Dirty Bird Records, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
You know how you can see how many times you’ve played a song in iTunes? Well, the tracks below are heavily rotated; some of them aren’t necessarily my favorite songs, but I revisit them often for different reasons—no matter where I am or what I’m doing with my life. They’re familiar and grounding; they remind me of certain points in my life; and they reflect different facets of my personality.
I’ve been obsessed with SoundCloud lately; I like it, although there are many tracks not yet online, so this playlist is quite incomplete. More to come.
“Electric Relaxation” — A Tribe Called Quest
Reminds me of the latter years of college. Hip hop shows in San Francisco. Sauconys. Pageboy caps. Nightlife with soul.
“Heartbeats” (Live) — The Knife
I’m very attached to this song (a live version that’s a million times better than the original). Unfortunately, the Hooverphonic inventory is lacking on SoundCloud, but this track from The Knife fits in the same category: feminine, dark, sensual, and moody.
“Narc” — Interpol
Interpol is the sound of the early 2000s: nights spent at the Cat Club and the Hemlock. The years of cheap booze, cute boys in indie bands, and the Mission. While I’m more fond of Turn On the Bright Lights, “Narc” is my favorite Interpol song.
“Circles” — Adam F
Nothing I could write here can express how I feel about this track. So, I won’t try.
“Undertow” — Warpaint
It’s the newest song on my favorites list, but in just a few months, it has quickly absorbed into my skin.
“Linger” — The Cranberries
Nope, I’m not embarrassed that this is listed here. It’s been a special song for more than a decade. Its playfulness gets stronger with age.
“Maple Leaves” — Jens Lekman
My best friend Ann and I watched Jens Lekman at Bottom of the Hill one evening; he talked tenderly about life, relationships, and a feather that floated through the air. Adorable.
“Make You Feel That Way” — Blackalicious
Cruising down the freeway. Sunroof wide open. Radio blasting. Sun in the sky. Freedom: that’s what this is.
“Spin Spin Sugar” (Armand’s Dark Garage Mix) — Sneaker Pimps
1997. Beat-up mixtape in the stereo. Turning onto Hegenberger Road in Oakland. Parking the car, walking down a parking lot, stumbling upon a long line outside a massive home appliance store. 11 pm. Night has yet to begin.
“1n2″ — Jonny L
Favorite D&B track for the past few months, hands down. Love, love, love. I would marry this song if I could.
“Above the Clouds” — Gang Starr
My go-to Gang Starr track—it never fails me. Best beats. I miss him.
“Make It Tonight” — High Contrast
Ah, High Contrast! My hero. I appreciate drum & bass tracks with complexity and intelligence: The thinking kind. The stuff I blast through headphones while getting work done.
“So Here We Are” — Bloc Party
Got a soft spot for this one. Sigh.
“Eisbaer” (Hard Mix) — Groovezone
Such a playlist wouldn’t be complete without an old school track like this thrown in. If I had to choose one song to represent a particular time in my life, this one would be shortlisted. In the top five, for sure. (Take note of 2:18, please.)