Updates: Mix Tape Monday Master Playlist

Hi everybody! Quick update here.

I’ve started a Youtube playlist of all the Mix Tape Monday songs I’ve posted to date and I will keep updating this master playlist weekly. I figured this would be a convenient way to listen to the tracks that have been shared on the site. I’ll also add the link to the resources page as well as within all new Mix Tape Monday posts.

Here’s the link

Happy listening, grooving, jamming or whatever you will.



Mix Tape Monday: Instrumental Mix

I’m back from vacation with more songs for you!

Somedays you just need to listen to songs without words. While I am the first to admit that I love myself some Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi there is so much more out there in the way of international instrumental music. This week’s mixtape is a lovely cocktail of instrumental pieces.

So drink up and that let the instruments take you away!

Yiruma 이루마 – The River Flows In You. I warn you this Korean pianist and composer is so talented that even if you’ve never had an urge to play the piano you will after hearing this.

Raya Brass Band – Riffcloud. There is nothing quite so joyful, proud, and festive as a Balkan brass band. If you like this check out the soundtrack to the documentary Brasslands.

Kuniko Kato – Peaux. Want to add some avant-garde percussion to your repertoire? Try this Japanese percussionist performing a work by Xenakis. These austere and layered percussive beats are sure to be something you’ve never heard before.

Maru Tarang – Panihari. I confess I cheated a bit in this one (there are indeed lyrics) but the instrumental combination of tabla and lap steel guitar is what makes the piece so remarkable. This Rajasthani song runs the gamut from haunting to joyful.

Yoshida Brothers – Wakimizu. This dynamic shamisen wielding duo from Japan can play at dizzying speeds. Listen and see if your ears can keep up!

The Gloaming – Sailor’s Bonnet. Aside from my previously mentioned bias for Irish music and my adoration for lovely words (Definition: gloaming, meaning twilight or dusk) this piece by Irish group The Gloaming is loveliness itself. It starts out slowly it gradually builds into a cheerful reel.

Do you have any other favorite musicians from around the world? Any unique instruments I missed post them below!

Guest Post: SHINee, “Odd” – The 4th Album

SHINee is back! Guest poster and kpop enthusiast Emily is back to tell us about their new album.

International K-Pop sensation SHINee released their fourth full-length album on Monday.  This album generated a lot of hype from loyal fans even before it was released.  It had been two full years before SHINee’s last full album was released, so fans we understandably hungry for some new tunes.

I gave the album a listen on Monday.  Let’s just say it’s … Odd: a fitting response to the album’s title, which is indeed “Odd”.  Obviously the album name is a play on the title of the first song, “Odd Eye”, however, I believe the album title stands for more.  The overall sound of the album is very different from their previous albums, which had a very pop/techno/dance feel to them.  “Odd” is heavy on the R&B sound with heavy beats, smooth vocals, and rap, but also has a light, electric thread that lifts the sound.

Overall, I think the album is put together very well.  All the songs complement each other nicely, and there is a good mix of upbeat tunes and sensual tracks.  It is one of those albums that you want to listen to all the way through in order.  The album tells a story.  I cannot say that I have found many albums where I sit down, listen to the music, and enjoy every single song without skipping one I dislike.  The whole album experience is very refreshing.

Fans seem to love the new album.  The album is now SHINee’s best selling album on iTunes.  The R&B beats and smooth doo-wop electronic thread gives the album a very summery feel.  I can picture many ShaWols’ bopping around town or sitting on the beach with “Odd” basting through their ear buds.

The album is definitely one to check out.  If you are interested take a listen to the track “View” to get a feel of the albums sound and tone:

Mix Tape Monday: Everyday I’m Shuffling

That’s right! This week’s Mix Tape is a themeless shuffle of awesome…like life! Many of these songs were found on Balcony TV which I highly recommend for all you music adventurers out there.

Echae en Route – Uneasy Romance. Violin, check. Bass, check. Microphone, check. This Korean duo presents a poignant, bare bones song that at first seems understated but leaves an impact. The slight hint of dissonance reels you in and is totally addictive.

