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.
Everyone 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.
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.
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
The 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
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
It’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
Envision 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.
Deers – Bamboo (Demo)
Deers – Trippy Gum
Sometimes you need sweet, fun lovin’ garage rock jams to spike excitement in your never-ending battle…er, discovery for amazing jams. Luckily, Meatbodies does just the trick.
Meatbodies, recently shortened from “Chad & the Meatbodies” was formed by, you got it, Chad… Ubovich – Mikal Cronin’s traveling guitarist. The LA-based band has a handful of jams, two of which, “Wahoo,” and “Steps” were recently pressed onto a (pink splattered!) 7″ via In the Red Records (Ty Segall).
Word on the street is that Meatbodies will be releasing an LP sometime this year too – Wahoo! They’re also on tour with none other than the lovable and goofy Canadian crooner, Mac DeMarco. Keep an eye and an ear out for them!
Meatbodies – Wahoo
Meatbodies – Steps
As part of my morning routine, I passively listen to my massive music blog feed (of about 90 music blogs) while getting ready for work. Occasionally I’ll discover something I dig, and in between blow drying my hair and eating breakfast, I’ll tuck it away into a “favorites” file.
Today, however, my ears perked up immediately upon hearing the most refreshing, glorious and beautiful dream-pop. “Who could this be?!” I exclaimed – A thought that sparks joyous panic for a new music scourer on the hunt for a sparkling diamond in the rough sands of millions of bands. I dropped the hair dryer and ran over to the computer. There they were: Hush Pup… A new duo out of Victoria, British Columbia, who had been featured on the excellent and eccentric music blog, Weird Canada.
After frantically searching for more Hush Pup sounds, I discovered that this amazing new music wasn’t actually (brand spanking) new? The definition of “new” is relative, of course. Little to my knowledge, the dreamy duo had released a 3-track EP via Legwarmer Records in 2013 titled, Darlene. Yes, the EP/band had been given shout outs late last year on a couple of music blogs like Silent Shout or Aux.tv, but I’m only seeing this now.
Where was I when this all went down, or should I say up? Where were any of us? The band only has 300+ followers on Facebook and less than 30 “hearts” on Hype Machine? How’d these sweet sounds slip through my/our eager ears? Some people were certainly on the bandwagon, but I’d say not nearly enough. So without further adieu, I gladly present you: Hush Pup, ‘cus better late than never! And I’m happy to announce that according to their Facebook, we can expect new music real soon (as in, this summer) – I’m not missing it this time, and neither should you! Find ’em on Facebook and Bandcamp, too.
Oh, Tom Krell, you’re simply the best! How to Dress Well, the moniker for the beloved Chicago-Brooklyn-Berlin based soulful singer-songwriter with twinkling eyes and a magnetic stage presence has announced this morning the arrival of a new LP, What is This Heart? The album is due out June 23rd (UK, Europe)/24th (USA) via Weird World and Domino including a deluxe limited edition LP. On his blog Krell stated, “The deluxe lp is sooooo special and amazing, really excited to share it w uuuuu xoxoxoxox <3.”
Have a listen to two lovely new singles from the highly anticipated album: “Repeat Pleasure,” and “Words I Don’t Remember”
What is This Heart? tracklist:
1. 2 Years On (Shame Dream)
2. What You Wanted
3. Face Again
4. See You Fall
5. Repeat Pleasure
6. Words I Don’t Remember
7. Pour Cyril
8. Precious Love
9. Childhood Faith In Love (Everything Must Change, Everything Must Stay The Same)
10. A Power
11. Very Best Friend
12. House Inside (Future Is Older Than The Past)
How to Dress Well – Repeat Pleasure
How to Dress Well – Words I Don’t Remember
I know it’s April fool’s day and all, but I can’t be bothered to actually pull any pranks (I’m terrible at ’em anyway). I do, however, have some very real and amazing news about what else today represents: Album release day; hooray! Three very different, but talented and beloved bands, Timber Timbre, Mac DeMarco and Pure X have all released brand new LPs, Hot Dreams, Salad Days and Angel, on this fit for tricks day. Whether you’ve already been stumped, deluded and/or duped today, I bring you some refreshing musical truth:
Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams via Arts & Crafts
Timber Timbre is a dark, beautiful, semi-spooky, and sometimes described as “swampy” Canadian folk project and trio made up of Taylor Kirk, Simon Trottier and Mika Posen. Their moniker refers to a timber-framed cabin set in the wooded outskirts of Bobcaygeon Ontario where they made an early series of recordings. Hot Dreams is their 5th (yes, 5th!) album.
Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams
Timber Timbre – Curtains?!
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days via Captured Tracks
Oh, Mac DeMarc0. He’s everyone’s favorite goofy, guitar slingin’ Canadian crooner (who’s now currently residing in Brooklyn). Since the release of his wacky LP, Rock and Roll Night Club in 2012 (technically his first album), and the blow up of his second album, Mac DeMarco 2, that soon followed after, the 23-year-old seems to be on a never-ending whirlwind tour of mischievousness. Banging out Metallica covers, smoking endless cigarettes, and playing his catchy, crooner crowd pleasers to thousands over and over again, Mac may look tired, but no one is of his music. He’s come a long way since his days of Rock and Roll Night Club. With the release of Salad Days, which touches on more personal and semi-serious tops, like the inability for his long-time girlfriend, “Kiki” to stay legally in the United States in “Let My Baby Stay,” it seems as if Mac’s all grown up… kind of.
Mac DeMarco – Passing Out Pieces
Mac DeMarc0 – Brother
Pure X – Angel via Fat Possum
Pure X is Austin, Texas’s billowy, psychedelic chillwave quartet (formerly known as Pure Ecstasy). Angel is the group’s 3rd album and according to their LP promo material, Angel was written and recorded over just 5 days in a hundred-year-old dance hall situated in a small town in central Texas. Drummer Austin Youngblood described the album as “a record for the ladies, about the ladies.” Now, who can resist?
Pure X – Starlight
Pure X – Heaven