Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Chill Hipster Apocalypse 2020 - Pandemic Playlist Project

(image: medieval art - the apocalypse tapestry)

When listening to this playlist, it seems formed by the times themselves. Like every song picked itself to be placed here. Certain songs by The National, Decemberists, Mountain Goats, Avett Brothers, and more have existed in the cosmic music airspace, waiting to be drawn down into this grounded grappling with anxiety and reality. Due to its sheer size, it took me a while to ease into Joseph’s playlist, kind of like reading the Old Testament. But once he had me, the gifts of these gifts kept giving. 

The more we pay attention, the more we realize how many conversation partners we have, fellow listening partners in this case, in larger cultural conversations that we are currently having from a distance. Give Joseph’s epic collection a spin, in order or on shuffle, in pieces or all at once, and feel some more of the feels that we have all been feeling. AWS

Chill Hipster Apocalypse 2020

I created this playlist after moving back to Nashville just after the city was hit by at least one tornado in early March and as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to make itself felt. I had been on a trip when the tornado hit and had been playing a lot of Neko Case and was falling in love with her song “This Tornado Loves You.” 

I wasn’t sure whether to keep playing the song or not in the wake of the disaster. Meanwhile, Tim Heidecker’s (yes, the guy from Tim and Eric) “Work from Home” had long been a staple in the playlists Spotify’s algorithm would generate for me. When Dawes’s “When My Time Comes” came on, it occurred to me that this might be a (somewhat perverse) way of coping with what was happening: a multi-faceted apocalypse.

Sure, “apocalypse” is an overstatement. Or is it -- between tornadoes, pandemics, and the state of American politics, with the Democratic party determined to do as little as possible aside from return to whatever was happening in early 2016 and a Presidential administration determined to deny and diminish the seriousness of a pandemic that had wreaked havoc wherever it had gone. 

Plus, if you are me, you’re already down about the impact of American imperialism, the forceful grinding down effected by our increasingly unfettered capitalism, the violence (at times  insidious, at others explicit) against women, people of color, immigrants, queer folx, and on Sunday mornings, church that would rather be a sanctuary for oppressive thought or lukewarm nothingness followed by coffee than a witness to a gospel of mercy, acceptance, and justice. 

It’s the end of the goddamn world, ok? Ok. 2020 will be the year that kills us. Will 2020 be the year that kills us?

So naturally, I made a playlist. Later, I made it a collaborative playlist, inviting friends to make suggestions and contributions. Some of the songs suggested were good. Some weren’t. Some weren’t good fits for the feel or were meant to annoy me. Some of those remain in the playlist. I’m still deciding how I feel. Obvious and kitschy sometimes has a place, you know?

Monday, April 13, 2020

An Easter Monday Mixtape

An Easter Monday Mixtape, recorded from vinyl to audacity in real time on 13 April 2020

Stephen C. Rose performed by David Grover & Judy Lunseth - Rolled Away 
Friends - Sing Hallelujah 
Berkeley Divinity School - Glory Hallelu 
Father Tom Belt & the God Unlimited Choir - Joy
Monfort Singers - The Hour When You Must Begin
Street Christians - It’s Been A Long Time A’ Comin’ 
Kell Street Camp Meeting - I Shall Not Be Moved
Mylon - I’ll Fly Away
Mylon - I’m Flying #1 (For Free)
Bill Withers - Lean On Me
John Prine - That’s The Way That The World Goes Round
Jerry Garcia - The Wheel
The Electric Prunes - Kyrie Eleison
Pilgrim People - Long Live God

Notes: I love making playlists, yes, & I even love Spotify. 

But there is something special about an old-school mixtape, about moving to a different room, about resetting your multitasking modern mentality into a dusty old-discs devotion. This mix is mostly from old-school folkie -- not-on-streaming-services -- Jesus vinyl, an ongoing obsession of mine. So Easter hippy Jesus Freak, with a few tracks you will recognize thrown in for timely memorial truth. At about 44 minutes, it would fit on one side of a 90 minute cassette. Some pauses are too short; others too long. There is the real scratchy groove, in this an Easter gift.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Shamelessy Sappy: for lovers on lockdown everywhere - pandemic playlist project

Ali Gause and I have known each other since our Detroit days. Now she is out west, and I am down south. The social media revolution connected us across the years and miles. This ultimate love playlist defies the days of disconnection with powerful loving solidarity. This epic list works well on shuffle, from the beginning-to-end, or shared between a few different listens. Enjoy! - AWS

Recently I heard a Unitarian Minister, Rev. Leslie Takahashi, say, “May the love among us be greater than the distance between us.” Those words were the inspiration behind this playlist. Songs that trigger happy memories, sentimental moments, the inklings of romance, physical closeness, the untouchable bonds of unconditional love and steadfast friendship. Songs that promote love instead of fear. Maybe listening to them will offer some hope during this time of grave difficulty and uncertainty. Sending a special tribute out to all the emergency health care workers tirelessly working on the front lines serving those that are most ill. - Ali Gause