Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: Fave 100 of 2011

For my last playlist of the year I am going to jump on the year-end list bandwagon and give you guys my Fave 100 of 2011.

Overall I would say 2011 was pretty disappointing in terms of great albums. I would be hard pressed to name even 10 albums that I truly loved this year, start to finish. Ones I was really looking forward to ended up being pretty blah (I'm looking at you, Feist.) However, there were tons of great singles to be found amongst these otherwise underwhelming albums (even you, Feist.) I actually had to cut some tracks to keep it to a tidy 100 list (sorry Jonathan - Jlo's On the Floor was one of the casualties.)

The mix is definitely indie rock heavy (since that is my forte,) but pop, dance, country and hip-hop do make appearances throughout. I actually start the playlist with one of my top 5 tracks of the year, Childish Gambino's Heartbeat which is a kick ass hip-hop tune with a great pounding dance beat. His "Camp" album is one of the few standouts of the year, as is the sitcom he stars in, Community. Donald Glover (seen above) pretty much owned 2011 (at least from my point of view.)

If I had to pick a trend of 2011 I would have to say it is the year that indie acts went synth. There are so many cool lo-fi tunes with synthy danceable back beats on this playlist, including Is Tropical's South Pacific, Washed Out's Amor Fati, and (the Jonathan recommended) Crystal Castles' Baptism. There was also a lot of straight up awesome club tunes, most notable for me being David Guetta featuring (the amazeballs as always) Sia singing Titanium.

As stated earlier there were only about 10 albums I would say warranted repeat listens and mention on my year end list: (in no particular order) the aforementioned Childish Gambino's "Camp," the Kills' (pictured to the right) "Blood Pressures," the Head and the Heart's self-titled, My Morning Jacket's "Circuital," Decemberists' "The King Is Dead," Peter Bjorn & John's "Gimme Some," Lykke Li's "Wounded Rhymes," Raphael Saadiq's "Stone Rollin'," Foster the People's "Torches," and (just to throw you off) Oh Land's self titled.

I hope you enjoy this compilation. Although 2011 was a rough year for many people, myself included, the music was upbeat, fun and a great distraction. By the way, remember that my Hipster for the Holidays playlist is an excellent alternative group of tunes to listen to while celebrating the Christmas season. It is by far my most subscribed to playlist, with 142 and counting! Until next year!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: Jonathan & Me

I believe in soul mates. In fact I think the idea that you only get one soul mate in life is crap. Whoever came up with that concept was probably a lonely old codger. I personally feel that I have encountered no less than three soul mates in my life (not counting family.) These amazing people have entered my life and left an indelible impression on my being (not to sound too new agey.)

One in particular is Jonathan - who without a doubt is my pop culture soul mate. That is us to the left, on my wedding day - I'm doing my best Tyra Top Model look and he is laughing at my horrible attempt. Never could I have imagined (way back in late 2003) that the fellow employee I was chatting with on the phone over at my sister Gamekeeper store in Waterbury would be someone who has the same unflinching passion for music, TV and movies - both the good and the oh so bad. The instant Jonathan and I met we could not stop talking music, swapping mixes and marathoning Twin Peaks. It was an entertainment match made in heaven.

Here is the best thing ever: my best friend met the love of his life and is moving in with him! Here is the worst thing ever: my best friend met the love of his life and is moving in with him in Orlando! Of course that reaction is completely selfish - but I cannot help it. I am going to be so sad when he leaves. It will be like losing a limb (well, at least what I think losing a limb would feel like - which is awful and painful and weird and like I am going to have phantom pains thinking he is right down the street, but then when I realize he is gone it is going to hurt all over again.) But then I think about how happy he is with his boyfriend Miker and how ridiculously well Miker treats him (which is exactly how he deserves to be treated) and I cannot be anything but ::tears in my eyes:: super crazy out-of-control blissfully happy for him. This was meant to be. I have no doubt in my mind.

