Wednesday, June 23, 2010

White Boy Can SANG

Not new, but Gavin DeGraw sings one of my favorite Donny Hathaway songs "Jealous Guy" at National Underground in NYC. He kills it (that guitar player wasn't as good as the original tho).

Speaking of National Underground, my peoples The Paxtons will be performing their last June show at National Underground this Sunday with Philly phenom Sela. It's hip hop with a live band soooo.... we gets it iiiinnn. All the pertinent info is on the flyer. BE THERE!!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blow Out The Candles and Make A Wish

So today's my bday. 'Twas a decent day, and, all things considered, I have plenty to celebrate. I'm alive and in relatively good health. I got a few dollars in the bank, a job, a roof over my head, and a nice pillowtop mattress to sleep on. I'm thankful for all the folks who hit me up with cards, phonecalls, texts, facebook posts, tweets, carrier pigeons, and strip-o-grams, just to wish me a happy birthday. Made a young scholar feel loved and what-not *sniff sniff* #nococa.

Either way, 'tis better to give than receive and I've gotten a few requests to re-up the past volumes of Real Niggas Light Candles, so what better day than today to light some muthaphreakin candles?

Before we get into it, I'll do my best to give a quick synopsis:

Real Niggas Light Candles is a series of emotional-nigga mixtapes compiled by yours truly, a self-described emotional nigga. Each volume is an eclectic mix of songs that span across genres but share a few unique qualities: they're smooth as maple syrup, soulful, and hella emotional for no cot durn reason. In other words, it's music you turn off the lights to and light some candles. Maybe you take in some solitude, maybe you bun up with your boo. And it's meant to be played in order--no skipping tracks--because the magic of these mixtapes is in the sequence. It's what separates RNLC from every other blogger's mixtapes. It's always soul, but never in a typical way.

I lost Volume 1 when my old computer died (RIP Roberto Miguel deDell), but I honestly didn't like that one that much anyway (lol). Lucky for all of us I've still got Volumes 2-7. So go ahead and do yourself a favor (or 6) and download these joints. You won't regret it. Promise or your money back.

And by the way, RNLC8 is coming soon... (pause granddad)


1. "Do You Feel Me" - Anthony Hamilton
2. "Love Is A Losing Game (Instrumental)" - Amy Winehouse
3. "The Rain" - K-Os
4. "Littlest Things" - Lily Allen
5. "My Song" - Labi Siffre
6. "Hello, It's Me" - John Legend
7. "So Sorry" - Feist
8. "Dear Santa Claus" - Bobby Womack
9. "Here's To Life" - Shirley Horn
10. "Lost and Found (Find Me) (Featuring Karen Briggs)" - Ledisi
11. "Hey Girl (Featuring John Legend)" - Estelle
12. "Only For You" - Eric Roberson
13. "Moon" - Emily King
14. "Static" - Kenna
15. "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" - Amy Winehouse
16. "The Visit (She Was Here)" - The Cyrkle
17. "The Colorado Trail - Dave Crusin


1. Martin Luther - "Daily Bread"
2. Yael Naim - "Levater"
3. Janelle Monáe - "Cybertronic Purgatory"
4. Jazmine Sullivan - "Prototype"
5. Hot Chip - "Made In The Dark"
6. Tiombe Lockhart ft. Bilal - "Strange"
7. Jamie Cullum - "In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning"
8. The Cinematic Orchestra - "That Home"
9. The Fray - "Hundred"
10. First Aid Kit - "Season"
11. Pauline Croze - "A l'évidence"
12. She & Him - "Take It Back"
13. Janelle Monáe - "Warm Up (Cloud 9 Interlude)"
14. Adele - "Now And Then"
15. Vashti Bunyan - "Train Song"
16. Jason Mraz - "If It Kills Me (From The Casa Nova Sessions)"
17. My People Sleeping - "Seahorse"
18. Casey Dienel - "Asleep At The Wheel"
19. Donny Hathaway - "Misty"


1. "Lilac Wine" - Jeff Buckley
2. "Overrated" - Gavin DeGraw
3. "When I Fall" - Lizz Wright
4. "Dreamworld" - Robin Thicke
5. "I (Who Have Nothing)" - Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway
6. "Highway 7" - K-Os
7. "In A Sentimental Mood" - Ledisi
8. "Charlene (acoustic)" - Anthony Hamilton
9. "Kick Out of You" - Dwele
10. "We're Still Friends" - Donny Hathaway
11. "Rope of Sand" - Jamie Lidell
12. "Little Person (ft. Deanne Storey)" - Jon Brion
13. "Little Girl Blue" - Diana Krall
14. "The Thrill is Gone" - Chet Baker
15. "Good Morning, Heartache" - Billie Holiday
16. "Wild is the Wind" - Nina Simone
17. "Make Sure You're Sure" - Stevie Wonder




