Mixtape Mondays | Slow It Down

Monday, December 21, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

This playlist is really personal. And really mellow (you've been warned!). But life's been so hectic lately I thought it appropriate. A few years ago I suffered really bad with insomnia. I always preferred night to the day and never cared for too much sleep, but back then we're talking about no sleep whatsoever. For days. Why am I telling you this story? This playlist's been in the making since.

In order to get my brain to shut down I decided to try to listen to music to sleep. Of course that did not work, but I've since developed the habit of falling asleep to music. And I don't mean it in a bad way. Please don't take this as an insult to these tracks. Far from boring, these are some of my absolutely favourite songs! But they do help switching off before bed.

The Lumineers | Picture by revistakuadro.com

First track, after which playlist was named, is Slow It Down by The Lumineers. It sets the tone but it's also most likely the slowest of the choices. Also from the Lumineers is Dead Sea - a song which I hope Seafret will cover at some point! By the way, further down the list you'll find them too.

Mixtape Mondays | Slow it down

From Damien Rice's first album, O, I've picked a couple: Older Chests and Amie. It really wasn't easy to leave Grey Room, Sleep Don't Weep and Accidental Babies (all from his second album, 9) out, but I kept it to two songs maximum per artist. Not many people I know heard of Russian Red - a.k.a. Lourdes Hernández, a Spanish indie and folk singer-songwriter - but her album Fuerteventura from 2012 is probably one of my favourites ever. Braver Soldier and A Hat are the two oldest songs in this playlist.

Around this time last year I came across Nothing But Thieves. That's when the live version of Lover, Please Stay made into this selection. However, I've since updated it with the album recording and added the hypnotic If I Get High (don't miss them headlining at the Shepherd's Bush Empire on April 1st).

Back with the indie-folk, two José González's songs made the cut: Stay Alive and Heartbeats. I love how rhythmical both of these are, particularly the piano in the first and the guitar strumming and drums in the latter. They're perfect to listen to with the lights off.  

In the sequence, two tracks from my first ever British indie-rock CD, a secret santa gift from back when I was 17! Afterglow and Indefinitely, from Travis' The Invisible Band, surely in my top 10 albums of all time. Travis by the way just released a new single, Everything At Once, and are playing in Northampton and London in January, both dates sold out.

The next 10 songs are a real mix: an eerie Empty Space, by the extinct Air Traffic (I still have hopes the guys from Bournemouth will get back together and release a new album!). There is also Open Season by the High Highs (which often gives me goosebumps), followed by To Build A Home, by The Cinematic Orchestra (a bit cliché, but what can I do? It is a mellow but beautiful song).

Probably the worst camera I've ever owned, but this was such a memorable show I thought worth sharing!

Both from Air Traffic, April 2010, @ Bush Hall, in Shepherd's Bush. Photos by Zaira.

From Paolo Nutini's first album - These Streets - is the melancholic White Lies, followed by two incredibly beautiful and heartwarming songs by Seafret: Sinking Ship - a favourite - and the acoustic version of Oceans. Note they're playing twice in London in the new year, 1st & 3rd February, do not miss them! From one duo to another, Girls, by Nizlopi, is a lovely track (again, another band that hopefully will get back together at some point). Continuing with the series of groups who make amazing music but decide to go on a hiatus, ironically we have Break Your Heart, by The Gaslight Anthem.  

On a happier note, and closing the mix, two new comers: the single Veins, by London based quartet Palace (check their first EP Chase the Light, released last June, it's pretty good!) and, from Tunbridge Wells, Will Joseph Cook's You Jump I Run (looking forward to seeing him live for the first time at Barfly on March 23rd). And that's it, I hope you like this week's playlist, sleep tight!

Fun Fact: This is definitely the most international mixtape so far! From Colorado & New Jersey to Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Australia, many corners of England and Scotland!