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Late Night

When you wanna relax

Not only do I listen to music actively more than passively, but it’s usually for a purpose. I constantly think about how the song playing fits in with the rest of the music I collect. And how I conceptualize it as a whole.

I’ve created about a half dozen playlists for relaxing. They are all definitely beat-driven, but I think they’re even more jazz inspired. Quite a few people have taken issue with me classifying these playlists as jazz, but I hear the inspiration more than ever.

I’d go as far to say many jazz legends would appreciate, if not be actively be involved in creating this beat culture. The variance and experimentation these beats makers play around with should be admired by all.

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Loose Control

The grooviest dance party

I love to dance, but rarely do so at live shows. If any of these tracks are playing though, it’s a different story. Loose Control is the collection of music I love to dance to most. At least contemporarily speaking.

Most of this list is funk-inspired, but we’ve got the best in all of dance here: disco, house, electro, and hip hop. Anything that grooves. And Anderson .Paak and Kaytranada groove most. They’re over-represented here. I just can’t help myself.

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Up to Nogood

Breaking barriers is sexy

Between trap and future bass is something special. Not only is it some of the sexiest music out right now, but pushes the edges of music more than any other. Pop is catching up to it, hip hop is there, but its depth still goes unrecognized. And that’s where the problem with playlisting it comes in.

More than any other, this Up to Nogood playlist is reliant on YouTube Music & SoundCloud. Apple Music and Spotify just don’t have the catalog. Not even half.

One thing Spotify does do best is discovery. Digging through music has changed from listening to thousands of songs on my SoundCloud stream to find something fresh down to hundreds with what Spotify recommends. Automation has a long way to go in really helping me out, but Spotify is leading it.

One thing none of them have are analytics for playlisters. One of the most crucial things in making a better playlist. 8tracks is actually the only one I know that does.

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The Collective 100 Best Music Documentaries

And where to watch them online

Scott Vener, better known as brokemogul, asked Twitter for the best music documentaries. He got over 150 responses and I’ve got 110 music docs listed here. Some were mockumentaries, some were films, one was Dissect, and a lot more were gems worth collecting.

I thought it would be a great idea to collect them all, find where you can listen to them online, and put them in some sort of order. However, it took way too damn long, so I didn’t include artwork for most, didn’t spend too much time on formatting either.

Below are the categories in which I sorted the music docs. I’ve also labeled whether they’re available for Free, Subscribe, or Rent. And what type of service, such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, or Hulu. So “command/ctrl-f” to find whatever you prefer.

Free: mostly YouTube or some shady site (watch out for pop ups). And I think a few others require library cards. Just get one.
Subscribe: mostly Hulu, Amazon, or Netflix. I believe all offer free trials, so binge.
Rent: most of the music docs are “rentable.” Prices usually range from $2 – $8.

Researching all 110+ music docs made me realize how many more need to be put on this list, let alone made.

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BURN DISCO · Build House

The playlist war between music services continue

Last year we showed our condolences for the day disco died at Comiskey Park in 1979, but with the burning of disco came the rise of house music. More than any other genre, I’ve gotten criticism for my love of disco house, but that’ll never diminish my love for it. If anything, I like it a little more.

We’ve decided to turn that playlist, BURN DISCO, into something more ongoing and inclusive. We’ve been collecting disco playlists since 2012 and before. From Frisco Disco to Lazer Disco to Horizontal Disco and Disco is to Dance, we’ve wrapped them up into one until we break them in two again.

BURN DISCO is on the four major music services, but as explained better in the previous article, not all music services are made equal. Especially in catalog. YouTube and SoundCloud have a much more expansive catalog than Spotify and Apple, which BURN DISCO exemplifies. Spotify and Apple only have about half the songs YouTube and SoundCloud do and it’s only going to get worse with the next playlist.

Special shout out to Flamingosis and his flamboyance. Y’all keep disco alive.

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What’s the Music Streaming Service for Playlisters

Plus the next step in how we playlist, featuring our best soul songs

Back in 2014 Trent Reznor put out a video envisioning Beats Music, now Apple Music, as the game changer in deciding what song comes next. It sure as hell inspired me and helped to get where music discovery is today, but Spotify is leading that now, most famously with RapCaviar.

Tuma Basa – creator of RapCaviar, now at YouTube Music – recently talked at DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Playlist Retreat about how we need to recognize curation as a form of art. Too many music services are hung up on breaking the next big thing. Let the playlisters, djs, and other curators figure that out. Figure out the curators first.