As I am writing this, I am listening to the massive
playlist (21 hours and counting) I have put together that is simply Jonathan & Me. kd lang's cover of The Valley is playing and I am totes crying. Of course only Jonathan understands why - kd lang is one of our strange loves. I had him listen to her "Live By Request" album shortly after we first met and thus started our obsession with all things kd (pua kd kd.) Not only do we collectively own every album she ever released, we also have her Live By Request DVD and have seen her twice in concert - once in the front row - where she gave us guitar picks - and we lost our shit. You will note in our playlist that she is largely featured.

She is definitely not our only obsession. Along the country lines we also have a passion for that crazy drunk Lucinda Williams ("Everything is wrong!" "I see your sweet side.") As for pop, much to the chagrin of my husband, we love all that is Ashlee Simpson - pre-nose job AND post ("ay yai yai yai yai you're talking way too much.") Not to mention Britney, Her Name is Nicole Scherzy Scherz, ButtaFace Fergie, She's just being Miley, Shaki, Rih Rih and No More Drama Mary J. We also adore music that hipsters would approve of, such as Jenny Lewis, Ra Ra Riot, Neko Case, Cat Power (despite the snooze factor), Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene.

This mix also has songs from artists we have seen in concert together, which is a long list in its own right: Patti Smith, Justin Timberlake, Oh Land, Sia (2xs), Ximena Sarinana, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Juliana Hatfield, Kelly Clarkson, Ra Ra Riot, Death Cab For Cutie, Darryl Hall, Jefferson Starship (hellz yeah Hamden concert series!), Tori Amos (2xs), kd lang (2xs), Paramore (2xs), Lykke Li, Regina Spektor, Walkmen, Black Keys, Florence & the Machine, Pixies, St. Vincent, Tegan & Sara, Ray LaMontagne and Brandi Carlisle. I am sure there are more but I am getting old and can no longer remember everything. In the age of Skype, Facebook and Twitter I know we will stay close, however not being able to go to concerts together is going to be rough!

I could talk about why each song is on the list but then this would be a War and Peace sized novel, not a blog post. There is one song, however, that deserves mention. The playlist begins with The The's This Is the Day because on the very first day Jonathan moved to New Haven to begin a new installment of his life, he put that song on and we danced together in his new living room. It was a moment of pure joy and hope. When Jonathan arrives at his new home in Orlando on New Years Eve to begin the next chapter of his life, he will play the song again - this time with the love of his life to dance with. It is how it should be.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: Hipster for the Holidays

It is December, which means of course that the holiday season is upon us. Shopping, wrapping, baking, eating, drinking, giving, receiving - my brain already hurts. To tell you the truth, the Christmas spirit has not yet taken hold for me. I even made the crazy decision to NOT put up my tree! And believe me, I love my tree (and my sparkly IKEA snowflake ornaments.) I am hoping that listening to my new Hipster for the Holidays playlist will put me in more Christmasy minded spirits.

It is hard to deny the charm of the Decemberists singing Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas or Cindy Lauper & the Hives having a Christmas Duel. Like any decent card carrying hipster would require, this playlist is infused with copious amounts of Sufjan Stevens and She & Him throughout. Most hipsters also like "some" country, typically only the classic variety, which is why I included Loretta Lynn's To Heck With Ole Santa Claus and Brenda Lee's Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day.

For the ironic hipster (and Saving Silverman fans) I included some Neil Diamond from his Cherry Cherry Christmas album (ha!.) Just like with country music, true hipsters embrace certain levels of R&B (usually Motown and funk) which resulted in Jackson 5's Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Marvin Gaye's I Want to Come Home for Christmas, Stevie Wonder rocking out on both What Christmas Means to Me and Ave Maria, and of course James Brown's Let's Make Christmas Mean Something This Year (Parts 1 & 2) making the list. For the hipsters with a sense of humor I included Adam Sandler's Chanukah Song (v. 1 & 2), Early 50s Recording of Cowboy Timmy singing the classic Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo, Cheech & Chong's Santa Claus and His Old Lady and Guster's Carol of the Meows.

I hope all of you hipsters and non-hipsters alike find this holiday mix enjoyable. If there are some tunes that you feel should be on this list, let me know! By the way, the handsome hipster in the photo is my husband in his winning Ugly Sweater. Hipsters just love their ugly sweater parties.

