December 29, 2017

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The week between Christmas and New Years Eve isn’t real. It’s where time and space stretch and thin to a borderline fantasy world. Money hardly moves. Phones seldom ring. The streets are (generally) uncongested. In fact, it’s the best time of year to be in Los Angeles because all of the transplants leave for the holidays. For that, I must acknowledge the elephant in the room: I never sent out the 12th day of the cmd+vent calendar. Please accept my apologies; you’ll have it before the end of this year. Consider it an extra treat over the weekend.

For the final Friday of 2017, there isn’t much going on musically. While I have dug up some tunes that’ve likely slipped under your radar, I’m not going to be sharing those with you today. Instead, I am doing what I swore I wouldn’t - a “year end roundup.” Yeehaw!

This isn’t your ordinary round up though - nay, this one consists a list of my top 15 favorite music videos released in 2017 for very specific reasons. I started compiling this list back in November, before I dreamt up the idea of cmd+vent, and honestly, I knew you’d feel cheated if I didn’t share this list with you.

Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. As you already know, I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too!

As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.

P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!

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-Best Makeup | “Atletico” - Rae Morris

    I initially placed Rae’s “Reborn” video under this slot until the “Atletico” single dropped. In this video she roams the streets of New Orleans donning a coppery red cat eye under a blinding spotlight that washes out her face. What sounds like Vampira-chic actually is an effortless cool that actually makes her blue eyes POP. Paired with a barely there but definitely noticeable Yves Klein Blue mascara, it’s having me reconsider my entire makeup kit when traveling next year. Are we leaving the "play it safe" makeup trend behind in 2017?

-Best Original Screenplay | “Selfish Love” - Jessie Ware

    Bitch...I want to live in this god damn music video. Homegirl Jessie lays out an intricate and intimate display of a marriage falling apart at a luxurious Spanish estate. Jessie’s swaddled in mid-20th century inspired clothing, ignoring her sexy but obviously trite husband, and settles the score with him all in 4 minutes. Almost convinced Tom Ford drafted the storyboard for this video.

-Best Use of Boomerang Clips | “Say My Name” - Tove Styrke

    “Say My Name” is still one of my top 5 favorite songs released this year. The vibrant video grasps the cheerful, bold attitude striped over the song. Tove sways to the beat in an endless succession of clips barely a second long each. The video comes across as effortless with the monochrome backgrounds and ACNE wardrobe, but was likely an editing nightmare. Someone get Stefan a round of shots, please. He deserves it.

-Best Location Scouting | “Perfect Places” - Lorde

    Like Jessie’s video above, I’d also love to live inside the locations of the “Perfect Places” video. Whomever did the location scouting for this video had a lot to live up to considering the song title – and they nailed it. Shot on a resort in Jamaica, I’m suddenly itching for another vacation.

-Best Use of Incorporating Los Angeles Architecture, Raf Simons’ Visions for Calvin Klein, and a Stranger Things Star | “I Dare You” - The xx

    I mean, the superlative says it all. Emma-Watson-in-training Millie Bobby Brown is hardly the star of this video. There’re also appearances by Ashton Sanders, Paris Jackson, Ernesto Cervantes, Lulu, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Sowden House! The xx deemed this video as a love letter to Los Angeles, and that it very much is. Though highly idealized with warm tones and the somewhat organically manicured Hollywood Hills, it shows LA at its best.

-Best Visuals of Dacre Montgomery Looking Like an Idyllic Boyfriend for 4 minutes and 49 seconds | “Chateau” - Angus and Julia Stone

    Second best use of a Stranger Things star goes to Angus and Julia Stone’s “Chateau” starring Dacre Montgomery, aka the leather jacket, Fabio mullet MILF bait Billy from season 2 of Stranger Things. The video’s a rom com road trip in the deep south, featuring a very beautiful, young couple smooching on every possible surface, cuddling in a drop-top convertible, and crashing a wedding. Sounds corny, but every once in a while there’s great wine with a little cheese.

-Best Use of Lil Kim Wigs | “LMK” - Kelela

    Kelela went full on Lil Kim Wig in this video, and I am eternally grateful. All of the visuals for “LMK” scream Y2K steez: a bold colored hallway, a “futuristic” inspired wardrobe (including spaghetti straps and The Matrix-esque sunglasses). Oh, and there’s choreography for time occupied in this hallway! The video ends at Diddy’s White Party in a flurry of flower petals falling from the ceiling, and honestly, it looks like heaven.

-Best Norman Bates Covered in Confetti Glitter Impression | “My Smile Is Extinct” - Kane Strang

    This video had barely 100k views when I initially stumbled upon it this summer, now look at it grow! My favorite thing about this video is how fucking EXTRA and melodramatic the lyrics are for how utterly indifferent he appears in the music video. In fact, he looks like he is about to drop dead any moment, and I commend this commitment to being that furious. My guess is Kane Strang is a Scorpio.

-Best Carl Barât Cameo | “Boys” - Charli XCX

    Did you even notice Carl Barat was in this video? Do you even know who Carl Barat is? The “Boys” video was an instant viral hit, and I must say I had hearts in my eyes for a few weeks after it came out. This video is one for the pop history books, kiddos.

-Best Video to Fulfill My Wildest Goth Fantasies | “Little Dark Age - MGMT

    Presented without comment.

-Best Use of Cotton Candy | “As If It’s Your Last” BLACKPINK

    This video has cotton candy everything - from literally mounds of floss, to a soft aura of cotton candy pink glowing over every frame of the video. I remember the internet went absolutely nuts when this song dropped this year. While the concept doesn’t differ much from most KPop group music videos, the song still goes off.

-Best Biotin Advert | “Honey Sweet” - Blossoms

Biotin, not Bitcoin - biotin. The Blossoms dudes have the lushest locks of hair in the game, and they let those manes fly in the wind for the “Honey Sweet” video. The video is essentially the band cycling around an overcast English town (I’m guessing near Manchester somewhere??),  until they stumble upon Doc Brown’s DeLorean locked away in a storage unit. What year is it again?

-Best “Always Wear a Helmet” PSA | “Motion Sickness” - Phoebe Bridgers

    The juxtaposition of this seemingly OTT preparation for a karaoke stint (suit and tie, helmet on a scooter to the bar, and singing your lungs out in the mic until your pass out), and the earnest anxieties unraveling in the lyrics of “Motion Sickness” makes this one of my favorite videos of the year. Phoebe is a phenomenal songwriter who’s also got a great sense of humor.

-Best Politically Active Music Video | “Feel It Still” Portugal. The Man

    First of all, “Feel It Still” was the surprise blockbuster indie hit of 2017 that seemingly came out of left field, but that bassline is undeniable, y’all. I remember when the interactive music video first dropped for this bop earlier in the year (shortly after 45’s inauguration), and the video inserted 30 tools to “fight apathy and injustice” to spot when viewing the music video. I honestly watched it 10 times that night trying to find the hidden tools all in one go, over and over again. The concept is cool as hell.

-Best Video That’s On Everyone Else’s “Best Of” Lists | “HUMBLE.” - Kendrick Lamar

I’m wrapping this shit up with the King of Greatness: KDot. Kendrick ushered in a new era with this surprise single release back in March. The visuals for “HUMBLE.” are fierce as fuck, sparred with busy patterns of bodies and sun-soaked empty spaces with each frame holding Kendrick at the center of the screen for nearly the entire video. The immediate charge and feeling evoked from the video is immense, too. Kendrick stands out in every clip he’s in: from the only head with cornrows in a sea of bald heads, to the only one in a white hoodie in a group of people in fitted black tees with heads wrapped in kerosene-dipped ropes, to Kendrick seated at the seat of Jesus in a reenactment of da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Kendrick knows he’s at the top of his game and can be picked out of the crowd, but knows he can’t let the notoriety get to his head. The visuals are so clear cut and stunning, it’s damn right deserving of being in virtually every 2017 music video roundup I’ve seen.

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If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal December 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.

A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared in past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. I will be creating a brand new playlist for the 2018 year starting next week.

See you next week, and Happy New Year!

cmd+vent calendar | Day 11: Katie

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Happy Day 11 of the cmd+vent calendar! Please excuse me for getting this out so friggin’ late: I’ve had my face in front of an over for a better part of the day. Cinnamon, sugar, and flour is likely going to be lodged under my fingernails for the next two days as I furiously scrub my hands raw to get clean.

Today’s cmd+vent letter is written by the very best baker I know if my life, Katie. As the Canadian Mary Berry, they can make a mean batch of pies that’d have Ina Garten shook. The origins of our friendship is actually rooted in pop music (aha! Surprise: we’re huge 1D geeks), so when I asked Katie to participate in the cmd+vent calendar, I’m happy to announce today’s letter fuses both themes.

You’re in luck if you’ve been tasked with bringing a dessert for any parties this week–Katie’s shared a handful of tasty recipes to reflect on how sweet 2017 has been in music. Give them a try and hit us back with how the recipes worked out for you.

For those who’re swearing off sweets starting January, may I remind you we still have one week left in December to enjoy a barrage of delectable confections. Treat yo’ self! Enjoy, and happy baking!

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Hello! I’m Katie, a baking enthusiast in my professional and personal life, and a pop music fan. There’s nothing I love more than planning desserts and dishes. I love thinking about how a certain dish can evoke the same feelings a holiday, a person, or even a song does. The relationship between food and music is an important and intricate one. Since dessert is my speciality, here are five of my favourite songs from 2017, and a dessert you could serve with them.

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“Despacito” (Remix) - Daddy Yankee & Luis Fonsi feat. Justin Bieber

"Despacito" was undoubtedly one of the biggest songs of 2017. It had even some of the most vocal Bieber haters getting their groove on. With both Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi hailing from beautiful Puerto Rico, naturally I had to choose a dessert that matched. I ended up picking maduros en almibar, which is ripe plantain slices fried in a brown sugar (and rum) sauce. Think of bananas foster. You can even serve it with ice cream! A fun and delicious dessert that’s also quick and easy to make, so you can get back to dancing to "Despacito" sooner rather than later.

“Green Light” - Lorde

I remember the first time I listened to this song, I immediately loved it. Her album ended up being one of my favourites of the year as well. I struggled a bit trying to think of a dessert that evoked a similar feeling this song gave me. After some deliberation, my mind went to the fact that Lorde is a Kiwi, and a kiwi is green, just like the song. I thought I had hit a dead end because I couldn’t think of a fitting dessert that had kiwi in it, but I remembered these fruity white sangria pops which have slices of kiwi frozen in them. These look beautiful, are delicious, and remind me of summer, just like this song does. Cheers!

“Slow Hands” - Niall Horan

This is sort of a given for anyone who knows me, but biases aside Slow Hands was a real bop! Even being a long term Niall Horan fan, Slow Hands surprised me with its sensuality. So what is a fitting dessert for this tune? I decided on this chocolate soufflé with salted caramel. Soufflés can be a bit tricky, but the payoff is a light and airy cake that is somehow rich and decadent at the same time. It’s kind of sexy, kind of fun, just like the song. Plus it has salted caramel in it which is one of my most favourite flavour combinations. For whatever reason, "Slow Hands" and caramel just makes sense to me.

“HUMBLE.” - Kendrick Lamar

What a tune! First time I heard this song the hook was stuck in my head for days. Kendrick Lamar is at the top of his game, it’s no surprise he’s got seven well-deserved Grammy nominations. And what is more humble than apple pie? But this isn’t just any regular apple pie, it’s apple hand pies with cheddar baked into the crust! Cheddar and apples go surprisingly well together. The saltiness and richness of the cheddar and crisp sweetness of an apple just works. And, you can grate a little extra cheddar on top before baking because extra cheese never hurt anyone. So be humble, and enjoy some apple pie while you’re at it.

“Bodak Yellow” - Cardi B

Honestly, did any song have as much of a cultural impact as "Bodak Yellow?" This song was everywhere this year, and I’m still not tired of it. Seeing as Cardi B is only the second solo female rap artist to get a number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, what dessert could possibly live up? I wanted to represent my favourite, and possibly most iconic song line ever, these expensive, these is red bottoms, these is bloody shoes. However, I was finding it hard to find something that was truly red, and that properly represented the song to me. Finally I decided on these rosé champagne cupcakes (which would be easy enough to customize red) because they are beautiful and rich, just like our girl Cardi B.

You can feast your eyes on Katie’s creations (and very pretty kitty) via Instagram: morbidmagic

The 12th day of cmd+vent is out tomorrow!

December 22, 2017

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I’m not even going to front: I’m beat. Absolutely beat. And the weekend hasn’t even started.

It’s Thursday night as I type this up, as I do every Thursday evening tying up all loose ends for cmd+f. I’m currently waiting for some brownies to cool for a holiday party, am thinking about maybe buying more wrapping paper, trying to strategically plan out all the cookie dough prep I can do over the weekend, and my list of things To Do is seemingly endless. It is exciting, but being in Santa’s Elf mode is taxing.

It’s been a lot of fun collaborating with so many people and putting out cmd+vent for y’all; I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re in the final stretch for the calendar, and seeing it come to an end is rather bittersweet. It’s exciting to have material for you all every day, and the response has been incredible. I am so pleased with the content my dear friends have so graciously crafted for this holiday project; I can’t wait to do it all again with you next year, along with a lot of other exciting plans I have up my sleeve for cmd+f.

Let’s get on with the music, people! This week I have five sweet selections from emerging artists across a variety of genres. Get ready to dance, get ready to sulk, get ready to get sloppy drunk: cmd+f has it all this week!

Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. As you already know, I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too!

As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.

