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Alright y’all.  Holidays are over and it’s time to get to work.  I know some of you probably worked last week, and few lucky students might have another week of vacation, but there’s probably a bunch of you heading back to work this morning.

And that sucks, right? The best way I know to cushion the blow is some fantastic new music.  And that is the gift I’m bringing to you today.  This one comes courtesy of disco naïveté‘s Sounds of 2013: The Girls. (And can I just take a minute to thank a dude for always keeping an eye out for the talented ladies in music as well? Much needed.) Read More

Though most of you probably celebrated this weekend, there’s still one more shopping day until Halloween.  What’s your costume?

My costume is nonexistent   That’s either because I (a) hate fun, (b) am over the age of 13, or (c) am just too lazy.  Still deciding what the right answer to that test question is.  In the meantime, I’ve been digging on all the Halloween music around the blogosphere.

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Because it’s almost the weekend, and because they love you, your favorite hip-hop/soul duo THEESatisfaction have released a mixtape, which they titled THEESatisfaction Loves Anita Baker.

I can’t say Anita Baker is my favorite Baker (70DW <3s Ella Baker), but you gotta respect someone who’s been making music for over three decades.

Check out final track, “Cabin Fever Sweet Love”, via Gorilla vs. BearRead More

When I was thinking about what music might be appropriate for Labor Day, it struck me that there are several different ways people interpret the holiday.  For many, it’s seen as the unofficial shift from summer to fall.  For a certain population, it’s associated with going back to school.  And, as one expert source reminds us, it “celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.”

Not wanting to leave any of these traditions out, I’ve found seven different songs that represent possible attitudes toward Labor Day.  Put the one that best represents your take on the holiday, or play them all to experience the full musical essence of the day.  Then, go eat some hot dogs or something.

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Happy Friday!  Since you’re probably not going to get any work done today anyway, why not expand your musical horizons?

One of those musical resolutions I often make (and break) is to listen to music that comes outside the US and UK.  In fact, a quick look at my record collection tells you I am doing a terrible job of it.  But the reality is, finding music outside of your comfort zone – whether it be genre, region, or language – isn’t an easy task.  Sometimes you need a little help.

So today, I turn to tUnE-yArD‘s Merrill Garbus, who has put together a fantastic thirty-minute mix as part of Okay Africa‘s Africa In Your Earbuds series.  The seven-song mix features music from Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, and DR Congo.

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Welcome to summer!  Now I know what you’re thinking – Memorial Day is usually the unofficial kickoff to summer, and I’m about 5 days late in posting.  But I celebrate the beginning of my summer on the last day of school, which just so happens to be today.  And now that it’s officially summer – in my eyes at least – it’s time to start thinking about summer mixtapes.

More than any other season, summer makes me crave a good mixtape.  I try to make one every summer – a mixture of songs that are explicitly about the season and songs that “feel like summer.”  Now, I can’t help you with those songs that “feel like” summer, because what feels like summer to me might not feel like summer to you.  And what feels like summer in 2011 might not feel like summer in 2012.  But I can help you with those other songs – the ones with a more literal take on the topic.  Mix these songs with your own picks and you’re sure to have the perfect mixtape for the pool, the beach, or that great road trip.

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The Morning Benders put out of my favorite records of 2010, Big Echo, but we haven’t gotten a lot of new music from them recently.  Then, this evening, the band sent an e-mail out explaining that they’d be changing their name to POP ETC.

Now, bands can change their names for a ton of reasons – some good, some bad, some neutral.  But I think the right word to describe this name change is admirable.

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So you just realized that Valentine’s day is on Tuesday, and you’re totally unprepared.  Not to worry, because a mixtape is the ultimate gift.    If you wanna go the extra mile, you can buy this mix tape usb drive  for instant twee-ish nostalgia points.

Having trouble deciding how to fill it?  Here are 10 of my favorites from mixes I’ve made and received over the years:

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Sailors-turned-muscians Tennis are back with a new album, Young & Old, coming out on February 14th on Fat Possum.

After getting a good amount of buzz off some mp3s (“Marathon,” “South Carolina”) in 2010, their debut album – 2011’s Cape Dory - got some criticism for being too repetitive with its ocean/beach/sun theme, with Pitchfork asking, “An extended getaway on a sloop is nice enough image, but is the allure of this one fantasy enough to sustain a record?”  Personally, I never quite understood the critique.  Are there are lot of people out their complaining that their beach vacations are just too long?

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Sometimes, life just works out.  Like when you’re craving new music, and an awesome album drops out of nowhere.  And on a Monday, no less?  Must be fate.

Enter: Mondo Boys.   They’re a collaborative  that creates these amazing mixtapes every so often and puts them out for free download.    And whenever a tape comes out, it seems to enter into heavy rotation on my playlist.

The latest edition is Desert Island, the third in their Weird Summer mixes.   What I adore about these mixes is they combine old favorites – like  Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry – with the latest and greatest indie sounds – like Twin Sister and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.   One member of the collaborative is Justin Gage from Aquarium Drunkard, so you know the sound is going to be simultaneously cutting edge and classic.

Basically, it’s like having the coolest friend ever make you a mixtape.  Perfect for keeping you happy as those final summer days slide on by.

Head over to Aquarium Drunkard now to check out the tracklist and download the mix.

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