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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.

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LUV 2 LUV/LOATHE U BABY: Coco Stereo’s 2014 Valentine’s Day Mixtape

coco stereo valentine's day mixtapeA year ago, the day before Valentine’s Day, I went to an Unknown Mortal Orchestra show and fell in love. Not with the band though, I already loved them long before. I fell in love with the guy who happened to be standing next to me. As strangers standing in the crowded, smoke-soaked venue, we found ourselves both happily singing and dancing to our favorite Unknown Mortal Orchestra song, “So Good at Being in Trouble.” Little did I know, this song would become the preface for our entire relationship… or should I say, him.

“Hey, what’s your name?” he turned to ask me. I smiled, debated his age and narrowly eyed his thick mustache and Hawaiian shirt. I laughed, entirely intrigued. “Did you catch Wampire before this?” I replied. “I was running late and missed them.” “No,” he said, as he bobbed up and down to the music, vigorously shaking his shaggy hair. “I was outside chugging Tecate.”

From that moment on, we shared an endless number of laughs, adventures, learning experiences, “I love yous,” and unfortunately more frustration, heartache and tears than should’ve ever appeared, especially in less than one year. Our relationship ebbs and flows went from timid reluctance, to comforting companionship, overwhelming highs and hope that falling in love can invoke, to disappointment, hollowing sadness and the heart-wrenching discovery of some incredibly damaging lies. Who could use a Tecate now (or five)?

A year ago, I made a Valentine’s Day Mixtape full of (you guessed it) Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Rhye, How to Dress Well, Sean Nicholas Savage, Blue Hawaii and more. Much has happened in life and music since then, so to keep the tradition alive, I bring to you yet another sinfully sweet Valentine’s Day mixtape. Let’s just say, Unknown Mortal Orchestra didn’t make the cut, and probably won’t for a very long time. However, yesterday, the day before Valentine’s Day, I went to another show (Sónar Music Festival to be exact) and once again, stood next to someone I love — This time, a very dear friend, fellow nomad, and former housemate from Ireland who met me in Iceland to help soothe my wounds with majestic scenery, the Northern Lights, a blue lagoon, expensive booze and of course, new tunes. So here’s to another year of love, or your attempt to heal from it:

Coco Stereo’s Top 50 Tracks of 2013

Coco stereo's top 50 tracks of 2013This year has been one full of new friendships, experiences, and unexpectedly, love. It’s also been a year full of disappointment, self-doubt, and a healthy dose of heartbreak –  Sounds like a year well spent. However, if there’s one thing that remains consistent, it’s that coasting along with us through the ebbs and flows that is life, there is music. So to celebrate the ups, downs and in betweens of 2013, I present to you 50 of the best tracks that have been with us through it all.

To accompany the top 50 tracks, here are a few musical highlights to round out our nostalgic look back of the year:

Note: All tracks are in alphabetical order (‘cus ranking them is just something I’m not into). Also subscribe or have a listen to the entire playlist on Spotify. Enjoy:

Active Child – Evening Ceremony
Angel Olsen  Sweet Dreams
Austra  Home
Autre Ne Veut – Play by Play
Banks  Waiting Game
Baths  Miasma Sky
Bibio – À tout à l’heure
Blood Orange – You’re Not Good Enough
Blue Hawaii – Try To Be
Braids – In Kind
Chromatics  Looking for Love
Chvrches  The Mother We Share
Diana – Born Again
Disclosure  White Noise feat. Aluna George
Empress Of  Hat Trick
FKA Twigs  Water Me
Fyfe  Lies
Gems  Sinking Stone
Haerts – Wings
Haim  The Wire
Helado Negro – Dance Ghost
Jackson Scott – Evie
James Blake  Life Round Here
Jenny Hval  Mephisto in the Water
Jessie Ware  Still Love Me
Josef Salvat  Every Night
K-X-P – Magnetic North
Keep Shelly In Athens – Recollection
Lorde  The Love Club
Majical Cloudz – Childhood’s End
Mortar & Pestle  U.V.
Mozart’s Sister  Mozart’s Sister
Museum of Bellas Artes  Abyss
No Joy – Hare Tarot Lies
Phosphorescent  Song for Zulu
Psychic Twin  Dream State
Pure Bathing Culture – Dream the Dare
Rhye  Open
Sean Nicholas Savage – You Changed Me
S O H N  Bloodflows
Still Corners  Berlin Lovers
Summer Camp  Fresh
Teen – Carolina
The Holidays  Voices Drifting
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – So Good at Being in Trouble
Vampire Weekend  Step
Wet  Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan  Lamia
Young Galaxy  New Summer
Yuck  Rebirth