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“Sign” - VHS Collection | I am coming out the gate this week with a strong claim: “Sign” is the greatest song I have heard all year. ALL. FUCKING. YEAR. Now I have an obligation to hype this song up, but I can assure you when you hear it, you’ll know. “Sign” opens with a distorted, solemn hymn, fizzes out, then guns forward into a Tears for Fears-worthy powerballad. Who can resist a cascade of rubbery synths? On first listen, it reminded me of the 1984 poverty-porn hit “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” which, imperialist guilt aside, we all know pops OFF every time it comes on the speakers. “Sign” is a 4:20 cinematic, hypnotizing journey. I’ll remind you: “Sign” is the best song I’ve heard in 2017. Listen here

“In Blue” - Yumi Zouma | For those of you who read Day 1 of cmd+vent, Ana made a chic playlist full of tunes by New Zealand artists, including this particular tune “In Blue” by Yumi Zouma. The group already have a solid fan base with a few amount of streams on all their tunes. They’ve got a lush, neo-disco vibe akin to Phoenix, buffed over with velvety vocals. While Phoenix begs you to hop on a bike and head to the discotech, Yumi Zouma made that hazy bedroom pop. I’ve been listening to “In Blue” obsessively for a couple weeks now, and nearly resisted including it in the letter this week simply because Ana had thrown them in her playlist. Nay, “In Blue” needs its own spotlight. Listen here

“Guilty Party” -  Thunder Jackson | What exactly is a Thunder Jackson???? While everyone is trying to figure this out, the secretive alleged pop duo shared their debut single “Guilty Party” last month, and it’s fucking massive. Allegedly the two met in a taxi in West Hollywood - one a songwriter from the South, the other a producer from Wales. To start, the song rides on a brilliantly sped up sample of the opening notes to Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark’s “Enola Gay.” It’s a scrapbook of nostalgic sounds that end up feeling so utterly contemporary. Also, the song is so blatantly about having a really fucked up hangover after going to a party in The Valley, so, 10/10 can relate.  Listen here

“This Is For You” - Bleach Baby | House music is my first love. It’s been a minute since I’ve heard a house tune that’s excited me. Bleach Baby’s “This Is For You” is a fantastic pop house tune, stabbing piano keys and massive drops included. Listen here

“No Angels” -  Catholic Action | I’m ending my five tracks this week with a Christmas tune! I’ve been listening to this particular track all month long amongst my Christmas list tunes, and “No Angels” cracks me up every time. With the opening lyrics, “You can’t have sex at Christmas / You can’t make love or screw / Celebrate as he intended / With television and food” it instantly became a favorite. Catholic Action are a rowdy bunch of Glaswegian’s who dropped their debut album In Memory Of in October this year, and it’s fantastic. But first, listen to “No Angels” Listen here

BONUS

  • Merry! Fuckin! Christmas! We’ve been blessed with Cardi B’s new single “Bartier Cardi” featuring 21 Savage. Hook is fiiiiire  Listen here
  • Mat Kearney has a new self-titled EP, and the New Years Eve breakup ballad “Don’t Cry For Me” is rather good Listen here
  • cmd+f fav BETSY has shared an acoustic mini-album Listen here
  • Cassie out here whispering her ass off in her new single “Don’t Play It Safe” Listen here
  • It was announced this week that Liam Payne and Rita Ora are releasing their duet single for the Fifty Shades Freed film. Some reactions to the news has been “Who?” or “they don’t even have fans,” but I am here to tell you: I know who they are, and I am their fan. I am their lone fan who is psyched as hell for this duet recorded exclusively for a hellfire film franchise that was made specifically for horny soccer moms.
  • Pale Waves, aka the future biggest new music act of 2018 (take notes!!! If you haven’t been listening to me ALL YEAR LONG!), have shared a very aesthetically aesthetic (haha) music video for their latest single “My Obsession.” Dear Heather goes full on Lars and the Real Girl with her “dream boy” and… anyway, I need to speak to whomever is doing their color direction because their videos are always a feast to watch Watch here
  • Last but certainly not least, I’m including a link to my own Christmas music playlist I will have on loop all weekend long. It includes a host of non-traditional classics from the likes of WHAM!, The Waitresses, and Paul McCartney, covers of “classics,” a few original Christmas tunes, and of course, no Christmas music list is complete without a host of Sufjan Stevens. If you’re about to pull your hair out listening to “Jingle Bell Rock” one more time, I promise you, this one is like, a really cool Christmas playlist. Mix things up a bit: Listen here
  • P.S. A new cmd+vent calendar letter drops tomorrow!

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If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal December 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.

A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared this week and past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. You’re welcome.

cmd+vent calendar | Day 9: Agnes

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It’s day 9, and the thirstiest Thursday of the year thus far. I mean, I don't know about you, but I could use a stiff drink to chill the heck out. Of what? I'm undecided - but today's letter can help me corner an essence of the day.

Today's letter was written by my dear friend Agnes (yes, THE Agnes mentioned on Day 7 by Hope). My friendship with her is (approximately) less than a year old, but I feel we've already shared a lifetime of jokes. We've both Very Scorpio, and take a lot of pride in being Very Scorpio. This results in a mutual understanding of the importance of a quality industrial boot (but fashion, you know?), making very questionable pop cultural indulgences (see: Charlie Puth), and a melodramatic reaction to the magic of a gut-punching chorus. I field a significant chunk of songs I'm considering for the weekly letter with Agnes before settling on at least 5 fresh tunes, so I'm extremely honored to have (essentially) my second set of ears partake in the cmd+vent calendar.
For day 9, Agnes has provided her top ten favorite songs released this year to get drunk and cry to. Each tune also comes paired with a matching wine or spirit–ooh, la la!
We’ve much to celebrate and cry over having all lived through a rather horrific, worldwide emotional rollercoaster ride in 2017. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt this year, it’s that you really need to unwind and let it all hang out every once in awhile.

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Cry Yrself Clean

The first time I ever got obliterated, blackout drunk was at the tail end of my first semester at college. I was 18 and had just started taking antidepressants the year before and had no idea how quickly a cocktail of Four Loko and SSRIs would affect me. A group of friends and I were pre-gaming a local party in my dorm room and I suddenly found myself locked in the bathroom with my best friend at the time, absolutely bawling and sharing our most intimate traumas. I hadn't cried that hard in years, especially not in front of anybody else. I preferred keeping emotions that overwhelmed me locked safely away. This outburst was both a literal and figurative watershed moment for me. We never made it to that party, but I felt better than I had in a long time.

    Thus began the time honored and cathartic tradition of letting myself regularly have a contemplative drunk cry. Most of the time, this occurs on the subway, walking on the deserted sidewalk or, if I feel like really investing in my melancholy, a single person Uber/Lyft. There are people who may call this "dramatic," but some of us just have more cinematic coping mechanisms than others. The key to an effective "drunk cry home" is the soundtrack. God knows this past year has given us plenty of real reasons to cry on public transportation, but we've also gotten some pretty incredible music out of it. I've taken it upon myself to select from this cornucopia of sad jams the top ten BEST songs to listen to on repeat on your drunk walk home, and let that emotional dam break.

1. Liability - Lorde

2017 was a big year for Scorpios; Drake, SZA, Bjork, and unfortunately, Katy Perry, all released new music this year to varying degrees of success. There is however no denying that Lorde reigns supreme after dropping perhaps the most Scorpio album of all time, Melodrama.  A collection that is sure to go down in break-up album history, Melodrama is essentially a restructuring of the 5 stages of grief - Lorde denies, rages, bargains, cries, rages some more, and reluctantly accepts that the most important relationship of her life is with herself. "Liability" is for all of us who have been told we are too much or worried about taking up more space than we were allowed. Many a summer-night-sob was set to the dulcet tones of this self-love letter.

Cocktail: a chilled bottle of rose

2. Prom - SZA

While on the topic of Scorpios, I do not think that any album this year captured the feeling of transitioning from your destructive early 20s into the guilt ridden and uncertain latter half of that decade better than SZA's Ctrl. It was extremely difficult to choose just one track for this list, as the entire album felt like a millennial manifesto, covering everything from the often complicated emotional maze of casual relationships to the ennui of early adulthood in the internet era. With "Prom" though, SZA went for the fucking kill, writing what amounts to a monologue about her own fear of failure and receptivity to intimacy.  I dare you NOT burst into tears when those first few lines of "Prom" come on:

Fearin' not growin' up

Keepin' me up at night

Am I doin' enough?

Feel like I'm wastin' time

Cocktail: Tequila soda

3. Fake Happy - Paramore

Upon my first listen to After Laughter, I remember taking my headphones out and scoffing incredulously. In the year of our lord 2017, had Paramore released a perfect sad-pop album about living with mental illness? Abso-fucking-loutely. Not only did Paramore manage to reinvent their sound and go from second wave pop punk darlings to studio-shiny popstars, they had created a lyrically mature and personal meditation on depression, relationships, and growing up. "Fake Happy" starts off stripped down, with Williams slowly crooning over a plucking acoustic guitar about her impenetrable veneer of happiness , asserting that we all put on a face to hide our uglier, less pleasant emotions. A pulsing keyboard carries us through the rest of the song as it picks up and eventually explodes, with lyrics that feel like they were taken straight from a recurring fight between Williams and a significant other. Cathartic, and affirming, the track is perfect for a good self-righteous cry in your bedroom.

Cocktail: Mojito

4. You Used to Say (Holy Fuck) - The Front Bottoms

I will be the first to admit that I hadn't been a fan of The Front Bottoms before this year. By the time I found out about them in college, I felt like I had grown out of my DIY pop punk phase and only clung to certain bands out of nostalgia for my teenage years. Well, it turns out that there's something about a nasally voice soaring over simple guitar riffs and swirling synths that still grabs me by the heart and squeezes, no matter how old I am. Going Grey is full of upbeat and nostalgic ruminations on toxic friendships, healing relationships, and childhood memories, but I found myself coming back to the first track and its introspective look at the effects of burying our true feelings more than any other. A strong drumbeat carries you through the first verse, and then the chorus bursts through like a controlled panic attack:

Holy fuck, I'm about to die

Angry for no reason, twisted up inside

Cocktail: Pabst Blue Ribbon

5. (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano - Sampha

Look, Sampha has one of the richest and most recognizable voices in music, and this debut (HOW??) album will destroy you. I've been wrapping myself in his smooth vocals since his SBTRKT days back in 2011, so it's hard to believe this is the first solo work he's ever released. Written about losing his mother to cancer, the album is personal, honest, and rich with variety, bouncing between glitchy beats and classic instrumentation. This track is the most stripped down and feels like a confessional, just Sampha and the titular piano in his mother's home. Yes, I can see you're crying already...bitch, me too.

Cocktail: Prosecco

6. Sweet Creature - Harry Styles

If you had told me four years ago that I would be crying to a Harry Styles solo album on the street at 2 a.m. I would have slapped you across the face. That said, you would have been absolutely right. Although I came out of the 1D solo-work cyclone not quite loving anything the way I had loved them as a band, Harry's album managed to squeak out a few really special tracks. "Sweet Creature" remains my favorite on the album, soft and warm like an old photo from a family vacation. It's simple, just a voice and an acoustic guitar riff reminiscent of "Blackbird," but it's effective. The lyrics feel like a letter to your mom,  lamenting not speaking enough, and stubborn arguments that ultimately don't matter in the face of the comfort you bring each other. As a fairly recent college grad reckoning with independence, this song feels the way leaving my childhood home after the holidays always feels: bittersweet.

Cocktail: Hot Toddy

7.  Mystery of Love - Sufjan Stevens

We are truly blessed that one of our most effective sad-jam writers is also one of our most prolific. Sufjan has been making me cry since before puberty, so when I found out that he would be writing songs for the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack, I invested in tissues in bulk. The film is a gorgeous must-see, and the use of Sufjan’s music is heart-wrenching. This lovely track, featuring Sufjan's trademark tenderness and longing over twinkling chords, speaks of grasping for memories of a love that slipped through your fingers. It's one of those songs that describes such sweeping romance as many of us have never experienced, but Sufjan's earnest storytelling and atmospheric instrumentals will reliably have you gazing out of a cab window with silent tears rolling down your cheeks, mourning a love lost or never manifested.

Cocktail: Negroni

8. Only With You - Angel Olsen

Everything about the way Angel Olsen, the heir to Cat Power's throne, sings feels like old Kodachrome footage. When I listen to "Only With You," I feel instantly transported to a grainy video of a 1950s dance hall, couples slowly spinning around me on a gymnasium floor, full dresses brushing against my calves. On Olsen's album Phases, the melancholy comes from not just the lyrics, but her masterful creation of atmosphere. Each of her songs has a timelessness to it, all totally nostalgic while simultaneously being completely of the moment. Olsen's voice usually trembles with what feels like barely contained rage and it's lowered to a near whisper on this track, ebbing and flowing until its climaxes into a woeful mantra: You don't find it in me.

Cocktail: Old Fashioned

9. Hang On Me - St. Vincent

2017 also blessed us with a new, highly anticipated album from Annie Clark, three years after her last release, and it's her best work since Actor in my opinion, despite the backlash from the purists. It's much less experimental than her previous work, focusing more on personal relationships and roiling emotions, and it's deeply pop-centric. "Hang On Me" builds off of a nearly Swiftian beat, reminiscent of "Blank Space," but veers off into more classic St. Vincent territory with buzzing synths and a full string orchestra, bells chiming as though from a distance. The track swells to the edge of something, never quite culminating in the climax you're expecting, before pulling back and fading out. It's a mature lament, an acceptance of being othered as an adult instead of a teenager, and it doesn't come across as trite or melodramatic. Instead, it feels honest.

