I was recently in Houston and Galveston to DJ a wedding (what up Alex and D’Arcy!) and as I’ve probably said before, one of the things that I like about these kinds of gigs is that I’m inevitably turned onto new songs in the process of prepping. Some of it comes directly as requests from the couple, some come more a bit more serendipitously, but the playlist is ever-evolving and I get to expand my musical horizons as a result.
Case in point: the bride requested the Supergrass song, which sounded vaguely familiar (hello Clueless cameo) but I certainly wasn’t that familiar with. Loved it from jump – those stabbing keys! the bright, defiant optimism! – and it’s the type of tune you can drop next to some early Rolling Stones or Beatles jams and it’ll fit right in.
Case also in point: the groom definitely wanted some H-Town rap in there and asked specifically for the Fat Pat song. Definitely never on my radar back in the late ’90s (too busy writing about Fondle ‘Em 12″s) but any gangsta funk tune reworking Yarbrough and Peoples gets my nod.1
Because the groom’s family is from Colombia, I was introduced to the greatness that is the hora loca and while I was hired partially because I already have love for cumbia (I blame B+), the groom put me up on all kinds of newer cumbia jams, including that Systema Solar cut with its slurring rhythms, cheer-a-long hooks, and rhymes en espanõl that sound like they were written circa 1991. Hype.
Speaking of Latin jams, I’d be remiss to not give a huge shout-out to Martin Perna of Antibalas/Ocote Soul Sounds who’s currently living in Houston and reached out to invite me to hang out while I was in town.2 An incredibly gracious host who not only fed me breakfast but hit me with his personal Google map of Houston record stores (no, you can’t see it), including Cactus Music (where the photo above was shot).3 He also laced me with a brand new 7″ featuring two cuts off Coconut Rock, one of which is a cumbia but “Tu Fin, Mi Comienzo” is a slice of frantic funk that’s not to be denied.
The Penny & the Quarters remix was a request by the groom; “You and Me” was the “first dance” song but he wanted a remixed version for use as the last song of the night. He asked if I had anyone who might be up for it and I automatically thought of the Prince of Ballard and I’m happy to say, it all worked out. Slick remix too – POB does it again!
Last but not least, in prepping for the wedding, DJ Choimatic told me to try out the Icona Pop. This may surprise some of my readers but I – like my 8 year old daughter – am feeling this. I do indeed, love it. The thing is: I never did get around to playing it at this particular wedding – it’s not the sort of tune you just randomly drop in anywhere – but maybe the next one…
Ok, so all that said, one more thing and this is not a goodbye letter. I promise you.
But the fact that the site’s been plagued with tech problems for the last month actually seems quite apropos given how harried and scattered I’ve felt. It goes beyond just a month of server-side woes though; it’s been this whole semester. I’ve always said I’m more productive when I’m busy but I’ve learned – the hard way – that there’s a point that goes beyond “busy” where you start to hate all your commitments and (slightly) hate yourself for having volunteered into those commitments. I can’t say I “hit a wall” this semester but maybe I lightly fender-bendered into one. I have – no lie – at least three different ways of reminding me of shit I have to do.4 And with all that, I still feel like I’m only operating at partial effectiveness; stuff gets dropped off my radar daily and as you’ve likely noticed, Soul Sides has been one of the more frequent casualties of all this.
On the one hand, writing this site has given me more than I could have ever imagined, let alone asked for. I got flown out to Houston to do a freakin’ wedding because I write this site. I’ve gotten both writing and DJ gigs off it. I’ve made comps off it. I’ve done all kinds of good shit. I’m so thankful for all this. For all y’all who read this, whether religiously (in which case, you’ve actually bothered to get to this point of the post) or off-and-on (it’s cool, I still have love for you even if you’re not reading me giving you that love right now).
On the other hand, when everything feels like “work,” a labor of love like this feels like work too and in the midst of feeling resentful at all the things beckoning at me, foregoing something as personal as this (translation: shit I’m not getting paid for) becomes all-too-easy. That’s not an excuse, just merely an explanation.
This is not a goodbye letter. I just need to get some shit off my chest because I feel like I owe it you all (and perhaps the fact I even feel that way might be part of the problem but let’s not go there right now) and because I need to force myself to write this just to prove that I can still write a post here. (Yes, welcome to my self-therapy.)
Normally, this is where I say I have some plan to post more frequently and predictably but I’d rather not jinx things. I’d also rather not prove myself to be a liar in four months when I write this same basic post again then. But hopefully it won’t come to that.
Until then, yours, truly, as always.
- Thanks to Sugarland TX’s native son, DJ Phatrick, I put together a short Houston rap set which was fun as hell. I may not have been intimately familiar with most of what I played but the crowd certainly was. ↩
- Speaking of gracious-ness, I’d be remiss in not shouting out to Kat at Live Oak Legacies for letting me crash with her and her crew in Galveston. Next time, we need to take the boat out. ↩
- I wish there had been more time to run through that store and the rest but I was happy to leave with this for $2. ↩
- Just in case you were curious, I’d recommend all of them. First, Workflowy. So simple, so genius. Second, Follow Up Then. Your inbox will hate you for it but it has its utility. Third, using Siri to create Reminders. I probably look like a fucking tool when I do it…and Siri blows the transcription more often than I’d like…but it’s a still killer feature. ↩