I just discovered this song by Mazzy Star. I love the sound of this song! So simple but moving. It sounds like a country song turned shoegaze. 🤩
Shoe gaze. Dream pop. New gaze. This local Austin radio show has a great variety of music, from loud and fuzzy 🎸 to sweet and melodic. 🎶
Check out this weekly radio show on KOOP Sundays at 10 pm, lovingly put together by my friend and musical auteur, Bluebird.
Also on Mixcloud.
Just an Austin photo that I really like!
Where actually is Antone’s these days? 😆
Here’s a great tribute to New York City as it suffers through the coronavirus.
We are tough but we are tender, and we fucking love our city though it feels impossible sometimes.
Also, as a musician, it was encouraging to hear her say “This took me a whole day to learn.” 🤷🏻♂️
A little bit of Austin music history…
Where there is now a CVS Pharmacy on North Lamar Boulevard in Austin, there was once the Skyline Club, a music venue in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Elvis even played there in 1955. Most infamously, Hank Williams and Johnny Horton played their last shows there. It’s an interesting story…
According to research on the effect of music listening on work performance, music can indeed help your brain work better. But it depends what you are listening to.
Classical music, especially baroque, can increased mood and concentration – see Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel 👉example
Not really music, but nature sounds can increase cognitive function and concentration – rain, water, etc. 👉 example
Epic music can inspire you if you’re feeling unmotivated 👉 example
Ambient music can reduce stress (I’m not a huge fan, so no example 🤷🏻♂️😂)
My Own Favs
I also like some of the Apple Music concentration playlists such as Swift Concentration.
And even though it breaks some of the rules above, I just find KUTX relaxing.
Also, Miles Davis. And the Isle of Dogs soundtrack.
Duke Ellington: Black, Brown, and Beige.
Shostakovich: Jazz Suites Nos. 1 – 2 – The Bolt – Tahiti Trot
Also, just any classical waltz music seems to work.
What Doesn’t Work
Not surprisingly, complex musical structure and lyrics don’t help. In fact, they make it harder for you brain to focus. (*Still, I can work to Johny Cash music, probably because it’s so familiar.)
Also, any music may hinder the especially difficult tasks.
And you have to be in the habit of listening to music to make it helpful. If you only do it sometimes, it doesn’t help.
Next time you’re in NYC, why not go see an opera? The tickets are surprisingly affordable (from $30). And even if you’re not an opera fan, this is a unique and interesting experience.
👉 The Metropolitan Opera (NYC)
Funnily enough, this tip came as a recommendation from Andy Ihnatko on a tech podcast. Listen in at this spot for more inspiration about the opera. 🤷🏻♂️
👉 MacBreak Weekly (MP3) 565: 10 Years After (via Overcast)
For the last couple of years, I’ve been relying on Apple Music for all my of musical needs. It’s great. It has absolutely every song I ever want to hear, instantly available in my car, while out for a walk, at home, on my laptop. Anything anywhere any time! And I have dozens of my own purpose-built playlists (Springsteen Covers, Dance Party, Garage Rock, more). Plus they provide a ton of their own playlists. (Same for Spotify, I’m sure.)
So online music streaming is perfect, right? Well, yes, but also no. 🤷🏻♂️
My playlists had became too safe and predictable. And it’s weird that I never ever ever listen to the local radio. So today I suddenly had the urge to listen to my favorite local Austin radio station: KUTX. So I streamed it (seriously, I don’t have a radio). And it was great!
KUTX will constantly surprise and delight you with music that you don’t control. I have unwittingly discovered some of very favorite bands here (The XX and Tinariwen for example). And btw, KUTX is a public radio station. No ads or BS. It’s basically a community service by music fans.
If you’re not in the mood straight-up KUTX , which is geared towards indie rock, they have other streams like Old School Dance Party, Eklektikos, a soul and R&B station, a jazz station, and even a kid-friendly indie music station.
This doesn’t mean I’m dropping Apple Music, which is still great when I want music to help me concentrate, or to listen to my favorite album. But I’m glad to remember my old friend KUTX as a way to mix things up a bit.
The Boys of Summer is one of those songs I thought was “weird” or at best “okay” when it came out when I was 12 years old in 1984. I didn’t really understand what the heck he was singing about, and the sound of the song had a weird tension to it that made me uncomfortable. Plus it had one of those overly artsy black and white music videos!
These days I love the song. Now I know exactly what he’s talking about. I feel like I’ve lived this song myself. I love the black and white video because it’s overlay artsy. And the the weird little drummer boy is perfect. Now I really appreciate the weird tension in the song. It makes the song unique and edgy. And even with the musical tension, Don Henley sings in such a cool, nonchalant way.
The other tension is lyrical, between sadness and hope. The words paint a picture of a lonely beach town at the end of summer, a beautiful woman, and a broken heart. The lyrics stand pretty well on their own.
Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach.
Empty lake, empty streets
The sun goes down alone
I’m driving by your house
Though I know you’re not home.
But I can see youThe Boys of Summer by Don Henley
Your brown skin shining in the sun
You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby.
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone.
This song features one of the most beautiful outtros I’ve ever heard. The melodic, almost twangy guitar layered over a warm rhythm guitar counters the fierce electronic drums as the song fades out. Love it (these days).
Austin City Limits Music Festival (aka ACL) put together a pretty nice page of stuff to do while visiting Austin. As a local, I’m going to use this as inspiration to get out there and do all the things.