Cocktail: Cosmopolitan

10. Die Young - Sylvan Esso

As dense with sad-pop as 2017 was, there was a terrible lack of tracks reserved for crying in the club (Robyn, please call me...) Fortunately, Sylvan Esso had us covered with this siren song of suicidal ideation laid over vibrating synths and a pulsing drum machine. The track draws us in with undulating synthesizers and a metronome beat serving as the background to a rapid fire list of grand morbid plans, which then burst into a light humming chorus, a reluctant admittance that perhaps this Earth is worth staying on, if only to see this "you" exist. It's a romantic idea phrased as a sardonic tantrum: I was gonna die young, now I gotta wait for you. The sentiment feels very millennial, and the unique production makes it fresh and danceable. The walkable beat is ideal for trudging home alone from the bar and that triumphant hook means that these may ultimately be happy tears. Perhaps the "you" we are waiting to watch burn so bright is in fact yourself, and you can be your own reason to keep going.

Cocktail: G&T

Listen to Agnes’s ‘Cry Yrself Clean’ playlist here

You can find Agnes on the net via Twitter: @toothyhellbeast

Stay tuned for more cmd+vent dropping Saturday. A brand new cmd+f is out tomorrow!

cmd+vent calendar | Day 8: Liz

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Hanukkah is over, and we’re only days away from Christmas, y’all. Are we ready for 2018? Are we motivated to change–on a personal level?

This time of year is typically gassed up with promises, resolutions, and a general whelming sense of Becoming Anew lingering in the air. It’s exciting, but as we all know, many loose that grip not too far into the new year and, just, Remain Existing.

The letter today is written by my pal Liz, who also happens to be from Florida (every person I know from Florida is cool as hell; on the contrary, everything I’ve heard about Florida Man….), though we bonded shortly after (or around?) her relocating to Seattle a handful of years ago. Since then, our conversations are usually shared involving music and pop culture.

Today Liz has been kind enough to share a playlist of songs that motivated her to get out of a slump and into a meaningful career path. It’s so easy to slack on the effort for change, but Liz has shown not all hope is lost! Today, she has a kick ass job she takes much pleasure going to every day, and the secrets she learned from the power of a music playlist are remarkable.

Lucky for us, all of those secrets to success are revealed below.

________________________________________ 

How My Hopeful Playlist Landed Me a New Job (And Parachutes Got Me Out of a Bad Job)

[Before we begin, click here to put on the playlist to set the mood]

In setting out to write about music in 2017, I completely failed. Most of the songs on the playlist I'm about to share are from late 2015 at best. But when our dear cmd+f hostess with the mostess reached out to me about writing something, she phrased it as "how music helped you find some joy in 2017." Now that I had a definite answer for: music got me a new job in 2017.

The beginning of 2017 was maybe not the best time to take on a big new personal project. Everything felt fucking bleak. But the only thing that got me through the previously bleakest period, the end of 2016, was planning how I was going to get a new job in 2017. Not just a new job, but a new career path, all while trying not to zombify myself at my workplace I hated.

This is basically a millennial trope at this point, stumbling into jobs that paid bills without ever really meaning to be there, maybe advancing steadily but mostly because it's the next step in front of you rather than the direction you want. As such, we've all developed coping mechanisms: Instagram accounts with cute dogs, Pinterest boards filled with inspirational messages in happy loopy calligraphy, lifehack podcasts, Lin Manuel Miranda's life coaching via Twitter–which are all basically bite-sized updates to self-help books and posters with kittens telling you to "Hang in There."

But for me at least, it's too easy for bossy logic brain to read those tweets and get in my own way without a drop of inspiration. If you go to the replies, you already see people ready with all the reasons that It Just Doesn't Work. And they've all got points, but sometimes you've got to set aside reality, suspend the disbelief, and psych yourself up into believing you can and you will. So I had to find a way to circumvent logic and it turns out my singing is louder than my logic.

Affirmations that would have my eyes rolling back into my head any other time make me feel alive when sung, even when just in my head and even more so surrounded by a crowd all singing along. The idea for a specific playlist to turn to in dark moments was planted in my head in an online Life Skills class in high school that had us choose a theme song. Mine was “Short Skirt / Long Jacket” by Cake (okay, just because I didn't want to be trapped in the accounting department of a geriatric law firm doesn't mean I'm not intensely Type A). “Can't Hold Us” by Macklemore got me through the preparations for a cross-country move (to Seattle, so I have a defense for that choice).

My playlist I made at the beginning of 2017 became more than just a quick pick-me-up though; it was a daily routine. It got me through my walk to work every morning, where I would find the self belief to write another contact email (LinkedIn, man) or research another master's program, any way I could think of to invest in myself without leaving my job.

I give 100% of the credit of the creation of this iteration of this playlist to “Dreams Come True” by Brandon Flowers. The 80's aesthetic of the whole The Desired Effect album made me feel hopeful in a way only a John Hughes movie can, but the horns on this song are pure sunshine for me. Actually, you're going to notice horns on a lot of these; I have a type.

“Ain't Got Far to Go” by Jess Glynne is my personal training montage song. It's not a triumphant cry at the top of the mountain, but for right when you've turned the corner, you've set a goal and can see it, far in the distance but as a real physical thing. Even on the rainiest Seattle walk, I wanted to sing along. I didn't because: a) don't be that guy and b) have you heard Jess Glynne's range?

“So Close” by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness was a song that came to me at just the right time. I was salivating for the new album that came out in February (look, a 2017 song!) after hearing “Fire Escape” live over the summer. At first, I was just latched to the crazy danceable synths of the chorus but the messaging over and over that Scared is Good, "there's no safety in desire" helped with each sending of an email or resume.

Honestly, if you need a positivity boost, just go to an Andrew McMahon show and be in his presence, which is easy enough when it feels like he's touring most of the year every friggin' year. He radiates good energy and has no fear. I mean, who runs into a crowd of strangers under a rainbow tent and let them carry him aloft an inflatable duck? Someone who kicked cancer's ass and lived to sing the tale, I guess.

I'm not going to list each song here but the themes remain the same, do the fucking thing (“Do It Anyway” - Ben Folds Five), don't live in the past (“Spotlight” - Patrick Stump), and keep pushing (well, “Pushing On” - Oliver $ & Jimi Jules). There's more downbeat songs, like “Keeping Your Head Up” by Birdy, who was brought to my attention by cmd+f, but more on sadness in a bit. Also, I continued adding to it throughout 2017, because in this gig economy, one position isn't enough and never stop making connections, not if you're going to be the boss, The Man (The Killers), and the Woman (Kesha). And no judging my X-Factor and Eurovision additions, if you've gotten this far without judging the rest at least.

That was all great for the beginning of the day, all the possibilities still ahead of me. The walk home had a bit of a different process. I needed not just an influx of positive messaging but someone to help me affirm my dissatisfaction with my life, that I was right to be unhappy, that I wasn't this person in this cube wasting away. I didn't need a whole playlist for this, just one album: Parachutes from Frank Iero and the Patience.

These songs helped connect my teenage-like angst ("No one's ever been like me before") with where I was as an adult ("So tired of being old and feeling cold and numb"). I started feeling like myself again, and that not fitting in where I was wasn't the equivalent of being an overdramatic outcast. And it helped me accept all those positive messages too. Being a naysayer feels a lot less cool when singing "Let's all be difficult and never try too hard, Let's all be critical of those who show their heart" along with Frank's sarcastic sneer.

The biggest impact of some of these artists in 2017 for me was carrying it forward and seeing them live. Whatever you get from singing the song by yourself, in your head, it's amplified 1000% when hearing it from every direction, pressed against a bunch of strangers who it all meant as much to, each in their own way. It's a good thing my new job is flexible on work hours (even if it pays less, non-profit arts life, y'all!) because that is an addictive feeling that I've been chasing down all year. Hopefully, that's what will get me through 2018 too, or some miracle that makes things a little less bleak like a working government.

Otherwise, if I had to write about music specifically released in 2017, you would have gotten 5000 words about why Everything Now from Arcade Fire was unfairly trashed and is actually amazing.

... Maybe some opinions are best left to yourself.

“Songs for a new life” Playlist | click here to listen

  1. “Dreams Come True” - Brandon Flowers
  2. “Ain’t Got Far To Go” - Jess Glynne
  3. “So Close” - Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
  4. “Do It Anyway” - Ben Folds Five
  5. “Anything” - Hedley
  6. “I Can Do Anything” - 3OH!3
  7. “Keep On Keeping On” (feat. Brendon Urie) - Travie McCoy
  8. “Spotlight (New Regrets)” - Patrick Stump
  9. “Whatever It Takes” - Imagine Dragons
  10. “Pushing On” - Oliver $ & Jimi Jules
  11. “On My Way” - Tiesto w/ Bright Sparks
  12. “Rise N Shine” - Eva Shaw, Poo Bear
  13. “No Matter What” - Little Monarch
  14. “Keeping Your Head Up” - Birdy
  15. “Don't Tread on Me” - Kai Straw
  16. “Rut” - The Killers
  17. “I Woke Up In A Car “- Something Corporate
  18. “Lines That Burn” - Tilian
  19. “Work This Body” - WALK THE MOON
  20. “The Man” - The Killers
  21. “Woman” - Kesha
  22. “Hurricane” - MisterWives
  23. “All the Way Up” - Reggie N Bollie, 2Face Idibia
  24. “Yodel It!” - Ilinca, Alex Florea
  25. “Short Skirt / Long Jacket” - Cake
  26. “We're Gonna Take On The World” - Mustard Plug 

You can find Liz swimming through the net on Twitter: @sportiefish

Raise a glass: day 9 of the cmd+vent calendar drops TOMORROW! Tell all your friends!

cmd+vent calendar | Day 7: Hope

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We are a full week into the cmd+vent calendar, and the response has been nothing short of amazing. Thanks to all the fine comments and replies to this newsletter (which: did you know you could reply directly to this email and I will receive it in my inbox?). I’ve been passing along your high praises to the respective writers, and I assure you they’ve all been nothing but filled with gratitude for your kindness.

Today’s letter is brought to your by a beacon of light in my life named Hope. She lives in the land of sunshine and orange groves (and hurricanes and swamps), enjoys hockey, running, and pop music (this sounds like I’m writing out a dating profile. Jeez). Hope is shameless about the content she decides to devour, and I admire that greatly about her. She doesn’t half-ass her passion for anything–she dives headfirst, gives her undivided attention, and let me tell you, that energy is so great to have in a friendship.

For those looking to blow off some steam this week, Hope has kindly thrown together a playlist of jams to kick some literal and figurative ass to.

________________________________________

2017 was a year to be furious. It was a year to yell at the top of your lungs and dance your shoes down to nothing and donate all of your money and send passionate messages to your government representatives and get into screaming matches with anyone who didn’t see empathy as a priority. It was a year of rage, rage, rage, and a lot of long sleeps, and longer runs where you did nothing but listen to the same songs on a loop and try to send your head somewhere your feet couldn’t really take you.

If there’s anything my end of the year Spotify playlist tells me, it’s that I went on a lot of those runs--or, at least, spent a lot of mind-numbing, soul-cleansing time in the gym. There are so many days my body can feel like the haunted house I am trapped in. Training it to do just what I want is sometimes the only thing that keeps me breaking the windows and tearing the walls down, and packing myself off to whatever is left when we leave. And sometimes the most important motivation for getting up and lacing on my trainers and kicking my own ass is the perfect song. This list (of seven, not five--sorry!) is a peek into what 2017 had on offer to add to my list of favorite “if my country’s gonna burn so are my glutes and I’m gonna keep pushing until I’m jacked as hell and nothing can touch me” jams.

________________________________________

“Attention” - Charlie Puth | Not to be, like, really crude, but Charlie Puth seems like such a fun fuck. Like, wow, what a sensitive little bitch who lives for drama! Tell me what I’m up to in my freakum dress, Charles! Tell me you’re onto me, then sleep with me anyway and let me lick your eyebrow scar, you fuckin’ loser! I love it. I love this song. In the words of Agnes, “I love a walkable bassline!” And I do, too. And a walkable one is also one I can do push-ups to and silently agree with. Never get over me! Regret it forever! I’m the ONE, baby!

“I’m the One” - DJ Khaled | For the record: yes, I think I’m hilarious. This song, like the previous, also makes me think of Agnes: her revolving in the club at a resort or whatever, drink in one hand and the other waving freely to the beat. And this song, like Agnes, hypes me the hell up and makes me feel like I could do anything, you know? I’m your dream girl, I’ve got it all. It also makes me feel like I’m sipping a cocktail with an umbrella in it and have spent the perfect amount of time lounging in a hammock and my tan is fantastic, so that probably has a lot to do with it.

“Green Light” - Lorde | I could put the entire Melodrama album on this list. I could make this list Melodrama and nothing else, and it would still be absolutely accurate. Melodrama is, of course, my personal choice for album of the year, because I’m the most extra bitch alive, but also because it has this desperate energy that immediately makes me think: hungry. I love this song because, for me, it succeeds in calling up that yearning ache in your stomach when you want something so goddamn bad, and you’re just starting to see you might be able to get it, and you’re so overwhelmed by at it all you’re ready to dance yourself down the street with your headphones in, singing, and you’re not even drunk! You’re just in your own music video and life is impossible! There is absolutely nothing you need in your ears more when you’re hitting that 8 speed interval than Lorde singing I’M WAITING FOR IT, THAT GREEN LIGHT, I WANT IT.