As for next week's playlist - one of the big reasons I am not yet in the mood for Christmas is because my best friend is moving away at the end of the month to another state to be with the love of his life. A total Happy/Sad occasion to say the least. In preparation for his move I have been working on a massive playlist that spans our friendship. I will post it next week for y'all:-)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: From the Vault! 70s Brits

As I noted in a prior post, before embarking on a fab trip to London a few years back I made playlists of Brits by decade, from the 60s to the present. My original 70s Brits mix was a spare 60 minutes long and did not cover much ground - but with the magic of Spotty I have a new and improved 70s Brits playlist for all of you to enjoy! In industry terms this would be considered the expanded deluxe reissue.

I tried my best to cover all types of genres in this mix, with help from this great Wikipedia article. On this playlist you will find blues rock, soft rock, glam rock, prog rock (the least annoying possible - a 1:40 Yes song is almost unheard of but I managed to find it and utilize it) and even pub rock. There is also punk, post-punk, new wave and a tiny bit of pop (Brits do not have the best pop taste, unfortunately.) Some of the songs are on the obvious side, such as Sex Positols Anarchy in the UK, but honestly that is their only good song - if you don't believe me I dare you to try to sit through that entire album. Others are nice hidden gems, including a couple girl-punk bands The Slits (with the super cool Newtown) and The Raincoats (with an ahead of its time No Side to Fall In.)

As for omissions, the Pink Floyd selection was dreadful and as I am not a big fan, I didn't bother putting a crappy live cut on the mix. Of course Led Zeppelin is not on Spotty as they are notoriously stingy with their digital content, like the Beatles! Other than that, the 70s Brits are very well represented on Spotify and I did not need to make too many alterations from my original 21 track set. As always, feel free to let me know if I left any favorites out.

Next week's playlist is a set of carols and such entitled, "Hipster for the Holidays." Although I am not yet in the holiday spirit I am hoping this mix will help bring me there. Until next time!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: Thanksgiving Dinner!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, mostly because the focus is on delicious home cooked comfort food. In honor of this wonderful time of year I have created a playlist filled with songs that reference not just Thanksgiving, but all of the foods that we eat on that special Thursday in November.

Thanksgiving Dinner includes songs about potatoes (both mashed and sweet,) turkey, cranberry sauce, wine and PIE! I must admit, as it is on Thanksgiving, the pie section is by far the best. I had a tough time locating songs about stuffing, so if you have any suggestions, send them my way.

BTW, if you are wondering who the dork is on the left, that is me wearing an autumnal themed shirt that I borrowed from my co-worker for an ugly sweater party a few years back. I am considering asking her to borrow it again to wear on Thanksgiving. If not I will probably rock my HIMYM Slap Bet Commissioner t-shirt for the second year in a row to celebrate Slapsgiving.

Enjoy the playlist and happy holidays!!!!! I am not going to promise another playlist for next week, since I will be busy cooking cranberry sauce, pumpkin gooey butter cake and sweet potato casserole:-) What recipes will you be cooking up this time next week?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: Jealous Much?

After reading this awesome post on Rookie, called Getting Over Girl Hate, I was inspired to make a Spotify playlist of songs about girls v. girls, called Jealous Much?. All of these songs center around rampant jealousy and a general, "stay away from my man" mentality. To tell the truth, as in life, most of the tunes are about a woman's fear of losing her man to another woman - and the girl on girl hatred that follows.

It must be noted that country and hip-hop artists cover this topic most often (and the best.) How can you top Loretta Lynn's You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man? Ummm well maybe if you are Khia, talkin' 'bout them Jealous Girls. I even included the hilarious Jealousy by THE Paris Hilton, cuz it is an amazing Nicole Richie smack down (love the House of Harlow jewelry line btw Nicole - nothin' but love for ya.)

