’16 Soundtrack : May and June

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Photo by Ramon Smikle

I’ve experienced the worst month of my life, but I am here and moving forward. I’ll save the details for a much more in-depth blog post about how I came to be homeless (don’t worry, I’m crashing at a pal’s place). Long story short:

+ I had an apartment, then I didn’t. My belongings are currently scattered between three locations. I’ve cried in public. Multiple times (ugh). I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about California tenant laws. My friends and I fought to get our money back from a slumlord. I receive daily invites from so many incredible friends and acquaintances in Los Angeles, offering their couch for me to sleep on. I’ve lived in three different places within the last two weeks, and my mind, body and soul is completely exhausted by this. But, let’s end this short story on a high note – I started a dope new job at Create & Cultivate.

Now that you probably have a bunch of questions that I won’t answer at this time, it’s time for the music. Since life has been so messy lately, I couldn’t put together a soundtrack at the end of May, so here is a joint soundtrack for May and June!

It’s kind of a moody playlist, but nonetheless, there are  jams. Enjoy, and keep well.

’16 Soundtrack: April

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Photo by Shab Ferdowsi

Dear April,

I am exhausted by you, but I had fun. You had a lot of house shows. You brought several of my favorite bands, The 1975, Years & Years and more, into town at the right moments for me. You lit a fire in my soul with Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.” You filled my heart with friendship, confidence and understanding. You showed me that bad timing doesn’t make a good thing any less good. Thank you, April.

The songs I’ve included in my soundtrack for last month accompanied adventures to new destinations, party planning, the hours spent at my work desk, and late night research (note to self: stop going to bed at 2am every night).

After you listen to the playlist below, you can follow it on Spotify, and you should also check out the new albums by Gallant, Bear Hands and Sales. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and interested in local bands, don’t hesitate to ask me to suggest a few! Lately, I’ve been jamming to King Shelter, a self-proclaimed “salad rock” band that plays a tossed blend of indie alternative rock with rich, dreamy tones.

Enjoy the jams, and happy May! Show Mercury in retrograde who’s the boss.

PLAYLIST: Something Good Can Work

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Photo by Ramon Smikle

Channel the positive energy in your life, and something good can work. Navigating the complexities of life is taxing. But no matter how exhausting that may be, the ability to work through it and move forward helps us learn, break old habits and thrive. Maybe there’s even a chance this purposefulness can heal parts of us that were once transfixed on the distress of the past. This is the mindset I try to maintain to keep that smile on my face, and my mind and heart open. I know everyone’s circumstance is different.

Wake up and choose to see/do/be better.

Here’s a playlist I put together for a backyard show in Burbank I co-presented with Beating Lights, but we never got around to playing it. It’s been my go-to mix for the last week and I want you to enjoy it with me. Hit shuffle and play it loud.

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Photo by Ramon Smikle

 

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Photo by Ramon Smikle

’16 Soundtrack: March

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Don’t let my tired eyes fool you. I’m really happy.

One of my main focuses for 2016 is to surround myself with people who make an effort to develop genuine connections. Knowing where someone works, what they did last week and which neighborhood they live in (all info probably made known by way of short-lived small talk and a peek at Instagram) is fine and dandy, but also boring. I often feel like I don’t actually know who people are, and vice versa, no matter how much time I spend with them. I’d like to give and take more, and this isn’t a novel thought. I see plenty of other millennials discussing social interaction.

Back to why I’m happy. The people who are currently in my life bring me joy. The girl gang. My other close pals. Family. Twitter and Instagram followers who are becoming real life friends. And even a boy. I have a badass support system made up of some of the most motivated and creative people I know, and I’m thankful to be a part of a community that lifts each other up. As an added bonus, most of these folks are always game to throw it down on the dance floor, so I’ve pretty much reached my personal squad goals.

My soundtrack for this month is a collection that has resonated with me during the last couple of weeks. I could have just listed  The 1975’s new album, “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” because it’s fantastic, but the other songs I’ve fallen in love with deserve some attention too. There’s one thing I want to point out before we get to the music. Until I watched the music video for “Bloodsport ’15” last week, I had no clue Raleigh Ritchie is Jacob Anderson, aka Grey Worm from Game of Thrones. *babe alert*

You can listen to and follow the ’16 Soundtrack: March playlist on Spotify, or click through the links below. Enjoy, and keep well, pals.