Sounds of Sorrow: A World-Wide Roundup of Sad Breakup Songs

High-Fidelity-John-Cusack-miseryAside from maybe death, there’s nothing as painful, soul crushing and gut wrenching as a breakup. A breakup certainly emulates the feeling of death when the black pit of despair you’ve suddenly been thrust into wraps its cold, unforgiving fingers around your heart and mangles it until you’re gasping for air, feeling empty, desperate, delirious and broken.

The only logical way to “cope” with the pain, of course, is to (no… not jump on OKCupid), but drown your sorrow in the sounds of ridiculously sad songs, and there are plenty of ’em. And since “everybody hurts,” I asked people of various ages from across the globe (San Francisco to New York, Australia to Germany) to spill their number one sob-song. If you’re going through a breakup (big hug), know someone who is (‘cus we sadly all do), or you just wanna be a sad sap, turn up these depressing tracks and force yourself to ‘get on with it.’

It’s no wonder we’re all such a mess, is it? We’re like Tom Hanks in Big. Little boys and girls trapped in adult bodies and forced to get on with it.  ― Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

*Note: Some of these songs were just like a stubborn ex-lover; too damn difficult to work with. So I’ve compiled most into a Spotify player and the few tracks that just didn’t want to work things out are linked.

SIDE A:
Emily, 23, Los Angeles: My Blood – Ellie Goulding
*Greg, 24, San Francisco: Sun Was High (So Was I) – Best Coast
Max, 24, Germany: This is Letting Go – Rise Against
Freddy, 25, England: Eskimo – Damien Rice
Kayla, 25, Ireland by way of Boise, ID: It doesn’t Matter Anymore – Linda Ronstadt
Jessica, 26, Ireland: Ever – Team Sleep
Kevin, 26, San Antonio, TX: Walk On By – Dionne Warwick
Stuart, 26, Scotland: It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue – Bob Dylan
*Ashley, 27, Los Angeles: Oh! Darling – The Beatles
Naomi, 28, San Francisco: Stormy Weather – Billie Holiday
Inelen, 30, Italy: I Love it (I Don’t Care) – Icona Pop
Kyle, 30, NYC: I Don’t Believe You – The Magnetic Fields
Matt, 30, Salt Lake City, UT: Ms. Jackson – OutKast
Brandon, 31, West Valley, UT: Stop Me June (Little Ego) – Kent
Ryan, 31, San Francisco: January: The One with “Kid” – Local H
Elisa, 31, Italy: Mi Sono Innamorato Di Te – Luigi Tenco
Emma, 32, San Francisco: Tous Le Garcons Et Les Filles – Francoise Hardy
Amanda, 33, San Francisco: Think of You – MS MR
Hyunmi, 33, South Korea: If I Were a Boy – Beyonce
Michelle, 34, San Francisco: Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
*Magnolia, 34, San Francisco: Recall – Susanna & The Magical Orchestra
Anthony, 35, Australia: Psychic Returns – Nedelle Torrisi
Sam, 35, Brooklyn: Get Me – Dinosaur Jr.
James, 39, San Francisco: Concrete Wall – Zee Avi
*Lana, 41, San Francisco: Nunca – Volován
*Clarice, 45, San Francisco: In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel
Tom, 63, San Mateo, CA: Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe – Kendrick Lamar

 

coco stereo’s picks: SIDE B
Always See Your Face – Love
Don’t Tell Me – Empress Of
Feels Like We Only Go Backwards – Tame Impala
Give Out – Sharon Van Etten
Hood – Perfume Genius
Losing You – Solange
Love Me Like You Used To – Class Actress
Pale Blue Eyes – The Velvet Underground
Sinking Stone – Gems
So Good At Being in Trouble – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Still Love Me – Jessie Ware
Tell a Lie – Farao
Waiting Game – Banks
Water Me – FKA Twigs
We Hit a Wall – Chelsea Wolfe

Fresh New Mixtape: CAMP COCO

CAMP COCO MixtapeLast night, I attended the SF Mixtape Society‘s quarterly mixtape swap at the Make-Out Room. The concept is simple: You’re given a theme (this quarter, it was: CAMP), you interpret as you wish, and put together your very best rockin’ mixtape. Then, you slap some sweet artwork on said rockin’ mixtape, drink beers, swap mixtapes via raffle and vote for your own fave.