Hopefully the amazing showing of girl power from this year's Emmy broadcast (in case you missed it - makes me cry every time) and the killer box office from Bridesmaids shows that we are moving in the right direction, ladies. No need to hate on one another. There is room for all of us to be awesome - and plenty of men to go around. Hopefully someday we will live in world without these types of songs. But until then, the dramatic cattiness is kind of fun;-)

This is a work in progress - I know there are more songs that fit into this category out there! Send me your suggestions please! As for next week's playlist theme: Thanksgiving Dinner. Songs about the food we love to eat on Thanksgiving Day. Until then!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: Cover Me

This week's playlist is a simple theme that is sure to be revisited again: Cover Me - aka cover songs. Almost every artist covers other musicians' works at some point or another, some more successfully than others.

This playlist embraces those who put their own stamp on someone else's music and lyrics, sometimes to the point where the cover surpasses the original (such as Al Green's take on the BeeGees How Can You Mend A Broken Heart) or is practically unrecognizable (such as Devo's version of the Rolling Stones' [I Can't Get No] Satisfaction).

To show just how differently two musician's can interpret one song, I put on two covers of Elton John's Your Song. One is a sweet and sparse version by Ellie Goulding and the other is a danceable R&B take by Billy Paul. I love both!

Anyhow, I truly hope you enjoy these covers. I will definitely do another covers playlist in the future, as there are just so many great ones to choose from. As for next week's playlist: Jealous Much? - songs about girl on girl hate.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: From the Vault! 60s Brits

Right before I took a trip to London a couple years back, I prepped a series of iTunes mixes of my fave songs by English artists (by decade) for my travel group to enjoy on the plane ride. Unfortunately most of them didn't have the chance to give them a listen after taking their Tylenol PMs with the booze of their choice.

To give these enjoyable mixes one more shot, I have converted them to Spotify and even added some bonus tracks, as Spotty's collection of Britpop definitely outnumbered my own. To begin I give you: 60s Brits, a fun collection filled with British Invasion artists. Fans of Quentin Tarantino may recognize the amazing ditty Hold Tight by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, which was so beautifully used in Death Proof. There is also a couple choice tunes by the Troggs, inlcuding With a Girl Like You and the classic Love Is All Around, which never fails to make me think of Bill Nighy's ridiculous version of the song Christmas is All Around from Love Actually.

As usual, if you see any glaring omissions or errors please send me your comments and recommendations (they may make the playlist!) Reminder: no Beatles or Zeppelin on Spotty:-( Also this mix was only artists from England (no Scotts, Welsh or Irish.) So if you are yelling, "Where the F*** is Donovan?!!," there is your answer (he's Scottish.)

So in the future you will see other Brit decade playlists (70s, 80s, 90s and 00s), but as for next week the theme will be: Cover me! A playlist of only covers (I am sure it will be the first of many.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vixen's Flixens: The Trip

If you enjoy meta movies where actors play fictionalized versions of themselves then this is the move for you. Michael Winterbottom's latest film, The Trip, was my favorite movie from this summer and is now available on Netflix Instant Viewing!

Steve Coogan (Mr. Alan Partridge) and Rob Brydon (Uncle Bryn from Gavin & Stacey) basically teach a masterclass in the art of comic timing, chemistry and impressions in this film, which was actually first a six episode BBC series in 2010 before being edited to a feature length film.

I seriously recommend this movie to anyone who likes to laugh, but specifically to fans of British comedy. One thing I can guarantee is that you will be working on your Michael Caine impression after seeing this.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: Jeepers Creepers

Just in time for Halloween comes this week's installment of Vixen's Mixens: Jeepers Creepers. There is not much to say about this crop of songs, other than they are filled with references to: blood, knives, ghosts, monsters and many more spooky subjects.

I would have to say the oddest tune amongst this bunch is Satan is Real by the Louvin Brothers. This song is a warning to those who may not realize that Satan, in fact, is very real. But according to the LBros, don't fear - God is real too. Mostly I love it because of the ridiculously amazing cover art, as seen to my left.