1. "Game for Fools" - Jamie Lidell
2. "Secret" - Maroon 5
3. "Californication" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
4. "Till It Happens To You" - Corinne Bailey Rae
5. "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" (Live) - Donny Hathaway
6. "Easy To Please" - Coldplay
7. "Immigrant" - Sade
8. "A Dream" - Julian Velard
9. "Long Distance Love" - Little Feat
10. "Marry Ann" - Regina Spektor
11. "Dust and Water" - Antony & the Johnsons
12. "The Build Up" - Kings of Convenience ft. Feist
13. "You've Got It Bad Girl" - Stevie Wonder
14. "Sunshine Juice" - Hyperpotamus
15. "Lonely, Lonely" - Feist
16. "Sometimes" (Live) - Bilal

Single-MP3 Download (cassette style, preferred)

Split-track Download (for individual tracks)
1. "In My Room" - The Beach Boys
2. "James" - Camera Obscura
3. "Starting All Over" - Jeremih
4. "Giving Everything Away for Free" - Daniel Merriweather
5. "Terr et Tiwa dorment" - Alain Goraguer
6. "Dedicada a Ela" - Arthur Verocai
7. "A Forest" - Nouvelle Vague
8. "Too Long" - Yael Naim
9. "Penny's Confession" - Ras G & The Afrikan Space Program
10. "Auburn And Ivory" - Beach House
11. "The Artist" - Jagat Skad
12. "You Have Cum In Your Hair And Your Dick Is Hanging Out" - Palace
13. "Master Sigh" - Andrew Bird
14. "Human of the Year" - Regina Spektor
15. "Galvanize" - Cryptacize
16. "Doctor Blind" - Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton
17. "The Strangers" - St. Vincent
18. "Fly" - Nikki Jean
19. "Visions" - Stevie Wonder

Monday, June 21, 2010

808s and Spacecakes

The twitter homey 808sandcupcakes has dipped her toe in the mixtape game and brought the internets 17 tracks to... well, um... just look at the album cover. It's her first foray, but I'm sure it won't be the last. Homey's been takin' notes (lol), and even if you don't engage in cannabinoid activities, this mix is well worth the download. She even went to the lengths of making it all reggae, which is an automatic win in my book. I'ma stop typing, yall click that album cover and crush something. Disfruta.

'Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky

Overdoz released this video on April 20 (for obvious reasons) but I think they just released the actual mp3. Either way, the video is hilarious and the song goes hard (pause granddad).

Robert Browning Would Be Proud

Do yourself a HUGE favor. Click play, then click this and download Value Pack 4. I tried to told yall, Fly Union is the future. Ohio stand tall.

You Ain't Even Go To Class

"I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I'm going to take a stand. I'm going to defend it. Right or wrong, I'm going to defend it."

-Cameron, Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Summer Solstice

So as of 7:23 this morning, it's officially summer. Break out the grill and throw on the SPF40, and somebody blow the dust of that slip-and-slide. And while you're at it, get some good, free music. From start to finish, this EP by The Drums sounds like the perfect summer day at the beach: fun and carefree, with maybe a love interest or two, watching the waves roll into the shore. So grab your board and catch the wave, and try not to get your ipod wet in the process. Click the album cover to download.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Climb

Today was graduation day for the 8th graders at my school. It was bittersweet, as these moments always are. Many I will never see again; others, perhaps too often. For some, it will be their final graduation before the thorns of life choke them out of school altogether. Still, it was a day to celebrate, and an honor to share it with the marvelous people many of my former students have grown to be.

I don't think I could ever adequately communicate how much my kids touch my life, how they unwittingly shaped me into the man I've become. While I taught them similes and square roots, they taught me compassion and perseverance. They've made me laugh when I wanted to cry, they've helped me find sunlight when I was fondling through darkness. I will always feel that I've failed them in some way as a teacher, that I wasn't kind enough, or that I coddled them too much. That I didn't push them hard enough, or let them know how important they were to me, their teacher, when they needed to hear it most.

