Retro Recomendo: Music

Recomendo - issue #408

Our subscriber base has grown so much since we first started seven years ago, that most of you have missed all our earliest recommendations. The best of these are still valid and useful, so we’re trying out something new — Retro Recomendo. Once every 6 weeks, we’ll send out a throwback issue of evergreen recommendations focused on one theme from the past 7 years.

World Radio

Radio Garden is a website that presents you with a spinnable globe of the Earth. The green dots represent radio stations. Rotate the globe, click a dot and you are suddenly listening to live radio in that part of the world. Right now I’m listening to Radio Seaside Wave in Nakhodka, Russia. — MF

Exploratory music stream

For the past decade David Byrne, the legendary rock musician, has operated his own “radio station,” which is really the curated playlist of his own musical explorations. Every month on his website David Byrne Radio, Byrne streams another 100-minute loop of new, old, classic, weird, wonderful, surprising, themed music he’s discovered and loves. He writes a short introduction, and supplies the full playlist. I’ve discovered (and bought) a lot of great music I first heard here. (In Nov 2018 he streamed a notable playlist of eternal protest songs.) — KK

Time machine for music

If you pick a year from your past (1951-2015), The Nostalgia Machine will warp you back musically and link you to videos of the top Billboard Hits of that time. 1996 takes me back to sixth grade and TLC and Alanis Morissette and a lot of weekend nights spent at the rollerskating rink. — CD

Best meditation music

There’s rarely a day that goes by that I don’t listen to my Meditative Mind: Music & Sleep app. There are hundreds and hundreds of soothing and immersive soundscapes, chants, mantras, nature sounds and world music to choose from. I use it when I need to focus, meditate or sleep. The app is free to download and try out, but I happily pay the annual subscription for access to their full library, unlimited downloads and an ad-free experience. There is also a YouTube channel with lots of long-format music tracks added almost daily. — CD

X-ray into music

You know about Song Exploder, yes? It’s this amazing podcast that takes one well-known song each week and explodes it into its separate components. The musicians who wrote and perform the song take it apart track by track, sometimes beat by beat, explaining what they were thinking as they created the pieces: what challenges and dead-ends they met along the way, how the song changed as they worked on it, and why they like the final version. It’s the x-ray into music I always wanted. — KK

Enjoy the boss radio sound of KHJ 93 Los Angeles

One of my favorite things about Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was listening to clips of 93 KHJ, a radio station that pioneered the “boss radio” sound in the 1960s. The DJs were all vocal virtuosos, and the most talented of the bunch was a guy by the name of “The Real Don Steele.” Almost all of these broadcasts have been lost to time, but fortunately, some people recorded KHJ on their tape recorders in the 1960s, and the recordings found their way to the Internet. The Internet Archive has a couple of recordings from the 1960s of Steele’s show on KHJ. Here’s another, and another (with other KHJ DJs, too). If this kind of thing interests you, you can dig up more by searching “khj airchecks.” — MF


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