Six Years in San Francisco: A Soundtrack and a ‘So Long’

CocoStereoSanFranciscoSoundtrack.JPG

I love San Francisco, which is why I’m content to say… I’m leaving it. Today, March 3rd, marks my 6-year anniversary in this beautiful city. In six days, I’ll be on a one-way flight to NYC.

Over the course of my six years here, I often had to fight my (somewhat tormenting and romanticized) nomadic tendencies.

My first year in San Francisco was the worst. Having come back to the states after a few years overseas, I was depressed by normalcy. My identity as an explorer had expired. I was just like everyone else, and what a painful reality that came to be.

I had a 9-5 job with a bus commute full of men in suits. I bought a smartphone, and to my dismay, found myself looking at it rather than people in the eyes. Two years in, I was aching to leave.

I made a plan and put together a list of things I had to see before I left for NYC. But it dawned on me: Why not always have this mentality? Why not live with joy and a sense of urgency as if I’m always about to lose this city? So I stayed because saying sayonara felt too soon. Plus, I needed to learn how to stay put and be happy. Something I wasn’t used to.

Then, I met someone.

One year later, that someone broke my heart in a million ways plus one. And while he lived across the bridge and the city was “mine,” the idea of even existing in the same state seemed unbearable.

I made a plan and compiled a list of Brooklyn neighborhoods to live in. But, it dawned on me: People aren’t perfect, and I still seemingly loved that heartbreaker of mine. So I decided to stay and see if things could be forgiven with time.

One year later, to paraphrase Mariah Carey, that heartbreaker got the best of me and I should’ve have known right from the start he’d go and break my heart…again.

The break up sucked, and a new city seemed like the perfect remedy. But, I’d just started a new job, at a startup no less. Leaving wasn’t an option, as much as I wanted it to be.

In two years’ time, I came through to the other side. I no longer wanted to run from San Francisco (though, of course, it was never the city I was running from). I loved it, even.

I also feel incredibly lucky to have shared this city with my beautiful sister and best friend. A city that taught me how to vogue, DJ a radio show, make a film, dance ballet, let loose at a show, start a blog, enjoy long walks, and most importantly, how to find adventure and love in just one spot.

Only now do I feel as if I can leave this city’s arms. Because I know they’ll always be open, and I’ll forever be happy to jump back into them when or if the time comes. But why am I leaving at all? While I’ve learned my lesson, living in New York has always been a dream. And, I don’t like to make a habit of regretting things.

So, to celebrate the last six years, I’ve decided to create a soundtrack – One that includes my top 6 most listened to jams from each of the 6 years I spent in SF (2011-2017). These jams may not be brand new, but they’re still amazing, and will always remind me of you.

So long, SF.

2011

  • Mozart’s Sister – Don’t Leave it to Me
  • Austra – Lose it
  • Class Actress – Love Me Like You Used to
  • Grimes – Crystal Ball
  • Elite Gymnastics – Omamori
  • Twin Sister – Bad Street

2012

  • Grimes – Genesis
  • Vacationer – Good as New
  • Purity Ring – Obedear
  • How to Dress Well – & it Was You
  • Charli XCX – Nuclear Seasons
  • Tennis – My Better Self

2013

  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra – So Good a Being in Trouble
  • Helado Negro – Dance Ghost
  • No Joy – Hare Tarot Lies
  • Angel Olsen – The Waiting
  • K-X-P – Easy
  • Blood Orange – You’re Not Good Enough

2014

  • St. Vincent – Prince Johnny
  • Trust – Capitol
  • Rickey Eat Acid – It Will Draw Me Over to it Like it Always Does
  • Tirzah – Inside Out
  • Hundred Waters – Show Me Love
  • Black Milk – Dirt Bells

2015

  • Widowspeak – All Yours
  • Julien Baker – Something
  • Prince Rama – Bahia
  • Grimes – Kill v. Maim
  • Empress Of – Everything is You
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Ur Life One Night

2016

  • Mitski – Your Best American Girl
  • Woods – Can’t See At All
  • Banks – Gemini Feed
  • Julie Byrne – Natural Blue
  • Julia Jacklin – Pool Party
  • Beyonce – Don’t Hurt Yourself (feat. Jack White) (not on Spotify, sorry) / Subbing in with Miya Folick – Pet Body

2017

  • Austra – Future Politics
  • Sampha – Plastic 100°C
  • Temples – Certainty
  • Future Pelo – Swamp
  • Jens Lekman – What’s that Perfume That You Wear?
  • Tei Shi – Keep Running …. Fitting? 😉

p.s. The featured image/picture is one I took of Sutro Tower from my backyard – What a gloriously breathtaking city.