TRACKLISTING

Cheap Thrills” – Sia
Like The Earth” – Bedbugs
Hard To Read” – Day Wave
Somebody Else” – The 1975
Weathered” – Jack Garratt
sHe” – ZAYN
Bloodsport ’15” – Raleigh Ritchie
In My Veins” – BASECAMP (feat. Del The Funky Homosapien and Billie Black)
Woke The F*ck Up” – Jon Bellion
Settle Down” – The 1975
I Wear Glasses” – Mating Ritual
Pressure” – Milk & Bone
Your Bones – Intermission” – Mura Masa
If I Believe You” – The 1975
Even Great Things” – Elliot Moss
Mirrors” – Emma Louise
Keeping Your Head Up” – Birdy

What songs are you in love with right now? Let’s chat in the comments.

’16 Soundtrack: February

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Time should be a system as open and free as we can try to make it. But I feel like I haven’t quite grasped how to navigate time in the same way I suggest on the brand mentality page for Hours Lost. I’m working on it.

February was an incredibly busy and stressful month. I won’t burden you with the details because being busy and stressed out is definitely not an original lifestyle, and there’s no need for me to drag on about it. I’d rather use this little post to say “Hey! That really sucked, but we made it through and accomplished a lot.”

Aside from some rough days (maybe weeks), I did find a lot of joy in February. Between fantastic live music, some solid new connections, time well spent with friends and family, and reunions with old pals, my social life has been at an all-time high. If you had any part in the above, my sanity thanks you. Seriously, I’m never shy to tell the world “I LOVE MY FRIENDS,” because you rule.

Here is my ’16 Soundtrack for February. You can listen to the playlist via Spotify, or try to find each track on whichever service you use to listen to music. These songs were mostly played as I roamed around LA in my hatchback, listened through my headphones at work, and danced around my apartment because I’ve had the place to myself for almost two weeks.

TRACKLISTING

“Luxury Child” – Strange Names
“Clap Your Hands”  – Whilk & Misky
“Midway” – Bad Bad Hats
“Adult Diversion” – Alvvays
“Dissolve” – Hibou
“Sophie So” – Hippo Campus
“Happy Accident” – Family Hahas
“Anthony” – Run River North
“Back To School” – A Great Big Pile of Leaves
“Do Ya Thang” – Rihanna
“Geri” – Superhumanoids
“Winterbreak” – MUNA
“We Try But We Don’t Fit In” – Day Wave
“Weathered” – Jack Garratt
“Same Ol’ Mistakes” – Rihanna (Tame Impala cover)
“PILLOWTALK” – ZAYN

What have you been listening to? Share with me in the comments section!

’16 Soundtrack: January

Candi Pop

Photo by Say Cheese and Die at the launch of Candi Pop in Los Angeles.

I was probably dancing to either Spice Girls, *NSYNC or maybe S Club 7 in the above photo at Candi Pop, The Satellite‘s new monthly bubblegum pop dance party. That’s a far cry from what I listen to on a regular basis. Although, shout out to yung j for attending about eight *NSYNC concerts while in elementary school (thanks mom).

My music taste is diverse, but according to my Spotify Year In Music for 2015, these are my top genres:

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Looks about right. I’m the type of person who falls in love with music that was probably first recorded in a garage and performed in a sweaty club in the UK by boys in tight jeans and short-sleeve collared shirts. Leather or denim jacket optional.

For the first month of 2016, my personal soundtrack includes a lot of music I discovered by falling down Spotify’s rabbit hole of related artists pages and recommendations from friends. Please enjoy and listen via my Spotify playlist, or by exploring the YouTube links below.

TRACKLISTING

I Wear Glasses” – Mating Ritual
Blanket” – Oh, Be Clever
You Are The Right One” – Sports
Beat Of My Drum” – Powers
Feels” – Swimm
UGH!” – The 1975
Foulbrood” – Two Inch Astronaut
It Hurts Until It Doesn’t” – Mothers
New In Town” – Little Boots
I Think I Like You” – sirenXX
Manufactured Love” – Michael Blume
BITE” – Troye Sivan
Good For You (MOONZz Redo) – MOONZz
Be Apart” – Porches
Blue Bucket Of Gold” – Gallant and Sufjan Stevens

I hope your ears are happy (the 1:25 section of “Manufactured Love” is dreamy, am I right?) If you have some tracks you’re eager to share, please tell me about them in the comments section.

