This time last year, I gifted loyal Pop Lifers with the first installment of the Big Chill-Out Playlist, a stress-snuffing, tension-busting iPod mix I often turn to in lieu of therapy, drugs and/or fleeing to Mexico and starting a new life as Juan Gordo, aging cabana boy. This collection of songs is downright foolproof — nay, essential! — in mellowing me out. The response to Part 1 of the Chill-Out was widespread: Overwrought folks from all over the country wrote in demanding more aural soma.
The inaugural batch included mostly instrumentals, and a lot of lush movie scores, from such soothing masters as Randy Newman (Ragtime), Thomas Newman (Finding Nemo), Mark Knopfler (Local Hero) and Tangerine Dream (Risky Business). But the Big Chill-Out isn't just cine-stuff: Bob Dylan (Nashville Skyline Rag), Stan Getz (Desafinado) and Camille Saint-Saens (Aquarium) all showed up on that original playlist, too. I only listed 20 tracks, but I mentioned that the entire Big Chill-Out featured 70 hip, relaxing cuts. I was protective of my stash. I didn't want to give it all away. The mojo might be lost!
A year later, I'm much more generous. So herewith, Part 2 of the Big Chill-Out. It's almost all instrumental, as well. (As Gloria Estefan once said, words get in the way.) If you want to see (and hear) Part 1, go to Pop Life online at tampabay.com/blogs/poplife. And if you want even more from the SD archives, bug me on Facebook at facebook.com/seandaly.tampabay.
Now pour yourself a drink, close your eyes, breathe deep. Let Juan Gordo do the rest . . .
1. One Mint Julep, Ray Charles
2. Princess Leia's Theme, John Williams (from Star Wars)
3. Appalachian Spring: I. Very Slowly, Aaron Copland
4. Do the Murray, Los Lobos
5. Main Title, Marc Shaiman (from The American President)
6. Sleepwalk, Santo & Johnny
7. Red River Rock, Silicon Teens (from Planes, Trains and Automobiles)
8. Rise, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
9. Zihuatanejo, Thomas Newman (from The Shawshank Redemption)
10. Solace, Scott Joplin
11. Carl Goes Up, Michael Giacchino (from Up)
12. Blue Tango, Warren Covington and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
13. Main Title Theme (Billy), Bob Dylan (from Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid)
14. Sirius/Eye in the Sky, the Alan Parsons Project
15. McQueen and Sally, Randy Newman (from Cars)
16. La Nortena, Los Marimbas Caliente
17. The End, Paul Haslinger (from The Girl Next Door)
18. Not Goin' Home Anymore, Burt Bacharach (from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
19. Sunporch Cha-Cha-Cha, Dave Grusin (from The Graduate)
20. Scarborough Fair/Canticle (Interlude), Simon & Garfunkel (from The Graduate)
David Wax Museum
Everything Is Saved
A lot of people will call Boston's David Wax Museum a jam band or a stoner band or a band best listened to while wearing Birkenstocks and/or the rich odor of the infrequently showered. But I prefer to think of David Wax and Suz Slezak as providing the soundtrack for an It's a Small World ride for grownups — all those party boats rolling down a sexy river of Mexican rhythms, soily shimmy and tight harmonies. In theory, DWM is a tediously incongruous concept: New Englanders busking through Quincy Market with a Mexican guitar, a donkey jawbone and a satchel full of earnest stories. But new album Everything Is Saved (in stores Feb. 8) is frequently gorgeous and always interesting, as moods range from the Day of the Dead lurch of Unfruitful to the Señor & Garfunkel rave-up Yes, Maria, Yes to the dusty blues beauty of Wait for Me, which wouldn't sound out of place on an old Rolling Stones record. It's all visceral and fun and thoroughly unmodern. It's also the first great album of 2011.