She’s Back! Listen to Slammin’ NEW Synth-Pop Jams from Empress Of’s Debut Album, Me

Empress Of - MeEveryone can let out a larger than life sigh of relief; The glorious and ever-so-sweet synth-pop princess, Empress Of is back with a serious vengeance.

Lorely Rodriguez aka Empress Of is a lovely 25-year-old, LA-raised, Brooklyn-based artist with the dreamiest of voices and the most bumpin’ beats, which she apparently started making at the age of 17. According to this interview in Fader, Rodriguez also studied production and audio engineering at Berklee College of Music in Boston before moving to NYC in 2011.

She swept many off their feet with her swoon-worthy musical debut in ’12, and in ’13 with the release her swirling EP, Systems, sang in both English and Spanish.

Some extremely talented artists come along, release a couple of obsessive-worthy tracks, disappear, and you hope like hell they reappear once again, but they never do. This luckily isn’t the case with Empress Of.

She’s announced her debut album, Me, (which was recorded in Mexico City) and is set to be released September 11, 2015 via XL Recordings/Terrible.

Have a listen to four amazingly slammin’ synth-pop tracks found on Me and rejoice in her reemergence. (p.s. The album is premiering and playing in full over at Hype Machine right now)

Empress Of – Kitty Kat

Empress Of – Standard

Empress Of – Water Water

Empress Of – How Do You Do It

Hurts So Good. Gorgeous New Album: Widowspeak – All Yours

Widowspeak – All YoursThe other night, I was stepping off BART when a late-20s-something guy waiting for a train going the opposite direction perked his head up, twisted his neck in my direction, and looked me right in the eyes.

I see this as I’m still three people deep from exiting the train, and I’m curious, but also cautious. Do I encourage this behavior by engaging with his stare, or am I asking for trouble?

Once I reach the platform, I look back at him and take a right out of the train towards the stairs. Before I quickly disappear out of range, the guy yells across the platform at me, “Can I ask you a question?!” I continue to walk towards the exit, but I turn to look at him, and raise my eyebrows out of curiousity.

He takes this as a yes, and projects even louder now that I’m further away. “Has anyone ever broken your heart!?” he shouts. I turn my head back towards him, consider whether I should even participate, then give him a sincere and hearty, “YES!” He’s taken aback by my answer, but he smiles, then looks down into his lap and crumples his face in confusion and pain. He shoots his head back up and shouts back at me, “WHY!?” I took the corner, and up the escalator I went.

Why would someone ever break my heart? Good question. It isn’t easy trying to navigate the “why” of heartbreak. I just know it’s really fucking painful, and I’m not very good at handling it well. Which brings me to Widowspeak.

The dreamy, psych-folk rock, “earth tone pop” duo out of Brooklyn, NY has perfectly captured the wavelengths heartbreak creates with their latest, insanely beautiful jams. The songs can be found on Widowspeak‘s latest album, “All Yours.” It’s due out September 4th, and is titled after one of their most gorgeous, and accessible tracks about heartbreak aftermath. The album is also currently streaming on KCRW.

I highly recommend you soak in the essence of these jams, but with this word of warning: these beautiful tracks may elicit some serious sadness or nostalgia, ignite flames of heartache, and leave you wondering, “WHY!?” Enjoy:

Widowspeak – All Yours

Widowspeak – Dead Love (So Still)

Widowspeak – Girls

Prayers Have Been Answered! New: Tirzah – Make it Up + What’s the Use

Tirzah – Make it UpYES – OMG YES. Tirzah is back, and she’s created yet another couple of dark, delicious, and groovy electro jams: “Make it Up,” and “What’s the Use.”

Psst… I listened to “Make it Up” 24 times in two days, so, you know, it’s gotta be good.

Over the last couple of years, the London-based artist has graced us with an EP and a handful of obsession-worthy jams including my personal faves (as featured on Cuckoo for Coco’s Pop Underground) “Inside Out,” “No Romance,” and “I’m Not Dancing.”