Anyhow - please enjoy! It was a fun one to make. Next week's playlist theme is the first in my Anglophile series, 60s Brits.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: My Poppin' Hip Hoppin' 90s

This weeks theme may be one of the funnest I have done: My Poppin' Hip Hoppin' 90s. Enough distance has passed where these mostly overplayed songs no longer annoy me and now have that excellent retro sheen.

Big thanks to my FB peeps for filling in the massive gaping holes my memory left behind, especially PM Dawn (Mary Beth's hubby Chris), Kriss Kross (my girl Poots), Right Said Fred (Sara L.), Salt-N-Pepa (My friend and neighbor Katie C.), and countless artists from my bro Dylan and my bestie Beana.

Seriously -put on your belly shirts and baggy jeans (with condoms pinned to them if your name is T-Boz) and party like its 1990-1999.

Next week's theme: Jeepers Creepers. A "killer" playlist for your Halloween parties.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: I Love You In the Fall

Although the temps today may be in the 70s, the weatherman promises as of tomorrow we will really begin experiencing the fall – which, being a New Englander, is my favorite time of year. Not just for the changing leaves, but more for the boots and sweaters (obvi.) Yup, just let me wear some boots and sweaters and I am a happy camper – throw in a scarf and blazer and I am over the moon!

Here is my lovely set of tunes to get you pumped for this new fall season of boots, booties, cardies and cowl necks: I Love You In the Fall. On this mix you will find all sorts of autumnally themed songs, such as Yo La Tengo’s Autumn Sweater, Miss Li’s Autumn Cold, and Neil Young’s Harvest. I also have a fun folky/country section which includes a great bluegrass tune by Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys called When the Golden Leaves Begin to Fall as well as Do You Love An Apple by the Secret Sisters and a countrified cover of the White Stripes’ Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground by Chris Thile. And because I love cheese with my apple pie, I had to include Barry Manilow’s Weekend In New England.

Big thanks to my brother Dylan for recommending the Black Keys’ Remember When (side A and side B) after discovering that his first choice Autumn Almanac by the Kinks was not available on Spotty. As I explained, the Kinks selection on Spotty is unfortunately very limited. However his replacement tunes do the Kinks justice!

I hope you enjoy the playlist, as well as the boots and sweaters! Next week’s theme will be: My Poppin’ Hip Hoppin’ 90s, which is a follow up to a previous playlist, My Rockin’ 90s. Get ready for some fantabulous and craptastic 90s pop!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: What's In a Name?

What is one thing that everyone has? A name! You may like yours (I personally enjoy having the name of two awesome British queens - Victoria and Elizabeth) or hate it - but we all have to be identified by one (unless you are Prince and can be referred to by a symbol.) The theme for this week's playlist is quite simple: What's In a Name? - songs with names in the title.

When I undertook this theme I honestly underestimated the sheer amount of songs written with specific people in mind. Holy cow - just the songs with famous people's names alone was out of control. We have Houdini (Foster the People), Paul Simon (the Russian Futurists), Bonnie & Clyde (Jay-Z & Beyonce and Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot - as well as Merle Haggard!), Bill Murray (Gorillaz) and Bill Gates (Lil Wayne).

Then of course there are names that became famous because of the songs they were featured in, such as Eleanor Rigby (Aretha Franklin version - sorry but still no Beatles on Spotty), Billie Jean (Michael Jackson), Roxanne (The Police) and Janie Jones (The Clash).

I also tried to find songs that featured my loved ones names - some successfully and others not so much (sorry Christina but the only song I could find with your name was by Anthony & the Johnsons and I REFUSE to put them on my playlist.)

As there were just so many Name songs I had to line them up in alphabetical order, just like in grade school. I hope you enjoy all 7 hours! If you have a great song that features your name that did not make my playlist, let me know and I'll be sure to add it!

Next week's theme will be: I Love You In the Fall. Songs for the new season!!!! Start thinking of recommendations now!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: Just Drive!

If you are wondering who this little guy to my left is, that is Pegasus - my little wiener Beanie Baby in Fruit of the Looms that has been my driving buddy since I got my first car!