“I Know a Place” - MUNA | I don’t think I really need to say anything about this, right? We’ve all listened to this? We’re all in love with MUNA? This song is a big mood. This song is healing. This song makes you feel like you could run for miles. This song makes me want to put on rollerskates. This song feels like a montage. This song kind of makes you feel like the music video for "Youth," by Troye Sivan, only we’re all a bit older and our idea of partying is us wearing fuzzy socks that speak to our personal style choices and scream-laughing at the game on television and playing trivia and drinking red wine instead of, like, doing ecstacy and making out in a ball pit, or whatever. Does that make sense? Not that we can’t do drugs and make out in a ball pit, if you wanna. We can fuckin’ do anything, because this song makes us feel we can.

“Bad 4 Us” - Superfruit | Superfruit is one of those groups I probably would’ve never listened to without them popping up on my Discover Weekly. They’re also one of those groups that turns out to be a delightful surprise. “Bad 4 Us” actually rolled around on my release radar a few months ago alongside a fabulous Kimbra track (INSERT ANNUAL KIMBRA IS SLEPT ON MESSAGE), and at first I wasn’t sure, but rather than skipping along to the next one I instantly hit replay. And I’ve been sliding through my house on my sock feet and dancing myself onto the porch ever since. Being bouncy, a little jazzy, with little goofy background asides, a cowbell?, and a line that sings put on some old school Britney, ‘cause baby you drive me crazy, this song makes me want to drink champagne and kiss people and makes me feel like I could probably, yeah, do another stupid rep, I guess. Good 4 Me. Ugh.

“Cave Me In” - Gallant | Gallant makes me feel all kinds of romantic and dreamy all of the time, but almost no song so much as “Cave Me In.” This is some slow-motion Airpod-commercial nonsense. And how deeply relatable is that feeling of wanting so badly not to have to say aloud what you want or what you need or what you mean, and wanting instead for someone to just know, to just reach into you and take it out? And this song is so smooth that the ache of it feels real good.

“Body Like A Back Road” - Sam Hunt | If this song doesn’t put you in an instant good mood, then I don’t really know what to tell you. It’s hilarious and cute and sexy and fun, and it’s insanely sing-a-long-able, and it makes me want to drink beer and push someone off a dock and join a drum circle. It’s maybe a little too relaxed for most people in the gym, but sometimes I just want to think about someone laying me out in the back of their dumb car and licking salt off of my newly carved abs, okay? I think I deserve that, especially when I’m very sweaty and my arms hurt.

You can work out your fury listening to all of Hope’s choice tunes in a single playlist right here

See the world through Hope’s eyes –which includes a bit of hockey commentary– via Twitter: @brdofthesmmr

Keep your ears open – day 8 of the cmd+vent calendar drops tomorrow!

cmd+vent calendar | Day 6: Brittany

Happy Monday, everyone.

Today’s cmd+vent calendar letter lends on a more somber note than the previous letters we’ve tapped into so far. It’s deeply personal and an extremely special letter to be sharing with you folks, and I’m so grateful to introduce you to my friend Brittany.

Brittany and I met in college through a mutual friend, and instantly hit it off (likely having the same name helped) – though it was kept merely on a very cordial acquaintance level for a bit. After pleading for help to move into my apartment seemingly into the ether on my Tumblr, this kind soul who mostly knew me for posting archival Raf Simons and Tilda Swinton photos for the past year and a half on the internet, offered to help me move into my apartment in Seattle.

The rest of the year delved into discussing art, having very niche Jamie Bell film dates at her apartment, and sharing music recommendations. After I graduated college, I moved back home to LA. Around Thanksgiving of that year, Brittany made her big move to LA to stake her claim in Hollywood. I returned the favor and helped her move into a cramped apartment in Toluca Lake.

We have rather loud modifiers both B and I can associate each other with. I’m sure for me she’d name Raf Simons and Tom Ford’s A Single Man. For Brittany, I associate her with the Southwest desert and Tom Petty.

We’ve lost so many legends in music over the past couple years, and I know the sudden loss of Tom Petty hit Brittany hard.

I now leave with you her heartfelt reflections of Tom Petty’s impact on her life with his music.

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Tom Petty’s album Full Moon Fever dropped in the spring of ’89 and so did I. About ten years later, I’d ask my mom about my initials – B.A.D.? Who signed off on that? – and she pulled out that album. It had been on repeat during her last weeks of pregnancy. She played “Yer So Bad” and explained that when Tom said “bad,” he meant the best. He meant beyond. And she sang to me, like she always did: “But not me, baby / I’ve got you to save me / Yeah, yer so bad / Best thing I ever had / In a world gone mad, yer so bad.”

In elementary school I had Full Moon Fever on cassette and a Playskool tape-deck stereo with a detachable microphone and that was all I needed. “The Apartment Song” was on Side 2. I’d listen to it over and over, just six Mississippis to rewind. Probably still to this day, if you asked my family for my favorite Tom track, they’d say “The Apartment Song”. In a way it probably is.

When an officer pulled me over for going nearly felony-miles- per-hour over the speed limit on a deserted stretch of Oregon highway at 2:00am, “Runnin’ Down a Dream” softly scored his writing me my first ever speeding ticket. I could have sworn he was smiling. Another important teenage first did not include Tom (in point of fact we were listening to Coldplay’s Parachutes album, or part of it), but I did listen to “Crawling Back to You” as I drove myself home, feeling both very lonely and very young.

In the summer of 2008, the girl who would become my best friend and I “met” at a Tom Petty show at the Gorge in Washington. We had lived in the same dorm freshman year, but had never hung out. We texted on our flip phones, agreeing to walk to the merch stand at the start of song five and say hello. The fifth song that night was a cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria”, and – to paraphrase the immortal words of J.K. Rowling – there are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and listening to Tom Petty go full fucking savage on a Van Morrison track is one of them. A few years later when Bri and I were roommates and of legal drinking age, we would get ready to go out, swaying around the pre-game to “Honey Bee” and “Cabin Down Below,” sultry, dirty rock tracks that – P.S. – still do the trick, if you’re in the market for that sort of thing.

Getting involved in a heady, tumultuous relationship with a guitar player in college is a 20/10 Do Recommend if you’re hoping to accumulate a very extravagant and chaotic emotional palate for later use as a television writer. My suggested method? Break up and get back together as often as you can, and be sure to define each step with Petty songs: “Breakdown” and “A Thing About You” and “You Wreck Me” when things are good; “Feel a Whole Lot Better” and “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Don’t Come Around Here No More” when you’re being sloppy little punks. Take the time to listen to the Wildflowers album together at least once a week. And whatever you do, don’t forget to move to L.A. several years in, return for a visit one Christmas, go to one of his shows, and hear him dedicate “The Wild One, Forever” just to you. After your week-long dissociative episode, you’ll have ascended to a higher plane of existence. Easy as pie.

On Monday, September 25th, 2017 a girlfriend of mine and I watched from the nosebleeds of the Hollywood Bowl as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed the final date of their 40th Anniversary Tour. I had snagged tickets just two days before, breaking my tenuous vow of frugality, knowing if the boys were in town and I didn’t see ‘em I’d regret it. And I would have. Everyone was in high spirits and top form. They played the hell out of dozens of songs – a few from deep, deep in the archives – living up to Tom’s greeting at the top of the show: “We’re thinking we just want to treat tonight like a big vinyl record and put the needle down wherever we want.” From the first beat through the final chord, the audience was thunderous and electric. We floated home. It was Tom Petty’s last show. He died seven days later.

I was at work in the writers’ room when rumors of his cardiac arrest began to spread. Despite the unconfirmed nature of the news, my phone – on vibrate in my purse – began to hum. It buzzed fitfully for the rest of the day. I placed a palm over it, willing it still. I held my emotion tightly in my throat. Over the next couple days, more than forty family members and friends reached out to me, sharing condolences or a song or a memory or just a “fuck, dude.” And though it felt (and feels?) inane and selfish to be mourning a man I never met, I was stunned and so grateful to hear from all these people I loved. Knowing the folks who know me best – who have witnessed my life – thought of me that day… it made me feel less inane, less selfish. A little less nuts for crying in my car that week to endless repetitions of “Alright for Now” (no Mississippis, just one button on my ergonomic steering wheel).

Bruce Springsteen distilled it, elegant in its simplicity, just the way you’d expect him to: “Good songs stay written. Good records stay made. [Petty] made a lot of great music, enough to carry people forward.” The overwhelming feeling I have now is gratitude. Grateful to be carried forward by “Into the Great Wide Open” and “Time to Move On” and “A Mind with a Heart of it’s Own”. And if this letter inspires you to listen to any one song, let it be “It’ll All Work Out”: “Now the wind is high and the rain is heavy / And the water’s rising in the levee / Still I think of her when the sun goes down / It never goes away, but it all works out”

Rest easy, Thomas Earl Petty.

You can listen to every song mentioned in this letter in a single, convenient playlist right here

Follow Brittany on the net via Twitter and Instagram: @brittanydushame / brittanydushame

Stay tuned for Day 7 of the cmd+vent calendar dropping tomorrow!

cmd+vent calendar | Day 5: Richard

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It’s a not so lazy Sunday here at cmd+f HQ. For day 5 of the cmd+vent calendar, I’ve got a very special friend of mine to talk about one his most favoUrite artists that, in a roundabout way (I suppose), brought our friendship together.

The origins of my friendship with Richard are very unclear, but we possibly linked via a now defunct music (sharing) forum circa 2006/07. Facebook happened, then Twitter, and Tumblr followed closely after, and we were just those people who’d jump from new social media platforms and always follow back, but we’d always bond over the same kind of tunes. Being close in age, we were young, impressionable teens hungry for fucking cool music. While I was skirting around the Cobra Snake scene in LA, Richard was dancing his way through sticky-floored clubs in London.

Nowadays, Richard likes to remind me how American I am whilST I poke fun at how British he is, and typically debate over the best place to score a burger and CHIPS in the world. When I visited London this past October, we were both the oldest people in the crowd jamming out to Wolf Alice in a tiny club in Camden. Despite getting (and feeling) older (our knees ached after that gig), our concert going habits have hardly changed.

________________________________________

It was 2007, I’d been to the NME Indie Rave Tour- a sea of glowsticks in a London venue that’s now a gym- and was gradually filling my iPod with dancier music when I discovered this mix. I instantly fell in love with everything Ed Banger, but especially Justice. I started DJing, badly in my bedroom at first and eventually to other mostly appreciative people, making friends (one of whom is now genuinely successful) that I played with regularly. My early sets had some good ideas of my own, but large parts of them were either inspired by or just directly lifted from Justice sets.

The first time I saw Justice live was at Radio 1’s Big Weekend, in the town I was born in, in 2008. The set was a sort of mix of live & other people’s songs done on Ableton, they opened with the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme and as soon as the drums of Waters of Nazareth kicked in I lost my shit for the next half hour. I’ve seen, and met, them a lot of times since then but until this year it had been a little while. 

 A very recent picture of me and Justice (it was 2008)

A very recent picture of me and Justice (it was 2008)

Then came Glastonbury. This was my 6th Glastonbury, it’s my favourite festival and I have always wanted to see my favourite band there, this year the time finally came. I’m old now, so I didn’t want to be too near the front- my girlfriend and I stood on a bench towards the side so we’d have a good view. From the moment of the first synth of Safe And Sound I was worried I was going to fall off because I was dancing so hard on this narrow piece of wood. The middle aged woman dancing next to us seemed slightly concerned for my wellbeing, we explained afterwards just how much I loved them. Despite being old, for an hour and a quarter of 2017 music made me feel like a teenager again.

Richard likes to crack jokes on Twitter a lot. Follow him here: @rchrdctswrth

More cmd+vent calendar drops tomorrow!

cmd+vent calendar | Day 4: Kim

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It may be the weekend, but the fun ain’t stopping just yet. We have a little over a week left until Christmas Day, I’m sending my best wishes to all of you out there still scrambling for last minute gifts or having to prepare not to grimace too obviously during your upcoming awkward office holiday party.

For those of you out hitting up the brick and mortar shops this weekend, my dear friend Kim has THE letter for you: she’s the proudest Texan I know (okay, there is maybe ONE other person I can speak for being as Texas as Kim), and the biggest Disney nerd I know (and actually nobody can compete for this title from Kim). No matter how much you love things, you’ve gotta make sacrifices to do what you love. Ol’ Kimmie packed her bags and moved to live inside Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disney World full time. Next time you’re in Orlando, you can easily spot Kim sporting mouse ears, eating Dole Whip, and singing tunes from the Hercules soundtrack.

Here's Kim in her own words:

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Between not one, but two cross-country moves, my daily commute, and tourist traffic, I’ve spent more than my fair share of time in my car this 2017. Anyone who has ever been in my passenger seat can tell you that I only have one rule when it comes to driving music, but it’s one that I follow religiously: N a ong llowe.

Let’s face it, we really went through it this year. No matter who you are, this has been a rocky one for all of us, and it’s so easy to use car time to wallow in everything that’s going wrong with the world. That stops now, my friend.

From now on, I urge you to use the time alone in your car for its intended purpose–singing very loudly and making the person next to you at the light wish they had put you on their Snapchat.

Here I present to you a selection of my favorite songs released this year that will be sure to get you grooving:

  1. “WORSHIP” (feat. MNEK)-–The Knocks

his easily one of my top-listened to songs this year. MNEK’s booming, soaring voice over The Knock’s expert production harkens back to the 90’s in a way that’s delicious and not at all gimmicky.