The event brought out an array of different people, age ranges, creativity and interpretations, however, essentially it brought together a plethora of mixtape aficionados and new music lovers alike. Bonus: Free beer if you actually put your mixtape on a cassette. What’s not to love about it? So with that, here is coco stereo‘s very own camp-themed mixtape, complete with a free download. Enjoy campers!

CAMP COCO:
1. Camp Ivanhoe Cadence Medley – Peter Jarvis & His Drum Corps
2. Mossy Woodland – Javelin
3. Indian Sun – Mean Lady
4. KIDS – Mikky Ekko
5. Sleepover – Hospitality
6. Top Bunk – Gauntlet Hair
7. Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark) – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
8. Play with Fire – The Rolling Stones
9. Embers – Bryan Lovett
10. Night Faces – Jessica Pratt
11. Halogen Moon – Wintercoats
12. Ghosts & Creatures – Telekinesis
12. Summer of Love – The Sandwitches
14. Kiss and Say Goodbye – The Manhattans

Hot New Tracks for Cool Heads: Joywave + Dead Ghosts + Wampire + Hot & Cold + Phèdre + Kisses

WampireThe weather warmed up in San Francisco this past week for a hot minute – Our (one and only) glimpse of a true summer. So naturally, all San Franciscans piled into parks, crammed onto bar patio benches, threw on floppy hats and maxi dresses, and put our instagramming hands in the air to capture the clear blue sky, like we REALLY care. Alas, the moment has passed us, and our real “Summer is Coming,” which means chilly wind and eerie fog thicker than Turkish coffee. So with that, I bring to you a fresh track roundup of hot new tracks for cool days, or for cooler heads, depending on your geographical preference:

Joywave is a Rochester, New York-based electro/experimental group mastering in mixtapes. They released their mixtape, 77777, back in March of ’11 and just released a follow-up with, you guessed it, 88888. According to Interview Magazine, “The process behind Joywave‘s upcoming mixtape is an intriguing exercise in self-improvement. … frontman Daniel Armbruster, created a record that is not comprised of new material, but rather rethinks and reintroduces material from the band’s debut EP, Koda Vista. This idea is rooted not only in the dance and hip-hop tradition of the remix, but also in the paintings of Expressionist painter Edvard Munch, who famously remade the same painting several times, in order to best communicate with his audience.”

The rework and re-visitation of Joywave‘s previous material is obviously doing them justice, as “Tongues,” a new single found on 88888, is sickeningly addictive and has fiercely shot up to the top the blogosphere charts. Have a listen to “Tongues” and download 88888 for free on Joywave’s site:

Joywave – Tongues (feat. KOPPS)

Dead Ghosts is a quad garage rock band hailing from the depths of Vancouver, British Columbia whose sound has been described as, “raunchy lo-fi, country-esque, sweet guitar pluck-and-jangle. Listen to “Roky Said” a nostalgic-inducing, rockin’, “garage fuzz” psychedelic jam found on their recently released LP, Can’t Get Novia Burger Records:

Dead Ghosts – Roky Said

Ooh Wampire. Let me count the ways in which I’ve idiotically missed you play, and how I’m always kicking myself for doing so. The Portland, Oregon-based indie-pysch-rock-pop band was created by longtime bffs, Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps. The two “started jamming in 2001” while in middle school. Now, Wampire is signed to Polyvinyl and has been on tour with friends, Unknown Mortal Orchestra (who also produced their debut). Wampire won me over with their trippy track, “The Hearse,” and I’ve been throughly addicted since. Wampire‘s new LP, Curiosity, is due out May 14 and you can stream the entire album in advance on Pitchfork. Don’t miss these guys!

Wampire – Trains

Wampire – The Hearse

Hot & Cold is the collaboration of two young 20-something Canadian brothers, Josh and Simon Frank. The boys produce trippy, abstract, catchy, drone synth-rock and apparently made their first live debut in Beijing, of all places. According to an interview with Vice, the transnational brothers, while in Beijing, “earned a spot alongside the Rose Mansion Analog crew, joining the ranks of the Offset:Spectacles and Soviet Pop.” Have a listen to “Out of the Grey” an addictive single from Hot & Cold’s new LP, Border Area, via Moniker Records:

Hot & Cold – Out of the Grey

Phèdre is one of my all-time favorite wacky electro Canadian duo/bands, and that’s saying a lot ‘cus there are so many to choose from! Phèdre released their self-titled debut album just last year and left many hungry for more. Luckily, they’re currently in the album-producing mood and are in the process of finalizing another LP, Golden Age. “We spent the darkest days of the winter writing a new record in Berlin. We made a collage for each song. We’re gonna put this out into the universe real soooooon.” They’re also currently producing a spontaneous “ongoing record,” Eternain which they’re “droppin’ tracks as they come.” Listen to “Zenith,” the first track from, Eterna:

Phèdre – Zenith

Kisses is an LA-based electro-pop duo made up of Jesse Kivel & Zinzi Edmundson. Their sophomore album, Kids in LA, is due out May 14th via Cascine and was produced by Saint Etienne’s Pete Wiggs. Kisses is also currently and appropriately on tour with Chad Valley – A surefire dance party in the making. Have a listen to “Air Conditioning,” Kisses‘ synthtastic gem from the new LP:

Kisses – Air Conditioning

Listen to NEW Technicolor Pop Rockers: Thee Rain Cats

Thee Rain CatsI’m convinced that great things, especially garage/rock/pop ‘n’ roll, begin with “thee” and Thee Rain Cats fall perfectly into that theory. Caleb Palomo, Miguel Gomez, Nelson Rodriguez and Patrick Palomo who make up Thee Rain Cats are a bunch of OC boys currently residing on the outskirts of Disneyland. They’ve joined the Burger Records family, like to produce insanely addictive dreamy pop “technicolor rock” gems like “Kenyah” and have just released a 7-track EP (on cassette).

Thee Rain Cats are well on their way to indie rocker stardom, as they’ve already shared the stage with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Growlers, Sam Flax, The Fresh & Onlys, Colleen Green and more.

Stream Thee Rain Cats’ EP on SoundCloud, get the cassette via Burger Records, and find ’em on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Rock on boys!

Thee Rain Cats – Kenyah

Thee Rain Cats – OJ Krush

Valentine’s Day Mixtape! Ft. Rhye, HTDW, Blue Hawaii, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Sean Nicholas Savage, ERAAS, UMO & More

Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii

It’s Valentine’s Day! Everyone get crazy! There are obviously widely and wildly opinionated ideas regarding Valentine’s Day, but if you wanna divulge in the L.O.V.E. and/or hate for the red and pink candy coated day, go right ahead. However, as homage to the day people love to love and loathe, I’ve compiled a Valentine’s Day mixtape of sorts, specifically for YOU – My Valentine. Now, have a listen to these sinfully sweet tracks:

Rhye – Open

How to Dress Well – & It Was U (Elite Gymnastics Remix)

Blue Hawaii – Try to be

Sean Nicholas Savage

Sean Nicholas Savage

Sean Nicholas Savage – You Changed Me

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – So Good at Being in Trouble

Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko – Stay (Erol Sabadosh Remix)

ERAAS – At Heart

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Baby (Mature Themes)

Phono Del Sol Music Fest Bands You Should Prob Know

It’s a ridiculously beautiful day in San Francisco (for now), and there’s this amazing Indie music/food fest going on today: Phono Del Sol Music Festival, put on by The Bay Bridged. What’s totally ridiculous about this festival, is that it only costs $7-$10! What the hell? – Mind blowingly awesome. I was so excited about it, I asked half a dozen people to go with, and apparently/unfathomably, I don’t know anyone in San Francisco who’s ever heard of any of these bands (Unknown Mortal Orchestra, La Sera, Gardens & Villa, Dominant Legs, Sea of Bees, Mwahaha, The Fresh & Onlys) – It’s obvs not you San Francisco, it’s clearly… my friends. So fuck it, I’m going alone (!)  and therefore, I also bring you a fabulous song from (most) artists playing at today’s fest – ‘cus if you didn’t know, now you know:

1) Unknown Mortal Orchestra – FFunny FFriends

2) La Sera – How Far We’ve Come Now

3) Gardens & Villa – Orange Blossom

4) Dominant Legs – Hoop of Love