Which leads me to my newest playlist: Just Drive! This week's theme is one we can all relate to, as we have either driven or been passengers for most of our lives. These songs are meant to be listened to on the open road, with the wind in your hair and the 5-0 on your heels. Seriously, most of these songs will get you speeding (see Lenny Kravitz's Where Are We Running which actually caused me to get pulled over).

Some of the highlights include thematically obvi choices, such as Johnny Cash's I've Been Everywhere and Willie Nelson's On the Road Again, and some new badass tunes, such as Mates of States Palomino and the Kooks' Junk of the Heart (Happy). I also have some great recommended tunes from my FB peeps, including Cake's Stickshifts and Safetybelts (from my old college buddy Marla), Steppenwolf's Magic Carpet Ride (from my former roommate and sista 4 life Kerry), Golden Earring's Radar Love (from my fab Brit cousin Sharon) and Gorrillaz' DARE (from my hubby Roger).

Of course I rounded it all off with THE driving song of all driving songs...Drive by the Cars. I hope you all enjoy the latest mix - if you have spotty premium and a stereo input in your car you will actually be able to put this playlist to the test! Let me know how it works out.

Btw, next week's theme: What's in a Name? A mix filled with songs with names in the title. Send my your suggestions and they may make the cut!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: From the Vault! Bitter Melodies/Birthday Mix

Much like garbage pick-up, this week I am running a day behind due to the Labor Day holiday. First of all, let me say that I had an “epic” weekend filled with my Ponies, their respective Stallions and one fantabulous Wedding joining two fantabulous people! As you can imagine, I am still recovering from the overdose of fab. Therefore this week I am reaching into my Mixen’s vault and hitting you up with a combo playlist: Bitter Melodies/Birthday Mix.

The first half is a Bitter Melodies mix that I made for my good friend Chrissy years ago – guessing from the songs it seems to be circa 2002. Chrissy has always been one of my biggest fans (see pic) – she totally encouraged me to keep making mixes and to get over my shyness and sing in public. I’m so sad she lives in another state – however I am super happy that she just married her soul mate this summer! Chrissy is extremely down to earth, strong, and fun - but she is definitely super empathetic. This mix was totes hand crafted for her – part upbeat, part melancholy but all good! Since Spotty does not have EVERYTHING (but close to) I had to make a couple substitutions from my original. The opening song should be Pee Shy’s Mr. Whisper but alas I had to choose another girlie rock tune from the 90s – thus the Veruca Salt Volcano Girls. The other substitution is a rarity from Weezer called American Girls that is sorely missed. Instead I stuck in another similarly themed Weezer tune Keep Fishin’. The last song of this mix is New Radicals Mother We Just Can’t Get Enough. Still bummed that the band never did anything after that album.

The second mix picks up at the Chemical Brothers Piku – a song that was definitely on numerous mixes of mine from that time period (looks to be from 2000). This Birthday Mix was made for a boy! A real boy! The first mix I ever made for a boy! We met through a mutual friend in Massachusetts but it was long distance and never worked out (besides the fact that I am pretty sure he was gay.) One of our few meetings included a birthday party for him, so what else would any decent girl with a crush, no money and a cd burner do but make him a mix!? So since I did not know him super well, this mix is more about me trying to “impress” him with my diverse (see Elton John, Aterciopelados) super cool hipster (see Portishead, Groove Armada) music taste. Looking back it was probably a bit too butch for him (see Smashing Pumpkins, Toadies). There are two substitutions in this section – Spotty does not have my fave Catherine Wheel album, “Adam & Eve” which has one of their best tunes Delicious so I had to go with their other equally passionate song Heal 2. Eric Hutchinson, who went to college with me (although we were not friends or anything – I was just a quasi-stalky super fan) only has his newer material on Spotty so I could not include the amazing old school track Slow Me Down from his self produced “Songs For Nagoya”. Instead I put on Back To Where I Was, which is equally enjoyable. Just to warn you, Hutch will make an appearance on the majority of my mixes ‘cause he is my boy.