2. “One Foot”-–WALK THE MOON

early 3 years after their sophomore album, Walk the Moon came back with a vengeance with this song. This track has a decidedly more modern feeling than the 80’s Talking is Hard but they still managed to sound exactly like themselves. It’s weird, but it works.

3. “Bad Behavior”-–The Maine

he Maine’s ability to evolve their emo sound to soft-rock goodness never ceases to amaze me. I’ll admit that I spent most of the summer with my windows down and this song up loud. The relentless chorus feels both timeless and fresh and will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

4. “Frightening Lightning”–The New Respects

If there’s one thing I want to see more of in 2018, it’s lady rock bands. If the movie Baby Driver as exactly the same in every way except that the title character was a woman, I like to think that this would be her get-away song.

5. “Heartthrob”-–Superfruit

his song is 100% sugary sweet bubblegum pop but in absolutely the best way. The lyrics should sound cliche but somehow just serve to fully transport you back to the 90’s, and tbh I’m perfectly fine sticking around for awhile.

I put all of these songs and others that I love to drive to in a playlist that you can find here.

Happy driving!

You can find Kim on the net via Twitter: @thekimmiem

The fun don’t stop here: tune in for day five of the cmd+vent calendar tomorrow!

December 15, 2017

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This week has flown by, hasn’t it?

This is technically day 3 of the cmd+vent calendar. Nothing new from your typical Friday cmd+f letter, but altogether still very special. I’ve had some wonderful feedback on the first two days, so shout out to Ana and Christina for sharing their 2017 music experiences! A brand new letter by another reader drops tomorrow–be sure to tell your friends.

The five songs I’ve plucked for you this week all vary in genres/moods/tones, and I can assure you they’re all excellent.

Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. As you already know, I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too!

As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.

P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!

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“Elton John” - LIL PHAG feat. Hoodie Allen and Dr. Woke | I could have never foreseen bumping a gag tune by an internet sensation, but, here we are. Internet’s golden gay and former mayor of Hell, Elijah Daniel, has thrown the towel on his stint as a politician, a religious leader, and has now moved on to be the next best thing: a rapper. When I heard about his latest evolution as an internet personality, I figured “Lil Phag” would be a complete wash. His first single “Elton John” slaps down an irresistible, drowsy hook that inspires an interest piqued for the most PopArt-esque, slice of cultural relevance. The tune is laced with Weezy-worthy puns (“Flyer than Harry Potter/JK, I’m rollin’ harder”) over a Soundcloud trap beat. Give this a few spins and soon y’all be boppin' with your “clout goggles on” and “feel like Elton John (Elton John).” Listen here

“Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” -  Cara Salimando | I’ve been sitting on this song for a few weeks, just sinking further into the cinematic, heart-stopping drums and twinkling guitars. “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” sounds like a false promise, a deep apology scrambling to make up for sorrow inflicted. The retro vibe teeters on the verge of sounding purely like a Lana Del Rey worthy tear-jerker. As the song pulls up into its own  strength toward the end, it stands tall on its own two feet. Listen here

“I Love LA” - Starcrawler | Armed with the devil-may-care attitude of Cherie Currie’s vocals for The Runaways, LA band Starcrawler are chugging out REAL hardass rock n’ roll tunes. I stumbled across their hilariously glampy music video for “I Love LA” on YouTube a couple weeks ago. It’s always refreshing to see that side of LA that looks and feels so distinctively LA for those who live here– a bit of a dump that’s crawling with crusty 24-hour Chinese Food/Donut shops that haven’t closed their doors for 40 years (and they definitely look like it). It’s a side most non-natives or transplants ever anticipate associating with Los Angeles when they’re so used to the veneers of reality TV that’s all filmed in the same 5 mile radius of Beverly Hills. As for Starcrawler’s musical integrity, they’re really know how to fuckin’ shred. Listen here

“tokyo” -  joan | Pop duo joan dropped their debut single “take me on” earlier this year and managed to slide onto the fifth cmd+f letter. They’ve evolved on the teen-lusty vibe I noted in February, pushing a graceful 90s R&B vocal overlaid across an enormous 80s pop instrumental. “tokyo” sounds like a The 1975 b-side (with much clearer vocals [soz, Matty]). The more I listen to this, the more I find it fresh. I’m so excited to hear where joan are going next. Listen here

“BIG BAD BITTER” - Adelén | Now I present to you my Scandinavian Pop Tune of the Month: “BIG BAD BITTER” has been my Big Mood of the week. Opening with “Don’t mean to be a buzzkill/Should have stayed home” and devolving into a brutally honest declaration of social anxiety in the middle of a club. The lyrics layout a night from hell: “Stepping on my shoes now/Invasion of my space/Asking where I come from/”Do I come here often?” No I don’t, so do one!” The pre-chorus heeds warning: “So before I start drinking too much, get me out of this club!/These people talking too much!” The delicious irony is I cannot NOT dance for my LIFE when this turns on. Listen here

BONUS

  • The latest evolution of pop music has arrived: Charli XCX’s Pop 2 dropped today, and the Carly Rae Jepsen collab is even more wild than I could have imagined.  Listen here

  • Tove Stykre has covered Lorde’s “Liability” and it is [chef’s kiss] Listen here

  • The new G-Eazy album The Beautiful & Damned is stacked with hits and complete misses. Be sure to tune in on the hits, because they’re really fucking good: “No Less” feat. SG Lewis and Louis Mattrs, “No Limit” feat. Cardi B and A$AP Rocky, “Pick Me Up” feat. Anna of the North Listen here

  • N.E.R.D. have a new album today and it’s got a bzillion high profile collabs on it including two Kendrick Lamar features, an Ed Sheeran drop, and appearance by Andre 3000 Listen here

  • Niall Horan has released a Spotify Singles recording of the 1D-hit-that-was-never-given-its-due-diligence, “Fools Gold,” and I am so proud of Niall showing some potential. He's doing this solo thing, stepping out here with adequate vocal rest and showing off what his (likely better and more qualified than whomever was with him while in 1D) vocal coach has gotten out of him. Listen here

  • MGMT have released a new 60s rock-washed neo-goth tune, “When You Die,” and it’s incredible. MORE OF THIS! PLEASE! Listen here

  • The new The Neighbourhood single “Stuck with Me” sounds like it’d fit in well in the Season 2 Stranger Things score Listen here

  • New Lily Allen song “Trigger Bang” featuring Giggs is highly listenable. Grateful we all made it through her Sheezus phase in one piece. Back to bops, Lily! Listen here

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If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal December 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.

A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared this week and past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. You’re welcome.

See you next week!

cmd+vent calendar | Day 2: Christina

  Photo courtesy of Christina Ventura, 2017

Photo courtesy of Christina Ventura, 2017

It’s day two of the cmd+vent calendar.

While I swore I wouldn’t grind myself down to commit to choosing just one favorite song of the year, I managed to coax someone else into doing it. Who could be so brave? It’s Christina, of course.

Quick little backstory: Christina is the reason cmd+f is "a thing." In late 2015, the two of us started a newsletter called “What’s Poppin’?” in which we shared 5 songs each of us were really digging every few weeks (also there was a lot of pop culture slander folded into the mix).

Now Christina eat, sleeps, and breathes music full time with her day job, so we’ve scaled back on the music criticism (now it’s all about those Shadowhunters recaps, baby).

While Christina managed to settle on a single, definitive favorite tune for 2017, she also tucked in a handful of other artists to check out.

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Hi, I'm Christina. I'm a digital marketer working in music in NYC.

This is a little intimidating. It feels like you can capture the essence of a person based on their playlists. I know I often judge people based on what music they do (or don't) listen to.

I was going to use Spotify's handy Wrapped function to choose my Song of The Year, but it turns out my most listened to song this year is one that came out last year. So, that's where I'm at emotionally.

I'm kind of going to cheat on this assignment and give you my "also-rans" before telling you definitively what my favorite song this year was. Full disclosure, 99% of the music I listen to is by British artists. There's a special place in my heart for baby UK bands that hustle and play tiny rooms when they come to America.

  • The Amazons are a rowdy bunch from Reading. If you like Sundara Karma and Circa Waves, you'll like these dudes. Their debut self-titled album came out this year.
  • Joy Room are a four-piece from London who have, I kid you not, only 3 songs you can listen to but I am absolutely charmed.
  • Zuzu is a 22 y.o. rocker from Liverpool who also has a handful of tracks you can listen to. There's a theme here. If you're British and have only 2 songs to your name, I am your champion.

Some more established artists I kept going back to include:

Ok, so here it is. My song of the year.

It’s... BIG FOR YOUR BOOTS by Stormzy.

If I die tomorrow, I am comfortable with this being part of my personal brand. "Did you hear about Christina? So sad. She really loved Stormzy."

I love Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo, Jr. like I gave birth to him myself. Controversial opinion: he's better than Skepta. I said it. Stormzy's words, music, and actions have a profound impact on his audience. 2017 doesn't allow for celebrities on the fence. Stormzy has always spoken out about inequality, whether it was trendy or not. His success in the UK is huge for Grime and people of color in music. I was at his first ever NYC show in a dingy but much-loved venue in Brooklyn called Market Hotel a few years ago. That was one of the most special nights. I'm heartbroken and disappointed that he hasn't made it over here after (outside of festival plays). "Big For Your Boots" is on Stormzy's debut album Gang Signs and Prayer which came out this year.

Check out Christina’s fantabulous adventures in the photo pit on Instagram: @hiventura

Stay tuned for a new edition of cmd+f dropping tomorrow! The next cmd+vent letter will go out Saturday, December 16.

cmd+vent calendar day 1: Ana

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Welcome to the first letter of the cmd+f advent calendar–or should I say, the cmd+vent calendar?

You may be scratching your head thinking, "what? It isn't Friday now, is it?" (more likely in far simpler terms floating about your head). Fear not: it is indeed the middle of the week. Hanukkah has already kicked off, and we are only (approximately) 12 days until Christmas.

As a special thank you to all the faithful readers of cmd+f (and to avoid having to compose a very cliche list of my favorite songs released in the past 12 months), I've reached out to a handful of dear friends to write about how and what particular music has impacted their time living through 2017. Consider this project an extension of the bonus section that lingers at the bottom of the cmd+f letter each week.

For Day 1 of the cmd+vent calendar I'd like to introduce Ana. She currently resides in the southern Hemisphere and was likely sweating her ass off in front of a volcano writing this up. I'll leave her to the rest of this letter.

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Hey, I’m Ana–a 20 year old community radio host in New Zealand.
No, I don’t know Lorde. Yes, like every other New Zealander, she is a friend of a friend of a friend. I thought this cmd+f advent calendar was such a cool idea from B, and when she said she wanted people to share how music helped them find joy in 2017, I knew exactly what to write about.
I’ve been trying to make my way into radio for a couple years now, but it wasn’t until this year I solidified myself a proper announcing job. Sure, it’s a small community radio station based inside a record store, but it’s a radio station nonetheless. Thanks to this job, I’ve grown a new passion for New Zealand music because one of our goals is to try enlarge the focus on local acts. From playing ‘70s Kiwi bands (Dragon) to the newest voices in soul (Ria Hall), we try to cover as many bases as possible.

In this letter, I thought I’d highlight some of the NZ artists and songs that have come to my attention in 2017, and maybe you’ll learn about someone new!

Matthew Young

I’m starting with Matthew Young because he’s the one who really got this ball rolling. A few months ago I was looking at what new music had been added to our rotation, and his song "Collect" popped up. I was immediately obsessed, and added it to my own Spotify playlist. A few weeks later he released "Hey," which (at the time of writing this), has now racked up almost a million streams! Both of these songs have a really cool, chilled out vibe, paired with relevant lyrics and his pleasing voice. He has some other songs available from a 2015 EP, but personally I’m waiting to see what his next project delivers us.

TEEKS

Listen to his voice. That’s all I really need to say. TEEKS (or, Te Karehana) came out with his debut EP ‘The Grapefruit Skies’ this year and it’s a 6 track mix of his deep and soulful voice alongside some emotive storytelling. He’s also not forgetting his roots, accepting his recent VNZMA Best Māori Artist award with a speech fully in te reo Māori. In a country where we are currently having debates on whether or not te reo should be compulsory in schools, I’m glad artists like TEEKS are keeping it in the forefront. "If Only" is one of his singles from the EP, detailing the perspective of a person who is apologising for not being in love with someone who is in love with them. I’d recommend checking out the music video while you’re there, to catch him in a very handsome orange turtleneck.


The Miltones

The Miltones are an Americana/blues group who released their self-titled debut album this year. They’ve taken on a genre which some people (e.g. my pop trash-loving self) will easily dismiss out of concern for it sounding dated and boring… but it’s anything but that. The quintet bring a lot of life and relevance to each song. My personal favourite is "Glory," which starts off a bit eerie, then ventures into the psychedelic realm. I’m gutted because they actually performed at a tiny intimate venue in my town this year–but it was a couple of weeks before their music had even been introduced to me! I won’t be missing it if they return, that’s for sure. 

Montell2099

Okay, honestly? I’m not even a fan of Montell’s music. He’s a trap/hip-hop producer who found his success through Soundcloud, which isn’t generally what I gravitate to. I’m still *so proud* of how far he’s gotten and am following his every step. Montell comes from a small town near me with a 4.6k population, so it’s really impressive that he’s managed to break away from those restrictions and end up with a 21 Savage collaboration; "Hunnid On The Drop." Fingers crossed he manages to connect with other big names in the music industry and 2018 brings him more success!