These feelings are the cords of a whip that will always find new skin to tear on my back. It's why, every September, I will always look at each new classroom of bright-eyed, blue-shirted students with a sense of grand opportunity and sheer terror. I know what the future holds: great promise, but certain failure. And it's my job to prepare them for both, to make them believe that anything they dream, they can also make a reality. But also to brush the dirt off their knees when they fall and hold them up when they're weak.

At today's ceremony, part of the program was devoted to an unofficial "class song." It was "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus. Taken at face-value, it would seem an odd or even corny choice, but for my kids, my students, my school... me, it was the most appropriate way to bring this chapter of life to a close. These students were my 6th-graders two years ago, when I was a second-year TFA teacher, acclimated enough to the practice of teaching to hold my own in a classroom of knuckleheads and still young enough to relate, but green to the starkest realities of my job. It was the year that I probably grew the most as a teacher, and, perhaps, when I felt most passionate about teaching. That year I realized how much power I held in a single stick of chalk, and how much potential was stuffed into each desk in front of me.

But the past two years haven't been easy. I've been forced to meet the reality of my situation; I am a young teacher of inner-city youth in a broken community of broken expectations. I've buckled under the pressure of trying to be too much to too many, and the shame of knowing that I've not done enough for a simple few. I've dealt with the death of a former student, by suicide, and the memories of how I could have done more are needles that will poke at the walls of my heart forever.

So while Miley Cyrus may seem an odd source of comfort and inspiration, these four years teaching--shoot, my life in general--have been a climb. But if I've learned anything, it's that there's always gonna be another mountain, and I'm always gonna wanna make it move. It's always gonna be an uphill battle, and sometimes I'm gonna have to lose. It's not about how fast I get there or even what's waiting on the other side. In the end, all that matters is the climb.

So in a way, tonight marked a personal graduation of sorts. It's been four years since I sat in the heat of Brookings Quadrangle, the untold promises of a world of verdant opportunity awaiting like the view into Forest Park. I left a place of blinding opportunity to make my home in a city where it sometimes seems you'd see more light if you just kept your eyes closed. It hasn't been easy. In fact, it has been and continues to be the hardest thing I've ever done. And it's why I'm still doing it. I've never wanted to do anything else. Because the climb is worth it.

When Tytiana-- the girl in that pic up there that thinks she's grown now (and also one of my all-time favorite students)--was a sixth-grader in my class, she used to joke saying, "It's real out here, Mr. Garr," her chubby cheeks filled with eleven years of innocence as she grinned. It was her excuse sometimes when I asked her why she did something we both knew she had no business doing. But it was also a lil more than that. It was her explanation for the facts of life that didn't need explaining, that sometimes you do the things you do simply because you've got to. It was an acknowledgement that reality makes life difficult, and in dealing with reality we can make bad choices because they help us cope with those difficulties.

But that cheeky grin told me something else. It told me that there is no shame in failure because no amount of losses can equal defeat unless you allow them that victory. And it's a lesson--one of many--that I will take with me as I close this chapter and begin a new one.

Walk In My Shoes

My born day is fast approaching, so before all of you bombard me with questions, I figured I'd go ahead and tell you what I want for my birthday. Not much, just these. A simple pair of shoes. If all of you pool your money together, then I'm sure you can afford it.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Electronic Soul

A random post cuz I feel like it. By far, this joint is my favorite song off Quadron's album. They'll be at Johnny Brenda's on the 29th for $10. If you go, you might see me there. And for those not hip to the hype, click the album cover below. Disfruta:

And since I'm a fan of moody music in general, a parting bit of melancholy in a language I will never know:

Thursday, June 03, 2010

For Lovers, Dreamers, and Me

Alice Smith is at Tin Angel this Sunday. She has 2 shows @ 7:00 and 9:30 both for $25. I've seen her twice at the Tin Angel and shawty gets it in. Besides her awkward beauty, the girl has some powerful pipes. This show is being advertised as an acoustic performance, so I don't know if that means she'll have a full band or just a couple instrumentalists. Either way, it's worth the money. My personal recommendation is to have dinner downstairs at Serrano first and check out the show afterward. Serrano has great food and the dinner reservation guarantees you a reserved table upstairs at the show, which comes in handy since Tin Angel is an "intimate" (read: very small) concert venue.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Hold Your Applause

The year's most anticipated debut album has finally hit the internets. It's the webrip, but let's not act like that matters. Just click the album cover or the link below to download. Time to see if Drake lives up to all the hype. Disfruta.


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Freedom to be Pressed

Supposedly it's not on the upcoming album, and it might actually be a response to that NY Times article that came out a week ago.