Top Albums of 2017: Antisocialites

The music supervision team at PlayNetwork saw over 6700+ albums, EPs and compilations added to our extensive music library in 2017. With so much amazing music to pick from, our Music Supervision team finally narrowed down their top 10 albums of the year.

Continuing our theme of top album write ups, we’ve enlisted Music Supervisor, Blake Kirpes, who has over 12 years in the music industry. Blake can also say that he helped shape the sound of bands such as Death Cab For Cutie and The Shins where he worked as an audio engineer in studio. When he’s not curating music for his many brands, you can find him collecting cassettes and vinyl while also designing abstract art. Blake writes on why the new Alvvays album, Antisocialites was one of his favorite albums of 2017.

Artist: Alvvays

Album: Antisocialites

Twitter: @alvvaysband

Track: Dreams Tonight

In 2014, the Indie music scene was flush with bands, that on the surface, sounded like Alvvays; bands with a sunny day reverb sound that anyone would enjoy, it was easy for a casual listener to hear an Alvvays single in passing,

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TOP ALBUMS of 2017: Ctrl

The music supervision team at PlayNetwork saw over 6700+ albums, EPs and compilations added to our extensive music library in 2017. With so much amazing music to pick from, our Music Supervision team finally narrowed down their top 10 albums of the year.

Continuing our theme of top album write ups, we’ve enlisted Music Supervisor, Chris Robles, who besides having a background in production, is an amazing graphic designer who creates posters for our in-house PlayLive series. He has also helped booked live shows for legendary artists like George Clinton & Parliament, Pete Rock and Questlove to name a few. Chris writes on why the new SZA album, Ctrl, was one of his favorites of 2017.

Artist: SZA

Album: Ctrl

Twitter: @sza

Track: Supermodel (contains explicit lyrics)

This album stood out to me as one of the best of 2017 because of SZA’s clever (and sometimes sassy) songwriting; her unique, smooth, and soulful vocals as well as her ability to experiment with a variety of music genres. The opening song “Supermodel” has an acoustic, indie-pop vibe with just a simple guitar riff and some militaristic sounding drums.

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Top Albums of 2017: Barefoot in the Head

Continuing our theme of top album write ups, we’ve enlisted Senior Music Supervisor, Leroy Henry, who has been at PlayNetwork since 1999 and has spent his entire career in music. His passion for music runs deep going back as far as the 70s where he was a DJ at Seattle’s rock station KZOK. Leroy tells you why Barefoot in the Head is one of his favorite albums of 2017.

Artist: Chris Robinson Brotherhood (The CRB)

Album: Barefoot in the Head

Twitter: @TheCRB

Track: Behold the Seer

“Who the heck is The CRB?” I asked as I unsuspectingly inserted a new CD. The very moment I heard the opening bars, I was struck by the beautiful, open sonic quality and level of musicianship and arrangements. This was the new Chris Robinson album, formerly of the Black Crowes! The album instantly became my favorite of the year and it’s never wavered. And it’s not what you would really expect – it’s not hard rock but instead is an exquisite array of melodic, acoustic-laced, rock songs somewhere between the early Doobies,

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Top Albums of 2017: Slowdive

The music supervision team at PlayNetwork saw over 6700+ albums, EPs and compilations added to our extensive music library in 2017. With so much amazing music to pick from, our Music Supervision team finally narrowed down their top 10 albums of the year.

To get things started we have enlisted one of our seasoned Musics Supervisors, Alex Espinosa, who has been curating music for clients all over the world for over 20 years. Alex tells you exactly why Slowdive is his favorite album of 2017.

Artist: Slowdive

Album: slowdive

Twitter: @slowdiveband

Track: Star Roving

Shoegaze is a term that originated in the early 90s in London that typically means hearing distorted layered guitar sounds behind ethereal vocals. Many classic bands such as Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine have come out of this era but one that stands out for me is Berkshire natives Slowdive. It was during the release of their debut album Just for a day (1991) produced by legendary Alan McGee, that had shared vocal duties by Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell that grabbed my attention during my college years.

