Track of the Week: Sea of Love by The National

This week’s track is Sea of Love by The National off of Trouble Will Find Me. While the world is gushing over the Daft Punk album, this week we go to rock: drums, guitars, vocals, pedals, etc. High Violet was on high repeat for me back in 2010 and Sea of Love and Trouble Will Find me is a return to that same sound.

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Track of the Week: 25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago

This week’s track is 25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago off of Chicago. Recorded at the end of the 60s, but with a sound that’s squarely past the 60s, this song opens with a rocking horn line on top of the melody carried by the guitars and drums. Toss in Peter Cetera’s vocals (singing about who-knows-what), the song is a classic.

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Track of the Week: Get Lucky by Daft Punk

This week’s track is Get Lucky by Daft Punk (featuring Pharrell). Fantastic song that does all the talking for itself, so just a few notes: (a) it’s classic Daft Punk, down to the computer-Mr.-Roboto voice, (b) it’s Pharrell singtalking, and (c) it’s awesome funk.

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Goodbye Sencha (& Hello remind101)

Today was my last day at Sencha. On May 6th, I’ll be joining a very small startup in the education technology space called remind101 ( I’ve wanted for a long time to go to a social-forward enterprise, and Remind101 was exactly that and thus I made the tough call to say goodbye. More on that in a second.

It’s been an awesome ride with a ton of excitement, launches, new products, events, community, customers, and more. I’m very excited about the future of Sencha, and the future of the frameworks and tools. For me, the opportunity to go to remind101 was so compelling that I decided to make the move.

I remember very fondly (and very stressfully) some of my favorite times at Sencha: defining our next generation products, putting on SenchaCon 2011 (the keynote, oy!), getting Ext JS 4.0 out the door, getting Architect 2.o out the door, shipping Animator 1.0 at Adobe’s MAX conference, flying 150k+ (actual, no bonus) miles in one year around the world presenting Sencha at conferences and perhaps the best part: doing a ton of writing. Being a part of the outbound face of Sencha was amazing, writing a lot of the blog, the website and the material that we used internally to move the ball forward. That, and all the thousand things I can’t remember, but loved doing.

For the folks at Sencha, I wish them all the best luck in the world. I’m rooting for you all, wishing you all the success in the world. I enjoyed so thoroughly working with you and the community that I look forward to our paths crossing again soon.

My new role is at a small company called remind101, a safe platform for parents, students and teachers to communicate. I’m still getting the public pitch down, but what got me really excited was the momentum they have and they vision the company has to help teachers. I’ve wanted to do something “that mattered” (in the social sense) for a long time and I’m excited about joining remind101 to help people. Expect me to be writing more here and on Twitter.

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Track of the Week: Hey Love by Delfonics & Playa Hater by Notorious B.I.G.

This week’s track is a twofer, a classic and a classic in two very different genres. We start with Hey Love by The Delfonics and close with Playa Hater by the Notorious B.I.G. Start listening first to Hey Love, a fantastic soul song from a group that provided the inspiration for many hip-hop samples. Then move on to Playa Hater, where Ditty and Biggie not only sampled it, but basically made a cover of the song with thuggier lyrics.

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Track of the Week: Lament by Groove 8

This week’s track is Lament by Groove 8 off of Debut. Unfortunately  there’s no album version of the song available on YouTube, so live set it is.  Groove 8 performed one of the side stages in the 2009 (or was it 2010?) July 4th Fillmore Jazz Festival. Straight up jazz fusion / jazz funk, the set was a ton of fun and probably the best act I saw that year at the Jazz Festival. This week’s track is picked off of their Debut album, a slightly slower, slightly more melancholy tune with big horns and a trombone for a lead. It’s a little drizzly in SF today and this seems to capture a sleepy Saturday morning — and a good song to bring Track of the Week back to life after a two month hiatus.

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The Changing Face of Hayes Valley

Marlena’s Bar, a staple of Hayes Street, is closing today and it’s caused some reflection for me on the changing nature of the neighborhood. I moved to Hayes Valley in June 2007, roughly six years ago, and I arrived well after the gentrification had started. The Van Ness / Octavia flyover was long gone. Patricia’s Green had either just opened, or wasn’t open yet. Blue Bottle had its roll up kiosk on Linden, and a lot of the “first wave” of nice restaurants were already here scene, as were the boutique-y furniture stores (my couch is from Zonal). There were three bars: Sugar on the 300 block, Marlena’s on the 400 block, Place Pigale on the 500 block, and that was it.

Friday, driving home from work, I realized it now takes about 10/15 minutes to make it from Van Ness and Hayes to Laguna and Hayes (about six blocks). Traffic these days backed up with people double parked, commercial foot traffic, construction for condos, and more. That stretch used to take roughly 5 minutes. There are now seven bars in the neighborhood: Sugar, Marlena’s (or whatever it’ll become with the new owners), Place Pigale, Two Sisters, Dobb’s Barr, Biergarten, and the yet-unopened Noir; there’s a bread pudding store, triple stack containers that make up a clothing store, a made-to-order ice cream shop, an urban farm, a new jazz center, a whole bunch of new restaurants and clothing stores, and more. On top of that, almost all of the old parking lots that became of the Van Ness / Octavia flyover have been sold to developers and condos are starting to spout over the cement carcassas.

It’s grown up quite a bit in the last few years — in many ways for the better, in some ways for the worse. The streets are still strewn with litter and the amount of violent crime hasn’t abated regularly. The feel of the neighborhood has stayed roughly the same, but it’s changing and changing fast.

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Track of the Week: Leave The Lights On by Meiko

This week’s track is Leave The Lights On by Meiko off of The Bright Side. There’s been a dearth of new good music (at least music that has crossed my desk), so this week’s track goes back to the middle of last year. An upbeat and peppy song, it’s the most uptempo song on The Bright Side, an album that’s mostly about falling in love and other good things like that. Wondering what was catchy about this and this type of song, a friend opined: “I’m wondering what’s with the girls with husky voices singing about ‘lights’, cf Ellie Goulding”.

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Track of the Week: Pompeii by Bastille

This week’s track is Pompeii by Bastille off of the Bastille EP. On the outside the melody, drum beat, and slightly Enya-esque harmonies and the like make it seem like a fun upbeat indie pop song, but the lyrics give away perhaps a darker side to all that is saccarin.

“But if you close your eyes, / Does it almost feel like / Nothing changed at all?”

Super fun song all the same. Commence head bobbing and heel tapping.

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Track of the Week: Say That by Toro Y Moi

This week’s track is Say That by Toto Y Moi, off of Anything In Return. Toro Y Moi came up quite a bit last year, but I’d never paid much attention to him. His latest album, Anything In Return came by my path last week and this song is a nice piece of upbeat eletropop. The rhythm is great, but the vocals are what hook me.

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