Anyhow I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane. I will be returning to the vault again in the future but next week’s theme is “Just Drive” – great songs to listen to on the road. Send me your suggestions here or on twitter at @thomyorkesbadeye

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: Indian Summer

Hurricane Irene has come and gone - leaving some of us without electricity and most of us with quite a bit of clean up to do. To all of my fellow East Coasters/New Englanders this week's playlist is dedicated to you! Now that the storm is gone I am hoping that we will have an Indian Summer - a little bit of extra warmth to ease us into the fall and winter.

This is a collection of songs that make me think of a warm sun, a cool breeze and young summer romance. Parts of the playlist just make me want to shake my booty like any good summer song should. Give it a listen this Labor Day weekend, while the beaches are still open and the badminton net is still up! BTW congrats to my "pony" Kate Kugler - who is getting married to an amazing man this weekend!

Shout outs to my FB peeps who recommended some fab tunes - such as Cape Dory by Tennis (thx Laia) and Baby by Devendra Banhart (thx @TrashoStereo)! Feel free to share your favorite songs of summer with me here - they may even make it onto the playlist:-)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: Special Hurricane Edition!

Although I usually only do one playlist a week, in honor of the impending East Coast Hurricane I felt it only right to provide people with a soundtrack to get you through the storm (if you have power, of course!) My Goodnight (Hurricane) Irene playlist is filled with stormy weater related tunes (including the Lena Horne rendition of Stormy Weather) as well as tunes in honor of various Irenes, such as a particularly fun throwback by British New Wave/Punk band the Photos called, you guessed it, Irene. I included some obvious guilty pleasures including Scorpion's Rock You Like a Hurricane and Christopher Cross' Ride Like the Wind. To please my bestie and #1 playlist fan Jonathan aka @TrashoStereo I also threw in Taylor Swift (Come In With the Rain) and Paramore (When It Rains.) To please my husband aka @Egocrata there is a Spinal Tap number entitled Break Like the Wind. As a special tribute to my favorite Irene I close out the playlist with one of the best movie soundtrack songs of all time....Flashdance...What a Feeling by Irene Cara. Feel free to give me feedback - glaring ommissions, etc. Enjoy and stay safe!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: My Rockin' 90s

My Rockin 90s: In honor of the ridiculously unusual East Coast earthquake we experienced today, I am offering you a Spotty playlist of songs that rocked my world in the 1990s (it's a stretch, I know.)

Back then I was a nerdy teenager super thirsty for the latest and greatest tunes. My fave magazine subscription was Rolling Stone, which I read religiously (nowadays it's Entertainment Weekly, lovingly referred to as "the bible" in our house.) When I went to the mall, I made a beeline for Sam Goody and longed for the day when I would have steady income so I could buy every album on my very long wish list. When I finally did get a job at my local movie theater, almost every dime went towards increasing my (IMO) amazing CD collection (little did I know that when I would be old enough to afford all the music I want it would be available so cheap through the interwebs.)

I was a massive Brit pop junkie - falling hard for Radiohead, Oasis, Blur, Supergrass and Pulp as soon as they crossed our shore. But I also went through the grunge phase (I totes wore my dad's flannels around my waist EVERY day as if I was an extra in Singles) and got bit by the "Electronica" fad (never was a raver though - I was waaaay too nerdy for that.) All of that music is here - along with my fave indie-ish stuff (Pavement, Yo La Tengo and Built To Spill) and my girls (aka Bjork, Tori, Fiona and Polly Jean.) Just for fun I threw in some amazeball one hit wonders (remember "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand" or "Brimful of Asha"?).

Anyhow, if you are anything like me, I think you will enjoy this trip down memory lane. I hope you have as much fun listening to it as I had making it! BTW - don't think that I forgot about hip-hop and pop - I am already working on "My Poppin' Hip-hoppin' 90s" playlist which I will post sometime in the near future. As for next week's playlist, I am hoping for an "Indian Summer." [above image from]

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vixen's Flixens: Work It!

During the slow days of summer, when network television is a desert in terms of quality programming, I turn to Netflix Instant Viewing for survival. For those of you who are in need of some genuinely funny and entertaining shows, here are a couple work place based sitcoms that I cannot say enough good things about. The fact that both of them feature Adam Scott is purely coincidental (not really - love him.) Best thing is that they are both available now on instant viewing so have fun!