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Music Discovery: Favorite Songs of 2017

Every year, our Music Supervision team at PlayNetwork is exposed to a countless number of songs and albums released by the masses. This year alone, we saw over 6700+ albums, EPs and compilations added to our extensive music library. With each person comes their own unique criteria for song selection and favorite albums. For our December playlist, we’re excited to share our team’s top songs of 2017!

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Music Discovery: November 2017

This month’s music discovery comes to you by one our Associate Music Supervisors, Ruben Lira. Our November BrandRadio playlist has been handpicked by our entire music team to set your playlist in the right direction for this month’s music discovery.


The Seattle music scene is one of variation on intensity; the scope of rock is as broad as the terrain of Washington state. As a lover of a multitude of music genres and music discovery, I bring you a group of bands who do not get the notoriety they deserve. These are a mix of local Seattle punk and rock bands who are slowly gaining more acclaim, and have the potential to become the new foundation of the scene. As a person who loves exploring the depths of music, these are my current favorite local Seattle post punk bands. These are the bands who lean more on the raw, loud side of the music spectrum; you have been warned.



Twitter: @shivertwinz

Track: Rearrange

SHIVERTWINS is a band hailing from Alaska, who decided to descend to Seattle.

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Halloween: It’s Not Just for Kids

Want to mix a little Halloween fun into your playlist, without adding a kid-vibe? Our music supervision team recommends adding some dark, fun, and spooky “Halloween” songs. There are a ton of great “Halloween-ish” songs from new and relevant artists that will fit almost any brand sound. Many of these songs were not specifically written as an ode to Halloween, but once they’re combined and played together with other songs with a similar vibe, you’ll soon find it hard to listen to them without thinking about Halloween.

Check out this year’s custom Halloween playlist!

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Music Discovery: October 2017

This month’s music discovery comes to you from one of our Music Supervisors, Gabriel Marowitz, an experienced Music Supervisor who enjoys rocking to the local scene here in Seattle. Gabriel has handpicked a number of awesome tracks, all added to the October playlist-handpicked by our entire music team. Check it out!


When I’m not sitting in my office at work writing blog posts like these or updating the Starbucks playlist, I’m often playing music with friends around town. One of my favorite parts of being in a band is all the interesting and fun people you meet along the way, so here are a few songs from some of the talented musicians we got to cross paths and hang with over the summer.

Artist: Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown


Track: Loaded Dice & Buried Money

These guys came all the way from Nashville to headline Chinook Fest in Central Washington, and the next time they’re out that way they’ll probably be rocking The Gorge opening for Guns N’ Roses or Aerosmith. Pretty sure they audition their band members on both absolute shredding and rock n’ roll hair abilities.

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Music Discovery: September 2017

This month’s music discovery comes to you from one our seasoned Music Supervisors, Alex Espinosa, who has worked in this business for over 25 years. As always, our September BrandRadio playlist has been handpicked by our entire music team to set your playlist in the right direction with some new music discovery.


Music has always been about diversity for me–not caring about color or religion when it comes to the music. My personal opinion has always been, “If it sounds great, who cares who sings it.” With today’s political climate and a them vs. us mentality, I’m happy that music still has that universal feel to it where everyone can just enjoy good tunes.

Below is a list of songs from 2017 that I feel embodies undividedness where it’s the music that really matters.

Artist: Bomba Estereo

Twitter: Bomba Estereo

Track: Ayo

This Colombian band has been making their steady climb since performing at SXSW back in 2009. Since then, they have been nominated for 3 Grammys, performed a song with Will Smith and have won many admirers with their live performances,

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Music Discovery: August 2017

Summer isn’t over yet! Check out our August playlist for some great new summer tracks, curated by our Music Supervisor team – with four featured tracks from Chris Robles.


During this summer there is been no shortage of great new releases, but these four tracks caught my attention and have been in constant rotation on my Summer 2017 playlist. Sit back and enjoy the rest of your summer with some new music.

Artist: Toro Y Moi

Twitter: @ToroyMoi Track: Girl Like You

The first single from the recently released album Boo Boo is a chill song with an 80’s vibe (check out the visuals in the music video) yet still sounds current with a hint of auto-tuned trap sounding vocals that are, thankfully, not too overdone.