Tirzah‘s new jams, featured on the Greco-Roman label, have been produced yet again by her fellow experimental pop BFF, and childhood friend, Mica Levi aka Micachu.

Anyway, enough chatting (I couldn’t find much else about her to delve into anyway!) Have a listen and enjoy already:

Tirzah – Make it Up (full version of the jam is no longer on SoundCloud, but can be found on Spotify)

Tirzah – What’s the Use

Inhale Exhale, I’m Back Again

Hey y’all,

Nao – February 15It’s been too long. In fact, it’s been more than a year-long bout of silence here on coco stereo. It’s also been a rough year, y’hear?

I wasn’t completely silent – It is me we’re talking about. I’d started the radio show, “Cuckoo for Coco’s Pop Underground” on the lovely radio station, BFF.fm. (If you wanna listen to old shows – that haven’t been removed via record labels – they’re on my SoundCloud.)

I ran the show each week for an entire year, and put a ton of time, research, energy and effort into it. This unfortunately butted heads with coco stereo writing time, and the struggle got real.

Alas, I decided to pump the brakes on the radio show as well, ‘cus I needed to figure some shit out, like what the hell I was doing with my life. This is still TBD.

Things have been hard, and they still kinda are. But one day in early May, I heard Nao’s insanely funky jam, “Inhale Exhale,” from her latest EP, February 15, and I decided to do just that, and jump back… at least on to coco stereo.

I can’t guarantee consistency (see life crisis above), but I am going to try to enjoy myself and share some sweet jams with others when I can. I’m also going to try my hardest to avoid the shitty pressure that comes along with music blogging to be the fastest or the first amongst your music snob friends to talk about an artist – ‘cus fuck that shit.

So with that, I present to you the incredibly sexy, smooth, soulful, and funkalicious London-based artist who brought it all (or at least me) back: Nao 

 

Hype-Worthy! Meet Spanish Garage-Pop Rockin’ Fems: Deers

Meet: DeersEnvision two foxy Spanish females (or, you could just look at their picture in this post) and imagine them rippin’ on guitars and producing ridiculously catchy and raw garage pop songs. Sound like a dream come true? Well, wake up (!) ‘cus it’s time to get doe-eyed for: Deers.

Oh, but guess what? Like all brand-new, hype-worthy bands, there’s not a whole lotta info about them just yet – Surprised?

What we do know is the group hails from Madrid, and was started by BFFs Ana Garcia Perrote and Carlotta Cosials. We also know their two-track demo debut is rockin’ and wowin’ and landed them as NME’s “Buzzband of the Week.” The duo also appears to be touring through Europe with two more rockin’ foxy fems added to the band mix.

Give Deers a follow on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp and/or Instagram and jump on this:

Deers – Bamboo (Demo)

Deers – Trippy Gum

Listen to NEW Mozart’s Sister Track: Enjoy + Debut Album Announced!

Mozart's Sister - BeingMozart’s Sister has been one of my most consistent musical obsessions over the last three years. I’ve been clinging on to her 3-track EP, Dear Fear, originally self-released in 2011, for what feels like an eternity.

Caila Thompson-Hannant aka Mozart’s Sister re-released Dear Fear as Hello in 2013 with the addition of one more track via Merok Records. With little-to-no news about further releases, my consistent anticipation for amazing electro-pop pureness from the Montreal-hailing songstress remained faithful.

Today, news of her debut album, Being, is finally here, and it’s due out August 5th (!!!) via Asthmatic Kitty Records. We’re also given a glimpse of the record with the release of a new track and video for, “Enjoy.”

According to Asthmatic Kitty, “inspired by Discovery-era Daft Punk, Post-era Bjork, and Betty Davis, Caila produced, recorded and wrote Being using a cheap sound card and Ableton software, approaching it with a do-it-all-by-my-self ideology… ‘Being is a fracture,’ says Caila. ‘A note between thought and expression. When I wrote this record I was riding a wave of light and dark; I still am. It’s not a twisted path but one that aspires to harmony. In all the little bits that make up the bulk of the ‘songs’ of this album is a jump. So here I am jumping into your mercy, a leap I will never forget. I feel the future can only bring better or worse and definitely not the same. So this record is a thing that will never happen again. I hope you enjoy it.'”