “Winter is coming” by Wincey


Wednesday Playlists: ICY HOT

Sorry, everyone — been crazy busy  the past few weeks, and work really kicked me in the butt. And now I’m free again in the middle of a heatwave. Los Angeles is getting pummeled with 90- to 100-degree heat, making my apartment a hot box that remains about 90 degrees through the night. I’m sleeping with freezer packs piled on top of me, fans blowing the hot air around futilely.

Suffice it to say, I AM TIRED OF THIS HEAT. I miss cool autumn weather. Here are some darker, colder songs that remind me of fall.

  1. “Dahl Parts” by The Theater Fire
  2. “Dusty Lion” by Shakey Graves 
  3. “Seven”  by Fever Ray
  4. “Stupid Boy” by Owl John 
  5. “iPlayYouListen” by ODESZA 
  6. “Like Real People Do” by Hozier
  7. “A Burden” by Horse Feathers 
  8. “Arnika” by Sufjan Stevens

Have a great week — drink lots of water, stay in the shade, keep cool.

Featured image credit: cold mountains III by mimose-stock


Wednesday Playlists: MOODY AMERICANA

I’m writing a kind of grungy country thriller right now, so I’ve been listening to a lot of music to match. Enjoy.

  1. “Roll the Bones” by Shakey Graves
    I’m very happy to have discovered Austin musician Shakey Graves. He’s got a bit of an off-kilter country sound, which is exactly what I want to listen to right now.
  2. “Star Witness (Neko Case Cover)” by Kate Macdonald & Janelle Blanchard 
    This is one of my favorite Neko Case songs, covered by two talented Canadian students. They recorded the song in a stairwell of their school, which was shortly afterward shut down. You can watch the video of their performance here.
  3. “Tell Me True”  by Sarah Jarosz
    A simple, bluegrassy love song.
  4. “Post Empire” by Will Stratton 
    I found out about this guy through Emily Jane White’s music label, Talitres Records. The label seems to value a diverse group of musicians who are interesting storytellers, and American artist Will Stratton is no different.
  5. “July Flame” by Laura Veirs 
    This is a song with a heartbeat, and the vocals seem almost secondary, far off in the distance.
  6. “A Gain” by Devendra Banhart
    I like these little segue songs that some artists include on their albums. I wish this weird one from Devendra Banhart were longer.
  7. “Everything That Dies” by Matthew and the Atlas 
    Matthew and the Atlas has developed a sound a lot like NEEDTOBREATHE, leaning more into rock than folk, which is interesting. I love their earlier folk songs, too.
  8. “This Is Not the End” by Laura Gibson
    A somber little song about endings, to finish.

Have a great week, everyone.

Featured image credit: “Colors of the Night” by Andrew Mangum


Wednesday Playlists: IMPORTANT SONGS

I’ve had a rough couple of days, to be honest. For some reason, in this particular case, my ear has leaned toward raw guitars and naked vocals. So today, have a few songs that have quite literally been on repeat for me over the past 48 hours.

“Master Hunter” is probably one of my favorite Laura Marling songs of all time. It’s angry, defensive, declarative. And I probably listened to it 80 times yesterday.

Birdmask is someone I’ve gotten into recently. He’s quirky and spare, and this angry/lonely song is one I’ve played a lot today.

To finish, have a more resigned song. A song about one thing ending and everything else beginning. I am so grateful for Nickel Creek and their music.

Have a good week.

Featured image credit: Nickel Creek


Let’s Talk about Fitness

I have a couple of gift certificates for fitness classes that I’ve been putting off using for months. And now, since a couple of them are getting ready to expire, of course I’m going to try to use them at the very last minute!

First, let’s talk about SoulCycle.

Let’s. Talk. About. SoulCycle. SoulCycle-Logo

If you’re into the exercise scene at all, you’ve probably heard of this hyped-up indoor spin class. It’s gotten tons of celebrity endorsements and is a fav among Hollywood and New York fitness aficionados. I myself was partially motivated to finally check it out this week after Kristin Chenoweth tweeted about going in for her first time.

But let me tell you something about SoulCycle. It is HARD. Like, really hard. Think about the hardest exercise you’ve ever done, then put yourself in a darkened room with music blasting and people sweating all around you, and multiply that hard exercise by about fifty — then you’re at SoulCycle.

Let me tell you something else. I had never done a spin class before this. I didn’t even know how to clip into my bike. It was only a couple minutes into the workout when I had my first moment of, Am I going to pass out in this dark, windowless room today?

I have no idea how people do this. That’s pretty much my biggest thought. I get why they love it, because if you’re strong enough to stay out of the saddle the whole time (I’m not) and are motivated by the sweat and the loud music and yelling (meep), then you leave feeling like you’ve climbed a mountain. I left proud that I didn’t faint.

I liked that the room was dark — then I felt like I was alone with my shame. I didn’t like that there were supposed to be fans, but I couldn’t feel any air circulating. I liked the music.  I didn’t like that I couldn’t ride out of the saddle for very long. (Seriously, how do you do that?) I think I need to do a beginner’s class or something before I go back to SoulCycle.

Classes are $30 each, and you have to rent the shoes that clip into the bikes for $3. Many complain that this is on the pricier side. I think if spinning is really something that you’re into, and you want to get brutally (brutally) worked out for about an hour, it’s probably worth every dollar.

Next! Classes at Exhale Spa.

Exhale logo

Exhale has locations around the U.S. and offers core fusion and yoga classes. I tried a Core Fusion Barre class for my first time there (again, never done barre before), but I think it’s much more my speed. There was never a thought like, Wow, I just can’t do this, even though a lot of the exercises are hard, and I was definitely sweating by the end. I had a great instructor and felt like I got a lot of attention as she corrected some poses, pushed me harder, and encouraged me.

Overall I think I prefer to be in a yoga-style studio where the focus is on breathing and using your own body as resistance, which helps to find the areas that need more work and flexibility. It’s not as manic as a spin class. I left core fusion barre feeling refreshed, and like I wanted to high-five the whole world.

Exhale classes are just a bit cheaper at $25 each and all equipment is provided.

Of course both of these are excellent sources of exercise and great ways to keep in shape, but they’re not the only ones! How do you exercise? Have you barely survived a SoulCycle class too? We can be friends.

Featured image credit: