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.
- 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
- Grimes – Genesis
- Vacationer – Good as New
- Purity Ring – Obedear
- How to Dress Well – & it Was You
- Charli XCX – Nuclear Seasons
- Tennis – My Better Self
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
A 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:
Aside 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.
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
Last 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!
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
The times are a’ (finally) changing: Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the Supreme Court today & Proposition 8 is gone! – An extremely momentous and historical victory in the LGBT rights movement. These are exciting and fitting times, especially since San Francisco Pride is this weekend. President Obama said it best in his speech following the moment: “When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”
With that, I present to you some righteous jams to celebrate history, victory, equality, and most importantly, love for all:
Majical Cloudz – I Do Sing for You
Psychic Twin – Unlock Yr Heart
Bibio – You
Disclosure – Help Me Lose My Mind feat. London Grammar
UGH. I’m in a funk. Like, a really big one. Being annoyed or frustrated is one of the most all-consuming, poisonous, and (duh!) annoying emotions to have to endure. Sure, “only you can determine how you feel,” but I also call bullshit. Sometimes, you just need something else to pull you out of a funk (like a margarita!), or some seriously funky jams. Hence, I’ve created a funkdafied mixtape of brand spankin’ new jams… They’re perfect for any day in which you need to be smacked out of a seriously big funk: coco stereo’s funkdafied mixtape playlist:
NONONO – Like The Wind (D. Lissvik Remix)
Chlöe Howl – Rumour (YACHT remix)
Dungeonesse – Drive You Crazy
Banks – Warm Water (Prod. By Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs)
Prides – Out Of the Blue
MØ – Waste Of Time
O S C A R – Never Told You
Club 8 – I’m Not Gonna Grow Old
Cosmo Sheldrake – Rich (Feat. Anna Roo)
Suvi – Bleeding For Your Love
The anticipation and chaos for this year’s SXSW music fest in Austin, Texas (March 12th-17th) continues to grow at great lengths. The amount of parties, new bands added, RSVPs, lineups and showcases consistently flow in at alarming rates; and it certainly isn’t over yet. The increasing excitement is contagious and overwhelming, especially when you envision just how much amazing music (and people; 60K to be exact) will embark upon the Tejas capital, and all at once.
To contribute to the ever-growing hype, here is a compilation of (40+) absolute must-see acts/bands at this year’s SXSW. Granted, no one’s ever gonna see ’em all (one can only hope!), so these top 6 absolute must-sees are ones you should seriously kick yourself if missed:
p.s. coco stereo will be representin’ in full force at SXSW, March 7th-16th – Let’s get our dance on together!
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 – 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)
It’s that time of year in San Francisco when the weather starts to resemble something summer-like, the fog begins to roll out, and the leather, whips, chains, paddles, dog leashes, and domination comes a rollin’ in. That’s right – it’s Folsom Street Fair time! If you’re a newbie to the festival name or concept, The 13 city blocks long Folsom Street fair is an annual BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadomasochism) fest that occurs during “Leather Pride Week” in September. According to Wikipedia, the festival, and non-profit charity (!) has been in existence since 1984 and it’s “the world’s largest leather event and showcase for BDSM products and culture.” – Impressive!
Essentially, if you want to see some burly men, (and an occasional lady) [un]leash themselves in a literal shit show (YES) full of leather straps and eye/mind-opening behavior, the Folsom Street Fair will cure your need for kink. So, in celebration of this impressively large, unconventional non-profit and jaw dropping festival, I present to you a Folsom Street Fair ‘mixtape’ of sorts. It’s full of dark, goth-rock, electro synthwave that I’m sure anyone would enjoy, especially while getting choked, tied up, or spanked… you know, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Trust – Gloryhole
Light Asylum – IPC
Zambri – ICBYS
Gatekeeper – Chains
The Knife – You Make Me Like Charity (Cry Wolf Remix)
Pictureplane – Techno Fetish
Austra – Beat and the Pulse (NSFW)