Artist: Jessie Ware

Twitter: @JessieWare Track: Midnight

This song premiered on BBC Music last week as DJ Annie Mac’s “Hottest Record In The World” and I’d agree, it’s a very hot record.

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Music Discovery: July 2017

Ready for some amazing summer jams? Check out our July playlist, curated by our Music Supervisor team – with featured tracks from Blake Kirpes!


Late-Winter through Spring can be hit or miss for new music releases; there are always a handful of great albums, but there are also long stretches with little movement. However, now that we are in full-on summer mode, there are amazing singles and albums coming out seemingly every day.

In addition to the songs detailed below, be sure to check out the brand radio link which features great new releases from Japanese Breakfast, Algiers, Benjamin Booker, Amber Coffman, Chad VanGaalen, Grizzly Bear and Seattle band Great Grandpa.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite summer releases for 2017.


Artist: Alvvays

Twitter: @alvvaysband

Track: In Undertow

If you’re looking for a melancholy summer jam, then this is your track. It has been three years since Alvvays released their amazing debut self-titled debut album, and after hearing “In Undertow” the wait has been worth it.

The subtle lyric changes throughout each verse and chorus and kind of special touches that set Molly Rankin and her band apart from other artists in this genre.

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What the Consumer of Today Means for the Store of Tomorrow

The digitally-empowered consumers of today thrive on experience – not only through their devices, but within physical environments. Far beyond serving a purchase, the role of brick and mortar continues to shift: it’s not that people don’t want to go to stores, but that the expectation for physical locations has evolved from transactional to experiential. This evolution has initiated a wave of challenges for those who had subpar experiences and many continue to struggle today.

With 91.5% of retail sales still taking place in physical stores, brick and mortar will continue to be relevant to business and retail strategy. But with this change in purpose, brands of today must reconsider the role and experience of their physical environments – be it store, restaurant, hotel, or other – if they wish to be successful tomorrow.

Reimagining the Store with Purpose. Activating the Space.

A reimagined store experience is one that not only aims to increase store traffic and sales, but plays a huge role in brand engagement, eCommerce, marketing, sales promotion, and customer retention. A reimagined store transforms a space focused solely on transactions into one that stands as an experiential destination. As brands aim to engage customers across multiple channels and devices,

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Music Discovery: June 2017

This month our Music Discovery is brought to you by one of our Associate Music Supervisors, Christian Zabala, who may or may not be a little obsessed with New Jack Swing. And, as always, our June BrandRadio playlist has been hand picked by our entire music team to set your playlist in the right direction for the beginning of summer.


“The Roof! The Roof! The Roof Is On Fire!”

It was a Saturday morning. I had woken up early to make my Gordon Ramsey inspired scrambled eggs with some orange juice. As I sprinkled the salt & pepper over my creamy egg concoction in Salt Bae fashion, I couldn’t help but find myself grooving to a song I randomly saved on Spotify; Full Force’s “Ain’t My Type of Hype.” Unfortunately, I found myself microwaving my food as I had let it sit out too long from dancing.

After eating, I found myself sitting on my couch watching the movie responsible for my cold breakfast that morning, “House Party.” As I watched the infamous dance sequence of Kid-N-Play grooving to the same song I was while making breakfast, I couldn’t help but binge and watch House Party 2 and eventually think to myself,

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Music Discovery: May 2017

This month our Music Discovery is brought to you by one of our Associate Music Supervisors, Hallie Sloan, who has decided to break down the evolution of music’s pillow talk starting with the master, Marvin Gaye to the modern day masters such as Miguel and John Legend. And, as always, our May BrandRadio playlist has been hand picked by our entire music team to refresh your spring playlist.


Let’s Get It On // The Evolution of Pillow Talk from Marvin Gaye to Modern Day

Let’s reminisce on our parents’ notion of “simpler times”. This baby-booming generation romanticized direct communication, when carnal encounters were supposedly not contingent on a slide right. We hear their stories of love and lust and we hear it in their songs. And questions you may have asked such as, “Mom, tell me how you met dad?” “Well, one day he was leaving tennis practice just as I was starting my swim lesson, we locked eyes and…” let me stop right there. Many of us are left wondering, could this generation be more passive in curating their ideal playmate?