SACHI

SACHI!!! These two guys have been at it for a couple years now, but they only came onto my radar in 2017 with their hit "Shelter." Looking at my Shazam, I can actually say I discovered that song on the 5th of June! It’s fair to say they’re the most successful out of the acts I’ve covered, but I still wanted to mention them because they’ve been releasing consistently quality tracks over the past few months, and it’s always a highlight when I check New Music Friday/Release Radar and I see they have a brand new song out.

(bonus playlist of these songs and MORE because I had a lot of fun curating this!)

- Ana

You can find Ana on the net via Twitter: @anadayviez

Stay tuned for Day 2 of the cmd+vent calendar dropping tomorrow!

December 8, 2017

Mercury in Retrograde of 2017. Not to be an extremely stereotypical millennial Angeleno by getting deep with astrology references, but with the retrograde coinciding and ending just before the end of the year, and the year-end kinda feeling sparking a sense of reflection… now is the best time to that thinking about all the things that got us through this dumpster fire we’ve survived called 2017:

Personally, I started listening to audiobooks and podcasts at double speed at my very boring day job for 8 hours (which kept me sane before I was honored with a career offer), acquired a taste for binge-watching TV (thanks to my wonderful friend who kindly gave me their streaming account passwords), and spent my Thursday nights typically not sleeping to put up a music newsletter about new and under the radar artists I want to share with the world. I’ve amassed over 230 songs that each have a detailed caption as to why it’s worth your time.

As if cmd+f isn’t a large enough project in and of itself, I’ve been working on giving you readers even MORE music goodness before the end of the year.

Rather than compiling yet another playlist containing my top 50 pop tracks of 2017 (I really couldn't help myself, please forgive me), I’ve reached out to a handful of select readers to write about their musical journey throughout 2017. Keep an eye out over the next couple weeks for more music recommendations, personal essays, and other delightful discoveries in music from 2017, all written by readers like you!

The cmd+f advent calendar will commence starting next week.

Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. As you already know, I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too!

As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.

P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!

________________________________________

“Untitled in D” - Spector | Spector, your favorite feel-good-tune-making band you’ve likely never heard before if you live outside Europe, returned with a witty, infectious single. Mocking a densely superficial culture that’s ironically consuming at astonishing rates only to have nothing to show for it, it’s a sad and deliciously humorous homage to the hopelessness millennials are trying to shake amidst a global employment and financial crisis. If the song is honestly not this deep, accept my apologies, but know this chorus fucking slaps. Listen here

“Fake Satan” -  Demob Happy | What are your demons? Demob Happy are here to tell you the simple pleasures of love and sex in life may have a bad PR rap, but that’s all [2017’s word of the year] FAKE. You’ll feel extra inspired by this scuzzy, juicy glam-rock  bassline and sharp drums chugging along throughout. You heard it here, folks: indulge in these flesh bags before we all rot under the sun. Listen here

“GRRRLS” - AViVA | I’ve been sitting on this track for weeks, trying my darnedest to express which elements of this song sparked a hint of nostalgia. Did you ever wonder what Avril Lavigne would have sounded like if she did an original song for a Tim Burton film? Now I must explain myself, and I mean this with the utmost respect for AViVA and Avril’s tunes–”GRRRLS” sounds precisely like it's been plucked off a Tim Burton soundtrack as interpreted by Avril Lavigne, down to the biting, insatiable chorus piling over an eerie, wavering piano hook. The chorus dives into an unsettling choir of “la la la’s” and shadowed with warped voices.. Listen here

“Human Age” -  FEHM | I can never resist a bit of dark wave. For those looking for a heavy synth and the relentless crushing weight of existential dread, may I recommend post-punk goodness from FEHM? Listen here

“Into Me” - Strange Names | Now a complete 180 from the previous track, I present the bubbly mid-Western turned Moved to the Big Apple to Make It Big trio Strange Names. The band claims the track is about people not acting out and reflecting their true feelings, but rather putting on a facade. All that fudgery turns into a very twisted mind game. Then you get LOVESICK. Blegh! “Into Me” pans out like a film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice directed by John Hughes (could you IMAGINE if this were a real thing?!). “I heard you are so ordinarily, extra into me,” the chorus chimes, “and your camouflage is just a mirage.” I am all the way extra into this song. Listen here

BONUS

  • It’s that time of year again where Spotify users can check out stats on their listening habits throughout the year! This year my most listened tune was “Xtal” by Aphex Twin simply because I no joke listened to it on repeat for 5 hours at a time when working at my last job to help me focus. Spotify generates a handy playlist of your Top 100 most listened tracks of the year, along with a 30-track music discovery playlist. Check it all out here

  • Although it’s been out for a minute, it’s just come to my attention MUNA have covered Paul McCartney’s “Pipes of Peace” for a holiday compilation Listen here

  • [CUE CHARLI XCX IS COMING OUT WITH A NEW MIXTAPE NEXT WEEK AIRHORN] Yeah! You heard right! Charli XCX is pulling out all the stops on her new mixtape [making it theeee biggest pop event to end 2017, let’s be real] that’s dropping NEXT Friday, featuring future hitbangers with Brooke Candy, cupcakKe, MØ, Kim Petras, Mykki Blanco, CARLY RAE JEPSEN, and many more. Listen to the first track off the project “Out of My Head” featuring Tove Lo and ALMA Listen here

  • There’s a new Quality Control compilation out featuring new tracks with Migos, Gucci Mane, Lil Yachty, Cardi B, and a billion other emcees. Available exclusively on Apple Music here

  • 2018’s next big breakout pop act Billie Eilish shared her Soundtrack of her Life with Teen Vogue, and it’s pretty dope Watch here

  • Sufjan Stevens wrote, recorded, and pitched a song for the new Tonya Harding biopic (it was rejected), and just a fair warning: it’s gonna break your heart. “Of course it is, it’s Sufjan,” you say. Somehow Brother Suf has outdone himself. Listen here

  • Enjoy an ongoing playlist of covers I’ve been compiling over the past 3 years consisting of nothing but covers of Wham!’s classic “Last Christmas” Listen here

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If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal December 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.

A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared this week and past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. You’re welcome.

See you next week!

December 1, 2017

It’s a major week. We’re finally starting the last month of this hell-fire of a year, the holiday season is officially in full swing. I am having ginger and peppermint chocolate flavored anything I can get my hands on, and I’m even somewhat excited at the idea of wrapping gifts and drinking a modestly filled  glass of wine by the crackle of the TV simulated log fire.

Now, let’s tune in to five hand selected pristine tracks by rising artists to get you through this week.

Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. As you already know, I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too!

As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.

P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!

________________________________________

“Disappear” - Silk Cinema | Going to dip into this week’s letter with the wavy “Disappear” by London duo Silk Cinema. They describe their sound as “Sade in space” which, this is 1000% what the world has been needing for the past 15 years. The harmonies on the hook are as radiant as the kirakira+ app, gently cradled over the suave layers of wavering instrumentals. I caught myself snapping my fingers and doing some fancy footwork while flipping quesadillas on the stove this week. Truly a bop. Listen here

“You’re Somebody Else” -  flora cash | The only explanation for my affection toward this song is the copious amounts of Sufjan Stevens my ears have been ingesting over the past two months. “You’re Somebody Else” opens as a simple, acoustic guitar sad song, but rapidly evolves into an inorganic, artificially assembled guitar chop instrumental beat that builds and builds and builds, eventually swallowing down that facade and fading out as naked at the start. Listen here

“Paranoia” - Liza Anne | Are you also a basketcase? Have I got the song for you! Liza Anne’s “Paranoia” builds on the nagging anxieties and insecurities you face, like, 24/7.The Nashville-based singer’s got a twinge of that country-pop twang in her vocal delivery, served frantically over a pop-driven melody chorused by a an ocean of fizzling guitars. This song is a blessing. Listen here

“Why Can’t We Be Friends?” -  The Academic | Irish rock outfit The Academic are already causing quite the buzz in their home country (allegedly and rightfully). With their debut album dropping in the new year, I’ve got a funny little feeling it’s going to be stacked with hits and ping a lot of hungry music lover’s radars. “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” is a punchy, insatiable earworm. Backed on a steady drumbeat and flourished with airy guitars, the melody is pure heat. Listen here

“Acid Rain” - Lxury | “Acid Rain” is composed by Lxury, a producer I’m 90% sure you’ve heard at one point in your life in the last five years (he’s got credits for Years & Years’ sultry 2014 single “Real”). He’s back to producing his own beats, and this one? A total facemelter. Listen here

BONUS

  • ‘Tis the season of good tidings and a time to give generously to charity organizations. Here’s Beyonce hopping on a duet of Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect:” Listen here

  • Jokes aside, Graham Coxon, aka my personal favorite member of Blur, has released a charity single titled “Falling.” Proceeds go to CALM, Campaign Against Living Miserably, a UK-based suicide prevention organization. The song was written by Coxon’s friend Luke Daniel who died by suicide last year. A swanky vinyl pressing for “Falling” is dropping December 15 via Rough Trade, but you can listen to it right now

  • Flume has been promoting the hell out of his upcoming live shows in Japan, and he’s linked up with some talented creatives to throw down delicious visuals to accompany what I can only image as teasers for a new music project he’s been working on. The tunes are on another plane, dense with vibrant layers of sound. Check out “Road To: Tokyo” here

  • Louis Tomlinson has a new song called “Miss You” and can genuinely admit I enjoyed taking the time to listen to it Listen here

  • The new Halsey and G-Eazy song will hands down be a hot topic on the next episode of the Who? Weekly podcast Listen here

  • Godfather of trap Juicy J has linked up Queen Cardi B to drop the 21st century “You Can Do It” we deserve. Aptly titled “Kamasutra,” J and Cardi dip into raunchy af details between the infectious hook: “you better fuck me all night.” Best bit? The faint homage to Three-6 classic “Slob on My Knob” that closes out the track Listen here

  • Miguel has an album out Listen here

  • Ending the bonus section with another round of holiday singles released today, courtesy of the Spotify Singles Holiday Edition: George Ezra, my bellowing cherub, has covered “White Christmas,” Wolf Alice covered “Santa Baby,” Rostam’s covered “Fairytale of New York,” and DMX has covered “Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer.” Check out the full list here.

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New month, new playlist! If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal December 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.

A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared this week and past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. You’re welcome.

See you next week!

November 24, 2017

While a handful of you reading this are likely nursing a hangover from a few too many glasses of wine and slices of pie over Thanksgiving last night, I’m here, prying my eyes open after living in front of an oven door for the past two days, trying to feast my ears on as much New Music Friday content as possible. It’s a daunting task as I wade through the faint chimes of sweet carol bells looming in the background, beckoning me to usher in the Christmas season. So far the tempting Black Friday sales have benefited nobody but the company wallets I’m filling, my personal wardrobe and skincare routine.

This week I’ve got SIX crazy good tracks, and a grip of bonus content because it’s Black Friday and some artists are doing the abso-fucking-lute MOST.

Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. As you already know, I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too!

As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.

P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!

________________________________________

“Bom Bom” - Tkay Maidza x Danny L. Harle | I’m already kicking my own ass for even bringing this up, but I know this thought is lingering in the back of many people’s minds: you ever think about what we could have had in music if Azealia Banks had her shit together??? Tkay has her own flow and sound, but this was my first thought when I heard the opening notes on this FIRE collab. Azealia fucked with this head-spinning, heavy 90s house vibe. Throw in  PC Music producer Danny L. Harle to wonk things up a bit and you got a monster track. “Bom Bom” sounds like that threat of nausea and the rush of adrenaline after a rollercoaster ride on a full stomach. Big, big tune this one Listen here

“Feel the Same” -  Bully | Sounding straight up like a long-lost Hole track, “Feel the Same” is a jittery, frantic ode to lethargy – or rather the anxieties of struggling to maintain relationships with people, fearing those friendships are crumbling, all the while dealing with the fact you feel nothing and everything all at once. And it fucking slaps. Go figure. I’ve declared it the depressives club anthem. Listen here

“Stonewall Frank” - Nelson Can | Nelson Can have adopted the “no guitars but still gonna belt out a chooooon” approach to their music, a la The White Stripes’ claim to fame. Armed with nothing but a drum kit, a juicy bassline, and killer vocals, “Stonewall Frank” is a bop, banger, AND a jam all at once. What an honor, to be honest. I wouldn’t use such strong qualifiers if it wasn’t true Listen here

“Get These Things Out of My Head” -  Pale Honey | Swedish duo Pale Honey dropped their sophomore album Devotion last month. Diving into the 10-track album completely submerged me into a liminal space, hovering over this sense of unease in the lyrics mixed with an unexplainable tension of nostalgia. “Get These Things Out of My Head” sounds exactly like a song I’ve heard a million times before I heard it for the first time last week. It felt I had listened to it many a times walking through a ghostly supermarket at midnight Listen here

“Big Girls Cry” -  Mimoza | I had to slip this monster tune in this week because I couldn’t have you wait another week for it. Mimoza is another case of a hit making songwriter testing the waters as a solo artist. While the instrumentals echo some Kygo-esque vibes, the vocals punch through a Sia-grade pre-chorus. Quality pop tune. Listen here

“Collect” -  Matthew Young | Huge thanks to my pal Ana who provided me with a couple rising artists in her homeland of New Zealand. The world currently only knows New Zealand for three things: kiwis, Lord of the Rings, and Lorde. The rest of the world has slept on the fact that the Oceanic plate, particularly New Zealand, is a hotbed of fresh talent. The entire region is churning out perhaps (actually clearly) the best left-of-center pop music in the world right now. While that may be a bold ass statement, I’d advise you to sit down and have a moment with this week’s pick Matthew Young. RnB pop may be oversaturated with male solo artists, but Matthew’s got the gravely yet velvety smooth vocals and wicked clever lyrics to set him apart. “Collect” is an earworm. Listen here