The Cornelius – Whistle Song. No, not that whistle song. This whistle song is sung by two charming Spanish men that sweep away your cares with the strumming of their guitars.

Jac Stone – Not Angry Anymore. Pause the multi-tasking. Put down your phone. Close your eyes and listen to this Australian ladies captivating, resonant, and heartfelt song. If you want to feel all the feels listen to Trying to Be Sorry.

DYGL – Let’s Get Into Your Car. I would drive these Japanese band members around in my car any time. Granted I got serenades in exchange for chauffeuring services. I believe in fair trade.

KYO – Le Graal. I have yet to see a video so filled with ridiculously beautiful and hipster people. KYO is an older French band and this song is part of there new album. Watch Le Graal once for the song and once for fashion and makeup inspiration. Bonnaroo or Soho anyone? For their earlier (and more emo rock) work try Contact.

Any good finds? Add them in the comments!

Mix Tape Monday: Let’s Hear it for the Girls

Here we go folks! It’s the second installment of my Mix Tape Monday focusing on awesomely talented female singers and musicians from all over the world. (You can see my first post here). Let the music begin!

Neon Bunny – It’s You. These dreamy lyrics pitted against some intense electric beats by Korean artists Neon Bunny are just the sort of tunes you need to get you through an urban fueled existential crisis while looking effortlessly cool all at the same time. Check out Come A Little Closer.

Sarah Geronimo – Ikot Ikot. With a last name like Geronimo this Filippina singer is bound to be great. And yes this soulful slow jam is just that. Watch her music video Perfectly Imperfect. It starts out like a Dove commercial and then turn into a music video. Pretty powerful stuff.

Coeur de Pirate – Comme des Enfants. Need some ethereal sweet breezy songs in your life? Look no further. This French songstress will usher all those whimsical spring time feelings. Want more in your pocket full of sunshine? Try Heartbeats Accelerating and Golden Baby.

Haloo Helsinki! – Jos Mun Pokka Pettaa. All credit goes to Eric who first sent this song my way. This went to my punk-loving 80’s retro heart. I want to compare them to a Finnish version of Blondie with more grit and electric guitar, but that description doesn’t do them justice. You’ll just have listen for yourselves! For more listen to Kiitos ei ole kirosana and Huuda!

Kiran Ahluwalia – Hayat. Who would have thought that blues guitar would make me want to sail down the Ganges but in Hayat it does! This Indo-Canadian songstress has a talent for melding different musical styles in her songs. Like Hayat? Listen to Awara as well.


Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon

Have I got a movie for you!

Watch if you love:

  • Kung Fu Hustle and/or Shaolin Soccer
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • The Tang Dynasty
  • Supernatural (yes, the show and the genre)
  • Creative applications of Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Horses with aquatic abilities



Netflix brilliantly describes the plot thusly:

Detective Dee’s first assignment with the Imperial police finds the city gripped in fear of sea monsters, which is only the beginning.

Yes friends, sea monsters are merely the beginning. If sea monsters were the only thing going on Detective Dee would have wrapped this mystery up in no time. Plot elements of the movie include: kidnapping, star-crossed lovers, creatures from the blue lagoon, poisoning, secret island, conspiracies, devious empresses, and unnecessary kung fu. Wait. What did I just say? Scratch that, necessary kung fu.

This movie is based off of the prominent historical figure Di Renjie during the Tang Dynasty as well gong’an crime novels written in the eighteenth-century that were also loosely based off of Di Renjie. This is the Sherlock Holmes character of ancient China and he actually existed! The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously and there are some moments where the CG is a little awkward, but stick with it! I promise you it’s worth seeing what happens next. The plot has several creative and kooky twists are thoroughly enjoyable in and of themselves. As well as lines such as “release the poisoned fish!”

If you want more Detective Dee there is another film called Detective Dee and the Phantom Flame (available on Netflix). Also check out the new TV series called Young Sherlock also based on Di Renjie, which I cannot wait to watch!