Party Down: "Are we having fun yet?" This short lived Starz series follows a group of small time caterers in Los Angeles, with the majority of the employees treating the gig as their day job while they attempt to make it in show business. The cast is phenomenal - with a lot of cross overs from exec. producer/co-creator Rob Thomas' Veronica Mars, including Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Ken Marino and Ryan Hansen, who all appeared on the CW series. Adam Scott's failed actor Henry is the sarcastic, depressive realist that anchors the show, that is otherwise filled with pipe-dreaming wacky losers who, for the most part, have no clue that they actually are losers. Henry is haunted throughout the series by one beer commercial he starred in that created a nationwide catchphrase, ala Whazzzzup?! The most original aspect of the show is that every episode takes place at a different party event, ranging from corporate retreats to a Porn awards after party. This creates a great opportunity for amazing guest appearances. Two episodes not to miss are "Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen," which features guest stars J.K. Simmons (at his foul-mouthed best), Breckin Meyer and Joey Lauren Adams, and "Steve Guttenbergs Birthday" which of course features Veronica Mars alum Steve Guttenberg in a hilarious turn playing himself. Seriously this show is amazing and not to be missed.

Parks and Recreation: What can I say - the parks department of Pawnee Indiana won me over. Led by Amy Poehler's eternal optimist Leslie Knope, the employees of this small town government office are all equal parts quirky and genuine, with a bit of crazy thrown in for good measure. According to my political science geek husband, the depiction of small town politics is surprisingly realistic. To me, though, the reason the show works is that it manages to be funny with a heart - without being overly sappy. And the depiction of the friendship between Leslie and Ann Perkins (played by the lovely Rashida Jones) is the most honest look at true female relationships I have ever seen on television (I'm talking to you, Sex & the City.) Two episodes not to be missed: "Greg Pikitis" wherein Leslie and her cop boyfriend, guest star Louis C.K. attempt to take down the titular teenager who defaces Pawnee property every Halloween, and "Telethon" which features Leslie on a crazy sugar high from eating Sweetums bars and the amazing crash that follows; BONUS - the episode was written by Amy Poehler. The first season starts off slow but season 2 and 3 are not to be missed. Unfortunately season 3 is not yet on instant, but once it is, it is totally worth marathoning!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vixen's Mixens: I Was Running

First of all, let me just say - thank goodness Spotify finally arrived in the States! I have been using the Spanish version for a couple years now under my husband's username but now I can finally have my very own. The social aspect of Spotify (aka Spotty) makes it the clear winner IMO for streaming music services - not to mention the killer library. Sharing your favorite new tunes on the social media service of your choice could not be easier, but even better is the sharing of playlists.

I was a kid who slaved over making mixtapes, ala Rob Fleming from High Fidelity. The opening and closing tracks were crucial, as well as the overall flow from song to song. You had to get the timing just right on each side of the cassette (yes I am old) to avoid - god forbid - cutting off the closing song. When .mp3s and burning cds became commonplace it was nothing short of revolutionary. Dragging and dropping was just too easy! Then when ipods and itunes playlists came into fashion it was even more mind blowing. You were no longer limited to 80 minutes worth of music! I have a party playlist on my ipod right now that has 643 songs and counting.

So Spotty is the next step in the evolution of making mixes. No need to press record, burn a disc or hook up your friend's ipod to your itunes. You only need to share your playlist with other Spotty members. Simple. Fun. Fantastic.

I will not let this technology go to waste! I will periodically (weekly, in theory) post playlists with different themes (my fave types of mixes). If I am in a sharing mood, I'll give you some insight as to why I chose what I chose and what not. Hope you enjoy.

This week's theme: I Was Running. I am by no means a fitness enthusiast, however if I do work out - upbeat tunes are a must. This is a 2 hour mix filled with pop, hipster shizz and even a Stereo MCs classic from the good 'ol 90s. Speaking of the 90s - that will be the theme of next weeks list;-) Have fun my peeps!