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As much as we respect, love and worship it, coffee isn’t just about coffee. Coffee is a ritual. One of the reasons we despise instant coffee is because it’s just that: instant. Where’s the satisfaction in getting something instantly? If you’ve worked hard for something the rewards are that much better**.
A big part of the ritual, is environment. There’s no fun in drinking coffee stuck in traffic or under the luminous strip lighting of some faceless corporate ‘McCoffee’ chain somewhere. You’ll enjoy the fruits of your labour that little bit more if you’re sipping a spectacular beverage in a spectacular setting.
Imagine how much better it would be, with rain lashing down outside as you warm your bones in front of a roaring log fire and sink back in a old leather armchair. This kind of setting is not always available of course. But that’s where music comes in. Music has the magical capacity to transport us somewhere else. It can carry you away on it’s wings to your happy place. Somewhere there’s world peace. To a place where politicians tell you global warming doesn’t exist because it’s actually true. A place where people are judged on the content of their character, not what ancient magic book the majority subscribe to wherever they were born, or what part of the light spectrum their skin reflects.
Ok, so maybe we’re getting carried away. But you take the point: everything’s better with coffee and music. We already supply the gear you need to make the perfect cup. So we thought we’d try and cover the music side of things for you too.
This is the first in a series of monthly blogs where we’ll share our coffee companion compilation with you. We’ll tell you a bit about our choices, the artists who made them and even organize them in a nice little Spotify playlist for you. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Those folks at Coffee Gator must be angels sent down from on high to enrich our lives and make the world a better place’, right? Well, we’re probably the most modest people around (and some would say we’ve got a lot to be modest about), but we also never, ever lie.
So, you’re probably right: maybe we are angels.
Now, make yourself a brew, get comfortable and let us guide you through for a magical, musical coffee break. Introducing our first three Coffee Gator and Chill Spotify playlist picks...
The National might sound like they had a band meeting and decided their best bet was making music perfect for people sitting around in coffee shops. But that would be doing this Americana/indie rock outfit a serious disservice. Now six albums into a critically acclaimed career, they’ve built a reputation for beautifully layering guitars and topping off with heartbreaking lyrics.
This fivesome consists of two sets of brothers (Aaron and Bryce Dessner and Scott and Brian Devendorf) and vocalist Matt Berninger. Originating from Cincinnati, Ohio, they formed in 1999 and made their name in New York. By all accounts the writing process consists of the brothers recording the instrumental parts. They hand this off to Berninger who listens to it on repeat and drinks red wine until his lyrics and distinctive baritone voice fit perfectly.
Taken from their fourth studio album, Boxer, Fake Empire guides the listener through a tale of a generation lost to apathy.
Further Listening: High Violet (2010)
Sigur Rós formed in Reykjavík, Iceland in 1994, taking their name from a misspelling of one of the band’s newborn sisters; Sigurrós. Sigur and Rós independently mean Victory and Rose in Icelandic, although make no sense grammatically.
They made their name as a result of their orchestral, soaring sound, use of bowed guitar and the singer, Jónsi’s falsetto vocals. Right from the start, Sigur Rós had a sound like no other, which meant they had to find their audience and vice versa. Accordingly, sales were slow but they received almost universal critical acclaim.
The unique, atmospheric sound perfectly reflects the glaciers, volcanicity and lava fields of their home country. The inspirational feelings they conjure up have been used endlessly in TV for nature and sport programmes and a multitude of film appearances. This is no better demonstrated than in the final, magnetic scene in Danny Boyles, 127 Hours where their track Festival couldn’t have been more perfectly placed.
The track we’ve chosen, Hoppípolla was re-worked for BBC’s Planet Earth II. But you’ll have to go a pretty long way to find a better tune to accompany your coffee break.
Further Listening: Ágætis byrjun (1999)
We couldn’t really get away without picking a track with ‘coffee’ in the title now, could we? Caught a Ghost released their debut, Human Nature in 2014 and manage to fuse Motown, blues, dubstep, rap and electronica.
This unique, delicious blend is no better demonstrated than on No Sugar in my Coffee. That track caught the attention of TV bosses and ended up being featured in Boardwalk Empire, Vampire Diaries and The Blacklist. While they haven’t truly ‘made it’ just yet, we think it’s the perfect companion to a coffee break. Only time will tell whether Caught a Ghost manage to capture the attention of the world. But if Human Nature is anything to go by, they have a pretty decent foundation of catchy hooks and singalong-choruses you can enjoy just as much as your dear old gran. Caught a Ghost are definitely one watch.
Further Listening: Human Nature 2014
**Unless you of course you make paint or poison, or something else that’s not designed to be eaten. In that case it won’t taste very nice and never will. We guess that might be different if you’re a poison maker. Perhaps you’ve worked really hard to make an excellent poison and that poison is as poisonous and deadly as it could possible be. We know very few poison makers. Maybe ‘poison maker’ isn’t the correct term for someone in that line of work, but you’d imagine in that instance you’d feel some level of pride with your work.
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- Adam J.