SoundCloud has been my pick for playlisting music ever since they introduced the feature, but they’ve been losing listeners, so I thought it was about time to spread my efforts elsewhere. Spotify’s doing it right when it comes to their product and promotion. They’ve got all the major label music and seem to be winning with playlisting & discovery. But it turns out half the music I love isn’t on Spotify, so it’s gonna have to take more than just that to replace SoundCloud, if at all.

YouTube Music doesn’t have every song SoundCloud has, but I’m sure they have much more. They haven’t quite established themselves yet, but with Lyor Cohen, Tuma Basa, and all the other talent I’ll follow when I find them, my (subscription) money is on YouTube Music. And Spotify too for now.

Apple Music has the same problem as Spotify with catalog, but their potential is in live with retail stores in the most highly trafficked places around the world. Initiatives like “Today at Apple” that are bringing people together around creativity & entrepreneurship can be the game changer Apple Music needs to differentiate themselves from Spotify & YouTube Music. Especially if they utilize a platform like Beats 1 to democratize the global spotlight for all kinds of artists, including playlisters, online and off.

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Outside Lands 2018: Women Rocked It

But Durand ruled the hottest, yet coldest day of the festival

Outside Lands hasn’t had a woman headline in its eleven-year existence, until 2018. They must have felt especially bad because two dominated this year. First with Florence on Saturday and last with Janet closing out Sunday. Over the last few years, Sundays seem to be the day. They’ve stacked it well, probably because they’re never as fun as Fridays & Saturdays – you gotta be a little more responsible.

For the last two years, I’ve started off Sunday early. I go the whole day. Doing it all three days is probably a challenge not worth taking, but I recommend going all day at least once. It’s a lot warmer, Golden Gate Park is perpetually cold. There’s less dust flying around, because of the best thing yet, no crowds! There’s nothing better at a festival than going up to the main stage and being able to dance with some space to a great soul band. And boy was there one each year!

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Channel Tres with the funk flare

from DUCKWRTH to his self-titled EP

Channel Tres has hits, mostly with DUCKWRTH. I’ve seen both live a few times and they’re charming as hell on and off stage. Ask my girlfriend. But Channel Tres just came out with his self-titled EP and it’s unexpected & good. My favorite combination.

I may not love it like I love his work with DUCKWRTH, but it’s hard for any artist to top what made them so special to you in the first place. The follow up is a big step, but like all great things, give it time. Tres’s production is my favorite in funk with some synth flare. He changes it up enough from DUCKWRTH to his own voice to keep it fresh. Definitely wasn’t expected.

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You can tell it’s Smino from the start

Whether he sounds like Mac Miller, Outkast, or Danny Brown

I hate PR people. Or at least people who bulk email me about an artist’s latest single. I didn’t ask for that. I don’t want this. I can find it on my own. I’ve been so scarred by it that I don’t trust most people with recommendations, but that’s exactly how I found out about Smino.

I went to Blurry Vision, a first year Oakland hip hop festival, where Smino was supposed to play. A coworker said that I should see him. That was the only reason she was going, along with NxWorries’ first festival show. Smino didn’t end up showing, it happens, but I did listen to him all the way through on SoundCloud. Now he’s my #1 person to see live. Well, behind Bill Withers and a few others.

He has some serious amount of music. He reminds me of a few different rappers from a few different songs. Mac Miller on “Ruby Red”, Outkast vibes on a few, and even Danny Brown in “Home Invaders.” Whatever he sounds like, like Dre said about Anderson .Paak, you can tell it’s him from his first word on a song.

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Coachella’s 2018 lineup felt like a personal best

Beyonce, SZA, and Kali Uchis were the best, but not the only

It didn’t have Frank Ocean, but Coachella 2018 may have beat out 2017’s FYF fest for best festival lineup I’ve ever been to. Beyonce, SZA, Jacob Banks, THEY., Kali Uchis, Daniel Caesar, Tom Misch, Jorja Smith, ODESZA, Vince Staples, Jessie Ware, Miguel, Kamasi Washington. That’s not even half of who I loved, so here’s most the rest.

Let’s start with Friday because chronology. It also had my favorite performance at Coachella, Kali Uchis.

I love how Kali works the stage. She’s among my favorite performers, including Jacob Banks, Anderson .Paak, Tom Misch, and DUCKWRTH. I’ve seen Kali at The New Parish and The Fox in Oakland, but she had a lot more competition this time at Coachella.

Most loved Beyonce most, but Kali Uchis had the moment for me. She always does. Every time I’ve seen her I’m always caught up in her singing and stage presence. She keeps me the whole time. That barely happens ever for me. Too much on my mind.

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