Throughout your maturation, it’s likely there have been countless musicians that have acted like toll booths, admitting you to the next phase of taste even though their presence might not make much
cents sense in the rearview of the past.
Whatever you were influenced by– peers, instruments, hardships, parents, hobbies– or an amalgamation of so many of these intertwining variables, something, somewhere got you where you are at today in your listening habits.
And we think everyone has a story to share. No matter how distant some tastes may be, music is the universal unifier; we’re inviting all those interested to contribute your personal stories in our new guest series: AudioBiography, or an autobiography of ear hedonism. The guidelines are so loose I feel reluctant labeling them as such. So..
Guidelines. As follows:
-Number of Tracks: If you want to take the time to engage us in a thousand song marathon, who are we to deny that relentless commitment? Personally, I’ll be shooting between 15-20 songs.
-Timeline: Nope, no timeline. Take us back to your 16 week-old fetus when the inner ears first started to form, or 5 years ago when you had three Tootsie pops during that one OMG-best-set-ever. Your call…
-Order: Loosely chronological is preferred but not mandatory. Like clean shaving for a #business meeting. Or a side of Hidden Valley with that large mushroom pizza.
-Platform: Spotify preferred so that playlist creation is simplified, but by all means feel free to use Soundcloud, Youtube, MySpace, etc. as your weapon of choice.
-Content: Last but certainly not least, the content will be solely up to the contributor. No real parameters here– we leave it open to interpretation. Whether you want to focus on artists that had a profound effect on your current taste, simply take us on a comical nostalgic stroll, a cocktail of both, or something totally whimsical and different…we offer you that alternative.
So here we are, kickstarting the metaphorical #RoadTripMore for each of our respective musical life ventures. Could be sentimental. Could be weird. Could be self-deprecating. Should be FUN. Here’s my map so far:
OK, I’m not actually sure I’ve ever heard this song; however, some of my earliest memories of song and dance were riding in my grandmother’s lime green Nissan Maxima with my sibs, listening to old Hungarian records in her native Magyar tongue. I can still remember some of the melodies and lyrics to this day. When asked for comment, Mama simply distresses: “I can’t remember and somebody took the tape and never return and the group who was singing only made one tape.” History lost…
Steve Miller Band- Fly Like An Eagle (Seal Cover)
Seal is indeed making an appearance on my AudioBiography thanks to Michael Jordan’s acting chops, the slapstick antics of the Looney Tunes, and being an impressionable grade schooler with dreams of becoming a “Basketball Star”, as my 6th grade yearbook humbly put. Does anyone from Hopkins Elementary have that by the way?
blink-182- What’s My Age Again?
At around the time I was welcoming in Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray via archaic listening devices, another album got serious airtime in the Walkman: Now That’s What I Call Music! 3. The third track was called “What’s My Age Again” by a trio who called themselves “blink-182”; this would ultimately lead to hardcore fandom with the pop punk rockers. I always wanted that seafoam green Stratocaster, Tom.
Nirvana- All Apologies
I went on a borderline unhealthy obsession with Nirvana when prep-turned-sk8r Nick Battaglia entered the confines of junior high. This includes: buying nearly every Nirvana album, countless hours of Kurt Cobain rift-play on the guitar, and reading Cobain’s Biography, Heavier Than Heaven, only after I had express written consent from my mother to my teacher because of the contents contained in that book. If you haven’t heard, Kurt was a beautiful, and, at times, dark character.
Interpol- Obstacle 1
Like previously mentioned, the junior high years were spent being reckless abandons with my best friends, skateboarding the suburban terrain of Mentor, Ohio. There is no period in my life that had a more monumental effect on me musically. This chilling but defiant track from Interpol, a highlight on one of my all-time favorite albums, reminds me of my love for the scene at the time.
Pimp C- Pourin’ Up
But before long, I joined the legion of suburban white kids ironically bumpin’ misogynistic, expletive-drenched gangster raps. A lot of it had that syrup sippin’ Southern twang. Still a guilty pleasure? Guilty.
Lil Wayne- 3 Peat
The theme didn’t cease for the first year or two in the nestled paradise of college youth known as Athens, Ohio. I think my friends and I can still rap the entirety of Tha Carter III seamlessly. I don’t even know if I missed a bar on 3 Peat just now and I’m not sure how I feel about it. This brain capacity could be used in so much more noble places…
M83- We Own The Sky
If I could choose one album to listen to unbothered for eternity, M83’s Saturdays = Youth would be right up there. The dreamscapes painted in this entire album juxtaposed with the strenuous times of youth in the lyrics personifies the struggles of growing up, but M83 never seem to relinquish an aura of comfort. I find it hard to do much of anything– work, exercise, socialize– if this records on; you can’t help but stop everything and get lost in it.