BONUS

  • Top album to dive into this weekend is Sufjan Stevens’ The Greatest Gift—Outtakes, Remixes, & Demos from Carrie & Lowell. Stacked with unreleased tracks, remixes, and raw demos for tracks on 2015’s Carrie & Lowell, I must admit Sufjan has bestowed the greatest gift of the week upon us Listen here

  • Sleigh bells ring, deck the halls, fa-la-la-la-la, et cetera, et cetera, it’s Black Friday, bitches, AKA the first official day of The Holiday Season. Every kind of person has dropped a damn Christmas album/EP/song today. We have your garden variety artists, Gwen Stefani and People’s “”“Sexiest Man of the Year””” Blake Shelton, who’ve have unleashed their joint Christmas music revue, from Why Don’t We’s classic Christmas boyband ballads, to yet another fucking Glee-tastic cover of “Last Christmas” by Stanaj that nobody asked for, in contrast with Phoebe Bridgers’ tender cover of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” we don’t deserve, to DRAM throwing down a bit of holiday cheer with the help of BigBabyMom. Between this and the cobwebs collecting in my wallet, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

  • Beyonce got the best Christmas-themed merch I ever seen. This holiday season, she’s got Beyonce ornaments, onesies, and WRAPPING PAPER. SHOP HERE

  • Meanwhile Frank Ocean’s out here selling ugly ass hoodies to throw approximately five hundred Hypebeast’s off their game as they queue up to cop the new Nike Air Max 97s on Black Friday

  • Rihanna, Queen of Selling Me Anything and I Will Actually Buy It Because Yes Of Course, has developed a UNIVERSAL red liquid lipstick that allegedly matches with any skin tone for Fenty Beauty, and while that sounds fake, if you do end up copping one, let me know how it works out for you

  • Little Mix have re-released a platinum edition of their latest album Glory Days which includes (I believe) four unreleased new tracks and a few acoustic versions of original tracks. The greatest crime of this album is allowing the “feat. Kid Ink” version of “Touch” on there Listen here

  • Bjork has a new album out today, and I’m shocked as hell. Fans of her work are familiar with the extremely long hours and attention to detail she pours into her craft, so frankly I’m stunned she has managed to crank out an entire new album two years after her last. During those two years since her last album, she’s managed to tour VR experiences/art installations across the globe in support of the previous album on top of recording Utopia Listen here

  • It’s a surprisingly quiet day for new music releases, so please enjoy yourself to a helping of this mid-80s soaked Initial Talk remix of Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” Listen here

  • Can’t forget to tell you Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds have a new album too Listen here

  • My personal fav pop acts of the year, Rae Morris, has dropped “Atletico,” yet another incredible, frantic, fresh pop tune I am going to be spinning for months and months on end Listen here

________________________________________

If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal November 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.

A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared this week and past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. You’re welcome.

See you next week!

November 17, 2017

Back to our regularly scheduled programming, folks!

It’s indeed Friday, and aren’t you so lucky to have your week bookended by two issues of cmd+f? Very special.

Since next week is a Pretty Big Holiday here in the States (Thanksgiving), all notations on colonization and genocide aside, I want to take a moment to thank all of the artists I’ve featured over the past 11 months (can you believe it’s been that long already?!). There are over 216 songs on the cmd+f 2017 playlist at the time I’m writing this, with a few repeat artists jumbled in. It’s been a real pleasure finding your tunes, living in your songs, and sharing them to the world.

Thanks are needed for you too, dear reader. Knowing this letter hasn’t been going out into the void and has steadily become a growing “thing” recognized by people beyond my friend circle is exciting. Thank you for reading, sharing, and (hopefully) enjoying these tunes. There’s so much more to cmd+f waiting to happen, so please make way and keep your ears ready for 2018!

Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. As you already know, I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too!

As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.

P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!

________________________________________

“Good Together” -  SHY Martin | Move over, Max – there’s a NEW Martin in Stockholm. The genius behind this stickysweet BOP, Sara Hallstrom, has penned some grooves for pop sirens Bebe Rexha and Astrid S, and has successfully claimed this infectious, lovestruck single for HERSELF. The chorus has been gnawing away at my skull for the past week. Listen here

“July 13th” - Cina Polada | Finnish dreampop five-piece Cina Polada released their promising self-titled debut EP in September, and it all sounds like the last dregs of summer you’re trying to sip out of a bottle. That’s the level of nostalgia and longing I’m yearning for from of a dreampop tune. Listen here

“Glass Jar” -  Tristen | My pal Agnes tends to text me links to songs throughout the week, and this one in particular piqued my interests enough to check out Tristen’s entire album – three whole times in a row. I found myself tapping my foot in the kitchen while preparing for and making dinner, humming the songs the second spin around while taste-testing the spice levels in my chili, then full on clapping along with the hooks by the third round. The hearty little number “Glass Jar” is easily the most pop and accessible track off Sneaker Waves. Listen here

“#1 Dad” -  Jonathan Something | I present to you my most pleasant surprise of the week: Jonathan Something. With the cadence of Bob Dylan and the wit of Father John Misty (though I’d hope far less sarcastic and knowingly pretentious), Jonathan Something’s album Art so Small You Can Hardly See It is a fresh exploration on 60s rock tones with (somewhat) absurd storytelling lyrics. The entire album is a joy from start to finish, so I’ve included “#1 Dad” as your little intro to Jonathan Something. Listen here

“Lady Powers” -  Vera Blue | Really feeling the strength of women in the world this month. “Lady Powers” is an anthemic dark pop WARNING. You heard that – women are waking up in numbers realizing they can (and very much should) be respected without having to activate any sense of fragility or charm. To make a long story short and avoid this turning into a 9-page think piece, women are magical and won’t be taken for granted. Listen here

BONUS

  • The biggest news of the week is THERE WAS A JAI AND A.K. PAUL SIGHTING FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER A YEAR!! The reclusive, wickedly talented producer bros were appaz getting ready to break ground on fixing up a property to form their very own Paul Institute in West London, which, WHAT? You reckon this’ll become the Paisley Park of really dope dance tunes??? Anyhow, to add more to this wild as hell PR campaign hoopla surrounding the Paul Bros, the Paul Institute has dropped two tracks from newcomers Fabiana Palladino (“Mystery”) and Ruthven (“Evil”)

  • ‘Tis the season, y’all – The xx have released a limited edition holiday sweater designed by Romy’s aunt – check it here

  • Tove Lo’s new album BLUE LIPS has arrived – and this week was so chill that I nearly forgot this celebratory event was happening. Still praying for “disco tits” to have its BIG moment Listen here

  • Good ol’ uncle Moz has finally released his new album Low in High School, an epic, operatic body of work outlining the realities of living with depression in a politically savage world Listen here

  • Y’all… Stefflon Don has dropped this ridiculous ass track “Ding-A-Ling” which the chorus, you guessed it, invites you to play with a ding-a-ling. Sampling a 9 second clip from the Simpsons, it’s annoying, grating, cringey, but frankly hysterical because girl, I totally get it: bottom line is fuccbois runnin up in your DMs are embarrassing and childish. Listen here

  • LA-based producer Will Weissenfeld’s eccentric pop project Baths’ new album Romaplasm is out – recommended listening for when you’re having a hard time justifying getting out of bed in the morning (don’t bother), so just put this album on, stay under the covers (treat yo’self), and let Romaplasm transport you to that level of feeling at peace with everything at your core Listen here

  • The wisest in all the land, Jaden Smith, has dropped his monstrous, 17-track debut album Syre – too many songs to attest to that I have definitely not listened to all the way thru, but it’s got a song with A$AP Rocky and one with Raury in there, so you know the production is going to be sliiiiiiick Listen here

  • SIA HAS A CHRISTMAS ALBUM Listen here

  • Charlotte Gainsbourg has a new album, too, that sounds very on brand for her if you’re familiar with her brand Listen here

________________________________________

If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal November 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.

A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared this week and past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. You’re welcome.

See you next week!

November 13, 2017

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Must keep this brief: I might asleep writing this,,,klloiiiiioi;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

…. Well… good morning….. crap.

Let me explain myself: I had my first major event at my job Thursday night, drank some [erm, fair amount] wine, and despite the cup of extra strong black tea I brewed to stay up and write this, I woke up in a pile of my own drool around 11pm, admitted defeat, and took my ass to bed.

It feels weird sending this out on a Monday, as I presume you’ve already listened to most if not all of the Bonus tracks/albums I’m throwing down at the bottom of the letter. Fear not: I am unfathomably stoked to present five sick tracks from emerging artists I’m almost certain you’ve not heard. They’re all super top notch.

Enjoy, and happy Monday.

Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. As you already know, I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too!

As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.

P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!

________________________________________

“Love You So Bad” -  Ezra Furman | How bad have you ever loved someone in your life? Like, really really bad? “Like the kid in the back of the classroom who can’t do the math ‘cause he can’t see the blackboard, so bad” croons the Newest Ezra I Have Admitted Into My Life. When you’re at a loss for words to describe how smitten you are with the love of your life, take a page out of Ezra’s book and I’m nearly positive you’ll get many a kudos. Cannot wait for their album Transangelic Exodus Listen here

“Blind” - FEVA | I...got a fever...and the only prescription….is….mo….. FEVA [I low key wonder how many times they’ve heard this joke] - Jokes aside, I am 97% sure after you listen to “Blind” you will agree with me. The relentless, churning guitars, massive chorus, it’s all fucking incredible. Listen here

“Bring You Down” -  Pinact | Imagine: a melodically inclined grunge band, aka what every early 00s neo punk band i.e. Saves the Day et. al tried to do, but I must say Pinact have carried that torch best on their joint “Bring You Down.” With the scratchy vocals layered over a chorus fit for an mid-90s teen flick, “Bring You Down” SLAPS. Listen here

“Liberty Belle” -  Fontaines | It’s been several years since I’ve stumbled across straightforward, carefree sounding rock n’ roll jams (see: The Drums’s 2010 self-titled album). Though it came out in the early weeks of summer this year, Ireland’s very own Fontaines have shelled out a slick, cool, and infectious debut single with “Liberty Belle.” I typically have one song a week that sounds great on an endless loop for a good chunk of my week, and this one takes the cake. Listen here

“Sonora” -  Spendtime Palace | I was driving home the other night through the Hollywood Hills listening to this tune, and immediately started outlining an entire dissertation on what could potentially “sound” like Southern California, and how Spendtime Palace’s “Sonora” is a journey through those vibrations. “Sonora” opens with a slumbering guitars, cranking up for sunrise, then coil into a twang over a crispy rattle under the desert sun. The vocals unfold over a backdrop of a wild frontier, swaying through sinister piano chords chopping their way up up up, then licks out to a Blue Oyster Cult-esque, cowbell-infused surf rock chorus. Not to mention, the opening lines are in Spanish, the song blossoms through so many sounds that remind me of growing up in Los Angeles, all of the little bands I’ve seen in dingy, low ceiling clubs with sweat dripping down the walls, in backyards under fairy lights around palm trees mingling with powerlines, on blacktops under the blazing sun. Spendtime Palace are indeed a SoCal band, from Orange County’s own Costa Mesa (I believe), and I can’t even front: I found out about them through Finn Wolfhard’s Instagram, and noticed Finn co-directed and starred in the music video for “Sonora.” The more I listened to “Sonora” and the rest of Spendtime Palace’s tunes, the more I sunk back into the sounds of Southern California. Listen here

BONUS

  • Apparently someone we should all know released an album (exclusive streaming on Apple Music) but I am not addressing it any further than saying what I’ve already said

  • Australian outfit Pnau has pumped out the best pop house album I’ve heard in a long ass time. As you work your way down the disc, each song slaps hard than the last, and I cannot get enough of it. Changa was the album I needed to keep my sleepy head away from a pillow Thursday night Listen here

  • I feel like I would be accused of being a fake pop music stan if I didn’t include Sigrid’s new tune “Strangers” so here is my obligatory Sigrid-has-a-new-song notification Listen here

  • cmd+f alumnae Ten Fé takes us on a sweeping voyage in their new track “Single, No Return” Listen here

  • Say what you want about JLo, but it better not be anything negative or neutral when I am in earshot. Listen to her latest Latin smash “Amor, Amor, Amor” feat. Wisin Listen here

  • Nothing negative or neutral about MY President, Mr. Worldwide, PITBULL’s new single “Jungle” either!! Uhm, it’s got E-40!!! Listen here

  • Raunchy rapper cupcakKe is one of those artists you either really love or can’t gel with. Her new single “Cartoons” is a damn treat Listen here

  • Since The 1975 have been teasing us about a new EP for months and finally came forward to say it won’t drop until the new year, have a listen to Backup The 1975, aka Pale Waves, on their new single “New Year’s Eve” Listen here

  • Jidenna has blessed us with his surprise release Boomerang EP Listen here

  • Empire of the Sun are back with their dreamy new single “On Our Way Home” Listen here

________________________________________

If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal November 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.

A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared this week and past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. You’re welcome.

See you next week!

November 3, 2017

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I swear I am no longer jet lagged, but I’ve been going to bed extra early (errr, ~10pm), and sleeping a sound 10 hours… on top of “napping” when I get home from work… so this whole “extensive restfulness” has me feeling like a human all day, but also waking up with very vivid dreams. Dream me has opened a corgi farm, taken part in a film role with an on screen torrid affair with Tom Hiddleston (subliminal Thor advertising???), and crafted a Steve Harrington sitcom Stranger Things spin-off TV show. Hiddleston’s pale butt aside, dream me has been doing very well. As for awake-world me? I have marathoned all of Stranger Things season 2, celebrated Halloween to the fullest extent, and started a new job since returning stateside Sunday afternoon. It hasn’t left me much time to listen to new music, but I’ve managed to scrape by with a few tunes as per usual.

Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. As you already know, I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too!

As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.

P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!

________________________________________

“90’s Kids” -  Shamir | To quote my dear Scorpio twin, Agnes, “This ultimate late millennial anthem goes too hard.” It’s a truly on brand tune with the opening lyrics “we talk with vocal fry, we watch our futures die,” and, yes, absolutely 12/10 highly relatable song. Be sure to listen to Shamir’s new 9-track album Revelations sometime this weekend Listen here

“Half life” - Smerz | Okay, WERQ @ this Robyn Body Talk realness. Norweigan duo Smerz continue to shock and amaze me, forging truly left of center pop that’s dark and fresh. Listen here

“Glu” -  Fieh | This soulful, laid back bop comes from the Norwegian band Fieh. Say “Fieh” a few times out loud and you can feel the difference between a roaring, crackling fire vs. a fireside chat with a little whisky in a jazz club. With their debut official single “Glu,”  they’re obvs the second choice: cool, slick, and sizzling. What the hell else could they have up their sleeve if this is what they deliver for a debut single? Damn. Listen here

“I Wanna Dance With You Again” -  Band of Gold | The Norwegians are at it again this week. I am a sucker for any Fleetwood Mac-lite (circa Stevie, of course), and “I Wanna Dance With You Again” ticks all the boxes. Listen here

“Loving Is Easy” -  Rex Orange County and Benny Sings | Rex Orange County has made a huge splash in the past year and a half. His easy, feel-good track “Loving Is Easy” has already racked up over 1 million spins on Spotify since its release last month. Can recommend this tune is paired well with many activities, including but not limited to driving on a sunny afternoon with your convertible top down, sipping wine in candlelight, and when you’re generally having a good day. It’s Friday, so you’ve got at least that going for you. Listen here

BONUS

  • First and foremost, I managed to catch a screening of Call Me By Your Name just before I departed London, and let me say: it lives up to the hype. I can’t believe I have to wait nearly a month to see it again in theaters Stateside. The music for the film was directed by none other than Sufjan Stevens, king of being pensive, sad, and gay at Jesus camp, and included two new Sufjan tracks, along with a gut-wrenching remix of his very own “Futile Devices.” As I type this, half the Call Me By Your Name is not available to stream on Spotify, including the new Sufjan cuts, but do save the album and keep it on your radar for future listens Listen here

  • God bless us all: N.E.R.D. reunite to drops new track “Lemon” featuring the baddest bitch of them all, RIHANNA Listen here

  • Emeli Sande’s released a new 6 track EP, Kingdom Come, which includes tracks featuring Dave East, Giggs, and Wretch 32  Listen here

  • “Sugar kills” takes a whole new meaning in the new Exit Kid (Emre and Dylan of Years & Years’ side project) music video Watch here

  • Not even two months since Bicep have released their debut album and they’ve already dropped the Glue EP. It features the track “Glue,” taken from the self-titled debut, and two unreleased tracks. Me thinks it’s their latest single, and a single isn’t technically a single if it has more than one extra song differing from the single…. Anywho, “DLR” is sick Listen here

  • The Ride revival keeps on waving in, and it’s honestly making 2017 more bearable. Ride’s latest release “Pulsar” is a melodic delight Listen here

  • Sam Smith’s new album The Thrill Of It All is out and apparently it was composed in hopes for listeners to “have sex with [our] sadness” and, okay… #deep Listen here

________________________________________

New month, new playlist! If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal November 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.

A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared this week and past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. You’re welcome.

See you next week!

October 27, 2017

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Happy Friday, folks? Happy. Hmmm. It is certainly Friday. Not too happy about it. Well, it’s bittersweet – it’s my final Friday in London, and the past week has been a bit of a doozy. While this week has been virtually music free for me, I have traveled across most of southern England, seen some amazing landscapes in the countryside, and visited cities older than the trees on my block at home in LA. Very beautiful island over here. What architecture they’ve preserved lives up to the hype and whatnot. While I’ll be sad to go home, I have an entire season of Stranger Things waiting for me to watch while I readjust to my timezone, and buckets of Halloween candy to pass out. See you again sometime soon, England. Thanks for having me the past two weeks.

Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. As you already know, I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too!

As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.

P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!

________________________________________

“Alterlife” (Seiho Remix) -  Rina Sawayama | Keep your finger on the pulse for RINA, y’all! She’s dropped her debut 8-track mini album today simply titled RINA (listen here). I’ve decided to include the Seiho remix of her absolute BANGER track “Alterlife” simply for the fact I’m obsessed with the club-ready flourishes slipped over the instrumentals. Her songs are all 12/10’s, lush, addictive, and SO. FUCKING. INCREDIBLE. Listen here (okay but also spin the original HERE)

“Two Laces” - THØSS | Remember the days when all you listened to was Local Natives on repeat for weeks at a time? No? Just me? Listening to THØSS took me back to those days – but it’s generally his vocal inflections that resemble Local Natives. The instrumentals in the track are just slightly off kilter. Whilst sounding deceptively organized, it’s riddled with surprising twangs and notes being plucked apart. The more you listen to “Two Laces,” the more you guzzle up its quirky nuances. Listen here

“Sweet Luv” -  Avelino feat. MJ Cole | Avelino, one of my favorite UK hip-hop (not Grime, y’all!) artists, has blessed us with an entire new project titled NO BULLSHIT. “Sweet Luv” is a charming, softer side of Avelino, and is one of my favorites off his new tape. Listen here

“Never One Thing” -  May Erlewine | Based on “Never One Thing” alone, I have declared May Erlewine a Midwestern treasure. It takes one hell of a talent to craft a simple, beautiful, sing-a-long folk tune. “Never One Thing” was love at first listen. Listen here

“Overboard” -  Miles From Kinshasa | For fans of ABRA, Blood Orange, and the lush, tinny sounds of lo-fi music, Miles From Kinshasa has been waiting for you. Recorded entirely in his bedroom in South London, the opening track of his mini album LIMBO “Overboard” is an absolute delight. Listen here

BONUS

  • My neglectful eye FAILED to notify all of you that a Tegan and Sara cover album dropped last week in celebration of The Con turning TEN years old. Jeez. It has covers by MUNA, Myyki Blanco, CHVRCHES, Pvris, Bleachers, Shura, Shamir, Hayley Williams, and SO so so so so so many amazing artists. I may be biased, but my favorite cover is MUNA’s of “Relief Next to Me” Listen here

  • ERDEM x H&M have launched the most EXTRA collaborative campaign I have seen in awhile. The adverts peppered around London have been nothing short of gorgeous. The collab is a bit of a big deal, as the clothes, covered in Erdem’s signature floral, look exquisite for a high-low fashion production. H&M’s budget included a 4 minute mini film directed by the legendary Baz Luhrman and original music composed by Years & Years! The result? A dream fantasy I want to live in Watch here

  • Best birthday surprise of the week was Franz Ferdinand announcing a forthcoming album and dropping a new, swanky tune “Always Ascending” Listen here

  • Sexy R&B jams album rec of the week: new Majid Jordan album The Space Between Listen here

  • I will support Tinashe (the American Rita Ora) to the ends of the EARTH. Girl deserves more than “2 On,” is the chameleon queen of recording and performing for ANY genre of music and nailing it… and OF COURSE keeps getting f*cked over. IDK what is going on, but, here – have this collab with blackbear, “up in this”  Listen here

  • Absolute legends Stereophonics have a new album, Scream Above The Sounds Listen here

  • Other absolute legends Weezer also have a new album out today, Pacific Daydream Listen here

  • Update from last week: A WHOLE ASS FEVER RAY ALBUM IS OUT NOW!!! Just in time for HALLOWEEN!!! Listen here

  • Speaking of Halloween, don’t think I’d leave you hanging! As promised last week, I have thrown (quite literally) a moody playlist for Halloween. Filled with sinister film scores and dark pop tunes, I’d say this list may help you get in the spirit on Tuesday Listen here

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If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal October 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.

A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared this week and past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. You’re welcome.

See you next week!

October 20, 2017

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Greetings from my teeny little bedroom in East London! I’m nursing a pair of very sore ankles after trekking around Chelsea all day and ending my night at The Jazz Cafe in Camden Town to see Wolf Alice. For those who haven’t been to this venue, it’s slightly larger than a dive bar and holds about 300 people. Nice and cozy, though the cider was genuinely a diabetic’s sugary piss. Crappy cider aside, I’d like to give a huge thanks to Richard for getting us into the show! It was absolutely insanely cool for a first show experience in London.

Another musical highlight of my week in London so far included a nice lunchtime performance by former cmd+f pick Phoebe Bridgers at Rough Trade Record’s Brick Lane store on Tuesday. Phoebe blew through an intimate 30 minute set to promote her debut album Stranger in the Alps, and was overall an absolute delight. Her set drew in a sizable crowd at Rough Trade, including the marvelous Shura.

Please reach out to me via the handy dandy contact page on the cmd+f website, or on Twitter with your thoughts about any of the tracks I’ve selected this week. As you already know, I love chatting about music. Let me in on your new favorite band; they’re looking for new fans, too!

As always, you know the drill: if you like what you hear, spread the cheer. Tell your friends about the songs you liked in this letter, but most importantly, let the artists know. There’s a good chance they’ll see your comments. Let them know how good their tunes are, and they’ll crank out even more magic.

P.S. If you would like to have this letter sent to your email every Friday, please head over to this link right here to subscribe to never miss a weekly roundup!

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“Downfall” - Kllo | Kllo are one of those groups who spark nostalgia and newness at the same time. Their single “Virtue” has cropped up on cmd+f before, swirled in that blissful, low key UK Garage pop. If you’ve been craving more, you’re in luck: their debut album Backwater has officially dropped today, and it’s 45 minutes of euphoric bops. Give the opening track “Downfall” a spin. Listen here

“Love You Like That” -  Dagny | Norwegian pop ANGEL Dagny needs to be a THING on pop radio over here (in the States) – even if it’s satellite radio. She drops nothing but bop after bop after bop, and her latest “Love You Like That” has a monster of a chorus that hasn’t left my head all week. Listen here

“Zacharia” -  Bad Sounds | Spoiler alert: they’re actually not really bad, and are pretty good. Saw them open last night for Annie Mac Presents’ showcase with Wolf Alice, and I told Richard a few of their songs reminded me of early Spoon, but now I’m hearing studio recordings and they’re much more early Of Montreal-esque, but very English sounding and all that. They’ve gotta the wonky, ear-biting hooks DOWN. Listen here

“Seth and Summer Forever” -  Babygirl | Will start this rec with a huge shout out to my pal Agnes for bringing it to my attention. Only after she sent it did I check my discover Weekly playlist to see a tune from this band tucked in waiting for me to hear, and honestly, is Agnes putting my Discover Weekly playlist together? Anyway, between and IRL human and an algorithm telling me that I would enjoy this track, it further proves machines are becoming more human and will one day ultimately fulfill my heart’s desires. And I do love Babygirl. I’m sharing their single “Seth and Summer Forever” because I have a pang in my chest remembering the excitement of watching The OC every week for 4 years in my youth, and Babygirl sound like an unplugged The Raveonettes. How on brand for Seth Cohen, to be honest. Listen here

“Rushing Guy” -  L I M | The instrumentals on “Rushing Guy” are mental, complete with running whispers and a well placed door hinge creak snare. The music video is as mesmerizing, comprised of male models seamlessly blending into each other. Watch here and Listen here

BONUS

  • MGMT have released their first new tune in 4 years and it sounds basically like an ultra-gothique lo-fi John Maus track. Very into this less colorful/mournful pre-Berlin Wall Tear Down sounding MGMT Listen here

  • Not really new AT ALL, but I have officially seen Blade Runner 2049 twice since the last letter has been released, and let me tell y’all I am still wigging out over Hans Zimmer’s score. You have to listen to this soundtrack Listen here

  • Liam god damn Payne has released his second solo single (well, third? Does Zedd’s “Get Low” count, or is it just a feature??) “Bedroom Floor.” It was written by Charlie Puth, is a falsetto fest, sounds very much like a Nick Jonas lite tune, meaning it’s a recipe for my ultimate satisfaction for a pop tune. I enjoy it, but will you? Listen here

  • New Rita Ora  - again, only alerting you because I’m not ashamed to admit I thoroughly like her tunes. “Anywhere” is def a filler track, but the distorted nonsensical, punchy chorus is a groove Listen here

  • FEVER RAY ARE BACK?!?!! Listen here

  • The lord has blessed us with a new Jessie Ware album today. Listen to Glasshouse here

  • Niall Horan is the second (official) member of (the current lineup of) 1D to release his debut album. Going to be honest, since I am 5,500 miles away from home, haven’t had the chance to listen to all of Flicker, but I am hoping more of it is like “Slow Hands” more than anything. Regardless, well done Niall Listen here

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If you’re interested in hearing what else I’ve been rinsing this month (aside from the tracks listed above), peep my personal October 2017 playlist. There I will be dumping in new (and occasionally throw back) tracks as the month carries on. You can dive into the cmd+f archive to hear what I’ve been listening to in previous months this year.

A(lmost a)ll of the tracks I’ve shared this week and past cmd+f newsletters are archived into a single playlist on Spotify for you to follow here. You’re welcome.

See you next week!