Marvin Gaye says it loud and clear “Let’s Get It On.” And while that kind of boldness might score you a pity point or two today,

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Music Discovery: April 2017

What the World Needs Now is RAPtivism

For the month of April it is all about RAPtivism. Our Associate Music Supervisor, Kalla Vavra, has picked four songs from Aisha Fukushima, Kendrick Lamar, The Relatives, and Kevin Michael, which feature elements of RAPtivism in their music. You can peep these tunes below and be sure to check out the new addition of the April BrandRadio playlist, brought to you by our music team to refresh and impress your ears.


You can feel it all around. There’s an unspoken electricity triggered by the current state of affairs in our nation. Out of such conflict, there is a rise of artistic expression that captures the diverse views and opinions in our cultural environment. During this time of uncertainty and unrest, it is a common habit to focus on the negative because we are so inundated with what the opposition believes that it eventually becomes a competitive divide: rights vs. wrong, us vs. them, me vs. you.

That’s why I’ve chosen to highlight RAPtivisim for this month’s blog. Aisha Fukushima, a speaker, singer, and writer, defines the phrase RAPtivism as a “global hip hop project spanning over 10 countries and four continents,

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The Changing BPM’s of Club & Dance Music

Tempo Shift Average BPM It’s not your imagination, dance music is getting slower.

The one constant in the world of dance music? It has always been in a state of flux. From the heyday of Disco in the 70’s to the ubiquitous presence of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) today, music designed to get you out of your seat and onto the dance floor has gone through an enormous change in the last four decades. While some elements have remained throughout the years, instrumentation, lyrics, and especially tempos have moved into new, unprecedented directions.

Beat-matching, a technique invented in the late 60’s by Francis Grosso, allows a DJ to seamlessly blend different tracks together into a non-stop flow of music, capable of going unbroken for hours at a time. The success of this approach is heavily reliant on finding songs that have a similar tempo or BPM (beats per minute). Consequently, if an artist wants their latest dance track considered for rotation in any of the thousands of dance clubs around the world, the tempo of the song (to a certain extent) is predetermined.

But in the last decade dance music has undergone a dramatic downshift in tempo.

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Music Discovery: March 2017

For the month of March we are stepping in to the Seattle music scene which has a diverse history of music, and it is still going strong. “There is an amazing variety of artists ranging from all styles of music who are captivating the Seattle Music Scene. The publicity may not be as noticeable but the creativity is as strong as ever. With an ever changing landscape of technology and corporations, it is no wonder why the local youth are challenging the establishment with a multitude of genres touching on soul, rock, hip hop and folk,” according to Associate Music Supervisor, Ruben Lira. With so many artists to choose from, Ruben as chosen four bands that he says are currently captivating his palate. Plus, our entire music team has made sure our playlist for our March BrandRadio is all new to keep your playlists current for 2017!




Artist: Spirit Award

Facebook: @spiritawardband Track: Las Vegas

Vintage dreamy indie rock. I love how the songs moves back and forth through different variations of moods both edgy yet ethereal.

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Music Discovery: February 2017

Some songs have power to make you hit that repeat button; they are the songs that you wish were  longer, and the kind you will surely be playing for years to come! You know it’s a great song when you start it from the beginning right when it’s over. This month, Blake Kirpes has selected some of his current favorite tracks, all of which get the “repeat” treatment when he plays them. Check out our February BrandRadio, as our entire music team has hand selected a mixture of new music to keep your playlists current!




Artist: Future Islands

Twitter: @futureislands

Track: Ran

The amazing new single from Future Islands is sure to be a hit and another classic in their catalog! This is the band’s first single from their upcoming album The Far Field – The song is about a person telling their love that they, “can’t take this world” with out them. This song is dramatic, powerful and emotional; it’s everything we’ve come to expect from Future Islands.


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