Animal Collective- Bluish
Animal Collective’s 2009 masterpiece Merriweather Post Pavilion would be the album to duke it out opposite the aforementioned M83 one for All Time Fav honors. Sir Wes R. Kasik of Glass Duffle notoriety has much to be thanked for here– my fellow editor and near lifelong best pal introduced me to them junior year of college, amongst other countless more-underground independent artists at the time. (Editor’s Note: I am aware but not fond of how hipster the latter part of that sentence just sounded.)
This was the (consciously-decided) last track ever to be played in our beloved Suite at 90 West Greg in Athens, Ohio…if that gives you any insight how much it meant to us. Wes’ room was labeled as such because of the mahogany bar, loungey couch set-up, open dance floor, and access to the upstairs balcony. His bed was also situated somewhere in there along with his dresser. We made it up to Columbus, Ohio senior year to open our eyes, ears and minds for a Yeasayer show as they were touring to promote their Odd Blood album; O.N.E. still makes me awkwardly dance and belt out mumbled lyrics at the press of a button.
Gold Panda – Marriage (Star Slinger remix)
Two of my favorite electronic producers since I stumbled upon them near the end of my collegiate days– Star Slinger and Gold Panda– infuse their talents on this uplifting track. I credit these guys with being the first to substantially influence my fondness for producers who specialize in the glitches, chops, and sample-based beat atmospherics.
ODESZA- I Want You
Speaking of electronic atmospherics, beat-pop gods ODESZA were a mandatory inclusion in this list. If you read the blog at all, you know we are quite fond of the duo also known as BeachesBeaches and Catacombkid. They’ve been holding down perpetual airtime since the discovery of their infectious 2012 album Summer’s Gone. the track “I Want You” epitomizes everything I’ve come to love from the up-and-coming producers: dreamy soundscapes, chopped falsetto vocals, and a contagious vibe.
SBTRKT- Temporary View (ft. Sampha)
A hopeless romantic for the music of romantic antics, the productions behind alternative, future R&B-ish tracks owned my eardrums for the better part of 2013-14. I saw SBTRKT and Sampha live on a brisk spring evening in Cleveland a few years back, and it stands as one of my most treasured shows to date– these are two obscenely talented dudes. Sampha lends his distinct soulful vocals on another masterful electronic production by the mask-yielding Brit also known as Aaron Jerome.
Blue Sky Black Death – I (feat. Child Actor)
The ambient, beat-driven production of Blue Sky Black Death was a top 5 listen of 2014, according to Spotify’s algorithm from that year. To top it all off, I was able to check them out on a breezy Sunday at Forecastle Festival that same year with the best of friends. And this record is featuring Child Actor, whose solo stuff is a pop odyssey in itself; Natalie Plaza’s vocals swoon every time.
Mikey Lion & Kevin Anderson – Set Me Free
In the spring of 2015, I went on a transformative adventure with all three editors of Glass Duffle to a desert in SoCal. This utopia, known as Desert Heats Festival, is a culmination of house, techno and love. Mikey Lion was kind enough to house me the night before it kicked off, and his set was killer. This track in particular was played repetitively during the duration of summer’s poolside vibes. Wes and Eric are filming the Desert Hearts Three-Year anniversary this week and I couldn’t be happier for those dudes! Hoping to be back in that hedonistic bath of the finer things in life very soon…
Justin Jay- You Give Me Butterflies
Stemming from the aforementioned Desert Hearts experience was this particular track from Justin Jay. It’s why I listen to music–an escape from all the bullshit, the nags, the bills, the stresses, the redundancy of the ‘normality’– when Justin Jay’s melody gets in stride, you can just be there, present, in the moment. Free from it all. I even remember our campground at Bonnaroo this past summer playing this one at a decent decibel, to which a guy rushed over and inquired about the track name so “it could be his ringback tone.” Happy to oblige, my dude, it changed my life too…
George Clanton – It Makes The Babies Want To Cry
And here it is, my favorite track on November 3, 2015, 8:29 pm, Eastern Standard.
There ya have it folks! Disclaimer: I realize I’ve shamelessly plugged multiple playlists I’ve curated into this post– please forgive me. And enough of me. Who’s next? What’s your AudioBiography? We’re all ears…
Honorable Mentions: N*SYNC, Eminem (Slim Shady), Modest Mouse, Ray Cash, Grizzly Bear, Morning Benders, Local Natives, Giraffage, Julio Bashmore, Anyone from Soulection, Jamie xx