Make Good Choices

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“Make good choices,” I told myself on the first day of 2016. It was a stern and understanding resolution. Like most people, I evolve all year and make mini resolutions along the way as I recognize more about myself and my intentions. The start of each year is the most obvious time to feel more motivated to make changes. With the New Year comes a mindset that a person’s messy past will be tidied in order to march forward with a fresh hope for better things to come.

I welcome change every day. It’s daunting and can be frustrating when the process is slow, but it’s also undoubtedly worth it. I try my best to keep my positive mental attitude (PMA) in check. When life has its insufferable times, attempting to have a PMA helps me work through them.

Hello 2016. It’s me. I will continue to figure out how to make good choices when I:

~Rediscover and learn more skills
~Keep well (mentally and physically)
~Save those dolla dolla bills, y’all
~Let ghosts of my past free

Here’s a Pinterest board to visualize what I want my year to look like, and this wouldn’t be a “Jenay” post without some tunes.

Listen to my 2016 Vibes playlist on Spotify, or check it out below.

“Lessons” – SOHN
“begin again” – Purity Ring
“Bury It” – CHVRCHES
“Loudspeaker” – MUNA
“Ride” – twenty one pilots
“Eros” – Young The Giant
“Waves” – Kid Cadaver
“Days” – The Drums
“Adult Diversion” – Alvvays
“THE QUIET” – Troye Sivan
“Desire” – Years & Years
“U” – Mikky Ekko
“Two Way Street” – Kimbra
“What If” – Bombay Bicycle Club
“Love Me” – The 1975
“Do Better” – Say Anything
Golden Coast” – Allison Weiss
“Let’s Dance To Joy Division” – The Wombats
“Rebel Yell” – Waters
“Roses” – Angus & Julia Stone
“Can You Hear Me” – Dan Croll
“Resolution” – Matt Corby
“See Me” – Tei Shi
“Wait” -M83

15 Favorite Albums of 2015


Music impressed me this year. New Music Monday turned New Music Friday became a day I anticipated more than ever, and I was rarely let down. By April, I knew choosing my favorite albums of 2015 would be much more difficult than the previous year.

I’m not here to tell you the “best” albums of 2015, because in my opinion, there’s no such thing as making an objective decision on art that’s so deeply rooted in human emotion and interpretations. Plus I probably missed some brilliant, indie release that never really surfaced. So I will share my favorites out of the albums I looped repeatedly. These songs bookmark some significant moments, both good and bad, I had this year. I most definitely danced, had an epiphany, laughed, and cried while listening to them.

My list is alphabetized (by artist) below because I’m incapable of choosing an absolute favorite, and here’s a Spotify playlist for easy listening. Which albums did you cling to in 2015? Please share in the comments section!

25 – Adele

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California Nights – Best Coast

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Every Open Eye – CHVRCHES

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 Chaos And The Calm – James Bay

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You Should Be Here – Kehlani

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To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

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Crybaby – Melanie Martinez

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Time – Mikky Ekko

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Sponge Fingerz – New Beat Fund

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another eternity – Purity Ring

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Carrie & Lowell – Sufjan Stevens

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Glitterbug – The Wombats

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 Blurryface  – twenty one pilots

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VHS – X Ambassadors

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Communion – Years & Years

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I added an EP to this list as a bonus, because my friends in Kid Cadaver put out a great one this year. After being introduced to them and experiencing their live show, I quickly understood the appeal and became a supporter. These guys are a part of some great 2015 memories, including this music video I was a part of for their single “Keep Well.” I root for them and I hope you will too.

Roam – Kid Cadaver

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’15 Soundtrack: November

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I was at The Wiltern when a sea of people chanted, “We gon’ be alright,” with Kendrick Lamar. That moment of pure, positive energy in the venue woke me up. We all have our battles to fight. Some battles are more difficult than others, but they are all significant. As this year turns its final pages to end its chapter, I’ve acknowledged how much I’ve learned about myself in 2015. One alarming detail is that I’m not entirely sure who I am anymore. But once I had this ah-ha moment, I began to see my world more clearly and can now make moves to rediscover the kind of person I am and can be.

