Summer Mixtape: Seasonal songs hand-picked by KCRW listeners

Written by Andrea Domanick, produced by Brian Hardzinski

Press Play’s “Summer Mixtape” series features artist interviews and custom sets from KCRW DJs. Illustration by Mike Royer.

Press Play is kicking off a weeklong series called “Summer Mixtape,” which features artist interviews and custom sets from KCRW DJs. In this first installment, Morning Becomes Eclectic hosts Novena Carmel and Anthony Valadez share how they built their mixtape — by seeking picks from KCRW listeners.

Follow all of the music from this week’s Summer Mixtape series on our Spotify playlist. Listen to our Summer Mixtapes with Jackson BrowneDJ Travis HolcombeLedisi, and Yola.

Audience selections range from LA experimental hip-hop producer Ras G, to the classic rock styling of Small Faces, to a Whitney Houston anthem. 

“I think it's fun to play with radio, especially in 2021,” says Valadez. “And to listen to our audience and to our friends of the show, and what inspires …  Los Angeles. A lot of these folks work in the communities, and I think it's great to flip the script a little bit and listen to our community.”

The Morning Becomes Eclectic hosts also each contributed a pick of their own to the mixtape. Carmel chose the thumping, runway-ready collaboration “Strut” by New Orleans bounce queen Big Freedia and LA singer-producer Elohim. 

“I've always thought of the phrase ‘the whole world is a dance floor,’ so when I heard the song’s lines, ‘It's not a sidewalk, it's a runway,’ it was like, ‘Yes, you're talking my language,’” Carmel says. “I just picture folks going throughout Los Angeles under the sun, a little bit of breeze. Maybe they're in Venice. Maybe they're in Koreatown, North Hollywood, whatever. Just turning every freaking sidewalk into a runway and feeling empowered and happy to be out after being in a lot. That's why it's the summer jam.”

Valadez picked “Go Away” by Omar Apollo, an LA-based first generation Mexican American born to immigrant parents who were opposed to Apollo moving to Hollywood to pursue his dreams. Last week, he performed “Go Away” on “The Tonight Show.”

“This cut reminds me of being a teenager and having that summer crush and not knowing where they stand with you, and vice versa,” Valadez says. “Growing up, I was very much a Woody Allen type at the age of 12 and 13, like I couldn't read vibes. And this song reminds me of that, and of the uncertainty of love, and ‘What is the future? What is love? What is summer?’”


Fanny - “Ain't That Peculiar” 
Poolside and Amo Amo - “Around The Sun”
Small Faces - “Itchycoo Park”
Riadosa - “End Of The World” 
Haim - “Summer Girl” 
Ras G - “Dirty Cutlass” 
Anderson .Paak - “Jewelz” 
Vaughan Mason and Crew - “Bounce Skate Rock” 
Whitney Houston - “My Love Is Your Love” 
Lana Del Rey - “Freak”
Jens Lekman - “What's That Perfume That You Wear?”
Dâm-Funk - “Night Rules”