Playlist: Sun-Drenched

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Labor Day is upon us, and as we all know, that signifies the end of summer. Personally, I am not a huge fan of summer. I don’t like being hot, and my Eastern European skin doesn’t like the sun. At the same time, I still get a bittersweet feeling when it ends. We associate summer with a type of freedom; it’s the time to be carefree, get outside to enjoy life, and make our dreams come true. Additionally, there seems to be a strange nostalgia that comes along with summer, even though the majority of us never experienced the things we long for during the season. Can you honestly say that you spent the hottest months as a child running though meadows of sunflowers? Do you really have any overexposed Polaroids of you at the beach in your high school days? There is a desire in us to somehow relive these times we may have experienced once or twice, if at all.

So when summer ends and we haven’t built a bonfire on the beach or fallen in love or thrown caution to the wind on a cross-country road trip, there is a feeling of sadness and we remain unfulfilled. We feel like we let the prime months slip away in our older age. Summer reminds us of our younger years, when everything seemed wild and open, even if in reality our past summers were just as structured as our current lives.

The playlist I have included with this post directly targets what is most likely that false summer nostalgia. As the long days fade away, we can look back on what was and what never came to be over the last few months. The songs are undeniably in the feel of summer, but they also hide a layer of sadness beneath the exterior. The hazy chillwave and washed-out dream pop will hopefully compliment your sunburned bodies and the quickly approaching dusk. Sometimes it’s good to feel a wistfulness for times of the past, whether they actually happened or not.

Spotify playlist here: Sun-Drenched

Photo credit – me

Playlist: Liquid Trap

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What “trap” is associated with today is a lot different than what it meant in the 90’s and early Aughts. Trap used to refer to a style of Southern Rap that focused on drug-dealing and the idea that getting out of that life was nearly impossible. The music itself generally featured beats created on an 808 with heavy snare rolls and skittering hi-hats alongside sub-bass lines, and rappers like Gucci Mane and Three 6 Mafia helped make the genre popular. As time went on, EDM artists started to pull from Trap and use various elements in their own compositions. It should also be noted that most of these EDM artists made shit music, but the molly-eating masses ate it up because it had huge drops and the other garbage nonsense these people look for in a song. The perfect example of this new type of Trap would be that horrible “Harlem Shake” song by Baauer, and it was around this point that anything associated with the word “trap” was avoided by anyone with any musical taste.

So if you’ve made it this far without unsubscribing to aDeadKid because of this post’s title, you might be thinking, “Yeah man, Trap sucks, so why are you giving us this playlist?” That’s a good question, and a question to which I have an answer. There are a lot of cool aspects to what the OG Trap artists did, and people started to incorporate these into songs that weren’t meant for stadium festival drops. In fact, many figured they could mix parts of Trap with more laid-back or experimental genres like Chillwave and Future Garage, and Liquid Trap was born.

Liquid Trap (sometimes called Chill Trap or even Future Bass, because genres are fuzzy), is a different beast altogether. The double-time, triple-time, and even quadruple-time hi-hats are still there, along with 808 kicks and hard snares, but you also might find the pitched vocals of Future Garage, the side-chained pads of Chillwave, or the rolling basslines of Liquid Drum & Bass present. Essentially, the songs were toned down a bit and made much more atmospheric, and to be honest, I love this stuff.

That isn’t to say all Liquid Trap is nothing but pads and floating samples; there is a lot out there that stays closer to Trapstep and whatever other crap you’ll hear at some festival, so it goes without saying that although I am endorsing a fair amount of the genre, there are still some real stinkers out there. If you come across them, don’t blame me.

This time around I did the playlist through SoundCloud, since a lot of these artists aren’t on Spotify. I apologize that this playlist is through my artist account, but I didn’t really have a choice. Just ignore the stupid picture of me on the player. Full disclosure though, I did shamelessly throw a track of my own into the playlist. Overall it fits into Liquid Trap, although it does change to breakbeats at some point because I’m a wild man.

Original photo of Baauer from billboard.com. Classic “I SUCK” treatment added by yours truly.

Playlist: High School Punk, Ska, and Hardcore

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I thought I was a badass my first few years of high school. I skateboarded, had liberty spikes, and covered my clothes with studs, safety pins, and patches. I was an anarchist and already mocked straight-edge kids by wearing X’s on my hands while drinking and smoking. I got sent to the principal fairly often, had my fair share of detentions, and also got stuck doing in-school suspensions. Of course, I actually wasn’t a badass at all; I lived with my parents in the suburbs and got decent grades, making the majority of my visits with the principal and rent-a-cop nothing more than stern talking-to’s about “running with the wrong crowd.” I even ran track two years, which is not hardcore at all.

But even though I was really just your everyday piece of shit suburban kid acting out, those days did ultimately shape who I am today, and a lot of the punk rock ideals I held then represent themselves in my life currently, even if they have been more realistically modified. And where did I come in contact with all these politically-charged ideas? Music of course.

Discovering punk was one of the most important things that ever happened to me. It opened me up to world of counter-culture thought and aesthetics. From punk I came across hardcore, ska, thrash, and everything in between. I realized that music could directly affect my life, and it was worth my time to hunt for new bands. The radio was garbage, and it represented inane ideas for mainstream suckers (an idea I have never fully shaken). Today, music is one of the most important things in my entire life, and punk helped me figure that out.

So I present to you a Spotify playlist containing some of my favorite bands and songs from that important era in my life. It is by no means comprehensive, not only because that would be a hell of a lot of music, but also due to the limitations of Spotify’s library. Hopefully this will bring back some memories for at least a few of you, and for the rest of you, I hope it makes you want to break a window.

Listen to the playlist here.

Image via miaminewtimes.com

Playlist: Rooftop Beats

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Image via bangitout.com, whatever the hell that is.

In case you haven’t noticed, summer is halfway over. Having recently moved to Brooklyn, I personally wish we were a bit closer to the end of the season; I thought the weather in Chicago was pretty gnarly in the dead of summer, but damn, nothing prepared me for June and July in NYC. The combo of heat and humidity here is something humans are not meant to experience. However, most people love summer, and they like to celebrate the “nice” weather by doing things like sitting out in the sun and sweating. But girl, once that sun starts to go down, the sexiness starts to go up, because after a shower and a change of clothes, people want to listen to jams and have a few cocktails.

According to quite a few movies and almost every beer commercial ever made, the young and fun like gather on city rooftops and dance away the hot nights with cool DJs and fancy neon-colored drinks. I am not young or fun, but I like to imagine that I could hang with these socialites if I were given the chance. For those of us with no sweet connections or available rooftop patios, I have put together a little Spotify playlist with the music that might, no, dammit, would, be played at such an event. Back in the old days, I used to get behind the decks every now and again, so don’t worry, I have an alright ear for the smooth and silky martini house these refined revelers want to hear. So head out to whatever available outdoor space you may have, put in some headphones, and crack open that Olde English 40, because although gen pop is not privy to swanky night raves above the skyline, DJ Smooth Matt is going to make you believe you are actually there. Sort of. Not really.

Here’s the link to the playlist: Rooftop Beats