I shamefully admit that I compare myself to others quite often by analyzing their lives against my own. But I am nobody but myself. And when I try to push myself to be a certain way, I might actually be losing a part of what makes me Jenay. Life’s a strange journey of self-discovery. I think it’s a stressful, life-long mission that also has some gorgeous potential. Instead of spiraling into a panic of “WHO AM I THOUGH??” for the rest of my life, I’m trying to accept the intricacies of my identity by thinking of the journey as an opportunity to try new things, revisit what I loved as a child, and put this wonky little puzzle of my life together.

A few days ago during the Thanksgiving weekend, my family welcomed a new member, my baby cousin. It was love at first sight. It’s wild to feel so strongly about a person when you know nothing about them. In this case, he literally has no identity apart from his race and biological gender. I find it exciting because our family is able to witness his development as an individual from day 1. I find it fascinating to see how and why people become the way they are.

I’m already planning to be the auntie who discusses music with him, in hopes that he gains an appreciation for it. Music has played a huge role in molding who I am. This ’15 Soundtrack series documents which songs had an impact on my year, by month, which is one of my favorite aspects of it. I hope you enjoy the November playlist. As always, it’s available on Spotify, or you can click the video links below.

TRACKLISTING

Close To Me” – The Cure
Wanna Know” – Dan Croll
No No No” – Beirut
Mad Hatter” – Melanie Martinez
Alright” – Kendrick Lamar
Better” – Banks
Corner” – Night Beds
L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N” – Noah and the Whale
Valerie (Live at BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge)” – Amy Winehouse
River” – Leon Bridges
re:stacks” – Bon Iver
Take It Back” – Liza Anne
Search For More” – From Indian Lankes
Ship To Wreck” – Florence + The Machine
Where Are Ü Now” – Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber

Drop a note in the comments section with songs you’re spinning lately.

Babe Vibes: Methods of Self-Care

Babe Vibes

What are “babe vibes” and where can I get some? Designer Kara Haupt developed Babe Vibes as a way to collaborate with other creative women to make publications and projects that exuded “energy, vulnerability, identity, and empowerment.” While perusing their site, I began to understand the power of living the babe lifestyle. I already had babe vibes, but neglected to recognize their true potential.

Methods of Self-Care

Photo by Mara Keller ::: Found on babevibes.com

Jodie Layne and Kara’s “Methods of Self-Care” zine intrigued me the most. I’ve thought a lot about self-care and what it means for me, but haven’t pinned down the best way to follow through with the action. I figured these two babes would have some words of wisdom.

Two pages in, tears puddled my bottom eyelids before stinging my cheeks. My hands covered my eyes as if I was embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to see, although I was alone in my bed. “Why are you crying? Stop it, you wimp,” I scolded myself. Then I shut up. Why was I insulting myself? I was acting like a normal human and feeling perfectly acceptable emotions. It was 12:59am, the standard time I start to shake my head, knowing I should have fallen asleep an hour ago. But I’m a night owl and reading the zine affected me. As I turned into a weeping willow, I couldn’t sleep. I needed to acknowledge what I was feeling and understand why I was crying, because there was a reason.

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Identity crisis. Self-doubt. Feelings of not being good enough. Personally, all of this is a result of abandonment issues I developed at a young age (that’s a more complicated story for another time).  We all have our own internal struggles for different reasons, and there isn’t a one-size fits all solution. The “Methods of Self-Care” offers some tips to motivate its readers to take better care of themselves. The zine is both a hug and a swift kick in the butt. I want to share one of my favorite lines with you (provided by contributor Danika McClure who heard it from someone else):

“I do not have time to make other people happy when I am still learning how to make myself happy.”

This reminded me that it’s OK to put myself first, that it’s OK to ask for help, and that it’s perfectly OK to feel imperfect. Babes, we are beautiful works in progress.

I highly recommend exploring what Babe Vibes has to offer, and definitely read “Methods of Self-Care.” You can download it for free (!) or purchase a hard copy.

Cheers.