Friday, August 31, 2012

Labor Daze Poolside Music Mix 2012

Labor Day. It's the one day of the year when we celebrate the world's most famous gay laborer, the Construction Worker from the Village People.

Okay... it's really the American federal holiday that celebrates the economic and social contributions of all workers. Observed the first Monday of September, it also tends to symbolize the end of summer for most Americans. So it's a good excuse for a three-day weekend of travel, barbecues, parties, parades, picnics, back-to-school shopping sprees and TV marathons. Oh, and it used to be considered the last day of the year when it was fashionable to wear white. Or seersucker.

How did Labor Day happen? It was proposed by labor union leaders back in 1882 and some sources say it was inspired by labor festivals that were already happening in Canada. Oregon was the first state to make it official in 1887, but it didn't become a federal holiday until 1894 following what is known as the Pullman Strike, a nationwide conflict between labor unions and railroads. Low wages, sixteen-hour workdays, outbreaks of violence, and the U.S. Marshals. You get the picture. Legislation for the holiday was pushed through Congress and signed by President Grover Cleveland in six days as a conciliatory gesture to labor unions. That would never happen today.

Anyway, if you're lucky enough to find yourself chilling poolside with someone you like or love, here are a dozen musical selections I hope you'll consider adding to the mix. There are some familiar artists here, but also a few happy discoveries I've made over the last five or six years. Enjoy...

Matt Alber - "Monarch." A dreamy, soulful, expertly crafted song.

k. d. lang - "Summerfling." Like a nostalgic ocean wave.

Poolside - "Do You Believe?" It's called "day time disco."

Washed Out - "Amor Fati." Wistful, idiosyncratic electronica.

Jason Aldean - "Dirt Road Anthem."A satisfying marriage of country and rap.


Fountains of Wayne - "The Summer Place." Musically bright, lyrically dark, and just right.

Emeli Sande - "Heaven." Soul/pop perfection.

Azari & III - "Manic." Funk for a new generation.

Jukebox the Ghost - "Somebody." Shiny, happy indie pop.

Wild Flag - "Romance." Infectious distaff rock.

Trevor Hall - "Brand New Day." An irresistibly upbeat spiritual groove.

Friendly Fires - "Kiss of Life." Buoyant, joyful tribalicious pop.

And a couple of random Internet dudes. In masks. Because why not?

Don't you wonder what's behind that mask?
Well... someone's very excited about the water slide... 

Peace out,

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